DISCLAIMER: I only borrowed them for a while. MGM and whoever can have them back whenever they want. I'm sorry but I have no idea who wrote the songs I quoted. No copyright infringement intended.
SPOILERS: Up to the end of season 7, pre-Lost City. P.S. She ain't dead.
SERIES: This is the first story in the Darkspell series.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author

By Celievamp


The Jaffa dragged the woman's limp body into the cell and dumped it unceremoniously into a corner. He ignored the cell's only other occupant who cowered away from him. When she was sure that he had gone, the small dark haired woman crawled painfully across to the body and took the other woman in her arms, cradling her. Shaking fingers found a thready pulse. She was still alive.

Rocking gently the dark haired woman began to sing softly:

You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey

You'll never know dear
How much I love you
Please don't take
My sunshine away

Then there was a long silence before another sound could be heard, the sound of stifled, desperate sobs.


"I'm here," Janet raised her head, blinking the grit out of her eyes. Weak sunlight filtered in through the bars near the ceiling, their only light and ventilation in this hell hole. It gave enough light to show that Sam's eyes were now open and the growing extent of her injuries. Bastet had tortured her with the hand device again, the skin across Sam's forehead and temple and the bridge of her nose looked like she had severe sunburn. Her jaw was swollen, her lip split and there were bruises and scratches on her throat and upper chest.

"How long was I out?" Sam's voice was hoarse.

"Couple of hours," Janet said softly. "How is the pain?"

"I'm okay," Sam said, though the tenseness in her limbs said otherwise. "So it should be light soon." She blinked slowly. Janet felt something inside her constrict. She gently turned Sam's head slightly so that a ray of light fell directly across her face. There was no pupil reaction. Sam was blind.

"Yes," she lied. "It should be light very soon. You need to rest, Sam, conserve your strength." She reached for the cup that sat on the ledge just above her. A pipe delivered a drip of water every few seconds. It was all they had and they didn't want to think about the source but they had been drinking it for three days now and so far it hadn't killed them. So far. "Here, drink. You must be thirsty."

There was a couple of mouthfuls in the cup at most, barely enough to ease her throat. Janet had not had anything to drink all day but Sam's need was greater than hers. She held the cup to Sam's mouth and watched her swallow once, twice. "Thanks," Sam breathed. Janet began to carefully check her over, noting the deep parallel scratches across Sam's abdomen that looked as if they had been inflicted by the clawed finger pads on a hand device, the lash marks on her back the deepest of which were several days old and definitely infected. Sam's left shoulder was dislocated for the second time in as many days and this time her collarbone was also fractured. She had broken ribs also on her left side and a staff weapon burn on her right thigh that was oozing pus, the edges of the burn raw and weeping. Her bare feet were lacerated from where she had been dragged across the stone flags. As she clasped Sam's left hand she heard Sam's sharp intake of breath. Apologising, Janet gently palmed the hand, noting new injuries: Sam's pinkie and index finger were broken, the nails torn off.

And she was blind. Whether it was retinal or optic nerve damage or a sign of swelling in her brain from Bastet's repeated torture with the hand device Janet did not know. She just hoped that it was a temporary condition and not a precursor of more advanced potentially fatal complications of any damage to Sam's brain.

Janet apologised softly to Sam for causing her more pain and swiftly reduced the fractures in her hand, binding the broken fingers with another strip torn from her shirt. She was fast running out of clothing. Sam's was being fast reduced to torn and stinking rags. Janet cradled the injured woman's head in her lap and soothed her back into a restless sleep noting the rasp that was now apparent in Sam's breathing. The bar of sunlight traveled across the cell.

Janet jerked awake again. Four days without food and with very little water were taking their toll on her. She kept spacing out. She had lost most of the day. Any effort left her enervated, feeling as if she could not get enough oxygen into her lungs. Since the initial zatting and beating when they were first captured, Bastet hadn't laid a finger on her so she was still in pretty good condition – if one ignored dehydration and malnutrition. As she had every other time she had woken she checked on Sam. She was still asleep, her uninjured hand clutching the fabric of Janet's shirt.

Janet realised what had woken her. Someone was unlocking the cell door. She heard the lock turn, the door open. It was almost evening - earlier than usual for their captor's nightly visit. Hopefully Sam would stay asleep. Then she might have a chance to persuade the Jaffa to take her for interrogation instead of dragging Sam off again. Sam could not last much longer. Janet had no doubt that her lover would die before she would break. If Bastet had a sarcophagus at her disposal she had not put it to use yet. And both women knew that Bastet was just playing with them, killing time until Anubis arrived. Then the real ordeal would begin.

Two Jaffa entered the cell. Lowering Sam gently to the floor, Janet stood up, moved forward to face them. In the flickering light of the brazier in the corridor she recognized the smaller of the two men. It was Master Brata'c. Her sense of relief at seeing the familiar friendly (or as friendly as a Jaffa ever got) face was so overwhelming that she felt tears prick her eyes again.

"Good, we have located you. You must come quickly, Dr Fraiser. We have perhaps only minutes before our subterfuge is discovered. And Anubis's fleet is a day away at best. Where is Major Carter?"

"She's here, but she's very badly hurt," Janet said, turning so that Brata'c could see the huddled figure in the shadows behind her. "Bastet has tortured her several times both physically and with the hand device since we were captured."

"Then Kalec will carry her. Are you able to walk, Doctor Fraiser?"

"I can manage," Janet said. As long as it wasn't very far to wherever they were being taken. She had been beaten unconscious on the first day of their captivity but Sam had taken the brunt of the punishment since then. Still, her back and ribs were stiff and sore and there was also the malnutrition and dehydration to consider. She had made sure Sam got most of their water during their ordeal.

Kalec carefully lifted Sam's limp body into his arms and slipped out into the passageway. He continued down it walking in the opposite direction to that in which Sam was usually taken, Janet limping behind him, Brata'c alert at their rear. They continued walking for about five minutes, Janet freezing every time she heard a sound. She had thought that Bastet held other prisoners down here apart from the two of them, the moans and occasional screams and cries for help she heard confirmed that. She wished that she could help them as well but it wasn't her call. She had her priority and for the moment that was Sam.

They reached what appeared to be a dead end, the passage ending in rough hewn natural bedrock. Kalec handed Sam on to Brata'c. Janet took the opportunity to check her pulse and breathing again. Sam's pulse was strong but rapid, her skin warm, her cheeks flushed with fever. The burns on her face were dry and dark and the rasp in her breathing was more pronounced. Janet feared it was pneumonia.

Kalec ran his hands carefully over the rockface as if seeking something. He nodded and pressed an area, the rock dipping under his fingers. Hastily he stood back, pulling Janet closer to him. The air around them brightened, rings descended.

They reappeared in what looked like Tokra tunnels, the walls made up of softly glowing octagonal blue crystals, sloping gently upwards. Without pause Kalec took Sam from Brata'c again and they continued up the tunnel.

"Where are we?" Janet asked quietly.

"Under Bastet's base. These tunnels have been here for many years. The base above us used to belong to a Goa'uld called Nef," Brata'c whispered. "He was relatively minor in status but had trading links with several system lords – for goods as well as information. The Tokra had spies among his ranks – including Selmak for a time. Many of his Jaffa came over to the rebellion when Nef was defeated."

They walked for about another twenty minutes and Janet, who was feeling increasingly dizzy and weak was about to ask for a rest stop when Kalec stopped and activated another hidden control. What appeared to be solid wall vanished revealing a room beyond.

"There is enough food and water in here to last both of you a week or more as well as spare clothing and boots and medical supplies. The room is well shielded, do not worry. Bastet has only recently taken this planet – she does not yet know all of its secrets. Even if her Jaffa find the entrance to the tunnels it is unlikely they will find this place. You must rest here, Dr Fraiser, until the rest of our plan is accomplished. Then we will return for you both. But that may not be for several hours, perhaps a day or more." Brata'c pulled a fully charged zat from under his cloak and handed it to Janet. "It should not come to it but if need be use this to defend yourselves." Janet nodded.

Kalec had laid Sam down on a pallet in the corner, covering her with a blanket. As he turned away Janet got her first good look at him and realised that he was not Jaffa but Tokra.

"Thank you both," Janet said warmly. She inspected their supplies, seizing on the medical kit that lay on a nearby shelf with a weary but no less luminous smile. It was SGC issue – they had provided the rebel Jaffa with several kits some months before – with more relying on Tritonin rather than symbiotes such things had become necessary. She had probably packed it herself.

"Word of your capture did not reach us until yesterday otherwise we would have acted sooner, I assure you," Kalec said. "I can tell you that the rest of your people escaped through the Chappa'ei though some were injured. If we had known that the Tauri were planning to search this planet we would have strongly advised you against it. We have been monitoring Bastet's activities here for some time. As soon as we can I will get word to the SGC and to Jacob Carter that you are both safe. We must go now. Your escape will have been discovered." He touched a mechanism on the wall. "This activates the force wall should you need to do so. But be careful. Bastet has many loyal Jaffa and she will not be pleased that you have eluded her. And she has already informed Anubis of your capture. He will be most displeased if she does not hand you over to him when he arrives."

"Tec ma tay, Dr Fraiser," Brata'c said.

"Tec ma tay, Master Brata'c," Janet replied softly.

The two men left, the wall reappearing behind them. Janet sat for a second, gathering her thoughts, assessing her own reserves. She needed to drink, eat and sleep very badly. But first she needed to tend to Sam.

Janet poured blessedly clean water into a bowl and found some cloths she could use as towels. Carefully she began to wash the blood and grime from Sam's skin taking note of each new injury that was revealed. She cut the torn and filthy remains of Sam's uniform from her body, having to soak the material first in several places so that it unbonded itself from the dried blood that covered her injuries before she could remove it. Janet poured out the sullied water and refilled the basin three times before she had finished. By then her hands were shaking with fatigue and her vision kept blurring but she forced herself to continue.

Carefully Janet squeezed the antiseptic gel into the cleaned cuts on Sam's torso and then closed them with butterfly strips. She salved the scraped skin on the top of her bare feet where Sam had obviously been dragged across rough ground at some point. Finally, she debreded and dressed the burn wound on Sam's thigh as best she could in the circumstances.

Sam moaned, shifting her head in pain the moment Janet touched her thigh. She did not completely wake though she cried out several more times during the treatment. Janet spoke softly to her throughout the procedure, assuring her that she was safe, that she was not alone. She was as gentle as she could be but there was a lot of dead skin and debris to remove from the wound and without even a local anesthetic it had to have been painful. Janet wished she could chance giving Sam the morphine now to ease her lover's pain but she wanted as full an assessment of Sam's neurological state as possible before she chanced giving her the narcotic.

At last it was done. Janet reached for the bottle of water and took several gulps wishing that it was something stronger. Alcohol would have been useful as a disinfectant as well. She rested a few minutes longer until the worst of the shakes in her hands had stopped. Contrary to what certain Colonel's believed she hated to cause anyone pain. Particularly Sam. She washed her hands again and wiped them with a couple of the disinfectant swabs. Then she got back to work, applying salve and dressings and lightly bandaging Sam's leg.

Janet examined Sam's face, carefully feeling along the swollen jaw deciding that it was not after all broken or dislocated, just badly bruised. Sam's shoulder was currently too heavily bruised and inflamed for her to reset the joint. It would have to wait and be surgically reduced when they got back to the SGC. This would be at least the fourth time that Sam had dislocated the same shoulder and it would always be a point of weakness for her. For now Janet supported the injury and the broken collarbone with a sling. She examined the heavy bruising across Sam's ribcage. At least three of her ribs were broken but the sternum seemed intact. When Sam woke she would wrap her ribs to support them. Carefully she salved the burns on Sam's face. They looked fairly superficial and should heal without scarring. There was some swelling and bruising around Sam's eyes and although the cornea's were clear there was still no pupil reaction to light at all. Ophthalmology was not Janet's specialty – though God knows in her time at the SGC she had been called on to act outside her specialty often enough. If Sam's optic nerve or retina was damaged there was little she could do in the field. After a moment's hesitation she taped dressings over Sam's eyes and then lightly bandaged them. Even if the blindness was temporary there was a chance that Sam could do permanent damage to her sight if she did not receive appropriate treatment. Better to be safe than sorry, she judged.

Sam's movements were getting more purposeful, she was starting to fully regain consciousness. Janet got the morphine injection ready, a quarter dose only. Sam's reactions to narcotics were unusual thanks to Jolinar's biochemical legacy. Less was sometimes better than more. Janet stroked her uninjured cheek. "Sam – can you hear me? You're okay. You're going to be okay."

"Jan't? Janet? What… where are you? I can't see… I can't see!"

"Shh! It's okay. Your eyes are bandaged just as a precaution," Janet said capturing Sam's hand before it could touch her face and holding it securely. "There was some swelling and possible nerve damage from the hand device. I won't know more until I can make a fuller assessment. You're safe, Sam. We're both safe. Master Brata'c and a Tokra called Kalec rescued us from Bastet. We're currently in a shielded room in some Tokra tunnels under Bastet's base. She does not know that they are here. None of her people do. Master Brata'c and Kalec are coming back to get us out when it's safe. We're free. Bastet can't hurt you any more."

Sam shuddered, making a deliberate effort to get her panicked breathing back under control. Janet continued to soothe her gently, keeping up a physical contact with her lover knowing from previous experience that this would calm her better than anything else. "We're safe for now," she said again. "They got us out before Anubis arrived."

"Bastet has to come looking for us," Sam said, her hand tightening in Janet's grasp. "Anubis does not forgive failure."

Janet nodded. Anubis did seem to demand an impossibly steep learning curve from his followers. You got it right first time or you died. Made you wonder why he had such a following. Bastet's status would not help her. He would treat her the same as he would his humblest Jaffa. "I know. Kalec didn't think she knew about the tunnels and this room is shielded. But there's nothing we can do about that right now. Sam, I'm going to give you something to help with the pain, okay, let you get some rest. You need to rest." She injected the morphine into Sam's shoulder, then mixed some antibiotic powder and some glucose into a cup of water and held it to her lips. "Here, drink this. You're dehydrated and it will help bring your fever down."

Sam choked down a couple of mouthfuls, grimacing at the taste. "How badly am I injured?" she asked. Janet was pleased to note that she sounded slightly more alert, though with the morphine in her system that would only be a transitory state.

"Well, you're not walking out of here any time soon," Janet said. "Apart from your eyes and the probable head injury you have a badly infected staff weapon burn on your right thigh and your left shoulder has been dislocated again."

"Thought as much. Fever," Sam murmured. "Hurts to breathe."

"That would be your cracked ribs and you might be starting pneumonia, just as a bonus you understand," Janet said trying to keep her tone light. "Not to mention numerous cuts, burns, bruises and abrasions. Not that I don't appreciate you keeping me busy to keep my mind off the situation. But right now before you fall asleep on me I need to wrap your ribs to support them. Do you think you could sit up for me?" With some help Sam sat up and Janet securely wrapped and taped her ribs. There were a pile of clothes in the corner, typical Tokra functional beige homespun. She got Sam dressed in a long button down shirt, her injured arm tucked inside and then helped her to lie down again, covering her with the blanket.

"Brata'c will have us out of here as soon as he can. And at least we're no longer in that horrible cell. We're dry and warm and we have food and water as well as medical supplies. So there's nothing to fret about. For now more than anything else you need to rest."

"And when did you last sleep?" Sam asked. She raised her good hand, unerringly finding Janet's cheek, gentling it with a familiar touch. Janet chose not to answer the question but leaned into the touch for a moment, her lips grazing Sam's palm.

"I'm fine."

"You're the doctor, doctor," Sam giggled softly. Janet smothered a smile. Sam was obviously starting to feel the effects of the morphine. "I thought I heard singing, earlier."

"That would have been me," Janet admitted softly. "It was as much to comfort me as you. I was a little... scared."

"Don't be scared. Won't let them touch you… protect you always," Sam said drowsily, the morphine kicking in. "Singing... nice. Should... should sing more often. Sweet. Sing... Sing me to sleep, Jannie please."

Jannie… Sam only called her that when she was drunk or drugged – or in serious need of a cuddle. Janet made herself comfortable beside Sam on the pallet, Sam immediately moving so that her head was pillowed on Janet's shoulder. "I used to sing Cassie to sleep with this when she had nightmares in the early days," Janet said. "Do you remember?"

"Hush little baby don't say a word
Momma's going to buy you a mocking bird
And if that mocking bird don't sing
Momma's going to buy you a diamond ring..."

Sam's grasp of her hand loosened imperceptibly, her breathing deepening. She was asleep. Janet leant over and kissed her on the brow then closed her own eyes, her hand resting lightly against Sam's neck.

A few hours later Janet woke when something heavy hit her in the stomach. It was Sam's arm. She was in the throes of a nightmare, fighting against something or someone. Her face was flushed, brow dripping with sweat, her hair lank and dark plastered to her skull. She was screaming, her voice hoarse and cracked. She had ripped away the sling supporting her shoulder mistaking it for some kind of restraint and unless Janet did something soon she was going to cause herself further damage. Janet straddled her, careful of Sam's injured leg and tried to soothe her, hoping that Sam would wake herself up. Sam shouted something in Goa'uld and swung out again, Janet ducking to one side just in time to avoid the clenched fist, and then Sam stiffened holding herself absolutely still. Janet realised that beneath the bandages her eyes were probably wide open.

"It's okay Sam, it was just a bad dream. You're safe," Janet said, enveloping her lover in a hug, cradling her careful of her injuries. "You're safe."

"Janet?" Sam's head was resting on her shoulder, her breath coming in huge pained gasps. Janet held her for a moment or two longer then realised that the shudders of pain were getting more intense.

"Sam, I'm going to immobilise your arm and shoulder again and then give you another pain shot okay?"

"No... no more morphine," Sam shuddered again. Her skin was slick with sweat, her breath furnace hot. "Night... nightmares... bad flashbacks. Really, really bad."

"Okay, just Tylenol then, but it won't do much more than take the edge off, Sam. I want to give you another dose of antibiotics as well and get some more fluids into you. You're still dehydrated and you have a high fever."

Sam managed to sit up unaided long enough for Janet to reposition and immobilise her injured arm and shoulder once more. Her back and shoulder were dark with bruising, the deformed joint painfully obvious. Sam had little or no use of her left arm and the longer the dislocation persisted the worse it was going to get and the longer her eventual healing would take. Janet coaxed her into swallowing two Tylenol tablets and got another cup of water into her before Sam slipped into a shallow doze. Janet sponged the perspiration from her skin and soaked one of their dwindling supply of clean cloths in water, laying it across her brow, before lying down beside her again, eventually falling into an uneasy sleep herself.

Janet jerked awake. She had no idea how long she had been asleep but it felt like no more than a couple of hours. Sam was still sleeping restlessly, her cheeks flushed with fever, the cold compress on her brow almost completely dried out. She was murmuring something, but it was too slurred for Janet to make out. Janet sponged her down again and renewed the compress. Sam's pulse was steady and strong, her breathing still rasped but it did not seem to have got any worse. However the dressings on the burn on her leg showed signs of seepage and there was a definite smell. The infection was taking hold on Sam's system despite the antibiotics Janet had made her swallow earlier and her flesh was beginning to necrotise. If she didn't get appropriate treatment in the next couple of hours she could lose her leg, if not her life. It was as simple as that.

Janet crawled stiffly off the pallet and investigated their stock of supplies again. There were several more packets of antibiotics and bactine as well as antiseptic swabs left in the SGC kit but nothing that would touch the infection raging through Sam's systems. She investigated several other boxes and bags in the hope of finding something else that would be of use. Then she found it in a side pocket of the satchel that had held another medical kit that was obviously of Tokra origin. The kit itself was of little use, the materials it contained unfamiliar to her. She had no idea what the effect would be on an unblended human. The artefact was familiar. The jewel in its housing was heavy in her hands, an enigma to her. They had never fully worked out how it did what it did, how the same components in one configuration could heal and in a different configuration could kill. All it needed was the presence of a certain level of naquada in the blood and tissues of the wielder to make it work.

A moaning noise from the bed made her look up from her examination of the Goa'uld device. Sam's face was turned away from her. The hand that Janet could see was tightly clenched.

Sam had naquada in her blood. She had made the device work before when she healed Cronos and when she attempted to heal Daniel the time he died of radiation poisoning. But could she use the device to heal herself? There was only one way to find out. She glanced across at Sam whom she was fairly certain was now only pretending to be asleep. She had to be in a lot of pain. The young woman had been unusually quiet since Janet had told her about the possibility of her blindness. Janet could only guess at the thoughts going through her lover's head because as usual when faced with a personal setback she wasn't talking. Perhaps a field test with the healing device would be just the thing to bring Sam out of herself, get her out of that ultimately self-destructive cycle before it really took hold.

She carried the crystal over to where Sam lay. "Hey sweetie, I've got something for you to play with," she said. Sam shifted her head on the makeshift pillow as Janet laid the weight of the device in her good hand. Long fingers explored the surface cautiously.

"It's a Tokra healing device!" she exclaimed softly. Her injured hand awkward she positioned it correctly in the palm of her uninjured hand.

"I wonder - could you make it work on yourself. If you could heal the staff burn on your leg, for example, well that would make you a lot more mobile when we do get out of here. Not to mention getting rid of the infection."

"I think it could work but you're going to have to guide me," Sam said slowly. "And I'm not exactly working on full power here at the moment so I don't know for how long I'll be able to do it or how effective it might be but it's got to be worth a try."

"Yes it has," Janet leant over and pressed a kiss to Sam's temple. She took the knife from her pocket and carefully slit through the stained bandages that swathed Sam's thigh exposing the injury. She would have had to change the dressings shortly anyway and probably debrede the injury again. Sam gulped as the smell reached her.

"That doesn't smell too good. I'm almost glad I can't see it."

"The infection is getting worse," Janet said, trying to keep her voice calm. The flesh around the burn was darkening, angry red lines beginning to form in the surrounding flesh as the blood poisoning spread. Surrounding bloodvessels were already compromised, including her femoral artery. Without appropriate treatment this injury could kill Sam in a matter of days. And it would not be a pleasant way to go. The antibiotics she had to hand were not effective against the infection. She might as well be back in the dark ages for all the good she was doing. Unable to conceal her frustration, Janet bundled up the soiled dressings and threw them into the corner.

"Here goes then," Sam said softly. Janet supported her forearm, holding it about six inches above the burned flesh as Sam easily slipped into the almost trance state that activated the healing device. The central crystal began to glow, the golden light suffusing the damaged flesh. Janet had positioned her hold so that she could also monitor Sam's pulse. After about five minutes there was a visible improvement to the injury. Signs of infection had diminished and new skin growth was beginning at the edges of the burn. The damaged tissues were granulating healthily. However, Sam's pulse began to climb and Janet noticed that her head was slipping forward as if it was too heavy to hold up.


Abruptly Sam's hold on the crystal slipped, the light dying away. Sam fell face forward onto the pillow.

She was only unconscious for a matter of minutes but it was long enough to set Janet's heart racing. The thought that the effort to make the healing device work might have exacerbated any brain injury that Sam might have made the small doctor curse herself with a fluency and variety that would have surprised most people. She manhandled the woman into a more comfortable position and continued to monitor her. At last Sam groaned softly and her fingers tensed in Janet's gentle grasp.

"It's okay, take it easy," Janet soothed. She held the cup of water to Sam's lips so that the woman could ease her parched throat.

"How'd I do?" Sam asked, her fingers snaking out towards her thigh. Janet intercepted her hand and held it again.

"You did really well, love. The burn looks a lot better, it's about half the size it was and the tissues look to be healing normally. There's very little sign of infection." She watched as Sam gingerly flexed her leg.

"It does feel better - not so much as if it's about to fall off," Sam said at last. She felt for the crystal again intent on continuing the job.

"Oh no you don't," Janet said, taking it from her and putting it behind her. "I want you to eat something first and rest for a few hours before you try again. Overreach your energy reserves and you're not going to be of any use to anyone when the time comes.

"Food would be good," Sam admitted. "I've got fairly serious protein cravings."

"Well I can't quite rustle up an O'Malley's steak with all the trimmings but Kalec did leave us bread, fruit and what looks like a cross between MREs and pemmican," Janet said, dubiously poking the leathery strips of smoked meat.

"I think I've had that before," Sam said. "It's called travek. It's not too bad once you get used to the taste."

Janet paused around a mouthful of the revolting stuff and wondered if she did it quietly enough Sam would not realise that she had spat it out because no way was she going to swallow it.

"How long does it take to get used to the taste?" she asked once she had got her mouth working again.

"Don't know," Sam grinned. "I'm still waiting."

"Sam Carter! Just you…!" Abruptly Janet realised how much of Sam's expressiveness was in her eyes; with them hidden as they were she was finding it hard to gauge her lover's true emotional state. Sam Carter's eyes truly were a window to her soul. But practical jokes had to be a good sign.

"Hey just think of it as proof that my cooking and the Commissary's mystery meat specials haven't completely destroyed your taste buds. I wish I could see the look on your fa... your face," Sam finished quietly, her voice breaking a little.

"Maybe the healing device can help with that as well," Janet said, touching her cheek, careful of the bruising that was just beginning to yellow and fade. "Don't give up hope, you hear me?"

Sam nodded. Janet searched through their food supplies looking for something to take Sam's mind off it. She found a dusky pink fruit with peel that was pitted like an orange but its flesh looked and smelt more like a peach. After sniffing it cautiously, Janet bit into it. It tasted as good as it had smelt - somewhere between a mango and a sweet clementine. Succulent juice cascaded down her throat and she almost forgave the Tokra for the travek. Almost. It was definitely just what the doctor ordered.

"Try this," Janet said, holding a piece of the fruit to Sam's lips. Sam took a cautious bite then smiled.

"Cantess. Now that was one of Jolinar's favourites." She took another bite, sighing as the juice gilded her throat. "I remember once when Jolinar was injured and running a fever, Martouf searched for ripe cantess for hours - it wasn't quite the right season - so that he could feed them to her. He bartered his... They..." she fell silent, her fingers playing with the edge of the blanket.

"They what?" Janet asked softly. Sam did not often talk voluntarily of the memories she shared with Jolinar, particularly the more personal stuff, the long relationship with Martouf/Lantash. Janet was not sure why: whether because Sam found it too painful to talk about it or she thought that it would upset Janet if she talked about Martouf in too personal a fashion. Janet knew that nothing had ever happened between Sam and the Tokra but there had been a lot of speculation at the time on the base about the obviously intense relationship between the two of them.

"They lived each moment with each other so fully because they half expected it to be their last. The whole of their lives together they were on the run from one Goa'uld or another. Jolinar was the one with the reputation, you know. Lantash - Jolinar was afraid that Lantash would go and do something reckless just to prove that he was worthy of her. They loved each other so deeply for so long. It frightened me. I'd never..." she paused, reached out. Janet took her hand, holding it between both of hers. She did not speak. Sam sighed. "I didn't think I would ever experience anything like what they had between them, that level of love, of commitment. I didn't think I was capable. Until I realised that I had that with you. And now I'm just afraid that I won't be able to do it, to do you justice. Because if I ever lost you..." The events of a few month's previously when Janet had so very nearly been lost crashed through her mind and she knew that she would do anything risk everything to ensure that never happened.

Janet ran her fingers through Sam's hair. "Never going to happen, hun. But I understand how Jolinar felt about Lantesh's recklessness. The things you do, the chances you take... You have always been my knight in shining armour, Sam, since the first day we met. And when you are with me I am never afraid. I know that you will never hurt me or let anyone or anything else hurt me and that you will never let me down. I also know that you are a human being with all the flaws and occasional weaknesses that that entails. And I would not have you any other way." She leant over and kissed the taller woman, running her fingers over her lips and cheek, savouring the soft skin before withdrawing. "Now, let's eat."

They ate their fill of fruit and hard but surprisingly sweet biscuits that Sam remembered were called baleen. Janet made Sam drink another cup of water laced with antibiotics and glucose and then persuaded her to take another nap.

Janet examined the plasma burn again, intrigued to see that it showed definite signs of improvement beyond what she had noted at the end of the healing session. When Sam woke up and if she felt up to it they would try another session, again concentrating on the leg and maybe on the dislocated shoulder. Even if they only did enough to reduce the swelling sufficiently for Janet to relocate the joint, that would be something. Sam would certainly be in a lot less pain.

It was the possible damage to Sam's sight that worried Janet more than anything. If it was permanent it would end Sam's career. Her lover was one of the most resourceful people she had ever come across but this would hurt her.

On the upside (if there could be one) there would be a rash of new products on the market to aid visually impaired people. Sam would never be one to let her talents go to waste.

And whatever it took, even if it meant resigning her own commission, Janet would be by her side.

The second healing session took care of the burn almost completely. All that was left was a slightly reddened area that looked no more serious than a bruise. Sam had had worse walking into the edge of the desk in her lab. Sam had just enough 'mojo' left to do some repair work on her shoulder, reducing the swelling significantly and healing the fractured collarbone. Now Janet was preparing to reset the joint.

"On three," she said, taking up position behind and slightly to Sam's side. "And remember, try not to tense up."

"Uh huh," Sam said. Janet could feel her fighting to stay relaxed.

"One... two..." Sam's muscles tensed under her fingers. "Three..." she waited unmoving as Sam's head came up, the muscles loosening again. "Four!" Quickly she manipulated the joint, wincing at the distinct 'click' as it went back into place.

Sam moaned loudly, cursing under her breath. Janet was sure she detected some of O'Neill's choicer descriptions of her in the mumbled tirade.

"There, that should start to feel more comfortable very soon," Janet said diplomatically ignoring what she was sure was 'Stalin in a skirt'.

"Was that payback for the travek?" Sam asked somewhat sourly.

"Why would I do such a thing? What do you take me for, Major Carter? And I warned you not to tense but you always do. Everyone does. So I either go on two or four." Janet finished immobilizing her patient's shoulder again, checking the pulse points in her arm and wrist to make sure that the circulation had not been compromised. "Looking good. Hey Sammiegirl, when I pay back for the travek you really will know about it." She trailed her fingers down Sam's cheek and kissed her full on the lips, Sam responding fervently. They kissed, playing with each other's lips, tongues exploring familiar territory until oxygen became an issue.

"Well that's one way of taking my mind off the pain," Sam joked, resting her head on Janet's shoulder again.

"So I'm forgiven?"

"Of course. I know you were… I was being stupid. Forgive me?" She tilted her head slightly so that she could kiss her way up Janet's throat.

"Always. Do you think you could sleep some more?" Janet asked.

"Maybe," Sam allowed Janet to help her lie down. "Probably if you go to sleep with me."

"Nowhere else I'd rather be. Actually, no where else to go," Janet smiled, laying her head on Sam's good shoulder, her arm securely across the woman's abdomen.

"Ain't that the truth. Talking of which - did Master Brata'c happen to mention how long it would be before he would come back for us. How long have we been here?" One hand reached up to lightly touch the bandages across her eyes. "Never realised how easy it was to completely lose track of time."

Janet tried to calculate how long they had been here. At least a day. "We'll give it another two sleep periods at least before we think of making a move," she said. "You're still not strong." She could see Sam's jaw set. She hated admitting any kind of weakness. In her mind it was a 'girl' thing and she had fought against that all her life. "And to be honest neither am I. Even though I escaped Bastet's special attention four days without food and water still takes it out of you. But otherwise I'm okay," she added hastily.

Sam stiffened. Her hand moved carefully across Janet's abdomen and ribs. "Oh my god, when we were taken, they beat you too. I forgot. Janet - how badly were you hurt? Did you take care of yourself? I should have insisted to the General that you not come with us. After… How could I be so stupid, so thoughtless, so..."

"Hush," Janet held onto Sam's hand again. "I'm okay. My ribs are an interesting colour but nothing's broken. And I've got a bit of a shiner. I'm fine. Really. They threw me in the cell and left me alone. And you made a promise to me, remember? What happened on that planet would not effect how we were around each other in the field. I am fine. You're the one who took the brunt of the punishment. Everytime they took you, I thought..."

"That this time I wouldn't be coming back?" Sam asked softly.

Janet buried her face in Sam's neck. "Mm-hmm." She tried to stop the tears from coming. Sam's good arm was around her, her fingers carding through Janet's hair. "S'okay, love, I'm okay," Janet managed to mumble.

"The Tokra - Kalec?" Janet nodded and then belatedly made an affirmative noise. "He said that the tunnels were under the base. You said you walked for about twenty minutes. And ring transporters work in a straight line. So we're still not far from the base. Which means that the Stargate is about four hours walk away east of our position. I wish we knew whether Anubis had arrived yet."

"The Gate will be heavily guarded," Janet said. "And Anubis never goes anywhere without a squad of his supersoldiers these days."

Sam shivered. Janet knew that the betrayal and destruction of the beta site was still fresh in Sam's memory. Being injured and running for her life, not knowing whether her father and her colleagues were alive or dead, being hunted by a creature that did not need to rest or sleep, did not get distracted and seemed to have more comebacks than the Terminator.

"We'll see," Sam said. "You said Brata'c promised to get word to the SGC. They might already be looking for us."

Janet knew that Sam would rather go down fighting even against insurmountable odds rather than just wait to be taken. "With any luck tomorrow we could be at home," she said softly. "Now, sleep."

Tomorrow came but there was no rescue. They made another meal of the fruit and biscuits and drank more of the water. Against her better judgment Janet allowed Sam to try another session with the healing device, completely healing her shoulder and then focusing on her eyes.

"I'll be careful, I promise," Sam said. "And even if I can only distinguish light from dark, it will be something."

"Okay. Close your eyes and keep them closed until I say otherwise," Janet instructed her. Sam did as she was told and felt cool metal against her temple as Janet slit through the bandage and then removed the dressings. There was a momentary coolness as Janet wiped a damp cloth over her eyes removing four days worth of gunge and lint.

The session came to an abrupt end: Sam had found the process of healing her eyes incredibly painful. Janet had held her as shudders racked her body, fearing for a moment that she was having a seizure. The pain gradually lessened to the status of a migraine.

"It might be some kind of feedback from the mental energies you are using to activate the device," Janet said. She tilted Sam's face gently in her hands. "Well the burns have healed," Janet said. "There's no scarring. The bruising has almost gone as well." Sam felt Janet's fingers delicately probe around her eyes. "Okay. Open your eyes again. If it's painful, shut them again straight away."

Sam opened her eyes. There was nothing, a deep unending darkness, not even any false colours.

Janet had found a small penlight in the medical kit. She shone it into Sam's eyes. There was no reaction, no sign that her lover saw anything.

"It didn't work," Sam said softly. She closed her eyes again and turned her head away.

"It hasn't worked yet," Janet corrected her. "Your other injuries continued to show accelerated healing for several hours after the device was used. There may be gradual improvement over the next few hours."

Sam nodded. Janet got to her feet and went to stow the penlight back in the satchel.

"We have to decide what to do now," Sam said. She got to her feet and moved unerringly to where Janet was repacking the remains of the medical kit.

"How did you know where I was?" Janet asked.

"I heard you, I suppose. And I don't' know but I suppose I can always tell when you're nearby. I've always been able to do it. This…" she waved a hand in front of her sightless eyes, `doesn't seem to make any difference."

"I have the same sense of you sometimes, as well," Janet admitted. She leant into the taller woman's embrace for a moment and then got back to what she was doing. "We have enough fruit and biscuits left for another meal, maybe two. Then we're down to the travek, though personally I think starvation is a better option."

"Do we have any weapons?" Sam asked.

"Brata'c left us a zat."

"That's a start. We're doing well. Usually when SG1 is trying a jail break we're usually one zat short of actually having a zat."

Janet giggled. "We have some spare clothes, in this year's colours if you like Tokra beige and…" she paused as she opened the box that had been wrapped in a cloak.

"What is it?" Sam asked.

"A hand device."

"Give it to me," Sam said quietly. Janet helped her to fit the device onto her arm, the crystal nestling in the centre of her hand. "Okay. This might give us an edge."

"Sam – you hate…"

"Needs must, Janet." Deliberately turning her hand away from Janet she activated the crystal. "It's working, isn't it?"

"Yes," Janet said tightly. Sam had only used a hand device a few times since Jolinar `gifted' her with the ability, most notably when SG1 took down a renegade Goa'uld called Seth. It had taken Sam months to work out the issues around that, the fact that she could kill with a thought.

"You keep the zat," Sam said, deactivating the device though leaving it on her arm. "We should take only what we need, travel light."

"I want to bandage your eyes again," Janet said. "Protect them from further injury."

"No," Sam said. "I don't want to give anyone a clue I'm not up to par."

"Okay," Janet said. "But at least take some Tylenol for the headache." Sam nodded. Janet placed two tablets in her hand and after Sam dryswallowed them, handed her a bottle of water.

They dressed in outer clothing, finding a pair of boots that were approximately Sam's size for her to wear.

"Ready?" Janet asked.

Sam nodded, laid her hand on Janet's shoulder. "I'll try to follow your movements as much as I can," she said. Janet operated the controls on the wall and the forcefield protecting their home of the last few days shimmered and died.

They walked into the tunnel.

Continued in Shadow

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