DISCLAIMER: I only borrowed them for a while. MGM and whoever can have them back whenever they want.
SOUNDTRACK: In Search of Peter Pan by Kate Bush from the Album "Lionheart"
AUTHOR'S NOTE: It seems I haven't done writing about this episode yet.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
DEDICATED: For my own Peter Pan.

Lost Girl
By Celievamp

It wasn't until I was trying to put myself back together after my experiences with Jolinar that I realised just how far I had marginalised myself. Other than my team, my colleagues, my immediate next door neighbour I had not had a real conversation with anyone for... well, longer than I was entirely comfortable with. I had never had a lot of friends - we moved around a lot when I was a kid and I was always so close to my mum that I never really felt the lack of them. And then after she died I just cut myself off from people. Her loss hurt me so much. It was easier never to put myself in the position of feeling that again. I was a couple of years younger than most people at college and way too bright for them to be easy around me. And then I went straight into the Air Force. By that time the habit was ingrained: work hard, be the best you can, be self-sufficient. And that will be enough to fill all the dark and empty places.

So I worked hard. I was the best that I could be. I kept myself apart one-alone. No one would ever hurt me again. That resolve lasted until Jonas Hansen. And thw way that ended just confirmed how right I had been. So I regrouped, rebuilt my walls and stared at the world from behind the fašade of the ice cool Captain Carter.

But where had that got me? Nowhere.

Horrifying though it had been I had got used to Jolinar's presence in my head. And when it was gone I was alone. So alone. All my walls knocked down, obliterated, those dark cold places open to the world.

I thought: if I had died, if the Ashrak had killed me - would anyone outside the mountain know or care that I was dead. My brother would mourn me in his own way. My father would see it as a life unfulfilled. He still hasn't forgiven me for turning down NASA.

I felt: nothing. An endless silence. I measured myself against this eternity and found myself lacking. At the end of the day what did it matter whether I lived or died.

The Infirmary staff worked around me, quiet, efficient, caring. Janet led by example. Janet. I felt her hand touch my brow, her fingers weave briefly through my hair. I opened my eyes. For the first time in what felt like days I looked directly at another person. I looked at Janet. I wanted so badly for her to be the one. I wanted, no needed her to save me from myself. But how to make her understand?

She smiled. The world got a little brighter. "He-ey, Sam. Is there anything you need?" Her hand moved from my hair to my arm. The touch of her fingers on my bare skin was electric. Her fingers circled my wrist, checking my pulse before stroking my fingers. Before I realised it I closed my fingers around hers, holding her hand. She looked startled for a moment then smiled again. "It's okay, Sam. It's okay. Everyone's just waiting for you to feel better. Cassie wants to come see you. I told her you were feeling sad. She drew you a picture to make you feel better." She pointed to the wall behind her and I saw the brightly coloured painting, like a patch of frozen sunshine on the grey concrete all yellows and reds, the sunshine and flowers and three stick figures in the middle of it all holding hands. Cassie and me and. Janet?

Cassie. Oh god. I remembered. I closed my eyes, tried to move my fingers away but Janet gripped them tighter. "Sam, Cassie understands that it wasn't you. It was the Goa'uld. Tokra, whatever. She doesn't hate you. She loves you. She will always love you. I lov. we all love you and miss you."

I didn't imagine the slip of the tongue. The darkness inside ebbed a little. A chink of light. Janet loves me. Cassie loves me. I opened my eyes, looked at her again. Maybe I could make her understand, if I could only find the words.

Sam's physical condition has stabilised enough for her to be released, but Sam really did not need to be by herself right now. She had responded to me and to Cassie more than anyone else and after broaching the idea to Colonel O'Neill and then to General Hammond, I finally told Sam what I had planned.

"You're coming home with me, Captain. Cassie and I are going to look after you for a couple of days just until you're over the worst of this."

"No, Janet. that's too much of an imposition on you, I can't." Amazing how far and fast she could backpedal once she set her mind to it. She was certainly making eye contact now which was a great improvement. If only she didn't look quite so scared.

"I'm not taking no for an answer, Sam," I stood, hands on hips, challenging her.

She looked at me, half smiled, quickly hiding it.

"What?" I asked, secretly overjoyed that I was the subject of her amusement. It was the first smile I had seen in days. She has such a beautiful smile.

"Peter Pan," she laughed. "Last time I babysat Cassie we watched the Disney Peter Pan. I knew he reminded me of someone."

"Peter Pan, huh," I smiled. "So what does that make you?"

I expected her to say Wendy. Or maybe Tinkerbell. Her face took on that faraway look again. "A Lost Girl," she whispered. She closed her eyes, shifted onto her side and did not look at me again.

A couple of hours later I helped her into the car and we drove home. "Cassie was planning to bake cookies when I left this morning. So I hope I have a home to go back to," I joked. "Mrs Darrow is watching her for me this week so everything will be fine, I'm sure."

Sam made an `mmm' noise but continued to look out of the window. It was almost fully dark, the stars were coming out. The air was sharp with frost, the stars seemed impossibly bright, glistening in skeins across the night sky. There was a small parking spot up ahead, a view right across the valley. "Sam, do you want to stop a while, get a breath of fresh air. Watch the stars?"

I knew my friend. I knew what calmed her, what consoled her. The stars had always been a dream, a hobby, their constant march across the sky, predictable yet magnificent. I knew she had a programme that could simulate the night sky on any given date in history, going back thousands of years, that the light we saw in our night sky was the nearest most of us would ever come to time travel, present company excepted of course. The light of other days.

"Please," she said, her voice little more than a whisper. I parked up, got out. Sam got out as well, standing against the car, her arms crossed, resting on the roof of the car as she looked out across the heavens. "Second star on the right and straight on til morning," she said.

I recognised the reference. Peter Pan again. That was still bothering her. She shivered, drew her coat around her a bit more. I remembered an old shawl that should be on the back seat somewhere. Cassie liked to cuddle up in it on cold mornings as I drove her to school. I reached into the car and pulled it out then dropped it over her shoulders, reaching up to tug it round her. She turned to face me.

"You're not a Lost Girl, you know," I said softly. "I won't let you be. Neither will Cassie."

"I don't want to be," she admitted quietly, her head bowed. "Not any more at any rate." She lifted her face and in her eyes I saw an eternity of stars, an eternity of love.

It seemed the right thing to do. I kissed her.

The End

In Search of Peter Pan by Kate Bush from the Album "Lionheart"

"In Search Of Peter Pan"

It's been such a long week.
So much crying.
I no longer see a future.
I've been told when I get older
That I'll understand it all.

But I'm not sure if I want to.

Running into her arms
At the school gates
She whispers that I'm a poor kid.
And Granny takes me on her knee.
She tells me I'm too sensitive.
She makes me sad.

She makes me feel like an old man.
She makes me feel like an old man.

They took the game right out of it.
They took the game right out of it.

When I am a man
I will be an astronaut,

And find Peter Pan.

Second star on the right,
Straight on 'til morning.
Second star on the right,
Straight on 'til morning.

Dennis loves to look
In the mirror.
He tells me that he is beautiful.
So I look too, and what do I see?
My eyes are full,
But my face is empty.

He's got a photo
Of his hero.
He keeps it under his pillow.
But I've got a pin-up
From a newspaper
Of Peter Pan.

I found it in a locket.
I hide it in my pocket.

They took the game right out of it.
They took the game right out of it.

When I am a man
I will be an astronaut,
And find Peter Pan.

Second star on the right,
Straight on 'til morning.
Second star on the right,
Straight on 'til morning.
Second star on the right,
Straight on 'til morning.

"When you wish upon a star,
Makes no difference who you are.
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true."

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