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.
SPOILERS: Pre-Heroes, so Sam is still a Major and Janet is still with us. All episodes up to that fair game.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Originally Written for the FSAC: DDOS 2010.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To jo.raine[at]ntlworld.com

Holding True
By Celievamp


Since Jolinar she had been the go-to girl for this type of gig. It was only to be expected. In sacrificing its own life for hers, the Tok'ra symbiote had left her with the innate ability to use Goa'uld technology. The broken remains of the former system-lord Seth could attest to that.

It had bothered Sam for a long time that she was so much better at using the hand device, the killing device than the healing device. There was no finesse to it; of course, it was an all or nothing thing with her. And she hadn't exactly been of a mind to practice; no matter what politely couched enquiries had come from NID over the years asking her to detail her experiences with Goa'uld technology. As it was every time she used it she felt a little further removed from the woman she had been before Jolinar.

Janet had always counseled her to take it easy. The human nervous system unsupported by a symbiote just wasn't up to using either device without consequences to the operator – both physical and psychological. She was a medical doctor; she couldn't speak to the consequences for the soul. But sometimes you didn't have a choice, sometimes you just had to do what needed to be done regardless of the consequences.

"Is that too tight?" Janet asked softly as she adjusted the straps. "It's not pinching, is it?"

"A little, but its okay," Sam said equally softly, fitting the fingerpieces and settling the crystal comfortably in the centre of her palm operating from muscle memory that was not her own.

Janet let her fingers linger a little longer than was absolutely necessary on the soft freckled skin of the Major's forearm. It wasn't okay. Sam should not have to do this, not again, but unfortunately she was the only one who could do this. And Major Doctor Samantha Carter would never shirk her duty. And Major Doctor Janet Fraiser would never ask her to.

O'Neill thought it was worth the risk and General Hammond agreed. Daniel wasn't sure and Teal'c hadn't said anything either way. He was across the way being fitted out for his part in the little play they were about to put on. The shackles looked impressive but Teal'c would be able to break out of them in about three seconds flat.

"The place used to belong to Apophis, Teal'c has been there many times so unless Bel'al has done some major remodeling we should be able to get straight to the prison level, grab the Tok'ra agent and the rest of SG12 and get out." Sam said. "The Colonel, Daniel and SG3 will be waiting at the Gate. They'll give us back-up or a distraction if we need it."

Looking like that you're going to be distraction enough, Janet thought. Her lover looked almost edible in skin tight black leathers that left her trim midriff bare, her strong toned shoulders and neck palely luminous against the dark material, the black leather collar around her throat with the long oval onyx pendant leading the eye to the creamy swell of breasts.

Sam's soft snicker brought her back to herself and she realized she had been staring. "It's what all the fashion conscious bounty hunters are wearing this year," she said. She sighed. "Time for the modulator, I suppose." She fiddled with the collar and cleared her throat. "How's that?"

The flanged tones always made Janet shudder, reminding her of the terrible few days when Sam had been inhabited by Jolinar.

"I think you're good to go," Janet smiled softly. As Sam turned to do just that, Janet caught hold of the hand not encumbered with the Goa'uld device. "Be careful."

Sam smiled. "Always."

Teal'c was waiting by the gate ramp. He handed her the end of the chain attached to his manacles. Sam visibly hesitated for a moment before taking hold of it, her eyes closing as she took a deep breath. Janet recognized the 'tell': Sam was steeling herself for possibly unpleasant action.

Then her whole body language changed as she drew on the persona of Lamia, a low status Goa'uld bounty hunter. Sam almost swaggered up the ramp to the open wormhole, giving the chain in her hand a sharp tug when Teal'c did not immediately follow her lead.

It is all or nothing with her. Seldom-used synapses in her brain fire, electricity sizzles through her brain, along her spine and down her arm. Her palm itches, the jewel in the centre of her palm pulses white hot so bright that the flesh of her hand glows and a wave of energy envelops her target. He screams, writhes and falls. Heat flares in her nipples, she is wet, panting. It's always like this which is one of the reasons she hates it. She sees movement out of the corner of her eye and her hand points towards the Jaffa and with the mere twitch of her fingers she throws him so hard that he leaves a physical dent in the wall. There is a wet, slick sound as his spine snaps and she gasps as the dark arousal runs through her again. Static plays sensuously across her skin rippling through her muscles and nerve fibres.

Her next blast blows the door off its hinges. "Go!" she yells. Teal'c moves past her carrying Dr Goddard over his shoulders, Priestley from SG12 and the Tok'ra Zadek help the other two injured scientists move out with Major Lucas Barack CO of SG12 watching their rear.

She is supreme, all powerful. She has already killed Bel'al in his own throne room, every bone in his body pulverized, his eyes white and blind in his skull. Now she stalks the hallway each killing blast from the device sending another wave of pleasure through her. She laughs in delight, skipping over another ruptured twisted corpse. When Priestley calls her attention to something her first instinct is to blast him into oblivion for his insolence, it takes a long moment to rein in her impulse and resume the persona of Major Carter again. She can feel the sweat trickling down her spine, the heat between her legs, her nipples are tight and hard with need. And it is so easy and it makes her feel so good.

Her arrogance is almost her undoing. An enemy Jaffa is lurking in a cross-corridor, he gets in a shot before she can raise her shield; the blast makes it through crisping the skin of her shoulder and side. She snarls, lifts her hand and sends him flying into the wall, hard enough to send chips of stone flying and break every bone in his face and chest. Blood pours from the joints of his armour. The jewel in the centre of her palm is almost incandescent, fuelled by her adrenaline and rage. The hand device encompasses all now. There is nothing else.

The great gates that bar her way are splinters of wood and iron, the monolithic gateposts cracked in two, the walls crumbling as if they were made of sand. Humans scramble to get out of her way, some in the armour of her enemy, others in the strange green garb that something in her designates 'friend'. They are moving towards the Chappa'ai, going home.

More of the green garbed ones join them, obviously left to hold the Chappa'ai until their return. One attempts to speak to her but she ignores him. A few of the enemy still dare to follow and she picks a few off one by one before tiring of the sport. It has been a dry summer in this land. The pine trees ignite easily, the firestorm travelling quicker than the fleeing warriors if the screams she can hear above the crackling fire are any evidence. The Chappa'ai is active now, the green garbed ones already passing through, carrying their wounded.

"Carter." The grey haired one attempts to speak to her again. Why does he call her that? Her name is… her name… As she stares him down another face veils his for a moment, younger with bright blue eyes and a ready smile. "Jolinar, we must go." There are only the two of them left now at this side of the Gate, all the others have passed through presumably to home and safety. The light is strange, a pinkish wash over everything, the smell of burning rank in the still air. Her head hurts and her side throbs in time to her pulse.

"Carter. We need to get you back. You're hurt, I don't know how bad. Doc Fraiser needs to take a look at those burns."

Doc Fraiser. That meant something to her. Dark eyes. Honey auburn dark hair (her memory skittered over different images of the same woman). The smile was a constant. Contemplating that she allowed the grey haired one to tug her through the Chappa'ai.

And the world was suddenly monochrome, metal and concrete and more of the greenclad humans pointing weapons at her and shouting. The grey haired one steps forward, hands raised, interceding on her behalf. "She's not a Goa'uld. Stand down! Stand down!" Her irritation grows that they do not show her proper respect and the jewel in her palm sparks into life again. The forcefield springs up around her. Her gaze imperiously sweeps the room and then settles on one form, a small woman in white rather than green bending over an injured man in the corner of the room. An angel. And suddenly she remembers. "Janet," she whispers. Above all the noise and uproar, the small woman somehow hears her and looks up, alarm flaring in her expressive dark eyes as she takes in the situation.

She takes a step forward and suddenly she is exhausted. Her forcefield flickers, shimmers and is suddenly gone. The device on her arm weighs her down, not just her body, her soul. Janet pushes past the guards, follows her down to sit on the edge of the ramp. "Sam, can you understand me? You need to take off the device."

"Carter." The grey haired man whose name she now remembers. O'Neill. Sir. "Carter, you did it. You got us all home. You need to take it off now." He reaches for her hand and she snatches it away, the crystal glowing fitfully once more. The weapons were brought to bear on her again, fingers flagging the triggers.

"Sam?" Janet hesitates, silently asking permission before she touches the hand device. The pinkish aura over everything is darkening perceptibly, a heavy thick coldness enveloping her. The jewel pulses weakly in time to the beat of her heart. And she remembers everything. Who she is, what she holds true, how it felt to kill and kill and…

"getitoffme," Sam mutters numb fingers scrabbling at the latch. Janet stills her frantic hands.

"Let me do it for you, Sam." Sweat strings her hair, trickling down her back, stinging her eyes. She tries to blink it away. She's always been a good girl, she's never done drugs but she can imagine that this is how it must feel, the crash after the impossible high. Coming off the light in the pleasure dome had been bad but this this was a thousand times worse. Janet methodically disentangles her hand, her fingers from the Goa'uld technology. As soon as she is free of it she simultaneously feels much better – lighter, freer – and much worse, exhaustion so extreme she can barely hold herself up. Without warning her overwrought system rebels and she just manages to turn aside to avoid throwing up all over Janet, splattering the side of the ramp and the floor instead with ripe adrenaline-sour vomit.

Once she starts she can't stop and it is as if her body is trying to purge itself of all the evil thoughts the Goa'uld whispered in her mind. The hand device lies abandoned, dormant for now. More than anything she wishes that she might never need to put it on again but the truth is that the battle is not yet won and her abilities with naquada based technology sometimes give them a necessary edge. The numbness in her burnt and bloodied side is long gone and the pain is bad, so bad. She's trembling so hard her teeth are audibly chattering. As if by magic a gurney appears and she is gently lifted onto it, positioned on her uninjured side. Bile burns her mouth and throat and she can still feel the siren song of the hand device pulsing through her bones and blood though it is muted now. A warmed blanket is draped over her and Janet's hand is closed around hers, anchoring her as they start to move her from the Gate room down to the Infirmary. She feels Janet's finger scribe the sensitive skin of her palm. I… L…Y… A declaration from a true and loving heart. She squeezes Janet's fingers in understanding and confirmation. I love you too. She's safe. Janet will take care of her now. She can let go. Her eyes close and she lets it all fade away.

Janet Fraiser stared at the charts and test results and sighed. The burn to Sam's side though painful had been largely superficial and would heal quickly and without need for further intervention. The nervous shock, extreme exhaustion and debility would keep Sam in bed for at least another two days and on restricted duty for another week beyond that. The long term damage to Sam's nervous and metabolic systems was harder to quantify. Non-enhanced humans were just not made to use Goa'uld devices for any length of time; the drain on the body was far too extreme. No one was sure whether it was just a matter of practice or that every time Sam had used the device so far it had been a crisis situation. And then there was the psychological trauma – Janet hesitated to call it damage to the soul.

She could enter a strong medical recommendation on Sam's file that she never be exposed to the technology again. She could… but she wouldn't. Sam would strongly oppose such an action. There was a war on after all and Sam's ability to use the hand device could potentially make all the difference one day. Janet knew that Colonel O'Neill had considered asking Sam to practice using the device more often in the hope that she would adapt more readily to its use but had decided against it. Sam knew all too well what using the device did to her and yet if the circumstances demanded it Sam would put on the device and use it without hesitation or regard for the personal cost to her health, and Janet had to face it, her sanity.

Part of the problem was that Sam just had too much faith that Janet would be able to put everything right. Janet's greatest fear was that one day it would get too much; her devotion. The way Sam looked at her sometimes, her total belief in her, in her abilities. One day Janet would not be able to live up to that, one day Janet would let her down. One day she would not be able to bring her back.

On top of that the Tok'ra had left her with the ability to heal and the ability to kill. Janet did not know which disturbed her lover more.

She was being released today to a weeks leave at home before returning to limited duty. She gave every appearance of listening attentively to the instructions she was being given on the care of the burn on her side but really she light years away.

Sam had tried haltingly to explain to Janet how it felt to use the device, the bifurcation of her senses, almost but not quite reactivating the latent traces of the Tok'ra Jolinar that remained in her mind. The savage rush that using the device gave to all her senses. "It's a cliché to say that it's better than sex, but…" she could not look directly at Janet as she spoke and her cheeks were crimson with embarrassment or shame. "I don't even know how many I killed – fifty – a hundred! And I didn't care, I almost didn't stop…" she choked back a sob, "… when the Colonel and SG3 rendezvoused with us, I almost…"

"But you didn't," Janet said gently. The hand that had carried the Goa'uld device was clenched in a fist so tightly that the knuckles were white and taut. Janet ghosted her touch over the bones and tendons silently urging them to relax. "You didn't, Sam. You held true to yourself." Her gaze is still fixed on the floor. Janet cups her chin and lifts her head to hers. "You held true," she said firmly, holding the gaze until she saw an answering spark.

The End

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