Following The Leader Series - Part 2: Watching The Leader
Notes: This is my first Sam POV
and I’m not sure I’ve done her justice, so feedback would be appreciated.
However, no flames please. I can burn my own toast without any help, thank you.
DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and
it’s characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, Showtime/Viacom,
MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions and Gekko Productions. This story is only for
entertainment purposes and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement
is intended. Anyway, if they were mine do you think I’d let anything happen to
them? The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the
author. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the
don't know why I'm as annoyed with him as I am. He didn't do anything I
wouldn't have expected him to do and I'd like to think I could have done the
same thing myself if I was quick enough. If I was also brave enough.
However, it's almost impossible to be as quick as the Colonel though, when any
one of us is in danger. He's off, putting himself at risk, sorting out the
problem, before the rest of us have even figured out there *is* a problem.
Guess that's one of the reasons why he's such a good CO. It takes intelligence
to reach his position, although he camouflages it well, but something else too.
Something undefined that makes people follow you and he certainly has it.
I've never served under anyone better.
I want to
check him out again, just to be sure there’s nothing worse to deal with, but
already he’s giving me *that* look. The one that says quite plainly “I’m fine.
Quit worrying and go away.” The trouble is, I *do* worry, especially when it’s
him. He never worries about himself, no matter what the problem is. A little bit
of a cold, like I hope this is, or a couple of broken bones whilst dying of
hypothermia in an ice cave. It’s all the same to him, negligible until he’s seen
his team home safe and sound – before him.
Why do I worry
about him so much? I wish I knew. He never lets anyone in, never lets us know
what’s going on inside that hard head of his. I know it’s not my position to get
personal with my CO, that’s not the way the USAF work. However, we’ve all worked
so well together over the past few years, it’s almost like we’re family more
than team-mates. Plus, it’s no use denying that there is an attraction between
us, we’ve both had to admit it, even though there’s nothing we can do about it,
given our ranks.
again and Daniel’s quick to stoke up the fire we’ve got going. Both the Colonel
and Teal’c are still drying off and, although the weather here was quite warm
earlier, it’s now late evening and the temperature’s dropping rapidly. Teal’c
seems quite unfazed by his spectacular drop into the river, hardly noticing
their condition, but the Colonel’s not quite that lucky. He doesn’t have a
symbiote to ward off the symptoms, as Teal’c does. Teal’c was quite lucky, all
things considered, as I think back over events.
We’d been on
this abandoned planet for some hours, following a long disused trail across the
plain, until we’d reached the chasm with its spectacular drop down to the
gushing river several hundred yards below.
theorising for some time as to why the planet seems so deserted of any type of
life. I won’t know for sure, until I’ve tested the samples I’ve collected back
at the base. However, it seems as though the soil simply doesn’t have enough
nutrients left in it to support plant life of any value. Food chains being what
they are, without plant life there naturally won’t be a lot of animal life
either. There might, of course, still be life further away from the gate that
the UAV didn’t detect, but we’ll need to arrange for a much longer mission to
confirm that possibility.
the ravine, the Colonel debates turning around and going back home, ready to
declare the mission a wash-out, when Daniel spots what might have been building
remains on the far side. You have to admit that Daniel’s kind of cute when he
gets this exited routine going, his body and brain going at two different
speeds. I bet Sha’uri loved that look on his face, she was one lucky woman. Well
before Apophis came along anyway. The Colonel grins at his antics, which gets me
thinking. He usually grins when I get exited too, so I wonder what I look like
when my interest gets piqued? It’s a disquieting thought. Anyway, the Colonel
gives way, as he usually does, and we wander up and down for the next hour until
Teal’c sees an old rope bridge. The climb down the cliffs would have been
do-able, given an hour or so, but the water looks deep and too fast to cross, so
our CO rejects that idea. The bridge is a simple construction, with wooden
slatted boards and further ropes at waist height to hang onto. The natives must
have been a similar height to us, gauging by the scale. Daniel would have been
across it in a flash, only for the Colonel’s automatically sharp command to wait
until he’s tried it out himself first. I’ve known many CO’s who’d send junior
members of the team out to test a situation, but not the Colonel. As I said
earlier, he puts our safety before his. He’d never ask anyone to risk anything
he wouldn’t try himself first.
not to laugh, as Teal’c deliberately places himself right next to Daniel, ready
to hold him back until the Colonel gives his permission. The Colonel then
proceeds to test out the bridge, walking across it with easy, slow, graceful
steps until he reaches the far side. He comes back across just as carefully,
testing each board further, checking out the condition of the ropes, probably
considering Teal’c’s extra weight, until he’s back on our side.
it’s your lucky day, you get your wish. Teal’c first, then you, Carter and me.
Take it slow, keep within arm’s reach of each other, but only one on a slat at a
time. Got it?”
We step out
onto the swaying bridge, feeling it swing further under our combined
synchronised footsteps, until the Colonel makes us stagger our rhythms. We
certainly don’t want to cause any undue strain on the old structure. We’re half
way across when it happens. There’s a roost of flying creatures nesting in the
far side of the ravine, something we hadn’t spotted before. They’re the first
sign of life we’ve seen so far and I think they must probably feed off whatever
fish are in the river. I’m not sure why the Colonel’s previous trips hadn’t
disturbed them, unless our joint trip has sent vibrations through to their
roosts which has roused them. Or maybe it’s just that Irish luck of his, but
they’re all in the air now. Arrowing out of tiny holes in the walls of the
cliffs, they flock together and whirl in the air around us, screeching, clearly
agitated by our presence.
indicates for us to stay still, hoping the creatures will calm down, but it
seems calming down isn’t on their agenda. Flying together up and down the gorge,
they suddenly sweep towards us, heading straight for our precarious position on
the open bridge.
He hisses and we try as best as we can to keep out of their path. We’re suddenly
being swatted by hundreds of small bodies as they swarm straight through us. Up
close, they remind me more of small squirrels, than birds. Individually, they’re
no threat to us, it’s simply their vast numbers causing us problems, as they
continue to ram through us, voicing their annoyance. My heart’s in my mouth as
Daniel shouts, losing his footing, taking the brunt of the thickest contingent
of creatures. Both Teal’c and I hold onto him as he struggles to retain his grip
on the old bridge. He steadies himself and I hear the Colonel breath a sigh of
relief beside me, when the truly unthinkable happens. Teal’c wavers and somehow
slips off beside us. I can’t believe the solid Jaffa came to loose his grip,
Teal’c never seems to get into trouble! I watch as he falls, not once calling
out as he descends head first down the deep drop to the gushing water beneath.
yourself and Daniel back. That’s an order.” The Colonel’s already stripping off
his back-pack and throwing it carelessly over the side, whilst watching Teal’c’s
uncontrolled drop. Amazingly, he manages to stand upright enough for the
manoeuvre, despite the tail end of the flock still swarming through us.
“Yes Sir.” I
manage to say, as I catch one quick glance from those deep mahogany eyes. It’s a
look full of many messages, but none that I have the time to process, before he
slides through the ropes and allows himself to fall after our friend.
I struggle to
watch their progress as Daniel and I slowly make our way back across the swaying
bridge. A small part of my mind can’t help but wonder at the cost of the pack
the Colonel has casually thrown away, both financially and in relation to the
supplies within. However, I realise that he’s probably already discounted the
possibility of us being able to carry it back under these conditions, before
I’ve even thought about it.
already forgotten, we watch as the drama unfolds below us. I haven’t seen Teal’c
reappear since he hit the water. He went in at an odd angle and he still has his
back-pack weighing him down. The Colonel did as controlled an entry as he could,
under the circumstances. I can vaguely see his head, way below me, bobbing about
as he dives again and again to find our missing Jaffa. He is being swept along
by the flow of the river as it quickly takes them away from us. I manage to get
a quick glimpse of him surfacing once more, with Teal’c in his arms this time,
as the river flows around a bend, taking them both from sight altogether.
and I are back on solid ground we race along the edge of the ravine, looking
down all the while, desperately trying to follow our missing team members. The
avians have disappeared back to their roosts, apparently satisfied at protecting
their territory, and leaving us in peace. It’s now mid-afternoon and the sun is
beating down on me, making me sweat, both in heat and fear, as we continue our
frantic searches over the cliffs edge.
“Damn it!” I
can hear Daniel curse and I can only imagine the horrors going through his mind.
We are the only people he has left that he can call family, the Colonel
especially. I’ve often thought it strange that the Colonel, who guards his
privacy so jealously, has befriended our exuberant civilian so completely. On
the face of it you’d think they’d have nothing in common. The Colonel is
military through and through, even though he has a penchant for bending rules
that get in the way of completing a mission. Whilst Daniel is as anti-military
as it’s possible to get, considering he actually works for them now. They’re
like chalk and cheese and yet they’re still able to understand each other, often
communicating without the need for words.
having to pull Daniel away from the canyon lip, no mean feat considering our
different body weights, whilst desperate to find our team-mates myself.
Daniel. The Colonel won’t thank us for having an accident as well.” What I’m
really thinking is that my CO will have my hide if I let anything happen to our
civilian. He’s my priority now and the SGC wont look favourably on me losing our
He shouts back, sarcastically. “It’s OK for him to scare us witless, but not the
other way round.” He runs a further fifty yards ahead and peers over the edge
again. “Where are they?” he shouts impatiently, as I leap-frog him to check
another fifty yards further down.
both together the last time I saw them.” I try to comfort him. “We’ve just got
to carry on searching until we find where they’ve climbed ashore.” I’m
absolutely positive that the Colonel *will* be able to get to shore.
Determination is his middle name. There are others, of course, but respect for
his rank prevents me from voicing them out loud.
“And what if
they only manage to get out on the other side?” Daniel asks, fearfully, as he
passes me again.
know.” I struggle to keep my own worries under control. “We cross that bridge
when we find them. The Colonel knows which side we’re on. He’ll try his best to
get back to us.”
I race past
Daniel again and we continue this technique until I finally see two bodies
struggling ashore onto a small beach, way below us. I yell Daniel over and we
watch as the Colonel helps a groggy Teal’c out onto the shore.
They are both
alive. Thank God, although you can take your pick which one. I feel like
cheering, but settle for heaving a huge sigh of relief instead.
So many times
over the past few years we’ve come very close to running out of luck, but
somehow we’ve always managed to pull through. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost
any of these three men, but especially the Colonel. Somehow he seems the most
vulnerable of any of us. Bet that makes you laugh, doesn’t it? Anyone meeting
him for the first time would find that hard to believe, given the hard-ass,
grouchy routine he’s perfected. However, we know him better. Daniel, Teal’c and
I figured out a long while ago his act is just a way of keeping people at a
distance, where he’s safe from being hurt again. Not physically, that’s like
water off a duck’s back to him. Emotional hurt is his weakness and there’s
nothing we can do to protect him from that, although we do try when we can.
Anyhow, my one concern now is how to get down there and help our friends back up
to safety. I’ve no doubts our first order of the day will then be to get them
both back to Janet. Oh, boy, will the Colonel be pleased about that!
and I watch for a few relieved moments as, far below us, the Colonel and Teal’c
lie down to rest after their exertions. I holler down to them and, although I
can’t hear anything that the Colonel shouts back, over the noise of the river,
he waves to us, assuring us they’re both OK. I can’t see Teal’c’s back-pack, so
that means we’re down to half our supplies for the return journey. Spying out
the cliff beneath us, I can see it’s actually quite a rough surface and should
be easy to scale down. It’s too deep for our ropes, so we’ll have to climb down
without that particular safety precaution.
“You OK with
this Daniel?” I ask him and he gives me a pained expression back.
it’s a pyramid.” He mocks, as he slides easily over the edge and starts the long
Guess I forgot
for a moment that not all training is gained through the military and I quickly
follow him over the edge. As I thought, there are plenty of hand and foot holds
to grab onto and there’re no problems going down. The only difficulty is the
distance involved and it takes over an hour to get all the way down to where our
soggy friends are sitting patiently, waiting for us.
My muscles are
complaining by the time we reach the bottom, despite the ease of descent. Once
my feet hit the sandy beach the Colonel somehow managed to find, I can see that
Teal’c is still a little bit dazed.
“He’s OK, just
a little winded.” The Colonel assures me. “He’ll be as right as rain soon, won’t
you big guy?”
gives him a slight nod, too exhausted to do anything else. I guess that explains
why they didn’t attempt to climb out. They’re both wet through though and I
can’t help but be bothered about that, as the temperature’s already starting to
drop for the evening.
had already started collecting driftwood together, but hasn’t lit anything yet,
so I guess his matches must have been in his back-pack. Part of me is sure that
if Daniel and I hadn’t been on the way down, he’d have found some other way to
light the fire. I can just imagine him rubbing two sticks together like a
boy-scout. Then I quickly dash that image – the Colonel is certainly no
boy-scout! We can both see how tired he is though, Teal’c’s no featherweight,
and Daniel tells him to rest, whilst he continues to search for firewood. Plenty
of combustible material is piled up along the water’s edge and we have a brief
discussion about the origins of the wood. None of us had spotted any trees on
the plain up above. However, mystery as it is, at least Daniel soon has a fire
going and we’re able to hustle the Colonel and Teal’c nearer its warmth.
I can’t help
but grin at the look on his face when I tell the Colonel to ‘strip’.
“It’s not as
though I don’t appreciate the offer, Carter, but we do have guests present.” He
laughs back as both he and Teal’c remove their outer garments and place them by
the fire to dry off.
Daniel takes off his jacket and tries to pass it over to our half naked leader,
but the Colonel shakes his head.
You’ll need it yourself. The temperature’s dropping already.”
“Yes, but I’m
not the one who’s shivering after going for an afternoon dip.” He throws the
jacket at the Colonel anyway, who catches it, but still hesitates. “I promise
I’ll put it back on as soon as yours is dry. Deal?”
hesitates a moment longer, then turns around to Teal’c, the jacket still in his
outstretched hand. “How’re you doing buddy?”
“I will be
fine O’Neill. DanielJackson’s jacket will not be large enough for my body and my
symbiote will prevent me from suffering the effects of the temperature.”
you’re out-voted, Sir.” I quip and he turns back to me as he shrugs himself into
the borrowed warmth.
I pull over
our two remaining back-packs and take out both sleeping bags from them, passing
them over too. I don’t need to suggest they climb inside to conserve body heat
and they’re both soon wrapped up and drying off nicely.
watches from his curled up position by the fire, as I remove the Primus Stove
from my back-pack and proceed to warm up some MREs. I’m keen to get something
warm inside the pair of them and it won’t do Daniel or I much harm either, as
the sun starts to set.
the tent.” The Colonel muses out loud as he watches the clouds above us. That
piece of kit was in Teal’c’s pack, but the weather looks as though it ought to
for the loss of my equipment, O’Neill.”
they’ll probably just take it outta my pay.” He replies, not really noticing the
look of regret that crosses over Teal’c’s face. He’s too busy watching the
skies, probably waiting for the first stars to appear. He loves to watch the
night skies wherever we are, trying to see if he recognises anything, trying to
place himself in the universe. You’ve no idea how many off world constellations
have been added to the records at the SGC after he’s named them. It’s like this
thing he has with planet designations. He drives me crazy with refusing to
remember them, but he’ll come up with a name and always manage to remember that.
It’s enough to drive any mathematician mad, but his attitude seeps into the
machine and months down the line half the references will be the new names he’s
given them. Take this planet for instance. It’ll probably end up being called
‘Deep Drop’, or something equally inane, at least from the Pentagon’s point of
“Then I must
offer you some form of restitution. I am already in your debt for your
assistance earlier. How may I repay your losses?”
“Huh?” is the
reply our illustrious leader gives him, as first a frown crosses his features
and then a huge grin appears. “Teal’c,” he laughs, “the only payment I’m
interested in is seeing you safe and sound on terra-firma.”
his mouth at that, but the Colonel cuts him off before the linguist has a chance
to say what’s on his mind.
whatever-firma this happens to be.”
his mouth again, laughing quietly to himself and wanders off again in search of
cooking?” The Colonel asks, staring over the flames towards me.
noodle soup.” I say, struggling to read the packet in the waning light.
probably going to taste like macaroni cheese then?”
I can’t answer
that, as he’s probably right anyway. I don’t know why they bother to label the
packets. Cardboard tastes the same, no matter how you package it. Teal’c somehow
manages to cross his legs in the sleeping bag and drifts off into a light
meditative trance, no doubt resting after his exertions and I notice the Colonel
slyly watching him. His gaze then travels back up the cliffs again and I
suddenly realise he’s probably not watching out for the early evening stars, but
probably checking the security of the area.
“It’s an easy
climb, Sir.” I tell him, hoping to allay at least some of his worries.
“I’m sure it
is, Carter, just checking to see if they are any more of those flying rats
about. Thought I’d skewer one for supper.”
His eyes are
gleaming again and it never ceases to amaze me how he manages to make light of
any situation, diminishing our worries and helping us to relax. Actually, most
of what he does amazes me. He puts on this ‘don’t ask me, I’m a dumb ass’
expression, making us evaluate every possible contingency and then he’s in the
thick of the solution, pulling everyone together. He suddenly shivers and I
quickly pour out the soup and pass it around. The last thing I want is for him
to catch a cold. It’s going to be a tiring enough climb upwards tomorrow,
without him having the shakes too.
I guess that’s
when I started to get angry with him. I shouldn’t be and I have no right to be.
It’s completely irrational. He’s done his job, protected a member of his team
and I have no rights to second guess his command decisions. I certainly don’t
want to lose Teal’c and someone had to go in after him. The Colonel’s far
stronger than me and a better swimmer than any of us, so what else was he going
to do? Wait a few valuable minutes before deciding Teal’c wasn’t coming straight
back up? I realise I’m being very selfish and very unfair towards Teal’c.
It’s just that
from my point of view, the Colonel sometimes seems to act without thinking a
situation through. His tendency to rush straight into action often seems unsound
to me, his behaviour completely polar to the way I would react. Yet even as I
mull this over, I know it’s not that simple. I’ve been on plenty of missions
when something’s gone sour and the Colonel’s already reacting to the problems,
whilst I’m still thinking my way through the pros and cons. As our CO, he
doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for all the theorising that Daniel and I can
come up with. Sometimes I wonder if we’re just a little *too* intelligent for a
field unit. He doesn’t need the complete A to Z of a solution, just the abridged
version, it’s all he has time for. Life can disappear very quickly out here.
He’s able to extract the pertinent data he needs and is making lightening quick
decisions, that I simply can’t match in situ. It probably explains why he’s
still active, after all these years. Most soldiers of his age are flying a desk
by now, having never reached his rank, and certainly without his commendations.
Jack-of-all-trades, that’s what he is. He doesn’t need to be a master of any,
given the intellectual resources he has at the SGC, although I know he’s more
intelligent than he lets on. One day I’ll look up his qualifications, if it’s
not classified, like most of his service record is.
I wonder if
part of me is jealous of his skills in the field. His ability to stop thinking
and simply act, when there isn’t the time for anything else. I certainly admire
him and doubt I could ever be as good a leader as he is, able to make the hard
decisions and live with them, because that’s the hard part. Living with
decisions afterwards, when there’s no one else to blame. He’s taught me a lot,
that’s for certain. His ‘never leave anyone behind’ tenet is now almost
mandatory throughout the base. Most personnel are in awe of him, especially the
funny watching the daggers being thrown my way by the female staff of the SGC,
envious of my familiarity with the Colonel. I certainly seem to be working with
the three most wanted men on the base and you know what’s really hysterical? Not
one of them seems to realise it. Teal’c has his family and would never dream of
being unfaithful to them. It wouldn’t be honourable. Daniel has no room in his
heart for anyone after Sha’uri and as for the Colonel? I think he’s frightened
to admit there might still be a heart inside him capable of feeling love again.
The sun has
finally set and I’m brought back to the present to see a pair of deep dark eyes
staring at me, pensively. The fire lights up his face, highlighting his features
and I’m reminded once again how striking looking he is, although he’d probably
laugh if I told him so.
you’ve no problems with that then?” There’s a challenge in his voice and I
realise I’ve drifted through a fair portion of the evening’s conversation.
Teal’c is once again deep in meditation and Daniel is trying hard not to grin.
Why do I feel like I’m being set up here?
“With what?” I
can only sigh in return.
“Your turn to
buy the steaks when we get back. We took a vote.”
to none, was it, Sir?”
actually, Teal’c got two votes because of Junior, so it was a full house.”
“OK, you got
me, but I pick the place.” This time it will be somewhere with more than bare
floorboards and beer stained tables.
shivers again and Daniel grabs his clothes back from next to the fire. “They’re
dry again, Jack. Get dressed, you’re shaking enough to cause a landslide.”
is getting quite chilly away from the fire now. The Colonel grabs his gear and
takes off Daniel’s jacket, handing it back to him, which Daniel puts back on
“Hey, T, time
to get dressed.” He nudges the Jaffa back to awareness and they both get back
into their clothes. Teal’c appears to have fully recovered by now, so we split
up the night shifts and Daniel goes first. He likes to write up his notes in his
journals whilst everything is still fresh in his mind and I volunteer to go
next. The Colonel picks third, which I know is because he considers the early
hours the most dangerous, and Teal’c gets last. Despite his objections, Daniel
and I agree to let the Colonel and Teal’c keep the sleeping bags, just to be on
the safe side. We’ll just have to curl up nearer the fire overnight.
morning and, by the time we’re all getting ready for breakfast, it’s obvious the
Colonel is coming down with a cold. He’s shivering and sneezing, despite trying
his best to cover the signs up. Typically, he refuses any medication, insisting
he can wait until we get back to base and we pack everything back up again.
Teal’c volunteers to take one of the back-packs and Daniel grabs the other
before our CO can snag it. He glares at them, convinced they’re coddling him and
I have to look away, grinning, as I too would have done the same thing if I’d
been near enough.
It’s a long
haul back up to the top and the Colonel has to stop several times to catch his
breath. He’s shaking slightly from the cold and trying to stifle any sniffles
and coughs, knowing they’ll loosen his hold on the rock-face. He refused my
suggestion of a safety rope, accurately pointing out that even Teal’c wouldn’t
be able to keep a strong enough grip on this surface, if he lost his. It’s rough
enough for hand-holds, but not secure enough to hold onto someone else’s weight
finally rolled himself over the top, I suggest we stop for a breather. He gives
me *that* look and says in his most sarcastic tone.
Major, let’s get going.”
believe that man, sometimes! It’s obvious he’s not up to par, yet he refuses to
admit there’s anything wrong. Does he think we’ll consider any less of him, just
because he’s caught a cold like the rest of us mere mortals? Daniel comes to my
“Who cares if
*you’re* fine, Jack. *I* need a rest.”
“Oh!” is the
Colonel’s dumbfounded reply and he looks suitably chagrined as he sits back
down, heavily. Daniel shares a brief smile at Teal’c and I, that the Colonel
misses completely, luckily.
minutes, you can tell the Colonel’s getting angsty to be on the move again, so
we get back to our feet and strike off back to the gate.
“I’ll see if I
can authorise another trip back to those ruins for you.” He says to Daniel and
our archaeologist’s face lights up like it’s Christmas. “Although how we’re
going to get past the honour guard beats me for the moment.”
Daniel would have loved to have gone back then and there, but even the Colonel
realises he ought to go back and get checked out. The smallest cold, caught
off-world, can turn out to be something a lot more serious, if not dealt with
It takes a few
hours to get back and we stop twice for a break. Each time the Colonel looks
grateful for the rest, though he says nothing. Daniel has taken to passing
tissues across, as the sneezes start in earnest, which he takes silently. I
manage to place my hand on his forehead at one point, before he flinches away,
and I can feel he’s warmer than usual. Teal’c looks darn-right guilty by now,
but says nothing, knowing the Colonel hates to be the centre of attention.
back at the DHD, Daniel quickly dials us home and, after waiting for the signal
to proceed, we’re quickly through the wormhole and stepping out onto the ramp at
the other side. The General is quick to greet us.
SG1. Did you have a good mission?”
“Got some good
diving in, Sir.” The Colonel is quick to reply with a grin, before he sneezes
violently and the General is quick to eye up the condition of his 2IC.
“I think you’d
better get yourselves down to the infirmary. We’ll debrief later.”
Both the Colonel and I reply. Teal’c bows and Daniel says, “That’s a good idea.
Come on Jack, Janet’s waiting.”
Is the almost silent response.
later and Janet’s quick to notice why we’ve all stayed two feet behind our CO.
His colour’s been fading on the walk back to the gate and it’s obvious he’s not
well, even before he sneezes again.
Colonel, let’s get you checked out first.”
resigned to whatever fate our CMO has in store for him and Janet nods a couple
of other nurses over to deal with the rest of our medical checks.
Over an hour
later and we’re still waiting for news on him. We’ve been checked out A-OK, had
showers, grabbed a snack and we’re still hanging about the infirmary. The
General came down once and, after getting a brief resume of the mission, has
returned to his office. He knows Janet will inform him of any problems as soon
as she’s finished. We’re starting to get worried at the long wait, when she
appears and puts our minds at rest.
“Well, it’s a
nasty cold he’s got, but the tests show nothing unusual, so I’ve signed him off
for the rest of the week. I’ve told him to come back and see me on Monday, to
see how he’s recovering, but he doesn’t need to stay on base. I’m going to send
him home, as long as someone stays with him for a day or two, just in case.”
go.” I’m quick to volunteer, earning myself a sideways grin off Daniel and a
puzzled bow off Teal’c. Looking after a sickly Colonel is not to be undertaken
“I see the
medical didn’t find anything wrong with you Teal’c.” she carries on. “How do you
“I am well,
DoctorFraiser and am now fully recovered, thanks to ColonelO’Neill’s
Colonel should be dressed by now. I’ve already told the General I’d be asking
someone to go home with him, so it should be OK for you to leave now.”
“You go with
him, Sam, Teal’c and I will see to the General. We know where to find you if we
re-enter the ward first though, as Daniel and Teal’c will both want to see with
their own eyes that the Colonel is OK. He’s looking a little flushed now, but
he’s already fully dressed and lacing up his boots. There’s a pile of medication
on the table next to him and I’m not the only one to spot that he makes to leave
without picking them up.
these are for you, O’Neill.” Teal’c says as he collects the various items and
hands them over to me.
notices the move and looks at me, head on one side.
“So I guess
I’m going home with company then?” He asks, just before a sneeze stops any
further questioning. He doesn’t seem to mind the baby-sitter for a change
either. I guess he’s just glad Janet’s not making him stay in the infirmary.
“Yes, Sir.” I
smile back, as I fall into step beside him. Daniel and Teal’c bid us farewell
and I’m soon in the elevator, starting the first stage of the journey back up to
back in his Jeep is mostly silent, except for his cold. He handed me the keys
without any arguing, which speaks volumes for how tired he is. It’s not long
before we’re unlocking his front door and are inside the house. It doesn’t
escape my notice how he efficiently eyes the place up before he wanders around.
Even in his own house his instincts don’t desert him and he doesn’t relax until
he’s sure no-one’s been here in his absence.
I like the
Colonel’s home. It reflects his personality quite well. Not too cluttered on the
surface, light and airy, but if you know where to look there’s a wealth of
goodies to be found. Take his telescope deck, for instance, it’s all hand built
and we’ve spent many a relaxed evening up there watching the stars, drinking to
missing comrades. It seems a large house for just one person and I often wonder
why he doesn’t get a smaller place. Then again, he holds so many gatherings here
for the staff at the SGC, not just us, his team, that a smaller place just
wouldn’t do. Plus it’s quite close to the base and he needs to be close in case
of emergencies. You wouldn’t think the Colonel could cope with all the paperwork
his 2IC position at the SGC entails, but I guess he manages it somehow.
to whatever.” He invites as he heads over to the stairs. “I’m gonna lie down.”
your medication, Sir?” I ask as I deposit the various packets down on the
kitchen counter. He hasn’t even bothered to look at them.
“Oh, I’m sure
you can find somewhere to store them.” I can hear the smirk in his voice as he’s
already half way up the stairs and a few seconds later I can hear a door being
opened up above me.
I check out
the packets, noting the instructions printed on each one and pop a couple of
pills before filling a glass of water and taking them up to the master bedroom.
He has two spare bedrooms and I know I’ll take the one I usually have – the
single. The other room has a double bed in it and Teal’c and Daniel often share
that one when we stay over. Considering how close we all bunk up when on
missions, sharing a double is hardly an inconvenience for them. Besides, the
Colonel would probably KO anyone who suggested there was anything other than
comradeship between the team.
door is still ajar and I can see the Colonel’s already in the bed, the dark blue
sheets half way up his bare chest. His clothes have been hastily dropped onto
the bedside chair and he already looks half asleep.
somewhere to put the pills, Sir.” I warn him before I enter.
reminds me yet again.
you go, Sir.”
He opens his
eyes to me, a mild reproach in them for the ‘Sir’ no doubt and he eyes the
“I don’t want
them, Sam. I’ll be fine.”
“I’m sure you
will. After you have your pills.”
He sighs. “I’m
not gonna win this one, am I?” he asks.
sooner we get you well, the less I’ll have to put up with Daniel driving me
crazy about those ruins.”
sneezing again and reaches for the box of tissues by the bed.
“So if I take
these, I’m not taking them for my benefit, but for yours then, huh?” he grins at
me, which is a bit difficult as he’s blowing his nose at the same time.
to me. Now sit up a moment so you don’t spill this down the bed.”
“Yes, mom.” He
reaches out for the glass and pills, which he now downs without protest.
I watch as he
settles back down, reminded once more of how much he’s lived through by the
scars that pepper his skin. How many of those marks were gained by putting
someone else first? Could I have enough stamina to survive all that? Could I
keep getting up, coming back for more? Could I have taken that dive?
done it too, you know.” He says as he closes his eyes.
Teal’c. Just ‘cause I got there quickest, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have done
the same thing.”
I can’t answer
him, because: a) I’m surprised he always seems to know what I’m thinking, and b)
I’m not convinced I’m heroic enough to have done a stunt like that.
your time thinking too much about it, Sam. When I’m around, your thinking’s not
a problem, it’s what you are and I make full use of that. I need you to be the
way you are, to tell me things I can’t see myself --- If I hadn’t been around
though, you’d have moved up a gear, skipped straight past the analysing stage
and gone in instead.”
“How can you
be so sure of me when I’m not?”
He opens those
deep brown eyes at me again, slightly blurry at the moment because of the
temperature he’s running, but the look is as strong as steel.
“I know, Sam,
because it’s what *I* do.” He sneezes again and closes his eyes once more. “I’d
be a pretty crap CO if I didn’t know my team, or what they’re capable of. Sure,
you haven’t got my experience, but you haven’t got my years yet either. It’ll
come, don’t sweat it. Now go and find something to amuse yourself with, I’m
S--- Jack. I’ll see you later.”
He only half
grunts back and I walk out of the room, quietly. I can’t stop myself from
hesitating on the other side of the door though, just for a moment, to continue
watching him. He’s such a conundrum and unlike anyone else I’ve ever met. He can
be by turn: wilful, loud-mouthed, opinionated and caustic, yet also gentle,
heroic, understanding and child-like.
suddenly asks, without opening his eyes.
bedroom’s down the corridor.”
I can hear the
amusement in his voice and I leave him to get his rest. He has earned it after
all. Could I really be as good a commander as he is? I’m not so sure. He’s one
class act to follow, but if I am to learn anything about command, I’ll learn
from watching my leader.