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.
Disclaimer: They're not mine, no infringement intended, no profit made, and no payment requested but reviews. :o)
A/N: Well, here's the next chapter. I think my muse is back from hiatus now, so we'll hopefully keep rolling along in the story. I'm sorry it's sort of short (it looked longer in Word). I'm sorry about the delay in getting this one posted but I had computer issues, as well a respiratory infection, and a concussion. For those of you following the other two stories as well, I hope to update them shortly.
Gazing at the man in front of her with affection, Sam watched as Jack loaded the disc in the laptop and leaned back to view what appeared to be part of the playoffs. He'd listened to Daniel and responded at least a little. It wasn't much, but every little gesture or look was progress. It made her feel that much lighter and that much more hopeful.
"Well, it's official," Janet stated with a grin. "You're physically healthy enough to be in your own room." She noticed how Jack's eyes had widened ever so slightly at the pronouncement. "While you're still re-acclimating to things, however, I would prefer to have you stay in an isolation room. This way you'll be close enough for me to check on you, but still have some privacy." With a hint of concern she glanced at Sam. From the look her friend was giving her it was obvious she'd seen it too. Beads of sweat had popped up on Jack's forehead and his eyes looked slightly panicked.
"Sir? Are you okay?" When he didn't respond, Sam got very worried. Especially when she realized that he was starting to shake ever so slightly. After a moment she leaned in close to him and spoke very softly in his ear. "It's alright, Sir. Even if they put you in an isolation room I'll still keep you company." That didn't seem to calm him as much as she'd hoped. Then it hit her. "Janet." As soon as her friend stepped closer, Sam revealed what she thought the problem was. "The isolation rooms are a lot like the cell he was kept in, just bigger." Glancing back at Jack she added, "Would it be okay, to let him stay here or go to his quarters?"
Giving him a long look, Janet was about to tell Sam she thought it best he stay in the infirmary when she saw his eyes glance ever so briefly at Sam. "I don't think his quarters are a good idea. It's too far from the infirmary, and I want to be able to keep an eye on him. In case he has anymore of those nightmares. The iso rooms are much better suited for that." Sure enough, as soon as the words were out of her mouth his shaking increased.
Looking at him sympathetically, Sam made up her mind. "Janet, he obviously doesn't feel at all comfortable with that. At the very least let me share the room with him. I can have a cot brought in."
"Sam, you're already here most of the time. How is he suppose to learn to interact with the world again, if you're constantly giving him a buffer against it. You can't be with him every second, you've already realized that. If he gets so use to you being around all the time, what happens when you're needed off world? How is he suppose to relearn how to adapt on his own. I know you two are very close, but you're not going to be able to be with him constantly once he actually gets to leave the base." There was a spark in Sam's eyes that Janet took as defiance of that idea. "We both know you can't just up and move in with him once he's off base. Dangit, Sam, it's not you're fault that this happened. I know you feel more connected to the situation because you got to see what happened through the recall device, but that doesn't make it solely your responsi..." She got cut off mid-word as Sam finally snapped.
"They used me, Janet!"
"How did they..." Again her friend cut her off, but the look on Sam's face made it obvious this was important.
"They used me against him. Our connection, the bond we share, the feelings we're not suppose to have." A silent tear slid down Sam's cheek as she tried to keep her control. "It's how they finally made him break."
Shock registered on Janet's face as what Sam meant sank in. "What did they do?" she whispered, almost afraid of the answer.
Motioning toward Janet's office, Sam waited for her friend to nod and turn that way. Before walking that way herself, she looked back to the man sitting so uncomfortably on the bed. "I'm not going to let you disappear back in your own head again." There was a brief pause before he looked up into her eyes. "Don't give up, not after everything you've gone through to be back here with us."
As soon as Sam joined her, Janet offered her a cup of coffee and a chair. "Alright, what exactly did you see with the recall device? It's obvious now, that you left something out that day."
"I didn't want to divulge too much personal information. He wouldn't have liked that at all." Taking a sip of coffee and then a steadying breath, Sam launched into a full description of everything that she'd seen. By the time she finished there were tears in both their eyes for what Jack had gone through.
"The Colonel really should have some privacy, but I can understand that the open space and constant flow of friends through the infirmary are probably much more comforting to him right now. Eventually, when he's a little more comfortable, he is going to have to get use to being completely alone sometimes. For now though, I'll try to make his space in the infirmary a little more personal."
Sighing in relief, Sam moved to leave. "Thank you, Janet."
Once they reentered the main infirmary, Jack's eyes immediately shot to Sam's. He seemed to relax as she smiled at him. That changed quickly when Janet approached however. "Colonel, I'm sorry. I didn't realize." Having a little trouble deciding exactly what to say, she simply put a hand lightly on his arm. She was relieved when he gave her a small nod of thanks and patted her hand. Sharing a quick glance with Sam, Janet left them alone.
"I...I had to explain what actually happened after your were captured. Everything," she added quietly, knowing that he wouldn't be too pleased. Not surprisingly his eyes shot up to hers again with a slight scowl. "I'm sorry, it was the best way to make her understand what you really went through." Hesitating as the scowl didn't disappear, she backed away from him a little. "I hope you'll forgive me for revealing something so personal." Preparing to walk away long enough to let him sort through his thoughts, she was stunned to find his hand on her wrist. He gave her a softer look and tugged her closer, twining their fingers together. "So, I suppose you heard everything that Janet said to me before we went to her office." Giving her a thoughtful look for a moment, Jack finally nodded. "She's afraid we'll get so use to being together most of the time, that we'll get dependent on it and you'll have trouble being alone when you go home."
Staring at their joined hands, she sighed in mild frustration. If Jack didn't start coming out of this more than he already had, he would likely be stuck here indefinitely anyway. The world outside had always seemed so important to him, especially his cabin, but now he didn't even seem to miss the sunshine... That was it. They needed to get him to spend some time outdoors. They'd only gone outside the one time since he got back. Some time outside in the sun would probably make him feel a lot better. Now she just had to convince Janet to let her take him out for a while.
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It wasn't nearly as difficult as she'd expected to get Janet's permission for a little outdoor excursion. The General on the other hand had voiced serious concerns. What if, for some reason, Jack happened to get separated from Sam, the sensory information was too overwhelming for him, or someone else tried to confront him and he snapped? He had a point, but most of the what ifs were extremely unlikely. Finally Janet had stepped in and given Sam her full support of the idea. That was how they had ended up here, on a well worn path near the top of the mountain. It was a bright, sunny day and the instant they'd stepped out Jack had turned his face to the sun with his eyes closed. They stayed there for several minutes, just soaking up the sun.
Slowly they made their way along the gentle curve of the path. Sam had decided to keep quiet as he enjoyed the sun for the first time in ages. Now that they were moving, she was ready to talk again. "Does this help at all?" When he nodded, she had to smile lightly. Their walk was far from over when they got interrupted by Sam's radio. Janet and the General had insisted she take it, just in case. "This is Carter, go ahead." She listened patiently as a computer problem was described to her. It was connected to an important experiment they'd been running in the lab for the past two days. So that meant she had to check it out right now, rather than after their walk. "I'm sorry, we'll have to go back in," she said as she turned to Jack. He'd been watching her the whole time, she'd noticed out of the corner of her eye. Again he gave a short nod before following her back into the mountain.
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Their trip back into the mountain was fairly uneventful, until they entered the infirmary. Just as they were about to pass Janet's office Sgt. Siler almost walked straight into Jack. The officer was so surprised that he jumped. "Colonel, It's good to see you up and around." Sam held her breath as she waited to see what Jack would or wouldn't do. He hesitantly looked up at the other man and gave a small nod of acknowledgment. As soon as the man left, Jack and Sam made their way over to his area. Janet was waiting for them with a smile.
"Did you enjoy your walk, Colonel?" A smile lit the petite doctor's face again as he nodded. He'd been doing that a lot recently. Yesterday, he'd even rolled his eyes at her when she suggested they do another round of tests on him. "Sam, the lab called to see if you were here yet. Apparently they've run into another issue as well. Also, the General needs to meet with you when you're done."
Sighing in mild frustration, Sam said, "Alright, I guess I'm off to see what damage they've managed to do in the past five minutes." Turning her attention to Jack she added, "I'll be back after I fix what I can and talk to the General."
Letting their hands brush lightly Jack nodded. "Okay."
She smiled at him before heading out the door again. Admittedly, she enjoyed hearing his voice, even if it was still quiet. His words were still a rare thing and usually not more than a couple at a time, but they were music to her ears.
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So, what does the General want, I wonder? (insert enigmatic grin) Hope you enjoyed, please let me know what you think. Thanks.