DISCLAIMER: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning SG: SG1 belong to MGM, Gekko, Secret Productions etc, they are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended, absolutely none what so ever.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I am blatantly defying TPTB; I guess this falls into an AU now. But I won't accept the death of Janet Fraiser. And the events in 7th-8th seasons are going to be changed significantly. Dedicated to my very own beloved angelic, of whom I love very much. To my own heart who made me feel safe.
ARCHIVE: Only with the permission of the author.

By Elizabeth Carter

Sam, disarmed, found herself in a room of flat sliver. A shiver rippled down her spine as she recognized the metallic structure. Walking around cautiously she validated her apprehension in seeing that the walls were made of Replicator tiles. She touched some of them in the strange bravery that follows curious fear. She snapped her hand quickly back as a shape started to form where her fingers touched. The construct distorts like some silver mannequin, forming into the baby-faced Fifth.

Sam gasped, her blue doe eyes staring.

The first words out of the human-form Replicator was the sound of pure malice. "Major Carter."

"Fifth!" Sam's surprise was clearly evident, he was not at all what she had expected to find birthed from the Replicator wall.

"I imagine you never expected to see me again." his tone was almost without emotion, but still predatory. He continued advancing on her, causing Carter to back away from the threat.

"I'm sorry we left you behind, but we had to do it. We couldn't risk the others getting out." Her words rambling out in quick succession. "You know what they're capable of. I know you must be upset." Her blue eyes widened as he continued his stalking.

"Upset?!" Fifth could not believe this woman so downplayed his anguish. How dare she! How dare she underrate what had happened to him. The malice glowed in his dark eyes.

"We betrayed you. It must have hurt." Sam's back slammed against the far wall and she could go no further. "See, that's the part of you that's most like us, the human part of you. I understand how you feel."

"No you don't! You couldn't! But I promise you, you will." He stretched out his hand towards her head. Sam quickly responded knowing what would come if he touched her, grabbed his hand to stop him, but his fingers turned to a metallic alloy and elongated. Blue eyes opened wide in shock and terror as Fifth's fingers plunged into her forehead.

Her scream shattered the stillness.

Sam's mind was thrown into a multitude of images flashing through her mind in rapid succession. One after the other, pain, torment, complete abandonment, and sheer pain. It lasted forever. The pain increasing with each thud of her heartbeat, each wracked drawn breath of air. So much pain, death...her death over and over each worse than the other. A heartbeat hammering into her skull until she would go deaf from the sound of it. Each death felt. Fire, blood, snarling creatures, all of it flooding her senses. Sam screamed until her very voice was raw.

Finally Fifth pulled his hand out of her head and she dropped to the floor in a boneless heap, gasping for long awaited breath. Beads of sweat dabbled her forehead, her tears ran hot down her cheeks.

Her eyes red with tears, her body shivering in such agony she had not yet known, the images burning still in her mind Sam wept. Her voice quivering as she pleaded to her tormenter, "Why are you 'doing' this?" her blue orbs pleading for amnesty.

Fifth's anger was palpable, his rage burning. His lips curled back in his contempt for the broken woman cowering at his feet. "You think you deserve better?"

"You can 'see' my thoughts. You 'know' I didn't wanna do it!" Sam implored. She swallowed hard the pain still lingering. Her tears streaking down her face. She felt the hammering of her heart echoing cruelly in her mind, mocking her with each beat. The underskin river a heated reminder of the torture.

O'Neill had given the order, three minutes not five. He ordered the trap set because he didn't think Fifth was part human, his prejudice only saw Replicator. Sam, had even said they used the young man's own humanity against him. She carried that guilt for a long time. Guilt over betraying him, guilt over 'whoring' her beauty to ensnare him to do her bidding even if it was an order. Now she was paying for that treachery.

Fifth drew nearer, his body pressing against hers as he knelt before her, his breath smelled of metallic staleness "I suppose in a way I should thank you. It was because of what you did to me I came to realize my full potential. I am more human than the others. At first I thought it was weakness, but now I see it makes me capable of so much more."

Sam was not above begging, if she could only keep him talking, if she could help him understand, "Fifth, please!" her voice shivered, the tears falling steadily.

"My brothers and sisters will devour entire civilizations in order to replicate, but they will know nothing of cruelty, or betrayal, or revenge. Not like us. Isn't that right, Major Carter?" He titled his head his hand reaching for her once more, his malice turned into pleasure at the sheer thought of tormenting his prey.

Sam frantically shook her head, her terror filling her, her voice pleading begging, "No!" She couldn't bear his touch again.

But it came. The images, blood, screams, the jackhammer of beating hearts, bodies burning, death in a thousand different forms, each death she could feel, each death was her own. She could see and feel her flesh melting from her bones. Her screams filled the halls of the Replicator's ship.

As Fifth pulled his hand out of her head, she collapsed to the floor sobbing. Her body curling into a fetal position, the pain beyond enduring. "Stop it, please!" No pride left, her terror, anguish and agony sapping the will from her body, her soul, she could only lay there upon the floor, weeping.

"Why should I?" Fifth snarled.

"You can't change what happened. Is this making you feel better? I never intended to abandon you." her tears had clotted her throat. He had to believe her, it was the truth. She never wanted to leave him behind.

"But you did." Fifth was radiating his anger, his frustration. "You gained my trust, then you used me and left me behind!" he accessed.

"It wasn't my decision." She pleaded. Had she had command of the mission she would have allowed for his escape, his freedom. But O'Neill had taken that decision away from her, she was a solider, trained to follow orders.

"You could have come back for me." Fifth countered, his aggravation still evident.

Sam shook her head, "There was no time!" She had lived with that abandonment for days, months and years after the event.

"Time!" Fifth scoffed. "Thanks to what you did, I had plenty of time to think about what a fool I was." His own dark eyes now filling with tears. He had fallen in love with this woman, he trusted her. And she had left him with the others, left him in a frozen moment of time that had stolen everything from him.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry for what we did to you." Sam's remorse filled the chamber.

"Yes, you are now." The anger returned in full force

Somehow, someway Sam had been able to push herself up from the floor, her blue eyes trying to see into Fifth. She tried to reach out and touch the part of him she had once touched so long ago. "Part of being human is having compassion, learning to forgive." her voice quivering in her remorse.

"Yes. I'm not there yet." the darkness within Fifth resurfaced, "I need more time." He reached out his hand ready to plunge it into her head again.

Sam flinched terrified, sobbing in fear and pain. "No! No! Please!" her entire body shuddering. "No...no!"

Like music entangled in a thorny rustle. It has no melody, but the underlying rhythm, the tap-tap-tap of stick against stick against twig against hollow wood, holds a kind of tune. Tap-tap-tap-tap- the sound of the underskin river. The sound of a heart.


Recognized. Not her own. Not Fifth cruel mockery.


So safe, she could sleep now, without nightmares, without terror.

From within the flow of the beating heart came the soft dulcet tones of her beloved.

"Sam you're safe, he's not here. You are in my house, my room, our bed, Sammy my love you are safe. No one can hurt you now. It's okay baby."

Sam allowed herself to drown herself in the sound of the beating heart.

Janet had learned long ago that sometimes the only way to break her lover from the horrific nightmares that were more memories than dreams was to allow Sam to hear the tiny woman's own beating heart. Using a stethoscope, Janet placed the earpieces into the blonde's ears and the disk over her own heart. Only Janet's heartbeat seemed to shake Sam from the clutches of nightmare. Even in the infirmary it would sooth the blonde, it was a tactic Janet had stumbled across while taking Sam's vitals one night. It dawned on her that babe-in-arms often sleep better with the synthetic sound of a beating heart. The artificial sound had been tried, and failed, only Janet's heart worked. All Janet had to do was employ the use of a stethoscope.

Only in Janet's company, in her arms did Sam ever truly sleep soundly. She was safe with Janet and her guard was completely open. Janet was a guardian angel and Sam trusted it without question. On base of course Janet was unable to snuggle her beloved, but she was not without her tactics to sooth Sam's terrors, her pain.

Janet continued to hold the disk over her heart even though her lover fell into a full rested state. It had been three days since Sam returned from the clutches of Fifth's torture. And not a night passed that Sam wasn't plagued with night terrors. For hours, Janet would cradle her lover, filling Sam's senses with her scent, her ears with the soft beating of her heart and soft voice of love and reassurance.

Janet stroked back the blonde locks now matted with sweat, so she might place a kiss upon Sam's forehead. "I love you, my Sammy-bear. I have you now. You're safe Honey. Please know that you are safe. No one will harm you now. I'm keeping watch, I'll guard you while you sleep." Janet kissed Sam's brow once more.

"Safe...." Sam mouthed. Her face softened, her body utterly relaxed, fell into the complete belief of her lover's words. The tender sound of the heartbeat, the scent allowed for Sam to know the truth of Janet's words, her promise. With Janet, Sam knew without a doubt she would always be safe. "Love....you...." a weary voice whispered through a sleep-fogged mind

Janet cuddled into her lover's arms, her dark doe-eyes now heavily lidded, her hand cupping Sam's left breast so she might feel the blonde's own heart beating giving herself a measure of safety. Not that Janet needed to be protected, but there was safety in the knowledge that Sam was where she belonged.

"I love you too, Sammy-bear." Janet kissed Sam once more before she closed her eyes and allowed herself to sleep. The stethoscope like headphones still nestled in Sam's ears, the disk still within Janet's nightshirt, so that the heartbeat could still give comfort.

The End

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