Exiles Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter 13

What Was Lost

"Over here…" Janet moved away from the party, to the back of the cavern to a small alcove. She had spotted the pallid figure of the fallen Colonel nestled in the small shaft that could have been her tomb. She fought dread and a black horror, kept her body moving forward, toward the alcove. Sam must not be dead she could not face that.

"My God! Mama!" Cassie shouted as she and Janet thundered into the alcove-chamber, outside the steps that lead to the headless monolith. Janet reached her first. Sam was laying so still, so white. Her finger went for her throat. Her eyes blazed in dread, as she could find no pulse. Death. The word rang through her, made no sense, and was gone.

"No! I won't let you die, Sam!" the doctor laid her down, knelt by the still body. Her head tilted back she breathed life into her Sam's lungs. A check for a pulse… nothing ... One. Two. Three. Pushes on her chest, over her heart, she breathed into her, waited and again. One. Two. Three . . .breathe. One. Two. Three... breathe.

Cassie watched in baited anguish, blaming herself, blaming Janet, blaming Sam, blaming Malphas... blaming God. Praying to God... praying to her mother the physician to save her mother the Colonel.

One. Two. Three . . . breathe. One. Two. Three . . .breathe . . . Janet felt the shock of that first convulsed movement, jolted to the core of her being as Sam's lungs drew in air, sucking it from her. Sam's hands were wrapped around her bloody vest; she could not have worked them loose even if she had wanted to. Somehow the doctor had managed to lift Sam up enough to wrap her mylar blanket around her wife's back and shoulders, covering them both as one so she could warm Sam's shivering body with her own.

Janet had to fight not to hold her woman too tightly, not too hurt her with her own need. Sam sagged against her, pressing her face against the healer's throat.

"Sam----" she began, and then froze because she could feel the life force of her lover, her wife fading dimly away. "Samantha respond to me Honey. Sam... Listen to my voice. Samantha..." Janet paused pushing past her fear, her dread her tears. ". It's so important that you fight. Please Sam, please don't leave me... I love you... oh god Sam …not now….not now…Sammy come back to me ….to our children….Sammy they need their Mama."

Janet pursued, along the empathic bond, Sam's fading soul and retrieved her from the very boarder of death. Sam could feel Janet affirm their connection in away that would be a living bridge between wherever her soul had drifted and her body, this place…and Janet. Make the oldest and most primal comments, life's affirmation of itself.

"Sam! Open your eyes... I am giving you an order god damn it! You can't die on me! I won't let you! Do you hear me...not after all of this. Not without me! Not now Sam. . . God Sam we found you…Samantha Carter you will not die you got that!"

In a place of a condition neither night nor dark because not seeing was possible, truly adrift in he dimensionless calm, Sam felt a touch. A very small touch, like the brush of a fingertip; but she had felt it. And feeling it, she couldn't help feeling what flowed from that touch what seemed to her the familiar summons. Janet wanted her, and was afraid. She remembered what it was to be Janet's Samantha.

"Not without me! You will not die! Not without me! Baby please Sam please open your eyes. I need you to fight! God Sam Fight! "Janet protested, leaning on her, holding to her. "Sam I can't lose you. There is nothing without you. Oh God Sammy… please…please…." She sobbed the refusal several times. "Come back to me…"

Bodiless, Sam tried to go to her wife as she had always done. And could not answer that expectation, that demand. The emptiness she was falling though was too far, scattering away on gusts of a cold, silent wind. Not enough of her remained to answer Janet's summons. She had already resigned herself to the falling, the emptiness, the silence.

"Sam…lover… Please my wife, please Sam.!"...What words she spoke were now beyond comprehension. She wanted to cry, she wanted to weep, but she couldn't afford that. She couldn't afford feeling sorry for Sam or for herself. If she cried then it meant giving up.

Those around her had given up hope, the ducked their heads their own tears raining upon the stone floor. They knew Colonel Samantha Carter was dead. Solider, wife, daughter, mother, friend. She was gone, and only Janet believed other wise.

Sam had let go, yet her lover, her wife's touch remained, flowed through cracks and openings to all that was left of her that wasn't resigned, never stopped fighting, always reached toward the light. Apart of Sam was still falling; but apart of her wanted to fly. Part remained inert; coldly the deeper part kindled to the warmth and wanted to be a star. Where she couldn't go, she was taken.

"Sammy…. beloved. . .my own…Sam, don't make me explain this to our daughter. . Don't you dare make me a widow! Don't you dare! "

Through the slight connection held by that fingertip contact, the flow swirled and became a bursting flood of sensations. Cold and weight that was pain. The stuttering, beginning rhythm of heartbeat, that was pain. The first heave of breath, that was pain. And yet shook overwhelming sweetness that she couldn't wish for it to end.

As in a dream, Sam couldn't move. Couldn't think, only feel. Perhaps then be alright to float in the diffuse awareness of the touch that was happening to her, everywhere alike, all the skin waking to itself and to sensation. The generalized, comforting warmth that was affection, the love of heart for heart, swirled into caresses; had always been caresses. Smooth and soft, circling, or rough. A sharper awareness. Points of heat gathering at her thought, where Janet's lips touched and moved, where Janet's hair brushed and trailed, where her warm breath was at her chest and belly, where her finger tips stroked, every point of contact, throbbing like a burn, surfaced, aching. Maybe if she spoke the pain would leave her alone.

Something had changed. Janet wasn't sure what but was glad of it anyway because change meant life. She had reached her wife, touched her. Felt, in her breath and slight stiffing, some response. The bridge of touch and vivid sensation was there, between them now all she had to do was make Sam want to cross it. Come back to her.

"Baby girl?" Sam's voice was hoarse and so soft, not even Sam was sure she had said the words allowed.

Croaked and so soft the words spoke were well below a whisper but Janet grinned madly. Sam was responsive! "Sam you need to stay awake baby..." The medical shields slammed down. Janet knew Sam had a concussion and it would be lethal if her wife were to fall back into unconsciousness. "Sammy it's important you stay awake. Stay with me. " What she was feeling was barely contained panic. Janet's now shed, now afforded tears fell down her dirt-stained face leaving trails of clean fresh skin behind. Her hand feathered back the locks of wheat colored hair.

In that moment Janet assessed the rest of the damage, the seeping wound Malphas has give Sam, the multiple contusions, lacerations torn ligaments. She knew Sam to be hurting in a far stronger deeper ways, then the raw bleeding hands, the gash in her scull, the deep angry claw marks at her waist. Pulling on all of her medical skills Janet knew she would be able to repair the damage if she could just keep her lover stabilized.

The blonde tightened her grip on the smaller woman's jacket. She didn't care about the pain that shot through her as she grasped hold of her wife. After all Janet was there and murmuring her name with such love. Sam responded to it. "You're here." She said simply. "You're here." It was an exhausted whisper.

Cassie closed her eyes briefly, and swallowed hard. It didn't sound like Sam at all. Sam was curled in Janet's arms, shoulders sagging. She looked like a child's rag doll, with her life drained out of her.

"Janet?" She opened her eyes, forced her head up slightly, and tried to give a wan smile. It drained when she realized who was still holding her, and who was before her. I am so sorry Janet.

"You okay?" Cassie asked. Well that was a dumb question, she thought as soon as she said it, but her blonde mother merely nodded. "Are you sure?" She hovered anxiously over her.

Sam nodded again. Janet shook her head no. Cassie believed Janet. The smaller woman shifted Sam in her arms, showing Cassie the blood. The youngest Fraiser reeled. Where had it come from?

"If you're okay, why is your head is bleeding?" She demanded, the tone filled with dread and concern, the anger had vanished in what seemed like hours ago.

"I bumped it." She said simply. Her eyes closed with a wave of dizziness form the concussion. She had lost time, too much of it, and now when she let one eye open the least bit it was dark all around: dark and eerily silent.

"No Sammy you have to stay awake…I…can't give you anything…not with the drugs in your system..." Janet sucked in a bit of air, the one cure she could give her, to keep the effects of the concussion at bay, was the one thing that would send her beloved over the edge. "Stay with me."

"How can I …you're not really here." Sam argued.

Janet kissed Sam's cracked and bloody lips. "Baby, I am here…I am really here. I am not a figment of your mind." She kissed her wife deeply not caring if the breath she tasted was stale. "Feel my heart beating." Janet raised the limp hand of her wife and pressed it against her chest, so that Sam could feel the steady rhythm. "Feel me my love, I am real."

Janet looked at the dirt and blood matted in the blonde hair, the grime and dirt that covered a gaunt and pallid face, blue eyes that had lost their luster, the horrifically thin emaciated body, torn cloths and clotted bloody wounds, her Sam had never looked more beautiful.

"Oh Sammy…" Janet held her close to her chest, keeping her wife's ear close, so that she would feel and hear her heart hammering in her chest. "Baby stay with me…"

"Always…" Sam managed in a hoarse voice. "You're really real?"

"Yes my love."

"H…h…how? The Gate? Cassie!"

"Mama I am here." Cassandra knelt down by her battered mother, taking her left hand between her own. "I am here Mama."

"You're…not dead…?"

"No…I survived the crash…I learned a lot from my CO." She touched the bruised cheek. Her eyes glistening in tears that created clean streaks on her own fifthly face.

"Cassie I want you to hold her…"

"No!" Sam screamed…"No you can't leave beloved." Sam reached for her wife with her free hand. Janet took a hold of it, pausing for a nanosecond as she saw the gold mesh of the Ribbon Device.

"Sam…Babe…. I am not going anywhere….you are not hallucinating…but I have to see to your wounds…"

"Doc?" It was Jack…behind him Teal'c and Daniel, behind them the mortal men, the host of Malakim warriors. All of them sported grave long faces…as they saw the extensive damage their friend had endured.

It was then that Sam looked up and saw the figures starting to approach, unfortunately they were backlit and the Colonel was unable to see their features.

"NO!" Sam roared, pushing herself up and in a single moment, before anyone had a chance to breathe, the gem in the palm of her hand flared violently to life. With her wife and child there, the tall blonde knew only that they needed to be protected. In strength that belied her weakness, she thrust Janet behind her with her left hand and shot a powerful repulsive beam from her right hand into the black mass before her. The blast not only took her three friends in the wave but the nine Malakim behind them. Raw vengeance glowed in blue eyes. Fear, raced in her veins. "YOU CAN'T HAVE THEM!" And again she shot the hoard before her with the repelling power of the Goa'uld hand weapon.

"Christ!" Jack coughed out as he felt himself being thrown again.

"Samantha Carter we are not your enemy!" Teal'c barely managed.

Daniel was beyond speech and the Angelics remained silent, shocked that their Liege Commander had retaliated, though paradoxically they were not surprised at all.

Sam had stayed her vengeance twice when her enemies had lain helpless before her, this time the hoard threatened those she loved most in the all the universes and she was not about to allow them to suffer in the hands of the Calabim ministers and Remnants. The jewel flared the darkest of reds. The trio of men knew…all too well what the black-blood red color meant. The next blast would mean they would die. Sam was summoning the hate within her…she would give those she had suffered under death. Only she could not see that those huddled in front of her were her friends. Familiar words yet alien upon her tongue, issued forth.

"When the souls of the oppressed fight in the troubled air that rages… the whirlwind of fury comes from…from…from… the throne…when frowns…drive the nations together…sin claps…broad wings over the battle…sails rejoicing in the flood of death; souls are torn to everlasting fire…fiends of hell rejoice upon the slain…who hath caused this?"

Both Razeal and Daniel stared at one another as they recognized the broken bits of the old prophecy; everyone else was washed in blank stares of astonishment. A moment ago Sam Carter was struggling to put two words together to form a sentence, now she was spouting old Malakim texts…. Her hand rose once more sending yet another shock wave of gold-red energy into the mass of people before her. Their cries of pain became music to her ears, for they would threaten her beloved family. Sam would not allow the Remnant or Calabim forces to take those she loved, her soul be damned.

"Sam!" Janet dodged in front of her line of sight "No Sam!"

The blonde warrior was shuddering, scarcely managing to hold back the power of the force behind the Ribbon Device. "No Sam" Janet almost purred as she had those many years ago when her lover had been a victim of the Broca Syndrome. "Sam that's General O'Neill, Teal'c and Daniel…. and your Wing of Malakim warriors…Sam listen to me…"

"Janet…stay behind me." Sam barked the order. "They …they are tricky… fuck with your mind…" She touched her head with her left hand wincing as her mind flared in pain. Memories of her internment in the prisons, the torture of the Inquisitor…the drugs that the Director forced into her…the steps of the pyramid…all the blood…the fear…the anguishing pain both in her leg and in the collar she was forced to wear…. it all came flooding back to her…. as well as the betrayal of Arion.

"No…they will hurt you…Janet...take Cassie…RUN!"

"Sam." Janet pressed her body close to her wife. But her eyes locked onto the now rising pile of bodies as they managed to find their collective feet. "Maybe you guys should get out of sight"

"You think?" Jack snapped, rubbing the burn mark on his chest where the blast had hit him. "God this hurts…"

"O'Neill she sees only threatening shapes, Samantha would not hurt us otherwise." Teal'c pulled his dear friend around the bend out of the blonde's line of sight, grimacing as he battled his own pain. The hand device had shot a beam more powerful then the Jaffa had ever experienced. Hate added with the dire need to protect loved ones had powered the gold mesh weapon…if the Goa'uld could tap into that amalgamation they would be all most unstoppable. But the Goa'uld do not love as Sam loved her wife and daughter therefore that source of power would forever elude them…thank Providence for that.

"I know Teal'c." Jack swallowed… "I know."

"God…what the hell did they do to her?" Daniel uttered to no one, groaning in his own misery of what the Ribbon Device had done to him. He had died three times and this was the worse pain he had experienced yet…because it had come from the woman he loved as if she was his sister.

Under her arms, Janet could feel Sam shuddering once more. "No…no…no …stop! Please stop….no more…no more…"

Janet's mind raced in a thousand directions… "Turel…Zaira get the other Malakim…that song I heard in Sickbay it had a calming…"

"I believe I understand your intentions Liege Healer." Turel commented then moved quickly to gather the other angelics.

If music could be used to sooth the savage beast, perhaps it could be used to sooth the snapped nerves of a golden haired warrior pushed over the edge of her sanity. Softly, as if a whisper in a dream, the notes of a new song lifted quietly settling over the heart of the tormented.

"Sam…there are no enemies here…no fiends…no one here will hurt you…"

"They…hurt my Janet…my daughters…" Sam protested shaking the images flaring in her mind's eye. She saw in blood-colored smears vague shapes that loomed as she lurched and stumbled around in the empty dark. It was her nature to protect her beloved family. She always needed to work through the difficulties that tried to stop her fulfilling this need. She therefore wanted to lash out at them, but her right hand was clasped by a grip more powerful then she expected, with more warmth then she had known in a long time.

Janet took a bold daring move as she clasped her hand over Sam's own, directly over the ribbon device, wagering that even in her altered state Sam would not summon the power of the Goa'uld weapon.

Sam could no longer stand, the weakness in her tattered leg took over and she toppled forward on to her wife. Janet was unable to keep them both from falling but she took the brunt of the fall, cushioning her tormented wife unto her own body.

Fainted, Janet thought, and hoped: as she muttered her name, her frantically patting hands found breath in her wife's chest, the pulse though weak was there throbbing at her throat. Sam's dull blue eyes fluttered open as she saw her wife bending over her.


Yes." The physician barely managed to keep the pain out of her voice. "Sam…baby I have to see to your wounds."

"I…"Sam started then stopped as her body began shivering violently. Her artic blue eyes settling upon the vision of her beloved hoping that Janet could explain everything, that she could make everything all right once more. "It hurts…don't leave me…don't leave..."

Janet knew instantly that her lover was going into shock in other circumstances there were drugs she could give a patient to lift them out of it. As it was now Janet was forced to use more primitive means of alleviating Sam's pain. "I know love…I know." Gently the smaller woman's hand lay upon the gold-mesh of the Ribbon device. "Sam honey I …you protected me so well…that…the enemies have gone…I need to help you become better." The physician spoke in hushed genteel tones all most as if she were speaking to her youngest child. "Sweety, I want you to give me the Ribbon Device…okay?"

Sam looked down at her hand puzzled as to how she had come to have the thing upon her. It seemed so natural to use it as if it was fused to her hand that she had not felt the weight of it nor it presence.

Janet leaned close kissing the bruised brow of the woman she loved. "Sammy give it to me, you vanquished the enemies we are safe now. But I can't make the pain go away until you give me the device."

Sam smiled, she would do anything for her wife, and it seemed such a small matter to give the gold mesh weapon away. She wanted to see that brilliant smile upon Janet's face once more, and if she had to give up the Ribbon Device, so she could then so be it. "You can have it." Sam lifted her hand allowing for the dark haired doctor to remove it. She beamed when her lover smiled back to her. She almost wished she had another such weapon to give away just to see the tenderness in those dark fawn shaped eyes.

Her shivering had not stopped; in seeing the first shuddering Cassie had dodged back into the shadows then reappeared with two packs, one a medical kit. The SG teams had camped in the nearby caverns before they had decided on a rescue party; most of their gear had been stowed here at what had become the new base camp.

Another mylar blanket was drawn over Sam, while the first one was recovered from where it fell when the blonde had unknowingly attacked her companions. Janet busied herself with cleaning the wounded leg so that she could examine the amount of damage that was done. She was at first impressed with the expertise in which the leg was originally dressed. But, even without the fall from thirty feet, the enormous amount of wear and tear had not only reopened the wound, but had caused a relapse and created new problems. With Cassie's help, they were able to inspect Sam's body finding numerous bruises, old on top of new. She had five bruised ribs, and several torn ligaments in her shoulders as well as the legs. And of course there was the concussion to deal with.

'She must be in so much pain…' Janet whispered to herself. Fortunately the soft almost lullaby notes of the Malakim had lulled Sam into a semi lucid state of torpor. Janet could address most of the wounds easily; it was the concussion and the Calabim drugs running in Sam's body that had the petite doctor very worried. She had to keep Sam calm in order to combat the drugs, but in order for that to happen she almost had to allow the ill-effects of the concussion to take place, both options were not something Janet wanted to entertain…both could very well lead to permanent brain damage if not death.

"Mom?" Cassie looked to her mother as she was assessing the rest of Sam's injuries.

"Yes." Janet didn't even look up from Sam.

"I have an idea…"

Dark hazel blue eyes met the deepest brown. "What sweety?"

Slowly as not to alarm Sam of sudden movement, she with drew the Goa'uld healing device. "We could use this."

Janet's knee jerk reaction was to smile, then she looked away in a shutter of disappointment. "Cassandra…I can't use that…and you have never been able to activate it."

The darker blonde woman grimaced. "I know, but she can." Cassie looked to her battered mother, sitting so still so reluctant to let go of Janet's coat as if she did the woman she loved would disappear.

"Cassie…you can't seriously entertain the idea that Sam…"

"Mom a moment ago she used the Ribbon Device out of panic. It draws on emotion and thought, just like this…now Mama might not be able to summon the power for herself…but if she thought you were the one hurt…"

Janet stood up a little straighter, hope shining in her eyes as she realized what it was her eldest child was suggesting.

"You know it might work… her injuries are so severe…" The Healing Device would indeed alleviate most of the problems…hell the concussion could be completely eliminated. As it was Janet was in a catch twenty-two… because of the narcotics in the bloodstream…trying the Device was as good as any other solution she could derive.

"Go for it." The smallest of the three women moved to sit just beside her loving wife, as Cassie took the limp right hand into her own.

"Mama…" Cassie started looking directly in the fogged glassy eyes of Sam. "Mama…Mom is okay but there was an accident…"

"Janet!" Sam nearly baulked if not for Janet's body apparently frail and leaning on her own. Blue eyes flared to life, as she took hold of the still form of the woman she loved. Sam's mind raced…she couldn't remember why her lover was here…or how she came to be hurt…only that Janet was suddenly still…

"Mama I can't use this…" Cassandra held out the circular healing device of the Goa'uld. "Do you think you could?"

Sam said nothing but snatched the disk from Cassandra's hand and slipped it on over her own. "Let me help you." Cassie placed her hand over Sam's own and directed it over first the wounded leg…

But then shifted when she heard a whispered command coming from her 'out cold' mother. "Head…concussion…"

"Here…" Cassie directed Sam's hand. Near Janet's head that rested upon Sam's shoulder.

"Hard to …lay her down." Sam winced trying to concentrate.

"No!" Cassie yelped, causing blue eyes to narrow in puzzlement. "Uh…shock we…um…have to keep her upright…" 'God that sounded lame even to me.' "Just hold your hand over like this." Cassie had cupped her hand over the disk in Sam's palm, so she would be distracted. "And close your eyes, simply concentrate on healing the body and the head…I'll direct your hand…"


Cassandra bit back her own angst, never had she heard Sam seem so without life, so without passion…so without will…

In a matter of moments, the deep amber glow took over Sam's palm as the disk was activated. With her eyes closed the tall battered blonde didn't see Janet move away, nor in her lack-luster drugged state of mind realize that it was not her wife's body she was healing but her own. Using Janet as bait had proved more then beneficial, because it was Janet, Sam thought she had to heal, she used every once of her will to summon the healing, even when she thought she would pass out from the draining effects she pushed her limits for she would not fail her lover.

"You did it Mama…"Cassie whispered, allowing Sam's hand to fall limp into Janet's own hands. "You made it better." Stealthfully the youngest of the three pulled the disk from Sam's hand and slipped it back into the pocket of her ALICE vest.

Now it was a matter of cleaning the tired woman up, making her comfortable. Physically out of danger, Janet could concentrate on what it was that Sam's capturers had done to her. Drained and pushed beyond exhaustion Sam closed her eyes. This time Janet did not worry, for the concussion was healed and her lover was out of those particular woods.

Cassie rose allowing a modicum of privacy to her two mothers. "Mom around that bend…is a small hot water spring."

Janet looked to the direction Cassie was indicating and smiled. Sam would feel a hundred percent better if she felt clean. Cassie escorted her mothers to the small outlet carting Sam's own pack, which had been secured at the base-camp. Janet led her beloved to the spring with little protest. Even if she had wanted to Janet could not loosen her hand from Sam's. For so long and through so much Sam had clung to the idea of reaching her wife, now she had her she was not going to let go.

Gently Janet pulled Sam to her, and began to strip the blood-crusted clothing from her. She then cast them aside. There would be a clean uniform in the pack as well as another pair of boots that Sam could adorn.

"Tried so...hard to reach you Janet...had to keep my promise." Her blue eyes rested upon the deep brown orbs.

Janet gently kept a hand placed upon the pale cheek of her lover, as she leaned in to kiss her. "You kept your promise my love. But now you have to hang on…for me…I need you to do that. They put highly narcotic drugs into your system that have a lethal hallucinogenic qualities to it…I need you to stay with me Sam. You have to fight off the hallucinations and stay in this time; in this place with me…I am real…Sammy…stay with me."

Cassie couldn't bear to watch anymore. The completely lost expression in the artic blue eyes was more then she could cope with. Sam had always been strong…always together…there wasn't anything that her hero…couldn't face. To see her now…tore Cassandra up and thus slowly she wandered back away from the pool and went to regroup with the others to brief them what had happened.

Turel and Zaira had stayed relatively close to their charge, unwilling to deviate from their creed to keep the small doctor safe. They knew the struggle that lay with the mortal lovers now…and they would do what they could to make sure that Sam would heal. If she did not…then Janet would be harmed…that was unacceptable. They had made an oath…to keep all harm from Janet Fraiser.

With their backs to the humans they spread their wings out as to give a feathered partition for privacy, once more insuring that their charge was for the moment safe. After all two tall winged warriors with wings unfurled…and hands upon their sabers made an imposing picture.

When Cassie reached the others she noted that they had set up camp, indeed using the same fire pit that she and the others had used previously when they had sought shelter as they tried to find the location of their lost Commander. Daniel huddled miserably by the threshold of the headless stature, keeping vigil over the shadowed cave where Janet had ducked out with Sam.

The others mortal and angelic sported the same forlorn expression of worry, care and deep sadness for Sam. Each of them worried that their friend…their Liege Commander, was lost to them, each in their own way praying to whatever entity would listen that Janet would be able to pull the blonde warrior back from the abyss.

"So how is she?" Jack and Daniel asked at the same time.

Cassandra sat down near the fire on one of the shattered bits of marble rubble, her hazel eyes staring into the fire. She bit her lower lip before she spoke, then in hushed tones she answered. "I got her to use the Healing Device…we had to trick her into thinking it was Mom she was healing…" Cassie took a bit of air into her lungs, realizing she was parched and longed for a good stiff drink of something stronger then water.

"I…don't know…what they…did to her…I can't imagine…" Cass looked up to the men that had become her uncles and to the winged warriors that she had fought beside…. "The drugs are…" Cassie looked down uncertain as if she should continue...if she could continue.

Jack saw the apprehension in the young woman and thought he knew why she stalled. "Lieutenant, from the time we found Colonel Carter anything she says or does must be not taken as something against her. I wanted it noted Lieutenant that she is not to be held reasonable until she is given a clean bill of health from Doctor Fraiser."

Cassie could not hide her relief no matter how hard she tried. "I understand sir." She looked to the fire then back to the faces that sat or stood before her. "Sir the drugs in her system are creating a backlash of memories, real or imagined. Her body is healed, though she needs food and rest…I don't know sir. P.T.S.D aside…It is going to be a struggle." Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, more then a fair share of warriors had succumbed to it. To think that Sam was its prisoner was not without reason.

"Does anyone know what they pumped her with?" Jack asked the host of angelics behind him.

It was Razeal who stepped forward and told him of what he knew. Everything that Zaira and Turel had told Janet was now related to the crowd in front of the fire. The Dark winged warrior also noted the only one to ever come out of it that he knew in his long life was Turel and not without side effects. All faces turned to the tall winged woman, to the dark mouth of the alcove beyond.

Indeed the future for the passionate blonde genius did not look bright. There was not a soul there that did not offer their collective hopes that Janet would be able to pull Samantha Carter out of that darkness.

Jack watched as Janet lead Sam to the bedding that had been laid out for them, yes the tents would have provided extra privacy however Jack had yet to order the setting up of base camp. The truth was he wanted to get as far away from the firefight as possible for Sam's sake. Deep within the caverns the sound of war could not be heard, yet he was confident that at least one of the angelics knew what was going on.

It was almost as if his musings had promoted action from Zephon…the angelic his mind kept calling Zippo…he smirked he could have called her Zeppelin but being compared to a blimp was not something he thought she would appreciate. There was a reason he called her Zippo more then just her name…her hair was the color of flame. Not human red hair, but deep dark red of fire or blood. For a moment he merely watched as the young…(or rather young for a Malakim) woman spoke to Cassandra, before he brought his attention back to Carter. Between SG1 and good ol' Doc Fraiser it was no secret how Jack felt about his former 2IC. He had had other lovers, but a part of his love had always remained with the forever-unattainable Sam Carter. Sure in other realities they had had a history, but in this one, she belonged not to him, but to Janet. She always had, since the very beginning.

Jack felt a smile creep over his face recalling some of the more precious memories he had shared with the passionate Nordic beautiful Scientist. He felt almost guilty in thinking of one of the first memories that flared. It was the deep kiss this Carter's alterative self had given him in her own universe. It wasn't that he hadn't wanted the kiss, in fact he gave it back with everything he had, but she was not the Sam he had fallen for. The dynamic solider and brilliant scientist and under it all a very tender soul…

He skipped over the times they out of chance held one another…in the Arctic, in Hathor's prison…to one particular day that he held her with love and more happiness than he had thought possible.

"Carter!" Major General Jack O'Neill snapped, stopping the tall blonde passing. "You are going to be fine…"

"Fine?" Sam breathed in deeply. "I am not fine…I am a nervous wreak."

"You know you weren't this skittish when we were going to meet the President after we blew ol'Snake head Apophis out of the sky.'

"Sir that was only the President." Sam slipped back into the comfortable mode of military protocol. When she did that you knew she was anxious. "In a few hours…" She stopped gathered her breath, and then tried again. "In a few hours it will all be legal…recognized. What…what if the President decides to change the law…at the last moment… and … we are up there taking our vows and then you know the authorities show up, arrest us…and then we're …court martialed and drummed out of the service for...acts unbecoming…."

"Carter!" Jack was smilingly widely, he was completely amused by the blonde's babbling, but he took pity on his friend. "The law isn't going to change…not anytime soon, if ever. Hell the Military finally got their collective head's out of their asses and admitted that gay's in the military isn't a bad thing…"

"Of course it isn't!" Sam snapped forgetting for a moment who it was she was talking to or rather that who she was talking to was on her side.

"Exactly." Jack shoved his hands in his pockets, his face bright with his boyish smirk. "So no need to go into a full blown panic attack, right? I mean you are supposed to be a genius…I think you're smart enough to figure out, that SGC needs you and your CO isn't going to let you, or the CMO for that matter, go." He balanced on the balls of his feet. Then pinned her with a look spoke of love and concern. "Carter…. Sam… don't worry you'll be fine…up there…trust me…once you lay eyes on your…" He paused for a beat then started. "Once you see your bride walking up to you…the whole world falls away and she is the only one in it… I remember seeing Sara as she walked up the aisle…god I thought my heart would stop…It will be the same with you once you see Janet."

Sam looked down for a moment then back up to her friend who was also her Best-man.

"This is real…it's really happing…" She took in a great breath of air, shocked almost to find that the corners of her eyes were damp.

"Hey…you're going to get raccoon eyes Carter." Jack cracked gaining a full belly laugh from the beautiful blonde before him. "That Napoleonic doctor will jab me with a really big needle in my next physical…if I let you go out there looking like Ricky the Raccoon."

That got Sam laughing all the more harder. "Can't have that…so already trading on my connections I see."

"Lay markers wherever I can…Hammond told me that the day I took over SGC."

"Humm." Sam was absolutely glowing. "Sir…Jack you have no idea what it means to me to have you stand up with me today."

"Oh I think I do." The gray haired General warmly flashed a smile, mentally beating down the slight case of jealousy that it was Janet Fraiser and not him that was taking Samantha Carter to love and to hold. But his happiness for her outweighed the darker emotion by more then half. Gingerly he hugged her to him, closing his eyes forcing himself to hold her as platonically as possible. Sister…sister…treat her like a sister…sister…yep only hugging a sister…not a sexy blonde bombshell with more intelligence then Einstein…yes this only a sister here… "Sam, I really am happy for you, that you found a perfect love…I hope you and Janet have a really long and very happy marriage. I really do. You deserve a lot of happiness and love, and I am truly glad that Doc can give it to you"

Sam knew Jack O'Neill's feelings for her and his admission of his heartfelt wish for her happiness was absolutely perfect, more so because Jack was not one for heart felt sentiments. "Thank you sir…"

"Crying out loud Carter it's your wedding day, you know you can take a break from the Sir for once…" He pushed her from his arms chiding her with his boyish smile. Of course for ten years that was all Sam Carter ever called him. Sir…it was safe…sound…and distant…

"Yes Sir…er …Jack." The sound of his name forever sounded alien upon her tongue. He never understood how Sir, could hold more warmth then his given name as she said it.

"Well look I am going to scoot and send Cassie in here to help you get ready…" He patted her on the back as he would any one under his command. "I gotta save up all that emotional…meaning of life stuff when you walk down that aisle to meet Doc. And a word of advice…once you see her all dolled up…don't forget to breath…I nearly passed out when I saw Sara…because I forgot I need oxygen." He winked.

"I won't forget to breath…I am worried about hyperventilating though."

They shared laugh. "Fortunately your bride is a doctor and can resuscitate you." then with a very quick hug he added. "God…Carter you're getting married…who knew…and here I thought no one had a chance in hell to win you over."

"No one could Sir...Jack…Only Janet." She whispered.

"Lucky gal."

"Lucky gal, indeed." Jack whispered as he saw Janet cradling the Nordic beauty on her lap, softly brushing away now clean hair. "Take real good care of her Doc…she's going to need you." O'Neill uttered softly to the shadows.

His mind drifted full back to himself when Cassandra approached him giving him a cup of coffee. "Sir?" Was all she said.

"You know you remind me a lot of Carter." He grinned.

At that Cassandra Fraiser stood a little straighter. "Thank you sir." She took a lot of pride in being compared to the woman she loved as her second mother and her hero. "I'm worried about her too." She looked to her boots then back up to her CO and uncle. "If anyone can pull her through its Mom. She never gave up on me when I was sixteen, even though I was a royal bitch to her…and…" she faltered a bit. Since then, yes she and her mom had had a few fights, as all teen daughters had with their mothers, but Cassandra never forgave herself for the intense pain she had given Janet that time she was so ill, though her mom had long ago forgiven her. "My mothers thrive on challenges like this."

"Yeah they do, Kiddo." Jack lapsed back into uncle mode without realizing it. Cassie however had not missed the slip of the tongue and allowed a fraction of a smile to appear on her face. The fact that the man before her went into family mode made her feel less hypersensitive over the fact that Sam, who had forever remained in control of herself even when the darkest hour settled around her, was slipping into nothingness. Cassie recalled when Jolinar had died to save Sam's life. The tall blonde had slipped so deeply into herself that none could reach her. Her only reaction was to Cassandra's presence.

There was such look of utter pain and guilt in those haunting blue eyes that Cassie had never forgotten it. Even as a child of twelve years old, Cassie knew that Sam was teetering on a razor's edge over an abyss. It was the same now. In the end it had been Janet that had fully pulled Sam out of herself…it was the love that was her lifeline.

Janet, Cassie thought about her mother, was a truly remarkable woman. She was just as strong as Sam, perhaps in a way more so. For when Cassie was sixteen, Janet had to pull down the professional mask of doctor to heal her daughter. Cassandra knew she had said horrible things to her; the worst was calling her Doctor Fraiser instead of Janet…instead of Mom…that had hurt the tiny woman more then anything else. And yet…. she remained professional…strong …and in the eyes of those around her she was in control…Cassie knew that privately Janet had cried hard in her office when she thought no one not even Sam was looking. It came out later…that Sam admitted she had held Janet for hours as she wept. Sam had said she had never been more pissed off at anything Cassie had done then that day she had called her adopted mother, Dr. Fraiser. Yet the blonde remained cool and collective as she defended the woman she loved. The two of them together they were a remarkable force to contend with.

But alone Janet was a force all unto her own. She had pulled a gun on Nurrti with all intent and purpose of killing her, the only reason the Goa'uld relented was the dark words of General Hammond. "May I remind you that the woman holding the gun on you is the girl's mother." It seemed even the Goa'uld knew better then to push a pissed off mother.

Janet had been put in the position of terminating Sam's life when the Entity had taken over the tall blonde… And time and time again the diminutive woman had been put in a position that needed professionalism rather then a nervous wreck of a family member whether wife, mother or friend… Cassandra was in awe of her dark haired mother…for the younger woman knew she would never have been able to do all that Janet had to do. And in so many ways, it was Janet who was the stronger of the two women Cassie loved. She only hoped that, that strength would be able to hold her now, when Sam needed her the most. Cassie vowed once more that she would do what ever she had to do to make sure that both her mothers came out of this whole and safe.

Cassie pulled her thoughts back to the present, as she was aware of the sudden shifting of the Malakim warriors. Two of the winged beings: Malachi and Pumah started for the trek back up the long pathway of the mouth cavern that was the entrance to the underearth Temple. Zephon approached both Cassandra and O'Neill a deep serious expression upon her face.

"What's up?" Jack asked, but the angelic deferred to Cassandra, as she did not recognize the chain of command in the humans. After all Cassie was the 2IC of SG1 therefore she was the Sub-Commander of the Wing.

"Sub Commander, Rahabim reports battle outside the threshold of the Temple she regrets she had to disobey your command as to stay outside the cavern."

"Hey that's fine, as long as she okay…but she had that…that…" She sighed, " She and Arion still inside the Pen-Umbra?"

"They are. Rahabim is aware of the fact that Arion's presence will be of great distress to the Liege Commander." Zephon shifted as if she was hearing a whisper that was far too distant to hear correctly, then she turned back to Cassandra.

Just as Cassandra was about to question what had provoked such a reaction from the angelic the entire mountain shook…

Part 14

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