by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Spoilers for 'Children of The Gods', 'Emancipation', 'The Broca Divide', 'Singularity', 'A Matter of Time', 'Learning Curve', 'Nemesis' and 'Entity'. An 'Entity' episode addition.

As youíve probably guessed by now, this is the one episode I canít seem to stop writing about and looking for new angles on. The first paragraph of this sat on my computer for six months. Today it finished itself. Use of {} indicate memories. Feedback would be adored.


He was holding something. It was medical; that much he knew only because he'd pulled it off Fraiser's tray of medical goodies, as he sat down on the chair he'd dragged over moments before.

It was...blue, white, long and...he had no idea what it was.

Still he kept playing with it. Looking at it, turning it in his hands.

Focusing on anything other than how *still* she was.

So he stared at the object, and his hands. He knew enough about his own body and its habits to know this wasn't really unusual behaviour. He was always touching or reaching for something. He supposed that meant he was a tactile person; that was how he connected with the world.



He believed in what he could see, touch and experience. He didn't like ambiguities; he preferred what was and what wasn't.

And he was perfectly aware of why this philosophical crap was trying to take over his brain. He was trying to avoid the one question that, whenever he lapsed, whenever he paused internally, would force itself to the forefront of his thoughts.

What was he going to tell Jacob?

Really. What the hell was he supposed to say? From a logical standpoint, Jake should understand. As far as they knew, the base was being threatened and though she...*it* had said nothing specific, there was no way it was going to back down from what it was doing. The fact that it renewed its assault after the first shot from the zat gun confirmed that.

{He watched as it happened, almost in slow motion. She fell, slumping, her body impacting against the hard cement floor.}

So no choice. He did what he had to do purely from a tactical view.

But was that the right thing? Was that an appropriate 'excuse'?

Because of his actions she was never going to bore him to death...

{"What's with the worm part? I don't...don't get that."}

{"Uh, that's just a metaphor."}

...tease him...

{"Wow. *Your* dog?"}

...do the right thing...

{"Is that an invitation? Sir?"}

{"Nothing wrong with that, is there?"}

...do the wrong thing...

{"I want you."}

{"Why?! I mean no!"}

...disagree with him...

{"Since when are you a politician Colonel?"}

{"Easy, Captain."}

...or simply laugh at his expense.

{"Then you are not as smart as Major Carter and Dr Fraiser?"}

{"Well that depends on what you mean by...okay no, I'm not."}

None of it.


Ever again.

It was...unimaginable.

It was the nightmare he'd been trying to ignore for the last few years, becoming reality.

Some vague sense of sound told him he wasn't alone. He was dimly aware as Fraiser walked into the room, but he continued to spend most of his time alternating between staring at the object in his hands, and the sudden hope-crushing flickers towards Carter.

Maybe one time, she'd suddenly open her eyes.

"Still no change," Fraiser murmured.

Talk about stating the blindingly obvious.

And here came the speech; he knew it was about to happen. He knew she'd already been to see Hammond to break the news to him, and now it was his turn.

Jack already knew. He'd been there.

{"I wouldn't want to stay like that. I mean, the breath may be going in and out of my body but I'm not *alive*, you know?"}

"I don't know if she ever told you this Colonel, but Sam made a living will."

No extraordinary means.

{"In our line of work it's stupid *not* to have one. And given the amount of times Daniel's died already..."}

{"Yeah, but he always came back."}

{"Doesn't exactly leave me brimming with confidence, sir."}

"No extraordinary means."

"Yeah," A sudden exhalation on a rush of breath. A quick glance towards the woman whose gaze he couldn't meet. "She told me."

{"You promise?"}

{"Carter, this is a *morbid* conversation!"}

"There's uh, there's no brain activity of any kind. No brain wave for either Sam or the entity; she's being kept alive entirely on life support."

He knew this was coming too.

"I think it's time to let her go, sir."

But it couldn't be happening. It couldn't. Not *her*.

Despite the fear, and the worrying, and the nightmares, it couldn't actually *happen*.

Because if it had actually happened...

{"You promise?"}


What was he going to tell Jacob?

"Just..." He moved his head towards the Doc, but tried not to look at her. "...give it a minute, huh?" Lowering his head again, he thought over his words. Maybe if they just gave it a minute, she'd wake up. Hell, this was the SGC - they'd *all* died at least once before. "Yeah."

Teal'c and Daniel intruded. They had every right to be there, but it was bad enough just with Fraiser there, and...and...

...and if he really could accept that she was gone, then what did it matter what the others saw? It wasn't as if any behaviour on his part now was about to ruin her career.

Except that wasn't how he worked. It was never how he worked.

And he couldn't let himself believe that she was gone, even if it meant he lost the chance, for once in his life, not to hold back.

He could hold back for her. He'd been doing it long enough.

He could fight for her. It was the only time she needed it.

But keeping his word...

{"Carter, this is a *morbid* conversation!"}

{"I'm serious, sir. I wouldn't want to stay like that. I mean, the breath may be going in and out of my body but I'm not *alive*, you know?"}


{"Promise me."}

{"Okay! All right! Fine! I will not let them keep you on life support like some brilliant vegetable selection! Happy?"}

...was the one thing he was too weak to do.

He stared down at the object still in his hands.

{"Captain Samantha Carter reporting for duty sir."}

So far.


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