Warnings: Descriptions of injuries and field treatments of injuries; captivity and related issues; mild violence.
Contents: This fic contains a bit of innuendo, but only because it contains Vala.
Categories: Ship, Het, Action
Pairing: Sam/Jack (established relationship), Daniel/Vala (UST)
Characters: Jack O'Neill (primary), Sam Carter, Daniel Jackson, Vala Mal Doran, Teal'c, Cameron Mitchell, General Landry
Spoilers: Mild spoilers well into season ten, particularly Bad Guys.
Summary: When Cam, Teal'c, Daniel, and Vala get themselves captured on what was supposed to be a simple mission, it's up to Sam and Jack to mount an equally simple rescue. An alternate version of Bad Guys.
A/N: Written for iwishiwerekerry for sj_everyday Secret Santa 2009. Her prompt called for some good old-fashioned Carter whumping and a bit of subtle romance, which is something I just may have written a time or three before, so I combined the prompt with my natural inclination to wedge Jack into as much of season ten as possible, and this is the result.
Credits: Research credits include The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht and Body Trauma: A Writer's Guide to Wounds and Injuries by David W. Page, M.D.
Disclaimer: MGM owns lots of cool stuff, but I only borrow the very best.
Jack's first instinct was to suffocate the ringing beast with a pillow, but Carter had his extra pillow, and besides, she had answered the phone. Then she sat up and took a crucial portion of the covers with her. He might have kicked up a fuss, but her voice took on a serious tone.
He listened as she finished the call. "Long weekend over?"
"Long weekend over," she confirmed. "The guys are in trouble."
"How much trouble?"
"It sounds like the diplomatic kind -- first contact gone sideways. We'll know more when we get to Colorado."
"General Landry asked if you'd be free to lend your expertise to the situation."
"I have diplomatic expertise?"
She hit him with a pillow. "Get dressed, we need to report to Andrews in an hour."
The briefing room at the SGC looked like it always did. Jack accepted a cup of coffee from Walter, and took a seat.
"We received SG-1's IDC at 1430 local time," Landry began. "We detected brief weapons fire, then the wormhole disconnected on their end."
"What was the mission?" Jack asked.
"They went to photograph hieroglyphs that Dr. Jackson believed might lead to the clava thessara infinitas."
"The key to infinite treasure," Carter translated.
"Right," Jack said. "The one that Daniel claims is a myth."
"Apparently something in the research we recovered from Athena changed his mind," Landry said. "Either way, it sounds like this mission was a dead end. When we reestablished the wormhole thirty minutes later, we received this recorded message from Colonel Mitchell."
A sergeant Jack didn't recognize placed a micro recorder on the table and pressed play.
"Here's the thing," Mitchell whispered from the recorder. "This is a museum, not a pyramid, and since they don't believe in aliens around here, we've been detained by their government as political rebels. If you sent proof that other worlds exist, it sure would help us out."
"Tell them it's not my fault," Vala said in the background, followed by a loud shushing that had to be Daniel. "Oh, and don't forget a laptop with the dialing program and -- "
"And that's all we got," Landry said. "The message just repeats on a loop. We tried to send SG-14 through with a package of educational materials, but we haven't been able to establish another wormhole."
"So they've buried the gate," Sam said. "Where is this planet?"
The sergeant pulled up a star chart which seemed to provide the first bit of good news, at least judging by Carter's expression.
"This is pretty close, relatively speaking," she said. "We'll need a ship."
"The Daedalus should be almost back from Atlantis by now," Jack said. "I don't suppose there's any chance they could make a side trip?"
"It's the closest," Landry agreed. "But it's still about five days from Earth, and coming from the wrong direction."
"I have a better idea." Carter grinned at Jack. "Fortunately, last week we were all almost assassinated by alien bounty hunters."
"Fortunately?" Jack asked.
"They came by ship, sir. Ships we kept."
"Ah." He nodded. "Sweet."
Daniel's would-be assassin had piloted the most likely ship. The modified Tel'tak boasted a very comforting weapons array, and after a few hours of hard work, Asgard beaming technology as well, so they were set for Plan B. Jack really liked the simplicity of their Plan B, and would have argued against the higher-ups in favor of scrapping Plan A entirely, except now he was the higher-up.
Sometimes responsibility just plain sucked.
Yep, sucked. Jack eyed Carter's lower half, currently protruding from an access panel as she worked, and thanks to responsibility, had to keep a perfectly good comment all to himself. He wanted to spend his long weekend with Carter in bed in D.C., not running an interplanetary taxi service. This was Daniel's fault. Of course, he had no way to know that for sure, but he went ahead and blamed Daniel anyway.
"That's the last of it." Carter crawled back out of the panel. "The ship's ready to go, sir."
"Good." He nodded at some legs sticking out from beneath a console. "We'll take off as soon as you've checked under all the couch cushions for misplaced technicians. I'd like to avoid taking along any stowaways on this little jaunt."
Three hours later Jack made the mistake. As he listened to Carter tell a story, one in which their favorite archaeologist endured some particularly amusing grief, courtesy of his new partner-in-crime, Jack started to think that maybe this errand wasn't so bad after all. He knew better, of course, that kind of thinking just invited trouble. But the thought slipped into his mind, and almost immediately, the ship rocked with the impact of weapons fire.
At least he thought it was weapons fire. He couldn't see anything in range. "What did that?"
"No idea, sir. According to everything I can see, we're alone out here. They must be cloaked."
"I thought we were cloaked."
Their ship bucked and shuddered under a second barrage, and Jack fired a full spread guided only by a hunch.
"Good shot!" Carter's hands flew over the controls.
Their attacker came into view and fired again, but this time Carter took evasive action.
Jack returned fire. "Who are they?"
Carter flipped on the comm system and asked.
Good plan. Simple. Direct.
Nobody answered, but they had stopped firing.
"I don't think it's us they want," Carter said. "Their issue is probably with the ship's previous owner."
Jack started to agree, but then he heard the sound of their rings activating.
"Or not," Carter added.
They jumped to their feet, zats in hand, and moved to either side of the doorway. Jack exchanged a look of understanding with Carter. Shoot first, ask questions sometime after these guys woke up in the brig. Or tied up in whatever part of the cargo hold they decided to call the brig.
The sound of boots approached.
Daniel sighed and sat down on the dusty gray prison cot. It squeaked in response, and sagged a bit in the middle. Perfect.
Vala, in the meantime, shoved an arm through the bars and tested her range of motion as she searched for an angle that might allow her to reach the lock. Not that she had a key, or anything even remotely serviceable as a key.
"Trying to escape is probably not our best move." He knew it would do little good, but he felt it had to be said.
"I have to try," she said. "Professional obligation."
"Of course. It's just that I'd prefer it if they didn't come in here and kill us."
"Pfft." She moved over to test the next set of bars, and contorted her body in a way that looked painful. "You could help, you know."
He shrugged. "You're the professional."
She withdrew her arm and turned to survey the room. "There has to be something useful in here."
"This is a prison cell. The whole point is to keep useful things away from people like you."
She glared at him. "Do I need to remind you that this is all your fault?"
"I beg to differ."
"Your mission, your fault." She crossed the cell and dropped down to examine the creaky cot. "Besides, you're the one who told them we're aliens. Like anyone would believe -- "
"We are aliens," he said. "At least from their perspective."
"People on isolated planets never believe in aliens," she said. "It's one of the first rules of interplanetary appropriation -- "
"If you have better tech, you tell them you're a god. Otherwise, you try to blend in and keep a low profile."
He snorted. "I bet you were fantastic at that."
"I always played a quite benevolent god." She yanked the scratchy gray blanket and yellowing sheet off the corner of the mattress, stirring up a flurry of dust.
"I meant the blending in thing. You're really not the type."
"It is rather difficult to hide such extraordinary beauty." She worried a tear in the fabric of the elderly mattress, and tried to work her finger into the hole she created. "But that usually worked to my advantage. Once I was on a planet very much like this one, and before I even had a chance to give the presidential palace a proper casing, the president's wife invited me upstairs for a little -- "
"Oh don't be such a prude, darling, it's a fantastic story." She tugged at the mattress, exposing rusty springs. "The president had the most extraordinary -- "
"Jackson." Mitchell snapped from the next cell. "Will you just let her tell the story. Teal'c here is bored to tears."
With a curse, Jack kicked his useless zat under a console. Damn that Anubis. Since when did every bad guy in the galaxy get their paws on super-soldier body armor? He glanced at Carter. At least she was making a pretty good account for herself. She had her attacker pinned up against a bulkhead as they struggled for control of his weapon.
Jack dodged a blast and dove for the other intruder's knees. The crunch echoed through the ship. Good. Served him right. Of course, part of that crunch might have been his own knee. Jack ignored the ache and wrestled for the weapon.
He yanked the gun up at a third enemy looming above him. The shot he fired went wild, probably due to the extra set of hands still on the weapon. Jack shoved his good knee into the guy's windpipe, but ran out of time.
Lucky for him, Carter saved his ass with a shot of her own.
"See," Jack said. "That's the thing about overkill. It's all well and good to have the latest in body armor, but if your own weapons work against it, you're better off leaving them at home and using something simple. You'd think they would cover that in bad guy school."
Carter laughed at his lame joke, and they exchanged a smile, but the rings activated again.
"Oh for cryin' out loud!"
Carter pressed her back against the bulkhead and aimed the weapon she'd acquired, while Jack stayed low and leveled his own stolen gun across its unconscious former owner.
A blast shook the ship and tore Carter's name from Jack's throat as she fell beside him. Fire flashed above them, and he buried his head against his fallen enemy while using his free arm to shield Carter as best he could.
When the white burn faded from his retinas and he could see again, he stumbled to the ring control and sent the fire belching device back to the other ship.
Too little, too late, but he had to do something. Jack hoped it wasn't quite done with whatever it did. Let whatever bad guys remained on that ship have a taste of their own medicine.
At least their Tel'tak had fire suppression systems, or they'd be cooked. He just hoped life support could cope with the oxygen loss.
"Carter." He dropped to her side and felt for a pulse. She had one, so he could breathe again, but it looked pretty bad. Blistering burns glared an angry red on her shoulders and upper back, while a more serious burn on her outstretched arm called for more immediate treatment.
At least he'd managed to shield her face.
Her lack of consciousness worried him even more. He probed gently, searching for signs of head trauma, and noticed blood seeping from beneath her body. Despite the damage to her back, he needed to turn her over.
She groaned as he did.
Good. Ouch, but good. He needed her conscious, and at least groaning was a step in that direction. "Carter?"
He peeled away her bloody shirt and found a jagged wound at the bottom of her ribcage. He yanked off his own fire-damaged shirt and used the cleanest part of it to apply pressure. Then the ship gave a shudder, and the lights went out.
By demonstrating incredible patience and ingenuity, Vala had managed to work loose a mattress spring. Straightening the rusty metal proved an even greater challenge. It had no doubt held this shape for decades, and she had to be wary of the sharp edges.
Daniel quite unhelpfully sat like a lump and watched her efforts. "Don't cut yourself. I'm sure this mattress is teeming with microbes."
"Do you expect me to be touched by your concern?"
"I was hoping for something more like caution, actually. Watch where you're pointing that thing."
"You could help, you know, I'm just trying to get us out of here."
"Thanks, but I'd rather wait for the SGC to prove our case. Less chance of getting shot."
"If we're still here when they get around to that, I hope they send a real lawyer," Vala said. "I'm not a fan of your legal skills."
"Hey, you could show a little appreciation. I've gotten you off more than once."
"If only that were true," she muttered. "A girl could die of boredom locked up with you."
He combined a glare and an eye roll in a way that was either infuriating, or endearing. Or both, really.
She froze as footsteps echoed in the hallway, and hopped up on the cot to hide the damage. One of the other cell doors opened, then closed again with an ominous clunk. Then the heavier footsteps retreated, and Vala could hear low voices from the next cell.
Daniel stood up to listen, and she followed him.
"Bad news," Cam said through the wall. "They've tossed Cicero in here for believing us. Worse news, he says they've buried the gate."
"There's a certain logical failure there," Daniel said. "If they don't believe us, why bury the stargate?"
"Bureaucracy," Teal'c said.
"Anyway," Mitchell said. "Our only hope lies in Stargate Command sending a ship."
"Yeah," Daniel said. "That could take a while."
"Leave it to me," Vala said. "I'll have us out of here in no time."
"Then what?" Daniel asked. "We wait for them to invent space travel so we can steal a ship?"
She ignored the fact that he had a point. "One step at a time, darling."
Jack hastily fixed a makeshift bandage to Carter's ribcage, working by feel, and then groped his way to their packs to retrieve a flashlight. Much better. The other ship had stopped firing, so he made the time to drag their unconscious guests to the rings and secure them until they had power again.
Then he returned to Carter's side.
"Good, you're awake."
"If you say so, sir." She tried to move.
He laid a hand on her uninjured arm. "Stay still, you're pretty banged up."
"Yeah." She winced. "I got that part."
He aimed the flashlight at his hasty bandaging job. The blood had soaked through the shirt he'd used. "What hurts the most?"
She lifted her burned arm and hissed at the pain. "My shoulders, I think. I really need to sit up."
"Yeah, okay." He opened a package of gauze. "Just let me make sure you're done bleeding first."
At her nod, he pulled the blood soaked fabric away from her side, irrigated the wound with antiseptic, and packed it with gauze. To his relief, the heavy bleeding had stopped, and it seemed free of foreign objects. "Is this from the explosion, or the fight?"
"I didn't think he'd left more than a few bruises," she said. "It figures, I'd almost healed from that staff blast."
He noticed a tremor in her voice, and swore silently. Between the wound and the burns, she was at risk for shock, and he'd neglected to so much as fetch a blanket. "Hang on, I'll be right back."
The closet-sized sleeping quarters smelled funny. Sort of a sweet chemical odor, like magic markers. Possibly with a hint of burnt popcorn. Something about it tickled the back of his mind as a warning sign, but he couldn't quite remember what it was meant to warn against. A poison, maybe?
He made sure to close the door. "Carter, what is it that smells like magic markers?"
"Is it cyanide?" He wrapped the blankets around her.
"No sir, you're thinking of almonds. Is this really important right now?"
"I hope not," he said. "We have enough problems, but something smells funky in the sleeping area. I'm guessing the burnt popcorn smell has something to do with our little explosion, but -- "
"Kassa." Carter sighed. "I'll bet she was smuggling kassa. We didn't have time to pull up the floor and look for hidden compartments."
"Great," Jack said. "That's just what this day needed. Evil corn." He went to work smearing antibiotic ointment on Carter's burns. "That explains the invading thugs. Just how dangerous is that stuff -- do we deal with it before or after we fix the lights?"
"We should probably check on life support first." Her breath sounded fast and shallow, but she was quick enough to snag his flashlight. "You'd better save some of that antibiotic for yourself."
He looked down at his own blistering arm. "Yep. Peachy."
Once they were both patched up, they headed for the engine room. Jack wrapped his good arm around Carter's waist and she leaned into him as they walked. When they reached the ladder, he went first, and spotted her as she climbed down one-handed.
He caught her as she stumbled. "You okay?"
"I'm not doing so well," she admitted. "I'm going to have to talk you through this."
"Right." He tried to pretend that didn't worry him, and helped her sit down against the wall. "What do I do first?"
She said a bunch of words he couldn't even pretend to follow.
She pointed in the dark. "Aim the flashlight right there. Okay, good. Now pull out the crystals one at a time, and show them to me."
The very first one made her swear.
"You need to replace it before we run out of oxygen." She managed to point him to a storage container before passing out.
"There's only one thing you're going to accomplish if you insist on doing that," Daniel said wearily. "You'll be ensuring that all of this planet's future prisoners are denied mattresses."
She turned around and pointed at the cot. "You mean that monstrosity? They should thank me."
He refused to admit she had a point. "Vala, we don't know anyone on this planet, they've buried the stargate, and they don't have any ships. You're planning to escape to where, exactly?"
"You said all of that before." She returned to her attempts at lock picking, which for better or worse were hampered by her inability to actually reach the lock.
"It's not like I have anything better to do," she said. "I can't even take a nap. You're hogging the only cot."
"If you wanted one of your own, then you shouldn't have convinced the guard we were married."
"I had to -- they might have separated us."
"Besides." He poked at the torn mattress and its rapidly decreasing population of rusty springs. "You did a pretty good job breaking this cot anyway."
"And whose fault is that, darling?"
He blinked at her. "Yours."
"Wrong. You're the one who's too much of a prude to enjoy the benefits of sharing a cot. So it's your fault that I got bored and broke it."
"Right." Daniel sighed. "It's going to be a long night, isn't it?"
"Indeed," Teal'c said from the next cell.
Daniel sighed again, and ignored Mitchell's snickering.
Jack glared at the large collection of nearly identical crystals. Squinted was more accurate, considering his flashlight's shortcomings. He wondered what would happen if he stopped carefully comparing each crystal to the one he was trying to replace, and instead just jammed them into the slot at random until something worked.
A fine plan, in theory, except he wasn't exactly clear on what was supposed to happen, so he'd have a little trouble telling when one did work.
He tried it anyway, and managed to eliminate a few that just plain didn't fit. "Ya know, Carter, now would be a good time to wake up."
He'd done everything he could for her, and he refused to worry. Okay, he refused to worry until they had life support again. Then he'd do some quality fretting. But for now, he reminded himself that her pulse was steady, the bleeding had stopped, and her burns didn't qualify as life threatening. Besides, she was Carter. She'd survived worse.
When staring at her expectantly failed to wake her, he went back to staring at the crystals. Maybe they should have brought along a stray technician or two after all.
"Hey." He crawled over to her, crystals in hand. "Welcome back."
"That one," she said. She barely glanced at the things.
"How did you do that?"
"Ah." He tried the crystal, and it slid into place without resistance. "Hey, it works." He frowned as nothing seemed to happen. "Maybe."
"Have you checked the other crystals?" Carter asked.
"Doh." He pulled out the next one down and squinted at it. "Okay, how do I tell if it needs replacing?"
She hissed softly with pain.
"Hey, don't get up."
"Yeah, I think you're right. Just bring it here."
They worked like that for over an hour, and Jack feared his growing lightheadedness might have something to do with oxygen depletion. Unless luck was on their side, and he just had some internal bleeding or something. "That's it. There aren't more crystals to replace. Why isn't it doing anything?"
"Something else must be wrong," Carter said. "Help me up."
He frowned, not liking the way she looked at all. But it wasn't like they had a better choice. "Yeah, okay."
With Jack's help, Carter slid under one of the panels and started poking around. "I can't do this. I need your help."
"As much fun as it might be to try, there's not room under there for two."
"Then pull me out."
They switched places, and Jack tried to ignore Carter's pale face, shiny with perspiration. Hang in there, Sam, I'm going to worry extra hard just as soon as we have air to breathe. "Okay, now what?"
She gave him instructions. He even recognized most of the words as English.
"Okay," he said. "I'm loosening the shiny round thingamajig now." He gave it a twist. No wonder Carter had bailed so fast. He had to use both hands, and even then it took most of his strength.
"Careful, sir, when you -- "
The shiny round thingamajig fell on his face. "Doh."
"Right," Carter said. "Now do you see a red thing?"
"The red thing shaped like a spoon, or the red thing shaped like Marge Simpson's hair?"
"The hair. You need to pull that out very carefully."
He frowned at her tone. "How carefully?"
"Third degree burn carefully," she answered. "Irony not intended."
"Sure." He very, very carefully pulled Marge Simpson's hair. "Now what do I do with it?"
"Pass it out here."
He did. Very, very carefully.
"Okay, now I need to see," she said. "Aim the flashlight out here."
With a little bit of trial and error, he managed. "Is it -- " He realized that he had absolutely no idea what to ask about the condition of an alien doohickey shaped like Marge Simpson's hair.
"It's fine." She talked him through a dozen more maneuvers, all involving parts shaped like cartoon characters. He started to wonder if Matt Groening might have goa'uld connections.
He shared the thought with Carter, and felt absurdly proud of her when she didn't need to ask who Matt Groening was -- he always knew Carter could learn to appreciate the finer things in life.
"Replace the shiny round thing, and I'll try it again." She reached for the flashlight. "Cross your fingers, sir."
Once he'd extracted himself, he did just that, and held his breath just for good measure.
"Let there be light." Carter pressed a crystal into place.
The engine room was bathed in light. Or if not actually bathed, at least they could now see without the flashlight.
"I always knew you were special, Carter. Now can you turn water into beer?"
"Maybe later," she said. "Right now I could really use a nap, so I hope it's your turn to drive."
He remembered that worrying he'd promised to do, and frowned at her. "Just how bad is it? We could turn around, if -- "
She shook her head. "No, I'll be okay. Let's go get the guys before Vala orchestrates a jail break, or worse yet, Daniel tries to play lawyer. From what we heard, that first contact has gone badly enough already."
The screaming of the alarm deafened them as they ran. If only Cicero had agreed to come with them. They'd lost a good three minutes trying to convince him, and another whole minute convincing Mitchell to ignore Cicero's attempts to convince them to lock themselves up again. Vala had a knack for convincing people of things, quite often she even enjoyed it, but she found it a much more entertaining activity when she wasn't in the middle of an escape.
This particular escape had started to feel wrong. For all the clanging and screeching, Vala noticed a distinct absence of well armed guards blocking corridors. In her experience, when security people failed to split up so she could quite conveniently deal with them one at a time, they tended to gather together in very inconvenient little armies. Usually near vital exits.
And unless she was seriously off her game, they were approaching a vital exit now.
She caught Daniel's arm, and they all slowed.
"Call me crazy," Mitchell said. "But this smells like a trap."
The door in question stood slightly ajar, surrounded on both sides by large trash containers, but otherwise unguarded. As traps went, it did seem a little obvious. A silent alarm might have sold it, but either the door opened into an enclosed courtyard of some kind, or it concealed the business end of an armed camp.
"If we go out there, we're going to get shot," Daniel said. "Anyone disagree?"
Vala chose another door, a heavy metal one covered in grime, and shoved it open with a grinding screech. "Aha!"
"That's a janitor's closet," Daniel said.
Vala backed out again, brandishing a mop. "This will do." She tiptoed down the corridor, the mop held firmly in front of her, and slipped around one of the rubbish bins. Then she flattened herself against the wall, and once the others had done the same, she poked the mop head out the door.
"Hands up," a voice said behind them. "We have you surrounded."
While Carter slept, Jack considered heading back to Earth. For all he knew, SG-1 had rescued themselves by now. Or maybe they were just cooling their heels in a nice alien jail, waiting for rescue. Sure, they could have gotten themselves into deeper trouble by now, but he had faith in his team.
Well, he had faith in Teal'c. Daniel, for all his brilliance, could get downright sloppy when ruins of some kind were involved, and the other two weren't exactly his team. He liked them both well enough, and they seemed capable, but they weren't exactly Carter. His mind ran in circles, and it kept returning to that same point.
Steady pulse, he reminded himself, repeating it in his head like a demented mantra. She was just banged up. She'd lived through worse. They'd all lived through worse.
When she woke up and joined him, he felt a little better, at least until he looked at her face. He'd never seen Carter look so pale, and he'd seen her live through some pretty rough stuff. Really bad stuff that he usually avoided thinking about, but he could recite every incident. He'd just spent the better part of a day doing a mental inventory of them.
"That's it," he said. "The guys will have to tough it out a while longer. I'm turning this car around."
"They could have at least bothered with a trial," Mitchell said. "A nice little kangaroo court. Add a little showmanship to the execution."
"Too much publicity," Teal'c said. "They wish to dispose of us quietly."
"I'm sorry." Vala's voice shook a little. "I'm so sorry. I let you down, I've let you all down. Daniel, you trusted me, and -- "
"No, you haven't let me down. Not at all." Daniel took her hand, and threaded their fingers together. "It's okay, Vala. This is not your fault." He studied her face, and tried to smile. "Besides, I always knew I'd die this way. By firing squad, holding your hand."
An alien official gave the order to raise arms. A dozen projectile weapons clicked into readiness.
Vala smiled brightly, her eyes a little misty. "Holding my hand? Really?"
"Yes, really," he admitted, and immediately realized he'd live to regret it, because someone was beaming them up.
They materialized on a cargo ship, and Daniel barely had time to notice Jack in the pilot's seat before Vala dropped his hand and rushed over to displace Jack. A moment later, their packs materialized on the deck, along with a few stray items which Daniel guessed had happened to be on the same table.
"How did you . . . "
"Radioactive tracer." She dropped to her knees beside the packs and began digging. "You could be helping, you know." She flung a hairdryer, a Rubik's cube, and a novel onto the floor, then rose triumphantly with a goa'uld healing device. "Never mind!"
That's when Daniel noticed Sam, deathly pale and wrapped in a blanket at the weapons station. She smiled at him. "Hi, Daniel."
Vala settled down in front of her, and got to work.
"I think I love your girlfriend," Jack said.
"She's not my girlfriend," Daniel said.
"And yet I never see you holding hands with Teal'c."
"Special circumstances," Daniel said. "We were about to die."
Jack nodded. "That's a new one."
"Thank you," Sam said to Vala as the color returned to her cheeks. "I owe you one."
"Not really," Vala said. "We were just about to get shot."
Sam laughed and nodded. "Of course you were."
"Anyway," Mitchell said. "That little disappearing act ought to settle their little issue regarding the existence of aliens."
"Perhaps we should have left them a souvenir." Teal'c held up Vala's book. "This would have been appropriate."
"The X-Files?" Daniel turned to Vala. "I thought that was a television show."
"Oh, they have novels too. You'd like that one. It has archaeological things in it. Of course, they come to life and start killing people, so it's probably not historically accurate."
"Or it's more accurate than the author intended." Daniel took the novel from Teal'c and flipped it over to skim the description. He shuddered at his own memories of the Central American jungle. "Don't you get enough of this kind of thing in real life?"
"This is an interesting change," Vala said. "Usually you're the one with your nose in a book, and I'm the one begging you to get a life."
"That's not quite what I meant."
"Pfft, details." She flashed one of her more dangerous grins, stepped closer, and dropped her voice to a whisper. "So tell me, darling, in what other scenarios do you imagine holding my hand?"
"Just the one," he lied cheerfully. "And I'm sure it'll happen eventually."
"Jokes aside, I really do appreciate what you said down there. Thank you, Daniel."
Daniel found himself threading their fingers together again, and this time, he couldn't quite regret it. "You're welcome, Vala, and for the record, I meant what I said. However, next time we're in prison -- "
"Oh, you know there will be a next time, and when it happens, please don't cannibalize the mattress."
She grinned. "Remember what I told you. How I treat the mattress is entirely up to you."
"This is nice." Jack stretched out on Carter's bed and tucked his hands behind his head. "Remind me to thank Vala. This beats the heck out of those rock hard chairs in the infirmary."
Carter sauntered back into the room, clearly aware of the effect she created by slipping into something a little more comfortable. "I wonder how those kassa smugglers are enjoying P2A-347."
"You expect me to talk shop when you look like that?"
She smiled wickedly. "Shall we pick up where we left off?"
"As I recall, when we were so rudely interrupted, I was out cold. Literally, too, since you were hogging the covers. Let's rewind a couple of hours instead."
"Sounds like a plan." She crawled across the bed and kissed him.
"An excellent plan." He let his fingers slide up the back of her something a little more comfortable, grateful to Vala for restoring the expanse of smooth, healthy skin. And grateful for the larger miracle, too, because he'd never stop being amazed by the fact that Sam Carter shared his bed.
He paused. "You remembered to unplug the telephone, right?"
She laughed. "Do you want me to lie to you?"
"And here I thought you were the brains of the operation. Yes, I want you to lie to me."
"In that case, I've had it permanently disconnected."
"Now that's an excellent plan." He pulled her down for a kiss, and forgot all about telephones and responsibility, at least for a while.
Similar stories include Jaunt to Paradise and Badfic!Pete and the Temple of Doom, and fans of Sam/Jack might also appreciate Xanadu and Years Ago, while fruitcake enthusiasts are encouraged to wallow in No Place Like Home and Return to Xanadu.
This transformative work constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Stargate™©, Stargate SG-1™©, and related properties are Registered Trademarks of MGM Studios. No copyright infringement intended. No profits made here. © Spiletta42, December 2009.