Title: Who Will Pick You Up When You Fall Down

Summary: When pushed too far even the strongest warrior may break. And when Jack is pushed to the brink how will he react and how will those who care most for him reach out to him.

Featured: Sam/Jack

Disclaimer: They're not mine, no infringement intended, no profit made, and no payment requested but reviews. :o)

Chapter 1

"Where did they find him?" Sam asked as she and General Hammond raced into the 'gate room.

"We don't know yet, but it doesn't look good. They said something about a prison or slave ship." He saw the look in her eyes as they stopped at the end of the ramp.

"Is he all right?"

"That's also something we don't know yet," the General replied sadly.

The Stargate shimmered as several men walked through. They weren't carrying anyone, so he was likely in good enough shape to walk. That's what she thought, until she saw him. The men walked with him centered in the group. His usually expressive eyes were focused on nothing in particular, as if he didn't see any of them.

"Colonel. It's good to have you back." The General looked at the men with him then at Sam. "Colonel?" he asked as he looked at him again.

She felt her stomach knot as the General addressed him, with no response at all. The 'leader' of the group approached them. He was definitely Tok'ra, as his clothing suggested and his voice verified.

"I apologize for not contacting your people sooner, but we did not want to give away our position until we were closer to your planet."

The General waved the statement off. "We're just glad you found him. We've been looking for months with no sign of where he was or who had him."

The Tok'ra man looked at Sam. "You are Major Samantha Carter?"

"Yes," she said quietly, her eyes focused on the Colonel.

"Your father asked me to tell you he will be here as soon as possible."

Mention of her dad grabbed her attention. "Where is he?"

"On a top secret mission. As soon as he found out what had happened he contacted me and asked me to let you know he is trying to get here, to help."

"Help?" the General asked. "With what?"

The man again apologized. "I am sorry that I do not have better news. Perhaps if we had found him sooner, we could have kept him….lucid."

Sam's eyes widened as what he was trying to say dawned on her. "He's catatonic?" she half stated and half questioned.

"I am afraid it is very close to that. He acknowledges nothing and no one. As you saw, General, he does not even acknowledge his surroundings, or that he has been spoken to." The man hung his head sadly. "I am afraid he may be lost in his own mind permanently."

"I won't accept that," the General stated, matter of factly. "We'll find some way to get through to him." This he said more for Sam, when he saw the distant look in her eyes as she stared at the Colonel, who was still standing on the ramp.

The Tok'ra nodded deeply then moved to his men. They spoke quietly for a second then escorted the Colonel to Dr. Janet Frasier, waiting impatiently near the door. "He will follow you, but do not expect any other acknowledgment from him. Asking him to do something will not help. You must show him what to do."

"Thank you," she said as she walked out of the 'gate room with the Colonel tagging along behind her.

The General turned to Sam. "Go with her. You might be able to help her with him."

"Sir?" she asked, feeling puzzled and slightly apprehensive.

"He's your friend, as well as your teammate." At her nod he added, "You know each other very well, and that's what he needs right now."

"Yes, Sir." She quietly walked toward the infirmary.

The General headed back to the control room. Picking up the phone he said, "Get me Dr. Jackson's quarters."

Sam watched for a moment at the door. Janet had been able to get him onto the exam bed, but she was having trouble getting him to cooperate for the exam. She quietly walked into the room. "Colonel, I know you can hear me. I need you to lie down," Janet said lightly exasperated.

The Tok'ra leader had arrived shortly after Sam. He approached Janet politely. "As I said, Doctor, you must show him." He patted the pillow and to Sam and Janet's surprise he laid back. "You need to be subtle, but persistent."

"Thank you again," Janet said, slightly annoyed, but grateful for his help.

The Tok'ra left the room giving Sam a nod on his way out. She glanced up to Janet, who turned and looked at her. "Sam, I didn't see you. Come on in. I'm trying to do some x-rays, to make sure he doesn't have any broken bones."

Sam quietly walked over to them as Janet continued to bustle around the infirmary with her equipment, taking x-rays, then running a myriad of other tests. As she was getting ready to take some blood samples it occurred to her that it might not be easy. The Colonel hated getting poked, but he didn't even acknowledge the fact that she had stuck him. This worried not only her, but Sam, as well. She put the tube of blood on the tray and turned to Sam. "Did you see that? He didn't even move." She caught sight of the General, Teal'c, and Daniel standing just inside the doorway. "Sir."

"I can't believe it," Daniel said in amazement. "He hates needles." Looking at Sam and then Janet he asked, "What's going on?"

Janet nodded toward the hallway, not that it would matter, at this point, if she talked in front of the Colonel. As they stepped into the hall she said, "Did you have a chance to tell them, Sir?"

The General shook his head. "I thought it might be best to have you tell them."

"He's close to catatonic." She saw Daniel's stunned look. "What ever happened to him, he's retreated into his mind, or something along those lines. The Tok'ra were right, he doesn't acknowledge anyone or anything."

"What are we going to do?" Teal'c's deep voice asked.

"We have to try to reach him, somehow," Daniel said. "Can we try to talk to him?"

"If you want. I don't think it's going to do much good."

As they all walked back into the infirmary, Teal'c stepped next to Sam and stared warmly at him. "O'Neill, it is good to see you."

No response.

Daniel tried next. "How are you, Jack? You like you've been through heck. Did you kill any Goa'uld along the way?"

No response.

"Colonel, do you want to talk to us?" the General waited hopefully.

Again there was no response as he continued to stare at nothing.

They walked toward the door in silence. As Janet followed them she said, "It's going to take time to get through to him." Turning to look back at him she saw Sam step up to the edge of the exam bed, where he was sitting. "What is she doing?"

"Doctor?" the General questioned. He and the others followed her gaze.

Sam looked him in the eyes, or rather she tried to. It was like he was looking past her, as is she wasn't even there. "Sir?" She waited for a second, and then tried again. "Sir?"

Janet could hear the love in Sam's voice as she spoke to him, and she wondered if anyone else noticed as they continued to watch them.

Gently Sam put her hand on his cheek. She looked at her hand in surprise as he put his hand over it. Glancing up again she found him looking her right in the eyes. He put his other hand on her cheek and, though his expression hadn't changed, his eyes were searching hers. "I'm real," she said quietly. To her surprise he hugged her tightly against him. She closed her eyes for a second in relief as she returned his hug. The others were watching them, she knew, but she wasn't about to break the hug off until he was ready. She felt tears soaking her shirt and she realized he was crying. What seemed like several minutes later, he broke the hug off and sat back.

Janet quietly walked up behind Sam. "Colonel?" After the reaction he had to Sam she was surprised when he still didn't acknowledge her. However she did notice that he kept eye contact with Sam, even though she looked toward the others, he kept looking at her.

"Sir, you should get some sleep." Sam gently patted the pillow and he lay down.

After a short and not very informative briefing on the Colonel, Sam cautiously entered the infirmary. Glancing at his bed she saw he was sound to sleep. Pulling up a chair, she sat next to his bed and simply watched him for a few minutes until she too fell asleep.

Janet walked in from her office and looked at the sight in front of her. 'Those two' she thought to herself. Quietly she checked the IV she had given the Colonel, in her attempt to hydrate him. As she walked toward her office she glanced back at him and noticed he was awake. She was about to try talking to him when she realized he was watching Sam again, very intently. He ignored the noise her shoes made as she walked toward them and even her quiet question, "Colonel?" Shaking her head she walked back to her office again.

Sam opened her eyes and saw the deep brown eyes of her commanding officer staring at her. Straightening in the chair she said, "Hi, Sir." She sat up and rubbed her eyes lightly. "You were asleep when I came in. I thought I would wait, but I didn't intend to fall asleep. Sorry about that, Sir." They stared at each other for a moment before Janet walked in. Sam turned at the sound of the petite doctor's shoes clicking on the floor. "Hi, Janet."

"I'm glad to see you actually, Sam." She glanced at the Colonel then back to her. "I need you to give me a hand with something."

Janet's request had her floored a moment later. Sam's eyes widened, she was thoroughly stunned. "You want me to what?" She still thought maybe she was kidding.

"Come on, Sam. I know it sounds bizarre, but you're the only person he has made any connection with." Janet stared her down and decided to add the guilt angle to her request. "He'd do it for you if the situation was reversed."

"I would hope that he wouldn't have to." She blushed slightly. The continued stare from her friend finally made her give in to the logic behind it. He connected with her; he seemed to trust her, as usual. It was logical then that he would let her help him, at the least follow her instructions. With a sigh she said, "What do I have to do, Janet?"

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