NEW FIC: Under Friendly Fire - Chapter 7 Chapter 7
The day had progressed much smoother after their talk at breakfast and Sam was feeling better by the time she had retired to her quarters. She had spent the majority of the day fully immersed in her calculations, concentrating solely on finding the solution to the problem that had plagued her for days before that fateful mission. The elation she had felt when the answer finally came to her after looking at the problem from a whole different angle made her day even better.
Her work had always been therapeutic for her. Thinking through problems and building generators from a diagram that was drawn by a 12-year girl, gave her life meaning, not to mention the thrill she got when the lasers, generators and astral calculations worked because of her efforts to solve those problems. Getting lost in the whys and wherefores helped her to focus on things other than her failures, which in turn made life much easier to live.
She sat down on her bed, and grabbed the brush off of the bedside table, working the brush through her hair while her mind drifted to the conversation she’d had that morning with Colonel O’Neill, Daniel and Teal’c. She still couldn’t believe her reaction when the Colonel grabbed her arm. It had scared her half to death, although she thought she had covered that up quite well by just sitting back instead of jumping up to run screaming from the room. But the others knew her too well. They had seen through her act and were worried for her. She could see that clearly on their faces. So much for being the strong airman, she thought with disdain.
She set the brush down, wondering how she was going to get over this irrational fear. Sam didn’t really fear her friends, why did she react so badly when the Colonel grabbed her like that? She knew he was only making a point, one that she couldn’t ignore anymore, but it bothered her that she had reacted that way.
This was something she was going to have to overcome and she decided right then and there that she was going to conquer this fear. With that thought in mind, she got up from the bed and headed for the door. She was going to have her own talk with her friends, and she quickly opened the door and walked out of her room, heading down the hall before she lost her nerve.
She came to Daniel’s door, knocking on it to attract his attention. He didn’t answer, even after the second knock, so Sam moved on to her next prey. She knocked on Teal’c’s door and was glad when he answered. “Can we talk?” she asked. He nodded and moved to allow her entry, but she wanted to do this right, so she just shook her head, as she smiled at him, then said, “Let’s go find Colonel O’Neill and Daniel. I need to talk to all of you.”
Teal’c followed her down the hall as she headed toward the Colonel’s room, Teal’c’s presence bolstering her nerve. The Colonel was in and she smiled at the surprised look he had on his face when he saw her. He grinned happily at her, then said, “What’s up? Come on in. I smuggled some beer in, if you guys want one.”
Sam couldn’t help the smile that came to her face, his good mood was infectious. “Actually, sir,” she said. I was hoping that we could all sit down and talk. I need to work through this and I was hoping you, Daniel and Teal’c would help me.”
“Sure,” he responded warily, then poked his head out the door looking for the missing person of their party. “Uh… Where’s Daniel?”
“I haven’t found him yet,” she admitted.
“Okay. So where could he be?”
“He may still be in his office,” Teal’c suggested. “Perhaps we should go there.”
“Nah. Let me call him,” Colonel O’Neill said. “We can talk in here. It would be more private.”
Sam nodded at that. She had to be strong and being alone in a bedroom with the three men who had violated her body in such a violent way, was going to be a major test. She couldn’t help the feeling of security that flowed through her when she realized that this thought didn’t scare her. They wouldn’t hurt her; she knew this with all her heart. And if she survived this meeting, she knew she could survive anything, including being locked up in a cell with them on an alien planet. God forbid that would ever happen, she thought fervently, all the while knowing it was probably inevitable.
She followed Teal’c into the room, but stopped when she heard Colonel O’Neill say, “What do you mean now is not a good time? You’d better get over here right now Daniel. If you’re not here in ten minutes, I will hunt you down and drag your ass in here.” He grinned at Sam, then said silkily, “I knew you’d see things my way, Daniel. See you in ten.” He hung up the phone, then turned toward the portable refrigerator he had set up next to the dresser. “You guys want something to drink?”
Sam was amazed. She just stood there with her mouth open, staring at the refrigerator before finally finding her voice. “How did you get that in here?” she asked, still in awe that he could finagle such a feat.
“It wasn’t easy,” he said, with a knowing grin. “You want a beer?”
Sam couldn’t help grinning back at her commanding officer as she shook her head. She needed a clear head in order to get things out in the open, so she declined the offer and went over to inspect the Colonel’s acquisition. It was one of those small refrigerators, big enough to hold a couple of six packs and if one was lucky, some other small essentials. That guy never failed to amaze her.
Daniel came in a few minutes later, glaring at the Colonel as he said, “I’m here and this had better be good.”
“It is, Daniel,” Colonel O’Neill said. “Carter wants to talk and we owe it to her to listen to what she has to say.”
“Oh,” Daniel said, as he looked over to Sam. The look on his face told her that he was worried about what she wanted to talk about, but he didn’t say anything. He just nodded, then went over to the refrigerator to pull out a small bottle of water.
“Wait. Daniel,” Sam said, not sure she could deal with more surprises, “You know about that refrigerator?”
“Yeah,” Daniel said, as if every room had one. “I helped him bring it in.”
“Daniel faked some orders, saying he needed it to store some samples and when it arrived, we brought it in here,” Colonel O’Neill said smugly. Sam just stared at him, wondering what other secrets he was keeping from her. She then turned to see if Teal’c knew about it, but if he did, he was doing a great job of hiding it from her.
“Why didn’t you guys tell me about it?” she asked, cringing a little when she realized that her voice betrayed her hurt feelings.
“I was going to,” the Colonel said, as he hastily tried to cover his tracks. “It just never came up.”
“Actually, Jack made me swear not to tell anyone,” Daniel said apologetically. “It was part of the deal.”
“What deal?” Sam asked, now thoroughly intrigued. She watched fascinated as the Colonel glared at Daniel, while at the same time relaying a silent message to him. Daniel gave a sheepish shrug and decided that a picture hanging on the wall was extremely fascinating. What was going on here? “Daniel?” she asked, hoping to pull him back to her.
“It was nothing,” the Colonel answered instead.
“Do you not trust us, O’Neill?” Teal’c asked, effectively answering Sam’s question as to whether he knew about it or not.
“Yes! Of course I do,” Colonel O’Neill insisted, his unease showing clearly in his features. “I just hadn’t gotten around to telling you guys about it, that’s all.” He then smiled at them innocently and said, “I really was going to tell you guys.” His smile grew wider as he realized something, “In fact, I just did!” he said, pleased that he had gotten himself out of another sticky situation.
Sam just grinned back at him. She never could stay mad at him when he did stuff like that. He seemed to know exactly what to do to tug on a heartstring and she nearly always gave in when he did that. She pushed the hurt aside and nodded at him, telling him without words that she had forgiven him. He looked relieved, then turned to Teal’c, who was apparently immune to the Colonel’s tactics.
“I would have helped you bring it in here,” he said regally. Sam couldn’t tell if he was hurt or not, but she knew by his words that he was trying to deal with whatever he was feeling. “Your secret would have been safe with me.”
“I know that Teal’c,” the Colonel soothed. “I just didn’t want to bother you with something this trivial.” He stopped speaking, while watching Teal’c, and Sam was glad that Teal’c was able to push past his own hurt to let it slide. He nodded, then stood there with his hands behind his back, quietly waiting for something else to happen.
“Carter brought us all here,” the Colonel said, probably hoping to take the spotlight off of his own guilt and to shine it on her. “This is her party.” With that said, he went to sit down on his bed, while everyone in the room turned to stare at her. She was now feeling extremely uncomfortable, but she knew that she had to get this over with. Her only problem now, was where to start.
“I keep thinking about my reaction this morning when Colonel O’Neill grabbed my arm,” she said, deciding to start with her feelings of inadequacy. “I almost had a heart attack when you did that sir,” she continued, as she put on a weak smile. “I know that you only did it to prove a point,” she added, when the Colonel opened his mouth to justify his actions, “And I appreciate it. That incident made me realize that I need to zero in on what’s really bothering me.”
She looked at each one of her teammates in turn and at the varying expressions they held. Colonel O’Neill was watching her with no expression whatsoever, seemingly to wait to hear what she had to say before reacting. Teal’c was watching her curiously, while Daniel was standing there with a look of unease on his face, almost bordering on terror. It was Daniel’s expression that pushed her to continue with her intentions. If anything came out of this, she wanted it to be for Daniel to come to terms with his guilt.
“I want to start out by telling you all that I don’t blame you for what happened,” she began, ignoring the Colonel’s grunt as he turned to glare at his dresser. “No matter what you believe, you could not have controlled that drug. No one could.” Daniel was now glaring at the floor, while Teal’c stood there watching her, but she could tell that she was not reaching any of her teammates. “It was not totally your fault.”
“Some of it was,” Colonel O’Neill said, his expression now showing his anger as he stared at her. “I remember wanting to hurt you, Carter. What was that?”
“The drug,” she insisted. Man, these guys could be so stubborn sometimes. “You would never have wanted to hurt me if it wasn’t for the drug.” The Colonel just shrugged as he went back to glaring at the dresser. “Would you?” she persisted, frustration making her words come out harshly.
“No,” he shouted at her. He stared at her as he calmed himself down and she stared back, defiantly daring him to argue with her. “I know it was the drug, Sam,” he said, “But I can’t get over the memory of really enjoying your pain. It seemed so real to me.”
“That was probably what those bastards wanted,” Sam couldn’t help but say. “Not only did they get the opportunity to watch me suffer, but they were also going to get to watch your pain as you dealt with what you did to me. Two for the price of one,” she snarled, anger at the injustice of what those jerks did consuming her.
“The drug may have had some properties that induced the anger and lust, while keeping the part of us that abhors that type of behavior dormant,” Teal’c spoke up. “I remember clearly wanting to stop, but unable to follow through on that wish.”
“You fought it,” Sam said adamantly, sincerely hoping to get through to them so that they could get past their guilt and shame in order to help her get through her fear. “You say that you remember everything. Do you remember fighting the impulses?”
“Yes,” Daniel said. He was now watching her and Sam could see that she was at least getting through to Daniel. She knew he wouldn’t let her down. “But I couldn’t win,” he added.
“Neither could Teal’c or Colonel O’Neill,” Sam told him. “You were trying to fight off the effects of an alien drug. What makes you think you could win against that drug when we couldn’t fight off the other alien influences we had come in contact with?” Realization was dawning on Daniel’s face and Sam was elated when she realized that Daniel was definitely coming around to her way of thinking. Now, if she could only convince the other two.
She had, if the expressions her other teammates were wearing was any indication. “We didn’t have a chance,” the Colonel said, as he stared at her.
He looked away for a second, then turned to look at her again. “I’m sorry, Carter,” he said. She knew what he was apologizing for now, and she sat down next to him, hoping to find something that would finally ease his mind.
“You didn’t fail me, sir,” she said. He nodded at her, and she looked over at Daniel, before turning back to look into the Colonel’s eyes. “In fact, I find that I have been negligent in thanking you.” He raised his eyebrows as he gave her a skeptical look, and she smiled as she continued, “I had given up when you were hurting me. I thought that life just wasn’t worth living anymore. But you surfaced, trying to fight off the effects of the drug, giving me back the will to live. You were there and I was determined to survive because of it, to not let you down. Thank you.” He gave her a small smile, but Sam wasn’t done. “You also gave me hope when they brought you all in the second time. The look in your eyes told me that you had had enough and that you were determined we were going to get out of there right then, or die trying. I can’t tell you how glad I was to see that look in your eyes.” She smiled at him then, watching as his expression registered his gratefulness for her efforts.
“Thank you, Carter,” he said simply. She could see the doubts were still there, but she smiled back, hoping that she had given him some ammunition to fight back.
She then turned to look at Teal’c. He was watching her warily, and she got up to go over to him. “Teal’c,” she said, staring into his eyes. “I will be forever grateful that you didn’t laugh at my weakness. Those men did, but not you. That meant a lot to me.” Teal’c bowed his head at her, but still watched her warily. She could relate to his worry, but she still tried to reach him. “I was terrified that you were going to kill me, but you stepped away from me after you were done and moved away instead of doing it again. That took a lot of strength, Teal’c. You were there the whole time, and I want you to know that I appreciate the effort it took to walk away.”
“You are a true warrior, Samantha Carter,” Teal’c said. “I am honored that you consider me a friend.” She smiled at that, then turned her attention to Daniel. He stared back at her, as warily as Teal’c did, and Sam knew he was wondering what she could ever thank him for.
“Daniel,” she began, hoping her words would make a difference. She stared at him for a minute, wondering if she would be able to chase away his doubts. He finally looked away, glaring at the wall behind her. She had taken too long to ease his fears and he was probably thinking that she was searching for something nice to say to him. “Daniel?” she said, hoping to bring his attention back to her. He looked back at her, defiance now showing up in his eyes and she cursed her hesitancy in telling him how he had helped her.
“Nothing Sam?” he snarled.
“You killed that son of a bitch with your bare hands,” she snarled back. “You killed him for me.”
“I killed him for me,” Daniel growled. He was definitely angry now, and Sam knew the anger was directed solely at himself.
“I thought you had killed him for what he did to me,” she said quietly, wishing she could reach through his anger.
“I guess I killed him for both of us,” Daniel admitted. He was calming down, although Sam could tell he was still angry.
“Daniel, do you think you will ever forgive me?” Sam asked, silently hoping for an affirmative answer.
“What?” Daniel said in shock. The surprise on his face was genuine and Sam realized that she had totally stumped him with that question. “What for?” he asked.
“For punching you out,” she said, knowing he was probably glad that she did it, “And for hating you for a minute there.”
“You have every right to hate me, Sam,” Daniel growled, “Especially after what I did to you.”
“I suppose,” Sam said tiredly. This seemed like an ongoing battle that had her thinking she would never win. She had tried to reach them, to justify their actions, only to wonder why she was even bothering with it. “But I don’t hate you,” she continued. “You guys… you guys raped me, and here I am trying to make things better between us.” The tears she thought were hidden away came without warning, and she blinked hard to fight that battle, as well. “What am I doing here?” she asked in frustration.
Nobody answered her, but Sam didn’t care. She was standing there in the middle of the room, angrily wiping the tears from her face as she struggled to stop this weakness, all the while yelling at her teammates. “You raped me!” she cried, her anger spilling out in her words and her tears. “I know it wasn’t you, but…,” she stopped then, as she realized what was really bothering her. “I begged you to fight it, but you weren’t strong enough. None of you were.” She looked over at the Colonel through her tears, only to find that he was just sitting there watching her, grief and guilt clearly showing in his features, but he didn’t respond. He just sat there staring at her. “I saw a part of your personality that I never want to see ever again,” she continued as she stood there taking in the pain on the faces of her friends. “And do you know what’s really scary? The scary part of this whole thing is that it was my teammates that hurt me. My friends, the very people I trusted with my life. There’s something evil lurking in all of you – all of us, and it took a bunch of alien bastards to prove that to us.”
Silence followed her speech, but Sam was too caught up in her own tears to really notice. She pushed away the hands that tried to comfort her, wrapping her own arms around her body to ward off the trembling, and trying her damnedest to stop the tears. Some warrior, she thought, as she viciously swiped at the tears that just would not stop. She gratefully accepted a cloth that Teal’c handed her, and she used it to wipe her face and to blow her nose. She needed to get her control back, and she stopped everything to take several deep breaths in an effort to gain it back.
She finally looked up to find all three of her friends standing there, waiting for her to calm down and she realized that even though the tears were gone, her anger wasn’t. It was still there, hanging on with a vengeance and she made a valiant effort to chase it away. “Sorry about that,” she said. Daniel nodded at her without looking at her, his own anger apparent on his face.
“Nothing to be sorry for, Carter,” the Colonel said, as he tried to hide his feelings from her. “At least not on your part.”
“This is just so hard for me,” she said, as she took another deep breath. “I still trust you all, but I’m afraid…,” she stopped speaking before she gave up her deepest secrets. This stubborn attempt to keep anyone from seeing her weaknesses had been ingrained in her from the very beginning of her career. It was probably too late to stop now.
“Admitting to your fear is an admirable trait, Major Carter,” Teal’c spoke up.
Sam couldn’t help but stare at Teal’c with surprise. “Have you ever been afraid, Teal’c?” she asked.
“I have faced fear many times in my life,” Teal’c responded. “On our last mission, I worried that I had lost your friendship and trust. I had hurt you badly, Samantha Carter.” He smiled at her, then told her, “I feared the evil within me, as well. It was something I was afraid I would not be able to defeat.”
“No one likes to lose total control over their actions,” Daniel said quietly. He finally looked up at her, then told her, “It’s almost like being snaked.”
Sam couldn’t help the small grin that found its way through her anger. He was right in his analogy of a Goa’uld taking control, but her friends had not been ‘snaked’, as Daniel so eloquently put it. They had been able to fight it; she had seen them try. They tried and failed, and she was the one who had to face the consequences.
“I’m doing it again,” she said, then cringed when she realized she had spoken the words out loud.
“Doing what?” the Colonel asked, his brow wrinkled in confusion.
Sam now had embarrassment to deal with along with the anger. “I was just thinking this whole thing is about me, that I’m the only one who was affected. Pretty shallow, huh?” she responded, as she gave them a sheepish look.
“No,” the Colonel said, his expression grave as he stared at her. “Not at all. You were the one who was physically assaulted, not us. I know from experience how easy it is to forget about others when the physical and the emotional pain becomes too much to bear.”
Sam could only stare at her commanding officer as she processed his words. She knew that there were some rough times in his past. She had seen the Colonel dealing with some horrific events during the years she had served with him, and Lord knows what he went through before they had met. But he always seemed to deal with it and was able to easily move on with his life.
“Colonel, how do you do it?” she asked. “How do you all get through stuff like this?” she continued, as she looked over at Daniel and Teal’c. Both Daniel and Colonel O’Neill shrugged their shoulders, but Sam needed to know. She turned to face the Colonel head on, needing to hear his answer. “You came back from Ba’al’s fortress, after being tortured beyond belief, and you kept on going. How do you do it?”
“There’s no magic formula, Carter,” the Colonel responded angrily. “You just deal with it and get over it.”
“Just like that,” she said, anger building back up into her heart. “Deal with it and get over it.” Oh, what she wouldn’t give to have the opportunity to blast him into the next galaxy, she thought angrily. “I’m trying to deal with it, sir. I just don’t know how.”
“Sam,” he said, trying to calm things down. “You’ve been through a major ordeal. Once you…”
“I’ve heard stories about what they did to prisoners in Iraq,” she said, shocking him into complete silence. She wasn’t quite sure why she had even brought this up, but she thought it might have something to do with the anger blazing within her. “I’ve heard rumors that you spent some time in one of their prisons.”
The Colonel didn’t respond, he just sat there glaring at her with an anger that seemed to be simmering in the depths of his eyes. Oh great, she was in trouble now. “I’m sorry, sir,” she said, in an attempt to grovel her way out of the mess her anger had dragged her through. “I should not have said that.”
He looked away for a few seconds, visibly trying to chase away the anger, then looked back at her and growled, “I dealt with it, Major.” She nodded, hoping that this would be the end of it. Despite having earned a doctorate degree, she could still be so stupid sometimes.
“It may be harder for Sam to just shove it away,” Daniel said, a little hesitantly. Sam could relate to the wariness in Daniel’s voice. Colonel O’Neill rarely gave into his anger, but when he did, everyone scattered.
“I’m aware of that,” the Colonel said, his anger still simmering. He didn’t say anything else, but Sam knew when to back down.
“I’ll be fine,” she told them, smiling at Daniel to let him know she appreciated his help.
“Perhaps Doctor Mackenzie will show you how to get through this,” Teal’c spoke up. “He was quite helpful when I talked with him after Daniel Jackson died.”
“Which time?” the Colonel asked, apparently having been successful in chasing away his anger, at least in hiding it from them.
“Very funny, Jack,” Daniel said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“What?” Colonel O’Neill asked innocently. Sam’s smile grew wider as she listened to the Colonel and Daniel go at it in an obvious attempt to lighten the mood and to cheer her up. Her relief that her commanding officer was no longer mad at her made her feel a little giddy.
“Carter, this is going to take some time,” Colonel O’Neill told her, when he and Daniel finally came to a standstill in their banter. “You will have to learn to trust us all over again…,”
“I trust you sir,” she interrupted, “I wouldn’t be sitting here in your quarters, alone, with all of you, if I didn’t.”
“Well, that’s true,” he admitted, frowning as he thought through her words. “Maybe you are stronger than you think.” His grin was infectious and she had to smile back at him.
“Yes sir,” she said.
They stared at each other for a moment, and she watched as the Colonel’s smile dimmed. “I suppose I could tell you what I am afraid of,” he said, as he continued to stare into her eyes. He didn’t tell her right away, he just kept staring at her, and she wondered if he was going to admit to those feelings he had told Anise about. He looked down at the cloth in her hands, and pointed at it as he told her, “That’s my T-shirt you blew your nose in.” Her own smile broadened as she looked at the streaks left behind on the black cloth, then had to laugh when the Colonel told her, “I am so not touching that thing!”