Stargate SG-1 fanfic: Inarticulate Speech of the Heart
Inarticulate Speech of the Heart
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
The Tok’ra called. Sam went running. Jack followed. The world almost ended. Things will never be the same. Written for tokra_kree for the prompt: 103. SG-1, Sam/Jack, Sam returns from a mission – as a host. What does her husband Jack say?
don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
When a three star general wants something, there’s not much anyone can do to stop him. Jack would have laughed at Landry’s surprised expression, but he’d been too damn anxious to get through the ‘Gate. As it was, Hank barely even argued. There was a look of understanding, and maybe a touch of pity, in the man’s eyes.
The Tok’ra contacted them a week ago for the first time in years. Of course they needed SG-1’s help—something about the end of the universe and a bunch of other theoretical astrophysics that went right over Jack’s head. So, naturally Sam had to go. After two years of marriage he found it much harder to let go.
On the planet, SG-10 spread out, checking the perimeter. Everything looked calm—the planet similar to just about every other planet Jack had ever been to. The climate was temperate and it had recently rained by the smell of the grass. In the distance white-peaked mountains stood watch over a forest of pine and redwoods.
They made good time before finally clearing the trees. A mound of earth dominated the center of a makeshift camp—a dark opening at the base off to the right. He found most of SG-1 lounging—well except for Teal’c because he didn’t lounge—on some crates sipping at bottles of water. Daniel and Sam were nowhere to be seen.
“General!” Mitchell yelped, jumping to his feet, almost face-planting in his haste. “We didn’t know you were coming.” His eyes darting around as if avoiding Jack’s face.
“Well you would have if you’d kept in contact.” He narrowed his eyes. “What’s going on?”
Mitchell schooled his face. “Oh, you know, sir, just the end of the world stuff. The usual.” Jack glared. With a gulp, Mitchell elaborated. “It appears some locals stumbled upon some Ancient lab or something. They had recent dealing with the Tok’ra so they called for help.”
“What the hell is it with the Ancients leaving their apocalypse machines laying all over the place?”
“You’d have to ask Jackson that, sir.” Something else was up, but Jack wasn’t in the mood to deal with the fidgety colonel. He pivoted on his heal, making a bee line to the opening in the ground. Teal’c fell in step next to him. “What?” Jack asked, more irritated than he’d been in a while. And that says a lot after dealing daily with politicians.
Teal’c was quiet for a moment, getting Jack’s hackles up. “There is something you must know, O’Neill.”
He stopped to look at his friend. “Oh yeah, what’s that?”
“There was an incident with the device—one of many built in deterrents to sabotage.”
“Yes. A local died before the Tok’ra were summoned.” Jack nodded for him to continue as his insides twisted into knots. “In their attempts to disarm the device, Colonel Carter and the Tok’ra, Kana, were injured.” Jack practically ran to the mound.
Inside he found Daniel and Sam with heads together, bent over a familiar looking device. “Carter,” he barked over the whine of the machine. She glanced up, eyes wide, then quickly ducked her head again. He could feel the charge in the air—the hairs on his arm standing up.
“Don’t touch that,” she yelled when he got close. Jack had no intentions of touching.
She glanced up at him then said something softly to the Tok’ra. She nodded then took Sam’s place to stare hard at the machine. Jack frowned. Sam followed him to the side of the room.
“Sam, what’s going on? Teal’c said something happened to you.” He hated the way his voice cracked.
She was quiet for so long Jack thought she hadn’t heard him. When she spoke, her voice was steady. “You’re not going to like it.”
“Of course I won’t, not if you were injured.”
“It was stupid, really. I should have known better. I-” She gulped. “I-”
She never got to finish. “Colonel,” shouted the Tok’ra woman looking more alarmed than he’d ever seen a Tok’ra look. There was a heated debate with lots of gestures and angry tones. Jack couldn’t hear their words over the increase in frequency coming from the machine. SG-1 joined him, looking just as tense as Jack felt.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
“It appears time has expired,” answered Teal’c.
“What’s that mean?” He felt his fight or flight response kick in. With an emphasis on flight.
Vala turned to him with a grim expression. “Boom.” Her fingers blossomed into a mock explosion. Jack forced the lump in his throat down.
There wasn’t anything they could do—nowhere was safe. The whole ground began to vibrate, chattering Jack’s teeth. Sam and Daniel were yelling at each other. They seemed to come to a consensus, paused with their hands hovering over a block, then they both pushed down. The ear-splitting scream from the machine increased.
Sam and Daniel exchanged horrified looks, their eyes meeting Jack’s across the space. His stomach dropped. So this was it?
And then, without warning, it stopped. All of it—the whine, the static electricity, the vibrating. Silence filled the underground lab causing Jack’s ears to ring.
“Is that it?” Mitchell asked, his voice sounding too loud.
Daniel prodded the machine. Nothing happened and Jack saw him visibly relax. Vala ran and jumped into the arms of a very befuddled Daniel. Jack wanted to smile, but the feeling of unease still hovered over the situation. Especially with the forlorn look Sam was giving him.
“Carter?” His chest tightened.
She cocked her head, regarding him for a moment, then she took a deep breath. “Jack, we need to talk.”
They followed a stream to a lake set between two hills. She paced at the edge of the water, arms wrapped around her body. Jack still couldn’t see any visible injuries.
She stopped, but didn’t face him. “I was stupid.” Jack didn’t like the sound of that. “I was careless and paid a big price.”
He tried to turn her, but she resisted. “Just tell me what’s going on. For better or worse, remember?”
At that she did turn, her face a mask. “I think this might be a lot worse than you ever imagined.” His hand dropped to his side. “I screwed up and I’m truly sorry, Jack. I really am. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.” She rubbed at her arms. “How much do you know?”
He shrugged. “That there was an accident.”
“It was bad. Really bad. Kana and I were trying to get inside the device.”
“The Tok’ra outside?”
She shook her head. “Kana took the brunt of the discharge. I think she was trying to save me. I barely remember what happened after that. With both of us injured a decision had to be made.” She looked up at him with watery eyes. “Don’t blame them—they did what they had to do. We had to stop the device; there was no other way.”
“What are you talking about.”
“Kana was too badly injured for her symbiote to save her. Daniel says I stopped breathing. There was no other choice.”
Jack’s heart stopped then stuttered to a start, beating erratically. His vision narrowed to a pinprick, everything growing dark and fuzzy. The ground tilted. He needed to sit down. Or throw up. “No.”
This wasn’t happening. Not to Sam, not again. Jack closed his eyes and willed himself to breathe evenly. When she touched his arm he jerked away as if scalded. “I can’t.”
Sam’s expression hardened. “You accepted my father and treated him no different-”
“I wasn’t married to your father!”
She grew quiet, a vacant stare on her face. Jack couldn’t take it—she was taking to it, the thing in her head. The thing that stole Sam from him.
He had almost reached the trees when the resonating voice of the Tok’ra stopped him. “Jack.”
“Don’t,” he said through clenched teeth. “Don’t you dare.”
Sam—it—cleared its throat. “My apologies, General O’Neill. It is often difficult to sort through information and feelings after blending.”
Jack felt ill. He turned, eager to escape the hell he suddenly found himself in.
“General, I am not done speaking with you.”
Every inch of Jack vibrated with pent up rage.” Do not talk to me like you know me or that you have any influence over me.”
“I did no such thing. I’m sorry you took my words to mean anything other than what I intended. I wish to speak to you about Sam.” Jack opened his mouth to object but it kept going. “She is having a difficult time dealing with the circumstances we find ourselves in. You are not helping things by rejecting her.”
“Screw you. Why don’t you just leave then if things are so bad? Jolinar did. She died a hero or something.”
It visibly bristled, bringing Sam’s frame up to her full 5’9″ height. “What Jolinar did is irrelevant to this conversation. Sam and I have blended. Separation at this point could be deadly for both of us.”
“Bullshit. The Tok’ra have done it hundreds of times.”
“With the result of the symbiote dying.”
“Not my problem.”
“You are being unreasonable.”
“You have no idea how unreasonable I can get.” The scowl that descended over Sam’s face was so familiar it made his heart ache. He looked away. “I can’t do this right now. I just can’t.” He left before it could respond.
Daniel was waiting for him, looking agitated.
“I don’t want to hear it, Daniel. Just leave me alone.”
He grabbed Jack’s arm. “No, I won’t. You can’t run away from this.”
“Who said I’m running?”
“Looks like it to me.”
“Well, I wasn’t.”
“So help me god, Daniel, if you start that crap I will punch you in the face.”
Daniel’s jaw snapped shut. “Don’t be an ass.”
Jack flipped him off as he walked away.
Later that night Jack found himself on the bank of the lake staring at the moon setting against the calm water. Bugs skimmed across the surface and every once in awhile a fish popped its head up for a little snack. What he wouldn’t give for a fishing pole.
He had ignored all radio contact since his encounter with Daniel. Eventually he turned the damned thing off. Not very mature, he admitted. He just couldn’t—didn’t want to—wrap his mind around what was going on. There were just so many things wrong with the situation.
Jack shivered, not entirely from the cold. He picked up a handful of pebbles and tossed them into the water, watching the concentric circles grow from each impact. His insides hadn’t settled since Sam confirmed his worst nightmare. He had no idea what he was supposed to do. Was he supposed to scream and yell? Cry? Hold her and tell her it would be all right? He knew one thing for sure: he shouldn’t be hiding like a coward.
He barely made it to his feet when he heard the crunch of footsteps on the rocky shore. “Are you ready to talk yet?” Sam asked. He tried to discern her mood from her posture. He couldn’t see her face in the darkness, but she stood at ease, arms limp at her side.
He swallowed hard. “I’ll try.”
She let out a long breath then came into the moonlight. It was then that he could see the dark circles under her eyes, the drawn line of her mouth, the concern in her eyes, with just a touch of fear. He nodded toward an outcropping of boulders.
Sam pulled her knees up to her chest and hugged them. Jack wanted so badly to wrap his arms around her, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He knew he was being unreasonable. Sam had been right when she said he never treated Jacob any different. But this was Sam. Could he live with her knowing there was always a third wheel spying on them?
“Jack, what are you thinking?”
He leaned against the rock, staring at his crossed feet, hands deep in his pockets. “I was thinking we’re screwed.”
He rubbed his hands over his face as he tried to control his emotions. They waited so long—putting their jobs and the safety of the galaxy above their feelings—and now that they finally had their chance. Two years. Was that all they got? “I’m sorry,” he mumbled into his hands. “This is a lot to process.”
“No kidding.” She snorted. “I really haven’t had a chance myself. Everything was so crazy.”
“Do you remember what happened? The, uh, booby trap thing?”
She bit her lip, shook her head. “No, thankfully. Daniel said it was bad.”
“So, they didn’t get your permission first, did they?”
“There wasn’t time,” she said, still shaking her head. “I was almost dead. The other Tok’ra Kana—her symbiote couldn’t save her.”
“But she could save you?”
His throat kept tightening up, making it harder and harder to swallow. He didn’t want to think of Sam being hurt. He didn’t want to imagine her with a snake in her head, sharing the space, privy to all her deepest secrets. She didn’t deserve that.
When he glanced up, Sam was watching him with haunted eyes. “Jack-” she croaked, “I can’t do this alone.”
He returned his gaze to his shoes. He couldn’t watch her break. “I don’t know. I just… don’t know. You have to understand how this is for me. How I-”
“I get it, you’re scared. I’m scared. You can’t walk away from this.” Jack was tempted, but he kept his body pressed against the boulder as if it was the only thing anchoring him to the earth. “Jack, please look at me. For better or worse, you said that earlier, remember?”
His heart ached. This couldn’t be happening. Not to Sam, not to them. They deserved to be happy after all their sacrifices. Slowly he brought his eyes up to meet hers. She looked the same—same dark hair, same bright blue eyes, same determined look. He wanted to believe nothing had changed. “Carter, you’re the strongest person I know.”
She shuttered. Was she crying? That feeling washed over him—the one that nearly got him in trouble dozens of times. He’d never abandoned her before. So what the hell was he doing now? He swallowed hard, pushing the fear and anxiety down with the lump. “Come here,” he whispered. She didn’t hesitate. “This is going to be weird.”
“When have our lives not been weird,” she mumbled into his shoulder.
“This does not make me like the Tok’ra any more.”
“I know.” After a moment she stepped back and cupped his face. “I love you.”
Jack’s throat tightened up just like it always did when she looked at him like that—like there was no one else in the world. “I love you, too, you know that.” Jack tried to relax his muscles, but Sam missed nothing. “I’ll get there. I promise.” A small smile tugged at his lips as he pulled her close again. “So how does this thing work anyway? Don’t you like have to be in agreement about… things like this.”
She rolled her eyes. “It helps, yes. You’re lucky, though.”
“Syd’ai likes you.”
Jack raised an eyebrow. “Oh she does, now does she.”
That got another eye-roll. “God only knows why.”
Jack laughed. “I think I like her already. She has good taste.” And then he kissed her. It didn’t feel as awkward as he thought. He knew they could get through this. They’d gotten through everything else, what was a little Tok’ra to get in the way?