A/N: This is the result of a prompt given to me by ml_spikie.
Sam’s heart dropped as Janet, who was walking ahead of her, stepped forward and suddenly dropped out of sight.
“Janet!!” She rushed forward but skidded to a stop just shy of a dark hole in the ground. “Janet! Can you hear me?”
There was no response. Sam shucked her pack and scrabbled through it, finally pulling out her flashlight. She shined it down through the hole. What she saw made her stomach roil. Janet had apparently fallen into an old mine shaft. She lay among rotted timbers, large rocks, and a piece of steel track. Janet’s leg was bent in an unnatural angle that could only mean it was broken, and there was blood pooling under the side of her head.
Sam looked around, desperate for a way to get down to her companion. She began searching the trees for vines that she could fashion into some sort of rope to lower herself down into the shaft. She managed to pull a couple of long vines loose of the trees, but they just weren’t strong enough. Even though Sam knew it was useless, she dug her cell phone out of her pack and turned it on.
Think, Carter, think!
Janet was at the bottom of shaft, injured, and unconscious. They were miles from civilization, out of cell phone coverage, and no one would miss them for two days. There was no way down to Janet and certainly no way to get her back up if Sam could get down to her.
She had no choice but to leave to get help. They had passed a ranger station on the way.
But what if Janet woke up? She’d be alone and hurt and wouldn’t know where Sam was. She couldn’t do that to Janet.
Suddenly a clap of thunder boomed across the sky. The weather man on TV had said it was going be clear, but apparently Mother Nature had something else in mind. A change in the weather was going to make things even more complicated. Sam had to move – the sooner she left the sooner she could bring help back.
Sam once again went through her pack. She took out a small notepad and a pen. If Janet came to while she was gone, Sam wanted her to know what was going on. She wrote a note explaining she was going for help and that Janet should just sit tight. She tucked the note partway into a pocket on her pack and then used a vine to lower her pack down to Janet.
After lowering the pack, Sam stood… only to have the ground give out from under her.
Rain was falling on her face when Sam came to. She heard a moan… then realized it came from herself. She slowly took inventory of her body by carefully testing each limb. Nothing seemed broken, so she tried to sit up.
Correction, her ribs were broken, or at least cracked.
After taking a few slow breaths, Sam gingerly sat up and looked around. She’d landed about five feet from Janet, who was still unconscious. First things first, she needed to protect Janet from the elements, but Sam couldn’t risk moving her.
Sam opened her pack and pulled out the tent they were going to sleep in. She couldn’t get Janet into the tent even if she’d had room to set it up, but she used the tent’s stakes and fly to rig a canopy to block the rain. She then took out their small camping first aid kit, removed Janet’s pack, bandaged Janet’s head wound using a cut up t-shirt to bind it, and gently straightened her broken leg. By then it was getting dark.
After gathering some wood Sam dug a small pit, surrounded it with rocks, and started a fire. By the light of the fire she took out one of their sleeping bags, unzipped it, and placed it next to Janet. Sam very gently eased Janet onto her back on the sleeping bag so that she was insulated from the heat-leaching ground. Deciding it was best to set and splint Janet’s leg while she was still unconscious, Sam used more strips cut from the t-shirt to secure a couple of pieces of wood in place.
Wrapping the other sleeping bag around her shoulders, Sam kept watch over Janet and worried about how long the doctor had been unconscious.
As Janet neared consciousness the pain began to register. She tried to retreat back into the darkness, but someone was calling her name.
“Janet?… Come on, Janet, wake up.”
She couldn’t stop the moan that escaped her lips.
“Oh, thank God! It’s about time you woke up.”
“Wh… What happened?”
“You fell into an abandoned mine shaft. Don’t try t–”
“… to move.”
Tears rolled out the corners of Janet’s eyes.
“Your leg is broken.”
“Yeah, you hit your head when you landed. You’ve been unconscious for hours. I was afraid you wouldn’t ever wake up.”
“What time… is it?”
“Um… about 3:00 in the morning.”
“So that’s why it’s so dark.”
Sam’s head jerked around. “Janet?”
“What do you see?”
“Nothing, it’s pitch dark in here.”
There were several seconds of silence.
“It’s not dark in here, is it?”
“Not completely. The moon’s almost full and I’ve made a small fire.” Sam couldn’t keep the panic she felt from her voice.
“Temporary blindness is not an uncommon system with a concussion, Sam.”
“Yeah.” She didn’t sound very convinced.
“If I fell in a mine shaft what are you doing here?”
Sam could actually feel herself blush. “I fell in, too. Don’t worry, I’ll find a way out of here in the morning.”
“Not if you don’t get some sleep.”
“Sam, I’m going to have to rely on you to get help. I need you to be rested so that you succeed.”
The blonde sighed. Janet never did fight fair.
Sam had been more tired than she’d been willing to admit, so despite her deep concern about Janet she’d slept pretty soundly. It was midmorning when she woke up feeling rather refreshed. She made sure Janet had food and water within easy reach.
“Okay, you should have everything you need close by.”
“Make sure you take enough water with you, Sam.”
“Don’t worry, I have plenty.” She paused. “I’d leave one of the flashlights, but…”
“I don’t have any use for one, and you need them to get through the mine. Promise me you’ll be careful.”
“I will. I’m going to get you out of here, Janet, I promise.”
Sam searched for a way out of the mine for hours, finding only bottomless pits and cave-ins. Whatever part of the mind they’d fallen into was completely cut off from the rest of the mine – and the exit. The only way out was the way they’d entered. It was nighttime, and quite chilly, by the time Sam returned.
She didn’t get a response.
The petite doctor was unconscious again. Sam had no idea how long Janet had been unconscious, but no matter how long it was, it wasn’t a good sign. Janet was also cold to the touch, so Sam quickly rebuilt the fire. She then unzipped her sleeping bag and laid it over Janet’s, covering her like a blanket.
“I’ll get you out of here, I promise,” she whispered.
When Sam woke up in the morning she immediately checked on Janet, who was still unconscious. Sam had to find a way out, a way to save Janet. She found a sharp rock and began to dig small holes for hand and toeholds, but as she tried to climb the wall using them the soil gave way and she landed flat on her back, knocking the wind out of her.
Once she regained her breath, Sam tried again… and again ended up flat on her back.
“Janet!” Sam scrambled over.
“I’m right here, Janet.”
“We fell into an abandoned mine shaft. Don’t you remember?”
“The day before yesterday. But don’t worry; I’m going to get you out of here… somehow.”
Janet was again unconscious.
Try as Sam might, she just couldn’t find a way out of their predicament. Exhaustion eventually claimed her.
“Carter… Carter, wake up!”
Blue eyes blinked open. “Sir?”
“You okay, Carter?”
“She’s here. The paramedics are already taking care of Doc,” O’Neill assured his 2IC.
Sam abruptly sat up, causing her to cry out. “Ahhh!”
“Easy does it, Carter.”
“How is she?”
The colonel looked over at the medics.
“We’ve got her stabilized. We need to get her out of her.”
Jack looked up at his teammates. “Haul away, T!”
Teal’c, Daniel and the forest rangers carefully pulled up the stokes litter Janet was strapped into.
“Now, let’s have a look at you, Major,” one of the medics said.
“I’m okay,” Sam said, pushing probing hands away.
“Let them check you out, Carter.”
“That’s an order, Major.”
Sam sighed as she stopped fighting the medics. “How did you find us?”
“Well, when you and the doc didn’t show up last night, I knew something was wrong. Your cell phones kept going to voicemail, so we headed out here to find you. We might not have found you if not for the orange strips of nylon you had hanging down into the shaft.”
“Pieces cut from the tent. I tied them to rocks and threw them up.”
Sam and Janet were both taken back to the SGC’s infirmary. As soon as Dr. Warner verified Sam was banged up but okay, she planted herself in a chair next to Janet’s bed. It was obvious nothing short of a naquadah bomb was going to move her.
“… waited until I might lose you, but I can’t hide it anymore. And even if you can’t hear me, I have to tell you. I love you, Janet… I’m in love with you, and I have been for a long time. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, but I was scared. Please come back, Janet, so I can tell you how much I love you.”
Sam bolted upright. “Janet!”
Brown eyes slowly opened.
“How much do you love me?”
“With all my heart, Janet. With all my heart.”
Janet reached up and cupped Sam’s cheek. “I love you, too.”
Sam couldn’t keep from grinning widely.
“Quit grinning and kiss me, Sam.”
The blonde leaned down and pressed her lips against Janet’s, her heart soaring. Just as she parted her lips to grant entrance to Janet’s tongue Sam abruptly pulled back.
“What? Did I do something wrong?” the doctor asked.
“No! You told me to stop grinning and kiss you.”
“Yes, I did.”
“You can see me!”
Janet smiled. “Yes, I can. Now will you kiss me again?”
Sam happily obliged.