Title: Roaming Through the Maze
Author: Patricia (‘Tricia’) Byrne
Category: Jack H/C
Content Level: 13+ - possibly 18+ for some violence and a tad cursing
Content Warning: whumpage, minor cursing
Season/Sequel info: Season 7 before Heroes
Spoilers: Minor ones for Abyss and a fairly decent sized one for Heroes
Archive: AbydosGate, Jackfic,
Summary: The pressures on a soldier are not only those brought on by the strains of battle. They are often felt, not just by himself, but also by those that care for him.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes, and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or deceased, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Author’s notes: All right, Janet kind of took over with this piece and I love where she took me with it. I hope the plot bunny author enjoys it and it lives up to what they wanted. Thanks go out to Dee, Mum, and Dani who are THE best people to bounce ideas off of; and Dani and Mesh for their wonderful beta abilities (including one who came in on Christmas morning). Thanks a bunch.
Copyright © Patricia M. Byrne, December, 2004
How the hell had she managed to get them into this?
Janet wiped a hand across her face, attempting to clear her thoughts, but only succeeding in smearing sweat and grime across her sensitive, sunburned skin and into her eyes. She leaned tighter against the tree, her breath coming in ragged gasps as she tried to slow it, her grip on her gun shaky and unsure as she blinked before meeting his gaze.
It had been three days since they’d been separated from the rest of the refugees and SG-1.
Three days since the Goa’uld had attacked P9R-545 while the SGC had been in the process of relocating the survivors from the last attack.
Three days that she and the Colonel had been out in the woods, on their own – with no food and very little water – running for their lives.
Janet heard the
She wasn’t used to this.
Sure, she’d had combat training – every cadet did no matter their specialty – but she was a doctor. She wasn’t supposed to be out here fighting
O’Neill motioned for her to follow him as he continued through the woods. It wouldn’t be long before another patrol of
Ba’al’s troops knew that they were out there.
Not just any survivors, he knew that O’Neill was out there and he seemed determined to capture him.
The shelter they discovered was less than desirable, but it beat sleeping in the rain. It had been six hours since they’d encountered a
Leaning out into the rain, she reached for their canteen cups. At least the rain would give them the opportunity to stock up on some more water. Pouring the collected rainwater into anything that would hold it, she then prepared cups for each of them.
The Colonel was quiet, which by itself wasn’t necessarily unusual, but this seemed different.
O’Neill blinked, but beyond that there was no reaction.
Leaning in closer to him, she reached over to gently lay a hand on his shoulder, hoping that it would be enough to pull him from his reverie. Her hand made contact with his shoulder and she noticed how his jaw locked itself tightly and a look of pain shot across his eyes.
The tight-lipped response only secured her knowledge that he’d been injured at some point, and badly.
Her fingers drifted down from his shoulder, dropping little touches of pressure here and there along his arm. Her arm twisted at his waist and as her fingers moved, she thought that the rain sounded just a little bit louder than his heavy breathing.
He visibly flinched when she ran her hand back up his arm, causing her to frown.
“Since the ravine? Sir, you should have said something." Her mind fished for a few hours ago when the muddy path they'd been skirting along fell apart under his feet as he dodged an incoming staff blast and he'd skid nearly twenty feet down a sharp drop-off and into the trunk of a sturdy redwood.
Thinking back on it now, she shouldn’t be surprised that he’d been injured. She should have noticed sooner.
Not even bothering to hide her incredulous look, Janet huffed in annoyance. “Nothing? Sir, your shoulder is dislocated. That arm is virtually useless and unless I can get you back to my Infirmary to get that set, chances are you’re going to wind up with some pretty serious muscle and tendon damage.”
“Doc, I said it’s nothing. Just give me something to dull it a bit and we’ll handle it later. I’ve dealt with worse, so you can stop with the mother-hen routine.”
“Charming, Colonel, charming. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything that will even come close to dulling the pain.” She pulled her med kit out and rummaged through the few remaining items within. “I used the last of the morphine while I was treating the refugees.”
“Well, wasn’t that nice of you.”
Janet rolled her eyes before taking out two small pill bottles, removing two pills from one and one from another. “Take these. It’s not much, two Motrin and a sleeping pill, but it’s better than nothing.”
She gave him the satisfaction of letting him open his mouth to protest before she quickly squashed it. “Don’t say it. I don’t want to hear it. You have to sleep. You’re already wounded and neither of us have slept well since the initial attack. If you keep going like this you’re bound to slip up from exhaustion and then we’ll both wind up dead. Or worse, captured by that lunatic out there that seems to have a nice little fascination with you.”
“Gee, I never knew you cared, dear.”
Expelling a frustrated little laugh, but refusing to roll her eyes at his daunt this time, Janet watched with a keen eye as he threw the pills into his mouth and roughly swallowed them without water.
"Don't come knocking on my door in three hours wondering why the hell I can't shoot a
“I won’t be knocking on your door in three hours at all, sir – unless it’s a matter of life and death. You need some real rest.”
Carefully bracing his head in her hands while they eased him down to lay on his side, she then took her jacket and covered him with it. Cursing the fact that they didn’t have any real supplies on them for what must have been the hundredth time, she left him to rest while she sat watch and organized the few things that they did have. Somehow or other they were going to get out of this. After all, she was with Colonel O’Neill and the rest of SG1 was back at the base. Didn’t they generally get out of jams like this before breakfast?
Raindrops clung to her lashes as she rapidly blinked trying to force herself into a state of wakefulness. Her state of physical and mental exhaustion was worse than anything she’d ever known. Yet, she couldn’t sleep, wasn’t allowed to sleep.
Janet had moved outside with the hope that the cooler air and the rain would help to keep her awake. Instead, she was starting to get soaked as she dozed.
A snapping twig brought her out of her doze. Looking around, she slowly scanned the trees, hoping to see an errant animal running around or foraging for food. Instead, she was greeted by the scenes of a wet alien forest and the low rumblings of mumbled Goa’uld.
Quietly moving inside the small shelter their cave provided, she quickly made her way to the Colonel’s side.
“Sir.” Her hand almost reached for his shoulder before she thought better of it.
Laying her hand on his chest and carefully shaking, she attempted to wake him again. “Sir, I really think that now would be a good time for you to wake up.”
O’Neill shifted as consciousness returned, then groaned before Janet could move to cover his mouth. His eyes flew open as her hand firmly planted itself over his lips and her head spun around to look at the opening.
Jack blinked heavily and took a deep steadying breath, reaching up with one hand to remove her hand before covering his eyes. "Doc, I thought you weren't going to be knocking on my door?"
Turning back from the opening she briefly filled him in on what she had seen. "I don't have a choice, sir," she whispered harshly, bending across his prone form to dig for the P-90's that were stacked at the back of the nearly useless shelter. Her exhaustion settled heavily in her bones and she would have sagged against him at that moment if one of his own weak limbs hadn't extended and latched onto her hip. "Sorry, sir."
“Egh, it’s nothing new, Doc. We get used to this sort of thing after a while.”
She moved off of him and he went to sit up, wincing and hissing in a harsh breath of air as pain from the movement to his shoulder wracked through his form.
“Sir, you have to take it easy.”
“Kinda hard given the situation, Doc. We really do need to get the hell out of dodge.”
O’Neill took the lead, holding his arm awkwardly across his midsection as he moved toward the entryway, silently motioning for her to follow him and check out the rear.
It had been years since she’d done field operations. Sure, she’d done their usual annuals and all, but those were nothing compared to being strung out and dehydrated while trying to evade the enemy.
Most of her field ops had been regarding the care of troops in the midst of battle and how to perform proper triage while avoiding enemy fire. After this experience she was definitely making recommendations to the General that all of her staff undergo more intensive survival training.
Swiftly moving from their cave and off through the woods, Janet kept looking over her shoulder, making her best attempt to be sure they weren’t being followed. It was pure adrenaline that was pushing her now. Her level of exhaustion was to the point of total collapse, her instincts for survival was all that kept her going.
The same could be said for the Colonel. Every move that he made, every last jogging step, must have been hell on his knees – never mind his shoulder – after the conditions they had endured the last few days.
Janet kept close to the Colonel, but not too close. He had been insistent in his instruction that she was to keep a safe distance at all times when they were on the move. If she were to break that rule now, he would only respond with his usual retort about her overprotective and ‘power-mongering’ traits.
She watched as he quickly clamored up the hill, starting on the way down before she could completely catch up with him. She increased her pace, trying to bridge some of the distance she had allowed to grow between them. Arriving at the top of the hill, she swiftly started down, only to stop dead in her tracks when she almost slammed into his back.
Any response that he would have made was cut off by the staff weapon pointed directly at the two of them. Turning carefully to look behind her, hoping for a possible way out of this for them, she saw the second
Shit. How the hell had she managed to get them into this?
Janet trudged on in a dazed state of near unconsciousness. Her exhaustion was complete. She’d been defeated. They were captured; her adrenaline had worn off, there wasn’t an ounce of fight left in her. The doctor whose job it was to heal and protect the troops once they’d been saved from the clutches of the latest evil system lord, had now fallen victim to one herself – and even worse, she had taken O’Neill with her.
Stumbling on some wet leaves brought her level of awareness up, the sharp pain of the staff weapon jabbing into her back bringing her to a momentary state of clarity. The
A sudden rush of anger threaded through her system and Janet felt her eyesight flood with red as she returned to her feet and continued trudging along. She hated them; hated their power and misguided loyalties, hated their ruthless inconsideration. She was so wrapped up in her frustrations and distaste that she missed the protruding root and could barely fling her hands out before she fell into the Colonel.
Almost as if he had been expecting the stumble, the Colonel moved, almost knocking her flat on the ground and into the trailing
Her breathing hitched in alarm at the sight of blood blossoming in flowerettes on the damp bark behind the leading
The Jaffa had O’Neill pinned to the tree by his neck, as he weakly struggled for breath and tried uselessly to struggle against him with his one good hand. Janet knew that given the situation, the
Shakily, her hand reached for the weapon that lay before her. It was in her hand and her finger was on the trigger before she could comprehend the thought process that went into it. Instinct totally took over as she raised the gun, aimed it uneasily at the
The Colonel flinched as the spray of blood splattered across his chest and face. Standing in a stunned silence for a few moments before looking over at her as her arms dropped and the gun fell into her lap. She never even realized how badly she was shaking until O’Neill’s good arm wrapped around her shoulders.
“Come on, Doc. We need to get moving.”
Obediently, she stood, oblivious to his state and all that was going on around her. Every time she blinked, every time she closed her eyes, every second that passed, she only continued to see herself pulling the trigger on the gun and the
Janet wasn't sure how long they'd been walking or in what direction. The remainder of the day had just been trudging along at the direction of the Colonel. Her instincts were nagging at her though, something was wrong. The Colonel stumbled again and she snapped out of her reverie.
He blinked several times but she wasn't sure that he had totally registered the sound of her voice.
Slowing, O'Neill turned unfocused eyes in her direction and Janet quietly cursed herself for being so self-absorbed and unobservant.
"Sir, you need to sit."
Motioning him into a sitting position, leaning against one of the sturdy redwoods, she carefully examined his head. Just glancing at his eyes she was almost certain that he had a concussion, she only wished that she had her penlight on her so that she could do a few standard tests.
"Sir, do you know the date?" Before the question left her mind it dawned on her how utterly stupid it was. They'd been out here lost in the woods for days, she'd be lucky if she could remember the date.
His gaze seemed to drift off into the distance.
"Sir, I need you to focus. Do you know who I am?"
"Doc..." His voice was incredibly muffled and he slurred slightly. Janet's eyes closed and frustrated tears threatened to flow over her lids. It was bad enough that she already felt responsible for the two of them being stranded and starving, now this had to happen and she was so caught up in her own actions that she hadn't even bothered to notice.
Janet's eyes flashed open, a thick lump forming in her throat. "Sir?"
"My son... where is my son?"
Fighting past the gasp that wanted to escape, Janet desperately attempted to keep her voice steady. "He's gone, sir. I'm sorry."
"Loved the rain...."
Sitting next to him, trying not to give away how desperate she was feeling, Janet lay a hand on his uninjured shoulder. "So does Cassie, sir. She says that it reminds her of home."
O'Neill's words were still slurred, but it wasn't as obvious. She took a moment to inspect their surroundings, wondering just how far and in what direction they had traveled while she had been out of it. The only thing that had probably brought this level of clarity was the instinct that something was very wrong with O'Neill.
"That she is, sir. I don't know what I'd do without her at times...." Her voice trailed off, as she wondered if he would have a similar reflection about Charlie.
Janet let a soft, semi-uncomfortable silence over take them for a few moments before whispering, "I know you do, sir. I know you do."
O'Neill became quiet and Janet used the time to fully compose herself and get ready to move on. His head had lolled to the side a bit, resting lightly on her shoulder. Turning, she gently brushed some of the rain off of his forehead and out of the random wisps of hair, noticing that his eyes were shut.
“Sir, please, you can’t go to sleep.”
Shaking him gently, so as to not disturb the injured arm that was cradled across his chest, Janet tapped the side of his face with one hand.
“Sara?” His voice was weak, but audible.
“Sara, where’s Charlie?”
Sighing as any strength to rationalize with the man left her, she calmly stood and took his hand. “We need to get you home to him, Jack. Let’s get moving.”
They slowly made their way through the forest in a companionable silence, Janet checking every few hundred feet or so for something that looked familiar so that she would know that they were traveling in the right direction. Nothing looked familiar; nothing pointed her in the direction of the Stargate.
She had assumed that the Colonel had continued moving them in the direction that the
Knowing that it was a long shot, but probably their only shot, she continued on. Stopping for a few moments to give them each a chance to rest and get some water, she rummaged through the backpack attempting to find something else of value. The cool metal of the radio chilled her hand.
They hadn’t tried to use it in at least two days. It was still on, so any attempts to contact them should have come through. Glancing in the Colonel’s direction as he gazed off into space she waited only a few seconds before thumbing the button.
“This is Dr. Janet Fraiser calling any SGC personnel. Do you come in, over?” She rolled her eyes as she finished, wondering if it always sounded that stupid or only when she was the one saying it.
The white noise of the radio squawked for a few seconds before sizzling out entirely. Janet plopped the radio down before her and rubbed her hands harshly across her face, the remaining rainwater clearing away some of the accumulated dirt. Closing her eyes for a few minutes she thought of the facial that she would need once she got back just to recoup from the damage her skin had received and she wondered how Sam managed to survive it all.
Deciding that they’d be better off continuing on, in any direction, Janet began to pack up the few things she’d removed from the backpack. Before she could grab the radio a loud crack of static broke through the silence of the forest, occasionally punctuated by the sound of Sam’s voice.
“Janet.... te'ltak is cloaked... in case of detection..."
Janet’s hand shot down to grab the radio, quickly thumbing the button, “Sam? Sam, is that you?”
She waited for a few moments, but the only reply she received from the radio was the static of white noise.
She briefly contemplated throwing the radio against one of the many nearby trees before she turned to look at the Colonel. His head was resting up against one of the trees, and he had definitely dozed off.
Raising the radio to her mouth once more, she futilely thumbed the button, “Sam, I don’t know if you can hear me or not, but if you can, we really need to get out of here. The Colonel’s in pretty bad shape and it’s pressing that I get him to the Infirmary.”
After waiting several minutes without a single crackle of static from the radio, Janet clipped it to her belt and readied herself to move.
Janet’s every muscle ached. They’d been walking for several hours and there had been no further word from Sam. She continued to support a great deal of the Colonel’s weight as they made their way through the forest.
O’Neill had experienced increased moments of clarity, though he was still out of it for the majority of the time. He talked often of his son, his ex-wife, and his time in special ops. In one intense moment he’d even thought she was one of the soldiers interrogating him while he was held captive in
Noticing the stream up ahead she continued on and stopped to rest for a while, splashing cold water over her features. If nothing else the cool water would soothe her dried, sunburned skin. Removing the pack from her back she retrieved their canteens once again, filling them before preparing cups for each of them.
“Here, sir, you have to drink.”
O’Neill’s unfocused, exhausted face barely turned toward her. “I won’t tell you anything, no matter what you do to me.”
He then rambled on in what could have been mumbled Farsi, but could have also just been incoherent gibberish as far as she knew. Raising the cup to his lips she forced him to take at least a few sips. Anything to keep him from getting any worse was about all she could do at this point.
Crossing the few steps to the stream, she washed out a cool piece of cloth before bringing it back to the Colonel and carefully wiping some of the collected dirt and grime off of his face. The peaceful _expression he wore gave the appearance that he was sleeping and Janet felt torn as to whether to allow him to sleep or wake him for fear of his injuries. Coming to the conclusion that there really wasn’t much that she could do for him out here anyway she decided that they both could use a bit of rest before they continued any further.
The muffled voiced drifted on the edge of her consciousness, pulling her further and further through the sea peaceful tranquility that she currently floated on.
Her eyes shot open as Sam’s almost desperate voice pierced the veil that surrounded her. Reaching toward her belt she grabbed the radio, pulling it to her lips.
“Sam?” Her voice dryly cracked.
“Janet, thank goodness, we’d thought something had happened. Are you alright? You haven’t moved for a few hours.”
“We’re fine, were just resting.” Sitting up, she surveyed the area, surprised that she had allowed herself to fall asleep. “Where are you, Sam? We really need to get out of here.”
“We can’t exactly help you out there. We’re in a cloaked tel’tak orbiting the planet. If we try and ring down, or try to ring you up, we’ll be detected and Ba’al’s ships will destroy us. However; we do have some good news for you.”
“Those palates that Daniel was translating spoke of a second ‘Ring of the Gods’. Now, we think that we’ve located it, and we’ve been tracking your progress. The second gate should be at a hundred twenty degrees east longitude, seventy five degrees north latitude.”
“Sam… it’s not like I can just whip out my GPS and say take me there….”
Not sure if she enjoyed the amusement she heard on the other end as Jacob mumbled something about her having spent too much time around the Colonel during this, Janet simply stayed quiet and waited for better directions.
“Janet, does the Colonel have his compass on him?”
“I can’t be positive, but let me wake him and see.”
Gently awakening the Colonel, she was pleased to notice that his eyes were a bit more focused and he seemed cloudy, but coherent. “Your compass, Colonel, do you know where it is?”
“Sure, Doc.” He rummaged in his pockets, pulling out just about everything from a yo-yo to a half-used roll of duct tape, before finding the compass.
Once Janet had it in her hand, she got back on the radio. “Alright, Sam, I have it. But how is this going to help? Won’t magnetic north be different on every planet?”
“That’s true, Janet, but we know the magnetic north of this planet thanks to all of our sensor readings and we should be able to use it to give you directions to get you moving in the right direction. Two SG teams have already come through and are looking for you.”
Janet sighed a breath of relief, “That’s the best news I’ve heard in ages. Can we put in a few requests for when we get there? We could both use some food and the Colonel needs medical treatment that I don’t have here.”
“We’ll do what we can.” Sam continued to go on and give instructions on how to reach the second gate, or at least meet up with the teams that were searching near there.
Cutting off the signal once they were done, Janet looked over at the Colonel. “How are you feeling, sir? You’re looking a bit better now.”
O’Neill’s hand rested on his forehead, shielding the sun out of his eyes. “My head feels like an entire squadron of death gliders just made several fly-bys.”
“Well, that’s to be expected after the blow you took back there. You were pretty out of it for a while.”
“More so then usual?”
Janet smiled; this was a very good sign. “We should really get moving, sir, do you think you can?”
“Egh, cake walk, Doc.”
The seven click hike wound up not being as bad as she expected. Now that the Colonel’s delusions seemed to subside, he was back to his normal grouchy self, for the most part. His concussion was pretty bad still, but her worries of internal bleeding or too much pressure building up on his brain were quelled by his improved condition and sarcastic wit.
They trudged along together, the Colonel often taking the lead and using his compass or general outdoor sense to head them in the right direction. Janet was amazed at the change in her look on things, and her mood since hearing from Sam. With everything that had happened, everything that they’d been through, and the Colonel’s condition, she had been close to giving up.
She had learned a lot about the man that stood before her; gained a deeper understanding that would only help her in their future encounters. O’Neill was the master of the façade. He was strong, dutiful and courageous – those were traits he never had a problem allowing to show through. There was a much more intense side to him though; a side that had seen the worst crimes of war, the most innocent of victims, and the cruelest acts of love.
O’Neill half turned and motioned for her to stop.
Stilling her movements and slowing her breathing so that she could concentrate on the slightest noise, she heard the distinct sound of voices. Inching closer to the Colonel she studied his features, watching as the conclusions flashed before his eyes.
“That’s Harper, isn’t it?”
Janet closed her eyes and tried to block put everything but the sounds of the voices she was hearing.
“I think so. Not totally sure if it’s Harper or not, but that’s definitely Wells. He’s spent too many hours in my Infirmary for me to not know his voice.”
Janet pushed the curtain aside. “It’s good to see you looking more like yourself, Colonel.”
“It’s good to be feeling more like myself, Doc. How bad is the arm?”
She looked over his chart once again, before placing it on the bedside table, “Shouldn’t be too bad. You’ll need some therapy, but the worst part was getting it back into place after it being dislocated for over a week.”
“Yeah, well, thankfully I don’t remember much of that.”
Janet knew her face fell a bit before she built up her own façade. There were times when she wished that she could have forgotten certain events. She’d been in tight situations before, she’d held a gun before – hell she pointed on directly at Nirrti and had openly threatened the bitch – but she’d never once taken a life.
Carefully, she raised her eyes and forced a smile at him, knowing that he would see right through her.
“You did good out there, Doc. You did good.”
Time frame: None specified.
Gen, h/c, fic about an off-world mission that focuses on Jack and Janet. During the mission Jack becomes ill or is injured, but he has to keep going in order to get his people home. Jack and Janet can be alone, or they can be accompanied by SG-1 or some of Janet's staff-it doesn't matter.
Restrictions: Fic must be told from Janet's POV (1st or 3rd person). Jack cannot be Superman (i.e., doing the impossible while on his death bed). No easy rescues (for example, no healing device, and no Asgard or Tok'ra rushing in to save Jack at the last minute).
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Queen of Roget (it's a shared title)