DISCLAIMER: I only borrowed them for a while. MGM and whoever can
have them back whenever they want.
SPOILERS: Season 7 - Heroes fix.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author
Off the Map
Janet Fraiser usually had an excellent sense of direction, of place and how it related to her. This was no place she had ever been before. No place she wanted to be.
The last thing.
The last thing she remembered was pain. Just an instant. Flesh warping bone melting spirit shattering pain.
And then between one faltering heartbeat and the next.
A place between. Off the map. In the fold of the paper the interstices between the atoms. Neither one thing or another. Not alive and yet not quite dead.
What is this place?
The Bone Orchard.
An apt terrible name. Trees long dead white as sunseared bone grew up around her from the parched earth. Knotted and twisted she could not help but see shapes in the petrified wood - there a clavicle, there a vertebrae, two, three curving out from the surface, there the brow ridges of a skull just emerging.
She realised that she was no longer alone. Again, as she had known the name of this place she knew the name of the woman that stood before her.
The Ankou, the Eater of Bones
Her face was in shadow then Janet realised that it was the shadow. She was emaciated, her clothing rags, her wild hair threaded with bone. A hollowed out skull hung from a belt at her waist. Barefoot, her feet looked more like claws, gripping onto the stony soil. Her spindly legs were caked in dust.
"I have waited a long time for you, Janet Fraiser."
Her voice was dry as dust, hollow, sere. It did not so much impact on the hearing as become, emerging from some long dead land before fading away again.
"Why am I here? Am I dead?" Janet asked. She thought she knew the answer, or at least part of it. She had always thought there would be an afterlife but an eternity spent in this terrible place had not been part of her plans.
"When you fight for their lives, Janet Fraiser, when you fight to bring them back from the brink of death, who do you imagine you are fighting against?"
The figure bowed mockingly. "You are a prize, Janet Fraiser. And your death will bring many more to me. Some quite soon I think." She made a gesture. The air between them wavered, a picture forming. It was the main operating theatre in the SGC Infirmary. She saw herself lying on an operating table, her staff working on her, her chest exposed, the terrible wound that was killing her clearly visible. Amongst all the fevered activity, like some angelic avatar Samantha Carter was standing over her, pale and still, her hand extended, the Tokra healing device positioned over Janet's body. A golden light bathed her. Janet sensed that this was doing more to keep her alive than all the human medical technology ranged around her.
The Ankou traced Samantha Carter's outline with one bird slender hand. "You owe me a life, Doctor, more than one, for keeping such a prize as her from me... one life for another, your life for hers, a fair exchange, don't you agree?"
"No, I don't. You can't threaten me. I'm not afraid."
"No. you're not, are you. But perhaps you should be."
Then she was standing in her infirmary. It was chaos, there were bodies on gurneys, bodies on blankets on the floor. Everyone's attention was on a closed door. The door to the operating theatre. There was a battle greater than any there had lived through going on behind that door.
Doctor Warner and Sam Carter working in tandem to save her life, an amalgam of Goa'uld technology and human expertise. Sam had the healing device over her hand, her hand poised over the gaping hole in Janet's chest, pouring her energy her very soul into keeping her alive as Warner repaired and grafted bloodvessels, removed bone fragments cutting away seared blackened dead flesh. She could see her heart beating feebly in her chest. The backwash of light from the healing device lit Sam's face, she looked like a dirty tearstained angel, her blue eyes intent with concentration. Teal'c stood inches behind her ready to catch her if she fell.
Her monitors bleeped, the trace erratic. They were just to say getting enough blood into her to keep up with her bloodloss.
The Ankou laughed. "I might yet get both of you. See. She is killing herself for you, pouring more and more of herself into healing you. It consumes her, her flesh, her will, her soul."
To Janet's horror she saw a thin trail of blood appear from Sam's left eye, the bloody tear trailing down her cheek. Sam flinched, then the intent expression on her face redoubled, her cheek muscles tightening. Her resolve face. Nothing would prevent her from performing this task, from saving her lover. Not even death itself.
Warner stood back. A blessed realist. "That's it, that's all I can do, Major. We have to let nature take its course. We..."
Dr Pendleton stood ready to take over the surgery to close the terrible wound and prepare Janet for transfer to ITU. Both men watched in amazement as Janet's flesh began to regenerate, the splintered ribs reforming, tissue knitting together, layers of fresh clean skin reforming. A second bloody tear ran down Sam's cheek and then a third.
"You could have stopped this, stopped her killing herself for you," the Ankou whispered. Janet felt her bony fingers whisper through the air. "An hour, two and I'll have you both."
But she seemed less certain and suddenly Janet knew she had cheated the bone eater again.
"Major?" Warner tried again. Sam did not respond at first then she shuddered, the light pouring from her hand flickered and failed. Teal'c stepped forward. "Major Carter?"
She made a curious choking sound and her knees buckled. Teal'c caught her as she went down like a stone. "Samantha!"
"Lets get them both to ITU," Warner barked.
Before the vision faded Janet saw that her monitors were all heading towards the green zone. Barring any complications further down the line, she would live. She had to live. For Sam's sake as much as her own. Her lover had been willing to kill herself to bring her back to win her from the Ankou.
Janet looked around but the bone eater had vanished. The scene faded and she was back in the Bone Orchard again. But on the tree in front of her, new shoots had formed on the stark white branch. Leaves began to emerge from the bud, fresh green, brimming with life.
This place might claim her one day, but today was not that day. Janet closed her eyes and waited to wake.
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