DISCLAIMER: I don't own the ladies and I'm making no money from them.
SPOILERS: Slight for The Fourth Horseman 2 and Collateral Damage.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To The General's Daughter.
The General's Daughter: TLC
Doctor Lam pulls the curtain around the medical bed and turns to face me. The infirmary is dim and empty beyond the flimsy fabric and she flicks on a spotlight. I look for any sign of sympathy in her eyes, but all I can see is a doctor's professional concern for a patient. One hand rests in her lab coat pocket. Her stethoscope hangs loose around her neck.
Her tone at least is soft; not in any way abrupt. It's the tone people use when they are resigned to the inevitable.
'Okay, Colonel, pull up your shirt.'
I straighten gingerly and grip the hem of my black t-shirt, slowly lifting my arms to ease it over my head. The cautious movement hurts. It's not unbearable, but it's enough to make me wince in silence. I let the dark cotton slide over my bruised arms and lie crumpled in my lap.
Lam draws near and touches my skin. I notice that she isn't wearing gloves. Her fingers explore some flesh near my ribs and I hold back a gasp at the pain the pressure incites. She says nothing and continues to examine down the ridge of my spine, apparently guided by marks which I can not see for myself. Eventually she pulls away.
'It's okay. He knew what he was doing. Anywhere else?'
I remain still, delaying the effort needed to pull my shirt back on. 'Not really.' I would shrug if I didn't know it would hurt. 'My back and shoulders took most of it. A few cracks to my legs but...'
'Colonel Carter! In my office!'
I heard Landry's demand from above just as I finished the dialling computer's diagnostic. Everyone heard it. That tight, impatient tone which gave away the General's displeasure brought several pairs of eyes up from their work.
I peered up through the glass and saw Doctor Carolyn Lam leaving via the Briefing Room. She caught my eye as she walked past at a brisk pace, and I knew in that instant what it was about. Her expression was neither an apology nor an "I told you so". It was something in between - a mild grimace laced with a "you should prepare yourself".
Lam had warned me that I'd be in trouble. Now it was a question of how much.
I should have felt disloyal but I couldn't. Landry isn't Hammond. It shouldn't make a difference but it does. I realised how much when Hammond came by after we got lucky with the Prior virus. Then Landry let Cam twist on Galar. Hammond would've ordered him back; hauled his ass out of that pointless fire.
I wasn't worried about my career. I knew he'd want to make this personal. If I hadn't been sure of that, I wouldn't have had her on the base more than once.
But there were two SFs hovering outside the door to the General's office, and I didn't recognise them. They had to be from the reshuffled personnel we acquired when Landry took over from O'Neill. His men. That made me wonder just how personal this was going to get.
They blanked me as I neared the half-open door. I knocked.
I push down my fatigues and let Lam examine my legs. She frowns at the red and purple that mottles my skin in several places. Then she shrugs.
'Nothing I can do really. Just ice-packs for the swelling.' She touches one knee, then an ankle. 'And your joints are all clear.'
She almost sounds impressed by the strategic handiwork. I feel a tug of anger.
'You don't entirely disapprove of this,' I tell her.
She looks at me, her surprise evident. Then she conceals it. 'It makes no difference. What did you expect? I did warn you.'
It's the worst thing she could say. My anger rises. 'And you didn't say no... ever... knowing you wouldn't be the one to pay the price for it.'
I see her face harden. Now she's angry too. She's debating with herself, wondering how to respond, but whatever it is I don't want to hear it. I reach out suddenly and seize her, ignoring the sharp ache it sends through my limbs and back. I kiss her roughly, and when I feel her trying to pull away I haul her down onto the bed, foregoing any pretence that I'm giving her a choice in this.
She fights me, but she doesn't shout for help. Our struggle is fierce and it hurts like fuck, and then, just as I think I'm going to have to decide whether to do something I really will regret, I feel her touching me, very deliberate. Her fingers are precise between my thighs, her other hand firm around my breast.
'Get in here, Colonel.'
Landry's voice was low but barely controlled. I entered his office to find him standing next to his desk. He was looking down at a neat stack of papers; looking at them but not seeing them, if I read his expression right.
I shut the door behind me and stood to attention, not too obviously. 'Sir.'
He continued to stare through his desk for several moments. Then he looked up and stared right through me instead. His jaw was as tight as a rock and his eyelids quivered. When he spoke it was almost in a whisper, but not a pleasant one.
'I don't need to ask you if it's true. I know it is. I just want to know how many times you've screwed my CMO on the base.'
His bitter terminology made me want to flinch. She'd refused to tell him that then? Perhaps the General's daughter wanted to spite him by deliberately holding something back. Or maybe he was just after confirmation that we'd been at it right under his nose. Either way, my trouble was deepening.
Yet there was no point in denying it. Not that I'd ever intended to, knowing he would inevitably find out. People notice things. They speculate and guess. Sometimes they're wrong and sometimes they're right. Sometimes they say nothing and sometimes they talk. It would take only one resentful mouth to pass on a rumour, or only one occasion for him to overhear something merely indiscreet. Then he'd call Lam in and demand answers.
She could have lied, of course, but it might have been worse for me in the long run if she had. He'd resent it. Landry tackles issues head on. It would eat away at him if he couldn't.
I fixed my gaze on the wall behind his head. 'Five or six, sir.'
Like I was confessing how many cups of coffee I'd drunk that day.
Lam catches her breath. She mocks me gently as she slips inside my underwear and stirs my arousal with her thumb. 'You're doing this just to defy him now, aren't you Colonel?'
Now that I've won her over again I can relax. I reclaim her mouth with another kiss, then sigh into her lips. 'And you're not?'
'I don't need to. Landry's rules aren't mine to break.'
I feel my eyes narrowing. 'You're not invulnerable, Doctor.'
She ignores my warning and pushes me down onto my bruised back. I grimace but accept her taking the initiative. Her tongue traces the contours of my mouth, then slips inside and engages mine in a light dance. I seek to claim her lips again but she pulls back abruptly and rips away my underwear. Her dark head descends to the heat at the centre of my aching body, her soft hair caressing my breasts as she moves down.
I close my eyes against the harsh spotlight above me, turning my head to the side to escape its glare. I can see its imprint glowing green inside my eyelids. I feel for her and grab her head with demanding hands, pulling her in close. The stethoscope slides past my wrist and clatters onto the floor. Her warm mouth finds me, seals around my growing desire, strokes, tastes...
The General's eyes focused on me at last. 'You know what I won't tolerate, Colonel?' There was a raw quality to his voice. 'Not that you did this, but that you had the gall to do it right here under my command.' His lips formed a contemptuous sneer. 'Maybe you figured I was too stupid to find out. Or maybe you just didn't give a damn if I did.'
He hadn't asked me a question so I stayed silent in the pause that followed. A fake apology wasn't going to help. He'd see through that. So I waited, feeling an unnatural grip in my abdomen as the tension built between us.
His eyes glinted in the artificial light and I realised, belatedly, that it was not the father that was taking my affront personally, but the general after all. It was my CO who wanted retribution for my insubordinate indiscretions.
'Either way, Carter, it was a mistake you'll soon regret.'
Lam teases me by withdrawing momentarily to speak. 'You've got balls, Colonel. I'll give you that.'
A short laugh rises on my lips. I open my eyes and look down pointedly. 'I hope not. But you're the doctor with the better view right now.'
She grins back at me, then lowers herself and puts her tongue back to work where it belongs. My eyelids flutter and close again and I slide into those liquid caresses. She's indescribably good at this. I tangle my fingers in her silky hair and moan softly. She takes that as another signal to pause, no doubt knowing it's the last thing I need.
'Anyway, why should I say no, if you're reckless enough to take the risk?'
I growl at the delay. Damn her. 'I think you'd see me face a firing squad as long as you get your rough fuck.'
Lam sneers at that. 'Rough? Oh Colonel, you haven't a clue.'
I scowl and push her head down again. She ducks fast to escape my grip. 'Hold onto the bars!' she orders.
I comply only because it will get me what I want. I grab the corners of the bed behind my head and wait for her to touch me again, my breath growing short, my need impatient.
Landry tugged open the door and signalled to the SFs. They appeared instantly.
'Lieutenant Colonel Carter is under arrest. Escort her to level 16 and place her in isolation.'
I moved out quickly so that the SFs did no more than flank me straight to the elevator. But they must have had their orders even before Landry questioned Lam, because as soon as we entered the bare cell they felled me with a swift kick to the back of my legs and grappled my arms behind me. I felt chilly steel closing tight on my wrists and ankles as they shackled me on my knees. Then they left me alone without a word or a glance.
I looked up after the grey door locked into place and saw that the cell's security camera was already powered down.
Very personal then. Crap.
Lam wraps her arms under my thighs and holds me, her firm fingers testing my sore muscles to their limit. She plays me with that talented tongue and soon I hardly notice the pain fading beneath my fluid heat and quickening pulse. I grasp the steel bars tighter as she torments me with deliberately slow touches and teasing breaths. I can't hide my frustration. I twist my hips in her secure grip, hissing my annoyance.
'Don't you think I've been tortured enough, you vicious bitch?'
I can feel her lips smirk against my pleading flesh. She punishes my insult by making me wait yet again, pulling back a fraction to murmur softly next to my skin.
'You started this. You bring all your suffering on yourself.'
More than an hour passed. The short chain linking the cuffs kept me on my knees and they protested the harsh concrete.
I raised my head when the door opened and Landry stepped inside. My eyes met his in the claustrophobic silence. He stood with his back rigid as an unseen hand shut the door behind him, his starched white shirt immaculate, his face just as expressionless. Perhaps the hour's delay was as much for my protection as for my discomfort, because the dark anger had left his voice when he spoke. Now he sounded matter-of-fact.
'It's been two years since I had to deliver some personal TLC.' He swung his arm out hard to the side and my gaze leapt to the telescopic baton that extended abruptly from his fist. 'That was for a captain. He put half a squadron out of action for a day with a gut-rot he brewed behind the armoury.'
He circled efficiently and raised the baton above his shoulder. 'That wasn't worth killing a career for, either.'
I braced myself.
I rock my hips against her and at last she shows me mercy. Her strokes come faster, strong and vigorous. My belly tightens and my legs go rigid against her shoulders. I arch my back and cry out. I wouldn't cry for him but I cry for her as she takes me, holds me, suspends me in a high, dangerous place where everything is more clear and righteous than a general's or father's fury.
And then I'm crashing down again, bruised, aching, lying half-dressed in the infirmary; in recovery.
I open my eyes and see her once more, white-coated and tousled on top of me.
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