Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.
Spoilers for ‘In The Line of Duty’, ‘Tok’ra, Part 1’, ‘Tok’ra, Part 2’, ‘Upgrades’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Abyss’, ‘Allegiance’, and ‘Cure’. A ‘Cure’ episode addition.
Authors’ Notes: This was freaky. A first collaboration for both of us, we actually sat side by side in front of a computer. However, we both loved doing this as well as the Sam and Jack argument in ‘Cure’, and decided this was a perfect opportunity for Sam to discover just what he went through. Laura is damn glad to be writing again.
The post-mission briefing wasn’t going well. Three members of SG-1 were making their report, Hammond was listening intently, Janet still had half her attention on the sample of the Tretonin she’d been given...and the Colonel was strangely quiet.
Glancing surreptitiously in his direction, Sam really wasn’t paying much attention to what Jonas was saying.
“...so even though she didn’t have to, Egeria gave the Pangarans the antidote.”
It was the first sentence in some time that had evoked a reaction from the Colonel. It wasn’t very obvious and if Sam hadn’t been looking at him she probably wouldn’t have seen it – but she had been looking at him and saw his ‘I want to say something negative but this really isn’t the right place’ expression.
Under the guise of replying to Jonas, Sam spoke. “And even though *she* didn’t have to, Kelmaa gave her life for her Queen.”
Another reaction. Verbal, this time. “Oh please...”
Frowning, Hammond glanced towards his subordinate. “Colonel?”
His response was immediate. “Nothing General,”
Sam wasn’t buying it. “Sir?”
“I just think it’s a little hypocritical that we’re giving the Tok’ra the moral high ground, don’t you?”
“What do you mean, Colonel?” Hammond asked.
He shrugged with false indifference. “Well they were perfectly happy to let the experiments continue when they thought it was a Goa’uld.”
Teal’c tilted his head in confusion. “O’Neill, are you defending the Goa’uld?”
“Of course not; I just don’t think the Tok’ra had the right to sentence the Pangarans to death.” The Colonel leant forward as he spoke.
Sam turned to face him. “Sir, we’re talking about their Queen. The founder of their very race.”
“It worked out in the end, Colonel,” Jonas said.
Nodding, Janet agreed. “The Pangarans got the antidote.”
“Yeah, but it might not have been that easy.” He shot a nasty look in their direction. “What if it *hadn’t* been Egeria who was messing with the symbiotes?”
Sam shook her head. “I’m sure the Tok’ra would have tried as hard as possible to discover an antidote anyway.”
Unmoved, the Colonel turned his head to meet her gaze. “When have they *ever* helped someone when it hasn’t helped them?”
“Jack...” Hammond tried to intervene.
“We’ve seen them use people before. Jolinar used Carter *completely* without her permission.”
“That was a misunderstanding,” Sam argued.
“The first time we even met the Tok’ra they didn’t want to let us go. They were gonna hold us on that damn planet forever.”
“They were going to let us go once they moved.”
“Yeah, well I don’t exactly wanna be taking the Tok’ra’s word for things.”
Teal’c spoke, drawing the Colonel’s attention. “Though we have had our disagreements with them, O’Neill, our alliance with the Tok’ra has ultimately proved beneficial.”
“*Beneficial*? What have they ever really done for us? They hold us hostage, they withhold information, they use us as guinea pigs, they even...”
Sam interrupted softly. “They saved my dad’s life.”
He looked back towards her, and spoke sarcastically. “Yeah, and how many times has he been blown up or shot at since?”
“He understood the risks when he agreed to the blendi-”
“Come on, Carter. He’d never been through the Stargate before, he had no idea what was out there – do you *really* think he understood what the hell he was getting himself into?”
“Even if he didn’t, he had no choice. He didn’t want to die.”
“Well neither did I.”
“And Kanan did save your life.”
“Then hijacked my body, took me to some Goa’uld death palace, and abandoned me!”
“Well it’s understandable he didn’t want to give up the secrets of the Tok’ra.” Jonas defended.
The Colonel didn’t even glance towards his newest team member. “How noble of him.”
“Sir, he knew the blending wasn’t complete and that you didn’t have any of his memories. He couldn’t take the risk.”
“Well, Ba’al didn’t know that!”
“Maybe Kanan was trying to protect you.”
“By leaving you when he did, he may have been trying to minimise-”
“That was minimised? Do you know what he *did* to me? He stabbed me through the heart!”
“I had *acid* burning through my *chest*!”
Stunned, Sam couldn’t respond to the uncharacteristic outburst. She wanted to say something, wanted to let him know that she understood – but she doubted she ever really would.
And then he was moving, not asking for permission, pushing his chair back and storming out of the briefing room.
Sam stared across the table at Janet. The doctor’s expression of horror was mirroring her own.
Hammond broke the silence. “Doctor?”
“Sir. We had no idea...the sarcophagus...It healed any physical damage. We knew he’d been tortured, but we couldn’t tell...”
How badly. “General, permission to-”
He was sitting on the bench when she pushed through the door to the locker room. He obviously hadn’t heard her come in, because he didn’t lift his head from his hands.
He was utterly still.
She must have made a noise as she moved to sit next to him, because he immediately stood up and turned away from her.
“Do you mind, Carter? I’m trying to get dressed here.” He half-heartedly fumbled with the clothing in his locker.
“Really? Is that why you were sitting on the bench doing nothing?”
His fumbling ceased. Without turning to face her, he asked harshly, “What the hell does it matter how long I take to get dressed?”
“It doesn’t, but-”
“But what?” Spinning around, he glared. “Why are you here, Major?”
Refusing to be intimidated, Sam stood to face him. “Why do you think I’m here?”
“I don’t know, Carter, maybe to keep singing the praises of your friends.”
“Do you really think...?”
“You seem to be on their side the whole time now.”
“Do you really believe that?”
He didn’t answer her.
She briefly closed her eyes. “Look, what Kanan did to you was wrong.”
“Thanks for pointing that out, Carter – I hadn’t noticed.”
Ignoring the barb, she pressed on. “And I can’t possibly imagine what Ba’al put you through, but...you agreed to this.”
“I only agreed to it because-”
“Oh come on, Carter.” He slammed his locker door and brushed past her, knocking her out of his way. “You knew exactly what you were doing.”
She watched him stalk across the room, moving away from her. “Kanan saved your life.”
“You know what, Major?” He turned around, angrily walking back to stop a few inches away from her. “I kinda wish he hadn’t.”
Sam tilted her head back to maintain eye contact. “Would you really rather be dead right now?”
He didn’t answer her question, instead stepping around her to re-open his locker.
“Where are you going?”
His voice sounded defeated as he responded. “What does it matter?”
“We’re worried about you.”
“Well, don’t be. I’m dealing with it.”
“Yeah, I can...we can all see how well you’re dealing with it. Selmak told me about the conversation you had with dad.”
“She...he...it had no right.”
“They’re worried about you.”
He raised his head and she could make out his profile. “Did they put you up to this?”
“They didn’t have to. You think that I can’t tell when you’re...?”
“When I’m what?” He still hadn’t turned to face her, and spoke into his locker.
He laughed bitterly. “Ah, the irony.”
She winced, mentally chastising herself for her poor choice of words.
Throwing the clothes in his hand back into the locker, the Colonel moved away. “Screw this. I need to get out of here.” He headed for the door.
Her hand on his arm made him pause. “If you come back later, we’ll be in the Commissary.”
He nodded shortly and continued out of the room.
Once he was gone, Sam moved over to his locker. She pushed the messy pile of clothes away from the edge, and gently closed the door.
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