NEW FIC: Under Friendly Fire - Chapter 10 Chapter 10
Sam sat straight up in bed, wakened by screams that seemed to bounce off the walls. Her heart was pounding madly, and she made an effort to calm herself when she realized that the screams were her own. The dream had been a terrible one, and she lay back down, hoping that she would be able to relax enough to stop the trembling that had taken over.
She tried not to dwell on the nightmare, but the images in her mind had not faded yet, and she remembered, in great detail, a sense of being smothered as the weight of a heavy body held her down. She had struggled to free herself, but the man wouldn’t get up, his hands and mouth moving over her skin, leaving her panting and terrified.
“Get off of me,” she demanded, for all the good it did. Real terror moved in when the man looked into her face and Sam saw that it was Colonel O’Neill holding her down, and she knew that he was going to hurt her again. She couldn’t let that happen and she used her fists and her knees to fight off his kisses and his intentions. Conflicting emotions moved in when she realized that his seduction was working and her body reacted accordingly. “No,” she snarled, still determined to fight him off. He looked up at her then and she whimpered in horror when she saw his eyes glow. Her whimper turned into screams when he placed a Goa’uld symbiote onto her chest.
She had awakened just as the symbiote slithered up to her neck. She couldn’t stop herself from reaching up to touch her neck, making sure that it really had been a dream, then grinned at herself when she realized what she had done.
Daylight streamed through the window, but Sam didn’t get up. The clock on her bedside table told her it was only 7:30 in the morning, and she lay there debating on whether she should get up or try to go back to sleep. The General had told her she could have the day off, but she was now thinking a day of calculations would be good for her.
She got up and headed for the bathroom. After taking care of business, she headed toward the kitchen to make coffee, and maybe some breakfast, all the while debating on whether she was going to stay home or go to work. Her thoughts were interrupted by someone pounding on the front door and Sam couldn’t help but wonder who it could be so early in the morning.
She was equally surprised to see Colonel O’Neill standing on her porch. He looked terrible, and Sam’s heart went out to him, despite the images of the dream she had woken up to flashing through her mind. “Colonel O’Neill,” she said, her surprise registering in her voice. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong, Carter,” he said, as he stood there staring at her. “I just came by to see how you are doing.”
“I’m fine,” she responded warily. Just like that, he drops by to see how she is doing. Sam decided to play it cool. Maybe she would be able to figure out what he really wanted. Unfortunately, she wasn’t dressed for entertaining. “Um… I’d invite you in, but I’m not quite…” she grabbed the edge of her robe to illustrate her message, but he didn’t seem to notice. He was staring at her mouth. Sam licked her lower lip, unconsciously running her tongue over the cut that was still there, then stared at him when he reached out to lightly touch the cut. She let him, proud of the fact that she didn’t flinch. But he didn’t stop there. He ran his finger over the cut, lingering there, before sliding down to the skin on her shoulder, tracing the edges of a bruise that showed through the gaps of her robe.
Sam wasn’t sure what this was all about, but she instinctively took a step back and reached up to close the lapels of the robe. “Uh… Colonel…” she started to say, but he snapped out of whatever trance he was in and straightened his shoulders.
“I came by to talk to you, Carter. I want to help you and maybe help myself.” He gave a small smile as he waved toward her chest and lip. “They still hurt?”
She shook her head, as she said, “No. I don’t even know they’re there until I look in a mirror.”
He nodded at her, then said, “Can I come in? I promise to be on my best behavior. Scouts honor.”
Sam found herself smiling at him, then stepped back to let him in. “I’ll just go get dressed. I’ll be right back.”
He nodded, as he stood in the hallway with his hands in his pockets. “I’ll wait.”
“Have a seat,” she offered. “I was just about to put on some coffee.”
“I can do that,” he said. “Go get dressed.”
Sam did as she was told. She entered the kitchen fifteen minutes later fully dressed and ready for whatever he had in store for her. He was sitting in a chair at the counter staring at the coffee pot, and she cleared her throat to let him know she was back.
“Nice outfit,” were the first words out of his mouth when he looked over at her. She squirmed a little knowing that he knew damned well why she chose to wear a turtleneck sweater that hung over her jeans.
“Thank you,” she said stiffly, trying to pretend it was just something she threw on in a hurry. He grinned at her, and she smiled back wondering how he was able to cheer her up without even trying.
“We need to talk,” he said, putting a damper on the situation. “I was terse with you the other night, and I apologize if I’ve upset you.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Sam told him, as she went over to the cupboard to pull out some mugs, then set them on the counter in front of the Colonel. “You didn’t upset me. I, on the other hand…”
“It’s just that I hadn’t expected you to bring that shit up,” he went on, as if she hadn’t said a word. “I don’t like thinking about that experience.” Sam nodded her understanding. She had her own memories of a lot of incidents that she wanted to get rid of. He then looked over at her and asked, “Why did you bring it up?”
“Um…” Talk about putting her on the spot. She didn’t know at the time why she had brought it up, and hadn’t thought of it since. Well, except when Daniel came to see her and told her he had asked the Colonel about it. “I don’t know why, sir,” she admitted. “I suppose it was because you had said you knew all about what I was going through. I was hoping you could tell me how you were able to handle things so well.”
He got up off of the chair and went over to look out the window over her sink. He didn’t say anything, just stared out the window, and Sam wondered if she should go wake him up. He spoke up before she made the decision. “They nearly killed me a dozen times while I was there,” he said, as he stared out the window. “I refused to give them what they wanted, but I think they liked it when I refused.” Sam stood there, staring at his back, wishing she had the courage to go over and put her arms around him. She could tell by the tone of his voice that he was hurting, but she stood there watching and listening and silently feeling his pain right along with him.
“They tortured me for hours, practically on a daily basis, hoping to get me to talk,” he continued. “I couldn’t give them what they wanted, though. Not even when I wanted to.” He turned to look at her, his eyes haunted by the memories that he was forcing himself to relive. “And I wanted to,” he said. “There were times when I begged them to let me tell them.” He looked down at the floor, as he leaned back against the sink, then said, “But I didn’t tell them everything. Only the stuff that they could have found out if they would have asked me nicely.” Sam found herself smiling at that remark - smiling through the tears that were welling up in her eyes.
“Four months of that shit,” he said angrily, as he looked back up at her again. “You’d be surprised by what I did to get them to stop the torture, and what I did to get them to kill me.” Sam didn’t want to know, but she stood there quietly willing to listen to him, all the while hoping he wouldn’t tell her. “The torture didn’t stop after I got out of there,” he said, instead.
Oh God, Sam thought. He knew what she was dealing with. He knew, but he had spent years trying to hide away the pain, the self-doubts and the anger and she had let her anger bring all that back to him. How could she have been so selfish? She stared at him with wide eyes, as she processed her feelings. He was just so good at hiding his own feelings, it never dawned on her that he could be hurting just as much as she was.
“Colonel, I’m so sorry…”
“No,” he growled. “Don’t pity me. I got over it a long time ago.”
“I wasn’t pitying you, sir” she said. “I was about to apologize for bringing on those memories, but now I think I won’t even apologize for that.” Sometimes she just wanted to knock some sense into him.
He stood there staring at her with varying degrees of shock and amusement. He finally gave into the amusement and grinned at her, as he said, “Well, excuse me. Major.”
She smiled back, glad that things were going a little more smoothly. But she still had something she wanted to say, and she forged on, “I was angry with you, sir. You seemed to take this whole thing in stride, and I was angry that I had to go through this alone.” No, that wasn’t quite right, she thought, as she stared at him, his expressions hidden from her. “I mean, you just kept on going. You sat there during the briefing telling the General what happened without any remorse.” She was rambling, but her emotions had been overworked during the past week, and Sam had to get this out of her system. “I was raped, Colonel O’Neill. Raped! And you just sat there and told me to ‘deal with it and move on’.” A few traitorous tears leaked out of her eyes, and Sam took a deep breath in an effort to chase them away. “What was I supposed to think?”
This was so not the way she had wanted this conversation to go. She had given in to her anger again, and it wasn’t going to get her anywhere. She needed the Colonel to understand, and she knew that her anger would push him away again, just like it had the last time. But she didn’t apologize. She just stood there, watching him, waiting for him to explain his actions, or to do his own apologizing. Anything to help her cope with the pain she was dealing with.
“I don’t know how to help you, Sam,” he said quietly. “I can be here to listen, if that’s what you need, but I can’t tell you how to deal with what you’re going through.” Sam didn’t know what it was she needed from him, but anything was better than him telling her to get over it. She waited for him to continue, hoping he would tell her that everything was going to work out, but he just stood there looking uncomfortable. Bastard, she thought.
“Then why did you come here?” she asked. He looked at her with surprise, and opened his mouth to tell her his reason, but snapped it shut when he realized that he would be contradicting his own statement. He stared at her for a moment, seeming to come to a conclusion, then began to walk toward her. Sam couldn’t help taking a step back, as alarms started blaring in her mind. Her instincts were telling her that something was not right. He reached for her when he was close enough, roughly grabbing her arm to pull her toward him, and Sam’s fighting instincts took over. She pushed him away, while at the same time saying, “Colonel, what is this?”
“What’s what?” he snarled at her. She wasn’t fooled by the innocent look he had on his face, especially since the look was marred by an evil grin. Terror ran through her, but Sam tried to calm herself as she calmly tried to figure out what his intentions were.
“Colonel, I think you’d better leave now,” she said instead. He shook his head, then lunged at her when she turned to leave the kitchen, grabbing her and forcing her to face him.
Sam didn’t know what to make of this, but she was determined that she was not going to let him hurt her again. And she was afraid that this was exactly his intention. “Sir,” she said as firmly as she could, “Please let me go.”
He tightened his grip, while leering at her, then pulled her toward him so that she was now plastered to his chest. This had gone too far, and Sam let her instincts take over completely. She stomped on his foot, then pulled back when he loosened his grip and punched him in the face as hard as she could. He let go of her completely and stepped back, surprise at her audacity showing clearly in his eyes. Sam took advantage of her freedom and turned to run down the hallway, only to have her arm grabbed from behind as he overtook her, and she turned and slammed her fist into his stomach. He grunted, but held onto her arm tightly, while trying to grab the other one.
“No!” she snarled, as she kicked him. He let go, but stood there glaring at her while Sam held her fists up in front of her face, daring him to try touching her again.
“You were not at fault, Carter,” he said quietly. Sam stood there, ready and willing to kick his ass, but he seemed to be his old self again. He was just standing there, wiping the blood from his mouth, and Sam was at a loss as to what was going on. But she kept her stance, not for once letting her guard down. “You couldn’t have stopped us any more than I could have stopped the torture I went through in Iraq,” he continued. Sam couldn’t respond, she still wasn’t sure if he had gone over the deep end or what, so she stood there and waited, breathing hard from her efforts of protecting herself. “I was going to let this go on a little longer,” he said conversationally, “But I was afraid you’d turn me in after you knocked me out and I’d wake up in a cell, waiting for my trial.” He smiled at her then, and continued, “I thought I’d better let you in on this little charade before that happened.”
Sam couldn’t speak even if she wanted to. This was all a setup? He was playing a game? For what purpose? She stared at him, her anger building to a rage so intense, she didn’t think she would ever recover from it. He was such a son of a bitch!
“You have to understand that you could not have done anything different on that planet, Sam,” the Colonel told her. “Never believe otherwise, because it will destroy you. Believe me, I know.” He stepped back from her, possibly to avoid getting hit again, then said, “None of it was your fault.”
Sam was weakening. He had touched on the very essence of her own guilt and she wanted to weep with the knowledge that he understood what she was going through. She was not alone in her pain; he hadn’t abandoned her at all. Sam stood there, her fists still balled and prepared for anything, but she knew she was weakening.
“I hated myself,” she said, her voice catching on a sob. She hadn’t relaxed her stance, and the Colonel didn’t seem to care that she was ready to beat the crap out of him. He just stood there watching her as the words spilled out on their own. “I couldn’t stop you guys and I hated myself for that.” Here comes those tears again, she raged inwardly, trying her best to stop them. “And I hated you all for not being able to stop. I begged and begged, but you hurt me!”
“You couldn’t have stopped us, Sam. You were chained to a wall. Don’t you see? You didn’t have a chance.” He gave her a small smile, but Sam was too far into her own grief to let it cheer her up. “You would have kicked my ass that day if your hands were free, the same way you did just now,” he said. She now knew why he did what he did, but she wasn’t so sure she was going to survive the scare he gave her. “I wanted you to realize that you could not have done anything differently.”
She nodded at him, while trying to see things his way. But she could still remember the helplessness she felt as her friends violated her. She had been trained in dealing with the possibility of rape, but that training didn’t really prepare her for what she was now going through. Here she was, trying to be brave, but in reality her courage was lacking big time. She wanted them to forgive themselves, even though she was having a hard time forgiving herself for her own inadequacies. She had fought them off, only to fail, and Sam now knew that this was the basis of her problems. Her guilt, combined with anger and fear, was preventing her from dealing with her feelings and in the long run, slowly destroying her. She couldn’t fight her teammates off, which in turn, ‘allowed’ them to do what they did and was causing her to feel guilty because of it. This sounded so silly now that she really came to terms with her deepest fear. She had been afraid that the whole thing was her fault because her training had failed her when she couldn’t fight them off.
“Carter?” the Colonel said, and Sam couldn’t miss the hopeful note in his voice. He wanted to reach her, to make her understand and she lowered her fists as she realized that he really wasn’t the enemy. Samantha Carter was, and this thought brought on more tears, only this time the tears were for her commanding officer. She could now relate to why he always avoided talking about his past.
She briefly wondered if he had been raped all those years ago, but she knew that it didn’t really matter. He understood what she was dealing with, and this gave her peace of mind as she realized that he was right. Her tears came in earnest then, as she let go of the brave soldier persona, and she let him hold her when he came up to put his arms around her, holding her tightly while she cried.
“Carter?” he said softly, when her tears abated. He was still holding her, stroking her hair and Sam wished she could stay there forever. It meant everything to her that she was not alone in this. But she pulled back from his arms and gave him a sheepish look, then said, “I’m fine sir. Thank you.”
“Does this mean I’m forgiven?” he asked. “Hammond will have my head on a plate if not.”
She nodded at him with a small smile. “You scared me half to death again,” she complained, even though she didn’t hold anything against him. “I thought you were dealing with side effects from that drug.”
His expression became grave as he stared at her, and she knew he was kicking himself for what he had done. “I didn’t think… God Carter, I didn’t realize that you would think that…” he stopped, then grinned guiltily at her, as he said, “You want to beat the hell out of me, anyway?” She grinned back at him as she shook her head, and he gave her a relieved smile before telling her, “Good, because I think I would let you. You’ve got a mean right hook.” His smile disappeared as he looked into her eyes, then said, “You are not alone in this, Carter. I’ve been there, and even though I have a hard time talking about what I went through after I got home, I’ll make an effort if you need me to.”
Sam didn’t know what to say to that. Colonel O’Neill was willing to dig deep into his own horrors to help her through this, and that thought scared her, as well as touched her heart. She didn’t want to be the one to force him into reliving the hell he had gone through, during and after his imprisonment, but the fact that he was willing to do that for her had the tears welling up in her eyes again. Damn it, anyway. She was not going to cry.
“Thank you sir,” she said, proud that the tears didn’t show up in her voice. “But I don’t think that will be necessary.” She smiled at him when his face showed his relief, and she had to fight off the urge to give him a hug. “I’ll be okay, I promise.”
“That’s what I was hoping to hear,” he told her. They stood there for a moment, staring at each other before the Colonel decided that maybe it was time for him to leave. “I guess I’ll be going now,” he said, as he glanced at the door.
“Wait,” Sam said, remembering his words when he walked into her house. “You said you had come to help me and to help yourself. You definitely helped me, but did you help yourself?”
He stared at her for a moment, then grinned at her, his smile lighting up his face. “Yeah,” he said, “I think I can get back to my life again.” With that he opened the door and turned toward her, “I’ll see you tomorrow, Carter. We have a mission to plan.”