A/N1: This is the result of a prompt given to me by oxfordshoes2 in this post. She supplied the first line.
Wiping the blood off Janet’s cheek with her sleeve, Sam turned and walked out. She had to change clothes and report to the debriefing. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Janet was supposed to save lives, not… She ran a hand across her eyes in an attempt to wipe away the tears welling in them. She was a soldier; it wouldn’t do to report to the general’s debriefing crying.
She turned to see Daniel coming up the hallway but didn’t stop. She couldn’t deal with his ‘under-standing’ right now.
Daniel rushed to catch up Sam. “How are–”
“I don’t want to talk about it!”
“Sam, you have–”
“No, I don’t!” She angrily shoved open the ladies locker room door, leaving Daniel behind in the hallway. She yanked open her locker. Each piece of clothing she removed was violently thrown into the locker.
After Sam took a quick shower she put on a clean uniform. She sat down on the bench to put on her socks and boots. After tying the laces on her boots she picked up the towel next to her on the bench and held it to her face as the tears she’d been holding back defied her will and began to spill. She struggled to keep her sobs silent. A loud knock on the door startled her.
“Carter! Debriefing in two minutes. Let’s go!” bellowed the colonel’s voice from the other side of the closed door.
Sam got up and quickly splashed some cold water on her face and drying it before heading out.
Sam and the colonel both stood when General Hammond entered the briefing room, waiting for him to sit before they retook their seats.
Hammond looked at each of the four members of SG-1 as he frowned. “Now, what the hell happened?” he growled.
Looks were exchanged around the table, but no one spoke.
“Colonel!” the general barked.
Without any of his characteristic irreverence, Jack frowned, “I don’t know, sir. One minute every-thing was fine, the next…” he shrugged in puzzlement.
As the general looked towards Sam Daniel spoke up.
“When we first arrived on P9R-528 – Tordo – we were welcomed with open arms. The Tordons have never heard of the Goa’uld and there’s nothing in their history to indicate they’ve ever visited Tordo. They’re at a technological level a little behind ours, as demonstrated by their need of improved irrigation for their agriculture and lack of knowledge of the stargate. The gate was believed to be a sculpture created by a deceased artist. However, they seemed to have some innovative medical treatments.”
Hammond nodded. “The lack of any sign of Goa’uld and the friendliness of the Tordons is exactly why I agreed to allow Dr. Fraiser to join your team. What I need to know is what happened after she joined you on Tordo.”
Sam finally found her voice. “The first couple of days Dr. Fraiser was there she spent in the hospital observing with Dr. Venici. The next day they went to gather wild herbs that are used in a num-ber of their medications.”
“Did anyone go with them to keep an eye on Dr. Fraiser?”
Sam nodded. “I did, sir.”
“Did you see anything that might have indicated there was a problem?”
“No, sir. Nothing.”
“What did the rest of you do while they were gathering herbs?”
“Their Chief of Police, Garvin, took Teal’c and me to their training facility and let us participate in an exercise,” Jack replied.
“I spent most of my time in the library, studying their archives,” Daniel added.
“And none of you saw or heard anything that could have tipped you off to what was going to happen?”
Four heads shook.
“Had I suspected anything would go wrong, I would have personally seen to Dr. Fraiser’s safety,” Teal’c said, speaking for the first time.
“Did anyone see exactly what happened?”
“No, sir,” Jack answered. “Teal’c and I were inside the capitol building at the time of the incident.”
“I was meeting with the professor of history at their university,” Daniel replied.
Not trusting her voice, Sam shook her head as she quickly wiped her watery eyes.
Picking at a nonexistent divot in the tabletop, Jack spoke. “After the attack Garvin told us about the terrorists. He apologized for not telling us about them sooner, but after two full years without any incidents, he thought they had all the leaders locked up.”
“What precipitated the attack? Was it our presence on Tordo?”
“We didn’t stick around to find out,” Jack replied. “Under the circumstance, we got out of there as soon as we could get to Doc.”
“How many casualties did they have?”
“Two dead and about a dozen injured.” Sam shook her head. “The fact that the bomb went off in the lab area of the hospital is the only reason there weren’t more casualties.”
“Do you think Dr. Fraiser was specifically targeted?”
“There’s no way to know for sure, but I think it’s likely they chose that part of the hospital because it was easier to get the bomb in place there.”
“I believe Major Carter is correct, General Hammond. The bomb was not in one of the labs, but in the hallway where almost anyone had access.”
Daniel pushed his glasses up his nose as he spoke. “The Prime Minister wanted to extend his apologies and sympathy. He hopes that this ‘unfortunate event’ will not sour Earth on diplomatic relations with Tordo, but he does understand if we don’t ever want to return.”
“They can take their diplomatic relations and sh–”
“Colonel!” Hammond cutoff Jack’s tirade. He took a deep breath and let it out. “I think we’ll re-serve judgment on that matter until everyone has had a chance to calm down.”
“Who’s going to… tell Cassie?” Daniel asked.
“I’ve already sent someone to pick her up from her school,” replied the general. He glanced at his watch. “She should be here in about 15 minutes.”
“I’ll tell her,” Sam managed in a ragged whisper.
Hammond stood, causing both Sam and Jack to rise. “Dismissed.” The general turned and left the briefing room.
Just as the colonel opened his mouth to say something Sam rushed from the room.
Daniel shared a look with Jack. “I think this has been hardest on Sam – she was the first one to get there… to see Janet…”
Jack simply nodded before walking out of the briefing room.
She stood in the doorway. She had to see Janet. She looked so small. So different from when her larger than life presence filled the infirmary.
She turned to see she was blocking someone from entering. “Sorry.” She stepped aside to let them enter the room.
The nurse walked over to the pale, still form and with extreme care, made an adjustment to one of the leads attached to Janet’s chest, just under the neckline of the hospital gown. The hiss of the respirator continued in steady intervals. The nurse looked up. “We haven’t given up on her, Major.”
Unable to speak around the lump in her throat, Sam merely nodded. She had to go; it was time to meet with Cassie.
Cassie gave her mother’s hand a final squeeze before leaving the ICU room. She brushed past Sam without stopping.
The teen whirled around and glared at the blonde. “Why the hell didn’t you protect her?! You said it was safe! It should have been you, not her!!” She ran out.
Sam visible crumbled.
Placing a warm hand on her shoulder, Daniel gave it a squeeze. “She’s just upset, Sam. I’ll go talk to her.”
“No – she’s right. Janet’s not the one who should be in danger.”
She turned and went into Janet’s room, taking her seat next to the bed.
Three days later Sam was woken up by a squeeze of her hand. Her head popped up from where lay on the side of Janet’s infirmary bed. “Janet?”
Unfocused, brown eyes slowly blinked.
Sam rushed to the doorway and called for Dr. Warner.
David Warner entered the room and pulled the penlight from his lab coat pocket. He shined it in one of Janet’s eyes and then the other. “Take it easy, Janet, we’ll removed the endotracheal tube in a few minutes,” he told her once her eyes seemed to focus on him.
Tests were ordered, the breathing tube was removed, and Janet was sent for an MRI.
The collectively held breath of the base was released when news spread of Dr. Fraiser regaining consciousness.
Cassie entered her mother’s room. She looked down at the sleeping woman and tears filled her eyes. Janet was going to be alright. She then turned to Sam, her lower lip trembling. “I’m so sor-ry, Sam. I didn’t mean it.”
Sam held her arms out and Cassie threw herself into them, crying and clinging to her. “It’s okay, sweetie. Your mom’s going to be okay, and we’re okay.”
“Yes… we are.”
Sam and Cassie both looked over to see Janet watching them.
“Mom!” Cassie kissed her cheek.
“We’ve been so worried about you.”
“I know. I’m okay, Cassie. You should get some sleep.”
Squeezing her mother’s hand, the teen nodded. “Okay. I’ll see you in the morning.”
After the girl left, Sam carefully sat on the edge of her lover’s bed. “She’s right – we have been worried about you.”
Janet looked up at her lover, noting the dark circles under her bloodshot eyes. “You need to get some sleep, too.”
“I tried. But everything I close my eyes I see your body in the rubble.”
“Come here.” Janet put her arms around Sam as she leaned down and they gently held each other. “You couldn’t have prevented it, honey. It’s no one’s fault.”
“You’re supposed to treat casualties, not become one.” Sam pulled back enough to be able to look into Janet’s eyes. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
They tenderly kissed.