Jackfic Archive Story

 

Under Friendly Fire

by Traycer

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).


Summary: The members of SG1 find themselves in a situation that results in dire consequences. They've survived the ordeal, now all they have to do is survive the fallout.

Author's Notes: Please be aware that this story is rated 18+ and contains rape/non-consensual scenes, which are not described in detail, although the violence surrounding the act is.

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Chapter 1

The first thing she realized when she woke up was the cold - intense, bone chilling cold. She opened her eyes and realized that she was standing, which caused her to stop to take inventory of the situation. As she became more aware of her surroundings, she noticed several things almost at once - she was standing by a wall, being held up with chains around her wrists, which were held above her head. She was in a room that held only a small wooden chair that was situated in the middle of the room, facing her, and she was completely naked. This last worried her more than the chains, and she shivered as a draft of cold air swept over her.

Major Samantha Carter was in deep trouble and she tried to figure out what happened to put her in this situation. The last thing she remembered was traveling through the Stargate with the rest of SG-1 on a mission to gather soil and rock samples for research purposes and to meet with the natives of the planet, if any. The MALP that had been dispatched to the planet prior to their arrival indicated rich soil samples, but was not able to determine if there were any signs of life in the vicinity.

SG-1, the flagship team of Stargate Command, headed by Colonel Jack O'Neill, Sam's commanding officer, stepped through the gate and immediately went to work. They had been on so many missions throughout the years that their actions upon arriving on a new planet were ingrained in them and they went about their duties without having to be told. Sam began collecting samples in test tubes and labeling them, while Daniel Jackson, the team's archeologist, walked around studying the placement of stones to determine if people lived there and possibly consider the Stargate an object of worship. Teal'c, a Jaffa warrior from a distant planet, who had joined the team from the very beginning, scanned the area, looking for any signs of danger or ambush. Colonel O'Neill joined Teal'c in scouting the area while asking pertinent questions to determine whether this place really was the gold mine his team promised it would be.

Sam remembered all this, but still wasn't sure what had brought her to her current predicament. She thought harder, all the while pulling on the chains to try to release her hands. When that didn't work, she twisted her body to see if there was a way to get out of the binds. She noticed that there was a small ledge in the wall behind her and she narrowed her eyes wondering if she could get on the ledge to raise herself up in an effort to free the chains from the wall.

Her attempts at escaping were interrupted, however, when the door to the room opened and a man walked in. She became acutely aware of her state of undress when the man gave her the once over and leered at her. She tried to calm her anger and embarrassment as he stared at her, and she stared back at him with just a little defiance to let him know that she wasn't afraid.

"Why am I prisoner here?" she asked as calmly as she could. The man's silence was starting to worry her. "Who are you?"

The man turned and walked out the door, leaving a very perplexed Major still manacled to the wall in nothing but her birthday suit. She didn't have to wonder for long, though, as he came back in, this time with two other men dragging Daniel between them. Daniel was dressed only in his pants and the chains that kept his hands bound in front of him.

Daniel's eyes widened with shock when he saw her and Sam knew even more embarrassment in terms of her nakedness. She looked away from her friend and teammate, only to have her glance drawn back when Daniel went berserk. He had turned on his captors, using his bound hands as a club to try to take them out. He was unsuccessful, however, and Sam's hopes of freedom were short lived. The man's two companions shoved Daniel down on the chair, while the leader of the group walked up to him with a metallic syringe in his hands.

Daniel pulled away from the syringe, while at the same time asking, "What is that?" He struggled to pull away from the needle, but his attempts were futile and Sam watched fascinated as the syringe pierced Daniel's bare arm.

Daniel stopped struggling the minute he was injected and Sam could see the fear in his eyes as he stared at her. His body went limp, but he came up fighting when his captors released their hold on him. Sam watched warily when the guards overpowered him and held him down. Daniel gave Sam an apologetic look and continued to keep eye contact with her while they waited for whatever was going to happen next. Sam could only stare at her friend as the look in his eyes turned from fear to something that looked like intense rage and hatred. The leader seemed to be waiting for this, because he indicated to his companions to release Daniel from the chains.

Sam didn't know what to make of this. They were letting Daniel go! Something wasn't right here and she started to panic, her fear increasing when Daniel gave her an evil smile that scared her to her toes.

The men walked out, leaving her with her friend and Sam immediately started in on him. "Daniel, can you get me out of these chains?" she asked.

"Why should I?" he responded, as his eyes raked her body from her eyes down to her feet then back up again.

What did he just say? "Daniel?" She really didn't like that look in his eyes.

"Kinda kinky, don'tcha think?" he asked her, as he slowly walked toward her.

"Come on, Daniel, it's me, Sam," she said, feeling stirrings of worry running through her mind. "Daniel?"

He grinned at her, staring into her eyes, as he walked up to her and pushed his body up to hers, thrusting his hips in a suggestive way. She tried to pull away from him, but the wall she was pinned to wouldn't allow for that. "Daniel!" she yelled, trying to get through to him. "Please Daniel, I know you're in there, please fight this. Daniel!"

Daniel didn't respond, he just reached up and grabbed a handful of her hair to hold her head in place as he ground his mouth on hers, kissing her with a fierceness that made her heart pound with fear. She jerked her head to try to pull away, but Daniel's fingers tightened in her hair, forcing her to accept the brutal kiss.

She continued to struggle, as the kiss deepened and he tried to part her lips to accept his tongue. She tightened her lips and resorted to kicking out at him with her knees. She wasn't able to inflict the kind of damage she wanted to, due to the closeness of his body, but she did get in a few kicks before he yelped and pulled back from her. He slapped her as hard as he could across the face, then punched her in the ribs when she tried to kick him again. She cried out, but continued to fight him, knowing that whatever it was in that syringe was causing him to do this. This was not Daniel.

Sam wasn't going to give up that easily and she tried everything she could think of to keep him from hurting her. Deep in her heart she knew what he was really going to do and she had to stop him. She was afraid neither one of them would survive the fallout if he finished this.

The chains that bound her hands and the drug that had infected Daniel's mind weakened her line of defense considerably. Still, she fought him valiantly with everything she had in her arsenal, including the tears that she cried as she begged him to stop. The tears were real, and she let them fall as she begged and pleaded and fought for all that she was worth.

It all was to no avail, as Daniel seemed to enjoy her struggles and the bruises he was inflicting on her. She continued to fight him, but the drug made Daniel more powerful and he won in the end. Sam waited, wondering if he would just leave her now that he got what he wanted, but was surprised instead when she saw Daniel looking at her in bewilderment and shock, his eyes staring into hers and she felt hope spring up in her heart. "Daniel?" she asked, her voice catching on a sob.

He reached up to touch her face and terror hit her full force when she saw the drug take over again. His expression changed from shame to an evil grin seemingly in a heartbeat. "I enjoyed that," he sneered. "Let's do it again."

*******************

She was finally alone and she shivered as the coldness of the room caressed her bare skin. She hurt all over and she knew that she probably had bruises on top of bruises, but Daniel had been taken out of there and for that she was grateful. They came to get him the minute he collapsed in a heap on the floor, the drug apparently knocking him out.

He had raped her. Not once, but twice. She had fought him both times and she had lost the battle both times. Shame built up in her and she closed her eyes against the tears that were welling up. She knew that it was the alien substance that caused him to do what he did, but that thought didn't ease the pain in her heart. Daniel was a good friend, someone she could talk to about anything. She had always relied on his gentleness and genuine concern when times got too tough for her. She had leaned on him for support more times than she cared to admit and he would never have done anything like this had it not been for the alien influence. She focused on the few times during the violence when she saw Daniel fighting the drug, his eyes showing the shame he was experiencing. Daniel would never have done something like this.

Sam tried to relax her body in an effort to ease some of the pain, but found it difficult to do when her arms were threatening to snap on her. At least they felt like they were. She was just so tired. It had taken a lot of energy to fight off the evil that had manifested in Daniel, for all the good it did, she thought sarcastically. She closed her eyes, letting her head nod forward, hoping to find some sleep.

She jerked her head up when she heard the door open. She waited in terror, wondering what they had planned for her next. Her eyes widened when she saw Teal'c being led in, exactly as Daniel had been. She saw the shock as it registered on his face just before he turned on his captors to attack, almost the same way Daniel did. Teal'c was stronger though, and it took all three of the men to subdue him before the syringe was plunged into his arm.

Sam's terror knew no bounds as she looked at Teal'c. Daniel was buff, having worked out to build up his strength over the years, but Teal'c was much stronger and Sam closed her eyes in shame as she felt fluid flowing down her legs. She couldn't stop the tears from falling, as she heard the three men laughing at her weakness. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes, determined to know the minute she was going to die, and she saw that Teal'c was on his knees as he stared at her, his own staff weapon held to his head. His dark eyes relayed his anger at their captors and Sam was grateful he didn't laugh at her, but that thought turned to fear as she saw the Teal'c she knew disappear and the drug take over.

The two men came over to Teal'c and unlocked his chains, then left with the other man. Teal'c didn't move, he just continued to stare at Sam, his face twisting into a leer. Sam watched him warily, waiting for him to pounce, and shivered again when he got up to walk toward her.

"Please Teal'c, please fight this. Please?' she begged, hoping he would be strong enough to fight the drug. "You can do it, Teal'c. Please, please, please fight it." She didn't stop the tears that had started to fall again, just cried and begged and prayed he would be strong enough.

Teal'c stood there, staring at her before lowering his head and glaring at her with malice. She knew she had lost and she let the sobs take over.

"Enough!" he growled at her, still not touching her. She tried to stop, but her fear was mounting, so she squeezed her eyes shut in an effort to comply with his demand. Her eyes popped open when she felt his lips on hers; kissing her deeply.

"No!" she cried out as she pulled her head away. She was not going to go out without a fight. Damn the consequences. She didn't think she would survive the shame if she ever got out of this anyway. She bucked her body to push him away, then kicked him as hard as she could. The kick landed on his shin, and he snarled at her before grabbing her hips and pushing her back up against the wall, causing her to scream as the shelf smashed into her bruised flesh.

"Teal'c!" she cried out. "Oh God, Teal'c, please don't do this. Teal'c?" What will it take to get through to him? "Teal'c, please fight the drug, please!" Her tears came back in full force as she begged him to stop.

Teal'c's movements stopped and hope blossomed once more in her heart. "Please, Teal'c. Please don't hurt me anymore." She stared into his eyes in hopes of finding her comrade and was heartened to see him in there. The hatred and the anger were gone, replaced by a softening as he stared into her eyes. Her attention was drawn to the muscle in his cheek that twitched as he fought with himself and the drug. She looked back into his eyes, begging him with her own, and felt frustration when she saw that he had lost the battle.

She hated him at that moment. Hated Daniel and hated the man who controlled their minds with drugs. But mostly she hated herself for not being able to defend herself from the hurt they'd inflicted on her body and mind.

*****************

She had tried to communicate with her captors when they came to get Teal'c. He had only taken her once, choosing to move away from her when he had finished, giving himself a better chance of fighting off the drug. He passed out not long after he had moved away from her and their captors came in to drag him off.

"Why are you doing this?" she asked tiredly. "What can you possibly gain from this?"

The man just grinned at her as he brought over a cup and a piece of bread. He tried to feed her the bread, but she wasn't hungry and she shook her head. He got mad at her and walked out without even offering her the water. Just as well, she thought sadly.

She wondered what was in that drug. It was remarkably similar to the "disease" they encountered in the Land of Light, although the drug didn't seem to be able to take complete control as the disease did. She had seen Daniel and Teal'c try to fight the effects of the drug, seen their struggles to win back control, and she focused on that fact. Her friends will help her out of this, she had to believe in this.

She shifted to try to ease the pain in her arms, and cried out when the shelf came in contact with her back. She cursed that useless piece of wood, then twisted her body around to get a better look at it. She went back to looking for ways to free her hands, debating if the shelf would hold her up and what she could do if she even stood on it.

She let her mind work on the problem, while she tried not to think about the next session. She knew that it would be the Colonel they would bring in next and Sam dreaded it. She had harbored a secret love for her commanding officer for years, had avoided giving him or anyone else any indication of her feelings for him due to the regulations set in place by the Air Force. He knew about them anyway, as there were times when it was difficult to hide those feelings, but they still kept a respectful distance. Besides, she never really knew how deep his feelings were for her. He had mentioned them a few times, once when he didn't know he was her commanding officer and another time when he was forced to tell the truth to prove that he hadn't been brainwashed by the Goa'uld. Still, he was so good at hiding his feelings from people that she wasn't sure how deep those feelings ran. He never came right out and said he loved her, just that he "cared for her more than he should".

Sam knew, though, that it didn't matter if he did tell her that he loved her. They could never be together due to their positions at the SGC, and she realized some time ago that it was better that she didn't know. But now she was going to face his lust, his passion, and she worried that he would tell her things better left unsaid. More than that, though, was the fear of the violence he would commit and the dark side he had hinted at all those years ago.

She turned her thoughts back to her attempts at escaping, pushing away the fears of what would happen if she didn't succeed. She struggled in vain to free her hands, but continued to try anyway to keep her mind off of what was going to happen.

It wasn't long before her fears were realized. She heard the Colonel's voice on the other side of the door as he taunted his captors and demanded to know where they were keeping her. She stared at the door, waiting tensely to see him, hoping beyond hope that he would be the one who would fight off the effects of the drug, or better yet, fight off their captors and free her.

The man who had complete control over them came in first, grinning at her as he walked further into the room. Her eyes focused on the Colonel, though, as he was dragged in dressed exactly as Daniel and Teal'c had been. His eyes widened when he saw her, before narrowing as he reacted just as Daniel and Teal'c had. Sam silently rooted for him, watching wearily as he tried to kill one of the men who had dragged him in, not feeling any surprise when he was overpowered and the drug injected into him.

They didn't bother to wait until the drug had taken effect on the Colonel. They pushed him down onto the chair, unlocked his chains and backed out of the room, all the while pointing a staff weapon at Sam. The Colonel didn't dare attack while the weapon was trained on her and he ran over to her when the door closed behind the men.

"Carter?" he said, concern written all over his face.

She flinched when he reached for her, then decided to start the begging now, while he was still Jack O'Neill. "Colonel, please fight it, please!" she began, staring into his shocked eyes, willing him to be strong. "Please don't let it win. Oh God Colonel, please?"

"I won't hurt you Carter, you know that," he soothed as he reached up to try to open the manacles around her wrists.

"Please fight it sir," she whispered, as she shivered in fear. Her heart seemed to stop when she felt him stiffen against her. It was happening again, she thought, her eyes widening as he brought his gaze to hers. He was gone, she realized, as the concern in his eyes disappeared, replaced by fathomless darkness. "Colonel O'Neill!" she cried out, desperately trying to reach him, to pull him back from where ever the drug took him.

He grinned at her and let his hands slide down her arms, stopping when he brought them up to her face and brought his lips to hers, kissing her deeply. Panic set in as he pushed his body into hers, causing her pain as she was forced into that damned shelf again. She twisted her head sideways to escape his kiss, only to feel his lips on her throat, sucking and licking her skin.

"Colonel, please don't do this, please!" she continued to beg, knowing that it wasn't worth the effort. Defeat settled over her, causing her body to go limp and she gave up on her efforts to stop him, as well as the will to live.

His head suddenly shot up and she saw him leer at her before kissing her mouth again, brutally. She whimpered when he bit her lip in anger and she opened her mouth to allow him the access he had wanted, tasting the blood as her lip bled freely. He continued to ravage her mouth, while she let the tears stream down her face.

"Lovely," he mumbled as he broke the kiss to look in her eyes. He had a triumphant look on his face, grinning at her with her blood smeared on his lips. She stared back dully, wishing he would just get this over with. Her heart came to life, though, when she saw the triumphant look change into something else, something she recognized. He was there! "Jack!" she cried out, hope racing back into her. "Jack, fight this, please fight it. Jack?" She had given up on reaching the military man and used his given name in an effort to keep him with her. "Don't let it win, Jack, please!"

Sam could see the internal struggle he was waging and she urged him on with her eyes and her words. "Please, Jack. I can't go through this anymore. Please help me. Jack?"

She watched as he closed his eyes and ground his teeth together, and knew complete frustration when he opened his eyes to look at her again, Jack nowhere in sight. He was in there somewhere though, and this thought gave her back her anger and her determination to fight him off.

He moved back in for another kiss, but yelped when she brought her knee up, kicking him in the thigh. He growled, a deep guttural sound, and grabbed her by the hair cruelly. She was past caring about the pain though, and she kicked out with both feet and her knees, trying to hurt him anywhere she could.

He won in the end, as she knew he would. She was no match for him with her hands bound above her head and chained to the wall; and she squeezed her eyes shut as she waited for him to let her go. She opened them to look into his face as a thought came to her. Daniel and Teal'c both surfaced right after their release, maybe the Colonel would too. He had his face in her shoulder, though, breathing heavily, while she waited, wondering if he would look at her.

He did a few minutes later, bringing his head up to grin at her evilly. If he had come back, he had been too ashamed to look at her, Sam realized. She trembled as she waited for him to decide what he was going to do next. She didn't have to wait for too long, as he grabbed her by the hair and began kissing her again. Sam jerked her head back and glared at him, gearing up emotionally for another battle.

******************************

Sam woke up groggy and nauseous. She didn't know how long she had slept; she only knew that she must have lost consciousness when the Colonel knocked her head back into the wall in a fit of intense anger as she fought off the second assault. He was gone now and she wondered vaguely if he had finished what he'd started. She stayed as still as possible, fighting off the waves of nausea, while listening hard for any sound of a new threat.

Her breathing constricted when she heard sounds of a scuffle on the other side of the door. They were coming back, and she quelled in her fear of what was going to happen next. She closed her eyes in an effort to gather her strength, then opened them with a grim determination to face whatever they threw at her with dignity.

She was not the least bit surprised when all three of her teammates were dragged in, chained together. She watched as they were forced to move in front of her, facing her. Daniel wouldn't look at her, she noticed, while Teal'c glared at the man who seemed to be in charge. The Colonel, however, was staring at her, telling her with his eyes that this was it, it was do or die and she nodded at him to let him know she understood.

The leader of their captors came up to her and opened the box he had in his hands to show her its contents. There were three syringes lying on a velvet-like lining in the box and he leered at her, staring at her expectantly. She was past caring, however, and just a little hyped that the Colonel may have a plan. She just stared at the man dejectedly, causing him to frown at her before backhanding her. She heard the Colonel snarl and she looked over at him to see that he and Teal'c had decided now was the time to take matters into their own hands. She watched as all three of her teammates fought valiantly, cheering them on silently. Her heart swelled with anticipation when she saw one of the guards fall and Teal'c grab his weapon. He used the weapon on the guard, then turned to use it on the other two.

He killed the other guard and turned the staff weapon on the leader who was injecting a dose of the drug into Daniel, who had put the chains linking his hands together around the leader's neck. Daniel pulled hard on the chain, not letting go until the man had gone limp. He finally let go of the man and Sam watched as Colonel O'Neill grabbed the weapon out of Teal'c's hands to shoot their tormentor, just to make sure.

The Colonel then went over to one of the guards, dragging his chained companions along with him. He squatted down next to the man, searching through his clothing until he found the key to the chains and unlocked the manacles around his wrists, as well as the chain that bound him to Teal'c. He unlocked Teal'c's chains, then came over to her to free her. She involuntarily flinched when he reached up to put the key into the manacles, but she kept her eyes on his, waiting for her freedom. He unlocked the chains, which caused her to cry out as her arms were released, the pain bringing on more dizziness and he caught her when she fell. The Colonel then wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a hug, holding her and warming her until Teal'c came over and handed her the tunic he had taken off of one of the guards. Sam let him hold her, the warmth he generated was something that she needed at the moment, but she didn't return the hug. In fact, she stood there feeling a numbness that didn't help in the warming process. She didn't think she would ever be warm again.

The Colonel let her go so that he could help her put the tunic on, grimacing as he got a better look at her injuries. There was no time, though, and he helped her to stand in order to get out of there. She wavered slightly, her body screaming in pain, but she ignored it, her only thought now was to get out of that place and to get home so that she could soak in a tub of the hottest water she could endure. She closed her eyes to get her bearings and to visualize her tub filled with bubbles, only to open them again when Daniel spoke up.

"Now that was a waste of energy," Daniel said, breaking the silence of the morning, the drug apparently having taken effect. "I'm just going to have to take the thing off of her again."

Sam couldn't help the tremor of fear that raced through her as she thought about the drug's affect on her friend and she was grateful when the Colonel moved to stand in front of her in a protective stance. "Think you can do it with those chains binding you?" he asked.

"Yeah, sure, you betcha," Daniel replied, mocking the Colonel. "You guys want to hang around to watch?" he continued cruelly. "I have to warn you that I won't share her though."

"Shut up, Daniel," the Colonel said as he went over to grab the chain that was still attached to the ones locked around Daniel's wrists. "Let's just get out of here, shall we?"

Chapter 2

The building they were in was like a maze and they couldn't find their way out. There were doors everywhere and no matter which way they went they hit a dead end. Sam was exhausted and thirsty and she just wanted this all to end. She wanted to be back in the SGC luxuriating in a steaming hot shower. She wanted to be anywhere but this place, walled with doors and frustration.

"This looks like a nice place," Daniel said, as he was pulled into yet another room. Every door they had tried led them to utter disappointment. "Why don't you and Teal'c go find the way out while Sam and I stay here and rest?" he continued with a leer aimed at her.

The Colonel just yanked on the chain and pulled Daniel out of the room to go in search of the way out.

"C'mon Jack," Daniel continued. "It'll only take a few minutes. Or are you jealous because it's Sam that I want and not you?"

Sam was shocked at that statement while the Colonel stopped dead in his tracks, turning to glare at Daniel. The look on his face scared Sam half to death, but it didn't faze Daniel in the least. He just took advantage of this opportunity to gain his freedom by yanking hard on the chain to break loose from the Colonel's grasp and ran toward Sam. Oh God, she thought as she stood there frozen with wide eyes. Daniel grabbed her arm to pull her along and she finally reacted. She dug her heels in and put all her weight into getting him to let go. This pulled him backward and he lost his balance, causing him to fall on top of her. He quickly got his bearings though and turned over so that he was now lying face down on top of her, leering at her. The Colonel and Teal'c both came to her aid, as each grabbed an arm and pulled Daniel off, but not before she hit him in the face with her fist. She jumped up and hit him again when he was upright between the two men, putting all her anger and hatred into that punch.

"You ever try that again," she snarled at him, "I'll kill you, I swear I will." She was seething with anger as she turned and stalked off down the hall. She stopped after a few steps, breathing heavily, and turned to the Colonel and Teal'c, "Thank you," she said trying not to grin at the look on both of their faces as they stared at her in shock.

"You go, girl," the Colonel said in awe and with some pride, causing her to blush as she realized what she had done.

"Let's just find our way out of here," she said trying not to show her embarrassment. She led the way with Teal'c following her and the Colonel still dragging Daniel along. The next room they entered held a surprise for them and Sam couldn't hide her pleasure. Everything they had with them when they first came through the Stargate was piled up on a table situated at one side of the room. Sam was glad to see their canteens sitting among their clothes, weapons and equipment. She was so thirsty.

"Oh," she said softly. She headed straight for one of the canteens, pulled it out and drank greedily from it. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand when she'd had her fill, then turned to find Colonel O'Neill staring at her.

"You weren't thirsty, were you Carter?" he asked with a small smile. He was staring at her apprehensively and she wondered what was on his mind.

She realized what it was when he held out her clothes to her along with a first aid kit, still watching her. She stared back at him, her eyes wide, as she backed up a few steps. She had injuries in places she never wanted him to ever see again.

"Just your back, Carter," he soothed. " And maybe your arms. I noticed a lot of blood..."

"We don't have time for this right now," she interrupted him, cringing when she heard the desperation in her voice. "Shouldn't we find our way out of here first? There could be more of those people still running around."

He stared at her for a moment, then said, "Sit," as he pointed at a bench. "Teal'c will stand guard," he added, effectively cutting into her excuses.

"I'll be fine," she told him, backing up another step as he walked toward her. He stopped when he noticed her fear, but continued to watch her with determination. Oh great, he had that look in his eyes. The one that told her he was going to get his way no matter what she wanted. He could be so stubborn, she thought, as she remembered that day when he wouldn't leave her to die on that ship. That memory brought on another one of him telling Anise that he'd `rather die than to lose Carter'. Well, Sam would rather die than to let him see her naked again.

"That's an order Major," the Colonel told her in a voice that matched the determination in his eyes. Sam couldn't help looking at the door before deciding to face her fear. She went over to the bench and sat down on it, waiting for the Colonel's next move. She watched as Teal'c used the keys he had brought with him to lock the end of Daniel's tether to a metal ring that was embedded in the wall on the other side of the room. He then came over to stand next to her to offer moral support. She knew that was what he was doing and Sam was grateful for her friends, even as she dealt with the anger she felt at what they did to her.

Teal'c held his staff weapon in his hands, ready and willing to blow away every single resident on the planet, while Colonel O'Neill came over and sat down next to Sam, trying to come up with the words to tell her what he needed her to do in order for him to assess her wounds. She stared at him warily, knowing what it was he wanted, but not quite able to help him out.

"There's a lot of blood on your back," he finally said, as he sat there looking extremely uncomfortable. "I'm going to have to lift up the shirt to get a better look at it. Um... It might be better if you'd..." He didn't finish what he was saying, but she knew what he wanted as he used his hands to gesture toward the tunic. He wanted her to take it off so that he could get a better look.

"No sir," she said vehemently. There was no way in hell. "It can wait until we reach the SGC."

"And when will that be?" he asked. "I assume you know where we are, because I sure don't. We can't even find our way out of this building. I don't remember how we got here or which route they took when they brought us here - I was totally out of it. One minute I was talking with Teal'c near the Gate and the next minute I woke up in my own personal jail cell half naked and freezing my ass off." He stopped then and gave her an apologetic look. "Look Carter," he continued, "There's no telling how far we have to go or what we will have to deal with in order to get to the Gate. I need you to be well enough to make it. If those wounds get infected or you become too sick to move..."

"I'll only slow you down, I know sir," she said dejectedly.

"Teal'c and I won't harm you again, Major," he said. "You know that, don't you?"

"I know," she said quietly as she stared into her commander's eyes. "I watched you fight the drug. You probably don't remember everything, but..."

"I remember every last detail," the Colonel snarled, his face registering intense anger. "I remember the horror I felt at what I was doing even as I couldn't wait to finish it. I remember every miserable thing I did and there is no excuse for not being able to fight it. None."

"Why fight it?" Daniel said from his perch before she could respond. "She enjoyed it with me. You should have heard her, moaning and begging me for more. It was music to my ears."

"Fucking liar," Sam growled. "See what I mean?" she asked as she turned toward the Colonel. "That is not Daniel. You know it as well as I do. Daniel would never have said something like that to me, just as the three of you would never have... would never have hurt me."

"C'mon Sam, you enjoyed it," Daniel continued. "You know you did. Come on over here and let's get down to business. You want it, I know..."

"Shut up Daniel," Colonel O'Neill shouted at the same time that Teal'c growled, "Be silent Daniel Jackson." Both men were on their feet, and Sam was afraid for Daniel with all the rage directed at him.

The drugs apparently made Daniel fearless, as well as heartless and cruel, because he just laughed at the two men before sneering at them with as much hate as he could muster. "I'm sure Sam wouldn't mind if you two join us. We could..."

"Gag him Teal'c," the Colonel cut in, as he dug into his bag and pulled out a cloth. Teal'c seemed to be more than happy to comply and went over to do the honors. Daniel had other ideas though and kicked out at the Jaffa who simply jumped out of the way before tackling the task of keeping Daniel quiet. Sam watched them struggle, not for a minute missing the irony of the situation. She had apparently taught Daniel a thing or two when she had fought him off the day before while her hands had been chained to the wall just as his were.

"Sam," the Colonel said quietly. He had sat down next to her and was holding out the first aid kit. "Let's get this over with, shall we?"

"Let me get my pants on first," she pleaded. At least she wouldn't be totally naked.

"After I take a look at your legs," he insisted.

Sam stared at him incredulously. She couldn't have heard him right. Most of the injuries on her legs where on her thighs and higher. She was not going to let him near that area, no matter what. The very thought of it had her trembling in fear again. "No," she said shakily. "Sir, I don't think I can do this."

"It'll be okay," he said softly, reaching out to wipe the tears from her cheek. "I promise to be careful and not get too personal. Please, try to trust me. Just this once."

She could do that, she could at least try. She nodded at him and watched him warily as he got up from the bench and knelt down in front of her. Teal'c had come back and was standing next to her, his staff weapon at the ready in case they were interrupted by unfriendly natives, telling her with his eyes that she had nothing to be afraid of. Oh Teal'c, she thought, if you only knew.

She trembled as the Colonel touched her knee and she found herself pushing the fabric of the tunic down between her legs to hide the area that was most traumatized. He accepted this and began his inspection of the bruises and a cut she didn't even know she had on her thigh. He cleaned the cut with an antiseptic, wiping the cloth down her thigh, causing her to shiver as the air hit the skin that had been dampened by the antiseptic. He stopped what he was doing when he saw her shiver and looked up into her face, silently asking for permission to continue. She nodded again and he began to inspect her other leg.

There were only bruises on that one and he smiled at her as he got up and grabbed her pants off of the bench and handed them to her. She took them gratefully and put them on hastily, making sure she didn't give them a peep show. Not that they hadn't seen everything anyway, she grimaced with shame.

"Now I need to look at your back," the Colonel said as he turned around to face Teal'c. "Take off the shirt Carter."

"Yes sir," she responded automatically, but made no move to obey. The Colonel had his back to her while Teal'c stared at the ground in front of her, both giving her the privacy she needed. Not Daniel, though. He was staring avidly at her, the gag in his mouth keeping him from verbally rooting her on. She glared at her friend, then stood up so that she was blocked from Daniel's view by the Colonel's body and took off the tunic. She wrapped it firmly around her breasts and sat back down, glaring at Daniel again.

"I'm ready," she said softly, fervently wishing to get this over with.

Teal'c brought his eyes back up to her and the Colonel turned around to get back to business. He stepped over the bench so that he was now behind her and she heard him issue a low growl when he got a good look at her injuries. She could only imagine what he was seeing, as she sat there waiting for him to confirm her suspicions.

"What the hell happened?" he asked her, as she felt his hand touch her shoulder. She flinched in pain and he hastily apologized. "Sorry," he mumbled.

"The wall behind me was rough," she explained quietly, flinching when he touched her back again with an antiseptic pad. "The roughness scraped the skin on my back pretty badly when I was forced up against it." She stopped speaking then, as the memories welled up and threatened to destroy her. She found herself staring at Teal'c wondering what he was thinking, as he stood there quietly watching the show.

"What about this bruise down here," the Colonel asked, as he gently touched the spot on her back that had caused her extreme agony each time she was pushed into the wooden shelf.

"There was a ledge in the wall behind me," she replied in a trembling voice - the bruise had hurt when he touched it. "It rammed into my back every time you guys pushed me up against it."

There was silence as all three of them reflected on their own memories that statement brought up. Sam wished she could just make it all go away, as if none of it ever happened, then yelped when the Colonel got a little rough in his handling of her.

"Sorry," he said gruffly, and she knew he was dealing with his anger at himself, which caused him to be a little too rough with her. He continued cleaning the wounds on her back, using much gentler touches, and she sat quietly while she dwelled on the fact that she really wasn't afraid of either of them.

A noise from the other side of the room brought her out of her musings and she watched as Daniel struggled to get out of the chains, pulling on the tether in an effort to free himself. The Colonel and Teal'c simply ignored him, but Sam continued to watch as Daniel gave up and resorted to glaring at her instead. He couldn't reach the gag to pull it out of his mouth, and for this she was thankful. He had been the most vocal of the three while under the influence of the alien drug, and his words could cut through steel, as far as she was concerned.

"Is that it?" the Colonel asked as he cleaned the last cut on her back. "Anything else I need to look at?"

"I can take care of the rest," Sam said, wanting to get this over with. She trembled when Teal'c came over to stand in front of her, watching warily as he knelt down and reached out to grab the top of the tunic she was holding in front of her. He stared into her eyes as he slowly pulled the material down. Sam knew what he was looking for and she tried to control the tremors as he looked down at the welt on her chest where he had bitten her in retaliation for kicking him when she was fighting him off. He stopped pulling at the fabric and looked back into her eyes.

The Colonel came around to see what Teal'c was doing and Sam watched as his expression changed from concern to showing nothing of what he was thinking. She hated it when he did that.

"Colonel," she began angrily. "Why do you do that? What's it going to hurt if someone knows what you're ... Oh to hell with it," she raged unreasonably, "You do whatever you have to."

"What'd I do?" he asked, his face now showing complete bewilderment. He looked over at Teal'c, hoping to find the answer there and looked back at her when he didn't.

"Nothing," she said angrily. She knew her anger at him was unreasonable, but the anger was boiling inside her and she needed to let it out. "Just get this over with," she said to Teal'c.

Teal'c nodded his head at her, then cleaned the welt and the area around it with an antiseptic pad. She looked back at the Colonel, only to find that he had slipped back behind the stone mask.

Damn him, she thought angrily, as she turned her gaze to Daniel. He stared back at her with intense malice, his eyes promising dire retribution if he ever got free of the chains and her protectors. She glared back at him defiantly, her anger building as she sat there feeding on the guilt and the anger of her friends. Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c were drowning in their own guilt and she knew Daniel would be too when the drug finally left his system. She could feel the weight of their guilt washing over her, adding to the shame and the memories of what happened and she was afraid all of it would destroy her. She needed to get rid of some of the weight that was dragging her down, but she didn't know how without hurting the very people she had come to know and trust with her very life. And she really didn't want to hurt them; they were not directly responsible for their actions.

She winced as Teal'c scrubbed at the dried blood on the welt, but didn't say anything to him as he gave her an apologetic look. She just looked away, fighting the anger and the shame she was experiencing, wanting to get out of there as soon as possible. The Colonel handed her a canteen and some pills to ward off any infections and the pain she was dealing with, while Teal'c cleaned her wound, and Sam took them from him, knowing that she needed to keep well if she wanted to see her home again.

Teal'c stood up when he was finished and she got up to finish dressing. She turned her back on them as she struggled painfully to put her t-shirt on, pulling away angrily when the Colonel came over to help her.

"Let me help you Major," he said evenly.

"I can do it sir."

"Major...,"

"I can do it," she snapped at him, wishing he would just leave her alone.

He took the hint, doing a fine job of hiding the hurt look that flashed in his eyes, and went over to tackle the problem of getting Daniel's shirt on without unlocking the chains. He and Teal'c finally settled on having Teal'c stand behind Daniel with his arm around the archeologist's neck, while the Colonel unlocked the chains and helped him into his shirt and jacket. It was quite a struggle with Daniel fighting them every step of the way to gain his freedom, but Teal'c had a tight hold on Daniel's neck and he was soon back in the chains.

"I'm sure you are capable of putting your own boots on," the Colonel told Daniel, as he dropped the boots on the floor in front of him. He then went over to the table to grab his own clothes; getting dressed quickly while Sam struggled with her vest. She accepted Teal'c's help now that she was fully dressed and they were all armed and ready to go ten minutes later.

Chapter 3

It took another half hour and several doors later before they finally found their way out of the building. Jack had been worried about the fact that they hadn't seen anyone else in the building the whole time they were searching for a way out. Things were never this easy, at least not in his experience and he kept expecting others to jump out at him. For this reason, he was especially alert as they made their way through the fields located around the building.

Carter was still angry with them, he could tell. Who could blame her, he certainly didn't. He remembered everything from the moment he woke up in that cell to the fierce pleasure he'd experienced at Carter's expense. He remembered waking up in the same cell after his downfall wondering if he would ever survive the torture of knowing what he'd done and facing the memories of her face as she begged him to stop - memories that will torment him for a long time to come.

God, how he hated the men who had captured them and forced him to do the one thing that far outweighed anything he had ever done in his lifetime. The thought of more men capturing them again forced him to push his team into moving faster. If they could just get to the woods at the edge of the field, they would have a better chance of hiding out while they set off to look for the Gate. He turned toward Carter to tell her to pick up the pace, but yelled out to her instead when he saw four men come out of the building they had just left. "Move it Major," he shouted as he took off at a run, dragging Daniel behind him. He glanced back to see that both Teal'c and Carter had followed his lead and were running to catch up.

They made it to the woods just in time, ducking behind trees to avoid the arrows that were flying toward them. Carter and Teal'c immediately found cover and began shooting their weapons back at the men who had followed them. Jack tried to help, but the chain he had wrapped around his left hand hampered his efforts. Every time he aimed, Daniel took intense delight in yanking on the chain causing Jack to miss his target by a mile. He finally settled on sitting this one out, although he did pull hard on the chain to cause Daniel to end up on the ground flat on his face. Jack was normally a decent man, but he took some pleasure in seeing his friend sputtering angrily through the gag in his mouth.

Teal'c and Carter took care of the men who had chased them into the woods, but Jack was not about to let his guard down now. "Carter," he said, "Lead the way, Teal'c, you're on our six. We need to get back to the Gate as soon as possible. Anyone know where we are?"

"No sir," Carter said. Jack cringed inwardly when he looked over at her; he knew damn well how she got that cut on her lip. It appeared he wasn't the only one who had left teeth marks on her, though. Anger surged through him as he remembered the ones on Carter's chest, the ones that Teal'c knew about. God, Teal'c could have killed her with one punch, what were those people thinking? They didn't care, he realized with a certainty. They were just looking for some entertainment.

Bastards, he fumed, suddenly glad that the people who had been shooting at them were dead. "Lead the way Carter," he said again. He looked over at Daniel and was shocked to see him standing there with a look of utter horror and shame on his face. "Daniel?" he said, wondering if the drug was gone, realizing only a few moments later that he must have been wrong, because Daniel sneered and yanked hard on the chain to try to knock Jack off balance.

"There!" Carter exclaimed, "Did you see that? He was there for a second, I saw him!"

"Carter..."

"I wonder why the drug doesn't take total control over the user," she mused quietly. "You guys came out and fought it while it had control, and those times were most prominent when you were least violent."

"Carter!" Jack yelled to get her attention. "Can you think about this while you walk?" This was definitely something that he did not want to think about. He had raped his second in command and here she was telling him that it wasn't entirely his fault. The hell it wasn't! He remembered thinking it was wrong even as he rammed her head back into the wall to make her compliant. God, how he hated himself right then. He had always felt responsible for his team, taking the brunt of whatever horrors the Goa'uld could think up in order to save them from having to deal with the pain and torture. It wasn't always a smart thing to do, but he'd rather suffer those horrors than to live with the guilt of letting his teammates go through it when he could have himself.

Years of training galvanized Carter into action and Jack fell into step behind her. They had absolutely no idea which way to go or how far away they were from their destination, but being on the move was better than waiting for the next group of sadists to find them. Daniel trailed behind him, lagging behind, forcing Jack to practically drag his friend along, but Jack finally realized that it was from fatigue more than a mean spirited attempt at sabotage. He well remembered the feeling of weariness just before he collapsed after taking Carter so brutally. The drug apparently knocked its victims out after a time and Daniel must be feeling the side affects. "Don't pass out on me, Daniel," he advised, as he looked back to see Daniel stumbling to keep up. "I'll drag you if I have to."

Daniel didn't respond, mainly because he couldn't through the gag, but Jack realized that he had been right in his assumption, Daniel was exhausted. They didn't have a choice though and he continued to pull Daniel along as they made their way toward freedom. He intended to put as much distance between him and the bad guys as quickly as possible.

Carter kept moving as she consulted her equipment. Jack couldn't help but admire her character and strength. She had just been raped by her commanding officer, and if his suspicions were correct, by every one of her teammates, and she took it all in stride. Either that or she was doing a damned good job of hiding it. Oh damn, he sighed inwardly. She really wasn't doing all that well in hiding it, he realized. The fear in her eyes when he'd approached her with the first aid kit was going to haunt him for the rest of his life. Then there was the anger she displayed when she was yelling at him for whatever it was he did, he still hadn't figured that one out, and when she had decked Daniel. He scowled at her back as he followed her through the woods. He had quite a few bruises where she had kicked him in her efforts to make him stop his attack. He had been such as ass to her and he didn't know if he would ever forgive himself.

They came to a river and Carter stopped to look at her equipment again. She was hoping to pick up a signal from the MALP that had been at the Gate when they had last seen it. She mumbled something to herself, while Jack felt himself being pulled toward the water as Daniel made a beeline toward it and sank down to splash some water on his face.

"Be careful Daniel Jackson," Teal'c warned, as he too came up to the water's edge. "The water may not be safe."

Jack pulled on his end of the chain to keep Daniel away from the water, while Carter put some of the water into a beaker to determine whether it was safe to drink or not. Daniel reached up to pull the gag out of his mouth, then said, "Just a little drink."

"Here," Jack said, pulling his canteen out and handing it to his friend. Daniel took it and guzzled the water down. "That's enough," Jack said quietly as he took it back. "We need to conserve our resources."

"The water seems to be safe sir," Carter said. He nodded at her, but she averted her gaze when he looked at her. It was at that moment he realized for certain that she was not okay and that he may have lost her trust and friendship forever.

"Any ideas as to where the Gate is?" he asked her, as sadness crept up into his heart. It was probably better that she hated him, he thought, as she shook her head. He wasn't such a great person as it was. He was a man who couldn't be trusted with even the simplest task of fighting off his passions and lust. He had welcomed the thought of finally making love to Samantha Carter with an eagerness that still scared him every time he thought about it. Part of him realized that he didn't want to fight off the drug, not really.

"Keep moving," he snarled, his anger directed solely at himself. Damn it. If it wasn't for the safety of this team, he'd just go back and let the bastards kill him. It would be more than he deserved.

The river turned out to be only knee deep at the deepest part. He found this out as he walked into the river, pulling Daniel along with him. He kept on walking until he got halfway across, slipping and sliding the whole time on the slick rocks. He stopped when he heard a splash just after her heard Carter yell. She had slipped and fallen, and he dropped Daniel's tether as he went back to help her when she came up sputtering and spitting out water.

"Are you all right?" he asked her, then felt the hairs on the back of his neck rise when he heard a sound that made his blood run cold. He, Carter and Teal'c all turned their weapons toward the sound, then stood there in shock as they stared at Daniel. The archeologist was standing in the middle of the river with his arms raised up to the sky and his head thrown back, screaming out his rage and frustration in a voice that made Jack tremble in fear. Daniel stopped and lowered his arms and head, then looked over at his friends, giving them a forlorn look before falling over in a faint.

Jack nearly fell on the rocks in his haste to get to Daniel, but Teal'c got there first. He pulled Daniel out of the water, then hefted the chained man over his shoulder to carry him out of there. Jack and Carter followed Teal'c, with Carter grabbing his arm once to keep from falling again. He didn't stop to dwell on the elation he felt at that small gesture, he was too busy worrying about Daniel. They got to the other side where Teal'c had laid Daniel on the ground, checking to see if he was still alive. He was, Jack realized with relief.

"We'll have to stop here until Daniel wakes up," Jack said with just a small amount of annoyance in his voice. "You both look like you could use some rest, as well. Let's set up camp in the trees over there and we'll set out first thing in the morning." He didn't know how long they had been in that building and he wasn't familiar with this planet's daylight patterns, but he knew that it would get dark soon and it would be best to get settled in with security measures set up just in case there were more of their tormentors out there.

It didn't take long for them to set up camp and Jack went about securing the perimeter. There wouldn't be a whole lot of sleep for him tonight, with Daniel and Carter dead on their feet. Carter didn't complain, but Jack could see she was exhausted. She had put up quite a fight when he was with her, he could just imagine her fighting the other two.

He got back to find Carter sitting next to a small fire wrapped in a blanket and drinking from a cup, while Teal'c was walking in from the other side of the camp. Daniel was sound asleep next to the fire, his hands still chained together under the blanket they threw over him. They had decided to keep the chains on until they were absolutely sure Daniel was clean.

Carter looked up when he came to sit down next to her and Jack tried not to notice the slight stiffening of her body when he did. He didn't blame her for her revulsion of him. "You okay?" he asked her for lack of anything else to say.

"Yes sir," she responded tiredly. "There's some soup if you'd like some."

"Thanks," he said quietly, although he didn't get up to get any. "Look Carter," Jack said as he stared out at the trees that surrounded their space, "I want to apologize for what happened..."

"It's not your fault sir," Carter interrupted before he could finish his heartfelt apology. "You would never have done anything like that if it you hadn't been injected with that drug."

"No," he snapped at her. "You don't understand. I need to apologize for this. I have to." Oh man, what could he say to her? She had depended on him to fight off the drug, to keep her safe and he let her down in the worst way. "I'm sorry that I hurt you so badly," he continued, wishing he could accept his own apology.

"As am I," Teal'c spoke up from his spot next to the fire. "It is my hope that you would someday forgive me for my conduct."

Carter didn't respond right away, she just stared into the fire wrapped up in her own thoughts. "I just can't believe that you would do something like that without that drug," she finally said. "You wouldn't, would you?" she asked them point blank.

"Hell no!" Jack responded vehemently. He couldn't even bring himself to tell her his feelings for her, there's no way he would hurt her like that.

"Neither would I, Major Carter," Teal'c added. "But the fact remains that I did indeed hurt you. For that I am deeply sorry."

Carter just shook her head in defeat. "Apology accepted," she said kindly. She was shivering and Jack wanted to help her warm up by putting his arms around her. He was just too scared to do it. He was afraid she would pull away in fear.

"Jack?" Daniel called out. He was trying to sit up, but had gotten tangled up in the blanket. He gave up after a few moments and just lay there with closed eyes. Jack didn't respond right away, waiting to see if his friend had gone back to sleep. Daniel had wakened like this in his jail cell after he had been brought back, but had gone right back to sleep almost immediately.

Jack continued to stare at Daniel, although he wasn't really seeing his friend lying there on the ground. He was remembering being in his cell trying to get Daniel to talk when he had wakened long enough to call out his name. He had called out to Daniel, whose cell was on the other side of Teal'c's, but Daniel had apparently gone back to sleep, leaving Jack to continue wondering what their captors had done to his friend when they had taken him away. Teal'c had been taken away not long after they had brought Daniel back, and curiosity nearly drove Jack crazy.

He shook away the memory and turned to Carter, who was sitting there huddled against the cold and Jack's heart went out to her. He gave into his desires, despite his fears and pulled her into a hug. She pulled away from him at first, as he feared she would, but then had a change of heart and leaned into him. Silence reigned as they sat there staring at the fire, listening for any sounds that would tell them they could be in trouble again.

Chapter 4

Morning came without any disturbances and Teal'c welcomed the sunrise. Although he had only a few hours of rest during the night, he was more than ready to get moving. So far they had only encountered seven men during their stay on this planet, but there could be more and Teal'c had no desire to stay and find out.

He and O'Neill had been up all night keeping watch. Neither one wanted to let their guard down nor did they want to keep Major Carter from her sleep. It was a given that Daniel Jackson would be allowed to sleep throughout the night as they both knew from their own experience with the drug that it would be futile to keep the man awake.

Thoughts of what the alien drug did to him caused him to frown as he tamped out the fire. He did not like to dwell on what he did to Major Carter, but there was no escaping the memories. The look of hatred in her eyes as she spat at him when he had violated her haunted him, causing him a great deal of pain as he realized that he may have lost a valued and trusted friend.

The fire was no longer a threat to anything when he finally stopped stomping on it. He had not realized that he was taking his anger out on it until it dawned on him that he was kicking at a pile of dirt, and not the fire that had been there originally. He went over to retrieve his staff weapon, all the while ignoring O'Neill who had been grinning at his actions. At least Teal'c tried to ignore the embarrassment of having been caught in an unusual display of anger.

Major Carter came up to him and patted his arm, saying, "It's gone Teal'c." Teal'c found himself smiling at her, knowing full well that it was a measure of relief to know that she was willing to make amends. He bowed his head at her to acknowledge her statement, then went back to the task of packing up camp.

Daniel Jackson was awake and sitting on the ground holding a cup of coffee in both hands. He had refused to let them take the chains off, much to O'Neill's chagrin. Daniel Jackson, it seemed, wanted to keep the chains as a reminder of what he had done. Teal'c did not think that this was a good idea, but convincing Daniel Jackson proved to be an ordeal in itself. He smiled to himself as he remembered the argument between Daniel and O'Neill. The two men always found something to argue about, even at the most inopportune moments.

Daniel Jackson had wakened not long after Major Carter did, but he had kept his silence, which was extremely unusual. He finally spoke up when he held up the chains that still bound his hands together and said to O'Neill, "Thank you," in such a heartfelt tone that even Teal'c knew what he meant. O'Neill had responded in his usual flippant manner as he went over to unlock the chains. "Anytime buddy," O'Neill had said. "Although it was the gag I liked best. Imagine a whole day without having to tell you to can it... I tell you, it was heaven." O'Neill had stopped speaking when he realized that what he had said may not have been the best thing at that moment, but Daniel Jackson took it for what it was, a friendly gesture that was not meant to harm him.

O'Neill tried to unlock the chains, but Daniel would not let him. He pulled his hands in toward his stomach in a protective gesture while he shook his head. "Forget it Jack," he said. "How do you know I won't try to hurt someone the minute you free me."

O'Neill stared at his friend in amazement before responding, "The very fact that you are warning me about it tells me that you won't. Come on Daniel. Let me take them off."

"No way. You all are better off with me chained up."

"Daniel..."

"I'm keeping them on."

"No you're not. Hand them over."

"Uh uh," Daniel Jackson insisted, as he pulled his knees up in an effort to hide his hands behind them.

"I'm making it an order Daniel," O'Neill countered. "Give it up."

"No," he replied adamantly.

"Please Daniel?" Major Carter said, as she came to squat down next to him. "I know you didn't mean to hurt me. Let the Colonel unlock the chains."

"No," he said, as he stared at the ground between them. "I don't want to hurt you Sam. Besides, I deserve worse than this," he snarled out. "Much worse."

Teal'c had watched the whole scene with some interest and was going to try to help his friends in talking to Daniel Jackson, but those words had effectively stopped him. He had felt the same way as his friend did, only he believed that it was himself that should be locked up and imprisoned. He had committed a heinous crime, one that he would have been severely punished for if he were back in Chulak. His people believed that anyone who raped another was weak and not worthy of being a Jaffa, as it demonstrated a lack of control over mind and matter. The Jaffa prided themselves on their strength and for someone to give in to their baser needs and desires was deemed a coward and treated as such. There was also the matter of possibly injuring a woman in that she would not be able to bear another child who would grow up to be a part of their God's army. This fact alone made rape a crime punishable by death and Teal'c believed that he, too, deserved to be punished.

O'Neill had given up the argument at that point, as well. Teal'c knew very well the reason why. O'Neill was a good man who had lived through his own share of tragedies, and if what O'Neill had told him was true, his own share of violence. Teal'c knew from experience that O'Neill would lay down his life in order to save a member of his team - the fact that he had been the tormentor of a teammate had to be an experience that would torture O'Neill for a long time to come.

Teal'c dwelled on these thoughts as he took his staff weapon to do a little scouting while his teammates got their gear together. They joined him several minutes later and Major Carter led the way. They walked several hours in silence until the Major stopped and turned to them with a smile. "I've got a signal sir," she said, relief shining in her eyes. "We're almost there!"

"Finally," O'Neill muttered. Although he looked tired and worn down, Teal'c knew the Colonel was alert and ready to do battle if the opportunity arose. Teal'c had known from the moment he had encountered O'Neill in Apophis' prison that he was a force not to be reckoned with and he was glad that he had taken a chance on the young Tau'ri.

"You ready to let me take those chains off Daniel?" O'Neill asked his friend. Daniel Jackson shook his head, but O'Neill had apparently decided enough was enough. His hand snaked out and grabbed the chain between Daniel's wrists and pulled on them to bring the chain closer to him, causing his friend to stumble as he was jerked forward. O'Neill swiftly unlocked the chains, then looked at them as he held them in his own hands. He looked up at Daniel Jackson, then took a few running steps before throwing the chains away from him as hard as he could. The chains sailed through the air and fell down in the distance. "That's one less reminder," O'Neill said before turning to Major Carter. "Lead the way," he ordered.

"Yes sir," Major Carter responded, as she gave Daniel an encouraging smile before turning toward their destination.

"Congratulations Jack," Daniel Jackson snarled, as he turned to follow the Major. "You've graduated from being an ass to being a complete son of a bitch!"

"Whatever it takes," O'Neill responded. Teal'c just shook his head as he followed his teammates through the forest. He knew by now that their anger would leave them as quickly as it came up. It was just a matter of time.

They walked in silence as they made their way toward the Stargate. Teal'c tried to keep his mind on the dangers that they may be facing, but he found himself remembering the events of the day before and what he did to the woman who had shown complete faith in him the very first day he arrived at the SGC. She had demanded that the others not shoot him, then came up to him and held her hand out, asking him without words to hand over his weapon. He had admired her courage at that moment and he was grateful to this day that she accepted him within the ranks of SG-1 without question.

He knew in his heart that it was the drug he had been injected with that caused him to hurt her, to take his pleasure in her without her permission, but he also remembered the thought of wanting to finish what was started once he had kissed her, even as he hated himself for the very thought. She had begged him to stop and he had wanted to more than anything, but something deep inside wouldn't let him. He had enjoyed her screams when he had hurt her, all the while hating himself with his whole being when she cried and begged him not to hurt her anymore. He had sworn to keep her safe when he had joined SG-1, but that meant nothing as he saw her standing there wearing only bruises and blood to hide her nakedness.

Teal'c swiveled with his weapon aimed toward the noise that had brought him out of his musing. O'Neill came up to stand next to him, his gun primed and ready to fire. They scanned the surrounding area, trying to see behind the trees in hopes of determining what it was that disturbed them, but there seemed to be nothing there. Teal'c was not fooled, he had, after all, been a warrior for over 100 years and he took a few steps forward to see if he could find what it was that was out there. He concentrated with all of his senses, knowing that he still may determine what was out there by smell, as well as sight and sound.

The forest came alive as Teal'c focused on his prey. The sights and sounds were familiar, but it was the unusual sounds Teal'c listened for. He turned slightly to his right when a twig snapped, then dropped to his knees as an arrow sped past his arm. He turned to aim his weapon toward the direction where the arrow came from and fired when a man came charging out of the brush. The man fell from the force of the blast and Teal'c was glad to know yet another one was dead.

He turned again when he heard a gunshot from behind him and saw that O'Neill had killed a man who had been aiming at Teal'c. He knew from experience that O'Neill, Major Carter and Daniel Jackson would have completed their own reconnaissance, finding shelter among the trees as they made their own assessments of their predicament, which is why Teal'c was not surprised by O'Neill's actions. The four of them all worked well together, like a well-oiled machine.

The forest was quiet again, but the members of SG-1 did not give up their hiding places just yet. Teal'c kept a constant vigil, wondering how many more were out there, just waiting for their chance to capture him and his friends. He turned when he heard a muffled shout, but his help was not required as Major Carter shot the man who had tried to cut Daniel Jackson's throat.

Daniel Jackson just stared at the Major a moment before going back to his own vigilant stance. There was no time to discuss anything.

"How far are we from the Gate?" O'Neill spoke up from his hiding place.

"A couple clicks maybe?" Major Carter answered. Ever the soldier, Teal'c thought proudly. She would have made a remarkable Jaffa, he realized, not for the first time. He shook away the memory of watching her as he waited for the drug to take effect, of the look in her eyes as she pushed away her terror and looked at him with dignity and strength, believing she was going to die by his hand. If ever there was a warrior, it was Samantha Carter.

"We're going to make a run for it," O'Neill said. "Carter, you and Daniel go first. Teal'c and I will be right behind you. Go!" he shouted.

Both Major Carter and Daniel ran toward the Stargate, while Teal'c and O'Neill scanned the area for their attackers. No one came forth, so both men turned and ran after their teammates. They raced through the forest, keeping an eye on the route Major Carter took while at the same time keeping their eyes and ears attuned for possible attackers.

The trees that they ran through provided adequate cover for their flight and Teal'c was relieved when he heard the Stargate erupt. He and O'Neill came into the clearing just as Major Carter turned to them, shouting at them to hurry.

"Go!" O'Neill shouted at her once more, and she complied immediately. She disappeared into the event horizon, but not before she grabbed Daniel Jackson's arm to pull him along with her. Teal'c stopped to aim his weapon at a man who came out of the trees next to the Stargate, and shot him just as he put a tube to his mouth intending to shoot something toward them.

He and O'Neill ran the final stretch toward the Stargate and dived through it to make it to safety. They came out on the other side to a reception of soldiers, each one determined to defend their homeland at all cost. "Close the iris!" O'Neill shouted as he dropped down onto the ramp. Teal'c got up on his feet, then reached down to help O'Neill up when the man raised his hand in an appeal.

"Colonel O'Neill," General Hammond said, as he came into the Gate Room, his eyes conveying his concern. "What happened out there?"

O'Neill did not respond right away, which was extremely unusual. The man always had something to say when he got back, usually something flippant. It was expected by everyone who knew the Colonel, and General Hammond's expression turned grave when it became apparent O'Neill was not going to respond as usual.

"Colonel?" the General tried again.

"We ran into some problems sir," O'Neill finally said, as he looked at his commanding officer. "We should get down to the infirmary, especially Carter, if it's all right with you sir."

"Yes. Yes, of course," the General said, as he indicated the way with his hand. "We'll debrief in one hour."

"Yes sir," O'Neill replied before he turned to lead the way toward the infirmary.

Doctor Janet Fraiser met them at the examination room and began issuing orders to her staff. She then began to ask questions to try to determine the extent of their injuries. Teal'c let the doctor and her staff draw blood and run the usual tests they had to endure after every mission, but refused to tell her what happened while he had been drugged. He felt that this was something Major Carter should speak of herself, as was her right.

Teal'c was more worried about his friend, Daniel Jackson. The young man was unusually despondent, refusing to talk to anyone, including Major Carter. Teal'c knew what his friend was experiencing, but he also knew that Daniel was a caring and compassionate man who held onto his values tightly and was probably devastated by his actions, which contradicted the values he held so dear. Daniel Jackson was going to have a hard time dealing with what he had done and Teal'c hoped he would be able to help his friend when the time was right.

"Oh God, Sam. What happened to you?" he heard Doctor Fraiser ask from behind the curtain that hid the Major's bed.

"It's nothing Janet," Major Carter responded in a trembling voice.

"It looks like a lot," Doctor Fraiser insisted. Teal'c tried not to listen, all the while knowing that the doctor would get the answers she wanted. The woman was a harridan when it came to healing the people under her care. As if to prove this point, the doctor began issuing orders to her staff, as well as to Major Carter, telling her to get undressed and to put on a hospital gown, so that she could do a thorough examination. The doctor came out from behind the curtain just as Major Carter groaned in frustration, glaring at him and his companions. "What happened out there?" she demanded.

She did not get the answer she was looking for, as all three men kept their silence. Apparently O'Neill and Daniel Jackson shared Teal'c's opinion that the explanation should come from Major Carter. Teal'c would wait until he faced the man who had the power to punish him for his actions before he would admit his guilt.

"Are we done here Doc?" O'Neill asked forcibly.

"You three are," she said after studying them for a moment. She knew defeat when it stared her in the face. She then called out to Major Carter to ask permission to enter the curtained area. Teal'c bowed his head in shame as memories of what he did to his friend and comrade washed over him when Major Carter timidly responded with the word, "Please."

Chapter 5

Samantha Carter stood in the shower, moaning in pleasure as the hot water poured over her. The heat from the water massaged her sore muscles and she couldn't help but luxuriate in it. She stood there as the hot water ran through her hair and over her face, mingling with the tears that came without warning.

This was what she had been craving ever since she had wakened in that prison. Warmth and cleanliness, mixed in with the relief of being home had a huge affect on her well-being and Sam welcomed the bliss that came with these sensations. She stood there for several minutes letting the hot water sooth her muscles as well as her soul before finally taking up the soap in an effort to wash away the dirt and grime that had collected in her hair and on her body. Hot tears continued to fall, mixing in with the water from the shower and Sam hoped that she would be able to control those tears if she concentrated on something more constructive, like scrubbing away the dirt.

Sam scrubbed every inch of her body as she fought against the weakness of her tears. She was an officer in the United States Air Force and she had to keep up the image that she could hold her own in a career that was populated predominately with males. Keeping up pretenses meant that she had to constantly prove that she was just as capable of handling anything a man could. She had succeeded in this endeavor over the years and she worked hard to earn the respect of her peers, as well as earning every last one of the medals she had been awarded.

A man wouldn't resort to tears no matter what hardships were encountered in the field or how badly he had been treated. Soldiers were not supposed to cry. Yet here she was sobbing her heart out in the shower. She tried to reason that the tears were inevitable and that she had every right to cry, especially since she was alone, but years of training and putting on the brave front for her peers made her feel like a fraud and a weakling for giving into this weakness. The crying had to stop and it had to stop now.

So much for bravado, Sam thought, as the tears continued to fall while she scrubbed her scalp. She decided to just let the tears fall so that she could get it out of her system. This way, she could move on with her life without fear of breaking down in front of her team, or worse, in front of Janet Fraiser.

Sam went back to scrubbing her arms again as she thought about her friend, Janet. She and Janet had become great friends over the years, and Sam was having a hard time keeping the truth about what happened from the doctor, whose thorough examination told her more than Sam did. Janet seemed to have a radar in her head that zeroed in on Sam's deepest feelings and thoughts and Sam had the distinct feeling that Janet knew who it was that had raped her. It was probably evident in the faces of her teammates, but Sam couldn't bring herself to admit the truth to her friend.

Janet had looked Sam in the eyes and asked her point blank who had violated her. Sam just kept her silence, hoping that Janet would take it that she didn't want to talk about it, that she was too traumatized to talk about it. Janet took the hint and Sam was thankful for her friend's understanding. This was one of the few times when she knew she would get away with using a feminine tactic, and she had no qualms in taking advantage of the opportunity.

Sam couldn't explain why she was trying to protect her friends. She thought it might have something to do with the fact that they had been drugged, or it could be because they had tried to fight the alien influence. Deep down, Sam knew it was because she had always protected them, fought for them and was willing to die for them, as they would for her. They had learned to rely on each other and Sam couldn't let them down now.

She found herself dwelling on that thought as she washed her stomach and legs with the soapy washrag. Why should she protect them? They had failed her when they couldn't fight off the effects of the drug. She had cuts and bruises all over her body to attest to that fact. Worse, she had memories of the kisses and their hands groping and pinching, while she fought with everything she had to stop them. Shame and disgust moved into her thoughts and she scrubbed her skin harder in an effort to chase away the memories.

She finally stopped scrubbing her skin when it dawned on her that she had been at it for a long time. She was not going to get any cleaner, so what was the point? She let the water pour over her body for a few minutes longer, then turned off the shower. It was time to face her teammates and the General.

If there was one thing she had learned during her career, it was that it's best to face the consequences head on and get it over with. With that in mind, she dressed quickly and prepared herself mentally and emotionally to face the next hurdle. She was not prepared, however, to find all three of her teammates waiting for her outside the showers. They were watching her with concern and she didn't know whether to smile at them or give into her weakness and start crying all over again.

The soldier kicked in and she smiled at them to let them know she was okay. Colonel O'Neill smiled back before saying, "How are you holding up, Carter?"

"I'm fine sir," she responded. "I so needed that shower."

"I had been thinking of finding someone to go in there and check on you," he said, as he turned to walk down the hallway. "You were in there a long time."

Sam wasn't sure what to say to that, so she kept her silence as she walked down the hallway. Daniel and Teal'c fell into step with them as they made their way to the briefing room and Sam felt a small comfort knowing that their nearness didn't bother her. She was going to survive this, she just knew it.

"Are you ready for this?" the Colonel asked as they got on the elevator.

"Yes sir," she responded quietly. Keep up the pretense Sam, she thought encouragingly.

"Good, because Hammond is getting impatient," the Colonel said. "We don't want to keep him waiting any longer than he has to."

Yes, she did. Not only did she want to keep him waiting, she also wanted to get as far away from people as she could get. She wanted to go home and crawl into her bed and hide from the world. But reality had a way of butting in and Sam knew she didn't have a choice, which is why she followed her commanding officer into the briefing room to face her fears and her shame.

They were quiet as they entered the room, as no one seemed to have anything to say. Sam, Daniel and Teal'c sat down at the table while the Colonel went over to the General's office to let him know they were there. "Hammond will be here in a minute," the Colonel said, as he came over to join them.

Sam gave him what she hoped was an encouraging smile. The smile didn't last long as she looked over at Daniel. He was going to be her biggest worry, she could just tell. He hadn't said a word to her since they'd been back, and she was hard pressed to remember if he had said anything to her after awakening on the planet that morning. He was taking this way too hard and she didn't know if she would be able to help him. Hell, she wasn't sure she was going to be able to help herself.

She and the Colonel stood up when General Hammond came into the room. He was followed by Janet Fraiser, causing Sam's heart to speed up as she worried about what her friend had told the General. She had no right, Sam thought angrily, as she glared at the Doctor. She had no right telling him anything.

Janet took in Sam's glare, giving her a reassuring smile before turning to find her own seat at the table. General Hammond took a seat, as well, while Sam and the Colonel followed suit. They were all settled in and no one had a thing to say. "Colonel O'Neill," Hammond spoke up to get the ball rolling, "Tell me what happened out there."

Sam watched as the Colonel heaved a heavy sigh, then took the bull by the horns. "I'm not quite sure what happened once we arrived on that planet sir," he said, while he stared at his hands. "I mean one minute Carter and Daniel were collecting information, while Teal'c and I were making sure there were no surprises to jump out at us, then the next I knew I woke up in a jail cell. Teal'c and Daniel each had their own accommodations right next to mine, but Carter was nowhere to be seen."

He stopped talking to look at her and she saw that he was hiding his thoughts from her again. It didn't matter this time, though. She knew what he was thinking and feeling - the exact same thing that was going through her mind. He was in deep shit, but more than that he was going to have to admit to his failure and his shame. Sam looked down at the table when the tears she had thought were no longer present threatened to make an appearance. She wished with all her heart that he didn't have to do this. The whole thing was destroying him, as it was, why did they have to broadcast it to the world?

"They came and got Daniel not long after we woke up," Colonel O'Neill said, as he continued his narration of the events as he saw them. "Two men came and took him away and left Teal'c and me to try to figure out what was going on. They wouldn't talk to us, whether it was because they didn't know what we were saying or were told not to, is beyond me."

"Some time later they brought Daniel back unconscious and then left, without answering any of my questions," the Colonel said, a little indignantly. "They came back later and took Teal'c. Daniel woke up for a second after Teal'c left, but went right back into la la land, so there were no answers from him."

Sam looked over at Daniel, wishing he would snap out of the funk he had fallen into. He was just sitting there watching the Colonel, waiting for God only knows what. Sam went back to staring at the spot on the table in front of her, quietly waiting for her turn.

"Dr. Jackson," General Hammond prompted. "What did they do to you?" Daniel just stared at the General, not bothering to speak. "Dr. Jackson?" the General asked again.

"They injected me with something that caused me to go ballistic," Daniel said angrily. "I couldn't stop myself from doing the things I did, no matter how hard I tried." He stopped then as he stared at the Colonel. "I wanted to stop, Jack. I just couldn't."

"I know Daniel," the Colonel responded quietly. "I went through the same thing, remember?"

"Yeah," Daniel said, as he went back to staring at the table. He looked so despondent and Sam found herself wishing he would just look at her. He was hurting, but so was she. She needed him and all he could do was wallow in his shame. She forced herself to stop this train of thought before she did something that would embarrass her even more.

"Colonel?" the General demanded. It was clear he wanted explanations and he was going to get them, no matter what it took.

"I can't speak for what Teal'c or Daniel did while under the influence of that drug," Colonel O'Neill said, "And I would rather not admit what I did, but I know it has to be said..."

"I raped Major Carter," Teal'c spoke up, interrupting the Colonel. He was just sitting there with his hands clasped and placed on the table while he stared straight ahead. He then turned to look directly at the General as he said, "I am relinquishing myself to you, General Hammond, and will accept whatever punishment you deem necessary."

The silence was deafening. Sam sat there trying to act as if nothing was wrong, but she found that she couldn't face any of the people sitting in that room. She stared at the table in front of her instead, all the while wishing she could just vanish into thin air.

"Just a minute," the General finally spoke up, having gotten over the initial shock. "I want to hear everything before I make any decisions."

"I was taken to the room where Carter was being held," Colonel O'Neill said. She looked up at him and was surprised to find that he was staring at her while he talked. His eyes conveyed his faith in her, even if his features didn't. She stared back at him, hearing his words as he told them all what he did, relishing in the strength he tried to give her through his gaze.

"She was chained to a wall and she was naked," he continued. "I immediately tried to kill the men who were there, but I was overpowered. They injected something into me, then left me there alone with her." He stopped speaking, although he wouldn't break eye contact with her. She watched him as he took a deep breath to fortify himself, then sat mesmerized as he continued with his story. "The drug brought out the mean side of me and all I could think about was hurting Carter. I tried to stop myself, but whatever that stuff was, it was too strong for me to fight. I took advantage of her, as well, sir." He finally looked away from her to stare directly into the General's eyes as he said, "I raped my second in command. From the way Daniel's been acting, I would hazard a guess that he did too."

"Yes I did," Daniel said, as he put his head into his hands. "God help me, but I hurt her badly."

"Did they tell you what was in the drug they were administering?" Janet asked, finally stepping up to the plate.

"They never said one word to me," Colonel O'Neill responded.

"They wouldn't talk to me either," Sam spoke up for the first time, having been bolstered by the Colonel's faith in her. "I tried to get them to tell me why they were doing that stuff to us, but they wouldn't talk to me." This last was said with anger as she remembered the pain and the shame she went through for those jerks.

"I know this may be difficult Major," General Hammond said, "But I need you to tell me what happened to you while you were on that planet." Sam saw the apologetic look on his face, and realized that he was having a hard time dealing with the news of what his people did.

"Yes sir," she responded, knowing that she was having a hard time dealing with this herself. She turned to stare at the Colonel, hoping to garner more strength from the man who just seemed to ooze with the stuff. "They were brought in one at a time and injected with the drug. I knew the minute the drug had taken over, but the men who... hurt me were not my teammates," she continued, stumbling over her words. She had started to say rape, but couldn't bring herself to utter it. "My teammates surfaced during the violence," she added as she turned to give Janet more information regarding the drug. "I saw them come out and try to fight it. They didn't want to hurt me, I could tell. The drug doesn't take complete control, like the disease we encountered in the Land of Light. They knew what they were doing and tried to stop."

Sam stopped speaking at that point, looking around at the others then aimed her next words at the Colonel. "Daniel surfaced on the way home, Colonel. You saw him." Sam heard the desperation in her voice and wondered why it was there. "Daniel!" she demanded, now looking at her friend. "You did try to stop, you just weren't strong enough."

"What do you know about it?" Daniel snarled at her, as he looked at her for the first time that day. "I wanted to hurt you Sam. I wanted it! You tell me how to deal with that!"

"You also wanted to stop, didn't you?" Sam yelled back at him, completely forgetting her resolve to remain the professional. He had no right to yell at her. "Well? Didn't you?"

"Yes," Daniel replied, going back to staring at the table, "Apparently not wanting it bad enough."

"All right people," the General said, before Sam could get up to hit her friend. "It's apparent that every one of you suffered a great deal on that planet and I am going to recommend that you all take some time to work through your feelings. I'll arrange to have Dr. Mackenzie come to spend some time with all of you. In the meantime, Colonel, I want to know how you got out of there."

"Oh come on, General," Colonel O'Neill complained. "Mackenzie? That guy gets on my nerves just from hearing his name. I'll pass on visiting with him this time, thank you very much."

"I'll make it an order Colonel," General Hammond responded dryly. "Now, you were going to tell me how you got out of there."

"Yes sir," the Colonel grumbled. Sam had to smile at that. She knew her commanding officer was going to be all right. Lord knows he had survived worse situations.

"After we all survived the first round," Colonel O'Neill continued, "They came and chained all three of us together to take us down to visit with Carter again. Apparently they thought they were in for a special treat," he said dryly and with a little anger. "Anyway, the three of us were able to overpower those bastards and we grabbed Carter and ran. Unfortunately, the leader of the group managed to inject more of the drug into Daniel before Daniel killed his ass, so we had to keep him chained up while we tried to find our way out of there."

"Did the second dose cause him to act worse than the first?" Janet asked, determined to get as much information on the drug as she could.

"I don't know," the Colonel responded with a frown. "You'll have to ask Carter." Sam shook her head at Janet, while he continued his speech. "We spent a good hour, maybe more trying to find our way out of there. We finally found a room that held our clothes and equipment, and best of all, our weapons." This last was said with a wicked smile and Sam felt a tug of emotion that she quickly pushed away. "I managed to administer some basic first aid for Carter, we got dressed, grabbed our stuff and got out of there."

"Did you run into any more of the natives?" Hammond asked.

Not until after we left the building," The Colonel answered. "There was a clearing immediately around the building and as soon as we found our way out, we made a run for the woods. We were chased by four men who were shooting arrows at us, but we were able to eliminate that threat and settled into the task of finding our way to the Gate."

"We didn't see anyone else until we were almost at the Gate," he continued. "They attacked, but we were able to get to safety. You know the rest sir," the Colonel said, looking at Sam again as he finished his story.

"What can you tell me about the drug?" Janet asked, her pen ready to take as many notes as she could manage. Sam smiled as a fleeting image of Urgo mimicking the doctor flashed through her mind.

"All I know is that I could feel the anger build up in me as it took effect. Anger, hatred and lust all rolled up and Sam was standing there looking altogether fetching while chained to the wall with nothing on," Colonel O'Neill spoke up and Sam wondered why he'd called her Sam, instead of Carter. She tried to find the answer in his face, but couldn't see past the anger and self-recrimination in his eyes.

"After awhile the drug seemed to drain me of all my strength and I passed out," he continued, now staring at Janet with a look of intense anger. "Not before I took advantage of the resources made available to me," he snarled.

"I may need to run some more tests, which means I would like to get more blood from the three of you," Janet said, apparently unaware that Sam was dying. Now she was just a resource? What the hell did that mean?

"What good would that do?" the Colonel asked, as he got a handle on the anger that was boiling just beneath the surface. "Neither Teal'c nor I have suffered from any more symptoms since we both woke up and the chances of us ever going back there to have them repeat their torture sessions are zilch, so why bother finding a cure?"

"I want to rule out future reoccurrences, as well as possible damage done to your biological systems. We have specific tests and procedures set up in order to prevent an alien influence from taking over and I insist that we follow through with them."

"Fine," the Colonel responded angrily. "Do whatever you have to do."

"I will, Colonel. First things first, I want all three of you to report to the infirmary once this debriefing is over."

"May I be dismissed?" Sam finally found her voice and spoke up before she even realized she was going to. She noticed the others staring at her in surprise and she could feel her cheeks redden. What was the matter with her? She was supposed to be the professional officer and here she was letting the world see her weakness. Get a grip, Carter, she told herself firmly. "I'm sorry sir, I don't know where that came from," she admitted with a shaky smile.

"It's okay Major," General Hammond responded. "This meeting is over anyway, unless anyone else has anything to say?" No one spoke up and Sam knew it was out of deference for her. "You are all restricted to base until further notice," Hammond continued, causing Sam to panic at the thought. "I'll make arrangements for you all to meet with Dr. Mackenzie. Dismissed!"

Sam stood up along with Janet and Colonel O'Neill when the General got up from the table, then took her opportunity to get away from them all and practically ran from the room. Oh man, was she pissed! They were all wallowing in their guilt and shame, Daniel especially, and the irony of it all had Sam wanting to scream. Just who did they think they were? She was the one who had to endure Janet's pity and condemning looks. Sam was the one who had been brutally victimized, complete with bruises and cuts, and she was the one who had to face Hammond's look of patronizing pity. She was the one who was going to have to deal with the shame and the looks from others.

She stalked down the hall heading for the elevators that would take her to her quarters on base, all the while steaming about the circumstances she was now faced with. She couldn't even count on Daniel to help her through this. He had always been her rock, someone she could talk to about anything, and here he was wallowing in his own shame, not even willing to give her the decency of talking to her about what happened.

And then there was the Colonel. What the hell was that all about? One minute he was conveying his faith in her, then the next thing she knew he was telling her she was just a resource. He could be such a son of a bitch, she raged silently. She knew that all his anger was directed at himself, but still, he could stop long enough to tell her everything was going to work out. But no, he would rather condemn himself to whatever hell he deemed was appropriate while totally ignoring what it was she needed.

And she could just forget about talking to Teal'c. That man was a virtual wall when it came to making him understand her needs. He would be more than happy to lend her his shoulder to cry on or to be there for her to rant at, but he was still a typical male. Understanding a woman was just as foreign to a Jaffa as it was to the men on her own world.

She got on the elevator and viciously punched the button that would take her to her destination. To make matters worse, she was now expected to talk to another man and tell him all about her feelings. She had the utmost respect for Dr. Mackenzie, but he was a man and Sam wanted to weep at the injustice of it all. Instead, she hung on to her rage, keeping the tears and her fears at bay with thoughts of kicking the crap out of her commanding officer. She knew that her thoughts would never come to pass, but it made her feel better when she imagined punching him just as hard as she had punched Daniel. She closed her eyes and leaned against the wall of the elevator as she visualized the look of surprise and pain on the image she had of Colonel O'Neill's face.

She could feel herself calming down. She just needed to be alone and she could only hope that the others would realize it and stay away for awhile. She got out when the elevator stopped, and walked down the hall toward her room, sighing in relief when she stepped in and closed the door behind her. She was finally alone and she had every intention of hiding out, at least until she was strong enough to face her friends again. Knowing them and the way they were acting now, she would be alone for a long time to come.

Chapter 6

Daniel Jackson was indeed wallowing in his shame and the guilt he was experiencing as he remembered in great detail what he did to Sam Carter. He seemed to take great interest in reliving the worst of his memories over and over again, trying to make sense of why he let himself enjoy the pain he had inflicted on one of his best friends.

He sat on the bed in the infirmary refusing to answer any questions he was asked, too lost in his own pain to realize the importance of his answers. God, he had raped his best friend and they wanted him to talk about trivial things?

Daniel turned to look at Jack, who was grouching about the fact that he was being stuck with another needle. Jack was taking this whole thing in stride. Daniel could see the anger his friend was hanging on to, but other than that it was just another mission gone wrong. There were times when Daniel wanted to smash his friend's face in, and this was one of those times.

Daniel glared at Jack before turning to stare at Teal'c, who had apparently decided that he was going to take whatever fate dished out to him. He had put his fate into General Hammond's hands when he'd announced that he had raped Samantha Carter and Daniel hoped that Hammond would include him in his decision. In any other circumstances, he would be facing severe jail time.

Teal'c nodded at Daniel when he noticed his stare. Daniel didn't bother responding, he just grimaced and turned to find something else to stare at. Teal'c was right in believing that they should be punished. Rape was a serious crime, no matter that they had been under an alien influence. Daniel couldn't help but remember the thoughts that ran through his head as he fought off the drug's influence. He had wanted Sam more than anything at the time. He had consciously stepped back to let his passions take over completely, while a small part of the real Daniel Jackson tried to stop the horrors, and failed miserably at it.

"Daniel?" Janet Fraiser asked as she came up to stand next to him. "Are you going to make it?" The concern in her features had Daniel's blood boiling. She had no right to worry about him, because in all honesty, he wasn't worth the effort. He had committed a horror that was totally incomprehensible to his morals and values and he wasn't sure he would ever `make it'.

"Just fine and dandy Doc. Couldn't be better," he snarled at her. He had every intention of taking all of his anger out on her, but he stopped instead, realizing that this whole thing really wasn't her fault. He stared at her, taking in the hurt look and realized that he was destined to hurt others, he might as well get used to being a jerk. "Sorry," he mumbled, now looking at the wall past her shoulder. "I'm just a little tired."

"That's okay," she said with a small smile. "You've all been through a lot. I have what I need for now. Why don't you all go and get some much needed rest?"

"I'm up for that," Jack said, as he jumped off of the bed he had been sitting on. "I'm thinking of sleeping for a week."

Daniel just stared at the man he had thought he knew. "What about Sam?" he asked.

"What about her?" Jack asked, the nonchalant look changing to something darker. Jack O'Neill knew how to hide his feelings from the world and Daniel could see the man working on doing that very thing.

"Shouldn't we go make sure she is going to be okay?" Daniel asked, wondering what was going on in Jack's mind. That guy could be so obscure sometimes.

"You go right on ahead," Jack said, as he stood there, watching Daniel. "I personally think she may want some time alone, but if it will make you feel any better, have at it."

Daniel had to admit that he didn't know what would make him feel better, but he also knew he wasn't so positive about visiting with Sam. She would start spouting off about how it wasn't his fault, while he knew better. He could feel his anger rising as he tried to push his guilt away. He didn't deserve her forgiveness.

He got up and walked out with his teammates, but he couldn't find anything to say to them. Apparently they were in the same boat, because the three of them walked down the hallway in silence. They stopped when they reached the elevator, but Jack stopped Daniel from swiping his card through the reader.

"Look Daniel," Jack said hesitantly, "I know you are thinking of going to visit with Carter, but I really think you should hold off on that for awhile." Daniel just stared at Jack, waiting for him to explain his reasoning. Surely he's going to explain why he would make such a strong statement. "I just think she may want some time alone to deal with her feelings," Jack added.

"How can you know that?" Daniel asked, genuinely wanting to know what made Jack think he knew exactly what Sam was thinking.

"I just do," Jack responded with a shrug. "Just give her some time, Daniel. She's been through a lot and there will be plenty of time to talk with her and to work on getting through this."

"What if you're wrong?" Daniel couldn't help but ask. He knew that Jack had been through a lot during his career in the Air Force, although Daniel didn't know all of the horrors Jack had gone through. And because Jack was not one to talk about his past, Daniel knew that he may never know everything that had happened to his friend prior to their meeting for the first time. He still wondered about it occasionally, and hung on to everything Jack let loose in an effort to better understand his friend, but he was well aware that Jack hid the horrors inside his own memories, keeping them hidden for reasons only Jack knew.

"I'm not wrong in this," Jack replied with confidence. "Just give her some time, maybe go see her in the morning. She's dealing with a lot of grief and shame..." He stopped at that, then sighed, "I just think it would be better to let her work through some of her anger before you go barging in to try to help her."

Daniel couldn't argue with this, especially since he wasn't so sure that he wanted to visit with the woman that he'd let down in a big way. "All right," he told Jack. "I think I'll just go to my office to see if I can get some work done."

Jack nodded at that. "I think I'm going to take the Doc's advice and get some sleep. What about you Teal'c?"

"I will attempt Kel'No'Reem so that I may gain some understanding in why I did what I did," Teal'c responded truthfully.

"According to Carter, it was the drug that caused you to do what you did," Jack said, in an attempt to ease Teal'c's shame.

"Yet, I allowed the drug to take over," Teal'c responded. "According to Major Carter, I tried to fight it, but was unsuccessful. This is not true, as you have come to know with your own experience with the drug. I can not honestly say that I really wanted to fight it."

"Do you think the drug caused us to think we wanted to do what we did?" Jack asked. Daniel couldn't help but think that Jack was reaching for straw, but he waited eagerly for Teal'c's response all the same.

"It is possible," Teal'c responded after a moment of thinking through the words. "I do remember hating myself for what I was thinking and doing. Perhaps the drug stymied the thought patterns that make up the righteous part of our thinking."

"Then that's what I will hang onto," Jack said. "I can't even imagine doing what I did to Carter, ever. The very fact that I wanted to hurt her defies everything I truly believe. And Daniel," he said, enthusiasm making his eyes light up, "We all know that you wouldn't hurt a fly unless it was spitting venom at you. That was not you out there."

"Did you think that when I accused you of being jealous?" Daniel asked quietly. He truly wanted to believe that Jack had forgiven him as much as he craved Sam's forgiveness.

"What?" Jack asked, confusion crossing his features before remembrance dawned. "Oh that. I was more pissed than anything," Jack said with a small grin. "Besides, I thought that was just a bid for freedom." The grin turned to a full smile as he added, "Carter walloped you a good one, didn't she?"

Trust Jack to enjoy Daniel's discomfort. Daniel couldn't help the small smile that turned up the corners of his mouth as he shook his head at his friend. "I deserved much worse," he replied.

"We all do, my friend," Jack said evenly, then grabbed his own card to swipe it through the reader. "Are you going to give Carter some time to work through her feelings?"

"Yeah," Daniel responded, knowing it was really because he was afraid to confront her just yet.

"Good," Jack said, as Teal'c nodded his head in agreement. "Let's meet for breakfast and talk to her then."

Daniel didn't respond. He was already trying to come up with a reason to avoid his friends, knowing that he wouldn't follow through on those reasons. He knew himself too well to think that he would let them suffer through their issues. He was too much of a busybody to not butt in. It seems that this was what he did best.

***************************

Daniel found himself standing outside of Sam's door the next morning, knocking on it to see if she was awake and ready to face the day. He had spent the majority of the evening in his office trying to concentrate on his work, but his anguish was overwhelming. Every time he focused on the transcript he was trying to translate, images of what he had done while under the influence of that drug raced through his mind. He finally left his office to find his bed, only to stay awake half the night, thinking about his inabilities to fight off the lust and passion he felt toward his best friend while they were on that planet. But mostly, he thought about the anger, pain and the shame Sam must have felt as she begged him for all that she was worth for him not to hurt her.

He was fiercely glad when he saw the bruises he had on his legs where she had kicked him during the violence and the ones on his face where she had punched him when her hands were free. He knew that he deserved much more, but he also knew that he was going to have to be the one to inflict the punishment he deserved. He seriously doubted that anything would come out of an inquisition regarding his actions while under the influence of whatever it was he had been injected with.

He knocked again when there was no immediate answer to the first knock. He briefly wondered if maybe Sam had already left, when the door opened and the woman in question stuck her head out the door. "Morning Daniel," she said, before stifling a yawn. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Daniel responded, suddenly feeling very self-conscious. Great, he had wakened her. Not a good way to start a new day. "Look, I didn't realize it was so early," he added. "I just thought you might want to join me for breakfast."

She stared at him in surprise for a moment before nodding her head, "Yes," she said. "Just give me a minute to get dressed, okay?" She started to close the door, then opened it back up again. "I'll be right out Daniel, okay?"

Daniel gave her a small smile before nodding his head. "I'll wait," he told her, half hoping that this meant she really did want to be with him.

She opened the door again five minutes later, fully dressed and ready to go. "You look great," he told her, as they turned to walk down the hallway.

"Thanks," she responded, her smile lightening Daniel's mood. He hoped it meant that she really had forgiven him.

"Sam, I didn't get the chance to really apologize for what I did to you," Daniel said, hoping to clear the air once and for all. "I'm sorry for not being strong enough."

She nodded at his words, then told him, "You don't need to apologize, Daniel. I don't blame you."

"Well, I do," Daniel snapped. He could only hope that he would be able to forgive himself one of these days. Sam's forgiveness did wonders for his morale though, and he hastened to tell her that. "I'm glad you don't blame me, Sam," he said, a small smile working its way to his face. "It helps to know that."

She smiled at that and Daniel knew at that moment, the rift in their friendship would heal. She was at least willing to work with him in wading through the problems of their relationship and this knowledge gave him something to hope for. They got to the elevator and Daniel was surprised when the doors opened to reveal Jack and Teal'c as its occupants.

"Hey," Jack said, his eyes lighting up as he saw them, "We were just coming to get you guys. Do you want to join us for breakfast?"

"I'd like that," Sam said, as she got on the elevator.

Daniel joined her and turned to face Jack as the elevator carried them to their destination. "Did you get some sleep?" he asked, noticing that Jack did look a little more rested.

"Yep," Jack responded, rocking on his heels as he stood there with his hands in his pockets. "I got some well-deserved sleep. Now all I need to do is to get some food in my stomach and I'll be one happy camper."

Daniel nodded his head in agreement, suddenly realizing that he was starving. They continued their way to the commissary, while making small talk and Daniel couldn't help but think that maybe things really could go back to normal. There was no anger or tension, just a friendly camaraderie that they always shared when together.

The friendly camaraderie didn't last though. They were all sitting around a table eating breakfast when Daniel wondered aloud when they would be cleared to go off world again. Jack just shrugged while Sam said, "I don't know. Soon, I hope."

"Not until we are ready to go out as a team," Jack said. Daniel looked over at his friend in surprise, trying to figure out what he meant by that. They were a team, always had been from almost the start. Well, excluding the very first missions when Daniel felt like a duck out of water. It hadn't taken him long to fit in though, and Daniel was proud of his accomplishments over the years.

"We may need some time to heal and to forgive," Teal'c said sagely, giving Daniel some insight into Jack's words.

"I'm ready," Sam said, as she looked around at her friends. Daniel wasn't so sure he was ready, now that he thought about it. Jack and Teal'c were right, being part of a team meant being there for his teammates, and Daniel knew that the doubts brought on by his actions during that last mission could get in the way of being there for his teammates on future missions. He was ruminating on this when Jack suddenly interrupted his thoughts by grabbing Daniel's arm. Daniel looked up to see what was going on, but he ended up staring at Sam instead. Apparently Jack, who was sitting at the end of the table between Daniel and Sam, had reached out for both of them, but while Daniel had glanced up curiously, Sam had immediately yanked her arm out of Jack's grasp and sat back in her seat as she laid her hands in her lap.

"We're not ready to go out as a team," Jack reiterated, as he stared at Sam, his point clearly made.

"I'm okay," Sam insisted, as she reached a shaky hand for her fork. She then looked up, smiling at them all, before saying. "Really, I am."

"I believe you," Jack said softly. He was still watching Sam, and Daniel had the feeling that there was something more going on than they let on. He shook off this thought. They were just friends who shared similar training and beliefs ingrained into them by the Air Force. Hopefully, their beliefs included forgiving a friend for acts of violence committed against them.

"Sam," Daniel said, suddenly realizing something. "Have I apologized for what I did yet?"

"Only a thousand times," Sam responded, with a grin. The smile faded as she continued. "You guys don't have to apologize. I'm just glad that you got me out of there."

"Did you see how Danny Boy kicked that guy's ass?" Jack exclaimed proudly. "There's hope for him yet!"

"You're just now finding that out?" Daniel said, with mock indignity. "I've been an asset to this team for some time now." His own smile disappeared as memories of Sam tearfully begging him to stop floated through his mind. "Well, up until that last mission anyway," he growled, self-hatred causing him to glare at his plate.

"We are all an asset to the team," Jack insisted. "We just have to get through this. And we will, we've all been through this before."

"The Land of Light," Sam added. "It's not the same," she accused. "You were able to stop me."

"I wasn't chained to a wall," Jack countered.

"I was not affected by the alien disease," Teal'c spoke up, possibly to stop what looked like a promising argument. "This is not the same for me."

"It's close enough," Jack persisted, determined to help them all get over the guilt.

"Yes sir," Sam grumbled. Daniel could tell that she really wasn't convinced, just going through the motion.

"Carter," Jack growled. He was the optimistic one, always believing that something would come up and save the day. Daniel admired this trait in his friend, even when Daniel had his own doubts about their situation. So far, Jack was batting a thousand in predicting their successes.

"Yes sir," Sam said again with a nod of her head.

"If I remember correctly, I tried to kill Daniel when I had that disease," Jack continued, apparently hoping to get his point across. "This is the same thing. Well, except for the fact that this time we were dealing with a drug, while that other instance was brought on by a virus. But other than that, it's the same."

Sam just nodded as she gave him a tight smile, knowing when she was facing a deadlock. Jack wasn't going to back down on this and Sam knew this as well as Daniel did. Sometimes it was just better to let Jack have his way.

"So, what's on the agenda for today?" Jack asked, having decided that this topic was better off left alone.

"I'm going to work on some translations," Daniel responded, totally agreeing with Jack's decision. It was better not to argue over little things.

"I have some calculations that I want to work through," Sam said. Her expression showed her relief as she realized the conversation was heading back into safer territory.

"Sounds like fun," Jack said dryly, then turned to Teal'c. "What about you, T?"

"I will be working on my mission report," Teal'c replied. "I admit that I am unsure of how to word it."

"You? At a loss for words?" Jack responded with mock surprise. "Who would of thunk it?" He grinned at Teal'c, then added, "I'm sure you'll figure it out. Just tell the truth."

"What about you, Jack?" Daniel asked, curious as to what his friend was planning to do.

"Well, I guess I should be working on my own report," Jack said, his features clearly showing his displeasure. "But I was hoping that one of you guys would want to do something else. You know, maybe shoot some hoops, play cards, something constructive like that." This was said with such a hopeful look, that Daniel almost fell for it.

"I really should get those translations done, Jack," he said, feeling like a heel when Jack's smile faded. "And I guess I should start my own report, as well." This thought didn't go over very well for Daniel. He definitely didn't want to rehash everything he had done while on that mission, and he already knew that most of his actions were going to be left out of his report. He'll just skim over the worst parts and hope he survives the guilt.

"What will you guys put in your report?" Sam asked, the worry in her voice had all three of her friends looking at her warily.

"As much of the truth as I deem worthy," Jack responded, back to staring at her again.

"Me too," Daniel added. At least that was his intention, anyway. Sam nodded at that, her expression showing her relief, and Daniel found himself wondering what she was thinking.

"I suppose we will be scheduled to meet with Mackenzie sometime today or tomorrow," she said, trying to convey that all was well with her.

It wasn't the best thing to say at that moment, as Jack grimaced before saying, "Gee, thanks for the reminder." The grimace cleared when he saw her smile at his discomfort and Jack grinned back before adding, "Of all the memos that don't cross my desk, I hope that one gets lost as well."

The talk turned toward lighter subjects after that and Daniel was encouraged that he and his friends were going to survive this whole mess. It was going to take some time before Sam truly trusted them again, but her light-hearted manner was a soothing balm to Daniel's shame and guilt, and he knew that with time he would be able to run up to her without her flinching away. Now, if he could just learn to live with his guilt, everything would be great.

Chapter 7

The day had progressed much smoother after their talk at breakfast and Sam was feeling better by the time she had retired to her quarters. She had spent the majority of the day fully immersed in her calculations, concentrating solely on finding the solution to the problem that had plagued her for days before that fateful mission. The elation she had felt when the answer finally came to her after looking at the problem from a whole different angle made her day even better.

Her work had always been therapeutic for her. Thinking through problems and building generators from a diagram that was drawn by a 12-year girl, gave her life meaning, not to mention the thrill she got when the lasers, generators and astral calculations worked because of her efforts to solve those problems. Getting lost in the whys and wherefores helped her to focus on things other than her failures, which in turn made life much easier to live.

She sat down on her bed, and grabbed the brush off of the bedside table, working the brush through her hair while her mind drifted to the conversation she'd had that morning with Colonel O'Neill, Daniel and Teal'c. She still couldn't believe her reaction when the Colonel grabbed her arm. It had scared her half to death, although she thought she had covered that up quite well by just sitting back instead of jumping up to run screaming from the room. But the others knew her too well. They had seen through her act and were worried for her. She could see that clearly on their faces. So much for being the strong airman, she thought with disdain.

She set the brush down, wondering how she was going to get over this irrational fear. Sam didn't really fear her friends, why did she react so badly when the Colonel grabbed her like that? She knew he was only making a point, one that she couldn't ignore anymore, but it bothered her that she had reacted that way.

This was something she was going to have to overcome and she decided right then and there that she was going to conquer this fear. With that thought in mind, she got up from the bed and headed for the door. She was going to have her own talk with her friends, and she quickly opened the door and walked out of her room, heading down the hall before she lost her nerve.

She came to Daniel's door, knocking on it to attract his attention. He didn't answer, even after the second knock, so Sam moved on to her next prey. She knocked on Teal'c's door and was glad when he answered. "Can we talk?" she asked. He nodded and moved to allow her entry, but she wanted to do this right, so she just shook her head, as she smiled at him, then said, "Let's go find Colonel O'Neill and Daniel. I need to talk to all of you."

Teal'c followed her down the hall as she headed toward the Colonel's room, Teal'c's presence bolstering her nerve. The Colonel was in and she smiled at the surprised look he had on his face when he saw her. He grinned happily at her, then said, "What's up? Come on in. I smuggled some beer in, if you guys want one."

Sam couldn't help the smile that came to her face, his good mood was infectious. "Actually, sir," she said. I was hoping that we could all sit down and talk. I need to work through this and I was hoping you, Daniel and Teal'c would help me."

"Sure," he responded warily, then poked his head out the door looking for the missing person of their party. "Uh... Where's Daniel?"

"I haven't found him yet," she admitted.

"Okay. So where could he be?"

"He may still be in his office," Teal'c suggested. "Perhaps we should go there."

"Nah. Let me call him," Colonel O'Neill said. "We can talk in here. It would be more private."

Sam nodded at that. She had to be strong and being alone in a bedroom with the three men who had violated her body in such a violent way, was going to be a major test. She couldn't help the feeling of security that flowed through her when she realized that this thought didn't scare her. They wouldn't hurt her; she knew this with all her heart. And if she survived this meeting, she knew she could survive anything, including being locked up in a cell with them on an alien planet. God forbid that would ever happen, she thought fervently, all the while knowing it was probably inevitable.

She followed Teal'c into the room, but stopped when she heard Colonel O'Neill say, "What do you mean now is not a good time? You'd better get over here right now Daniel. If you're not here in ten minutes, I will hunt you down and drag your ass in here." He grinned at Sam, then said silkily, "I knew you'd see things my way, Daniel. See you in ten." He hung up the phone, then turned toward the portable refrigerator he had set up next to the dresser. "You guys want something to drink?"

Sam was amazed. She just stood there with her mouth open, staring at the refrigerator before finally finding her voice. "How did you get that in here?" she asked, still in awe that he could finagle such a feat.

"It wasn't easy," he said, with a knowing grin. "You want a beer?"

Sam couldn't help grinning back at her commanding officer as she shook her head. She needed a clear head in order to get things out in the open, so she declined the offer and went over to inspect the Colonel's acquisition. It was one of those small refrigerators, big enough to hold a couple of six packs and if one was lucky, some other small essentials. That guy never failed to amaze her.

Daniel came in a few minutes later, glaring at the Colonel as he said, "I'm here and this had better be good."

"It is, Daniel," Colonel O'Neill said. "Carter wants to talk and we owe it to her to listen to what she has to say."

"Oh," Daniel said, as he looked over to Sam. The look on his face told her that he was worried about what she wanted to talk about, but he didn't say anything. He just nodded, then went over to the refrigerator to pull out a small bottle of water.

"Wait. Daniel," Sam said, not sure she could deal with more surprises, "You know about that refrigerator?"

"Yeah," Daniel said, as if every room had one. "I helped him bring it in."

"Daniel faked some orders, saying he needed it to store some samples and when it arrived, we brought it in here," Colonel O'Neill said smugly. Sam just stared at him, wondering what other secrets he was keeping from her. She then turned to see if Teal'c knew about it, but if he did, he was doing a great job of hiding it from her.

"Why didn't you guys tell me about it?" she asked, cringing a little when she realized that her voice betrayed her hurt feelings.

"I was going to," the Colonel said, as he hastily tried to cover his tracks. "It just never came up."

"Actually, Jack made me swear not to tell anyone," Daniel said apologetically. "It was part of the deal."

"What deal?" Sam asked, now thoroughly intrigued. She watched fascinated as the Colonel glared at Daniel, while at the same time relaying a silent message to him. Daniel gave a sheepish shrug and decided that a picture hanging on the wall was extremely fascinating. What was going on here? "Daniel?" she asked, hoping to pull him back to her.

"It was nothing," the Colonel answered instead.

"Do you not trust us, O'Neill?" Teal'c asked, effectively answering Sam's question as to whether he knew about it or not.

"Yes! Of course I do," Colonel O'Neill insisted, his unease showing clearly in his features. "I just hadn't gotten around to telling you guys about it, that's all." He then smiled at them innocently and said, "I really was going to tell you guys." His smile grew wider as he realized something, "In fact, I just did!" he said, pleased that he had gotten himself out of another sticky situation.

Sam just grinned back at him. She never could stay mad at him when he did stuff like that. He seemed to know exactly what to do to tug on a heartstring and she nearly always gave in when he did that. She pushed the hurt aside and nodded at him, telling him without words that she had forgiven him. He looked relieved, then turned to Teal'c, who was apparently immune to the Colonel's tactics.

"I would have helped you bring it in here," he said regally. Sam couldn't tell if he was hurt or not, but she knew by his words that he was trying to deal with whatever he was feeling. "Your secret would have been safe with me."

"I know that Teal'c," the Colonel soothed. "I just didn't want to bother you with something this trivial." He stopped speaking, while watching Teal'c, and Sam was glad that Teal'c was able to push past his own hurt to let it slide. He nodded, then stood there with his hands behind his back, quietly waiting for something else to happen.

"Carter brought us all here," the Colonel said, probably hoping to take the spotlight off of his own guilt and to shine it on her. "This is her party." With that said, he went to sit down on his bed, while everyone in the room turned to stare at her. She was now feeling extremely uncomfortable, but she knew that she had to get this over with. Her only problem now, was where to start.

"I keep thinking about my reaction this morning when Colonel O'Neill grabbed my arm," she said, deciding to start with her feelings of inadequacy. "I almost had a heart attack when you did that sir," she continued, as she put on a weak smile. "I know that you only did it to prove a point," she added, when the Colonel opened his mouth to justify his actions, "And I appreciate it. That incident made me realize that I need to zero in on what's really bothering me."

She looked at each one of her teammates in turn and at the varying expressions they held. Colonel O'Neill was watching her with no expression whatsoever, seemingly to wait to hear what she had to say before reacting. Teal'c was watching her curiously, while Daniel was standing there with a look of unease on his face, almost bordering on terror. It was Daniel's expression that pushed her to continue with her intentions. If anything came out of this, she wanted it to be for Daniel to come to terms with his guilt.

"I want to start out by telling you all that I don't blame you for what happened," she began, ignoring the Colonel's grunt as he turned to glare at his dresser. "No matter what you believe, you could not have controlled that drug. No one could." Daniel was now glaring at the floor, while Teal'c stood there watching her, but she could tell that she was not reaching any of her teammates. "It was not totally your fault."

"Some of it was," Colonel O'Neill said, his expression now showing his anger as he stared at her. "I remember wanting to hurt you, Carter. What was that?"

"The drug," she insisted. Man, these guys could be so stubborn sometimes. "You would never have wanted to hurt me if it wasn't for the drug." The Colonel just shrugged as he went back to glaring at the dresser. "Would you?" she persisted, frustration making her words come out harshly.

"No," he shouted at her. He stared at her as he calmed himself down and she stared back, defiantly daring him to argue with her. "I know it was the drug, Sam," he said, "But I can't get over the memory of really enjoying your pain. It seemed so real to me."

"That was probably what those bastards wanted," Sam couldn't help but say. "Not only did they get the opportunity to watch me suffer, but they were also going to get to watch your pain as you dealt with what you did to me. Two for the price of one," she snarled, anger at the injustice of what those jerks did consuming her.

"The drug may have had some properties that induced the anger and lust, while keeping the part of us that abhors that type of behavior dormant," Teal'c spoke up. "I remember clearly wanting to stop, but unable to follow through on that wish."

"You fought it," Sam said adamantly, sincerely hoping to get through to them so that they could get past their guilt and shame in order to help her get through her fear. "You say that you remember everything. Do you remember fighting the impulses?"

"Yes," Daniel said. He was now watching her and Sam could see that she was at least getting through to Daniel. She knew he wouldn't let her down. "But I couldn't win," he added.

"Neither could Teal'c or Colonel O'Neill," Sam told him. "You were trying to fight off the effects of an alien drug. What makes you think you could win against that drug when we couldn't fight off the other alien influences we had come in contact with?" Realization was dawning on Daniel's face and Sam was elated when she realized that Daniel was definitely coming around to her way of thinking. Now, if she could only convince the other two.

She had, if the expressions her other teammates were wearing was any indication. "We didn't have a chance," the Colonel said, as he stared at her.

"No sir."

He looked away for a second, then turned to look at her again. "I'm sorry, Carter," he said. She knew what he was apologizing for now, and she sat down next to him, hoping to find something that would finally ease his mind.

"You didn't fail me, sir," she said. He nodded at her, and she looked over at Daniel, before turning back to look into the Colonel's eyes. "In fact, I find that I have been negligent in thanking you." He raised his eyebrows as he gave her a skeptical look, and she smiled as she continued, "I had given up when you were hurting me. I thought that life just wasn't worth living anymore. But you surfaced, trying to fight off the effects of the drug, giving me back the will to live. You were there and I was determined to survive because of it, to not let you down. Thank you." He gave her a small smile, but Sam wasn't done. "You also gave me hope when they brought you all in the second time. The look in your eyes told me that you had had enough and that you were determined we were going to get out of there right then, or die trying. I can't tell you how glad I was to see that look in your eyes." She smiled at him then, watching as his expression registered his gratefulness for her efforts.

"Thank you, Carter," he said simply. She could see the doubts were still there, but she smiled back, hoping that she had given him some ammunition to fight back.

She then turned to look at Teal'c. He was watching her warily, and she got up to go over to him. "Teal'c," she said, staring into his eyes. "I will be forever grateful that you didn't laugh at my weakness. Those men did, but not you. That meant a lot to me." Teal'c bowed his head at her, but still watched her warily. She could relate to his worry, but she still tried to reach him. "I was terrified that you were going to kill me, but you stepped away from me after you were done and moved away instead of doing it again. That took a lot of strength, Teal'c. You were there the whole time, and I want you to know that I appreciate the effort it took to walk away."

"You are a true warrior, Samantha Carter," Teal'c said. "I am honored that you consider me a friend." She smiled at that, then turned her attention to Daniel. He stared back at her, as warily as Teal'c did, and Sam knew he was wondering what she could ever thank him for.

"Daniel," she began, hoping her words would make a difference. She stared at him for a minute, wondering if she would be able to chase away his doubts. He finally looked away, glaring at the wall behind her. She had taken too long to ease his fears and he was probably thinking that she was searching for something nice to say to him. "Daniel?" she said, hoping to bring his attention back to her. He looked back at her, defiance now showing up in his eyes and she cursed her hesitancy in telling him how he had helped her.

"Nothing Sam?" he snarled.

"You killed that son of a bitch with your bare hands," she snarled back. "You killed him for me."

"I killed him for me," Daniel growled. He was definitely angry now, and Sam knew the anger was directed solely at himself.

"I thought you had killed him for what he did to me," she said quietly, wishing she could reach through his anger.

"I guess I killed him for both of us," Daniel admitted. He was calming down, although Sam could tell he was still angry.

"Daniel, do you think you will ever forgive me?" Sam asked, silently hoping for an affirmative answer.

"What?" Daniel said in shock. The surprise on his face was genuine and Sam realized that she had totally stumped him with that question. "What for?" he asked.

"For punching you out," she said, knowing he was probably glad that she did it, "And for hating you for a minute there."

"You have every right to hate me, Sam," Daniel growled, "Especially after what I did to you."

"I suppose," Sam said tiredly. This seemed like an ongoing battle that had her thinking she would never win. She had tried to reach them, to justify their actions, only to wonder why she was even bothering with it. "But I don't hate you," she continued. "You guys... you guys raped me, and here I am trying to make things better between us." The tears she thought were hidden away came without warning, and she blinked hard to fight that battle, as well. "What am I doing here?" she asked in frustration.

Nobody answered her, but Sam didn't care. She was standing there in the middle of the room, angrily wiping the tears from her face as she struggled to stop this weakness, all the while yelling at her teammates. "You raped me!" she cried, her anger spilling out in her words and her tears. "I know it wasn't you, but...," she stopped then, as she realized what was really bothering her. "I begged you to fight it, but you weren't strong enough. None of you were." She looked over at the Colonel through her tears, only to find that he was just sitting there watching her, grief and guilt clearly showing in his features, but he didn't respond. He just sat there staring at her. "I saw a part of your personality that I never want to see ever again," she continued as she stood there taking in the pain on the faces of her friends. "And do you know what's really scary? The scary part of this whole thing is that it was my teammates that hurt me. My friends, the very people I trusted with my life. There's something evil lurking in all of you - all of us, and it took a bunch of alien bastards to prove that to us."

Silence followed her speech, but Sam was too caught up in her own tears to really notice. She pushed away the hands that tried to comfort her, wrapping her own arms around her body to ward off the trembling, and trying her damnedest to stop the tears. Some warrior, she thought, as she viciously swiped at the tears that just would not stop. She gratefully accepted a cloth that Teal'c handed her, and she used it to wipe her face and to blow her nose. She needed to get her control back, and she stopped everything to take several deep breaths in an effort to gain it back.

She finally looked up to find all three of her friends standing there, waiting for her to calm down and she realized that even though the tears were gone, her anger wasn't. It was still there, hanging on with a vengeance and she made a valiant effort to chase it away. "Sorry about that," she said. Daniel nodded at her without looking at her, his own anger apparent on his face.

"Nothing to be sorry for, Carter," the Colonel said, as he tried to hide his feelings from her. "At least not on your part."

"This is just so hard for me," she said, as she took another deep breath. "I still trust you all, but I'm afraid...," she stopped speaking before she gave up her deepest secrets. This stubborn attempt to keep anyone from seeing her weaknesses had been ingrained in her from the very beginning of her career. It was probably too late to stop now.

"Admitting to your fear is an admirable trait, Major Carter," Teal'c spoke up.

Sam couldn't help but stare at Teal'c with surprise. "Have you ever been afraid, Teal'c?" she asked.

"I have faced fear many times in my life," Teal'c responded. "On our last mission, I worried that I had lost your friendship and trust. I had hurt you badly, Samantha Carter." He smiled at her, then told her, "I feared the evil within me, as well. It was something I was afraid I would not be able to defeat."

"No one likes to lose total control over their actions," Daniel said quietly. He finally looked up at her, then told her, "It's almost like being snaked."

Sam couldn't help the small grin that found its way through her anger. He was right in his analogy of a Goa'uld taking control, but her friends had not been `snaked', as Daniel so eloquently put it. They had been able to fight it; she had seen them try. They tried and failed, and she was the one who had to face the consequences.

"I'm doing it again," she said, then cringed when she realized she had spoken the words out loud.

"Doing what?" the Colonel asked, his brow wrinkled in confusion.

Sam now had embarrassment to deal with along with the anger. "I was just thinking this whole thing is about me, that I'm the only one who was affected. Pretty shallow, huh?" she responded, as she gave them a sheepish look.

"No," the Colonel said, his expression grave as he stared at her. "Not at all. You were the one who was physically assaulted, not us. I know from experience how easy it is to forget about others when the physical and the emotional pain becomes too much to bear."

Sam could only stare at her commanding officer as she processed his words. She knew that there were some rough times in his past. She had seen the Colonel dealing with some horrific events during the years she had served with him, and Lord knows what he went through before they had met. But he always seemed to deal with it and was able to easily move on with his life.

"Colonel, how do you do it?" she asked. "How do you all get through stuff like this?" she continued, as she looked over at Daniel and Teal'c. Both Daniel and Colonel O'Neill shrugged their shoulders, but Sam needed to know. She turned to face the Colonel head on, needing to hear his answer. "You came back from Ba'al's fortress, after being tortured beyond belief, and you kept on going. How do you do it?"

"There's no magic formula, Carter," the Colonel responded angrily. "You just deal with it and get over it."

"Just like that," she said, anger building back up into her heart. "Deal with it and get over it." Oh, what she wouldn't give to have the opportunity to blast him into the next galaxy, she thought angrily. "I'm trying to deal with it, sir. I just don't know how."

"Sam," he said, trying to calm things down. "You've been through a major ordeal. Once you..."

"I've heard stories about what they did to prisoners in Iraq," she said, shocking him into complete silence. She wasn't quite sure why she had even brought this up, but she thought it might have something to do with the anger blazing within her. "I've heard rumors that you spent some time in one of their prisons."

The Colonel didn't respond, he just sat there glaring at her with an anger that seemed to be simmering in the depths of his eyes. Oh great, she was in trouble now. "I'm sorry, sir," she said, in an attempt to grovel her way out of the mess her anger had dragged her through. "I should not have said that."

He looked away for a few seconds, visibly trying to chase away the anger, then looked back at her and growled, "I dealt with it, Major." She nodded, hoping that this would be the end of it. Despite having earned a doctorate degree, she could still be so stupid sometimes.

"It may be harder for Sam to just shove it away," Daniel said, a little hesitantly. Sam could relate to the wariness in Daniel's voice. Colonel O'Neill rarely gave into his anger, but when he did, everyone scattered.

"I'm aware of that," the Colonel said, his anger still simmering. He didn't say anything else, but Sam knew when to back down.

"I'll be fine," she told them, smiling at Daniel to let him know she appreciated his help.

"Perhaps Doctor Mackenzie will show you how to get through this," Teal'c spoke up. "He was quite helpful when I talked with him after Daniel Jackson died."

"Which time?" the Colonel asked, apparently having been successful in chasing away his anger, at least in hiding it from them.

"Very funny, Jack," Daniel said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

"What?" Colonel O'Neill asked innocently. Sam's smile grew wider as she listened to the Colonel and Daniel go at it in an obvious attempt to lighten the mood and to cheer her up. Her relief that her commanding officer was no longer mad at her made her feel a little giddy.

"Carter, this is going to take some time," Colonel O'Neill told her, when he and Daniel finally came to a standstill in their banter. "You will have to learn to trust us all over again...,"

"I trust you sir," she interrupted, "I wouldn't be sitting here in your quarters, alone, with all of you, if I didn't."

"Well, that's true," he admitted, frowning as he thought through her words. "Maybe you are stronger than you think." His grin was infectious and she had to smile back at him.

"Yes sir," she said.

They stared at each other for a moment, and she watched as the Colonel's smile dimmed. "I suppose I could tell you what I am afraid of," he said, as he continued to stare into her eyes. He didn't tell her right away, he just kept staring at her, and she wondered if he was going to admit to those feelings he had told Anise about. He looked down at the cloth in her hands, and pointed at it as he told her, "That's my T-shirt you blew your nose in." Her own smile broadened as she looked at the streaks left behind on the black cloth, then had to laugh when the Colonel told her, "I am so not touching that thing!"

Chapter 8

Darkness filled the room as Jack tried to find some solace in sleep. Despite what he had told his friends, he really hadn't slept very well the night before. His dreams had been punctuated by screams and the sound of Sam Carter begging him to stop. Sounds that seemed to be magnified by the guilt he couldn't shake off.

But at least he had been able to fall asleep without too much trouble before the dreams got to be too much to deal with. And exhaustion had enabled him to go back to sleep, even if he had been awakened again by the memory of Sam's voice. Tonight was different. He was now in the process of trying to sleep, only to be kept awake by memories of the last several days, made worse by the memories that Carter tapped into.

Damn her, he raged inwardly. He knew she had only reacted out of anger, and if he were honest with himself, he surely deserved it. But it still felt like a kick below the belt when she had brought up his past like that.

He turned over on his side, hoping to find a comfortable position. He squirmed, then punched the pillow a few times in an effort to scrunch it up to make things even more comfortable. Nothing seemed to help.

He finally got up after some more tossing and turning, and went over to the refrigerator to pull out a beer. He had a fleeting image of getting drunk to the point of passing out, but the thought of facing General Hammond in the morning with a full blown hangover gave him pause. It wouldn't be a good thing all the way around, and could prompt the General to do a little digging into finding out where his second in command got the booze. This, in turn, would result in losing the refrigerator. Not a good thing, in Jack's opinion. He had gone to a lot of trouble to get it into his quarters on base.

He sat back on the bed and leaned his head back against the headboard. The darkness calmed him and he stared out at nothing, while occasionally taking a drink of the beer. Carter had dealt him a low blow. She had just come right out and asked him about his history with the Iraqis. He wasn't so sure he liked it that she could just come right out and hurt him like that. But then again, he had hurt her. Raped her, was a more accurate assessment, so he supposed he couldn't complain when she lashed out at him in retaliation.

It's was probably inevitable that his friends would have heard about it, but Jack knew he would never be able to share his experiences with them. Old habits die hard, he figured, as he took another swig of his drink. He didn't want their pity, or their scorn, and he definitely did not want to see the horror on their faces. No, he thought, there's no way in hell he'd share any of that with them.

Jack finished the beer in one final mouthful, then got up to stow the empty bottle in the case he had set aside just for this purpose. He was going to get caught one of these days, but Jack had seen his share of reprimands throughout his career. Besides, he rationalized, he rarely touched it while on base; he just liked to have it handy for times like this, when he was off duty. The refrigerator had been a great addition, and Jack still had to congratulate himself on that brilliant idea. His grin turned into a grimace, as he thought about the fast-talking he had to do to sooth his teammates' ruffled feathers. Carter never could hide her feelings from him and Teal'c actually seemed hurt that he had not been included. Jack really had meant to tell them about it, he just hadn't had the opportunity to do so.

He lay back down on the bed, to try to find some rest once more. Sleep would come soon; all he had to do was relax long enough to find it.

**************************

General Hammond was looking entirely too serious for Jack's peace of mind. He had been summoned to the General's office right after breakfast. An airman had caught Jack just as he was walking into his office to tell him that he was to head to the General's office. It was time to face the piper.

"You wanted to see me, General?" he asked, as he rapped on the doorframe.

"Come in, Colonel," Hammond told him. Jack moved into the office, worried about the verdict that was hanging over his head. He was guilty, he had confessed to his guilt and now he was facing the firing squad.

"I've had some time to think about what you and your team went through on that planet," Hammond continued. "And I don't mind telling you that I was frankly at a loss on what to do about it." Jack just stood there, waiting for the General to get to the point, all the while hoping against hope that the verdict wouldn't mean he would end up in Leavenworth, or at the very least facing a court martial. "The fact that you and the people you commanded were under an alien influence makes things a little easier, but not by a whole lot."

"General Hammond, sir," Jack said, "I can't tell you how sorry I am that I let that happen to my team. It all just happened so fast..."

"No need, Colonel," Hammond interrupted. "You've all been in situations where you couldn't control what happened to your people. Hell, I ended up hanging from the ceiling along with the rest of the people in my command when aliens took control over the entire SGC. This is a risk we take every single day. It's what we learn from the events we find ourselves in that counts." He stopped and stared at Jack, then took a deep breath. "Major Carter informs me that she is not going to cooperate with a formal investigation, although we both know she would if ordered to." This was said with a small smile, and Jack nodded his understanding. Carter was military through and through.

"She is of the opinion that it wasn't really me that raped her," Jack replied, deliberately keeping the focus of the crime on himself. "She insists it was the drug that did me in."

"Dr. Fraiser agrees with her," Hammond said, as he stared at Jack.

Jack was totally floored by this statement. "What?"

"Dr. Fraiser has had time to analyze the remnants of the drug still in Dr. Jackson's blood stream. It appears to have affected your thinking and reactions much the same way as the virus you all contracted when you visited P3X-797." He sighed, then said, "Don't ask me for details. Dr. Fraiser will be able to clarify it much better than I can."

"I can hardly wait," Jack replied dryly. He knew all too well that the doctor's explanation would probably go over his head anyway.

"Apparently, it has something to do with chemicals released into your blood stream that affected the dormant areas of your brain. She is still trying to determine why Teal'c's symbiote didn't protect him this time, but I'm willing to bet that the aliens had found something even the Goa'uld couldn't fight."

"Which is probably why the planet was nearly deserted," Jack mused. "They killed each other off."

The General nodded, then said, "Colonel O'Neill," in a tone that had Jack mentally steeling himself for the inevitable once again. "We have to deal with what was done to Major Carter while on that mission."

"Yes sir," Jack responded quietly.

"I want you to know that I was appalled at what happened. If this were under normal circumstances, you would be guilty of breaking several infractions. Yet there is also the fact that you can't be blamed for the actions brought on by the alien drug." He stopped for a second, then continued, "It's been decided that there will be no formal hearing." Jack relaxed visibly, but still waited for the rest. "But you are ordered to attend weekly sessions with Dr. Mackenzie, as well as attend anger management classes..."

"Sir?" Jack couldn't help the surprised response.

"I know Colonel, but this is coming from the higher ups," Hammond answered. "You all have been through a lot - you still are, but I have to agree that something has to be done. And," he continued, while holding up his hand to forestall Jack's protests, "You've said it yourself. Anger played a big role in your dealings with the Major."

"Yes sir," Jack agreed. He well remembered intense anger pushing at him, as he stared into the eyes of his second in command, her sobs and begging only seemed to fuel his wrath. He shook away the memories, then said, "But I was thinking more along the lines of a court martial for me." He looked at the General, wishing he could find the words to make the General understand that he was already going through the worst punishment imaginable, but he never was very good with words and expressing himself. "I just can't find it in me to totally forgive myself." He sighed as he shook his head, "I wish I knew why it's so easy for Carter to do it."

"She knows you for who you are," Hammond said. "You've been her commanding officer for years, and she has seen you at your worst. Nothing you've ever done compares to this, son. And from what she tells me, even then you tried to fight it."

"Yeah," Jack said with a sardonic nod of his head. Carter really hadn't ever seen him at his worst. He had done some things that would frighten her away if she really knew the horrors of his past. And she will never know if it's left up to him. "What about Daniel and Teal'c?" he asked, trying to chase away the shadows of his past by focusing on the problems of the present.

"They will be required to go through the same program you are ordered to undergo." He let a small smile show through as he added, "I got the impression that Teal'c feels the same way you do in regards to a harsher punishment."

"Yes sir," Jack said, then grinned back. "So does Daniel." The smile dimmed, as he said, "We hurt Carter badly. This is something that goes against everything we've ever believed in, and I for one will have a hard time living with the memories." He had surprised the General with this admission, but Jack had to say it. "I just hope that one day I will be able to understand why I did what I did."

Hammond stared at him for a moment longer before telling him, "I believe I am doing the right thing here, Jack. And your words have made it easier for me to live with in terms of the decision that's been made. Despite the fact that you had no control over your actions, I still debated over jail time for you all."

Jack didn't respond. Hammond's belief in his people had been shattered with just one admission by an angry and morose Jaffa, and Jack knew the General must have spent a great deal of time during the last two days agonizing over what to do.

"Your team should be waiting for us in the briefing room," General Hammond told him, prompting Jack to look over his shoulder and through the window. Hammond was right. His friends were sitting at the table, waiting for them and he nodded at the General, before respectfully waiting for him to get up and leave the room. All three of his teammates stopped talking amongst themselves and turned to face them. Jack sent an encouraging look toward Carter, before taking a seat next to Daniel at the table.

The General wasted no time in making his announcement, which resulted in complete silence. Daniel and Carter were both staring at the table, while Teal'c took his verdict and stored it behind his stony glare.

"Is that it?" Daniel finally spoke up, anger making his eyes seem brighter behind the glasses. "A slap on the wrist and we're free to go?"

"Come on, Daniel," Jack said, his own anger pushing its way to the surface. "What more do you want?"

"I think it's fair," Carter butt in, trying to calm things down, but Daniel was too incensed to hear her.

"Well, I don't know," Daniel growled. "I was thinking along the lines of something more than just going to see a few people to talk about raping my best friend."

"You want jail time?" Jack asked angrily. "Is that it? You want to share a cell with Bubba? You had no control over what you did, Daniel - none whatsoever. Deal with it and move on."

"It seems that dealing with it is so easy for you, Jack," Daniel responded, and Jack had a fleeting memory of this very same conversation with Carter the night before. Oh God, Daniel, he thought. Don't bring it up. Please, he silently begged. "It's not so easy for others," Daniel continued.

"Stop it, both of you!" Carter demanded, shocking both Jack and Daniel into silence. The surprise turned into relief for Jack, as Carter gave him the out he so desperately needed right then. "Sir," she tacked on, as an afterthought, causing Jack to grin despite himself.

"Thank you, Major," the General said, from his chair at the end of the table. "I couldn't have said it better myself."

Carter reddened a little, then said, "I apologize sir. It's just that I don't believe that you all should be punished anymore than what you are already going through for this." She sighed, before continuing, "I was the one who was hurt. I was the one you guys attacked. Don't you think I should be the one to pass judgment?" She looked around at her teammates, stopping to stare at Jack, who stared back at her, admiring the courage she was wearing like a cloak. "Colonel," she continued. "I know you remember when I attacked you in the locker room. What if you weren't able to stop me then? Would you have me up in front of a judge for attacking my commanding officer?" Jack shook his head, but she was already rounding on Daniel. "And Daniel, I couldn't stop Jolinar from using Sha're against you. I knew how much it would hurt you, but I couldn't stop her." She stopped and went back to staring at the table, apparently to gather her thoughts and her wits about her. She looked up then and said, "I think the punishment you are all putting yourselves through is more than enough in this case."

Silence reigned as everyone dwelled on their own thoughts. Jack spent the silence watching his second in command. She had gone through so much, he thought as he watched her glare at the table. More than he would ever want her to go through, and she was handling it like a trooper. He wondered, for the first time, how she was really dealing with it, while at the same time feeling badly because he couldn't help her. She wanted him to pass on his wisdom of coping with hardships such as this, but to do so would be to open up all the old wounds, and he was determined that those doors would stay closed.

"Dr. Mackenzie will be here this afternoon," General Hammond said, as he stood up. "I'm sure he will be more than helpful to you all." Jack grimaced at that, but wisely refrained from saying anything. Carter, on the other hand, wanted something else cleared up.

"Does this mean that we can go home, General Hammond?" The hopeful look on her face had Jack wanting to punch out the General for not thinking of this earlier.

"Yes," Hammond responded, with a small smile aimed at the Major. "After your visit with Dr. Mackenzie, of course," he hurried to clarify. "But other than that, you all are no longer confined to base."

**********************************

The rest of the day passed in a blur for Jack. He had managed to finish his mission report and make the obligatory visit with Mackenzie, which resulted in a deadlock for both parties. Fortunately, Mackenzie had worked with Jack before, so this was nothing new for either of them and Jack got off with an "I'll see you at your next appointment," from Mackenzie. They both knew that Jack would eventually spill his guts, but until then, Mackenzie slipped in his own brand of magic in soothing Jack's soul as he chipped away at the walls Jack had built up in his mind.

He was on his way home and he was way too anxious to get there. He was looking forward to grabbing a beer from the refrigerator and vegetating up on his roof, while watching the night sky light up with stars. Downtime to sit back and think went a long way in helping him to "deal with it" and he was looking forward to finding some peace among the stars.

The house was dark when he got there, but the car in his driveway told him that his downtime was going to have to be put on hold for a while. Daniel was sitting on the steps of Jack's porch.

"Daniel?" Jack said, as he got out of his truck. "Everything all right?"

"Yes," Daniel responded wearily. "I was just in the neighborhood..."

"In the neighborhood?" Jack had to ask. Daniel just shrugged and Jack felt sorry for him.

"Come on in," he told his friend. "I think there might be something edible in the house somewhere." Daniel followed him in and headed for the living room while Jack went into the kitchen. "Coffee or beer?" Jack asked.

"Coffee is fine," Daniel responded.

Jack got the coffee going while Daniel wandered aimlessly around the front room, looking at objects he had seen a thousand times before. "Okay Daniel, what's up?" Jack finally asked. The silence was starting to unnerve him. Daniel usually always had something to say.

"Sam seems to be taking all this very well," Daniel responded.

"Better than can be expected," Jack said, wishing he knew what was coming. He had a good idea, but his mind refused to touch on the subject. He was afraid Daniel had come to him for help in dealing with his guilt.

Daniel nodded, then said, "You know, a beer would be better."

"Okay," Jack said, as he stared at his friend. Daniel had something to say and the fact that he needed a beer to gather up the nerve to say it had Jack on the alert. He went to get it, deciding that he'd probably need one himself. "What's on your mind, Daniel?" he asked, when he had come back from the kitchen.

Daniel took the beer, popped the top and took a big drink, before saying, "I was just wondering how you are handling all this." He stared at the bottle in his hand, before looking up at Jack, "I mean, look at you. You act as if nothing is wrong. How do you do that? How do you just turn it all off and go on as if you hadn't hurt Sam?"

Jack didn't know what to tell his friend. The fact that he had raped Sam Carter was eating through him like a cancer, but he knew that if he let the others see through the faade he had built up over the years, they would see a man who had more holes in his soul than a block of Swiss cheese. The truth of the matter was that Jack O'Neill had a hard time dealing with the horrors he'd had to face throughout the years, he'd just learned to hide from them and he kept them hidden to avoid having to deal with them at all.

"I don't know how to "turn it all off" Daniel," Jack finally said, in answer to Daniel's question. "In fact I'm still having a hard time dealing with this." He took a drink of his own beer, then told his friend, "I hate that I did that to her."

"Well, you sure could have fooled me," Daniel told him. "God Jack, I can't get it out of my head and then you tell me to just deal with it. How do I do that?"

"I can't help you with that," Jack insisted. He was definitely worried about where this conversation was heading and his unease had caused him to snap at his friend.

"You make it seem so easy," Daniel persisted.

"Well, it's not," Jack responded. He was not going to cooperate with this and Daniel would be way better off going somewhere else to find his peace of mind. "Did you talk to Mackenzie?" he asked.

"Yeah," Daniel responded. "I talked and he listened." He took another swig of his beer, then said, "I'm not so sure he is the right person to help me."

"He gets paid to help you," Jack told him. "He's got schooling and experience in this stuff. He'll help you through it."

Daniel just nodded as he stared at the bottle in his hand. Jack wanted to help his friend, but he knew all too well the consequences he would face if he tried. "I push it away," he told Daniel. Daniel looked up at him, but Jack could only stare at his friend in shock. Where had that come from?

"Push what away?" Daniel asked, confusion marring his features.

"The guilt," Jack answered, trying his best to act like nothing was wrong. As if he had wanted to say this all along. "I push it away to a little corner in my mind to dwell on when I am alone."

"You hide from it," Daniel said, realization dawning on his face. "How do you do that? I mean the memory is there... God, I keep hearing her begging me to stop." He looked away to glare at the wall, then turned to Jack, "Damn it Jack, how do you hide from it?" Daniel was almost in tears and Jack could only stand there and stare at his friend, anger moving in as he realized he was going to have to reveal more. His one little admission wasn't going to be enough. What was he going to do now?

"I don't know what to tell you Daniel," Jack said angrily. "This is how I cope. You asked, and I told you. What more do you want?"

"I want to forgive myself," Daniel replied quietly, as he stared at Jack. "I want to be able to look Sam in the face again, without feeling any shame or self-hatred. Is that so much to ask for?"

Jack didn't answer right away. He stared back at his friend, wanting to tell him that he needed the same thing. He wanted Sam's forgiveness, but he knew that what he really needed was to get back his self-respect. "No," he said, to answer Daniel's question. "You're not asking for a whole lot."

Daniel nodded, while he took another drink. "Hiding from it won't make the situation go away," he said.

Jack could only stare at his friend incredulously. "Ya think?" he had to say. Daniel shrugged while Jack just shook his head. "You reminded me of Mackenzie, for a minute there." Daniel grinned, while Jack glared at his friend before adding, "It never goes away, Daniel. The memories are always there. I just push them back when they come out to play." He took a drink of his own beer, then said, "You're going to have to forgive yourself in order to get the rest of what you're asking for."

"Yeah, I suppose." He seemed to think about it for a minute, then said, "Teal'c told me pretty much the same thing. I was just hoping someone could tell me how to forgive myself."

"That's a job for Daniel Jackson," Jack told him, just before finishing off his beer; "With a little help from Doctor Mackenzie, of course."

"Of course," Daniel agreed with a grin. His smile dimmed, then he asked, "What happened to you in Iraq?"

"Not going there, Daniel," Jack growled.

"I was just wondering," Daniel said, concern written clearly all over his face.

"I was in one of their prisons for four months," Jack said, hoping to sate Daniel's curiosity. Daniel nodded, clearly wanting to continue with this conversation, but Jack was determined to avoid the conversation entirely. "It has nothing to do with what happened on that planet."

Daniel's expression turned from curiosity to shock. "No, Jack," Daniel rushed on to say. "That's not what I was talking about at all. I didn't mean to imply..."

"Forget it, Daniel," Jack said, with a sigh. "It happened a long time ago, and I'd rather leave it at that, okay?"

"Okay," Daniel said, his smile telling Jack that he understood. Jack highly doubted that Daniel understood anything, but it was a small victory that he was not going to pass up on.

"They say time heals all wounds," Jack told his friend. "Give time a chance to heal yours."

Daniel nodded, then grinned at Jack. "Wow," he said, his smile growing wider, "Real words of wisdom from the great Jack O'Neill." Jack glared at him, while Daniel added, "Stop the presses! Call the historical society! We've got to record this for all prosperity."

Jack couldn't help grinning back at his friend. "There's the door, Daniel," he said, as he pointed at the exit. "You know the way out."

Daniel just laughed. He put his bottle down on the table, then walked over to Jack and grabbed him by the shoulders. "Thank you, Jack," he said, with sincerity. "Your words did help."

"You're welcome," Jack responded, as he placed his hand on Daniel's shoulder. They had been through a lot, he thought, as Daniel nodded at him once more and walked toward the door. They had lived through extreme situations where death was sometimes thought to be the only option. They had fought enemies, as well as each other, in an effort to bring peace to entire civilizations, and they had comforted each other when their loss and their pain had become too much to bear. Jack could only hope that he was of some comfort to Daniel during this time of pain and self-hatred. He owed his friend that much.

"I think I can forgive myself," Daniel said, as he held onto the doorknob. "Eventually. The real question is when?"

"Make it soon, Daniel," Jack told him. "Sam needs you to be there for her."

"Yeah," Daniel agreed. He then looked directly at Jack, blue eyes connecting with brown. "She needs you to be there, as well." With that said, Daniel walked out the door, leaving Jack standing there going over his friend's words.

Carter needed him, but Jack wasn't so sure he would be able to help her. She wanted him to tell her how to deal with her pain, and he was the last person she needed in that respect. He had a hard time dealing with his own problems, as it was. How could he help her, when he couldn't help himself?

He grabbed the empty bottles and took them with him as he headed into the kitchen, intending to throw them away. He ended up throwing one of the bottles at the wall, watching it shatter into a million pieces, as memories of his failure to cope during his ordeal with the Iraqis washed over him.

Push it away, he told himself firmly. Think of something else. He set the other bottle down on the counter and went over to the broom closet to grab the broom, then slammed the door with extreme force while fighting off the memories running through his mind. It was bound to happen, he thought angrily, as he turned his back to the door and slid down to the floor. Carter had to bring it up and now here he was fighting off the memories and the depression that always followed them. He tried to convince himself that he deserved this. He had raped his second in command, hurt her terribly and he deserved to suffer.

Not like this, he pleaded silently. Not like this.

Chapter 9

Sam was finally home. She relished in the feeling of security and relief that she felt as she closed the door, locking out the world at large. She couldn't help but think of this place as her haven, a place where she could hide out and just be herself. No more pretending that she was the strong, hard-nosed airman. She was home and she could be whoever she wanted to be here, and right now she just wanted to be Samantha Carter.

She threw her keys and the mail onto the small table set up for that purpose, then headed for her living room, pulling off her jacket as she went. The jacket landed in a chair, while Sam sat down heavily on the couch, wondering what she should do first. A bath was high on her list, but she also needed to get something to eat, not to mention the bills that were thrown on the table.

Screw the bills, she thought, angry with her self for even thinking of them at that moment. She got up and went into the kitchen to satisfy her hunger, only to stand there while staring into the refrigerator. She shivered when the cold air hit her, taking her mind back to the freezing cold of that cell. This thought brought on images of her teammates sneering at her, as well as memories of the pain and humiliation they brought on.

"God!" she said, finally snapping out of the spell she seemed to be under. She shut the refrigerator door, and moved over to the sink, hanging her head over it while she gripped the edge of it with her fingers. This was not going to destroy her, she determined, as she fought off the feelings of anger and sadness that were drifting through her. She was stronger than this. She had to be.

Finally getting a grip on her emotions, she pushed back from the sink, running her fingers through her hair to try to ease the tension that still had her in its grasp. Sighing loudly, she made an effort to get back to business as usual, and moved back over to the refrigerator. This time, she was able to ignore the cold when she reached in to grab a soda. Elation drifted through her, as she realized that she was going to win her emotional battle. It was just going to take a lot of perseverance.

Comfort food. That's what she needed. At least that was what she wanted at the moment. She grinned slightly when she thought of the times her mother had told her that macaroni and cheese always made her feel better when she was down. Sam had to agree. Ever since her mother's death, that dish always seemed to calm her, as it brought on the more pleasant memories Sam had held on to over the years.

"Forgive me, mom," Sam said out loud, as she always did, when she pulled out a box that was preloaded with macaroni and powdered cheese. Her mother would be having a fit, saying that homemade was much better for her, but Sam rarely had the time to make it from scratch, and rarely ever wanted to. Cooking was not something she enjoyed, although she could make a mean pot of chili when she was of the mind to do so.

Filling a pot with water, then setting it on the stove, she decided to go put on something more comfortable while she waited for the water to boil. She was in the process of taking off her pants when she noticed the bruises that still marred the skin on her thighs. The cut she had on one leg was almost healed, while the yellowing bruises surrounding it spoke volumes. She had been brutalized.

"No," she said, trying to shake off the memories that had plagued her ever since she got back from that planet. She had thought that she could get over it if she spent some time away from the men who had raped her, but her reactions now where telling her differently. She still had the physical reminders and she hated the fact that she was held prisoner by the memories those reminders brought up.

This was not going to destroy her. She was determined that no matter what, she was going to survive this. With that thought clanging in her mind, she grabbed some sweats and put them on angrily. She went back into the kitchen and added the macaroni to the boiling water, then grabbed the unopened soda from the counter, twisting off the cap and taking a long drink. Anger was still hanging around and Sam let it, hoping it would keep her grounded. She had been doing great on base, never letting on that she was slowly, but surely disintegrating into a sniveling, pitiful pile of the person she used to be. No one there knew that her insides were churning whenever she thought about the violence and the fear that had followed her all the way to the Stargate. Everyone thought she was handling things wonderfully.

Only her teammates knew the truth about what was going on inside of her. Daniel had gone out of his way throughout the day to make sure she was still okay, while Teal'c spent several hours with her in her lab, just sitting there and glaring at anyone who dared upset her with anything. Sam had to admit this had helped, as she couldn't stop the giggle that escaped her when a young Lieutenant nearly dropped a tray of instruments he was holding after Teal'c growled at him to, "Cease your prattle and leave immediately." The poor Lieutenant couldn't leave fast enough.

The smile that memory brought on dimmed as she thought about the fourth member of her team. Colonel O'Neill had avoided her all day and this bothered Sam. She tried not to dwell on her commanding officer's actions, as she stirred the macaroni. He was hiding from her, she knew this, but what she couldn't understand was, why? He was the one who acted like things were normal. Why was he avoiding her now?

Maybe he was just too busy to find time to spend with her, she thought. It's not like he didn't have anything to do. She had seen the piles of paperwork that he had on his desk. General Hammond probably laid down the law regarding said paperwork when he and the Colonel were conferring in the General's office that morning. She grimaced when she thought about her friend's reactions when the General and Colonel O'Neill had come out of that meeting, telling them of the decision that had been made regarding their actions on that planet. Daniel had totally overreacted, although he did come to her and apologize afterward. Sam was still adamant about their innocence, though. She knew better than anyone what an alien influence could do to a person during and after the fact.

She continued to dwell on her fate as she finished making her dinner, then sat down to enjoy it. Her mother was right, Sam realized once again. Her thoughts had moved away from what was worrying her to dwell on a memory of the two of them making a cake for her father's birthday. Sam smiled at the memory, as she ate her meal. Sometimes it's the little things in life that keep her grounded.

************************************

A bubble bath was all Sam could think about, as she made herself some tea. Her plans for the rest of the evening included soaking in the tub, while sipping the hot tea, and Sam was definitely looking forward to it. She was on her way to her bathroom with the steaming cup when she was interrupted by a knock on her door. She stood in the middle of the hallway, debating whether she really wanted to open the door, then decided that whoever it was probably knew she was home, and it would be rude to ignore them.

Sam couldn't help being surprised to see Daniel on her doorstep, smiling at her awkwardly. "Hey Sam," he said, when she had opened the door.

"Hi Daniel."

"Mind if I come in?" he asked, a little warily.

"Um... sure," she said, wishing she could think of something to send him away. Her bath was waiting for her.

"I won't stay long," Daniel promised, seeing her hesitation. "I just wanted to make sure you were okay. You know... one last time." He was looking so lost, that Sam's heart went right out to him. How was it that these guys were able to pull on her heartstrings like that?

"I'm fine, Daniel," she insisted, for what seemed like the thousandth time that day. Daniel gave her a sheepish look and Sam grinned back at him. He was such a dope sometimes, she thought affectionately.

"Good. I just wanted to make sure." He was anxious about something. Sam knew him too well to think otherwise. He had something to say, but was unsure how to approach it.

"I'm fine, Daniel," she said again, hoping to get it through his thick skull. "Really, I am."

"I believe you," Daniel responded. "I just wanted to check on you."

Sam waited, but Daniel just stood there watching her. "Come on, Daniel," she said, just a little exasperated. "What's really going on?"

Daniel smiled at her, a bright smile that had her taking a mental step back in surprise. "You know me too well," he said, still not answering her questions. This guy was acting weird and she wasn't sure she was comfortable with it.

She nodded at him, waiting him out, but Daniel was on the defensive. Finally, he just came out and asked, "How are you really doing, Sam? Beyond the word, "fine", I mean."

"I'm doing okay," she responded, frustration making an appearance.

"Really," he said, almost as a question. It was apparent he didn't believe her, but Sam was not going to open up to him. "I just came from Jack's house," he added, watching her warily.

"Oh yeah?" she asked, glad for the sudden change of the subject. Daniel had been on the verge of freaking her out.

"He seems to be doing okay with all this," Daniel told her. "You never can tell with that guy, though."

"You've got that right," Sam couldn't help but say with a great deal of emphasis. Daniel grinned at her and Sam figured she should add, "He doesn't like to let anyone in."

Daniel nodded at her, then said, "I asked him about his stay in Iraq."

Sam could only gape at her friend. "Daniel, you didn't!" she exclaimed, astonished that he would cross that line. After the Colonel's display of anger when she brought it up, Sam figured she was better off staying away from that subject from now on.

"What?" he asked innocently, which Sam knew was a sham. She knew Daniel too well to not see through the innocent look. "He didn't say much, other than to tell me to mind my own business," Daniel went on to say. "But I thought it was worth a try." He gave her that innocent grin again, then said, "I was hoping he would slip up just once and tell me all about it."

"Not likely," Sam had to say.

Daniel nodded in agreement, then said, "I went to him to find out how he is able to handle things like this so easily." He stared at Sam, while she waited for him to tell her what he had found out. "His methods weren't very helpful to me."

Sam wanted to hit her friend, but kept her cool instead. "What did he say?" she asked. It was hard, but she was able to keep her impatience with Daniel out of her voice, but if he didn't tell her soon... well, she refused to take responsibility for what could happen. "He always seems to be so in control," she added.

"He pushes it away," Daniel responded quietly. He didn't elaborate and Sam was at a loss as to what that meant.

"Pushes it away?" she asked, somewhat indignantly. She was dealing with a crap load of anger and pain and he doesn't even take the time to deal with his own guilt?

Daniel nodded at her, then said, "It's probably a defense mechanism to help him cope, but I have to admit that I don't know how he does it." He looked directly into her eyes, then added, "I can't push the guilt away, Sam. I tried, but I just can't."

Sam stared back at her friend, realizing what his admission meant to both of them. He was hurting right along with her, albeit not half as badly. "You shouldn't have to, Daniel," she told him, determination to help him deal with this moving into her mind. "You didn't want to hurt me. You tried to stop, I saw you."

"That's the whole point," Daniel snapped angrily. "I couldn't stop myself from hurting you. God! I feel like such a weakling... and before you say it, I know that Teal'c and Jack couldn't fight it either." He stopped speaking to look at her, pain and anger showing clearly through his eyes. "It's just that I've never, ever wanted to hurt you. And the fact that I did scares the crap out of me." Sam continued to stare at him, realizing that he needed to talk it out, so she stood there, waiting for him to wind down. "You said it yourself," he snarled, "The evil part of us came out, and while it hurt you, it scared me half to death knowing that the man who raped you is a part of me!"

Sam could totally relate to his fear. She stood there in her hallway with a rapidly cooling mug of tea in her hands, watching as her friend ranted and raved at the injustice of that experience. She understood the fear and the anguish that Daniel tried to rationalize, as she had personally seen the evil, malevolent side of her teammates, and she frowned as she thought about her own feelings on that topic.

Daniel was on a roll though, cutting through her thoughts with his own feelings. "I remember thinking how beautiful you looked while you were fighting me off," he continued. "You were determined to win, and I was proud of each and every time you kicked me. I was cheering you on, Sam. I kept begging you to fight me off, because I wasn't strong enough to do it myself." Tears came to Sam's eyes at that admission, now realizing that she had been right. Her friends had been with her the whole time, they just didn't have the strength to help her. "I couldn't fight it, Sam, and although I hated myself for being such a weakling, I still hope that someday you will come to forgive me for not being there when you needed me the most." He stopped speaking then, his anger and pain still showing clearly in his eyes, as he waited for her to acknowledge whether she understood or not.

"Oh Daniel," she said with a sigh. "You still don't get it, do you? You were there. I saw you try to fight off the effects of that drug." She ignored Daniel's grunt of disgust, and continued, "I am grateful that you did try to stop."

"I was there, Sam," Daniel agreed gravely. "I tried to stop, but there was that part of me that enjoyed what I did to you." He sighed deeply, then said, "A couple of times there, I definitely couldn't wait to finish what I had started."

Sam knew what he was saying; she just didn't have to like it. Anger built back up in her as she remembered begging him to stop while he pounded into her. She looked away from the guilt on his face, trying to deal with her own anger and was surprised when he put his hand on her arm.

"I've made you angry," Daniel said. "What brought it on?"

"Forget it, Daniel," she responded. He was worried about her, she knew this and she made another effort to be the strong soldier again.

"Not this time," Daniel told her determinedly. "Was it something I said? Or maybe something I did. What happened to spark the anger?" She shook her head, but Daniel was insistent. "I enjoyed it," he reiterated. "Come on Sam, talk to me."

Her anger hit an all time high when his words sunk in. She couldn't believe he'd said that! "You son of a bitch!" she snarled at him, anger making her face heat up. "You had no right to say that." Daniel stared into her eyes, as he stood there and waited, but Sam was too incensed to even try to think straight. "Get out!" she demanded, as she pointed at the door behind him. "Now, Daniel."

He nodded sadly at her, but didn't move. "Jack and Teal'c both told me that I needed to forgive myself before you would even think of forgiving me." Sam just stood there with clenched fists. Forgiveness was far from her mind, as she glared at Daniel. She was so pissed, all she wanted to do was punch him in the face. He turned to leave, but stopped and told her, "Right this minute, I can't see that happening."

Sam didn't say anything. She was too busy trying to calm her raging heart. How could he have said that to her? She counted on him to help her and he just lays it all down on the line - all nice and neat. His honesty hurt, almost as bad as the bruises he had inflicted on her body and soul. How in the hell was she supposed to survive when Daniel made it his business to be honest with her?

"You had no right to say that to me," she growled, not the least bit interested in forgiving him for anything. "Trust Daniel Jackson to tell me the truth so baldly," she added sarcastically. His expression held a little confusion, probably trying to keep up with her. The confusion cleared and anger moved in - he had figured it out.

"I guess I was a little too descriptive in trying to make you understand," he admitted, glaring at his own mistake. "Something else to feel guilty over," he added. She stood her ground angrily, and Daniel apparently decided that now was a good time to leave.

"I'm sorry that you went through that, Sam," he said, as he went over to the door and opened it. "I don't know what else to say, but I'm sorry."

"You had no right to say that," Sam said again, her anger dissolving as she watched her friendship with Daniel walk out the door. Daniel nodded at her words, but kept on moving.

"Wait!" she said, unable to let it end like this. "Wait, Daniel. Just wait." He turned to look at her warily, his face pale against the darkness that surrounded him. She took a deep breath, hoping to ease the knot that had developed in her throat. She was not going to cry, no matter what.

"I want this to be over between us," she said. Daniel looked at her in alarm, but Sam kept talking. It was time for him to move on with his guilt so that she could. "I wish I could make you understand that there's nothing to forgive. You were not at fault, Daniel. Daniel Jackson did not want to hurt me, not really." Daniel grudgingly nodded his agreement, and Sam almost wept for joy. She was getting through to him. "The most important part of your mind cheered me on," she said, with a small smile, "Just as I cheered you on when you were strangling that guy. I can't tell you how glad I was to know that evil bastard was dead."

He stared at her then, his eyes boring holes into hers, and Sam knew he was still running from his demons. "I wasn't under the influence of that drug when I killed that guy," he said, still reaching for something in her eyes. "Yet, I still wanted to kill him."

"He deserved it," she told him, with no remorse, whatsoever, in her tone. She was glad that son of a bitch was dead. "You did the right thing, Daniel. He deserved it."

"Yeah," he agreed, half-heartedly. "But I still did the honors, Sam. All that talk about the evil within me..." He stopped and gave her a sad smile. "Makes a man wonder."

There it was. The root of his problems, shrouded as it was by his guilt. Sam now knew what was really destroying him, and she knew what he needed right then. She went over to him and put her arms around him, giving him a quick hug, hoping to show him that he wasn't the monster he was afraid he was. She pulled back from the hug, but Daniel wrapped his arms around her and pulled her back in, holding her tightly. Sam didn't know what to think when she realized that he was trembling.

"Think about the good things you've done in your life, Daniel," she told him. He nodded, but didn't respond. "You'll see that they far outweigh any of the negative things you've done."

Daniel gave her another quick squeeze, then let her go as he stepped back. "I've tried that," he finally admitted. "It's hard to justify the things I've done to survive when I think about the people who have died because of it." He sighed, then said, "I don't like the evil that's lurking somewhere inside me."

"You are a good man, Daniel Jackson," Sam told him, truly believing those words with all her heart. "Don't you ever think otherwise."

He gave her another sad smile, then said, "Wouldn't hurt a fly, unless it was spitting venom at me." He smiled at her when she nodded in agreement, then said, "Jack's words, not mine."

Sam grinned at that. "Sounds like something he would say," she said affectionately.

They stood there, staring at each other and Daniel's smile dimmed as he told her, "I'm glad that I came here, Sam."

Despite the anger and hurt he brought with him, Sam had to agree. "Me too," she replied.

His smile returned when he realized something, and he gave her an exaggerated look of exasperation, "I came here to help you out and here you are helping me. Between you, Teal'c and Jack, Mackenzie is going to be out of a job."

"Let's hope not," Sam said, a smile lighting up her face. "Who's going to aggravate Colonel O'Neill if he did leave?"

"You do have a point," Daniel agreed, with a laugh. His smile dimmed, as he said, "Thank you, Sam. I think that if you can forgive me for what I did and for my thoughtless words, I can forgive myself. It's the least I can do."

"Just promise that you will always be there cheering me on," she said.

"I promise," Daniel vowed with a great deal of conviction. "Always."

Chapter 10

Sam sat straight up in bed, wakened by screams that seemed to bounce off the walls. Her heart was pounding madly, and she made an effort to calm herself when she realized that the screams were her own. The dream had been a terrible one, and she lay back down, hoping that she would be able to relax enough to stop the trembling that had taken over.

She tried not to dwell on the nightmare, but the images in her mind had not faded yet, and she remembered, in great detail, a sense of being smothered as the weight of a heavy body held her down. She had struggled to free herself, but the man wouldn't get up, his hands and mouth moving over her skin, leaving her panting and terrified.

"Get off of me," she demanded, for all the good it did. Real terror moved in when the man looked into her face and Sam saw that it was Colonel O'Neill holding her down, and she knew that he was going to hurt her again. She couldn't let that happen and she used her fists and her knees to fight off his kisses and his intentions. Conflicting emotions moved in when she realized that his seduction was working and her body reacted accordingly. "No," she snarled, still determined to fight him off. He looked up at her then and she whimpered in horror when she saw his eyes glow. Her whimper turned into screams when he placed a Goa'uld symbiote onto her chest.

She had awakened just as the symbiote slithered up to her neck. She couldn't stop herself from reaching up to touch her neck, making sure that it really had been a dream, then grinned at herself when she realized what she had done.

Daylight streamed through the window, but Sam didn't get up. The clock on her bedside table told her it was only 7:30 in the morning, and she lay there debating on whether she should get up or try to go back to sleep. The General had told her she could have the day off, but she was now thinking a day of calculations would be good for her.

She got up and headed for the bathroom. After taking care of business, she headed toward the kitchen to make coffee, and maybe some breakfast, all the while debating on whether she was going to stay home or go to work. Her thoughts were interrupted by someone pounding on the front door and Sam couldn't help but wonder who it could be so early in the morning.

She was equally surprised to see Colonel O'Neill standing on her porch. He looked terrible, and Sam's heart went out to him, despite the images of the dream she had woken up to flashing through her mind. "Colonel O'Neill," she said, her surprise registering in her voice. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong, Carter," he said, as he stood there staring at her. "I just came by to see how you are doing."

"I'm fine," she responded warily. Just like that, he drops by to see how she is doing. Sam decided to play it cool. Maybe she would be able to figure out what he really wanted. Unfortunately, she wasn't dressed for entertaining. "Um... I'd invite you in, but I'm not quite..." she grabbed the edge of her robe to illustrate her message, but he didn't seem to notice. He was staring at her mouth. Sam licked her lower lip, unconsciously running her tongue over the cut that was still there, then stared at him when he reached out to lightly touch the cut. She let him, proud of the fact that she didn't flinch. But he didn't stop there. He ran his finger over the cut, lingering there, before sliding down to the skin on her shoulder, tracing the edges of a bruise that showed through the gaps of her robe.

Sam wasn't sure what this was all about, but she instinctively took a step back and reached up to close the lapels of the robe. "Uh... Colonel..." she started to say, but he snapped out of whatever trance he was in and straightened his shoulders.

"I came by to talk to you, Carter. I want to help you and maybe help myself." He gave a small smile as he waved toward her chest and lip. "They still hurt?"

She shook her head, as she said, "No. I don't even know they're there until I look in a mirror."

He nodded at her, then said, "Can I come in? I promise to be on my best behavior. Scouts honor."

Sam found herself smiling at him, then stepped back to let him in. "I'll just go get dressed. I'll be right back."

He nodded, as he stood in the hallway with his hands in his pockets. "I'll wait."

"Have a seat," she offered. "I was just about to put on some coffee."

"I can do that," he said. "Go get dressed."

Sam did as she was told. She entered the kitchen fifteen minutes later fully dressed and ready for whatever he had in store for her. He was sitting in a chair at the counter staring at the coffee pot, and she cleared her throat to let him know she was back.

"Nice outfit," were the first words out of his mouth when he looked over at her. She squirmed a little knowing that he knew damned well why she chose to wear a turtleneck sweater that hung over her jeans.

"Thank you," she said stiffly, trying to pretend it was just something she threw on in a hurry. He grinned at her, and she smiled back wondering how he was able to cheer her up without even trying.

"We need to talk," he said, putting a damper on the situation. "I was terse with you the other night, and I apologize if I've upset you."

"Don't worry about it," Sam told him, as she went over to the cupboard to pull out some mugs, then set them on the counter in front of the Colonel. "You didn't upset me. I, on the other hand..."

"It's just that I hadn't expected you to bring that shit up," he went on, as if she hadn't said a word. "I don't like thinking about that experience." Sam nodded her understanding. She had her own memories of a lot of incidents that she wanted to get rid of. He then looked over at her and asked, "Why did you bring it up?"

"Um..." Talk about putting her on the spot. She didn't know at the time why she had brought it up, and hadn't thought of it since. Well, except when Daniel came to see her and told her he had asked the Colonel about it. "I don't know why, sir," she admitted. "I suppose it was because you had said you knew all about what I was going through. I was hoping you could tell me how you were able to handle things so well."

He got up off of the chair and went over to look out the window over her sink. He didn't say anything, just stared out the window, and Sam wondered if she should go wake him up. He spoke up before she made the decision. "They nearly killed me a dozen times while I was there," he said, as he stared out the window. "I refused to give them what they wanted, but I think they liked it when I refused." Sam stood there, staring at his back, wishing she had the courage to go over and put her arms around him. She could tell by the tone of his voice that he was hurting, but she stood there watching and listening and silently feeling his pain right along with him.

"They tortured me for hours, practically on a daily basis, hoping to get me to talk," he continued. "I couldn't give them what they wanted, though. Not even when I wanted to." He turned to look at her, his eyes haunted by the memories that he was forcing himself to relive. "And I wanted to," he said. "There were times when I begged them to let me tell them." He looked down at the floor, as he leaned back against the sink, then said, "But I didn't tell them everything. Only the stuff that they could have found out if they would have asked me nicely." Sam found herself smiling at that remark - smiling through the tears that were welling up in her eyes.

"Four months of that shit," he said angrily, as he looked back up at her again. "You'd be surprised by what I did to get them to stop the torture, and what I did to get them to kill me." Sam didn't want to know, but she stood there quietly willing to listen to him, all the while hoping he wouldn't tell her. "The torture didn't stop after I got out of there," he said, instead.

Oh God, Sam thought. He knew what she was dealing with. He knew, but he had spent years trying to hide away the pain, the self-doubts and the anger and she had let her anger bring all that back to him. How could she have been so selfish? She stared at him with wide eyes, as she processed her feelings. He was just so good at hiding his own feelings, it never dawned on her that he could be hurting just as much as she was.

"Colonel, I'm so sorry..."

"No," he growled. "Don't pity me. I got over it a long time ago."

"I wasn't pitying you, sir" she said. "I was about to apologize for bringing on those memories, but now I think I won't even apologize for that." Sometimes she just wanted to knock some sense into him.

He stood there staring at her with varying degrees of shock and amusement. He finally gave into the amusement and grinned at her, as he said, "Well, excuse me. Major."

She smiled back, glad that things were going a little more smoothly. But she still had something she wanted to say, and she forged on, "I was angry with you, sir. You seemed to take this whole thing in stride, and I was angry that I had to go through this alone." No, that wasn't quite right, she thought, as she stared at him, his expressions hidden from her. "I mean, you just kept on going. You sat there during the briefing telling the General what happened without any remorse." She was rambling, but her emotions had been overworked during the past week, and Sam had to get this out of her system. "I was raped, Colonel O'Neill. Raped! And you just sat there and told me to `deal with it and move on'." A few traitorous tears leaked out of her eyes, and Sam took a deep breath in an effort to chase them away. "What was I supposed to think?"

This was so not the way she had wanted this conversation to go. She had given in to her anger again, and it wasn't going to get her anywhere. She needed the Colonel to understand, and she knew that her anger would push him away again, just like it had the last time. But she didn't apologize. She just stood there, watching him, waiting for him to explain his actions, or to do his own apologizing. Anything to help her cope with the pain she was dealing with.

"I don't know how to help you, Sam," he said quietly. "I can be here to listen, if that's what you need, but I can't tell you how to deal with what you're going through." Sam didn't know what it was she needed from him, but anything was better than him telling her to get over it. She waited for him to continue, hoping he would tell her that everything was going to work out, but he just stood there looking uncomfortable. Bastard, she thought.

"Then why did you come here?" she asked. He looked at her with surprise, and opened his mouth to tell her his reason, but snapped it shut when he realized that he would be contradicting his own statement. He stared at her for a moment, seeming to come to a conclusion, then began to walk toward her. Sam couldn't help taking a step back, as alarms started blaring in her mind. Her instincts were telling her that something was not right. He reached for her when he was close enough, roughly grabbing her arm to pull her toward him, and Sam's fighting instincts took over. She pushed him away, while at the same time saying, "Colonel, what is this?"

"What's what?" he snarled at her. She wasn't fooled by the innocent look he had on his face, especially since the look was marred by an evil grin. Terror ran through her, but Sam tried to calm herself as she calmly tried to figure out what his intentions were.

"Colonel, I think you'd better leave now," she said instead. He shook his head, then lunged at her when she turned to leave the kitchen, grabbing her and forcing her to face him.

Sam didn't know what to make of this, but she was determined that she was not going to let him hurt her again. And she was afraid that this was exactly his intention. "Sir," she said as firmly as she could, "Please let me go."

He tightened his grip, while leering at her, then pulled her toward him so that she was now plastered to his chest. This had gone too far, and Sam let her instincts take over completely. She stomped on his foot, then pulled back when he loosened his grip and punched him in the face as hard as she could. He let go of her completely and stepped back, surprise at her audacity showing clearly in his eyes. Sam took advantage of her freedom and turned to run down the hallway, only to have her arm grabbed from behind as he overtook her, and she turned and slammed her fist into his stomach. He grunted, but held onto her arm tightly, while trying to grab the other one.

"No!" she snarled, as she kicked him. He let go, but stood there glaring at her while Sam held her fists up in front of her face, daring him to try touching her again.

"You were not at fault, Carter," he said quietly. Sam stood there, ready and willing to kick his ass, but he seemed to be his old self again. He was just standing there, wiping the blood from his mouth, and Sam was at a loss as to what was going on. But she kept her stance, not for once letting her guard down. "You couldn't have stopped us any more than I could have stopped the torture I went through in Iraq," he continued. Sam couldn't respond, she still wasn't sure if he had gone over the deep end or what, so she stood there and waited, breathing hard from her efforts of protecting herself. "I was going to let this go on a little longer," he said conversationally, "But I was afraid you'd turn me in after you knocked me out and I'd wake up in a cell, waiting for my trial." He smiled at her then, and continued, "I thought I'd better let you in on this little charade before that happened."

Sam couldn't speak even if she wanted to. This was all a setup? He was playing a game? For what purpose? She stared at him, her anger building to a rage so intense, she didn't think she would ever recover from it. He was such a son of a bitch!

"You have to understand that you could not have done anything different on that planet, Sam," the Colonel told her. "Never believe otherwise, because it will destroy you. Believe me, I know." He stepped back from her, possibly to avoid getting hit again, then said, "None of it was your fault."

Sam was weakening. He had touched on the very essence of her own guilt and she wanted to weep with the knowledge that he understood what she was going through. She was not alone in her pain; he hadn't abandoned her at all. Sam stood there, her fists still balled and prepared for anything, but she knew she was weakening.

"I hated myself," she said, her voice catching on a sob. She hadn't relaxed her stance, and the Colonel didn't seem to care that she was ready to beat the crap out of him. He just stood there watching her as the words spilled out on their own. "I couldn't stop you guys and I hated myself for that." Here comes those tears again, she raged inwardly, trying her best to stop them. "And I hated you all for not being able to stop. I begged and begged, but you hurt me!"

"You couldn't have stopped us, Sam. You were chained to a wall. Don't you see? You didn't have a chance." He gave her a small smile, but Sam was too far into her own grief to let it cheer her up. "You would have kicked my ass that day if your hands were free, the same way you did just now," he said. She now knew why he did what he did, but she wasn't so sure she was going to survive the scare he gave her. "I wanted you to realize that you could not have done anything differently."

She nodded at him, while trying to see things his way. But she could still remember the helplessness she felt as her friends violated her. She had been trained in dealing with the possibility of rape, but that training didn't really prepare her for what she was now going through. Here she was, trying to be brave, but in reality her courage was lacking big time. She wanted them to forgive themselves, even though she was having a hard time forgiving herself for her own inadequacies. She had fought them off, only to fail, and Sam now knew that this was the basis of her problems. Her guilt, combined with anger and fear, was preventing her from dealing with her feelings and in the long run, slowly destroying her. She couldn't fight her teammates off, which in turn, `allowed' them to do what they did and was causing her to feel guilty because of it. This sounded so silly now that she really came to terms with her deepest fear. She had been afraid that the whole thing was her fault because her training had failed her when she couldn't fight them off.

"Carter?" the Colonel said, and Sam couldn't miss the hopeful note in his voice. He wanted to reach her, to make her understand and she lowered her fists as she realized that he really wasn't the enemy. Samantha Carter was, and this thought brought on more tears, only this time the tears were for her commanding officer. She could now relate to why he always avoided talking about his past.

She briefly wondered if he had been raped all those years ago, but she knew that it didn't really matter. He understood what she was dealing with, and this gave her peace of mind as she realized that he was right. Her tears came in earnest then, as she let go of the brave soldier persona, and she let him hold her when he came up to put his arms around her, holding her tightly while she cried.

"Carter?" he said softly, when her tears abated. He was still holding her, stroking her hair and Sam wished she could stay there forever. It meant everything to her that she was not alone in this. But she pulled back from his arms and gave him a sheepish look, then said, "I'm fine sir. Thank you."

"Does this mean I'm forgiven?" he asked. "Hammond will have my head on a plate if not."

She nodded at him with a small smile. "You scared me half to death again," she complained, even though she didn't hold anything against him. "I thought you were dealing with side effects from that drug."

His expression became grave as he stared at her, and she knew he was kicking himself for what he had done. "I didn't think... God Carter, I didn't realize that you would think that..." he stopped, then grinned guiltily at her, as he said, "You want to beat the hell out of me, anyway?" She grinned back at him as she shook her head, and he gave her a relieved smile before telling her, "Good, because I think I would let you. You've got a mean right hook." His smile disappeared as he looked into her eyes, then said, "You are not alone in this, Carter. I've been there, and even though I have a hard time talking about what I went through after I got home, I'll make an effort if you need me to."

Sam didn't know what to say to that. Colonel O'Neill was willing to dig deep into his own horrors to help her through this, and that thought scared her, as well as touched her heart. She didn't want to be the one to force him into reliving the hell he had gone through, during and after his imprisonment, but the fact that he was willing to do that for her had the tears welling up in her eyes again. Damn it, anyway. She was not going to cry.

"Thank you sir," she said, proud that the tears didn't show up in her voice. "But I don't think that will be necessary." She smiled at him when his face showed his relief, and she had to fight off the urge to give him a hug. "I'll be okay, I promise."

"That's what I was hoping to hear," he told her. They stood there for a moment, staring at each other before the Colonel decided that maybe it was time for him to leave. "I guess I'll be going now," he said, as he glanced at the door.

"Wait," Sam said, remembering his words when he walked into her house. "You said you had come to help me and to help yourself. You definitely helped me, but did you help yourself?"

He stared at her for a moment, then grinned at her, his smile lighting up his face. "Yeah," he said, "I think I can get back to my life again." With that he opened the door and turned toward her, "I'll see you tomorrow, Carter. We have a mission to plan."

Chapter 11

The forest was quiet, too quiet for Sam's sense of well-being. She kept expecting something to jump out at her, which is why she had a tight grip on her gun as she followed Teal'c down the path. She glanced back to see if Colonel O'Neill was feeling the same thing that she was experiencing, her eyes scanning the perimeter as she did so. The Colonel nodded at her, his eyes briefly looking into hers before going back to scanning their surroundings. Apparently, his instincts were screaming at him as well.

Something was wrong. Too many years of being in dangerous situations had taught her to listen to her intuition. She stopped and crouched down behind the brush when Teal'c indicated that she do so, giving Daniel a small smile when he crouched down next to her. They were in trouble, as seemed to be the norm lately, and Sam wondered what they were facing this time.

The silence around her seemed to be complete. She tried to get past the silence to concentrate on her current predicament, but silence in a forest usually meant something bad was hanging around. Sam crouched, listening hard for anything out of the ordinary, but the only ominous sound was the silence. No birds chirping, or insects buzzing. Nothing. This was so not good, and she was almost relieved when the Colonel pointed at her, then signaled for her to take Daniel and move off toward the left. Doing something, anything, was better than letting the silence wear on her nerves.

She nodded and immediately got up to do what she was told, leading Daniel to a copse of trees that gave her a different view of the area. She was now able to see down a narrow path that led deeper into the forest, and she cursed silently to herself when she saw a group of Jaffa heading down that path and straight toward the hiding place Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c had stayed in.

"Jaffa heading your way," she said into her radio, her voice a mere whisper.

"Keep alert," the Colonel replied back, which was a given, as far as Sam was concerned. She wasn't about to relax with the enemy lurking about. She did get comfortable, however, as she lay down on her stomach and aimed her weapon toward the Jaffa who were marching onward.

Daniel was right next to her, his gun primed and ready to do as much damage as he could inflict. He had come a long way since that conversation in her living room a couple of months ago when he'd admitted his fear of the evil lurking inside him - the killer that was glad his tormentor was dead by his hands. He had come to terms with his guilt and was back in the saddle again; ready to help rid the galaxy of an enemy intent on destroying mankind.

Sam shook away the thoughts that were creeping up on her, determined to concentrate on the approaching enemy. The Jaffa marched past the Colonel's hiding place, clanking noisily as they passed, while Sam kept her eyes on the enemy, waiting for them to pass by, fervently hoping that there wouldn't be a confrontation.

Her hopes were dashed when she heard a sound that sent an extra rush of adrenalin racing through her veins. More Jaffa were approaching from behind her, their boots thudding with each step. She lay there, pressing her face down to the ground, hoping to blend in, while the musty smell of dirt invaded her senses. The members of SG-1 were trapped and outnumbered, and Sam silently prayed for deliverance from the inevitable.

"Jaffa!" shouted an enemy leader. The others stopped in their tracks, as the leader tried to see past the trees that lined the path. He spat out some orders in Goa'uld, and Daniel emitted a small groan next to her. Sam could relate, as she watched Daniel get a better grip on his gun. Trouble had definitely found them again.

She debated on the wisdom of fighting her way to freedom, but her debate was short lived when she heard several Jaffa moving toward her hide out. She was trapped, with nowhere to run and being outnumbered put a kink in any plans of shooting her way out. She stiffened considerably when a staff weapon was jabbed into her back, and she immediately let go of her gun to hold her hands up and away from her body.

"Get up!" the Jaffa who owned the staff weapon demanded. Sam and Daniel did what they were told, their hands held up high when they got to their feet. More doom crashed over her when she realized that the Colonel and Teal'c were both standing in the path, having been forced to relinquish their own guns in an act of surrender. No help was going to come from them.

This was the first mission SG-1 had undertaken since going to that planet where Sam had been raped by her teammates. She had spent the last few months working with Dr. Mackenzie and her friends, learning to deal with her guilt and self-hatred, as well as her anger at her teammates. She had also spent a great deal of time working on a naquadah enhanced weapon, hoping to facilitate an efficient energy source that would generate a more powerful blast with minimal aftershocks. Between sessions with Mackenzie, long talks with her friends, and her work, Sam had progressed to the point where she and Mackenzie both felt that she was ready to go back out there with her team.

It figures they would run into trouble the first time out.

****************************

The cell they had been left in was cold and damp, and Sam couldn't help but compare it to the last cold cell she had visited. She wasn't chained to a wall this time around, but she was stuck in the same cell as her teammates, which didn't help matters a whole lot, as far as she was concerned.

She sat quietly on one of the bunks in the cell, watching as Colonel O'Neill paced back and forth in front of the door. He stopped occasionally to rattle the bars of the cell and yell out to anyone who happened to be listening that he wanted out, then went back to pacing when no one responded. Sam smiled to herself as she watched her commanding officer. He hated being locked up, but then again, so did the rest of his team.

Teal'c stood next to the bars, calmly ignoring the Colonel. Sam often wondered how Teal'c did it. There were many times when she had wanted to hit her commanding officer in the head with something, but Teal'c always seemed to be able to contain any impatience he had, hiding it behind his quiet demeanor. She supposed it had something to do with his training, but Sam still marveled at his infallible calm.

"That's not going to help, Jack," Daniel said, from his perch on the other bunk. The Colonel didn't respond and Sam smiled at Daniel when he sighed and shook his head. He smiled back at her then, both knowing that Colonel O'Neill would settle down in a few minutes. He always did.

Sure enough, he suddenly came over and sat down heavily on the bunk beside her, leaning back to glare at the ceiling. Sam no longer tensed up or flinched when they made sudden movements like that, and she still felt some pride that she had overcome that weakness. She was slowly, but surely getting better, and every little improvement was something for her to cheer about, even if she did cheer quietly to herself.

"Any idea who owns this joint?" the Colonel asked, as he looked back over at the door.

"I did not recognize them," Teal'c responded stoically. They had come to rely on Teal'c's knowledge of the Goa'uld a lot over the years, and Sam was grateful that he had defected over to their cause. He nodded at her when he noticed her staring at him, and she smiled back. Teal'c had expressed his confidence in her abilities, verbally telling her that he was proud of her strength and warrior skills and Sam still felt a thrill of pride race through her whenever she remembered that talk. All that hard work she'd put in to prove to her superiors that she was just as capable as a man had been worth it.

"The least they could do is turn up the heat," Colonel O'Neill grumbled, as he glared at the door of the cell. Same old Jack O'Neill, Sam thought, as she nodded her head in agreement. They were in deep shit, but typical O'Neill, he just went on as if this were a minor inconvenience and not a life-threatening situation.

Footsteps clanking toward them stopped any further talk and all four members of SG-1 went on alert, ready and willing to fight their way out, if they had to. Sam, Daniel and Colonel O'Neill stood up just as three Jaffa stopped just outside the cell door, the one in the middle glaring back at his captives. "You will come with me," he demanded, as he pointed at Sam.

"Now just a minute there, my friend," the Colonel spoke up, making his customary attempt to protect her. He never failed to try, and almost always lost out, but she supposed that maybe this time he would win, just this once. Sam didn't even want to think about what they had in store for her.

"I am not your friend," the Jaffa snarled menacingly.

"We could be," the Colonel shot back, his grin belying the anger simmering in his eyes. "You just need to loosen up a little, maybe..."

"Silence!" the Jaffa demanded, not fooled for even a second. "Bring the woman," he ordered.

Both the Colonel and Teal'c stepped in front of her in an attempt to reason with the Jaffa, but a staff weapon being primed stopped them from getting physical. "I'll be all right sir," Sam told her commanding officer as she stepped up to keep her friends from being killed. She laid her hand on his arm to enforce her belief and he stared into her eyes for a moment, trying to see past her bravado. It was hard to hide her fears and concerns, but all she had to do was to remember everything he had taught her over the years, and this helped in convincing him that she was strong enough. She gave him a small smile and a nod hoping to tell him she appreciated the effort before turning to join the Jaffa outside the cell.

They tied her hands behind her back, while Sam turned to look back at her teammates. All three of them were standing there with concern in their eyes, but it was the familiar look in the Colonel's eyes that made Sam more determined than ever that she was going to survive this. His eyes were telling her that he had faith in her, just as they did all those months ago, and this thought had her nodding at him. She was not going to let him down.

The Jaffa led her out of the holding area and into a hall that was lined with the familiar gold walls the Goa'uld were so fond of having. She followed them down the hall, taking into account the little details and landmarks that would help her find her teammates if she got the opportunity to escape, then steeled her emotions when the Jaffa stopped just outside a door.

Sam was pushed into the room by the Jaffa and she waited quietly, facing the man she was destined to talk to. He was sitting on a chair at the base of a dais, while a young woman sat next to him on one of the steps.

"My Lord," the leader of the Jaffa said, as he got down to his knees as a show of respect. Sam grunted in pain when the Jaffa's arm snaked out to hit her in the back of the knees, forcing her to kneel as well. She stayed on her knees when the others stood up, having learned the rules a long time ago. The Goa'uld stood up then, and walked over to them, his eyes flashing with the strange eerie light that illuminated his anger.

"Stand up," he ordered, when he was standing in front of her. Sam did as she was told, hoping that compliance on her part would mean less pain in the very near future. She wasn't really sure what was going to happen, but whatever it was, she would face it with dignity. So she stood up, squaring her shoulders and lifting her head in defiance as she stared back at the Goa'uld. "Beautiful," the Goa'uld said, as he reached out to trace his finger down the side of her face.

This was not a good sign, considering what happened on the last mission she was on. Sam didn't respond, she just stood there glaring at the Goa'uld, hoping that her worst fears were not going to come to pass.

The Goa'uld stared at her for a moment longer, then backed up as he commanded, "Leave us." The Jaffa immediately turned to leave and Sam watched as the young woman came up to lay her hand on the Goa'uld's arm and to look into his face. The Goa'uld nodded sharply at her, then indicated with his head that she should leave as well. With a final look at Sam, the young woman left the room, closing the door behind her.

Sam stood there facing the man, terror moving in to take up residence in her mind. She hardened her features though, determined to show him that she wasn't afraid. The Goa'uld didn't seem to care one way or the other, he just continued to admire his "prize", making Sam extremely uncomfortable.

"We only came here as explorers," Sam told him, hoping to forestall any forms of torture. She wasn't sure if he would believe her, but it was worth a try. "We have no wish to harm you."

The Goa'uld didn't stop what he was doing, in fact her words seemed to spur him on. His palm moved up to cup her cheek and Sam couldn't help but jerk her head away from it. He grinned at her then, an evil grin, but stepped back and stared at her for a moment, before saying, "I am Omer. You are of the Tau'ri, enemy of the Goa'uld."

So much for trying for the innocent act, Sam thought, as she tried to figure out a way to get out of that one.

"If I am not mistaken, you are Samantha Carter," the Goa'uld went on to say, as Sam continued to glare at him with contempt. "I had heard that you were beautiful." His smile dimmed as he stepped back, although he continued to watch her, "I am not disappointed."

"How is it that you know of me," Sam asked, hoping to keep him talking. Omer didn't respond. Instead he turned to walk over to the chair he had vacated earlier, stopping to pick up something that was sitting on the arm of it. He looked at it for a moment, then looked over at Sam, his smile was positively evil and Sam tensed up to keep her fear bottled up tightly inside her mind.

"I've made it my business to learn the identity of everyone who might want to destroy me," Omer said, as he walked back toward her. Sam lifted her head up once more, stubbornly refusing to give into her terror. Omer grinned at that, seeming to find her defiance amusing. "There are those among my Jaffa who spy on me even now, as we speak." Confusion clouded Sam's brain momentarily as she stared at the man in front of her. There was no one else in the room. But her confusion turned into fear once more as the Goa'uld reached out to touch her face again. Sam wished her hands were free. She would dearly love to place a well-aimed punch into the sneering face, just for the hell of it. She jerked her head back instead, wondering what he would do if she settled for a well-placed kick instead. The ribbon device in the palm of his other hand gave her a good idea, which had her settling for glaring at the man.

"Why did you come here?" Omer asked, as he pulled his hand back. Whatever he was holding in his hand was small enough to be hidden from her view, but Sam knew from experience that even the most innocent looking device could be deadly. "What did you hope to find?"

Sam just stood there, stubbornly refusing to answer. He probably wouldn't believe her anyway. He held up his hand in front of her and opened it up to show her what he had been hiding. It was a small, round object with what looked like spidery legs wriggling around the sides of it. Sam stared at it for a moment, then looked up to see the Goa'uld grinning at her again. "It is a device that would cause you extreme agony if it is activated," Omer told her simply. "Extreme agony," he repeated, closing his fingers around the object again.

Oh God, Sam thought, as she stared at the man in front of her. He was watching her expectantly, and Sam knew he would do what he threatened. She had debated for only a few seconds on what she should do, when a memory of Colonel O'Neill's voice echoed in her mind. "But I didn't tell them everything," he had said that day in her kitchen. "Only the stuff that they could have found out if they would have asked me nicely."

"We came here to find evidence of human population," Sam told the Goa'uld, hoping and praying that it would be enough. "We were also hoping to find any traces of naquadah in the soil."

"Very good," the Goa'uld said, helping Sam to relax a little. Maybe this would work out to her advantage after all. "I would have expected nothing else from the Tau'ri," he said, causing confusion to work its way back into Sam's mind. What was this guy's problem?

"You and your friends were found on the path leading toward my Ha'tak," he said. Sam tried to look surprised, but the Goa'uld knew better. "What were your intentions?"

"We were looking for other humans," Sam tried again. She really did not like the look in Omer's eyes. They were dark and foreboding, yet she detected flashes of worry, which had her wondering what was going on. The Goa'uld were normally too arrogant to worry about anything.

"Did you find any?" he asked, as he once again reached for her face. Sam jerked her head back again, letting him know she was not going to willingly participate in this interrogation. He grinned at her defiance, not in the least bit put off by her stubbornness. It seemed that Mr. Arrogance was back.

"Not yet," she told him, defiantly. He was playing with her, she realized. He knew very well that there were no people on that path. He just wanted to terrify her to death, to use his power over her as a weapon. The unfortunate part of this whole mess was that he was succeeding. She watched as Omer transferred the foreign object to the hand that was adorned with the ribbon device, then raised the free hand up, palm facing her. Sam's eyes widened when a knife appeared in the Goa'uld's grasp. He must have had a hidden sheath that concealed the weapon until it was needed.

She was in deep trouble now, and Sam couldn't stop the tremors that ran through her body. He laid the blade of the knife against her cheek, then brought it down to slice through the fabric of her T-shirt, starting from her collar to the edge of her bra. She knew what he was going to do now, and she cursed the fates that brought her to this end, forcing her to endure the pain and agony of being violated once again.

Life was so unfair, she thought angrily. The Goa'uld watched her as she glared at him, determined to let him know that she was not going to go out without a fight. He just smiled at her as he sheathed the knife, picked up the object and clenched it in his fist again.

"Why did you come here?" he asked her again.

Sam didn't even bother to answer. She couldn't tell him the real reason, and she knew he wouldn't believe her lies. So she stood there, hoping he wouldn't follow through with his threat.

"You would do well to answer me," he said, as he caressed her cheek with the back of his fist. "Of course, I could let this device do what it was designed to do, then see how quickly you tell me what I want to know."

"We came here to find naquadah...," she started to say, knowing that it was all she could say.

"Enough of your lies!" Omer shouted, as he leaned closer to her. His hand moved to her chest and he dropped the object into her bra, as he brought his mouth to her ear. He whispered something, but Sam was in a state of panic, frantically trying to draw away from the wriggling "legs" of the object, too terrified at the threat the object represented to pay attention. The words drifted into her mind though, somehow calming her, and she stared at the man, as he stepped back to grin evilly at her again. "Jaffa!" he shouted, as he returned Sam's stare.

His Jaffa showed up immediately and were ordered to take her back to her cell to wait for the agony to begin. Sam trembled in fear, desperately trying to ignore the feel of the object as it moved against her breasts. She tugged at the restraints, hoping to free her hands, but the Jaffa had their orders, and one of them grabbed her arm to pull her along with him.

She followed them willingly, knowing that her teammates would help her. But the object moved with each step, and the slender strands wriggling inside her bra had her skin crawling. Sam alternately squirmed and tightened her arms to her body, hoping for some relief from the tickling sensation, as well as keeping the object from doing its job.

The trip back to the cell seemed to take forever, and Sam could have kissed the bars when they finally made it to her prison. For the first time in her life, she was actually happy to be put in a jail cell. The Jaffa unlocked the cell door and pushed her inside, not even bothering to unbind her hands, and Sam turned to watch them as they sneered at her before turning to leave her to her fate.

"You okay?" the Colonel asked, as he came over to her. His eyes raked over her, looking for obvious signs of abuse, and they lingered on the tear in her shirt. "Carter?" he asked, with concern.

"I'm fine," she said, as she nodded her head. "Untie me, please!" she begged, squirming and twisting, trying desperately to get at the object of her misery. "Please?"

Teal'c quickly moved to do the honors, while Sam squirmed with fear. "Hurry Teal'c," she said, as she twisted to see what he was doing. The Colonel grabbed her by the shoulders to steady her and to allow Teal'c to get at the binds, while Sam saw another opportunity to get rid of that damned device. "Colonel, please get it out, please."

"What Carter?" the Colonel asked, as he went back to looking for possible dangers. "Get what out?"

"He dropped a device into my bra," she told him, too worried about what would happen if he didn't help her, to care about her choice of words. "He said it would cause me extreme agony... Oh God, Colonel, help me!"

"Okay," he said soothingly, leaning in for a peek into her bra. He pulled back when he realized what he was doing, grinning at her apologetically when he saw that she had caught him taking that peek.

"Colonel, please!" she cried, exasperation moving in. The man could be so frustrating. "Teal'c! What are you doing?"

"I am attempting to untie you," Teal'c responded calmly. Sam just wanted to scream in frustration.

"All right, already," Colonel O'Neill replied, almost at the same time. He was looking a little uncomfortable with the task at hand, but Sam didn't care about protocol. She wanted to get rid of that thing. "Just hold still," he added, as he moved in for the kill.

"Hurry," she demanded, while Daniel came up to see what he could do to help. He and the Colonel both leaned in to see what she was talking about, then grinned at each other guiltily before the Colonel reached in and grasped the offending object to pull it out, then hastily dropped it on the floor. Sam was silently fuming by this time, angry that they took this in stride while she was on the verge of sheer panic. She tried to calm herself with the knowledge that she had just forced her commanding officer to not only stare at her breasts, but to reach into her bra and he had to be extremely uncomfortable with this. Daniel smiled encouragingly at her when she glanced over at him, and she knew he was probably experiencing the same awkward feelings when he'd reacted without thinking, which was just one of his traits.

The Colonel stooped down to prod the object, then stood up and raised his foot with the obvious intent of stomping on it, but Sam couldn't let him. Not yet. Teal'c had finally released her binds and she stepped forward to stop the Colonel. "Wait!" she exclaimed, as she touched his arm. "Let me look at it."

"What's to look at?" Colonel O'Neill asked incredulously. "It's a freaking bug!"

"I just want to check it out," she said, her attention solely on the device. She reached down to pick it up, mindful to do so carefully, and she laid it on her palm as she had seen Omer do. The device was a metallic object, small and round, that had fine strands sprouting out from it. The strands were what she mistook for legs and had caused her extreme terror as they scraped against her skin. She stared at it intently, as the words Omer whispered to her came into focus. "Martouf was right about your beauty," he had told her.

Omer was Tok'ra. Sam knew this now, and everything that happened to her in that room made sense as she thought about the worry in his eyes, the words of conviction when he spoke of possible betrayal among his Jaffa, and the fact that he really didn't hurt her. The device was not an object of torture; it was probably some sort of communication device meant for Omer's comrades.

"What is it?" Daniel asked, as she turned it over in her hands. She was looking for a way to activate it, then thought that it might be better if she didn't. The Tok'ra would not just hand over their secrets to the Tau'ri and the device may be designed to do some major damage if tampered with.

"The Goa'uld is a Tok'ra," she told them quietly. She was not going to be the one to destroy his cover if she could help it, and she was mindful of who could be listening in.

"And you know this how?" Colonel O'Neill asked skeptically. Sam knew of his distrust of anyone with a "snake" in their head, whether they be Goa'uld or Tok'ra. There were times when Sam wondered if he really ever trusted her father once he had blended with the Tok'ra, Selmac.

"He told me," she said, then realized that sounded way too lame to even acknowledge. "Well, he didn't actually tell me that," she hastened to add, when even Teal'c raised an eyebrow at her response. "I didn't even realize until he... Look, I can explain this later," she said, as she heard footsteps heading their way. "Just trust me on this, okay?"

Daniel smiled, while the Colonel reluctantly nodded his head. Teal'c was already standing next to the door of the cell, waiting for his chance to make an escape attempt. Sam stood next to Daniel, then thought better of it and went over to the bed to lie down, hoping to convince her jailers that she was having problems. If her suspicions were correct, she didn't want to expose Omer as a fraud. Daniel came over to sit down on the floor next to her when he realized what she was doing, and smiled encouragingly at her. All four of them were ready for a fight, and Sam hoped it would be over quickly.

It was, surprisingly enough. The Jaffa had come for Daniel, but Colonel O'Neill had other ideas. He stepped up to the door, then raised his hands in surrender when one of the Jaffa threatened him with a staff weapon. This was all a ruse, as the Colonel made to turn away, but then suddenly lurched for the door, ramming it into the second Jaffa, while at the same time ducking to avoid getting hit with the staff weapon blast. Teal'c then made his move and tackled the Jaffa who was doing the shooting, effectively grabbing onto the Jaffa's staff weapon and twisting it up and around until he had the weapon held firmly against the Jaffa's throat. He twisted the weapon once more, snapping the Jaffa's neck, then swiftly aimed the weapon at the other Jaffa, who was back on his feet and aiming his weapon at Colonel O'Neill. Teal'c fired first, effectively winning the battle.

"Thanks, old buddy," Colonel O'Neill said to Teal'c, as he reached down to grab the dead Jaffa's staff weapon. "Let's get out of here."

Sam was more than ready. She and Daniel joined their teammates and they found their way to freedom by sneaking through the corridors and avoiding the Jaffa who patrolled the area.

She led the way, as they made their way toward the Stargate, treading softly and as ready as she could ever be to defend herself and her teammates. They were on their way home, their mission scrubbed for the time being, but they still had the device Omer gave to her. Sam was looking forward to getting it back to the SGC for further study, and to give it to the Tok'ra, if they were interested. She figured they would be. A vague, distant memory was nagging at her - a thin strand of the legacy that Jolinar had left behind. It was the memory of a face that was remarkably similar to the one who had dropped a device into Sam's bra.

Sam was confident that the Tok'ra would be interested.

Chapter 12

The Stargate's event horizon burst into life and Jack watched as the energy billowed out toward him, then settle into a swirling pool of blue light. He and his team had only been back at the SGC for a few days and the Tok'ra had already responded with a definite interest in what SG-1 had acquired on their mission to Omer's planet. Jack stood there next to General Hammond, with the rest of SG-1 gathered around them, while the normal reception party of soldiers stood at the ready to blast away the enemy should one step through the Gate. Granted, it was the Tok'ra coming for a visit this time, but it never hurt to be careful.

"Wonder who they'll send this time?" he asked, with a grim expression.

"Maybe it's Anise," Daniel responded with a thoughtful look on his face. "She hasn't been by for quite some time now." Jack couldn't help but grimace, as Daniel added, "She really liked you Jack."

"Don't remind me," Jack growled, suppressing a shudder at the very thought that a woman with a snake in her head would even try to make a pass at him. Daniel tried to hide his grin and Jack glowered at him before turning his attention back to the Stargate. He would never admit it to anyone, but Anise had scared the crap out of him when she had so casually kissed him that day in his holding cell. He had tried to tell Daniel about it, but found that he couldn't admit it even to his best friend. He ended up telling him that "it was bad timing".

Two figures finally stepped through the wormhole and onto the ramp and Jack breathed a sigh of relief. Anise was not one of the visitors. He could still remember the terror he'd felt when she kissed him so passionately. All he could think about was the possibility of the Tok'ra leaving her through her mouth and sliding down his throat, taking over his body. He couldn't let that happen - Hathor's snake was one incident too many, as far as he was concerned.

The two men stood at the top of the ramp for a moment, taking in the sights, then walked toward Jack and the General. "Welcome to Stargate Command," the General said, as the two men stopped at the bottom of the ramp. "I am General Hammond and this is..."

"SG-1," one of the Tok'ra supplied. "We have met."

"We have?" Jack and Daniel both asked at the same time, then looked at each other and shrugged. Jack couldn't stop the grin that formed on his face as he went back to looking at the Tok'ra. It was scary how attuned he and Daniel seemed to be with each other.

"Of course!" Carter spoke up, her eyes alight with recognition. "You were there when we first met with the High Council. You are Braedel."

"That is correct," Braedel answered. "I am pleased that you remember me."

"I remember that you wouldn't let us leave when we wanted to," Jack groused, still a little angry at the memory of that meeting. Carter's father was dying, for crying out loud!

"We were within our rights," Braedel replied. "This is Lamdyn," he continued, apparently deciding to put their little disagreement to rest. "We have come for the information Omer passed on to you."

"If you gentleman will follow us, we can go someplace more suitable for this talk," General Hammond offered, moving into his role as a diplomat.

The Tok'ra nodded and Jack waited for them to pass before turning to follow them up to the briefing room. He had his qualms when it came to the Tok'ra and it didn't pay to turn his back on them. His trust only went so far.

"Do you have the device?" Braedel asked when they had all sat down at the table.

"Yes," Carter answered. "I admit that I tried to activate it, but was unable to determine how to do it," she added. Jack just knew she was gearing up for one of her long-winded, technology-laden explanations, and he sighed inwardly as he waited for her to wind down.

Why she insisted on babbling on about technological theories and her fascination with devices she probably shouldn't even know existed, was beyond him. But for once, he didn't try to stop her. She was in her glory, and he didn't have the heart to put a stop to it. So he sat back and half-listened to Carter's explanation and the sparse additions that the Tok'ra deemed okay to divulge. Jack was not surprised by this. The Tok'ra were notorious for keeping their secrets to themselves, even to the point of endangering the Tau'ri. But when the tables were turned, the Tok'ra would be the first ones in line to demand that the Tau'ri divulge the secrets that they had acquired. Jack wished this was one of those times. He so loved it when he had one over on the Tok'ra.

Carter rambled on and Jack found himself watching her as she and the Tok'ra battled for information regarding the device and the well-being of Omer. The Tok'ra wanted to know everything Omer had told Carter, and he hated that she had to relive that experience once again. He well remembered the debriefing of that mission where Carter spoke of her experience, holding back on the finer details of what was done to her. Jack had decided halfway through the debriefing that she wasn't going to get away with keeping those secrets. He'd had a pretty good idea of what she went through and he had been determined to force her to talk about it.

Jack smiled as he thought about the ensuing conversation when he had finally caught up with her in her lab after the debriefing. He had asked specific questions, guaranteed to get at the truth and she didn't let him down. She had told him of her fears and he couldn't help the feeling of pride that flowed through him when he realized she had conquered those fears and stood up to her would be rapist.

Samantha Carter was going to survive and Jack was glad that she had worked past her anger and guilt.

But now Braedel was badgering her, asking what seemed like a hundred questions to find out everything he could about Omer's welfare. Jack could see that Carter was tiring of the interrogation, even though General Hammond and Daniel were butting in with their own opinions to get the Tok'ra to back off. Jack had finally had enough, but didn't get a chance to say anything, because the Tok'ra's next words had him gaping at the man in shock.

"I apologize for my insistence in getting as much information as possible in regard to Omer," he said, as he bowed his head at Carter. "Thank you for your help in this matter. But now I must ask if you were able to procure samples of the drug you encountered on Etelner?"

"Etelner?" Daniel asked, his expression suddenly wary.

"Yes," Braedel responded. "You and your team were there several months ago, were you not?" he asked, as he looked directly at Jack.

"Etelner," Jack said, with a sinking feeling in his stomach. "Doesn't ring a bell." The only planet they had visited a few months ago ended up with three drug-induced teammates raping one of their own, but Jack wasn't about to admit anything to the snaky bastard that was asking about it.

"We have an operative living on that planet," Lamdyn said calmly. "He has been trying to acquire information and samples of a drug that is produced there, one that could be used against the Goa'uld. We had hoped you were able to procure samples of the drug and would be willing to share with us."

"You have an operative living there?" Carter asked. She looked like she was going to faint and Jack suddenly became very worried for her.

"Yes," Braedel responded, watching her with interest. "We had hoped you would be able to tell us if you were exposed to the drug and of your reactions, if you were."

"Your operative did not tell you this?" Teal'c asked in a voice that was filled with danger. Something had pissed him off, and Jack knew exactly what it was.

"Why didn't your `operative' come to our aid?" Jack snarled, the anger coiling up from his gut was threatening to strangle him, and Jack knew just the person to take that anger out on.

"He would have been exposed," Braedel answered warily, apparently understanding exactly what Jack was thinking and realizing the danger he had put himself in. "Surely you know the importance of a covert accomplice staying out of situations that could expose his identity."

Fortunately for the Tok'ra, Jack did know the importance of such a task. His own background in special ops had provided him more memories than he liked to admit to of standing by and watching atrocities inflicted upon other humans, while he ignored his inner turmoil in an effort to finish the job. But it was Carter who suffered the ultimate sacrifice this time. Jack turned his glare to the table in defeat. He couldn't blame the Tok'ra operative for not interfering and he felt the old feelings of shame and self-hatred flaring up as he realized that he would have done the same thing were it him in the operative's shoes. The job was more important than a stranger's life.

It sucks that this time it just so happened to be Carter's life.

****************************

Unbeknownst to both men, Teal'c was thinking the same thing. He had built his life around the main goal of becoming Aphosis' First Prime, and to do this meant to harden his heart and soul to the atrocities that Apophis expected of him. Samantha Carter suffered greatly on that planet, but for the Tok'ra to expose his identity to save just one person would not have been feasible, nor would it serve a purpose.

"What happened on that planet is considered classified information," General Hammond said, his expression showing his distaste of the whole situation. "I can tell you that my people did not bring back samples of anything that would be of interest to you."

"Where was your operative?" Daniel Jackson wanted to know, effectively cutting off Braedel's attempt to protest. "Why can't he bring you the samples you so desperately want?" His voice had lowered by the end of the question, and was laced with anger. Teal'c knew why Daniel Jackson was angry. The operative could have saved Major Carter from the pain and grief of being raped, as well as put a stop to Daniel Jackson's personal downfall.

"While the population on that planet has dwindled considerably over the past several years due to the use of that drug, the few that remain are very suspicious and extremely dangerous," Braedel began.

"You got that right!" O'Neill snarled.

"That planet used to be heavily populated," Braedel continued, ignoring the interruption, "But once that drug was introduced into the various societies, the people began to kill their neighbors and family members, seemingly without remorse. At least until the drug wore off, and suicide became the only option for many of the users." He looked over at Lamdyn, then apparently decided to continue with his narrative. "We had hoped to acquire samples of the drug to use in our fight against the Goa'uld. It was determined that the Goa'uld are not immune to the drug and..."

"And just how did you come up with that information?" O'Neill asked angrily. Teal'c understood O'Neill's anger. The Tok'ra could have saved the members of SG-1 a great deal of grief and pain if they would have warned the Tau'ri about that planet.

"That does not matter," Braedel said haughtily. "What matters is that we know you were there and that you survived the effects of the drug."

"What makes you think we were exposed to that drug?" Daniel Jackson asked. Teal'c stared at his friend curiously. Daniel Jackson was deliberately holding back on the truth, which was not something he did on a normal basis. His friend had changed a lot over the last few months, Teal'c realized, and he was glad because it meant that Daniel Jackson had moved a step closer to being a warrior in his own right.

"You were attacked within minutes after your arrival," Lamdyn answered, his face showing his impatience with those he deemed inferior. Lamdyn may be Tok'ra, but Teal'c knew that the symbiote inside was still from the same line as the Goa'uld. The Tok'ra would never be able to convince him otherwise. "You were taken away," Lamdyn continued, "Then reappeared at the Stargate days later fighting for your lives." He stared straight at Daniel Jackson, then reiterated, "You were exposed to the drug."

"We were in too much of a hurry to get out of there to grab any samples," O'Neill offered. He appeared to be sitting there without a care, but Teal'c knew better. The anger was there in O'Neill's eyes for anyone who cared to look deep enough to see. Teal'c had learned the hard way to never underestimate Colonel Jack O'Neill.

"General Hammond, please," Braedel said, turning his attention to the Tau'ri leader of the group. "I cannot stress how important samples of that drug are to the Tok'ra cause. One of our operatives died from complications of that drug. We know that a symbiote can not fight off the effects of the drug, and if we can find a way to reproduce it, we could effectively annihilate the Goa'uld by introducing it to their Jaffa."

"I'm sorry," General Hammond said, his own expression grave as he stared at Braedel. "But my people did not bring back any samples. You will just have to rely on your operative to do that for you."

Braedel and Lamdyn glanced at each other again, and Teal'c had a sudden insight into their dilemma. "You can not trust your operative," he told them. Everyone turned their attention to Teal'c, who leveled his gaze on the Tok'ra.

"That is correct," Braedel admitted quietly. "His reports were encouraging at first, but as time went by, it became apparent that he was not functioning as well as expected. His reports were sporadic and filled with half truths and...," he stopped to glance at Lamdyn for a moment, then continued, "And filled with anger and hatred. His last report told us of your visit, and that although he was living among the natives who dwelled by the Stargate, he was fairly sure you were all exposed to the drug."

"Did he say why he thought that?" Major Carter asked. She was pale and tense and Teal'c understood without being told that she was worried about what the Tok'ra knew. Her fear worried him. He had thought she was past the fear and had moved on toward acceptance of what had happened to her. They had spent many hours over the past few months helping each other to deal with the events of that mission, although Teal'c had done much worse in his lifetime. He had already found a way to live with his actions. But he wanted to rebuild her trust in him and he had made the effort to help her learn to trust him again. Her actions now gave him pause; perhaps she had not come to complete terms with her ordeal and the feelings that resulted from it.

"I have already explained this to you Major Carter," Braedel responded. "And from your reactions and those of your companions, I now know that you were definitely exposed to it. You were given the drug and it would help us greatly if you would tell us what happened while you were under the influence."

Major Carter did not respond. Instead, she up straight and stared back at the Tok'ra, her whole demeanor speaking volumes. She was not going to cooperate and Teal'c smiled inwardly. The battle-scarred warrior had moved back into his comrade. His worries were for nothing, she had definitely survived that ordeal.

*************************************

Daniel Jackson was infuriated. He sat there, glaring at the Tok'ra, all the while wondering what he could do to those bastards without getting tossed into a jail cell. He was pretty sure that Jack would help him destroy the two men, but the General may have a problem with the mess that would be left over after the two Tok'ra lost the battle. So Daniel just sat there, silently scheming and planning scenarios he knew would never come to pass, while he waited for Sam to respond.

Sam hadn't said anything, although she did have that look on her face, Daniel thought with pride. The one that said she wasn't going to give an inch and Daniel was secretly glad. The Tok'ra didn't deserve to know anything that happened to him and his friends. The drug was far too dangerous, as far as he was concerned and it was probably better that no one get their hands on it anyway. Besides, the Tok'ra knew of the dangers the Tau'ri would face on that planet, and they still hadn't bothered to warn them. All par for the course, Daniel knew, but it still rankled when he thought about it. Sam nearly died on that planet.

"Major Carter?" Lamdyn prompted. He was staring at her, probably hoping to intimidate her, but Daniel knew that Lamdyn was going to be disappointed in that area. Sam had stood up to men much scarier than the Tok'ra sitting in front of her. Even Jack, who had intimidation down to an art, had to resort to "ordering" Sam to get what he wanted. Sam was much stronger than she looked. She just shrugged her shoulders, and Daniel smiled, as he Braedel sighed in frustration.

"Teal'c," Braedel said, apparently hoping to garner some support from a Jaffa. "Did your symbiote aid in the determent of the drug?"

"It did not," Teal'c answered haughtily. Daniel wondered what his friend was thinking. Teal'c had always been a hard person to figure out, and Daniel had long since given up trying. But that didn't stop him from talking to his friend about the guilt that was threatening to destroy him. Teal'c's faith in him helped Daniel a lot during the last few months, as it helped him to understand the demons running around inside his head. The demons were under control now and Daniel hoped that he would never have to face them again.

"What were your reactions to the substance?" Lamdyn asked, apparently encouraged by Teal'c's response.

"It made me angry," Teal'c said, causing Daniel to smile, despite his own anger. It was apparent that Teal'c had no intentions, whatsoever, of divulging his secrets to the Tok'ra.

"Was your reaction more violent than the others?" Braedel asked. It appeared the Tok'ra had decided to gang up on Teal'c. This should be interesting, Daniel thought, as he looked over at Jack. Jack glanced back at him, but then turned his attention back to Teal'c. Jack was another mystery to Daniel. There were times when he could relate to the man, and other times when it seemed he was a complete stranger. This was one of those times when he could relate to the anger Jack was hiding from everyone else. No one would know it by the look on his face, but Daniel had seen the rage reflected in the man's eyes when he glanced over at him and he was suddenly glad that the anger wasn't directed at him.

"I would not know," Teal'c replied. He was sitting there quietly, and Daniel wondered when he was going to tire of his game.

"Did your symbiote protect you from the drug?" Lamdyn asked.

Teal'c turned to stare directly at Lamdyn, his expression giving nothing away, but for once Daniel was afraid for the Tok'ra. Teal'c had finally tired of the game. "It did not," Teal'c said with a look that dared the Tok'ra to say another word.

The Tok'ra apparently didn't know Teal'c as well as Daniel did, because Braedel stepped up to the plate to take over the interrogation. "What happened while you were under the influence?" he asked.

"That is none of your concern," Teal'c responded, as he glared at the Tok'ra. He then turned his attention away from them, telling everyone without words that he had finally tired of the whole scene and wasn't going to cooperate anymore. The Tok'ra understood this as well as Daniel did, because they looked at each other before turning as one to Daniel.

"Don't look at me!" Daniel exclaimed in a rush. "I don't know a thing about Teal'c's symbiote." It was a deliberate attempt to distract the Tok'ra and Daniel found he was glad he'd said it when Sam smiled warmly at him. Daniel shrugged his shoulders in mock innocence then grinned back at her.

"What went down on that planet has no bearings on anything," Jack spoke up in a calm voice. Daniel was glad to hear that Jack had dealt with the problem at hand. It was so typical of Jack to take what life threw at him and deal with it on the spot, or as Daniel now knew, push it away to dwell on at a future date. The good news about what happened on Etelner was that Daniel now had a deeper understanding of Jack's behavior. He no longer thought of Jack as an emotionless bastard. Jack felt the same pain and emotional distress as Daniel did, Jack had just learned how to deal with it and hide it from others. It was a trait that Daniel admired in his friend.

They had all found ways to cope with what happened on that planet. Daniel was just glad that the incident hadn't torn their friendships apart. He knew it could have, but he also knew that the four of them were too strong, emotionally, to let it destroy them. He sighed inwardly as he realized how long it took for him to realize that.

*****************************

Sam sat quietly in her chair, worry and fear threatening to destroy her. She wasn't about to let the others know that she was on the verge of sheer panic though. The Tok'ra would be jumping on the knowledge that something did, in fact, happen on that planet, while her teammates and the General would be thinking that she wasn't strong enough to deal with it. The last part made her more determined than ever to make sure no one ever knew of her inner turmoil. Too many years of proving time and again that she was a model Air Force Officer had taken its toll.

Instead, she had sat back in her chair, quietly listening to the Tok'ra as they asked question after question, hoping to get the information they needed. Sam was not surprised that Teal'c wouldn't give them anything. His distrust of the Tok'ra rivaled the distrust the Colonel harbored for them. But Sam also knew that his silence in regard to what had happened on that planet was more out of deference to her. He, Daniel, Colonel O'Neill and General Hammond would never betray her confidence and she was glad that she could trust them on that.

"Doctor Jackson," Braedel said, apparently ignoring Daniel's glib remark about Teal'c's symbiote, "Surely you understand the importance of learning about the influence of the drug that you encountered on Etelner. Entire cultures simply disappeared - became extinct, if you will. We believe that it is imperative we educate ourselves of the side effects in order to prevent that from happening to other cultures, including the people here on Earth."

Daniel sat forward, but didn't get a chance to answer. "You didn't seem to be too worried about the people of Earth until now," Colonel O'Neill spoke up. He was sitting in the chair next to her, leaning back in a casual stance, as he stared at Braedel. He was in his unreadable mode and Sam wondered what he was thinking. "You could have warned us about that place," he went on to say.

"Would you have listened?" Lamdyn snarled, causing everyone to stop and take notice. The Colonel hadn't moved a muscle, he just stared back at Lamdyn, who added, "The Tau'ri are well known for taking on System Lords and technology that are way beyond your understanding, only to find that you were better off not knowing those things existed."

"Gentlemen," General Hammond intervened. "This conversation will get us nowhere and I, for one, am tired of it. Now, you got what you came here for, and unfortunately, we do not have any samples of that drug. I believe our business here is over."

"General Hammond," Lamdyn tried one more time, "It is imperative that we learn as much as we can about that drug. We may be able to use it against the Goa'uld System Lords and your subordinates have the knowledge we need to control the substance."

"The only thing my people will be able to tell you is how they reacted when under the influence, and from what you tell me, you already know what they experienced. They do not wish to discuss it with you, and I am in concurrence with their wishes. There is nothing more to discuss. Now if you will excuse me, I'll just go and make arrangements for your departure. I'm sure you are anxious to find out what Omer put in that communication device." He had stood up at that point, prompting Sam and the Colonel to do the same.

Relief was flowing through Sam, as the Tok'ra looked at each other and silently admitted defeat. She could see it in their eyes, as they glared at the Colonel. The glares didn't faze the Colonel in the least. In fact, he was wearing a secret smile, and Sam ended up gaping at him when he winked at her. He was apparently enjoying this triumphant moment way too much, but Sam couldn't fault him on this. There were many times when the Tok'ra had her nerves on edge with their secretive ways and outright arrogance. She smiled back at him, before deciding that now would be a good time to get out of that room.

The Tok'ra followed the General out of the room, while Sam and her teammates walked out the other door. "The Tok'ra do have a valid point about the possible extinction of the cultures on Etelner," Daniel said, as they made their way down the hall.

"Don't start, Daniel!" the Colonel growled.

"What?" Daniel asked. "There have been many instances on Earth where entire civilizations just disappeared without a trace. The Anasazi, for instance..."

"Not interested, Daniel," the Colonel said, as he moved purposefully toward the elevator. Daniel stopped for a second, his face showing his hurt and Sam wondered if she could get away with punching out her commanding officer again. Daniel shook off the hurt and smiled at Sam when she went up to him to link her arm through his.

"Don't pay him any attention Daniel," she said conspiratorially. "He's just mad because Anise didn't show up." Daniel grinned broadly at her and Sam wondered what in the world got into her to say such a thing, especially since the Colonel had turned to her with a full-blown glare aimed her way. Daniel's smile urged her on though, and she smirked back at the Colonel, hoping he would get the hint that she was just kidding. She didn't know the whole story between that particular Tok'ra and the Colonel, but his reaction when Daniel mentioned Anise while they waited for the Tok'ra to appear gave her a clue that it wasn't good.

"Yeah," the Colonel said, the mean smile he was wearing causing Sam to mentally steel herself for the backlash. "She really is a great kisser." With that, he swiped his card through the reader at the elevator, then turned to waggle his eyebrows at her. Sam was in shock. He kissed Anise? When? She closed her mouth with a snap when she realized that she was literally gaping at him. "Don't worry though," he added with a crooked grin. "The snake liked Daniel."

"Yes sir," was all Sam could manage. She supposed she deserved that, although she doubted Colonel O'Neill liked the experience much. He seemed to be really disgusted at the thought that Anise would show up.

No, this was too much, Sam thought, as she went back to staring at her commanding officer. He hated the "snakeheads"! "You kissed her?" was all she could say.

"Well no," he admitted, his reluctance to talk about the whole situation clearly showing in his demeanor. "She kissed me." He went back to looking at the elevator, probably hoping it would open up and swallow him whole.

"Why?" she asked, wondering what made Anise think Colonel O'Neill would be interested in her. He didn't really like the Tok'ra, she thought, even as she tried to justify the jealousy that raged through her heart.

"What do you mean, why?" Colonel O'Neill asked indignantly.

"Perhaps she thought you would be more inclined to help her," Teal'c said thoughtfully. Sam smiled at that. She knew Teal'c couldn't be that nave. He had learned how to add his own brand of humor into a situation and Sam appreciated his help.

"I had always thought it was because she felt sorry for him," Daniel said, to add his two cents in.

"Whatever," the Colonel said dismissively. "Anyone want lunch?"

"I do," Sam said, as she beamed at her friends. They were going to make it, no matter what happened to them. As long as they had each other to lean on when times got tough, they would survive any hardship the enemy threw at them. That incident on Etelner and the subsequent months following her rape had proven that to her. She was much stronger in mind and spirit because of that incident and Sam intended to never forget the lessons she learned because of what happened.

The elevator came and they all got in, while Sam ruminated on the situation with Omer. That was just one more lesson she'd had to learn in order to strengthen her resolve and her will to live. She now knew that Omer had no intentions of raping her, but it very well could still happen. There were no guarantees in life, especially in her line of work. She faced the possibility of torture and rape each and every time she went out on a mission. There was a reason the Air Force provided the resources and training on these topics and Sam took advantage of everything she was offered. There was no way the enemy would win.

Sam smiled at her teammates when the elevator doors opened. The enemy didn't know that Sam had a secret weapon in her arsenal when it came to surviving. The secret weapon had a name - SG-1. Her teammates would be there for her, of this she had no doubt. They had proved it over the years and especially over the last couple of months. Sam smiled at her friends as they walked toward the commissary. As long as they had each other, they were going to be all right.


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