“So what do you think I should do?” Rodney asked. He was sat on one side of Sam as she lay on the ground of the mine, Jennifer by her feet, inspecting her damaged leg. “About Katie,” He clarified, when both women simply looked blankly at him. “You’ve been in my situation,” he waved a hand at Sam, “You must have some advice?”
Sam made a strangled sound in her throat and Jennifer stared at her briefly, before glancing back at Rodney. Her hands stopped still on her commander’s foot.
“You really know how to kick a woman when she’s down, don’t you Rodney?” Sam uttered, her face wincing slightly.
Rodney’s mouth momentarily open and closed, and he glanced at Jennifer briefly for support. Seeing the puzzled look on the doctor’s face, his mind scrambled for something to say. “I mean, you have right? With-”
Sam cut him off with a wave of her hand. “I don’t need reminding of how bad I am at relationships, Rodney...”
There was a long pause, where for a moment all that Jennifer could hear was breathing. “You were engaged?” She asked, looking over at Sam.
Sam winced again, “Yeah,” she replied, glancing briefly up at the ceiling as a wash of pain washed over her. “Hardly one of my finest moments...”
“What happened?” Jennifer asked softly. Sam met her eyes, and Jennifer shrugged slightly, backtracking a little, “Sorry, it’s none of my business...”
“Errr.....” Rodney made a strange sound and both women paused to look at him. He glanced at both their faces, wetting his lips as though to speak again. “I really need some advice here... let’s face it, who else am I going to ask?!”
“What? Other than your commanding officer? Who’s crap at dealing with men? Who has two failed engagements, and tends to fall for men who are really off limits?!”
Jennifer gazed from Sam to Rodney. They both seemed exasperated, but Sam definitely had the edge on the other scientist. She was hard pressed to work out if the pain etched on Sam’s face was from her injury or the conversation at hand.
“You leave her alone,” Sam said, resting her head back down on the ground again and staring up at the ceiling, essentially cutting Rodney off again as he was poised to speak. “You still care about her, right?” She asked, softer this time.
Rodney nodded. “Of course! That’s why I wanted to ask her in the first place...”
“But it just wasn’t right?”
Rodney shook his head. “No...”
“Then she knows that...” Sam added softly. Her hand briefly grasped his leg next to her and she peered up at him again. “Give her time, let things settle... In time she’ll come to understand that what you did was the best for you both... Just don’t....”
“What?” Rodney asked, a little indignant.
“Say too much...”
Jennifer couldn’t help but smile, unsuccessfully hiding it when Rodney threw her a look. “Well, she’s got a point...” She gestured at their commander on the floor. “You do have the tendency to ramble...”
“Rodney...” He turned back to Sam, as she sighed at him. “Learn to forgive yourself too... somewhere out there, there’s someone who... who...”
“Won’t mind your rambling?” Jennifer shot back.
Sam laughed, dipping her head back and staring up at the ceiling again. The laugh soon turned into a cough and a wince and shot of pain though, and soon both her colleagues’ eyes were on her, the conversation being forgotten and turning back to how to get them out.
A medical team met them at the gate shortly after they arrived back in Atlantis. Jennifer had managed to radio through just in time for her colleagues to arrive with a gurney and some supplies, and it wasn’t long before Sam Carter was placed on the bed and whisked away.
John Sheppard met Jennifer and Rodney at the bottom of the stairs as he raced down two at a time. “What happened?” He asked, his gaze drifting to Sam and back again at the two before him. The two shared a glance, before stepping in line with him and following their commander to the infirmary, explaining on the way.
As soon as they reached the medical bay, Rodney was led away by a nurse, and Jennifer and John automatically followed Sam as she was placed behind a curtain. Jennifer had left Dr Herbert in charge when she’d left for their offworld visit, and the young male doctor was currently assessing the situation, asking questions to both his superior and his base commander.
“I know I said I didn’t want any morphine when offworld, but I could really use some about now...” Sam bit her lip and squeezed her eyes shut as several medical staff prodded and prepped her. The pain had intensified since they’d got back to Atlantis and she could feel her vision starting to sway. Along with the dizziness, a wave of nausea hit her and she grabbed the bed sheets beneath her, unsure if was going to throw up.
“I know you must be in a lot of pain, Colonel,” Dr Herbert placed a hand on her should to keep her still, “But we’ll soon have you in surgery under an anesthetic. For now just lie still and think happy thoughts...”
She opened her eyes and shot Jennifer a look.
“Dr Herbert will take good care of you in surgery,” Jennifer declared. Sam could tell there was a hint of a smile in her voice, despite closing her eyes again.
Sam nodded mutely, knowing it was a bad idea as soon as another wave of nausea hit her. She managed one last look at Jennifer’s face, before her vision swam again. Her last thought was of Jack, before she promptly passed out.
The commissary was quiet and Jennifer managed to convince Rodney to head outside, him with the beers, her with the snacks.
“I can’t believe it was just one day down there...” Jennifer stated, taking a sip of her beer and following it up with some chips in her mouth.
“Hmmm?” Rodney asked, his face glancing over at hers.
“In the mine,” Jennifer reiterated. “It felt a lot longer than that...”
“It’s not put you off going offworld again, I hope?”
Jennifer thought about it for a moment. “We’ll see....” she threw him a smile but Rodney still seemed nervous and distracted. “Sam will be okay, you know,” She added. “She’s a tough cookie, and she’s in good hands.”
Rodney nodded. “I know...” He grabbed some chips and ate them as he mulled things over in his mind. “It was just... odd seeing her offworld again, and in that situation, you know?” He shrugged. “I’ve gotten used to her being in Atlantis all the time...”
“The two of you have known each other quite a long time, huh...”
Rodney frowned “I guess...” He looked up at the women sitting next to him, unsure whether she was enquiring about him, or Sam, or both. He opened his mouth to speak, when the door creaked behind them and out stepped John.
“Great,” Rodney muttered, the one time he gets to enjoy a beer without his team...
John appeared to smirk at him as he came to stand next to the couple. “I thought you’d both like to know that Sam is out of surgery and will be right as rain in the morning... well you know...” he waved a hand around for emphasis.
“That’s great!” Jennifer cried, and she nudged Rodney in the leg with her knee.
He shot her a look, before glancing up at John. “How’d it go with Landry?”
“He knows it was an accident,” John stated. “I told him everything is in hand, that Sam will be fine and he’s not splitting hairs or anything. He has to report it to the guys in Washington, but I don’t think that-”
“Washington?” Jennifer enquired.
John shrugged, “Homeworld security and the IOA need to be informed... But as he’ll report it to General O’Neill, I don’t think we have a problem...”
“General O’Neill?” Jennifer parroted again. Both men shared a look and frowned at her. “He was on her team right? At the SGC, back in the day...”
“Yeah...” John replied. “Why?”
“Oh... no reason...” Both men still looked at her strangely, John raising an eyebrow at her ever so slightly. Jennifer shrugged. “It’s just, he was one of the people named on her medical file, to contact, you know in case of an emergency...”
“Well,” John said, “Makes sense, they’ve been friends for years and I don’t think she has much family left on Earth...”
“I just wasn’t sure if I was meant to talk to him, that’s all...” John frowned at her again and Jennifer suddenly felt herself shrivelling up in her seat.
“Huh...” Rodney muttered, diverting both their attention onto him. He tilted his head and threw Jen a look.
John looked from one to the other. “Did something else happen down that mine that I need to know about?”
“No,” they replied in unison.
Jennifer was up early the next morning. Adrenaline was still cursing through her body and the beer last night probably didn’t help. She sat in her office, going through a few files and signing things off, when she came to Sam’s file. She picked it up and flicked through a few pages, coming to a stop on her personal details.
Yep, there it was in black and white. Next of kin – General Jack O’Neill.
Jennifer wondered how no one else on the base had figured it out.
A knock sounded on her door, and she jumped, slapping the file shut in her hands.
“Sorry,” John Sheppard looked at her a little sheepishly.
“I didn’t see you there,” she replied and stood up to greet him.
“I’m glad you’re up early,” John stated. “I’m about to talk to Homeworld Security and General O’Neill would like you to be there...”
“Me?” Jennifer squeaked out.
John merely nodded. “You’re the base CMO, so you’re in the best position to brief him of Sam’s condition.”
“But I’m not-... I don’t think-....”
John merely starred at her. “He just wants reassurance from someone who was there...” He shrugged at her.
“Oh.” And she let him lead her out into the corridor towards the control room.
“So,” John sighed, setting the pace, “How did you know?”
A flicker of surprise crossed her face and Jennifer knew it didn’t go unnoticed.
“That the General would want to speak to you?” John added.
“Oh,” Jennifer’s heart rate slowed briefly. She shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant. “Let’s just say, it’s something the Colonel said...”
When Sam awoke some time later that morning, she was dressed in white scrubs and her right leg was in plaster up to her knee. It was slightly elevated on the bed, and she shifted slightly, reaching for the control to raise her head up.
“Good to see you awake...” Jennifer cried cheerfully, coming to stand beside her bed, just as Sam was sat upright.
Sam graced her with a smile, before stifling a yawn. “How long was I out?”
“Just overnight,” Jen replied. “All went well and in a couple of weeks you should be good as new...”
“Great!” Sam glanced from the doctor, down to her leg again and wiggled her toes to reassure herself. “The sooner I can get back to things the better...”
“Colonel Sheppard will be along shortly to talk to you,” Jenifer added, glancing briefly at Sam’s chart and then making a note in her file. Once she’d finished, she noticed Sam looking at her expectantly. “Oh,” She shrugged, “He’s spoken to General Landry and Homeworld Security and just wanted to come fill you in...” She added casually.
Sam frowned, “Oh?”
Jennifer smiled, “Yeah, you know, the guys up in Washington...” She watched as the frown on Sam’s face disappeared and her commander’s face went deliberately blank. “So....” Jennifer drawled out, “Jack huh?”
Sam tried to ignore the flush that crept up her neck to her face.
“He’s pretty handsome; I can certainly see the attraction...”
Sam was pretty sure that a faint groan escaped her lips.
Jennifer threw her hands up in the air in mock surrender, when Sam shot her a look, “Hey, my lips are sealed... but um, once you’re all better, we are so having a movie night, and you are so going to tell me all about it...”
And with that she ducked out of the cubicle, leaving the curtain flapping behind her.
Sam’s head hit the pillow with a thunk.