Title: Seven Days-
The Mis-Adventures of Jack and Sam
Author: dietcokechic
Email: dietcokechic@hotmail.com
Category: J/S, Adventure, Angst
Spoilers: None to start out, but major 4th season references along with Solitudes.
Season: 4th Season
Content: Strong language
Summary: Jack and Sam go on a simple mission to a nice quiet planet. Naturally it all goes to hell.
Disclaimer: Only the story is mine, everything else belongs to the nice folks at Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions (did I leave anyone out?)

Notes: Very first fanfic.

I actually did some research on all the medical stuff you'll read about, but considering that I have not an ounce of training, I probably got a few things wrong. The business about additional lettering with blood types is correct; the stats I give are entirely made up. For those of you living in a Celsius world, here's a quick conversion chart:

85 F= 29.4 C, 88 F= 31 C, 90 F= 32.5 C, 94 F= 34.5 C

Day 1, P3X-677
0900 Hrs.

It was supposed to be a very simple mission. In fact, there really wasn't a reason to send SG-1 at all, except that half the base was quarantined with a pesky chicken-pox like bug and General Hammond needed those super concentrated naquada samples ASAP. Daniel couldn't come, as he was needed to decipher some promising Goa'uld/Egyptian symbols on P3X-030 before the coming rainy season. And after what happened to him the last time he went off on his own, Jack wasn't going to let him go without an escort; hence Teal'c was out of town as well. Which left Jack and Sam to scamper on over to P3X-677, grab some samples and head on home.

The gate whooshed closed and Jack and Sam found themselves surrounded by trees.

"Big surprise there," Jack muttered under his breath. The mission was to take no more than 24 hours and the MALP had shown no signs of human civilization. Walk in the park.

"Lead on, MacDuff," Col. O'Neill said, as he stepped down off the gate steps and adjusted his sunglasses. The planet was like hundreds of others he had been on, full of foliage and moisture. Although currently sunny, Jack was certain it would rain later. It always did on nice pleasant planets like this.

Sam smiled as she surveyed the landscape. According to her readings, there were major deposits in both the north and south. She chose the south as that looked like the direction the sun was heading and that would give them an extra hour or two of daylight.

"This way, sir," Sam said, pointing towards the south. They began walking in amicable silence. After a mile or so, Sam reached into her vest pocket and retrieved a small tube of Blistex.

"Got a date later, Carter?" Jack joked, as he watched his second in command slather her lips in lip balm. Belatedly, he realized that wasn't a very politically correct thing to say. And the amount of time his eyes were spending on her lips wasn't exactly a good thing either.

"No, sir." Sam resisted giving her commanding officer an inappropriate comment about how unlikely it was that she would find someone outside of the SGC. It wasn't as if she had an abundant amount of free time what with saving the planet on a quasi-regular basis. "I'm afraid I burned my lips this morning on some coffee," Sam explained as she placed the cap back on the tube.

Jack resisted the urge to step over and check out the damage. Looking at his 2IC's lips was definitely dangerous. Because the lips were near her face which were in turn attached to her body... nope. He was so not going to go there.

"Ouch." When in doubt, Jack always found it was best to stick to simple, one-word sentences. Luckily, nothing was said that had much of a lasting effect on the pair, and they continued on in comfortable silence for another several hours before stopping by a small stream for lunch. It was a lovely day for a hike and Jack and Sam were enjoying both the weather and companionship. It wasn't often they visited a world as hospitable as this one.

"Y'know Carter," Jack said as he opened his MRE of macaroni and cheese. "It's too bad we couldn't have waited until Daniel returned from rock rendering."

"What do you mean, sir?" Carter asked, taking a sip of water from her canteen.

"I can count on one hand the number of times SG-1 visited a nice peaceful boring planet. This one has no wild beasts, shiny rocks or nasty natives. Danny always seems to get beaten up the most out of all of us, and it would have been nice if he could have had this planet as a fond memory."

"But sir, SG-1 doesn't usually go to the uninhabited planets."

"I know, I know - but still, this is quite pleasant, don't ya think?"

"Absolutely, sir!" Sam replied, dazzling Jack with a big smile. It wasn't often that she was allowed some relaxed downtime with her Colonel. She was glad they could enjoy this time together. Although there was still much that hadn't been said after the whole Zartec incident, Sam felt she and the Colonel had reached an understanding that nothing further could really happen at this time. That wasn't to say that she wasn't still in lo... that she didn't have strong feelings for the Colonel, but rather that they both knew not to push. Of course, some days were easier than others. But on a day like today, it simply felt wonderful to just walk side by side.

They finished lunch and continued southwards. They had gone 18 miles and were nearly at their final destination, when Sam suddenly stopped short. Jack had only a brief moment to see the look of sheer horror on his Major's face before the ground beneath her feet stopped being solid, and she vanished into a cloud of loose dirt and rock.

"Carter!" Jack screamed, as he watched her disappear. He took one step forward and cursed as the ground gave way beneath him and he, too, fell into darkness.

Jack landed with a thud on surprisingly soft ground. Although soft is a relative term, Jack thought wryly to himself. He felt like he had fallen a good 20-25 feet and knew he would have some seriously impressive bruises later. He looked around. It was dark. Cold, inner-cave dark, and had he mentioned dark? The only visible light came from the small openings he and Sam must have made as they fell through the earth. Carter!

"Carter!" Jack yelled into the dimness. Cursing silently, he willed his eyes to adjust to the gloom and quickly pulled off his backpack.

"Carter!!" He yelled again, frantically searching his bag for a flashlight.

'Gotcha!' he muttered, turning it on. Vaguely, Jack noticed the thick lichen covering the cavern's floors and the steep rocky walls that surrounded him.

"C'mon Major, answer me! You do realize I am going to blame you for adding yet more gray hairs to my head, right?" Jack paused in his shouting to listen very carefully. He shined the flashlight back and forth along the cavern floor as he searched for his missing teammate. He knew she had to be nearby. He heard the sound of water dripping and a vague rustling above his head. Rustling? Jack looked upwards and saw something moving slightly near a gnarly collection of tree roots. His eyes still hadn't adjusted, but Jack was positive that something had to be Sam.

"Carter?! Is that you up there?"

Hearing no reply, Jack shined the light directly on the swinging mass and yelled in his best military voice, "Major Carter, wake up!" He thought he heard a small moan and his heart contracted at the notion that his 2IC might be injured. Again. On a mission with him. Go figure.

In a gentler voice, Jack continued, "Sam? If you can hear me, could you speak up a little?"

"I'm here," came the weak reply from above. Jack could see the Major moving slightly as she tried to free herself. The movements were slow and shaky.

Damn, Jack thought. Carter is definitely hurt.

Sam hurt. A lot. Her right side felt like it was on fire, and she was fairly certain the warmth she felt trickling down her stomach was blood. Definitely not good. She was dizzy and tired, and really wanted to just close her eyes and rest. But she needed to get down from here, didn't she?

"Carter, what's holding you in place up there?"

"A tree root got tangled in my pack on the way down, sir." Sam paused to take a ragged breath. She licked her bone-dry lips and continued in a noticeably fainter voice. "I'm stuck...."

Jack did not like the way Sam sounded. "Carter, can you slip out of your pack somehow?" Asking Sam about her injuries would be moot at this point as there was nothing either one of them could do about it at the moment. First Jack needed to get her on the ground, and then he'd assess her injuries.

No answer came from above. Sam heard the Colonel but really didn't feel up to answering him. In fact, she felt certain he would understand if she were to take a little nap. Just a small one... Her head rolled listlessly to one side as she slipped into unconsciousness.

"Carter?!" Jack yelled, getting more worried at her lack of response. "Major Carter, answer me!" Sam hung like a silent pendulum above him.

"Shit!" Jack swore, looking around for a way to reach her. The cavern they had fallen into was immense The walls he could see did look like they might be climbable, but they didn't go anywhere near her. Sam was hanging from the worst position possible: dead center. Her only companions were thick tree roots and loose earth.

"Carter! You need to wake up, Carter! Now, Major! Wake up!" He paused to see if she had regained consciousness. Nothing. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Feeling around the ground, Jack grabbed a handful of small rocks. Positioning his flashlight in his flak jacket so that it shone upwards, Jack squinted and lobbed a rock at Major Carter's swinging form. It missed. He tried again, and that one hit her on the calf.

"Carter! I have a hell of a lot of these things," Jack shouted waving a fistful of rocks at her. "It would be best for everyone if you just woke on up now!" Nothing. Exhaling, Jack threw another rock upwards, this time it hit the back of her leg. Still no response. He shook his head in frustration as he prepared to throw another one. He hoped to God he didn't injure her worse than she already was.

"Carter!" Jack shouted beseechingly, throwing a rock particularly hard at her inert torso. This time, the rock struck Sam directly in the stomach. Sam screamed in pain and began thrashing about.

"God, I'm sorry, Sam!" Jack yelled in obvious distress. "But you need to stay with me now, ok?"

" OK, sir," Sam whispered, very very quietly.

"Do you see any way to slip out of your pack?"

Sam tried to move her arms out of the straps, but her body weight and the laws of gravity prevented her from really getting anywhere. Besides, moving hurt like hell.

"No sir." Sam was just way too tired to continue and began to rapidly lose her fight to stay awake. Jack could actually see her body relax as she started to slip back into unconsciousness.

"Oh, no you don't, Major!" Jack yelled as he angrily threw another rock at her. "Stay with me now." Jack mentally crossed his fingers that this one didn't hurt her more than the bare minimum needed to keep her awake.

It was enough.

Sam jerked back awake and irritably looked down at Col. O'Neill. "I'm awake! Sam shouted crossly. "Stop throwing rocks at me, sir!" Apparently getting pissed was a good way to hold back the pain. Sam made a mental note to remember that.

"Glad to hear it, Carter," Jack said with a note of amusement in his voice. "Think you can reach your knife?"

He watched as she twisted slightly and reached down to her knife sheath. Bingo! She got it. The problem became obvious when she tried to reach up to cut her straps: her injury limited arm movement. Even from 20 feet, O'Neill could see the agony etched across her face.

"Keep holding on to the knife, major! If you can't reach the top of your pack, try the lower straps!"

With shaky hands, Sam reached downwards and, holding her pack strap firmly in place with one hand, began sawing at it with the other.

Jack was worried. Sam was moving too slow. He realized it was pure force of will that was keeping her conscious at the moment, and he didn't know what he was going to do if she dropped that knife.

"You're almost there, Carter! I know you can do this. Just keep at it, ok?"

Beads of sweat were dripping into Sam's face, causing her eyes to burn and tear up. The strap she was cutting was damp with what she could only assume was her blood. Sam didn't know how much longer she could do this. God her side hurt! The adrenalin surge was rapidly running out and Sam could feel the blackness threatening to overtake her. Only the Colonel's shouts and cajoling were keeping her in the land of the living. So to speak.

"Sir," Sam whispered to the ground in a faint voice. "I don't know how much longer..." The knife tumbled out of her hand as she lost the fight and slipped back into unconsciousness.

With an audible tear, the strap tore in two, and Jack watched as Sam's limp body tumbled swiftly to the ground.

The sound of a body hitting the ground from a height was definitely something Jack could have lived without experiencing again. And dammit, this was his Major! Dropping the collection of rocks in his hand, Jack grabbed the flashlight and sprinted over to where Sam lay unmoving.

The mantra "Be Alive, Be Alive, Be Alive' was hammering through Jack's head as he knelt down and felt Sam's neck for a pulse. His hand shook slightly as he fumbled for the carotid artery. It was there.

"Thank God" Jack said releasing the breath he didn't know he had been holding.

Keeping her ears and shoulders as aligned as he could with her hips, Jack carefully rolled Sam over and began to examine her for injuries. He knew he needed to immobolize her neck, at least until Sam regained consciousness and he could verify she hadn't suffered a series spinal injury. But in the meantime, he needed to check out her other injuries.

First things first; Sam's head. Jack carefully examined both of her ears and was thankful beyond words that he could feel no wetness. Finding blood or spinal fluid have been a very bad thing. Jack lightly ran his hands down the sides of her head and neck and determined that Sam didn't have a skull fracture. At least he didn't think she had a skull fracture, this first aid stuff really was more of Sam's forte... Her face was crisscrossed with scratches she must have obtained hitting those tree roots on the way down. The one near her cheekbone was pretty deep, but definitely not life threatening; Jack moved on. He laid a hand gently on her left arm and carefully felt his way up to her shoulder. Nothing broken. He did the same with the right arm and as he ran his hand up her arm, Sam moaned softly.

"Carter?" Jack whispered gently laying a hand near her fingertips. "Can you move your fingers for me?" Jack knew it was a long shot, but he fervently hoped she would regain consciousness long enough for him to confirm she either did or did not have a spinal injury.

Without a word, the index finger of Sam's left hand twitched ever so slightly.

"That's great Carter," Jack said whole-heartedly as he tapped her left ankle. "Think you can do the same with you feet?" He knew that this would be much easier if he took her boots off, but he really didn't want to risk jarring her body at all until he confirmed her spine was truly ok.

He waited several second with his hand on her ankle, but he could feel nothing.

"Carter?" Jack tried again, giving her ankle a gentle tap. Still nothing.

"Screw it." Jack whispered as he unlaced her left boot and took it off. He knew Sam probably had other serious injuries to consider, but if there was even a slight chance she was conscious enough to do this, he needed to try.

"Carter." Jack said louder, gently squeezing her toes. "I need you to move your toes for me."


"Dammit, Carter, please!" Jack pleaded tapping her toes once again. Feeling his heart sink, Jack made up his mind to give it five more seconds and then let it go. Sam would regain consciousness eventually and he would see soon enough. He was just about to give up when he felt, ever so slightly, a little twitch of her big toe. It was good enough.

"Thanks Sam," he whispered patting her lower leg. Now it was time to see to her other injuries.

Jack had already made a mental note of her right arm, and shone his flashlight down her torso. He could see a bit of pale flesh stained with red near Sam's stomach.

"Oh, Sam, no." Jack whispered anxiously. He reached over and unfastened her flak jacket and gently removed it from her body. He then carefully unbuttoned her over shirt and pulled it apart so that he could see her t-shirt. The dark material was wet with what could only be blood. Gently, Jack lifted the t-shirt upwards and gasped at what he saw.

"Jesus, Sam!" Jack exclaimed in horror. Her entire torso had been sliced open. No internal organs were showing, but it looked bad. Starting at her left hip, an angry, bloody cut had begun where a tree root must have snagged her at the junction between her shirt and pants. It had traveled diagonally, raking itself viciously across her hip, stomach and lower ribs. The further it traveled, the deeper the cut seemed to get. Jack was afraid to pull the t-shirt any further up until he had some gauze. There was just too much damned blood! Instinctively, Jack slipped into military mode. He quickly chekced Sam's lower body, and after determining there were no additional injuries, ran back to his backpack for medical supplies.

"Hold on Carter, just hold on." Jack muttered as he tore open bandages. Using sterile gauze, Jack tried to clean the area as much as possible in order to see just how bad the damage was. Sam wasn't bleeding as much on her lower abdomen as the cut was rather shallow there, but the further up he went the heavier the bleeding became. As near as Jack could tell, the root had first only slightly cut her before the weight and angle of her descent caused it to become embedded under her skin. It then proceeded to tear brutally as it traveled across her body before getting caught in her backpack straps.

He lifted her shirt up over her chest and could only hope that Carter was wearing something sufficiently military for a bra. Jack grimaced as he glimpsed what used to be a simple white sports tank. The right side of the tank was now stained a deep red and noticeably torn, barely covering Sam at all. The root must have skewered the bra on its journey across her and pulled it upwards before getting caught on her packs straps.

Thankfully Sam was still covered, albeit barely. Shaking his head slightly, Jack carefully lifted Carter up to see if the root had exited through her back. He breathed a sigh of relief. No exit puncture. Odds were this was just a deep, bloody cut; nothing major had been hit. He hoped. Not that Sam couldn't die from the blood loss… No! He wasn't going even going to think that.

"Ah, shit, Sam! This is bad," Jack muttered, as he pressed not too gently on her chest to slow down the blood flow. Sam moaned louder this time and began to jerk her body away from Jack.

With one hand holding the pressure bandage firmly in place, Jack reached into the medical supplies and found a prefilled vial of morphine. //Thank you Doc Frasier.//

Quickly taking his bloodied hand off of the dressing, Jack double-checked the color coding and popped the top on the syringe. He grabbed an alcohol wipe, eased Carter over a little, and exposed a few inches of her backside. He quickly jabbed the needle into her hip, tugged her pants back up, and rolled her back. //Great, Jack. Not much left of her that you haven't seen now.// .

Jack realized that before he could tape the bandages in place, he needed to clean the wound as best he could. Bits of dirt and debris could be seen embedded in Sam's tender skin. His canteen was less than half full; he needed more water. Squinting in the dimness, Jack could just make out that body of water he had noticed earlier.

Downing what remained of his water, Jack grabbed Sam's near empty canteen and ran the 50 meters or so to the small lake, fervently hoping that the morphine would be working on her by the time he got back. He vaguely noted the presence of two smaller pools above the lake as he filled the containers and quickly returned to Sam's motionless form. She was deeply unconscious now, and Jack knew what needed to be done.

He reached into the pack again and grabbed the small bottle of quinine tablets; dropping two into each canteen. He didn't know if that would make the water clean enough, but he hoped it would help.

Using the water and a handkerchief from his pack, Jack began wiping the blood off of Sam's body. The lower cuts had already stopped bleeding but the upper ones were deep. Jack tried to use butterfly bandages to hold the skin in place long enough for the blood to clot, but it just wasn't working. Sam was losing too much blood, dammit!

Pressing down on the worst of the cuts, Jack pondered what his options were. They had traveled for nearly 6 hours and weren't due back for another 18. General Hammond would probably send a team after them ASAP, but that still took time to organize. At the very best, they were trapped here for at least 24 more hours. Probably more like 36. If Sam continued to lose blood, she wouldn't last the night. Sighing deeply, Jack knew what he needed to do.

Leaving the thickest of bandages taped awkwardly to Carter's ribs, Jack grabbed the medical supplies and Sam's discarded clothes, and walked quickly to the one luminous spot in the cave, the hole they had fallen through. Jack looked up and judged that there was at least two more hours of daylight left. Good, that should be enough time. He spread Sam's blood stained coat and shirt on the ground directly beneath the hole and then rummaged in his bag for other supplies. He unpacked a clean t-shirt and another bandana. He always carried a spare for Daniel and hadn't thought to leave it behind. And thankfully, he was a prepared, paranoid Colonel who always packed two emergency blankets, just in case.

He wished he had Sam's supplies as well, but they were hanging out of reach 20 feet above his head. Too bad she had the tent up there as well. All Jack had were the poles and rain tarp. It could be worse. Jack quickly set up a make-shift camp a good 20 feet "uphill" from the hole in the roof and adjacent to a small collection of larger rocks. If it started raining, Jack wanted to be as protected as they could be from the elements. He was thankful again for the soft mossy floor as he laid the rain tarp out and set both blankets on top of it. He then placed one of the canteens near the blankets and headed back to the one bright spot in the entire cave.

Sitting on the ground Jack withdrew the medical kit and a small plastic box that contained fishing supplies. He actually had used it once on a mission and found that it soothed him to know that if they ever got really, really hungry and were near a lake he might be able to feed them.

It took 15 minutes but Jack was finally satisfied he was as ready as he would ever be. He jogged back to Sam and wasn't surprised to see the bandages soaked with blood. He checked her pulse and wasn't happy to find it rapid and week, but thankfully still steady. Jack carefully picked Carter up and walked her over to the area under the hole, setting her down carefully.

Taking a deep breath Jack proceeded to take the bloody t-shirt off of Sam. It would have been easier to cut it off, but Jack hoped at some point he could wash it in the pool and with luck it would dry before too long. Sam was now lying before Jack topless but for a tank top that didn't particularly leave much to the imagination. This was so not like the locker room fantasy! Jack hoped she wasn't too uncomfortable on the slightly rocky surface, but he wanted to save the clean blankets for after the procedure. Sam looked way too pale and so damn frail…

No. Jack wasn't going to go there. She was going to be fine. She had to be fine.

"Major, can you hear me?" Jack asked in a calm voice while searching Sam's face for any sign of wakefulness. Military training had kicked in and Jack for one was mighty glad for that. He could succumb to emotions later; right now his major needed him. He had some idea how long morphine lasted on himself, but not a clue how long Sam would stay under. He hoped it would be for at least 30 more minutes.

Hearing nothing he continued. "Just in case you process this later Major, let me tell you what I am about to do." Jack sighed and made a move to run his hands through his hair before he realized that his hands were covered in blood. Shit! He needed to wash his hands. Searching the pack for soap, he continued talking. "You have lost a lot of blood Sam, and I don't think you'll make it unless I can stop it. The bandages aren't holding, so I'm afraid we're going to have to try something a little unorthodox." Jack paused as he found the soap and murmuring a "I'll be right back" ran to the cavern lake to wash his hands. Jack had witnessed enough doctoring (both real and on ER) in his life to realize how important this was and spent a good 15 minutes scrubbing his nails, hands and arms. He hoped to god it would be good enough.

"So, Carter" Jack began as he returned and picked up the handkerchief. "I'm afraid that the worst of this is located right under your ummm...." Jack trailed off turning away from Sam's chest and feeling disgusted with himself. "This is to save her life!"

"Carter, you need to lose that bra of yours." There. He had said it. Jesus, this sooo wasn't the way he had wanted to undress Sam. Unconscious? Ah for crying out loud….

Taking a deep breath, Jack cut away the bloody tank top and in one deft movement, pulled the fabric off of her chest and just as quickly covered her with Daniel's handkerchief. He then reached for the small bottle of hydrogen peroxide and prayed Carter wouldn't feel this. Sam moaned slightly as the liquid hit her skin but didn't react past that.

"Thank God for small favors," Jack thought. He then grabbed the sterilized needle and make-shift medical thread, and trying hard not to think about the proximity of Sam's breast, he dabbed at the bloody slash located just centimeters beneath. The fishing line was sterile-- well as sterile as a couple alcohol wipes could make it, anyway.

With one hand he wiped off the blood and with the other he carefully punctured her skin at one end of the tear and then again on the opposite side. Gently pulling the two ends of the thread together, Jack carefully pulled the wound close and tied a knot. He quickly cut the ends with a sterilized army knife and moved down 1 centimeter to do the process all over again.

Eighteen stitches later he was done. His hands were covered in her blood and Jack could feel the adrenaline that had sustained him for so long start to fade. He wiped his hands as best he could and glanced at his watch. He was shocked to see that only 55 minutes had passed since they had fallen through.

Sam was beginning to stir and Jack was glad. This meant she was still alive. He wished like hell he could scrounge up an IV. Hey, as long as he was wishing, it would be nice if SGC Medical were here as well.

He might not be able to give her a blood transfusion but fluids would make a big difference. Gently he lifted Sam's head and urged her to drink some water. A few ounces made it down before she faded into unconsciousness.

Jack wiped all traces of the still warm blood from her body, carefully avoiding the fresh stitches and reapplied clean bandages. He then quickly cleaned and applied antibiotic cream to the minor cuts on her face, and a fresh gauze bandage to the larger gash on her cheekbone. Lastly, he dressed her in his spare t-shirt. He would have loved to tie the handkerchief strategically in place, but it was just too much effort at this point. Sam would understand.

Jack began shaking in earnest now as he lifted her up and walked the distance to their camp. He placed her on the tarp and carefully wrapped both emergency blankets around her. He propped her feet on his pack, grabbed the flashlight and left to wash his hands. Arriving at the pool, Jack was overcome with emotion and sank to the ground in anguish. He logically knew none of this was his fault, but he couldn't help but feel guilty. He looked down at his blood-stained hands and wished like hell he could give that blood back to Sam. Her blood was all over him and without conscious thought; Jack shed all of his clothes and dived into the water.

"Christ, that's cold!" Jack yelled. His voice echoed loudly throughout the cavern. But the cold water helped clear his head and he was thankful. He dove back down and was surprised how deep he could actually go before touching the bottom. Jack grabbed a handful of the sandy floor and rubbed it up his arms and around his hands. He needed to get the blood OUT.

Shaking now from mild hypothermia, as well as delayed shock, Jack emerged from the water and padded over to where his filthy clothes lay on the shore. He shook off what water he could and then pulled on his boxers and laced up his boots. He had another shirt in his bag and would deal with blood stained pants in the morning. Grabbing the flashlight, Jack headed back to "camp."

Jack was relieved to see Sam in exactly the same position he had left her in and promised himself he could join her in sleep in just a few minutes. Considering that it was only 6 o'clock in the evening, Jack doubted he would be able to sleep the night through, but he was tired and cold and knew he needed the rest. Jack could see the slow rise and fall of her chest and was thankful yet again that he hadn't managed to kill her with his little surgery stint. Sam's forehead felt cool, but Jack knew it was only a matter of time before infection set in. He made a mental note to have the antibiotic pills near by for when she awoke.

With a sigh, Jack reached into his bag and withdrew his last button-down Air Force issued shirt. The thick cotton felt luxuriously warm and Jack promised himself he would never bad-mouth regulation duds again. Jack knew he should put on his pants, but Carter was out cold and those pants held no appeal for him at the moment. Besides, they were still damp from all the water fetching.

Knowing he should probably prepare a warm meal, but not really wanting to do so, Jack grabbed a food bar and the small bag of supplies he'd collected earlier, and with flashlight in hand headed towards the opposite side of the cavern. While munching on the food bar, Jack surveyed the surroundings.

The cavern was really quite large. On one end of this main room, there was the lake with two smaller pools above it. Jack made a note that they should use the middle one for drinking water and the larger one at the bottom for bathing. Hopefully the first pool would serve as a filtration system of sorts and block some of the evil nasties Jack knew must exist in this water.

There appeared to be at least 2 other rooms adjacent to the main one, and Jack promised himself he'd check those out tomorrow. The cavern walls were mostly covered with smooth moss. Only behind the "lake" were the rocks relatively moss-free and perhaps climbable. The problem was, they didn't really lead anywhere. Jack would have to navigate several overhangs before getting to a ledge about 10 feet beneath the surface. From there, he would need some serious assistance to climb through the tangled roots. He doubted that was going to be their way out.

Signing he shone the flashlight against a back wall on the opposite side of the lake. Bingo! That would work just fine. Located a good 50 meters from the lake and in "front" of both the hole they had fallen thru and their camp (thus slightly downhill) Jack discovered a group of rocks collected near what appeared to be a gully of some sort. It wasn't deep, but it would do the job without Jack having to dig any holes, plus would provide a modicum of privacy. After relieving himself, Jack set a roll of toilet paper near one of the rocks and headed back to what he hoped would be a very warm Sam.

Jack turned off his flashlight and after double-checking that both the canteen and antibiotics were near by, lifted up the blankets and joined Sam underneath. She had shifted slightly in her sleep and now lay mostly on her left side with her right arm tucked protectively against her stitches. Jack had no idea if this was a good position for her to be in or not, but as long as she was sleeping comfortably he didn't care. He curled up against her warm back and, smiling slightly at what was sure to be another sidearm comment in the morning, fell fast asleep.

Day 2, P3X-677
0200 hours

Sam awoke to the sound of water dripping. Thinking she had left the bathroom faucet on, she moved slightly as if to get up and was surprised to find herself firmly rooted in place by a heavy weight across her hip. She opened her eyes with the hope of checking this out for herself, only to discover that she couldn't see a damn thing. While still trying to process this she heard a murmur directly behind her and felt a hand on her hip shift as the person behind her burrowed in closer. Apparently she wasn't sleeping alone. And that's when she remembered.

"Sir?" Sam whispered in what she hoped was a strong voice. Her mouth felt like it was enveloped in cotton and her right side ached. Ached? Shouldn't it hurt a hell of a lot more? She was pretty certain there had been some serious damage done during her fall. That had to have been blood she had felt… morphine! Sam was profusely thankful that Janet had insisted that all SG teams (and SG-1 in particular) carry category 1 pain medication off planet.

"Carter?" Jack mumbled against her neck, not quite awake. Before Sam could even utter a reply, Jack snapped awake.

"Carter!" Despite the absence of light, Sam could hear the joy in the Colonel's voice and imagined he was grinning ear to ear. Guess it had been bad.

Very carefully Jack shifted his body weight and began to sit upright. Sam tried to do the same thing but barely got her head upright before she clenched her teeth in pain as a wave of dizziness overcame her. She slumped back to the ground with a soft moan and concentrated on breathing slowly.

"Dammit, Carter- don't do that!" Jack said groping in the darkness for the flashlight. Turning it on, he was surprised to see Sam's wide blue eyes open and staring at him. The eyes were alert, but Jack could see the veins in her neck, as she tensed her body in an effort to block out the pain. Jack quickly did the math and realized she had been unconscious for nearly 10 hours; the morphine would have worn off long ago.

"Sorry, sir," Sam said in a strained voice, her fists clenched tightly around the sleeping bag. "Water?"

"Sure Major, hold that thought." Jack reached over and found both the canteen and the antibiotic tablets. Cautiously, O'Neill helped Sam sit up ever so slightly so she could sip the water. Sam could feel the blackness creeping back, but stoically pushed it aside and allowed the Colonel to help her upright. With one hand holding Sam in place, Jack grabbed the backpack and positioned it behind her back. Moving slowly to mitigate her pain, Sam reached for the canteen and downed nearly half of it within moments.

"Easy, Carter. We don't want that coming back up now," Jack said with a small smile.

"Quinine?" Sam asked, making a face.

"Beats giardia. Think you can take a few pills?" Jack asked, holding out the antibiotics. Sam nodded knowing what they must be.

"What's the damage?" Sam asked, handing back the canteen with shaking hands. Who would have thought those things could weigh so much?

Jack let out a whoosh of air as he ran his mostly cleaned fingers through his hair. 'Please don't ask to see the stitches Sam. Please.'

"It isn't good," he began looking her in the eyes. "You were cut from here," he said pointing to her left hip, "to here." Sam's eyes widened at the second 'to here.' Gingerly she used her left arm to feel the swathe of bandages beneath her breast.

"You had lost a lot of blood Sam," Jack tried to swallow the lump that was quickly forming in his throat. "And I couldn't make it stop." Although Jack was trying to use his "I'm in control' colonel voice, he was failing miserably. "The butterfly bandages weren't holding," he whispered hoarsly.

"Sir?" Sam asked, not understanding.

"I stitched you up Sam."

"You stitched me up," She parroted back to him. Comprehension then dawned on her face as tears came to her eyes.

"Sam, it was the only way," Jack said taking a hold of her hand. "You were bleeding everywhere and I needed to make it stop. I had to make it stop!" He searched Sam's eyes for forgiveness.

"I understand,sir," Sam answered, biting her lip to hold back the tears. Seeing the anguish on her Colonel's face didn't help. She squeezed his hand. "Really sir, I understand. It's just a lot to take in."

"I'll need to check those bandages in the morning, but the stitches must be holding ok, as you're alert."

"Barely" Sam whispered looking down at her swaddled chest.

"How do you feel?" Jack asked searching her face for the truth. She was trying stoically to hide it, but Jack knew she was in a lot of pain.

"I've had better days." Sam replied humorlessly, not able to meet his eyes.

"This should help a little," Jack said taking the cap off of one of the syringes and testing to make sure it wasn't clogged.

"We should probably save that sir," Sam said eyeing the morphine with a mixture of desire and dislike.

"Executive decision." Jack said simply as he plunged the syringe through her pants, directly into her thigh.

Sam let out a faint hiss but didn't say anything for several long moments. She knew she needed the drug, but she really didn't like it.

"What time is it?" Sam asked, changing the subject. She was becoming more and more uncomfortable talking about herself. O'Neill knew she was avoiding the question but let it be for the time being. She would tell him if it got too bad. "Unlike me' Jack thought to himself.

"Good question. Seems we lost both sunrise and sunset when we fell down Alice's hole." He checked his watch. "Two AM. You've been asleep for over 8 hours."

"Think we'll run into the Mad Hatter down here?" Sam joked back in a faint voice leaning back against the pack.

She might have been trying to put on her brave face, but Jack could tell that Sam was fading fast. He could tell the morphine was beginning to do its job, and it was time to let her rest.

"Carter, why don't you drink a little more water and then try and get some sleep, ok?"

Sam just nodded and accepted the water. Jack then carefully lowered her back to their "bed."


"Yeah, Carter?"

"Are you getting up now?"

Jack thought about it. He should get up. Maybe wash some of the clothes, take another look around the cave… But something in Carter's voice made him decide against it.

"Nahh. I think I'll get some more Z's as well." He turned off the flashlight and climbed back under the blankets next to Sam. He heard her sigh as he curled his body around hers to conserve body heat.

"We'll get out of this Carter," he whispered into her hair.

"I know Sir," came the faint reply. It didn't take long for both of them to fall back into a deep sleep.

Day 2, P3X-677
0600 hour

Jack was dreaming. He knew he was dreaming because SG-1 never gated to planets sporting beautiful, warm beaches. Or rather if they did, Jack ended up aging 50 years in a week or Daniel dying. In fact, wasn't this planet nice and sunny? No, nice planets just didn't seem to work out for them.

But damn if he wasn't hot. Jack's face felt clammy and hot, and his upper chest uncomfortably warm. True, lying next to Sam could indeed raise his core temperature, but nothing like… Carter! Shit! He wasn't hot, she was. Jack's face was nestled against Sam's neck and collarbone, his chest tightly pressed against her back. If Sam had a fever, Jack would have been on the receiving end of all that heat.

Carefully he disentangled himself from Carter and she flopped unceremoniously onto her back with a small moan. Jack felt her forehead; yeah she had a fever all right. Sam's face was flushed and her breathing was slightly labored. Damn. Not good at all. Jack had known it would only be a matter of time, but still he had hoped to hold infection at bay until they were safely back at SGC. Turning his back, he reached over to the flashlight and switched it on. Careful not to shine it directly in her eyes, Jack gave Carter a quick medical once-over. No visible blood -- this was good, but Jack knew he needed to check Carter out more thoroughly. Sighing, he reached over and gently touched her shoulder.

"Sam," Jack whispered.

"Not now dad, wanna sleep more," Sam mumbled turning her head away from Jack. He smiled. And then quickly frowned. "I am not old enough to be her father!'

"Carter, wake up." O'Neill tried again. Nothing.

"Major Carter, you need to wake up!"

"Colonel?" Sam asked confused, as she forced her eyelids apart. She never remembered the act of opening her eyes to be this difficult before…

"Right here, Major." Jack was relieved she was conscious. He did not want to undress her for a second time without her consent.

"What's wrong?" Sam asked blinking her eyes several times in hopes of getting them to focus.

"You mean besides being trapped in a cave millions of light years from home with an injured teammate?" Jack answered flippantly.

"Right. Besides that." Sam actually hadn't remembered she was injured until the Colonel reminded her. Pain receptors must have been sleeping. Of course now they were awake and she felt like shit.

"I don't feel so hot, sir."

"Actually Carter, that's the problem," Jack sighed. "You do feel hot. Too hot."


Sam replied not quite comprehending the big picture yet.

"Think you can take some Tylenol? Maybe a couple more antibiotics as well?"

Sam actually wasn't too sure she could, but nodded slightly at the Colonel and tried to sit up. A wave of nausea almost knocked her back down.

"Whoa, Carter. Let me help you." Together they got Sam into a slightly inclined position. Each little movement caused Sam considerable distress and she fought back tears of both frustration and pain as Jack rearranged the supply pack behind her. Beads of sweat stung her eyes and it was all she could do not to cry. This really sucked. Sam took a deep breath and was surprised to feel the gentle sway of her breasts at the movement. Whoa. How'd that happen? Where was her sports tank? Sam wrinkled her brow as she tried to remember.

Jack noticed the expression and thought that Sam must be in worse pain than he thought. "Wonder if she needs more morphine?' Although tempted, he really wanted to bring her fever down first. Taking out the handkerchief with the least amount of blood on it, Jack drenched it in cold water and created a cold compress.

Sam sighed and closed her eyes as the cold cloth touched her forehead. Much better.

Leaving the cloth in place, Jack found the Tylenol and shook out 3 tablets along with 2 more antibiotic pills. He then opened up one of the MRE packages and pulled out the small packet marked "applesauce." Jack was pretty certain the pills wouldn't stay down without food and didn't think Carter was up to one of the Air Force's super concentrated food bars. After mixing the applesauce with water, O'Neill grabbed a small tin cup and turned back towards Sam.

"OK Carter, time for some meds." Sam grimaced as Jack took off the cold compress. Her face was still flushed but O'Neill could tell that the cool cloth had at least made her feel better.

"I'll give it back, promise." Jack said as he helped Sam take the first few pills. Drinking out of the canteen had proven to be problematic lying down, so Jack poured some of the water into the cup and handed it to Sam. She was thankful for that. Sam hated having to rely on the Colonel for a simple act like drinking. But this was her CO and he was just doing his job, just like Sam would have done if their positions had been reversed. Sam sighed as she swallowed the last of the pills.

"I know you probably aren't hungry Sam, but I think those pills have a better chance at working if you were to eat something."

Carter shook her head. "Not hungry," she murmured.

"Didn't I just say you weren't hungry?"


"Ah, for crying out loud! Carter, just eat the damn applesauce." Jack said exasperated. "It'll keep the pills down."

"Yes sir." Sam reached for the applesauce with both hands and struggled to keep both the tears at bay and her eyelids open. She wasn't too sure she'd be able to do this.

Jack noticed, He reached over and gently took the applesauce from her shaking hands. "Let me help you Sam." Jack said softly as he spooned a bit of the applesauce from the bag. Silently he fed her the full 10 oz. This wasn't the time for smart-ass witticisms. Even Jack could see that. He could see how much Carter hated to be dependent on anyone. He wished she would close those fathomless blue eyes of hers; it broke his heart to see her in such pain.

Jack wet the compress again and gently bathed Sam's face. The coolness felt wonderful and Sam could feel herself drifting back to sleep.

"Carter?" Jack said tentatively as he reapplied the compress to her forehead.

Sam struggled to open her eyes and only halfway succeeded. She gave the Colonel a questioning look. Thank God that after 4 years of working together they didn't need to talk every 5 minutes to communicate.

"Carter, I need to see how your injuries are doing." Sam nodded slightly. He paused to consider what he needed to say next. "It might hurt, Sam." Might? Shit, O'Neill- you know this will hurt a lot.

"I can give you some morphine for the pain," Jack offered.

Sam shook her head and closed her eyes. He had his answer and with luck she'd sleep through most of this. One could hope anyhow. First things first; time to wash the hands.

"Carter, I'll be right back, ok?" Not expecting an answer, Jack made sure Sam was still bundled and was about to leave the camp when he got an idea. Jack emptied what remained of his canteen into their lone cooking pan and turned on the sterno to heat it up. He figured the warm water might be needed if any of the bandages were stuck to the skin and besides, he could really use a cup of coffee about now.

Quickly Jack walked to the water and after filling up his canteen in the upper pool, used the anti-bacterial soap to wash his hands. Technically he didn't need water, but he never really felt like the stuff was off him if he couldn't rinse. Eyeing the bloody clothes at the edge of the pool, Jack told himself (again) that he needed to rinse those out ASAP. He hurried back to their camp.

With a sense of déjà vu, Jack carefully unwrapped Carter from the emergency blankets and was actually thankful she had a fever; otherwise she'd be mighty cold. A small voice in O'Neill's mind warned him that he too was at risk of freezing. Jack pushed that voice aside.

Being extra cautious not to lift too far, he raised her (or rather his) t-shirt and sucked in a breath as he took in (for the second time) the damage inflicted upon her. Parts of Sam's torso were flawless; creamy pale skin with just an occasional freckle. Jack wanted to run the back of his hand across the unmarred skin. Not in a sexual way (not at the moment anyhow), but rather to assure himself that Sam was still ok. That she was still whole in the spaces between her heinous injuries. But the addition of several layers of medical bandages quickly steered O'Neill's mind back to the problem at hand.

The lower bandages were still pristinely white but the upper ones were beginning to turn red. His sutures had leaked. Logically Jack knew that that's what stitches did and even the good ones would ooze, but he felt like a failure for not being able to do the job perfectly on Sam. Using the flashlight, Jack reexamined the damage. If anything, it looked much worse, but Jack knew that didn't necessarily mean it was.

Attaching the flashlight to his flack jacket, Jack sat back on his knees and contemplated how he was going to do this. He knew he had to change the dressing, but was trying to figure out the logistics of a bra-less Carter, one over-sized t-shirt, and the need to look at the stitches centimeters away from the aforementioned bra-less Carter. And this time she was (more or less) conscious.

"Twist and wrap," Carter mumbled.

"Carter, did you say something?" Jack asked confused.

"Twist and wrap. T-shirt," she whispered drowsily. Sam might have been fading fast, but she was quite aware of what the Colonel was doing. And why he hadn't actually begun.

He wasn't getting it. "Like halter-top." Sam attempted to move her hands to show him what she meant, but they failed to do what she wanted.

A light-bulb went off in Jack's head. Now he got it. In fact, Sara used to wear t-shirts like that all the time in the summer. Gently stilling Carter's hands, Jack gathered up the loose material in front and twisted it several times so that it pulled somewhat securely across Sam's chest. He then pulled the twist upwards and back under the t-shirt between her breasts. Carefully he tightened the design, making sure the newly formed halter did indeed cover all the parts it needed to cover.

"Sweet!" The Colonel smiled. Quasi-conscious, Sam smiled too. **Men!**

Now came the hard part. With steady hands Jack untapped the bloody bandages and began to pull them away from Sam's body. Sam jerked involuntarily and let out a small gasp.

"Sorry Sam," Jack murmured. "I'll try and be quick." The top layers came off with ease, but as O'Neill surmised, the bottom layers were held firmly in place by dried blood. Sighing, Jack reached for the tin cup and dipped it into the hot water. He then added a little cold water and tested the temperature. Satisfied, he dipped a section of clean gauze into the water and dabbed the wet cloth over the stuck bandages. Once adequately saturated, Jack tried again to remove the material. It came off, but not without a loud cry by Sam.

"God, Colonel! Do you have to do that?!" She moaned fighting back the tears.

"I'm so sorry Sam!" Jack said with emotion. "I need to clean this. I promise I am working as fast as I can."

"I know, sir." Sam took another shallow breath. "Just be done already, ok?"

"Is it just me, Major, or are you getting Antarctica déjà vu?" Jack wanted to distract Carter as he worked. Much in the same way she did to him when they were trapped all those years ago.

Sam chuckled without humor. "Kinda seems that way, doesn't it, sir?" She muffled another cry as Jack pulled on yet another stitch. The gash was definitely infected and Jack could see angry red lines of infection snaking away from the cut.

"You know Carter, up until this moment I hadn't realized how hard that must have been on you." Quickly he washed the infected areas with warm water.

"What do you mean, sir?" Carter asked clenching her eyes tightly shut and breathing in through her teeth.

"I thought I had the short stick on that mission. I mean I was pretty busted up and it hurt like hell. But there wasn't anything I could really do except lie there and wait for help."

"Which I couldn't give you," Sam said softly blinking back tears.

Shit! That wasn't what he wanted her to focus on.

"No, Carter! You did help. You were the strong one. Hell, I wouldn't have lasted one night without your help." He knew she still felt guilty about not realizing where they were. As if she could have known they had made it back to Earth. Geesh!

"Hang on Carter," Jack said softly. "It will be all right."

Working quickly now, Jack reapplied the cool gel to Carter's inflamed wounds. Sam moaned and tried to twist her body away as Jack's fingers lightly touched her skin.

"Carter, I now understand how fucking hard it is to cause pain to your own teammate, to someone you care about. And I known now that I would give anything to switch places with you right now rather than cause you such pain."

"Please stop." Sam moaned breathing hard as she attempted again to move her body away from Jack's.

"I know this hurts Carter," Jack said trying to hold Sam down while not touching any of her bandages. "But please try and stay still. I really am almost done." He could feel Sam take another deep breath and then release it in one low moan as she slipped into unconsciousness. Thankful for the pain to have been momentarily taken away, Jack moved as quickly as he could to finish the task at hand. He applied the last of the creme and covered the stitches with clean gauze.

"All done Sam," Jack said softly blinking back his own tears.

He pulled down the t-shirt and gently dried Sam's still damp cheeks. Brushing a lock of hair away from her face, Jack realized how very much he cared for this woman and vowed one day, in the near future to tell her so. Sure the zartec contraption had gotten everything out in the open, but knowing that someone cares for you is one thing. Hearing it come out of their mouth (without witnesses) is another thing entirely.

I will get you out of this Sam," Jack whispered to the unconsious woman. "I swear to you, I'll bring you back home."

Jack rebundled Carter in the two blankets and laid her head on his lap as he fixed himself a really bad cup of coffee. Drinking the warm liquid, Jack counted the hours remaining until a rescue team might arrive. He then chastised himself and began to make contingency plans. Help should arrive in the next 12 hours, but just in case, Jack wanted a Plan B.

Day 2, P3X-677
0800 hrs

After finishing his coffee, Jack began the tedious task of inventorying their supplies, such as they were. He wasn't thrilled with what he found. Besides the weaponry he and Carter had on them when they fell, Jack found one spare ammo clip, one compass, two short wave walkie talkies that currently only received static, one dry pair of socks, one clean pair of boxers, a bottle of quinine tablets, camping stove and 8 oz of cooking fuel. Then there were the tent poles, rain fly, 2 emergency blankets, one sleeping bag, some fishing hooks and tackle, medical supplies (which were rapidly running low), anti-bacterial soap, washing soap, small towel, 2 spare flashlight batteries, 1 flashlight, 1 collapsible shovel, 1 roll toilet paper, sunglasses, an army knife, 5 MRE packages, and 4 food bars... oops, make that three food bars and one wrapper.

There was the ubiquitous heating/eating pan, a tin cup and spoon, three empty plastic bags, some duct tape and string, the latest issue of New Scientist -- he hoped Carter didn't catch that, he kinda liked surprising her with actually understanding the latest in scientific mumbo-jumbo. Oh! And his toothbrush. Jack smiled slightly as he realized that once again he had forgotten his toothpaste. Subconsciously he was pretty certain he did it on purpose so he could borrow Carter's. Not that he'd get any on this trip... //Toothpaste Jack. Toothpaste. // O'Neill mentally ticked off the bloodied items awaiting for him to wash- two bandanas, and both his and Carter's shirts. It sure looked like a lot, but he didn't know how any of it was going to get them out of here.

Jack picked up each item again and carefully re-examined it as if further secrets could be found. Surprisingly, he did find something unexpected. Hidden behind some garish fishing flies was a small bottle of prescription pain medication. Tylenol with codeine. Sweet! Jack hadn't a clue what injury this had been for but it had to have been something serious, as he hardly ever took doc up on prescriptions. Didn't look like he had actually taken very many, though. At least a dozen or so of the little guys remained. and they hadn't expired either. Excellent! There were only one or two more doses of morphine remaining and Jack really wanted to save those for when it got bad. He grimaced. Well, worse than it was.

In another hour he and Sam would officially be over due, and knowing Hammond, a rescue party would be sent through the Stargate ASAP. Hopefully they would head in the right direction and within 3-4 hours be in radio range. Jack really, really hoped this would be the case, but his gut told him they wouldn't be found for at least another day. Which meant...

//OK Jack- do the math. You know you're hungry. You had only one real meal yesterday and a foodbar. That's at least 2000 calories less than normal. So after you do the wash, you will eat. And don't give me that shit about waiting or saving it for Sam. It's doubtful you'll get her to eat much anyhow. So you'll have breakfast. That'll leave 4 MREs. Make sure Sam tries to eat one when she wakes up. Now we're down to three. So if no one shows up to escort our sorry asses home, we can have a food bar for dinner. Maybe rob the breakfast MRE packs for some cocoa...that'll leave 3 MREs and 2 tasty bars.//

Jack grunted aloud. Would have been more if Carter's pack had made it down as well, but they wouldn't starve to death.

After checking one last time on Sam, Jack left for the watering hole carrying the canteen and the washing soap. He doubted anything would really dry in this place, but it would give him something to do. Speaking of which... did he just step in a puddle? Jack had been walking towards the water and away from the light so it was hard to tell. He shone the flashlight on his feet and was surprised to see bits of moss and dirt floating in water. He then redirected the light behind him and could see more standing water. There didn't seem to be a danger of that water reaching his "camp", but Jack now understood how that gully against the wall had been formed. This cavern got wet. And right now it appeared to be raining on the surface. Definitely not a good development. Any tracks he and Carter had made would be washed away. And was it his imagination or was it getting colder in here? At some point hypothermia was going to become a very real concern.

"It just keeps getting better and better." Jack said aloud turning back around and continuing the walk towards the water.

The bloody clothes were where he had left them and Jack frowned as he picked up the stiff fabrics. He turned off the flashlight and began to wash the first shirt in the dark. The water was ice cold but after a few moments, Jack didn't even notice. His hands were completely numb and he was thankful for the darkness. He didn't need to see the blood again. Feeling it on his hands was bad enough.

Jack took his time washing and wringing out the shirts and bandanas. With the flashlight on, he sought out strategic places to lay the wet clothing and could only hope they might become less wet by tomorrow. He then refilled his canteen and decided he would attempt another look around just as soon as he checked on Carter.

Day 2, Earth
1000 hrs

General Hammond sighed, and wished for the umpteenth time that he had some hair if only to run his fingers through it at times like this: SG-1 was late. Again.

"Sir, we're getting MALP imagery in 5..4..3..2..1."

The image on the computer screen wasn't the same as the one they'd viewed yesterday. The blue skies and sunshine had been replaced by wind and rain. It didn't look pleasant at all. On the plus side, there wasn't a Goa'uld in sight. General Hammond sighed. Or his people. Under normal circumstances, if one member of SG-1 were injured or otherwise incapacitated, the Colonel usually sent another up ahead to let the SGC know they were running late or to have medical standing by. But since there had been only two of them, this obviously hadn't been an option. Neither the Colonel nor Major Carter would have been overdue because of naquada samples; something serious had happened.

"General?" Came a concerned voice behind him. "Aren't Jack and Sam back yet?" Daniel's eyes were fixed on the MALP images. It looked cold and nasty out there.

"Sorry, Dr. Jackson. No word yet."

"General Hammond, I would like to journey to the planet and assist in locating Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter."

"Of course Teal'c."

The General continued on before Daniel could open his mouth to ask to be included.

"You and Dr. Jackson will be accompanying SG-3. You are to leave in 30."

"We'll find them General." Daniel said with all the confidence he had for his teammates. If anyone could run into a spot of bad luck and get out of it, it was Jack and Sam.

"I know you will son. I know."

Day 2, P3X-677
1000 hrs

Sam was still sleeping when Jack returned, but had become restless again. She let out a small whimper as she shifted in her sleep. Jack placed a cold hand against her forehead. The fever was back as well. Damn. It had only been 4 hours or so since he had last given her some Tylenol. Time to try again. Jack poured some water into the cooking pan and turned on the stove. Maybe he could get her to eat some warm food. Once again he began to worry about hypothermia. He really could have lived without a repeat of Antarctica.

"Carter?" Jack said softly moving a damp piece of hair out of her face.

"Wha?" Sam mumbled opening her eyes. They were bright with fever and he could see her concentrating as she willed them to focus.

"Sorry to wake you, but I'm going to see if there's an exit in this place, and wanted to see if you needed anything before I left. How about some food?" Jack asked hopefully.

"No thanks." Sam croaked. She was mighty thirsty though.

Carefully Jack helped her sit up a bit and she took the offered cup of warm water by herself.

"Won't force you to eat reconstituted applesauce this time Carter." Jack said as he refilled her water.

"But it would probably be a good idea if I gave you something more for the fever." Jack leaned back and critically looked at her. "How's the pain?"

"Not too bad," Sam said, not making eye contact.

"Liar." Jack sighed and reached for the Tylenol with codeine. Sometimes being an officer sucked. Neither he nor Carter would willingly admit to being hurt. Unless it hurt really, really bad.

Sam shrugged and then bit her lip in an attempt to hold back the cry of pain. What she wouldn't give for Janet and an IV about now....

"Well, you're in luck." Jack said with a lightness he didn't feel. "I happen to have found something that will help with both the pain and the fever."

"No morphine sir." Sam said quietly. It might hurt right now, but it would probably hurt a hell of a lot more later. And if they ever had to actually move at any point, Sam was going to need all the help she could get.

"No morphine." Jack wanted to covet what little they had for when it got really bad.

He passed over three T3's and the last of the water. There were only a few antibiotic pills remaining, but Jack wanted to save those for this afternoon. Sam accepted them without question and after drinking another cup of warm water, leaned back and shut her eyes.

Thinking she had gone back to sleep, Jack poured the rest of his canteen into the pot and decided on a lunch time meal of macaroni and cheese. Ooo! Blueberry cobbler for desert...


"Can't have my mac and cheese, Carter. But I would gladly heat you up some beef stroganoff."

Jack imagined he could see Carter smiling in the gloom. "What can I do for you Carter?"

"What time is it, sir?"

"A little after 10 in the morning. I imagine the General just gave the go for the rescue team to come and get us. We should be safe and sound before the night has come." Jack scoffed at his choice of words. It was ALREADY darker than Hades down here. "Well, before darkness officially comes that is." He honestly thought he had pulled it off. He thought he had put just the right inflection and lightness into his voice to make her believe that help would be arriving soon. He should have known better.

"How's our supplies?" Carter asked not buying his act one bit.

"We'll do ok Carter."

"And food?"

Jack sighed. If this was how she wanted to play... "Enough for two days. Counting today."

"What about in your pack? Did you find anything useful sir?"

"Got a few feet of duct tape." Jack said with yet another sigh. "If I were that MacGuyer guy, I might be able to whip something up with the duct tape, fishing flies and a tent pole. But seeing that I'm just me- I was thinking along the lines of hollering like hell once the rescue team gets in range."

Sam smiled. Even in the dark, Jack could tell.

"And if that doesn't work, there's always Plan B."

"What's plan B, sir?"

"I'll let you know when I get back from my walk, Carter." He left the pan filled with water on the cooking stove and grabbed the canteen to take with him.

"I shouldn't be more than a few hours, Major. But if you need anything, just holler," Jack said pointing to the radio he had left by her side. "All our supplies are on your right."

Sam nodded. "Good luck, sir."

Day 2, P3X-677
1100 Hrs.

Daniel and Teal'c arrived along with the 6 member team of SG-3, in the midst of a thunderstorm. A very cold, wet thunderstorm. Daniel examined the horizon grimly. He would not be surprised if this turned into snow later.

"Colonel O'Neill, do you copy?" Major Stiles, the CO on the mission yelled into his radio. Hearing only static he tried again. "Major Carter, Colonel O'Neill, can you hear us?" Still nothing.

"Henderson!" Major Stiles shouted over the noise of the storm. "Can you tell which direction they went?"

"No, sir! This rain has washed away any path they might have left. According to our readings there are major concentration of naquada in BOTH the north and the south."

Stiles let out a grunt. Naturally this wasn't going to be a walk in the park. Dr. Jackson stood in the pouring rain hopping from one foot to another anxious to get going. Teal'c was as impassive as ever.

"Henderson, you and Lt. Meyers head south with Dr. Jackson and Teal'c . The rest of us will head north. I want radio checks every hour." He nodded at his team as he adjusted his hat to keep out the worst of the rain.

"Let's move it out, people!"

Daniel rolled his eyes. Military!

Day 2, P3X-677
1130 Hrs.

Jack had been walking for over an hour now. The only sounds keeping him company were the sporadic splats of rain as they hit a rock or stalagmite. The ground was wetter down here, and Jack was pretty certain he was indeed walking slightly down hill. Which wasn't exactly a promising sign. He had hoped one of the paths would lead up not down.

It was pitch black and his flashlight did little to illuminate the darkness. He had to constantly remind himself that this cavern was big. Very open. Just because it was really, really dark, there was no reason to think about Iraq. None whatsoever. Open and dark. Not closed and dark. He was fine. Perfectly fine. Jack let out a shaky breath and continued his exploration.

Sam awoke needing to pee.

Great. Just great. She didn't know how far she would need to go nor where the Colonel had set up a latrine. Plus she couldn't read her watch (stupid indiglo light had broken), so she didn't know how long the Colonel had been gone. Logically, Sam knew she should just radio the Colonel and see where he was. But to bother him about something so minor seemed silly. This was not life threatening! Besides, she felt certain her fever had dissipated and was confident she could do this without assistance. Just a few meters away from camp was all she had to manage.

Sam gingerly removed the mass of blankets around her body and slowly sat up. She shivered at the sudden onslaught of cold air. She hadn't realized how insulated the Colonel had kept her; it was damn cold out. Sitting up did indeed hurt, but it wasn't that bad. 'I've felt worse.' Carter thought to herself.

Feeling the mass of bandages beneath her shirt, Sam wished again for a flashlight and mirror. Just to take a quick look. She was still having some difficulty grasping the fact that the Colonel had stitched her up. And stitched so far.. north! Carter knew there wasn't anything there the Colonel hadn't seen before, but to the best of her knowledge he hadn't seen her breasts before today. And to be honest, she had really hoped he could have viewed them under better circumstances.

//Oh God! Did I really just think that? Must be the drugs...//

The fact that Jack had been forced to use extraordinary measures (sewing needle and fishing line?!) meant it must have been very bad indeed. //He probably didn't even think about it// Sam told herself unconvincingly.

The hard part was actually moving from sitting on her ass to standing on her feet. She knew that doing this without using her stomach muscles was going to be tough, but didn't think she should try the traditional approach to standing. On her hands, Sam pushed up off the ground and onto her feet. She let out a loud cry as her chest muscles contracted with the movement.

//Christ that hurt!// Sam was now on her feet and if she could manage to use just her leg muscles, the act of moving to her feet shouldn't be quite so painful. Her legs shook violently as her quadriceps strained to hold all the weight. But they did it. Samantha Carter was upright. And instantly regretting the effort. The world spun dizzily around her and Sam had to force herself not to throw up. Or pass out. Cautiously she took a small step forward. And then another. She began to pant with the effort of remaining on two legs.

The problem was that it was pitch black and Sam didn't know the layout of the camp. Also, she had forgotten what the colonel had said about their supplies. She never saw the cooking stove lying directly in her path.

The scream that tore from her throat as she fell heavily to the ground could have raised the dead. Sam had been so careful to protect her injured torso, that she was completely unaware of her sprained arm. Every single nerve ending in her body contracted agonizingly as she landed on out-stretched arms. Sam prayed she would pass out. She hadn't felt this much pain since.. No, wait. That was a Jolinar memory. She had never felt this much pain before.

Mercifully, she passed out.

Sound does not travel at a constant rate. Scientific factors determine how swiftly it moves from one destination point to another. The cavern was large and serpentine. It took nearly 10 seconds for Sam's scream to reach the Colonel's ears. And after that there was no conscious thought; just blind panic as Jack ran back towards the camp.

Sam didn't remember regaining consciousness or pulling herself upright. She didn't remember sobbing as she frantically pawed through the Colonel's bag for the only item that could help her. She didn't even remember slipping the needle into her arm. Only once the narcotic had a chance to work it's way through her system, did she realize this wasn't a nightmare. This was real. In a drug-induced haze, Samantha dragged herself back to the sleeping bag and blankets.

Day 2, P3X-677
1300 Hrs.

Jack came stumbling back into camp breathless and scared beyond words. That scream he had heard had been echoing in his mind for the last 45 minutes. Ignoring the pain in his knee and the emptiness in his stomach, Jack had run like the wind back towards Carter. He felt certain he would find her gone. Dead. Lying in a pool of her own blood. Attacked by some killer cave beast. Something. He was ecstatically surprised to discover her passed out (he hoped!) amongst the sleeping bag and blankets. With shaking hands Jack first felt her neck for a pulse. Sluggish and shallow, but there. She was alive.

He ran his flashlight across her bundled body looking for blood. Nothing. Maybe it had been a bad dream? No. Jack didn't by that for a moment. There was no way anyone could shriek like that and not be in horrible pain. He bit his cheek to hold back his frustration.

He looked around the "camp." The stove had been tipped over and he could see his pack had been searched through. He carefully shined the flashlight around the area until... there.

Jack sighed as he picked up the empty morphine vial and bloody syringe. Oh god. She must have been in such pain to use this. The entire vial was empy. Ahh Sam...

He bent over his slumbering 2IC and gently unclenched her fingers from the blankets. He needed to see if she had seriously hurt herself more than just.. 'More than what, Jack?' He asked himself angrily. He needed to see if she was bleeding again.

He moved the blankets aside and lifted her shirt without even thinking about her modesty. 'She should have known better!' Jack thought stopping himself from yanking the t-shirt up further than necessary. His anger quickly dissipated as he looked down on untarnished white bandages. She hadn't upset the stitches. Jack breathed a sigh of relief. How she had managed to do that he had no idea. But she did. SG-1 still had it's unprecedented luck; for that Jack was very, very thankful. He hastily pulled the shirt back down and rewrapped Carter in the sleeping bag and blankets.

Tired beyond comprehension, Jack collapsed next to her. Pulling the sleeping bag around both of them, he fell quickly into a deep sleep.

Day 2, P3X-677- topside
1500 hrs

"DanielJackson, I do not believe your watch will move any swifter if you keep examining it."

"I'm sorry Teal'c," Daniel said in a resigned voice. They had been walking for over 4 hours now and hadn't heard anything from Jack or Sam. He knew they were here somewhere. They had to be! So why didn't they answer their radios? Could both of them be so seriously injured? Daniel shook his head angrily to try and dispel the image.

He knew they would continue to search for another 2-3 hours, but at some point they would need to set up camp. And that would mean another night Sam and Jack would have to spend without help. To make matters worse, one of the lieutenants had informed them earlier that it looked like it might snow tonight. They might be prepared for it, but Jack and Sam sure as hell weren't. They were only supposed to have been gone 24 hours. Daniel had gone back and examined the logs; Jack had only checked out one lightweight tent. Hopefully he still carried those emergency blankets. Daniel fought back a small smile. He was pretty certain they were brought along on his behalf.

"Come on guys, answer our radio calls."

Day 2, P3X-677

Carter awoke to the sound of the Colonel's mumbling.

"As if THAT'S useful." O'Neilll said disgustedly throwing the tent pole to one side. Jack had been awake for nearly 30 minutes, and was determined to stay very close to Carter until she woke up. He had heated up some water and was currently drinking a cup of very weak tea.

At first he had passed the time by talking into the radio. The search team had to be out there somewhere and he couldn't figure out why they hadn't been in contact already. Must be the distance. He knew they would find them eventually. But after his third attempt in 10 minutes, O'Neilll realized that battery power might become an issue later and gave it a rest. With nothing else to do, Jack had begun re-examining their remaining items. This was his third foray through their kit and nothing new had been uncovered.

"Sir?" Carter said. Or rather thought she said. Apparently the vocal cords weren't cooperating. She felt drugged. Heavily drugged.

Jack did however hear the rustling behind him and turned just as Carter was trying to make sense of her lack of voice.

"Hey Carter!" Jack said cheerfully. "Welcome back to the land of the dark." He squatted next to her and handed over the hot tea he had been drinking.

"Ahh!" Sam said gratefully. Her voice was back and the warm tea felt wonderful. Best of all, the morphine seemed to be still working. The pain was still there, but it was a distant, achy feeling.

"How are you feeling?" Jack asked with a touch of apprehension. It had only been two hours since Sam had dosed herself with the morphine. It should still be working but he had no idea how much damage she had really done to herself.

"Like I've been hit by a Mack truck, sir." 'One that I conveniently walked away from', Sam thought to herself.

"Nope. Just a tree branch and a very large patch of cave earth."

"Root. Tree root."

"Poe-tae-toe, poe-tah-toe,"

Sam laughed softly. And then grimaced. "Don't make me laugh!"

Jack smiled and held up two fingers. "Promise. Scout's honor. No laughing." She might be drugged, but it sure felt nice to have Carter back.

"Sir, were you really a Boy Scout?"

"Well, uh...sorta...." Jack hemmed and hawed, turning back to his piles of gear. 'Oh enough of this!' Jack thought.

"Carter, seriously, how are you feeling?"

"I'm fine sir." She mumbled not trusting herself to make eye contact. She knew that he must have found the syringe, probably the vial as well. But she also knew that he wouldn't purposefully embarrass her. At least not more than she already was. God that had hurt so much...

"Sir," Sam said seriously. "They haven't contacted us yet, have they?"

Jack sighed. 'Way to change the subject Carter.'

He knew she was going to ask, but had hoped it was after he had heard something from the radio.

"Not yet. But it's only 1400- that's just 5 hours later than our scheduled return. I'm sure they are just getting everyone geared up for the rescue attempt."

"Maybe," Sam said, not convinced. At the very least, the Colonel should have received a radio call. They sat in silence for several long seconds. Carter shifted uncomfortably against the ground.

"Sir? I was wondering if there was a latrine around here?"

"I think I can help you out Carter," Jack said, holding back a small smile. "But first you gotta do a little something for me."

Sam wasn't sure who had actually won this slight test of wills. The Colonel wouldn't show her the way (or relinquish his flashlight) until she ate some dinner. But she would only do so if he had some along with her.

"I know you must be hungry, sir."

"Not really."

"Now who's lying, sir?"

"Carter," Jack said in a warning voice pointing his finger at her. "You so don't want to go there right now." Sam sighed. Yep. He knew about the morphine.

"I'm just saying that all I have done is sleep and sit on my ass, you are the one moving around. Colonel, you need those calories a lot more than I do."

"Carter, we have been down here for over 24 hours and only had one meal topside before landing in this place. All you've eaten is some lousy applesauce and a foodbar. I say you need some real food." Jack said forcefully, handing over the warmed chicken and vegetables. He was thankful that MRE's were known for their blandness.

"I'll eat if you do," Sam replied stubbornly, not touching the food.

"Fine Carter!" O'Neill barked, throwing the Beef Stroganoff package into the boiling water. He actually was quite hungry. Must have been all that running. Jack sighed aloud, feeling guilty that they were bickering.

"But you know Carter, " he said in a light-hearted voice, "you're going to be wanting my beef if we aren't rescued tonight."

You could have heard a proverbial pin drop through the heavy silence that followed that statement.

'I DID NOT SAY THAT. Please tell me that I did NOT just say that.' The MRE Carter! The MRE. Jack's eyes stayed locked on Carter's even as he desperately wanted to turn away.

Oh my god, did he just say what I think he said? Carter stared at the rapidly reddening Colonel in disbelief. Her own cheeks burned with embarrassment.

An outsider would have been hard-pressed to say which person had turned a deeper shade of red. Jack abruptly shook his head and broke contact. Standing up quickly, he mumbled a distinctive "beef stroganoff" and took off with the canteen towards the watering hole.

Samantha stared after him in astonishment and then broke out in a big grin. She was SOOO glad Daniel hadn't been around to hear that.

15 minutes later the Colonel returned looking all serious and military, at least on the outside. Stupid cave. Stupid assignment. Stupid non-fraternization rules... Nope. Not going to go there.

"So, Carter, you up for a field trip?" Pure business.

"Absolutely sir," Carter replied, relieved to be talking about something else. Sam began to slowly position herself further upright and, with the help of the Colonel, was soon vertical and ready to go.

Jack tried to ignore how heavily Carter was leaning on him or how warm she had again become. He'd have to give her the last of the antibiotics when they returned. He really questioned whether she should be moving, hell, if she should even be standing, but he knew he'd be unable to order her to stay put.

"Carter, you sure you won't let me carry you over? It isn't far."

Sam grimaced. No way. "I'm fine sir. As you said, it isn't far. We'll just go slow."

"Fine Carter," Jack said with a sigh, tightening his arm around her waist. "But you lost a hell of a lot of blood just 24 hours ago. I will not think you're weak if you decide you'd like some additional help part way into this stroll of ours."

Sam smiled. "Understood sir."

Slowly they began to move forward. At first Sam looked ahead into the barely illuminated darkness, but after two stumbles, she realized that her best bet was to keep her eyes on the ground and let the Colonel lead her. He was right; she really shouldn't be up. Her blood volume was dangerously low and Sam could go into shock pushing herself like this. They had to almost be there.

Jack was silent as they slowly shuffled onward. Carter was just barely hanging on; it was Jack who was essentially dragging her forward. It took all of his self-control not to pick his 2IC up and get this over with. He was so immersed in his thoughts that he nearly didn't stop when Carter did.

"Carter, you all right?" Jack asked, swinging the flashlight around to take a look at her face.

Sam was indeed very, very pale, and had begun to shake slightly, but that didn't appear to be the reason she had stopped. She seemed to be staring intensely at something on the ground. O'Neilll lowered his flashlight and swore at himself for not paying attention to where he was leading them.

They were standing directly beneath the hole they had made as they fell into the cave. This was the spot he had brought Sam to when he decided to play doctor on her. (Jack cringed at his choice of words) The mossy green ground was darkened with what could only be Carter's blood. Dozens of used gauze pads were littered around the area, and both Sam's coat and flak jacket were still lying on the ground. Saturated in her blood. It was a gruesome sight indeed.

Sam swayed as she took in the horrific scene. How could she have lost so much blood and still be alive? She was so absorbed in the sight in front of her that she never heard the Colonel calling her name.

"Major Carter, snap out of it!" Jack ordered harshly as he forcibly began to move her away from the spectacle. Sam felt like a wet noodle against him as she bonelessly allowed herself to be led away. A few meters later they had reached the pile of rocks that marked his spot. Jack slowly lowered Carter so she rested mostly upright against the stones.

"You ok?" Jack asked, concerned.

"I'll be fine sir," Sam replied in a voice that didn't quite convey the strength she was hoping for. "It was just a bit of a shock."

"Sorry about that Carter. I really should have cleaned that up earlier."

"It's fine sir." Sam took a deep breath. "I'm fine sir." She looked around the murky surroundings. "Are we there?"

"Yep! You can just make out the wall of the cave right there," Jack said pointing over the rocks they were currently on. "And right in front of it is our latrine."

Sam nodded and started to stand up.

"Seriously Carter, do you need any help? I'll close my eyes and everything. You can just use me as a balancing board." O'Neill knew she probably wouldn't take him up on the offer, but wanted her to know that he was more than willing to help. She really looked like she could use it.

Sam shook her head. "I can lean on the rocks, sir. I'll be ok. Can you give me a few minutes here?"

Jack weighed the pros and cons and decided to let Carter have a modicum of privacy. "Just 10 minutes Major. After that I'm coming to get you."

Sam nodded gratefully and slowly moved herself behind the rocks. Jack shook his head in frustration as he turned around and headed back for the mess under the hole. He'd be damned if Carter had to see that again.

'OK Carter, time for you to move'

Sam had remained in virtually the same position since the Colonel had disappeared into the shadows. She had successfully situated herself behind the rocks, but hadn't quite come up with a plan to move any further.

Taking a deep breath, Sam pushed herself off the rocks and took the necessary steps needed to reach the ditch/gully the Colonel was talking about. She had to admit- he had found a pretty good spot. The best part was that in the center of the shallow ditch, slightly up a ways from the rock mound, stood a large jagged stalagmite; she could use that for balance.

Standing up, Sam reached down to unfasten her belt and was surprised to find it gone. She must have lost it during the fall. Already her pants hung lower on her hips than she would have liked. Sure Cassie might find her trendy, but belts definitely come in handy in situations just like this. Sam remembered that during the whole unpleasant Eudora incident, it had been the belt alone that had actually kept her fatigues from pooling at her ankles.

Gingerly Sam lowered herself to the ground. So far so good. Now if the morphine could just hold on a little bit longer... The distant pain wasn't so distant any longer and every little movement caused a lot of discomfort. 'Scratch that,' Sam thought. 'We're way beyond discomfort here.'

The immediate relief from relieving her bladder was enormous and Sam was really, really glad she had been able to do that without the Colonel's help. While still in a crouched position, Sam took a moment to steady herself and examine the cave's wall. The rock was actually very interesting; Sam was certain she had seen it someplace before. Maybe the Colonel could grab a sample later for her to look at more closely.

It took a bit of effort to gather her pants from around her ankles without falling or standing upright. Carter didn't have the strength to hold onto her fatigues with one hand while standing up. Creatively, she side-stepped around the stalagmite and buttoned her pants while still crouched. She really didn't want to stand up right now. Actually, she didn't know if she could.

Sam's body had begun to shake with exhaustion and she could feel the full force of her fever against her face. Cautiously she used the rock as leverage and began to haul herself upright. Once vertical, the room began to spin and Sam quickly became acutely nauseous.

There was nothing Sam could do to stop her evening meal from coming back up. Wave after violent wave forced Sam back on her knees as she tried to control the retching. Every time she thought it was over, the vomiting would start again. Sam knew she had torn some of those stitches and yet she just couldn't stop.

An eternity later the dry heaves finally subsided and Sam dragged herself to the far end of the rocks. The Colonel would be back any moment now and she didn't want him to see her like this. Not again. Using the canteen he had left with her, Sam meticulously rinsed out her mouth and splashed her face and neck with the remaining water. Her face felt very, very hot. She wanted the Colonel to find her in an upright position, but knew that to do so would be folly. She was bleeding again and gravity was less dangerous for her on the ground.

"I'm sorry sir," Samantha whispered into the darkness as her eyes rolled backwards and she lost consciousness.

4 minutes later

"Carter, you decent?" Jack yelled, as he came within eyesight of the rocks.

"Carter?" He shouted again, taking a step closer. That feeling was back- the tingling itchy feeling he got when something wasn't right. "Carter?" he called softer, as he turned the flashlight back towards the stones.

Jack found her propped up against the far end of the rocks. Judging from the smell around him, she had been sick.

"Carter?" He said kneeling beside her and taking her pulse. He had been doing that WAY too often.

"Sorry, sir," Sam slurred, unable to open her eyes.

"Not your fault Major," Jack answered, eyeing a small patch of red beneath her shirt. "Let's get you back to camp though, alright?"

"k." Sam nodded slightly, and relaxed as she gave in to her battle to remain awake.

His knee protesting angrily, Jack picked Sam up and slowly walked back to camp. Her body shuddered with every step he took and Jack could feel the heat radiating from her.

Day 2, P3X-677 - topside

Surprisingly, it wasn't lack of daylight that forced Daniel's team to stop for the night, but rather the inclement weather. The heavy winds and rain had given way to thick wet snow over two hours earlier, and the path they were following was all but obliterated.

"Major Stiles, do you copy?"

"I read you Captain. What's your situation?"

"The weather has forced us to set up camp a bit early, sir," Henderson said switching the radio to his other hand. He wished he had packed mittens as well as Air Force issue gloves.

"It's snowing over here as well Captain. Make yourselves as comfortable as you can and we'll try this again in the morning."

"Uh, Major Stiles?" Daniel broke in on his own radio.

"Yes, Doctor Jackson?"

"Did you find any sign of them?

"I'm sorry Dr. There has been nothing so far." Stiles paused as he looked at the bleak landscape. "I'm sure we'll have better luck tomorrow."

"Right." Daniel said resigned. "Thanks."

"We will find them DanielJackson" Teal'c said coming up silently from behind him.

"I know we will Teal'c." Daniel said sullenly. "I just hope we aren't too late."

Day 2, P3X-677

Jack wasn't surprised when he found the ripped stitches under her shirt. OK. So he needed to fix them. Problem was, she was still lucid. Not by much, but she was mostly conscious, and could feel pain. Jack tried to give her some T3's with water but after only one sip, the water came right back up. There was no way she could orally take pain medication. Which meant he needed to use the morphine. The very last of the morphine.

Working swiftly, Jack repaired the stitches and began to use cold compresses again to help bring down her fever. He would have liked to blame himself for all of this, but knew it was just Sam's body catching up to the horrible trauma it had been through. He stole a glance at the silent radio. Come on guys.

Jack stood up with a groan. He had been tending to Carter for nearly an hour. Looking around, he realized something was different, Jack couldn't quite place a finger on it, but something was different. Using the last of the heated water, Jack washed his hands and face, making a mental note that the painful tingling he felt from the warm water most likely indicated early stage frostbite- wonderful! After testing the radio one last time, O'Neill crawled under the sleeping bag with Carter. He felt guilty for savoring the warmth emanating from her body. Maybe his cold body would help balance out her overly heated one. He hoped so. Jack shivered for several minutes before Carter's fever-wracked body warmed him up to something just above hypothermic.

Jack had been asleep for only a couple of hours when the first of the snowflakes found their way into their cavern. His eyes opened briefly as he saw what appeared to be a large snowflake land in Carter's hair. It quickly melted, only to be replaced by another. Jack closed his eyes thinking that he was really starting to lose it, when he felt a cool tickling against his own cheek. He opened his eyes again. It was indeed snowing and Jack was nearly too cold to really care.

Day 2, P3X-677
2200 Hours.

Jack continued to lie where he was mindlessly counting the ever-increasing snowflakes. He knew; really, really knew he should be doing something about that. But he was cold and tired and his mind just didn't have the energy to motivate the rest of himself.

All right O'Neilll, it's time to move.
Up and Adam! Move it out!
For crying out loud Jack, if you don't get up off your ass and find shelter Sam is going to die.

The last thought did it.

Jack began to shiver within moments, as he reluctantly uncurled himself from Carter and left the relative warmth of their "bed". Tripping over the radio, O'Neilll cursed as he realized his coordination was definitely sub-par. He bent over to pick up the flashlight and had problems getting his fingers to close around the small cylinder. Fucking great. He had become a textbook case for mild hypothermia. 'Mild my ass', O'Neill thought to himself. He knew it had been cold in the cave, but he had been too busy worrying about Carter to really notice. But now the temperature had apparently fallen and if he didn't do something, the cave would become their tomb.

Way to think positive, Jack.

Shoving one hand deep into his jacket, Jack turned on the flashlight and began to look around. He could see the snow falling through their entrance hole and the small drifts that were forming off to his left. It seems his protected spot wasn't a very good one.

Sighing, Jack swung the flashlight behind him and began to walk forward looking for a quasi-sheltered spot that hadn't attracted any snow. He spent over 10 minutes walking around before he was satisfied he had found a place that would work. There was no way he was going to do this twice. At least he hoped not.

The Colonel returned to their camp and gathered all their loose supplies together. It only took two trips to move everything to their new home. Now it was Carter's turn. Sam had burrowed deeper into the blankets after Jack had left so that only the very top of her head was visible. Jack lowered a bit of the sleeping bag and touched her face. Her fever had gone down; at least the cold was good for something.

He wasn't actually sure he'd be able to pull it off. Lifting Sam, the sleeping bag and two emergency blankets was going to be tricky. Jack really just wanted to drag her over to their new spot, but that would most likely end up saturating the bottom blanket and…

Wait a minute! Sam wasn't on a blanket. Well she was a bit… 'snap OUT of it Jack!' The rain tarp! She was on 100% waterproof, Army regulation, heavy grade rain tarp. And the ground consisted mostly of moss and dirt. He COULD drag her.

Jack hadn't gone very far when Sam moaned quietly.

"Carter?" Jack whispered, stopping his movement and leaning down towards her face.

"We going some place?" Sam asked, opening her eyes slightly.

Jack smiled despite himself. She was lucid and her blue eyes were crystal clear.

"Yeah. Seems the agent booked us in a crappy location, gotta change rooms."

"Don't tip the bellboy, the heating system in this place sucks."

"Next time, you can choose the location." Jack replied, bundling Carter tighter to keep out the chill.

"Will you be there with me?" Sam asked softly, slowly sinking back to sleep.

"Always, Sam. Always."

Day 3, P3X-677- Topside
0200 Hours

Daniel couldn't sleep. Every time a gust of wind rattled his tent or he heard the crack of a tree branch breaking under the weight of wet snow he worried about his missing teammates. The weather had even forced Teal'c to come inside the tent to perform his kel'no'reem. Daniel envied him. Although the large man had just the same capacity for emotion as a human, he contained it so much better. Daniel really wished he had a handle on his emotions right now. Things really didn't look good for Jack and Sam and he couldn't help but think about how this might end.

Sighing, he turned onto his back and stared open eyed at the top of his tent. With luck he would eventually fall asleep again. Because the sooner he did that, the sooner it would be daylight and they could begin the search again.

Day 3, P3X-677
0300 Hours

They had been asleep for over 3 hours this time before Carter's restlessness awoke the Colonel.

"What "cha doing Carter?" Jack mumbled into Sam's hair, as he reluctantly loosened his hold on her hip.


"Thirst is a good thing, Major- don't knock it," Jack replied, reluctantly sitting up and reaching for their stove. He put some water into a pan to heat and gave Carter the canteen for some more instantaneous hydration.

Sam shivered as she lost her one and only heat source. Nodding her thanks, Sam accepted the canteen and greedily drank the water. She DID feel cold, but all in all she didn't hurt nearly as much as she should.

"Sir, I actually don't feel so bad."

"Unfortunately, it's probably the drugs Carter. I gave you another shot of morphine."

"Oh." Sam felt dejectedly. Somehow she was hoping she had miraculously healed herself. She also wondered how much of that stuff was remaining; inside of her and in their med kit.

"Hey cheer up Carter, I see some hot cocoa and antibiotics in your future." Jack said with a smile.

"We still have some?"

"Yep." Jack paused looking into his pack. "Well, enough for one cup each. I think spending the night in a cold cave during a snow storm merits some cocoa, don't you?"

"Absolutely Sir!" Sam said smiling.

Very carefully Sam sat herself upright. She was able to do so without the Colonel's help, and felt quite proud of that accomplishment. Jack stuffed the ever-decreasing pack behind her after pulling out a mostly dry, mostly clean handkerchief.

Sam eyed him suspiciously. "What's that for?"

"Ah, come on Carter, it's what all the kids are wearing these days!" Jack joked, as he squatted down and began tying it over her hair.

"Sir! Cut it out!" Sam protested, attempting to pull away.

Speaking briskly Jack explained his reasoning. "If you are going to sit up, that means you're not cocooned in the blankets. And if you aren't under the blankets, you're losing body heat. And you Major Carter, cannot afford to lose any more heat."

"I can think of other ways to retain body heat." Sam mumbled petulantly as the Colonel finished wrapping her hair.

"You're not helping matters here Carter," Jack said sitting down next to her and reaching over for the hot water. As if HE couldn't think of other ways to retain body heat as well.

Jack mixed two packets of cocoa into the hot water and after stirring, poured half into the tin cup. He gave Sam the cup and then handed over three more antibiotic tablets and two regular Tylenol.

"Sir, you're freezing," Sam said accusingly as she eyed Jack shivering next to her on the blankets.

"Maybe I'm just affected by your presence," Jack replied sarcastically. Snuggling with an unconscious or sleeping Carter was feasible. Snuggling with an alert one wasn't the best idea he had ever had. Well actually it was a swell idea, just not one he was supposed to entertain.

"Sir, stop being pig-headed and get under the blankets." Sam said lifting up a section for him.

If Carter made a single sidearm comment he'd… he'd… put her on KP duty for the next 10 missions. Or kiss her. Whatever.

Whoa. Where did THAT come from? Jack thought as he scooted under the blankets. Must be the cold, or maybe its just hunger. FOOD hunger. Geesh. Arguing with Carter was bad enough, arguing with himself was just plain pathetic. Or neurotic. Trying not to think about Carter's proximity, Jack silently drank his cocoa. He didn't know what was warming him up more but was happy to have both.

"Sir, I've been thinking.." Sam mused, shifting involuntarily closer to the Colonel.

"Should I be worried Carter?" Jack joked.

"Actually, I think you should sir," Sam said sighing.

"What's up?" Jack asked seriously, finishing off his cocoa and tucking the blankets securely around himself.

"I think I know why we haven't heard from anyone," Sam started, staring down at her hands. How could she tell the Colonel this?

"Explain Major."

"Sir, you remember P3X-274?"

"Can you give me something more to go on Carter?" Geesh! She might have a thing for all those numbers, but he preferred planets with names. Not Eudora perhaps. But names.

"The planet with the radio problems."

"Oh." Jack said understanding instantly. The planet had been a bust archaeologically, but geologically it had proven quite interesting. The rocks on that planet dispelled radio waves. Scattered them all over the place. Without the use of an antenna network, it was a strict line of sight set up for radio communication.

"I might be wrong, sir," Sam continued quickly. "After all, I only had a few moments to look at the rock walls before leaving my permanent impression of this planet all over the cavern's floor."

"You're never wrong Carter," Jack said simply, ignoring her attempt at humor. "At least not about scientific stuff. Not about things like this."

The silence was broken by Sam's shivering. They seemed to be shivering by tag team.

"C'mere," Jack said pulling her closer to him. Sam set down her empty cup and allowed the Colonel to envelop her in his cold arms.

"At least you didn't break your leg this time, sir."

"Your getting skewered by a root kinda makes us even though." Jack replied, gently running one of his hands up and down her arm in an effort to stimulate circulation.

Sam sighed and then winced as she felt her clothing rub against the gash. Guess the morphine was wearing off. "We never seem to get a break do we Sir?"

"Doesn't seem like it, does it?" He felt Sam sigh once again. "Carter, I said it before, and you'll probably here it again before this is through- we are getting out of this."

"And if we don't?"

Jack felt his eyebrows shoot up towards his forehead. That comment came as a surprise. Carter never seemed the fatalistic sort before. But then again she was seriously wounded and a long way from the help she needed.

"We will. Just like in Antarctica, we have people looking for us. Heck Carter, they even know what planet we are on this time. True, our tracks are probably gone, but there probably wasn't any gate activation after us, so they'll know we're here someplace. Plus we have our ace in the hole."

"Ace in the hole?" Sam said feeling cranky. She knew she was being argumentative but she had begun to hurt again and wasn't the most pleasant person when she was in pain. Go figure.

"Daniel. Sam, he'll do everything he can to try and find us. The only other person I know who's smarter and more resourceful is you."

"Why'd you call me Sam?"

Sam said suddenly.

"Huh?" Jack asked confused.

"Sam. You hardly ever call me that and when you do, it's usually when I'm lying in a hospital bed or we're about to die. Or at least SEEM like we're about to die."

'Uh-oh. Now they were getting into dangerous territory'.

"I dunno Carter" Jack said enunciating her last name. "I guess I just like how it sounds." Jack said not too convincingly.

"Riiight." Sam snorted painfully.

"What do you want me to say Sam, huh?" Jack answered beginning to get angry.

"Do you want me to say that I wish I could call you by your first name all the time? That I wish you weren't my 2IC so we could actually give this thing between us a shot? That I hope to god we don't die in some god-forsaken hole before I have a chance to let you know how much you mean to me!"

Jack finished his tirade utterly spent. To his horror, Sam began to cry.

"Oh god Carter, please don't cry." Jack beseeched, gently stroking her now uncovered head. "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. Look, we can blame it on the situation and go right on back to the way things were."

"But what if I don't want too?!" Sam whispered angrily, wiping her nose with her good arm. She hated when she lost control like this. "I'm just so tired sir."

"I know Sam. I know." Jack murmured, pulling her even tighter against him.

"You know my one regret?" Jack asked. "I mean besides, the obvious." Commanding officer having the hots for his second wasn't exactly sanctioned military procedure.


"The whole public za'tarc thing. Obviously you had figured things out before me, but I honestly didn't expect to bare my deepest secret in front of an audience." Jack paused wetting his lips.

"I swear to God Carter, I honestly didn't know how I felt until you were trapped behind that force field." He paused and looked down at her tear-streaked face. "I just wish I had had the courage to tell you face to face Sam."

She reached under the blankets and took Jack's hand. They lay in silence for several long moments.

"I miss this."

"Miss what?" Somehow Jack didn't think she meant trapped on a cold planet with one of them injured.

"Remember when we were on the domed planet? I still remember how wonderful it felt just to be next to you. The simple act of holding your hand felt so right. As Jonah you made me feel so safe and…" Sam swallowed. "Loved." Sam took a shallow breath.

"It was hard coming back. Remembering both how I felt as Thira and knowing how I must act as Major Samantha Carter. It was just plain hard. I wasn't all that certain you felt the same way. But then we gained superpowers, and the rest as they say, is history." Just that small amount of talking nearly tapped what little reserves Sam had remaining.

Jack squeezed her hand.

"You do make me feel safe, sir. Even when we're trapped in what appears to be hopeless situations. You make me feel safe." Sam found herself lacing her fingers through the Colonel's.

There was nothing sexual in Carter's touch, yet Jack couldn't help but savor the sensation in a most un-platonic way.

"Don't you think it's strange that during our whole time on that planet we never actually… uh…" No matter how hard he tried, Jack still had a hell of a time talking about sex and Sam in the same sentence. At least to her face.

"Made love?"

She WAS better at this than he was.


"Not really. I've actually given that a lot of thought." Sam blushed in the darkness. Damn! He didn't need to know everything! "And I believe that even though we THOUGHT we had known each other, we still wanted/needed to do the whole courtship thing."

"Courtship thing?" Jack repeated smiling.

"You know what I mean." Sam said lightly hitting Jack on the stomach.

"So where does this leave us?" Jack asked trying to hold back a yawn.

"I don't know sir," Sam answered, feeling the pull of sleep herself.

Back to Sir again, eh Carter?

"Someday Sam," Jack said, as he valiantly fought to keep awake. "Some day in the not so distant future, you and I are going to figure this whole "us" thing out."

"I look forward to it, sir." Sam sighed, as her eyes fluttered close.

Right before Jack drifted off to sleep he mumbled, "For crying out loud Carter, drop the sir."

Day 3, P3X-677- Topside
0630 Hours

Daniel had only just drifted off to sleep when he heard the rustle of his tent flap closing. Teal'c was up. Which meant daylight had finally arrived so they could start looking again. Finally! Even without his morning cup of coffee, Daniel rose quickly and dressed in the chilled air. Once outside of the relative warmth of the tent, he gasped at the vision before him.

White. As far as the eye could see, there was just dazzling, brilliant whiteness. The trees were weighed down with large dollops of snow and in the background Daniel could hear branches breaking under their weight. This was not a good development.

He could see Lt. Meyers heating up breakfast and Teal'c talking quietly with Captain Henderson. The Captain was shaking his head.

Daniel was running towards the pair before he even realized he was moving.

"You can't do that!" Daniel shouted not even bothering to listen to what the two were saying.

"Dr. Jackson, I know you want to find the Major and the Colonel. Hell, we all do. But we're not going to find squat in these conditions."

"I'm not going back."

Daniel said adamently, standing his ground and shaking his head.

"I will stay with DanielJackson and continue to search for Samantha Carter and Colonel O'Neill."

Henderson sighed. This was exactly why non-military personnel shouldn't be allowed on the project. He couldn't order them home. Well, he could but they would probably choose to ignore him. He'd heard all about Dr. Jackson from Colonel O'Neill. True, the Colonel's opinion of Dr. Jackson had skyrocketed after 4 years of working with the man, but Henderson also thought that O'Neill just didn't feel like griping as much as he used too.

"Since we can't seem to make radio contact with the rest of SG-3, Meyers and I will head back to the Stargate as scheduled. You two have 24 hours- after that I want you both back at SGC."

He said this pointedly at Teal'c. The Captain knew that Teal'c would do as ordered even if the archaeologist didn't want too.

Daniel agreed readily to the conditions as Teal'c solemnly nodded his head. They had another day to look!

Day 3, P3X-677
0800 Hours

Jack didn't so much wake up so much as regain consciousness. There was a definite distinction between the two, and unfortunately he knew the subtle differences. He and Carter had been down here WAY too long. Jack resisted the very strong urge to close his eyes and go back to sleep. He glanced at his watch and was surprised it was already morning. They were sleeping a heck of a lot more these days.

'As if you call shivering through the night sleeping'

Still, he could think of far worse ways to pass the time. Being shot by a staff weapon was pretty nasty. Sitting in a Goa'u'ld glider waiting for your oxygen to run out also made the top 10 list.

Not really wanting too, Jack slipped out of the relative warmth of their sleeping abode and after a quick visit to the facilities, headed over to the local water source to refill the canteen. He was pretty perturbed to discover a thin coating of ice around the edges of the water hole. On the plus side, it didn't seem to be snowing in the cave any longer. Jack started humming Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'.

He warmed up some water and wasn't surprised to see that they were nearly out of sterno fuel. He sighed. It would have to be enough. He gnawed on a rock hard food bar and decided to try and get Sam to eat the last MRE. He promised himself that in the future he would always bring extra cocoa packets on missions. He'd kill for a cup of cocoa. A cup of hot water was pretty nice though. Knowing he probably wouldn't find anything, Jack decided to take a walk around anyhow. At the very least the movement would warm him up. And if Carter awoke, she wouldn't be so stupid as to try and move without help this time. He wouldn't be gone long.

1100 Hours- The Cave

Sam was just starting to stir when Jack returned from his unsuccessful walk around town. The cave was still big and dark and colder than a witch's tit. *Ooo, Jack- totally not PC *

"Time Sir?" Sam asked with a frown. She needed drugs. Lots and lots of pain blocking drugs.

"1100. How ya feel Carter?"

Jack asked crouching to her side. His knees popped in protest.

"Can I get back to you on that Sir?" Sam asked not even attempting to sit up.

"How about some food and meds?"

"We still have food?"

"Last MRE and it has your name on it."

"Not hungry."

"Carter! We're not going to go through this again. You gotta eat."

Sam groaned as she turned onto her back. "No sir, YOU need to eat. I'm just going to go back to sleep."

"Nope. Not going to happen Carter," O'Neill insisted, as he turned the stove back on to heat up the water.

"Shut up Jack."

Jack grinned. He loved it when she called him Jack. Even if it was only due to the fact that she was pissed at him.

"Carter, just eat a little bit, ok?"

Sam grunted.

"I'll take that as a yes," Jack said standing back up, and heading back to the stove. He stuck his index finger into the shallow pan.
Still luke warm.
"Mind if I take another look?" Jack asked pointing vaguely at her chest.

Sam felt her hands tighten instinctively across her torso. She was pretty certain it didn't look pretty down there.

"Do we have any medical supplies left?"

"Not really." Jack said shrugging slightly.

"Then, there's really no reason, is there Sir?" Her eyes met his in silent communication and after several long moments Jack nodded. There wasn't much he could do anyhow.

Lunch was difficult, as Jack had to do nearly all of the moving on Sam's behalf. Her body refused to cooperate; between the cold and the injury there just wasn't a lot she could do. Sam closed her eyes tightly and concentrated on breathing regularly and not crying out as Jack shifted her body into a more vertical position. She had stopped trying to come up with adjectives to describe the pain. It wasn't worth moving. Next time she'd tell Jack no. It just wasn't worth it.

Although he tried to be extra gentle, it was obvious this slight movement was causing Carter a hell of a lot of pain. She had broken out in a cold sweat and her fists were clenched tightly around the blankets. He wasn't going to have her do this again. No, it would be the rescue party that moved her next.

After pouring the hot water into the dehydrated food, Jack dipped a handkerchief into the warm water and made a warm compress. It wasn't much and wouldn't stay warm for long, but Sam was grateful nonetheless. She successfully kept down a cup of water, so they thought it would be safe to try some food. Sam had problems getting her fingers to grip the spoon. Jack knew just how she felt but gauged that she was figuring it out on her own and didn't really want his help.

The last of the T3's and antibiotics made it safely into her stomach, but Sam couldn't finish even half of the meal.

"Come on Carter, you've barely started."

"Sorry Sir." Sam said clearly exhausted.

"Please, just a little more?" Jack cajoled.

Sam just closed her eyes and shook her head. Within moments she was asleep again. Or passed out, Jack didn't want to know which one.

Day 3, P3X-677- Topside
1500 Hours

Daniel and Teal'c had made poor time across the landscape. There really wasn't a sign of anything out here. It had stopped snowing and the sun was coming out; at least something was improving.

The two didn't say much as they trekked through the frozen landscape. What was there to say? Every hour or so, Daniel would try the radio. Nothing. There was always nothing but static. The two took turns shouting their teammates names and with every silent response grew more and more discouraged.

Jack gave up being tough a little after 3 in the afternoon. It was too damn cold and there wasn't a damn thing for him to do except walk up and down freezing corridors. He didn't really have the energy to do that. As it was, his blood sugar was non-existent and every time he straightened up, he had to fight a way of dizziness and nausea. Add to that the fact that he couldn't stop shaking with cold and Jack decided the best thing he could do for both of them was get back under the blankets with Sam. It didn't take long at all before he fell back into a troubled sleep.

Day 3, P3X-677- Topside
1800 Hours

"Teal'c, do you think they're still alive?" Daniel asked quietly as they made camp.

"I believe they are."

"Why?" Daniel said setting down his tent stakes. "I mean, I want to believe they are, I really, really want to- but it just doesn't look good."

"Colonel O'Neill is the most capable human I have ever met. I do not believe he will perish on this planet."

Daniel let out a small whoosh of air. "You're right Teal'c. They're still out there, and it's up to us to find them." He picked up his stakes and began to hammer them into the ground.


Teal'c turned and gave Daniel one of his patented eyebrow raises.

"Look at this!"

"Look at what DanielJackson?"

"This rock." Daniel raised his arm and gestured around him. "All of these rocks!"

Teal'c just looked at him.

Daniel stood up, too energized to stay put. "It's the rocks that are blocking the radio waves. The rocks! Just like P3x-274. It's the rocks that are preventing us from contacting Jack and Sam, but now that we know, we should be able to do something." Daniel paused to take a breath.

"We will need to go back to the Stargate tomorrow."

"I know. But now we have new information. Maybe we could rig something up to counter the rock's effects." Daniel paused lost in thought. "Teal'c we will find them!"

"Indeed we will." Teal'c said picking up the discarded tent poles. Indeed they would.

Day 3, P3X-677
2300 hours

Jack wasn't certain why exactly he woke up. Everything was completely silent; no wind, no rain and thankfully, no more snow. Still colder than hell, but that was to be expected. No, it was something else. Something wasn't right.

"Sam?" Jack said carefully touching the curled form next to him. She didn't stir.

"Carter?" Jack said louder this time. "You awake?" Still nothing. Jack could feel her breathing but it seemed very very slow. Jack took hold of one of her wrists and counted heart beats. After 10 seconds he dropped her hand in horror and pressed his numbed fingers against her neck. This time he counted to 30. It was no use; Sam's heart rate was indeed down to 35 BPM. Jack was very, very worried.

"Carter!" He said again louder, shaking her shoulder slightly.

"Dan'l drink much coffe." Sam slurred in her sleep.

"Carter? Can you wake up?" Jack asked hopefully. He studied Sam's face and could just make out the faint tinge of blue around her lips. She was so pale that her skin had become nearly translucent; Jack could see spidery blue veins through her eyelids. He touched her face and his numbed fingers told him it was much colder than it should be.

"Come on Sam," Jack said gently cupping her face. "I need you to wake up for me."

"S'r? Where am I?" Sam asked tripping over the words and looking at Jack with glazed, uncomprehending eyes. She honestly didn't have a clue where she was. Nor why she was so cold and in pain…

Sam's speech had become severely slurred and she was unresponsive to Jack's questions. She couldn't move her limbs without assistance and had ceased to shiver.

Shivering was a good thing and Carter wasn't having any part of it. Jack remembered a lecture Frasier had made all the SG officers attend. In it she told them all about cold weather survival. And though Jack had heard it all before, this time he paid careful attention. After all, he did have an Antarctic experience under his belt.

A body shivers in an attempt to warm itself up; shivering in turn produces energy and energy heat. It's when you stop shivering that things get dangerous. And Sam was not shivering.

Dammit! She had gone hypothermic on him and they were nearly out of fuel. He sure hoped what little remained would get the job done.

He knew she needed to drink warm sweet beverages. Well, what she really needed was some heated blankets and a warm IV, but a drink would work in a pinch. Part of Jack wished she still sported a raging fever- that at least would keep her warm. *And dangerously dehydrate her; Jack, you can't have it both ways. *

With numb fingers Jack started the stove and held his frozen fingers over the small flame as it heated the water. This would be it for the fuel. Within a minute the water was heated and Jack poured the hot liquid into a cup.

"Come on Sam." Jack said squatting down next to her curled form. He placed a warm hand on her cheek. "I need you to do something for me again."

Sam stirred but didn't wake. Using his body as a counter weight, Jack gently positioned Sam so that her head was resting on his thighs. She moaned as Jack lifted her head and placed the cup between her lips.

"Drink, Carter. Please. Drink."

Her eyes briefly fluttered open and she parted her lips wider allowing Jack to pour the warm liquid down her throat. He was able to get two full cups into her before her eyes closed again and her head fell heavily back against his chest. Jack lowered the two of them back to the ground and hoped it had been enough.

Day 4, P3X-677
0200 hours

Sam was getting worse, only now there was nothing left to help her warm up. No fuel, no more food and not a fucking peep from the useless radio.

"Dammit, O'Neill- think!" Jack said angrily pulling the blankets and sleeping bag tighter around Carter and himself.

Knowing that this was probably a very stupid thing to do, Jack got up and began to run. He ran for several seconds in one direction and then turned around and ran right back to where he started. He then stopped and started doing violent jumping jacks. Anything he could think of to warm up his own body core. Jack was so focused on this task at hand that he completely forgot how dangerous these actions were to himself. Although Antarctica had been very, very cold, it was a dry cold. The cavern they were currently in consisted of a wet cold; the kind that could kill a human much quicker. Sam might be quickly heading towards severe hypothermia, but Jack was right in the moderate range himself. Exercise is something a moderately hypothermic person should NOT do.

After moving around for nearly 20 minutes, Jack felt adequately warmed to try what he wanted to do. Breathing heavily, he wiped the sweat from his forehead and began to unbutton his shirt and roll up his shirtsleeves. He then unwrapped the now silent Carter and carefully lifted up her shirt part way, exposing her bare back. Jack then wrapped his warm, sweaty body around Sam's. He gasped as his naked limbs touches her frozen ones. She was really, really cold. He wormed his hands under the front of her shirt and forced himself to hold them in place against her frigid stomach. Careful not to upset her bandages, Jack pulled Carter even closer to himself as he burrowed his warm damp face into her shoulder.

He hoped like hell this would work.

It didn't take long at all. Less than 10 minutes later, Sam started to shake. It was minor tremors at first, but soon became quite strong. Violent even. Logically, Jack knew this was a good thing and he should be glad her body temperature had increased, but he was very worried what the shaking was doing to her stitches. Plus in the back of him mind Jack knew that the strain all of this was having on her heart was really quite dangerous.

"Colonel?" Sam asked confused as she began to tremble. She was very, very cold and yet distinctly aware that Jack was pressing intimately against her. She could feel the hairs on his arms as they rested against her bare abdomen. The colonel didn't seem to have a shirt on. Come to think of it, how did she know he didn't have a shirt on?

"It's OK Sam. Everything is going to be OK." Jack soothed as Sam continued to shiver.

"Wha…?" Before she could complete the question, a violent series of tremors once again shook her body. Jack had gone from very worried to deeply scared. He needed to stop her from hurting herself. If he could just immobilize her body… Jack firmly grabbed hold of her hips and attempted to hold her stationary. Not good enough. Her pants were too loose; her torso was still shaking. Jack moved his left arm up slightly so that it rested on her waist and was shocked how deep the curve now went. Instead of holding onto her waist, Jack had unintentionally reached inside her trousers. Without a belt to hold her pants in place, her alarming weight loss became shockingly real. Christ! He needed to get her out of here soon.

As quickly as it began the tremors subsided. Both still shivered, but nothing like before. Sam was left confused, cold and very tired. Jack still held her firmly against his hips and was sickened to discover that his body had betrayed him during Sam's vicious shaking. Now was so not the time. Knowing that Sam would understand that this wasn't his fault/intention Jack rested a little easier.

His brief exertion had worked at warming up Sam, but had left Jack empty of all reserved energy and chilled to the bone. He vaguely remembered that exercising is not something one should do if your body temp got below a certain level. Something about cardiac arrest.. Oh well. A bit too late now. He shivered unintentionally and tried to find warmth from Sam's bare back.

"Sir?" Carter asked not understanding what was happening.

"Stage 2 hypothermia Sam. You stopped shaking and were becoming incoherent. I needed to warm you up. We have no fuel so I made do with what was available." Sam felt his apprehension. "Me."

"I don't understand…" Jack was partially naked, aroused, and pulled tightly against her. He would never take advantage…

Instantly Jack became aware of where Sam's mind was going.

"God Carter, no! It was nothing like that!" He trembled against her, needing to be close and yet appalled with himself for scaring her. *Oh God, please let her understand.*

"Jumping jacks, Sam. Exercise." Jack said quickly, the words tumbling out as fast as he could speak.

" I basically ran around in circles for 10 minutes to get myself as warm as possible. Then I removed as many layers as I could to allow my body heat to transfer to you. You have all your clothes on Sam! Some may be rearranged, but they are all on!" Jack cried. He was emotionally and physically exhausted, he just didn't have the energy to explain any further. But he didn't need too. He could feel Sam's body relaxing against his.

Sam patted Jack's arm soothingly. "I understand Sir." She said running her hand lightly up and down the arm wrapped around her waist. "Thank you." Her hand stilled abruptly as Sam slipped back into sleep. Curling into an even tighter ball Sam sought out Jack's meager heat source and sighed as she slipped into REM sleep. Jack hoped she was having pleasant dreams.

For the first time in over a decade, Jack prayed. He prayed that someone would find them tomorrow. He knew they couldn't last much longer.

Day 4, P3X-677

Sam awoke with the answer. She knew how to get them out of there. Or at least let the SGC know where they are. She shivered involuntary as the Colonel moved away from her body. It might not be much, but whatever body heat they had; this was what was keeping them alive at the moment. Take it away, and they just wouldn't last long. She wouldn't last much longer.

Sam felt horrible for how she had acted towards the Colonel earlier that morning. She had been so cold and confused! As if he would ever... She knew it would never happen like that. Ever. She needed to tell the Colonel that as well. But first things first.

"Sir?" Sam croaked in a voice sounding much weaker than she would have liked.

"Sorry, Carter- nature calls." Jack had sat up and was attempting to button up his shirt. His numbed fingers were finding the task quite difficult. Sam could see the concavity of his stomach; Jack had lost weight as well. Had it really only been 3 days?

"I'll bring back more water too, ok?" Jack was way too serious this morning. Sam needed to ease his mind ASAP.

"Sir, I know how to contact the SGC."

"I'll be back as soon... WHA?!" Jack asked taken by surprise.

In one long-winded monologue Carter explained her plan. "I don't know if we can do it Sir, but it seriously might be our last hope. We know they are looking for us and we know they know we are on this planet. But they don't know where. And we can't let them know because of this damn rock. But Sir! We can work around that. And I'm so sorry I didn't think of it earlier, and now I don't know if you can do it, but we have to try Sir! It's our only chance!" She took a haggard breath. "And I'm so sorry I overreacted this morning. I know you would never take advantage of another person Jack, especially me and I'm so sorry..." Sam couldn't continue and broke down in tears in front of a much-bewildered Jack O'Neill.

Jack sat down next to Sam and gently rubbed her back. "Try again?" He said with a faint trace of the O'Neill optimism.

"The tent poles Sir. We can use the tent poles as antennas. If we can get them up far enough, they should be able to hear us."

Jack frowned looking up at the dark rock. He seriously doubted he had the strength to climb that.

"You wouldn't have to go all the way Sir. Maybe 15 feet?" Jack said nothing, just stared at the rock. It really would be their only way out...

"Plus, I found something that might help you." Sam said with a smile. Jack hadn't seen a smile on her face in days. Well, not a true smile anyhow. He looked at her questioningly. Trembling, Sam shifted weight so she was lying on her back. With an unsteady hand, she reached into her left cargo pocket and triumphantly pulled out a very crumpled looking Hershesy bar.

Jack stared in awe at what appeared to be their Holy Grail. The chocolate was broken in several pieces and looked like it had been stepped on *make that slept on* repeatedly. It must have been in the pocket under Carter's hip. Jack fought the urge to devour it on the spot as he released what must have been a 100-watt grin. They really did have a chance.

Day 4, Earth
1200 hours

Daniel had scarcely cleared the Stargate before he was asking to speak with General Hammond.

"Dr. Jackson, is there a problem?" General Hammond asked coming down from his office. He sometimes wondered why he didn't just habitually do this when SG-1 came through the "gate. 9 times out of 10 they needed to see him, or were injured. And then he wanted to see them.

"No! No problem General. A solution. Well, not a solution per say, but now we know what the problem is." He paused to let his mind catch up to his mouth. "So I guess you can say there IS a problem."

The General looked at Teal'c for further explanation. Scientists!

"General Hammond, we now know why we have been unable to make contact with Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter."

"I was getting to that." Daniel mumbled.

"Explain." The General ordered looking back at Daniel. *In complete sentences this time! *

"We couldn't get hold of Jack and Sam because of the interference caused by the geology of the planet. I believe it's very similar to P3x-677. I brought back a sample for analysis but I believe we should be able to neutralize the dispersal field and "clear the way' so to speak for our radio signals to reach them."

* I just wish Sam were here to figure the whole thing out. *

"You have a go Dr. Jackson." The general said nodding his approval. He just hoped Jack and the Major could hang on just a little bit longer.

Day 4, P3X-677
1400 hours

The plan was simple; it was the execution he was worried about. The idea was for Jack to scale 20 feet of slippery rock walls, attach a metal tent pole in two different places and then climb back down. Piece of cake. Besides navigating the slick rocks, Jack needed to cross a narrow ledge that didn't look wide at all and THEN tackle a wicked looking rock overhang. One he would have to climb over to attach a pole. He looked up at the daunting wall and tapped his shirt pocket; ¼ of the chocolate bar remained. That should help when times got tough. If he could find a free hand to eat it with that is.

Sam really wanted to accompany the Colonel to his start location, but she knew this was impossible. It only took one feeble attempt at sitting up to convince her that she was most definitely sitting this one out. Now that the antibiotics were gone, she could feel her fever coming back and was dismayed to discover that she was actually too hot under all the blankets. The pain in her side was constant and if she didn't move it was bearable- just.

"Sam, are you ok?" O'Neill asked for the second time since emptying his backpack of non-essentials. He would be carrying very little on his trip up the rock face. He needed only the poles. Plus he knew he would need his hands at all times, so he rigged up a harness for his radio using a piece of cloth from their ruined clothes and the duct tape. *Maybe I am starting to channel MacGuyver.* Jack thought to himself.

"I'll be fine Sir." Sam said with a little too much force. She didn't need the Colonel to be worrying about her. True, she had felt better, but at least with the fever, she wasn't in danger of freezing to death. *Can you become hypothermic with a fever? * Carter had no idea. She DID know that dehydration was quickly becoming a real concern. It didn't matter that she had been drinking water; it just wasn't enough. They had been down here over 72 hours and after her ill-fated trip to the bathroom, Sam hadn't needed to go again. Not a good sign.

Jack crouched down next to her and gently pushed her damp hair away from her eyes. "You will be soon Sam. I promise." They locked eyes and both drew strength from the other. This would work.

"Your radio near by?" O'Neill asked. Once he got the poles in place, he was hoping Sam could do all the contact work so he could concentrate on just climbing down.

Sam patted her left side. It was bundled with her under the blankets. They both knew that batteries tended to die much quicker in the cold and so they tried to keep their radios attached to their bodies at all times.

"Take the water Sir." Sam pleaded.

"Carter, I won't have the ability to drink once I get started." Jack said straightening up. "Besides, I drank more than I probably should have when I ate your chocolate. I'll be floating up there on the rocks!" He still felt guilty about eating all of Sam's chocolate. Jack knew that he would need the energy more than Carter, but she hadn't eaten in days! Sam assured him that it was unlikely she could keep it down anyhow. *As if THAT makes me feel better Carter! *

"Good luck Sir." Sam said as the Colonel adjusted his backpack.

"See you soon Carter." With a final look at Sam, Jack began to walk towards the far wall that would be the start of his latest adventure.


He turned back around surprised to hear her calling him by his first name.

"Be safe."

"I promise Sam." Jack said with total sincerity. "Besides, we still have some unfinished business to deal with one day, remember?"

"I remember Sir." Sam said with a ghost of a smile.

Shaking his head, Jack O'Neill held back his own smile as he turned and took a step away from their camp. Right before he disappeared into the cave's inky darkness, Sam could hear him say quite clearly, "Carter, we really gotta work on this "Sir' thing.."

Day 4, Earth
1430 hours

"Of course!" Daniel shouted slapping himself on the forehead and running out of the room.

He had been conversing with the SGC scientists for over 2 hours now in hopes of finding a quick answer to their problem. No one seemed to know how the dispersal field could be blocked. Until Daniel suddenly realized they didn't have too. They didn't so much need to find a way to block the dispersion field created by the rocks, just a way around it. And THIS Daniel thought picking up the artifact on his desk, was going to be just the thing.

Day 4, P3X-677
1430 hours

Finding a good spot to climb had actually proven to be a bit of a challenge. Most of the walls were saturated with snow melt-off and it would be suicide to attempt a climb on those. And yet the driest location was the area furthest from the hole. Considering that they needed to position the tent poles in such a way as to allow radio waves to pass through the opening—the dry way wouldn't work.

Which left the wall nearest the lake. It was moist, but not drenched like the wall on the far side. Jack would have to climb a little further, but with a whole lotta luck, he'd pull this off. He stared up silently at the rock face in front of him. He gave himself 1:5 odds that this would work. Maybe 1:4, after all he DID have chocolate.

Using his knife, Jack cut off thin strips of duct tape and wrapped both his index and middle fingers. It wasn't much, but the tape would help when the rock features became thin and hard to grip. He absently wondered if he'd climb better without his shoes. His toes were already pretty frozen, he couldn't imagine the boots would protect him that much. But then again, he might lose all foot sensation without the boots, and then what would he do?

He decided to keep them on. Most likely he didn't want to see what his feet looked like anyhow.

Jack took a deep breath and decided he was ready. *Time to get this show on the road. *

His first move up the rock ended with him flat on his ass. The feature his foot had been on hadn't been solid enough and once that foot slipped, the rest of Jack followed. *You can only do that ONCE O'Neill * Jack said shaking his head. He needed to make sure at least three contact points were stable at all times. That way if a foot or hand slipped he wouldn't fall. "Cause the next fall would be a hell of a lot further than 3 feet.' He tightened the straps on his pack for the third time and carefully started again.

Jack let his mind go blank as he climbed. He wasn't much for that "Be one with the wall" crap, but at this moment, concentrating on the texture of the wall, the way his feet felt beneath him and the sureness of him hand holds all made perfect sense.

He had been climbing for over 20 minutes when he first heard Sam's voice. Bless her heart! She was trying to keep him company. Jack smiled as he climbed higher and higher. Normally a 20 foot climb wouldn't take this long, but Jack had to constantly zig-zag back and forth in search of the elusive feature or hand-hold.

After 30 minutes he came across the ledge, and it was a good thing as well. His limbs were shaking from fatigue and the energy he had found in the chocolate bar had long since vanished. He was having problems gripping the rock between his frozen fingers and several times had caused small rock showers through carelessness. He looked down at his fingers and was surprised to find them bloody as well as numb. No wonder he had slipped on that last hold! Cursing he reached into the backpack and pulled back out the duct tape. It wasn't a bandage, but it should help hold him together until he got back on the ground. At least with his fingers all numb, Jack didn't feel much in the way of pain. He took out the remaining chocolate and ravenously took a bite. He wished for the not the first time that he had allowed Carter to force the canteen on him. He was really, really thirsty. He had forgotten how much a person could sweat climbing a pile of rocks. Jack took another bite and keyed on his radio.

"Hey Carter."

"Sir!" Sam was quite relieved to hear his voice.

"Not there yet Sam, but I'm getting close. Going to place one of the poles in a "pocket on this level and then climb on top of the overhang for the second one."

"Sounds good Sir. How are you doing?"

"Currently I'm eating the last of your chocolate Carter, and I gotta tell you, it most definitely hits the spot." He didn't tell her that he could use a gallon of milk with it, but the sentiment was real.

"I'm maybe 10-15 minutes from the top so if you don't hear from me on the radio, listen for my voice ok?" Both understood that his hands might otherwise be occupied.

"Good luck Sir." Sam said trying to sound up beat.

"See you in a few Carter."

Jack put his radio back in its harness and looked up at the overhang above him. This wasn't going to be easy. He studied it for several long minutes before making a decision; the shoes were coming off. There was no way he could do it in hiking boots. None. So what if his feet got messed up a little? He needed to be able to feel the rock. Or at least have some idea of when he happened across a feature that would actually work. It was impossible to smear with boots on, and Jack would need that ability to really position his feet tightly against the wall to pull this off. Decision made.

He was right of course; his feet WERE a mess. Jack grimaced at the color of his toes and tried not to think about the smell. Couldn't be worse than the rest of him though. Standing up was a bit of a shock on bare feet, but he quickly became accustomed to it and decided it was now or never.

Day 4
1500 hours

The Colonel had been gone for nearly an hour. Every now and then Sam would ramble into the radio. She knew Jack couldn't answer her, but hoped he might find some strength from the sound of her voice. *Geez Carter! Since when do you sound like a Hallmark card? * Sam released a loud sigh and then grimaced as the act sent jabs of pain through her side. This was getting so old. Just how much longer was she expected to be strong? Sam wanted nothing more than to curl back into a tight ball and cry her self back into a state of unconsciousness. But she was a Major in the US Airforce and she would NOT allow herself to fall apart.

Jack successfully completed two complex moves and was very thankful he had left his shoes down on the ledge. Sweat had soaked his shirt and pants and Jack cursed himself for not tying one of Daniel's bandanas around his forehead. His feet had indeed lost all sensitivity and his fingers weren't far behind them. That wasn't what worried him most though. Jack's strength was failing. He didn't know if he had what was necessary to complete the final move. Jack locked his right arm and shook his left against his side in an effort to get the blood flowing again. Once he could feel his fingers, he moved the arm back up to the thin feature that was going to get him through this. It was now or never. Using an intricate heel hook Jack leaned all his weight to his right and with a loud cry flung himself atop the rock.

He placed the final pole into position and breathing heavily yelled down at Sam to try the radio.

Sam pressed the radio's receiving button and instead of hearing static, heard the unmistakable voice of Dr. Daniel Jackson informing one Major Henderson that he had just turned the device on and they should know if a few seconds if it had worked.

"Daniel!" Sam shouted happily into the radio. It was Daniel! He was out there. They were really going to get out of this!

"Sam?" Daniel said stopping in his tracks. She was answering them; that was Sam's voice! They were alive! "Sam, are you and Jack ok?! Can you hear me?"

"I hear you Daniel, and have NEVER heard a nicer sounding voice." Sam said grinning ear to ear. "We've been having Antarctic flashbacks down here, but we're doing all right." Sam said immensely relieved that the SGC hadn't declared them MIA.

Daniel was about to speak again with a different voice cut him off.

"Danny, Sam's injured, you guys need to hurry." Jack interrupted in a tight voice.

He was hanging by one hand off the top of the overhang, and was awkwardly holding the radio in the other. His left foot was perched on a thin sliver of a feature and his right foot dangled in empty space. He needed to MOVE. He could feel himself weakening, his energy waning, and most importantly, his fingers slipping. His participation in the conversation was going to be very, very brief.

"I'll be fine Daniel." Sam said angry with the Colonel for blurting out her condition. Logically, she knew the SGC needed to be aware of it, but she also knew Daniel. She knew he'd be worried sick about her, and probably hadn't slept or eaten much since they had disappeared- which meant he needed to be concerned with himself. "I got scratched by a root falling down a hole."

"She was skewered." The Colonel growled. "It's infected. Make sure the Doc comes with you, ok Daniel?"

"I will." Daniel paused. Skewered definitely didn't sound good, but Jack didn't sound good either. In fact Jack sounded like he was in pain and distress.

"Jack, are you ok?"

"Peachy. Talk with Carter, I gotta go." With that he dropped the radio. There was no way he could maneuver it back into its harness. It fell silently for several moments before hitting the ground with a loud crash.

"Colonel!" Sam yelled still holding the radio.

"Sam?!" Daniel shouted back at her. "What's happening?"

"Colonel?!" She shouted again into the darkness. Shit! What she wouldn't give for a flashlight.

Faintly, far above her head Sam heard a low voice.

"Sorry Sam." Came the Colonel's strained reply. "Dropped the radio."

"Don't do that to me Sir!" Sam shouted upwards angry and overwrought with emotion.

"You coming down now?" Sam had all but forgotten Daniel on the other end of the radio.

"On my way." Came the faint reply. Sam did NOT like how the Colonel sounded. She hoped to god he made it down in one piece.

Daniel tried again. "Sam?"

"Sorry Daniel. We had to rig an antenna to reach you. The Colonel's currently 20 feet above my head. Dropped his radio."


"Yeah." Sam agreed.

"You guys know where we are?"

"Roughly. Can you give us anything more specific to work with?"

Sam wished for not the first time that her backpack had made it down with her. Not only would they have had additional food and medicine, but she had equipment in there that would have told her EXACTLY where they were.

"We walked approximately 18 miles due South from the "gate. That's all I can tell you Daniel. That and watch your step, the ground isn't as firm as it might appear."

Sam could hear excited voices coming across Daniel's radio. Decisions were being made.

"Sam, we're about 6 miles away from the "gate in the opposite direction. It's after 3 and the Major here believes we should head back to base, get supplies and come and get you first thing in the morning. Can you guys hang on that long?" Daniel hated this. He hated asking Sam and Jack to wait another night. But the sun would indeed be setting in three hours. There was no way they could get to them before that. And if the ground was really as precarious as Sam made it sound, they would have a better chance at rescue in the morning. Damn! This totally sucked.

Sam wanted to cry. Another night! She didn't want to wait another night. She wanted a hot shower and clean sheets and some god-damn pain killers! Sam took a shaky breath. The rational part of her mind knew that Daniel was right; they'd be more successful in daylight.

"We'll see you in the morning then." Sam managed to say without broadcasting the hitch that had become stuck in her throat.

"I'm sorry we can't get there sooner Sam." Daniel sounded like a boy who had just been told they needed to put his dog to sleep.

Before Sam could assure them they would be all right, she heard another noise from above.

Colonel Jack O'Neill was not doing well at all. His bloodied fingers weren't able to grip the rock as well as they should and he just didn't have the strength to haul his ass back over the overhang for a rest. He wasn't going to make it down. At least not by climbing. He tried for the second time to get his right leg anchored to something solid. He kicked out blindly and caused several rocks to fall to the ground.

"Sir?!" He heard Sam yell.

Shit. Sam. He so didn't want her to see this. He definitely didn't want to die, but if he had to, it should be aboard a Goa'uld ship or fighting some bad-ass snake. Not splatting against the floor of a cave on some stupid planet. And not in front of Sam.

"Answer me Sir!" Sam shouted even louder. The effort hurt her side, but it was nothing compared to the tightening feeling around her heart. Something was very wrong.

"Carter." Jack said in a strained voice. He wet his chapped lips and the image of Sam putting on her chapstick scorched through his brain. "Carter, I'm slipping." Jack refused to look down. Refused to see the fear and dismay etched on Sam's face.

"Hang ON Sir!" Sam shouted frantically back at him.

"Can't Sam." Jack said as he watched in morbid fascination as his left fingers began to lose their grip on the rock's surface.

"You can Sir." Sam said standing up. Terror was giving her all the strength she needed and pushing the pain far, far away. "You can! Just take it one step at a time."

"Problem." Jack panted back down at her. "No steps."

"Jack, you will hang on!" Sam ordered as tears began to stream down her face. He was not going to die.

"Can't." He whispered.

"Hang ON!" Sam shouted again as she staggered over towards the wall he had climbed.

"Please hang on." She couldn't see him, but she could here his labored breathing and hear his tired voice.

"Sorry Sam." Came the very strained reply.

"Not your fault Carter. Remember. Not your fault."

And with that Jack O'Neill fell from the sky.

Day 4, P3x-677
1600 hours

Sam watched in horror as Jack's limp body fell from the rock face above. How far up was he? 15 feet? 20? Like a bad dream, everything moved in slow motion. Sam couldn't see his fingers slip from the rocks, but she could hear the whoosh the air made as his body moved through it. And she could hear a sickening thud as a part of his body struck a protruding rock on the way down. And then she saw the splash as Jack O'Neill's unconscious form struck the frigid underground lake and slowly sank beneath the surface.

"Colonel!!" Sam screamed as she urged her battered body to move faster towards the lake. Even with the adrenaline surge, it took nearly 30 seconds to reach the water and then another 10 or so to locate Jack's still form as he continued to sink face down into the bitter-cold lake. Under normal circumstance Jack O'Neill would have sunk like a stone, but choosing to climb in just pants and a shirt probably saved his life. That is if Carter could get him out of the water in time.

Reacting instinctively, Samantha Carter waded into the icy lake and grabbed the Colonel by his shirt. Slowly, grunting with exertion, and drenching herself in the process, Sam was able to drag him part of the way out of the water and onto the shore. She could feel her stitches tearing, the wounds reopening, and bit the inside of her cheek to hold back the agonizing cry that threatened to consume her. *Help is on its way. * Sam kept telling herself. *They know we're here. Help is on the way.*

She rolled Jack over on his back and held her ear to his chest in an effort to find a faint hearbeat. Nothing. He wasn't breathing either. The shock of hitting the icy water alone would probably have momentarily stopped his heart but having his head submerged for nearly a minute only exasperated the situation.

"Don't you DARE die on me Colonel!" Samantha screamed as she searched in vain for a pulse. She could see a vicious looking gash near his hairline and now out of the water it was beginning to bleed profusely. Sam listened again to the Colonel's chest and shook her head in an effort to rid her self of the tears she didn't have time to wipe away.

"You are NOT going to fucking die on me Jack!" Sam cried as she began pounding on his chest. She counted compressions and then tilted Jack's head back and breathed into his mouth. Again. 1..2..3..4..5 Breathe. Using a force she didn't know she had, Sam pounded on Jack's chest desperately trying to get his heart pumping again. Dimly she heard the crack of what must be a rib and hoped to god she wasn't bringing him back only to have him die of a punctured lung. Six times Sam went through the procedure and her motions became automatic even as fatigue shook her body. Several times she had to wipe away the blood that was pooling across Jack's face. The head wound could wait; he needed his heart first.

"Dammit Jack O'Neill, you cannot do this. Fight!" She said as she pounded brutally against his chest. Again she felt his ribs crack under her determined ministrations. Sam had just started the seventh round of compressions when Jack sputtered and spit up the water clogging his airway.

"S'top hitting me Carter." Jack whispered opening his eyes a fraction. Almost instantly he began to shake from the cold.

"Colonel!" Sam cried ecstatically as she again wiped the blood from his face. He was alive! He was alive. Now she needed to keep both of them that way for the next 16 hours.

"Colonel?" Sam tried again as she noticed Jack's ragged breathing evening out and his head start to lilt to one side.

"Sl'eep." Jack slurred closing his eyes.

"No! Colonel, you have a nasty head wound, mostly likely a concussion Sir. Don't sleep!" Sam lightly tapped the Colonel's face. He moaned slightly but didn't open his eyes.

"Jack! You need to wake up!" Nothing. He was out cold.

Cold. Shit! It was way too cold and here they were sitting in water. Sam might still have a fever, but she knew the cold could very well kill her as well. She needed to get them both on dry ground. Sam looked up at the muddy shore and wondered if she could honestly haul the Colonel's unconscious body up that far. She looked back down at the Colonel as if assessing how much he might weigh. Huh? What the hell was the Colonel doing without shoes on?!

Heedless of the warm trickle she felt running down her side, Sam pulled and pulled until the Colonel was finally out of the water. Hitching her loose pants up, Sam peered around in the darkness looking for their camp. She really was getting sick and tired of all this darkness… It took 3 trips for her to drag the blankets, medical supplies and sleeping bag over to where the Colonel still lay unmoving. Already she could feel herself shaking from fatigue and fear. Looking again at his feet, Sam stumbled back to the original camp and grabbed the discarded pair of socks Jack had thrown out of the pack before the climb. Why he hadn't been wearing them before was beyond her, but she was very thankful for the dry wool socks. Dimly she was aware of Daniel yelling at her through the radio. *Too busy. Can't talk now. *

Jacks feet looked like hell, but that was the least of her concerns at the moment. She covered his feet and then made an instantaneous decision that the wet clothes needed to go. They were not going to last 16 hours with Jack soaking wet. Shit! She was wet as well, wasn't she? God, they were going to have a field day with this one. Sam knew the rumor mill at the base was alive with several different "Jack and Sam' scenarios. Hell, she had quite a few of those herself… This one would most definitely take the cake. But there really was little choice in the matter.

Using Jack's knife (thankfully still located in his cargo pants' pocket) Sam cut away both his shirt and his pants. She didn't have enough dexterity left in her fingertips to attempt to peel wet clothing off an unconscious man. She knew Jack would be mortified to discover himself lying naked save for a pair of soaked boxers and wool socks. She wondered if he felt as uncomfortable as she did 5 days ago. Sam rolled him over onto the rain tarp and then quickly wrapped him in the not so sweet smelling emergency blankets and draped the sleeping bag on top of him.

Daniel was going crazy with worry. One minute he was talking with Carter and everything was fine, and the next she was shouting at Jack and had obviously dropped the radio. She could hear him, (if the radio was still functioning) but until Sam made the move to push the talk button, Daniel didn't know what was going on. Sam had sounded petrified and Jack had been on a ledge 15 feet above the ground. Knowing Jack…

"Captain!" Daniel said running up ahead to where Henderson and the others were walking.

"Captain, we need to go get them." Daniel said pointing vaguely in another direction.

"Dr. Jackson, I know you are worried about them, but there is nothing we can do in the dark! We only have two more hours of daylight left and it's doubtful we'll even make the Stargate before then. They'll located nearly 20 miles from here!" Before Daniel could even open his mouth to protest the Captain continued.

"We don't have the equipment Dr. Jackson. We would need night vision goggles, ropes- hell! They're trapped in a cave injured; we need some docs out here as well."

Daniel knew the man was right but his gut told him Sam and Jack might not be able to hang on another night. He nodded at the career soldier and picked up his pace. He'd take it up with the General. With luck they could send a team back out sooner than sunrise tomorrow.

Day 4, P3x-677- The Cave
1700 hours

Sam did her best to stop the bleeding, but head wounds were notorious for being messy and Jack's was no exception. She wished the Colonel hadn't used so much of the gauze on her. She couldn't fault him though; what were the odds they would BOTH need compression bandages? Using the last of their supplies, Sam held a thick square of gauze over the wound and tied the bandana tightly around Jack's head. With luck that would slow the bleeding until help could arrive.

His pulse might be slow, but Jack O'Neill was alive and the realization of this fact hit Sam like a semi-truck. She began to shake more fiercely now. Not from cold but from delayed shock and fear. Had Jack lost too much blood? Would they survive the night? She desperately tried to control her hysteria, as hyperventilating was not an option. The adrenaline rush had left as suddenly as it had come, and Sam fought off the very strong desire to collapse and sleep. Soon. She took deep ragged breaths and concentrated on the task at hand. With a start, Sam realized that she had on wet clothing as well and that some of the shaking WAS coming from honest to goodness cold.

*Janet is going to love this. * Sam thought as she forced her clumsy fingers to unbutton her top. Logically she knew there was nothing wrong with cuddling to conserve heat. And no one expected them to remain in wet clothing for the duration of their stay in this god-forsaken hole. But finding she and the Colonel nearly naked together wasn't going to help squelch all those rumors. Whatever. Surviving the night was her number one priority and Samantha Carter couldn't care less what others might think.

Sam gasped as the cold air struck her bare chest. Biting her lip she snuck a glance down and confirmed her grim suspicion; she was bleeding again. And not just a little. The white bandages were rapidly becoming stained in deep red and small rivets of blood were beginning to run down her stomach. Sam felt woozy and light headed as she stared in shock at her bloody torso. Taking a deep breath, Sam quickly removed her pants and using the knife, tore off both sleeves of her shirt. She then folded one sleeve into fourths and pressed it firmly beneath her breast. Clenching her teeth against the pain Sam carefully held the homemade compress in place as she slid under the covers with the Colonel. It scarcely felt warmer than the outside air, but Sam hoped it would at least prevent them from freezing to death. They were going to become hypothermic, the question was how bad?

She moaned as her poorly bandaged torso came in contact with Jack's chilled back. She hugged him tighter hoping that the bandage would successfully stay in place while they slept. Vaguely Sam remembered that hypothermia actually helped mitigate blood loss, something both she and the Colonel could certainly use about now.

Moments before succumbing to the pull of sleep Sam realized that Daniel was still trying to reach her on the radio. She hadn't the strength to get up and find it. She barely had the strength to hold onto the Colonel.

*Hurry Daniel * Sam thought as she slipped into unconsciousness.

Day 5, P3X-677
1000 hour

A large team of medical personnel accompanied the remaining members of SG-1 and SG-3 as they promptly left the base at 6 am. No matter how hard Daniel had cajoled, he couldn't get the General to allow them to leave any earlier. After asking Daniel a barrage of questions (most of which he couldn't answer) Janet had insisted she needed 3 other nurses to accompany her off world, which meant it would be impossible to leave prior to 0500. Both she and Daniel had been quite worried about Jack's description of Sam's injury as "skewered." Janet had brought along a lot of blood and plasma for transfusions, extra clothing and blankets, and a portable generator to keep everything warm. Was she over-reacting? Perhaps. But this was SG-1 they were talking about.

Everyone was breathing hard when Major Stiles held up a hand; they had now traveled 18 miles due south.

"Everyone knows their assignments." Stiles yelled as he shrugged out of his pack. "I want ¼ mile search areas here, here and here. " He said pointing to seemingly random bits of shrubbery.

"The moment anyone finds anything, holler or radio the information to command."

Hollering was exactly what Daniel was currently doing.

"Sam! Jack! Can you hear me? We're here guys! The radio's on and ready to receive! And I bet if you yelled just a little we'd hear you!" He knew he sounded totally pathetic but he didn't care. 100 feet to his left he heard Teal'c yelling as well.

Daniel continued to shout as the military teams swept the area. He was concentrating so hard on trying to raise them by voice that he of course didn't see the muddy hole right in front of him until it was too late. With a small "Shit!" Daniel Jackson dropped unceremoniously down the hole, landing like Jack, on his ass.


"DanielJackson!" Teal'c yelled peering down, *That guy can sure move FAST.* "Are you injured?"

"Just my pride Teal'c" Daniel yelled standing up and rubbing the small of his back.

"Are you in the same cave as Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter?" Teal'c yelled back down.

"I'm checking it out now Teal'c." Turning on his flashlight Daniel began to examine the cave in greater detail. It was quite dark and he was surprised at the fact that he couldn't make out all four sides of the walls. *Some cave. Wonder if there are any archaeological finds to be found…* Daniel shook his head and concentrated on locating his missing teammates.

"Sam?! Jack!?" He yelled heading to his right. Daniel had only taken a step forward when he froze as his flashlight illuminated a portion of the cave's floor. It wasn't mossy green like the rest of the cave. Daniel could tell that rain had washed much of it away, but it was obvious what it was. Blood. Splattered blood.

"They're down here!" Daniel yelled back up. "I haven't found them yet, but they're down here!"

"All right Dr. Jackson, we'll start rigging up the belays and get you some backup ASAP." The disembodied voice startled Daniel as he had completely forgotten about the two-way radio. *Get a grip Daniel! * He took a nervous breath as he started his search again.

"Jack?! Can you hear me?!" Silence.

In the distance Daniel could make out a large body of water and headed towards it.

SG-3 was busy setting up the rappelling devices and unpacking medical supplies. Wasting no time, Doctor Frasier was the first to be outfitted with a harness and quickly lowered down the hole.

"Daniel?" She called snapping on her own flashlight. This place was big.

"I'm over at the water!" She heard a disembodied voice off to her left.

Daniel approached the water's shore with caution. He had had too many bad experiences around seemingly tranquil bodies of water not to be on his guard. He started walking along the water's edge when he suddenly tripped over something solid and most definitely not a rock.

"What the hell?" In his hand Daniel held a boot. Jack's boot.

"Jack?!" Daniel yelled even louder. He had to be around here someplace. Daniel frantically waved the beam of light up and down the water's shore when he saw something. A pile of emergency blankets and a sleeping bag lay in heap just inches from the water's edge.

"Janet!! Come quick!" Daniel cried as he ran towards Jack and Sam. He could see the back of Jack's head and a tuff of blonde hair. Sam!

*Oh god. They're dead.* Daniel thought to himself as he crouched down next to them. Jack's face was barely recognizable through his blood-matted hair. He had sustained a head wound near his temple and although he or Sam had tried to stop the bleeding, it obviously hadn't been enough. The crimson bandage was saturated in blood and dry patches of it could be seen all over Jack's face and neck.

Although securely wrapped in blankets, the pair appeared frozen in a lovers embrace; Sam pressed tightly against Jack's back, one arm cradled close to her body and the other wrapped protectively across Jack's waist. Her face was nearly hidden against Jack's neck. Daniel lifted a section of the blanket further down and cried out at the amount of blood covering their mostly bare bodies. So much blood! Daniel couldn't tell whom it had come from but hoped it was actually both, as one person couldn't possibly lose that much blood and still be alive.

Were they alive? The appeared to be dead; so thin and pale. Had it really only been 5 days? With shaking hands Daniel reached out and felt Sam's neck for a pulse. He slowly counted to 5 and then jerked back as if electrocuted. She didn't have one! Sam didn't have a pulse! They were too late. Oh my God..

*they're dead they're dead they're dead they're dead they're dead..*

"Daniel!" Janet was shouting his name. "Daniel!"

Janet Frasier had heard his cries and arrived to find him staring at Jack and Sam in utter anguish.

"Daniel!" Janet said grabbing his arm and forcing him to look at her. His eyes were wild with shock and grief.

"No one is dead until they are warm and dead, remember that!" Janet took out her stethoscope and gently placed it on Sam's back. It was too damn faint for comfort, but it was there. Sam had a heartbeat.

"Daniel, Sam's alive. Help me separate them, ok?" With some difficulty the two managed to pull them apart. A bloody piece of cloth fell away as the pair separated. Daniel looked away as Sam's bare, blood covered chest came into sight. He concentrated on Jack.

Not even bothering to search for a pulse in the neck, Daniel leaned down and pressed his ear to the older man's chest. The sound he heard wasn't like a normal heart beat, strong and resounding, but it was beating, which meant Jack too was alive. He exhaled the breath he didn't know he had been holding. Both were alive.

"Jack's alive." Janet nodded absently as she focused on Sam.

Samantha Carter looked like hell. Janet now knew what skewered looked like and wished she didn't. The ragged wound started on one side of Sam's hip and crossed diagonally across her torso, apparently becoming deeper as it did so. Sam had lost a lot of blood and it was difficult to see the entire area due to dried blood and bandages. Hold on! Were those stitches?!

"Dammit!" Janet mumbled as she removed a blood-soaked cloth from the upper part of Sam's chest. This was bad. Really, really bad. She looked at her friend's pale face and blue-tinged lips. Extreme blood loss, dehydration, infection.. Janet ticked off each symptom and quickly assessed what needed to be done first. Sam was going to need a small miracle to get through this one.

Janet shot a furtive glance over at Jack and Daniel. Daniel was examining the Colonel for other external injuries.

"I think he has a couple busted ribs Janet, but otherwise, it just seems to be the head wound and hypothermia. Maybe dehydration as well." Of course there could be massive internal bleeding, but outside of the swollen skin around his ribs, everything else looked and felt normal. All members of SG-1 were very up to date on emergency field medicine.

Janet turned back towards Sam and now that she knew there was a heartbeat, she needed to know how to proceed. If her body temperature was below a certain level, they couldn't use drugs. The thermometer in her hand beeped. Damn. 85° F.

"Temp Daniel." Janet said tersely throwing the thermometer in his direction.


Janet let out a worried sigh. Moving them was going to be a problem. Cardiac arrhythmia, fluid imbalance..so many things could go wrong before these two were even back at the SGC.

Janet keyed on her radio.

"We found them, but they're in bad shape. Everything you guys have up there, we need down here. We can't move them until their body temperatures increase. I want everyone down here stat." For this mission Janet had total authority.

Dimly Daniel was aware of orders flying fast and furious above his head but kept his eyes glued to Jack and Sam.

"Can I at least wipe off some of this blood Janet?" Daniel asked in a small voice looking at both of their faces.

"Sure Daniel." Janet replied gently. It was never easy seeing your friends injured. "Just stay away from the obvious source of blood loss. If it's clotted, we don't want to mess with it until I can get some more blood in them."

With shaking hands, Daniel reached into his pack and pulled out his thermos. He had wanted to put coffee in it, but didn't have time this morning to make any. He could almost hear Jack's voice in disbelief. "No time?! Danny-boy, you're losing it!" He had ended up with just hot water. After 4 hours the luke warm water would be perfect.

Using his clean bandana, Daniel began to gently wipe away the dried blood from Jack's face and shoulders. "Fight it Jack." Daniel whispered. "You come back to us, ok?"

He glanced over at Janet and Sam. Janet had draped something over Sam's breasts and was busy lifting up bloody bandages and murmuring into the radio her findings to her staff.

Daniel rinsed out the bloody handkerchief as best as he could and then poured more warm water on it and started cleaning off Sam's pale face.

"She doesn't look good Janet." Daniel said trying to fight the overwhelming feeling of nausea and fear.

He had never seen Sam look so small. He often forgot that she was a woman. No, he never forgot that she was a vibrant member of the opposite sex, (specific descriptions he'd leave to Jack) but Sam was only a few inches shorter than Daniel's 6'0 and could kick his ass any day of the week. But right now, Sam looked like a small little girl and Daniel was afraid his heart would break in two. They had to be all right!

Janet was startled and turned towards Daniel as two additional nurses came running over. Daniel took a step backwards to make space. He had done all he could.

1100 hours

Additional doctors and nurses arrived to work on the pair as machines and generators hummed to life around him. Electrodes were attached and their vitals were displayed on portable monitors. Daniel heard snippets of conversations but made sure he kept out of their way. At least they had been conscious when they found them in Antarctica…

"No! They're still too cold for that." Janet barked as a nurse tried to fit Jack with an oxygen mask.

"Warm O2 only and be careful with those blankets. We can't warm them up too fast."

"Is the plasma warm enough yet?" Janet asked while putting the last of the clean bandages on Sam. A clean white cloth was draped across her breasts and heated blankets covered the areas not injured. Janet just wanted to control the bleeding, and get Sam's BP back up. Surgery would have to wait until they got back to Earth.

"Just about. We'll be ready in just another minute."

"Temperature?" Janet asked


*Shit. She wasn't responding. They wanted them to warm up slow, but not that slow. Jack was already above 90°

Janet took a breath and thought for a moment. Yeah. That should work.

"Give that plasma to Colonel O'Neill. I have another plan for Major Carter." Janet turned around searching the room for Daniel. She found him standing against the back wall looking lost and worried. She gave him a quick smile and beckoned him over.

"Meyers, you're with me." Janet said as Daniel approached. "We need some IV tubing, two gauge 3 needles and some orange juice." Daniel looked at her not understanding.

"Daniel, it's time for you to save a life."

For a long time now Janet had been aware that two members of the SGC, members of the same team in fact, had a very rare blood type. Janet had learned in medical school, that there were other types of blood besides the normal A, B, AB and O combinations. Genetic traits could add additional letters to one's type. And that's exactly what both Daniel and Sam had. AB-: Vel. Janet was certain they both shared a strange Nordic ancestor (outrageously tall and with blue eyes of course) that caused the rarity. The irony was that a person with an AB blood type could actually receive blood from just about anyone. Universal receiver. But not in this case. Only 1:20,000 people would have this exact blood make-up. And a strange twist of fate had put both of these people under her care. Thank God.

Janet was busy searching for a decent vein in Sam as Daniel was prepped for blood donation. He used to give blood quite a bit when he had been a field archaeologist and understood how it worked. For some reason, Janet always insisted that he and Sam give blood every 2 months. Hmm. He'd have to ask her about that sometime. Actually he was a damn good donor- 4 minutes flat was his record for a pint. Good veins. And best of all, Janet didn't know this. She had not once taken his blood. Well, not for the purpose of donation that is.

"Beautiful veins Dr. Jackson." Lt. Melinda Meyers said as she easily inserted a needle into his arm.

"Daniel, Sam doesn't have time for your blood to be bagged first and we need it as warm as possible. I would like you to give her about 2 pints. You have at least 10, so while 2 pints will make you nauseous and a little woozy, you should be ok. Unfortunately, there's no sure way to accurately measure the volume when we go from person to person but on average it takes 8 minutes to draw a pint. So we're going to keep you two hooked together for 15, ok?"

Daniel nodded. And didn't mention his quick donation time. Good. With 15 he should be able to give Sam at least 3 pints. Maybe more. Daniel knew this was stupid. But HE could always take the blood substitute. Sam couldn't.

"What about Jack?" Daniel asked as he began opening and closing his fist, stimulating the blood flow.

"It's just like you saw Daniel. Jack looks like he recently received a nasty head injury. You know how those are- very bloody, but usually not life threatening. So far, he has responded positively to all our tests, although we'll know more when he wakes up. He HAS lost more blood than I would have liked, he isn't as hypothermic as Sam. We can use the bagged blood we brought from home. I don't think Jack is in as much danger of crashing as he warms up. Sam on the other hand…" Janet bit he lip. This was going to be close.

"Jack also has a cracked rib or two which I'm not certain he didn't receive via CPR." Daniel's eyes widened at that comment. Sam's injuries were severe. And at least 4 days old. How could she have possibly…?

"In the meantime we'll treat him for severe dehydration, hypothermia and the head wound. Plus we'll pump him so full of calories he'll be his own weight again before you know it." Janet smiled and touched Daniel's arm sympathetically.

"And Sam? Will she be alright?"

Janet sighed. "I'm not going to lie to you Daniel, We need to get Sam back the SGC as quickly as possible. We don't want to put more pressure on her heart than necessary, as there is a pretty significant danger that she'll go into cardiac arrest if we don't do everything exactly right. I really can't tell you anything more than that Daniel. Until she is warm and breathing on her own again she is still in danger.

Daniel wanted to ask more questions but was already beginning to feel light headed and didn't want to give Janet an opportunity to notice. He nodded to her and she returned to working on Sam.

20 minutes later Daniel was decanted. He hadn't actually been aware that he was done until the nurse told him to stop squeezing. She wrapped his arm in a bright pink bandage and told him to drink lots of fluids for 24 hours. She then ran over to where the rest of the medical team was converging. They were about to move Jack and Sam out of here. Daniel tried to stand up and promptly sat back down.

"Are you unwell DanielJackson?" Teal'c asked from out of nowhere. "How does he do that?' Daniel wondered to himself. It was becoming quite difficult to keep his eyes open, but Daniel knew he couldn't show any weakness until Sam had been taken back.

"No, I'm fine Teal'c." Daniel said taking slow shallow breaths. "Just need to take a moment to get my sense of balance back."

Teal'c questioned the wisdom of this statement, but knew that everyone was busy with Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter. Teal'c would make certain DanielJackson got home safely.

Daniel was vaguely aware of voices in the background. Good, Jack and Sam were on their way back to Earth. Daniel hoped he had given Sam enough blood to make it there. He also hoped that he kept enough for himself. With that last thought, Daniel closed his eyes and promptly passed out.

Day 5, P3X-677

Teal'c watched as one after another the medical personnel hooked up their harnesses and were lifted out of the cavern. It had taken some time to stabilize Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter. Both had yet to regain consciousness and after nearly an hour of monitoring vitals, patching up the worst of the cuts and administering IV's and blood transfusions, Dr. Frasier declared them ready to be moved. Well, as ready as they were going to be.

Janet was taking a chance moving both of them, but for entirely different reasons. After giving Sam Daniel's generous blood donation, Janet had decided to keep her "cold" until they got back to base. She knew that although Daniel's assistance had aided Sam greatly as far as blood volume went, it did little to heat her up due to the extreme coldness of her underlying tissue. 88? F was cold and dangerous, but if monitored, not life threatening. Well, not in itself.

What Janet was really worried about were Sam's organs; especially her heart. She knew Sam would most likely seize once her core temp got above a certain level. And out here, Janet was just not prepared to deal with that. She would perform an EEC (Extra Corporeal Circulation) only once back at base. Rapid re-warming was Sam's best bet, but it could not happen out here in the field. Sam had been dressed in warm clothes, but without additional warming techniques, her temperature was remaining stable at 88? F. She was receiving fluids to help with the dehydration, but now that she wasn't in danger of organ failure due to blood loss, it was best to keep her cold until they returned to the SGC. Jack on the other hand..

Janet decided to take a chance on Jack. She needed him warm to better assess how serious the head injury was. Slowing down the heart to decrease circulation was fine if he was bleeding to death, but in this case it was imperative that he be warmed up ASAP. Heated transfusions helped bring his blood pressure up to normal levels and hot packs were applied under his arms, chest and groin. Jack was pinking up but still remained unconscious. Janet bit her lip and hoped she was doing the right thing. It was going to be a long trek back to the gate.

"The Colonel's set!" Janet yelled as she finished double checking the stretcher. She watched apprehensively as he was slowly lifted out of the hole and gently placed on solid ground. Now it was Sam's turn.

Janet hated seeing her friend like this. It killed her to know that underneath the light blanket and dry clothes lay a very battered, weakened woman. Janet wished that in all the planets the SGC had visited, some team could have brought back technology akin to Star Trek. She would give anything to be able to "beam" Sam and Jack back to the gate. Hell, straight into her infirmary on earth would be ideal.

Only after making certain Sam had successfully reached the surface, did Janet allow herself to be hooked back into her harness and raised out of the cavern. Her last stray thought before returning to her injured charges was of Daniel and how she hoped he was drinking plenty of fluids.

Teal'c watched as Dr. Fraiser was lifted out of the cave and wondered again if he should have notified her of Dr. Jackson's condition. He knew that Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter were dangerously incapacitated, but Daniel Jackson truly didn't look well either. Daniel lay slumped against a wall of the cavern looking way too pale and breathing in short, rapid breaths. A sheen of sweat lay across his brow and his eyebrows were bunched together as if in discomfort. Teal'c had hoped that allowing him to rest for a few minutes would be prudent, but it had now been nearly an hour and they needed to leave presently to get to the Stargate before it became dark.

Teal'c bent down and lightly tapped Daniel on the shoulder.

"DanielJackson, I believe it is time for us to go."

"Sure Teal'c." Daniel said slowly standing up. The room tilted jarringly to one side before righting itself. Daniel was very nauseous, had a splitting headache and was having problems focusing. Plus he was awfully tired. He wiped a cold hand across his sweaty forehead. Why was he sweating if he was so cold? This was going to be a fun walk back to the gate. Never a taxi around when you wanted one…

With Teal'c's help, they emerged from the hole only to discover they were the last ones around. *Hmmm. Wonder how much time I sat on that cold cave floor?* Daniel thought to himself. Teal'c quickly gathered the remaining equipment and they set off towards the gate with Daniel staggering like a drunkard. Several times he had to sit down and more than once he needed to vomit. He assuaged Teal'c's concerns by saying this was normal after blood donation. He hated lying to the guy but didn't need him worrying Janet or General Hammond. Daniel was going to be awfully glad to see those two, even if it meant receiving a scathing lecture on his health by Janet.

Numerous times Teal'c asked Daniel if he needed assistance. Daniel declined at first, but after several hours found himself leaning heavily on Teal'c. He concentrated on taking one step at a time and spent most of the next hour staring at his feet and making a concerted effort to remain upright. He felt utterly miserable. He knew this was entirely his fault and that he must have given Sam too much of his blood, but he didn't know what else he could do except get back to the SGC.

Teal'c stopped. Looking up, Daniel was shocked to discover that the sun was setting. They had found Sam and Jack around 11. Which meant that over 7 hours had passed. They had to be near the gate.

"Teal'c? Are we almost at the Stargate?" Daniel asked in a raspy voice.

"We are not DanielJackson."

"We're not?" That didn't make sense.

"No we are still several miles away."

"We are?"


"I guess we stay here tonight, yeah?"

"I believe we should."

"OK." Daniel sat down on the ground like a puppet with cut strings. His head ached and the dizziness was getting worse. He also thought he was kinda thirsty, but having left his canteen in the cave, he was embarrassed to ask Teal'c for his. Closing his eyes, Daniel promptly passed out. Teal'c would keep him safe, of this he was certain.

Day 5, P3X-677
1800 hours.

They were nearly at the gate and Janet allowed herself a small sigh of relief. Janet knew that the first 30 minutes of transport was going to be the most dangerous, and yet both Jack and Sam had remained stable throughout. They had been moving uncomfortably slow, but they were nearly there and Janet began mentally prepping herself for Sam's upcoming surgery and re-warming. She hovered like a bird passing between one patient and the other as they carefully made their way through the forest. Luckily it was a beautiful day and had warmed up considerably since the snowstorm two days previously. Patches of slush could still be seen under protected bushes, but for the most part the ground was bare and damp. Janet took back her last thought; they WERE making pretty good time.

Of course it had been too good to last.

"Dr. Frasier, Colonel O'Neill is seizing!"

Shit! Janet ran to the Colonel and was shocked to learn that his body core temperature had dropped two degrees. Dammit! If this was supposed to happen, it usually occurred in the beginning of a transport, not now! Not when they were so close to home! Janet removed the warm air oxygen mask from the Colonel's face and motioned for his cot to be set down. Immediately after Colonel O'Neill's convulsion subsided, Janet began chest compressions. It was what she had been afraid of; cardiac arrest.

"Someone run ahead and have an emergency team standing by!" Janet yelled as she continued to work on the Colonel; she had to be extra careful of his injured ribs.

"Come on Colonel!" She yelled as a nurse exchanged the oxygen mask with an oxygen bag and began squeezing the bag in sync with Janet.

The gate was just visible and Janet cursed internally as she bemoaned the timing once again. She stopped compressions for a moment and looked up expectantly at another nurse with a stethoscope. The nurse shook her head. He wasn't going to make it without help.

"I need 4 more people here!" Janet shouted as she climbed on top of the stretcher and continued compressions. Jack needed CPR and Janet needed to get him back to the SGC- this was the only way.

With Janet riding astride the Colonel, the stretcher was efficiently raised again with the additional hands and slowly they made their way towards the gate. For the first time in many, many years, Janet was thankful she was small in stature and hopeful that they would make it back to the base in time.

Day 5, Earth
2300 hours

General Hammond hated to wait, and yet these last few years, waiting took up over 50% of his time. He sighed as he turned away from the Stargate and motioned for the petite doctor to take a seat.

She looked haggard and worried but not in a "General I have some bad news' sort of way. He breathed a small sigh of relief; it looked like his favorite team was going to be ok. At least the part he had found… He had been so worried as the party of medical professionals returned through the Stargate bearing one frozen Major and a Colonel in cardiac arrest with the CMO sitting on his legs applying chest compressions. He shuddered again at the thought.

"Report Doctor." General Hammond requested as Janet took a seat.

"Colonel O'Neill is still in a coma, Sir. But I think it's a healthy one General. All the tests we have done so far indicate no brain damage. Of course we won't know for sure until he wakes up, but I'm optimistic. After getting his heart rhythm under control, we treated him for severe hypothermia and serious dehydration. He did take three pints of blood, but being able to give it to him warm helped immensely. You saw the problem that occurred right as we were about to gate home. Luckily, we were able to quickly stabilize his arrhythmia and after he was sufficiently warmed he responded positively to drug therapy. It took nearly 12 hours Sir, but his stats are finally normal."

"Physically, the Colonel has two cracked ribs and one broken one. We're pretty certain Major Carter did it to him while performing CPR. How she managed to do it with her stomach in ribbons is anyone's guess." Janet sighed and set down her charts. God she was tired!

"Major Carter is currently in post-op and she has good odds at recovering fully. She was a mess General. The only reason she stayed alive as long as she did was due to Colonel O'Neill's impromptu surgery." Seeing the confused look on the General's face, Janet explained how Colonel O'Neill used a sewing needle and fishing tackle to stitch Major Carter's laceration. And a very serious laceration it was as well.

Janet smiled wryly, *He hadn't done that bad a job either*

"As it was, she had lost a lot of blood, and was severely hypothermic as well as seriously dehydrated. Actually the hypothermia probably saved her life. Or at least sustained it until Daniel came along. It was only Daniel's generous blood donation that enabled her to hang on long enough to return to the Stargate." Janet then paused and looked around. Speaking of whom… Where was Daniel? He was always afoot when a member of SG-1 was ill/wounded/incapacitated. (That is when it wasn't him) Janet was quite surprised she hadn't heard from him yet. In fact, she didn't think she had seen him at all since returning through the Stargate 4 hours ago. Or Teal'c for that matter.

"General, have you seen Dr. Jackson?"

General Hammond let out a worried sigh. "No doctor, I have not." Janet gave the General a look that urged him to continue.

"After you came through with the Colonel and Major Carter, there was a lot of gate activity as medical personnel and SG teams converged for both debriefings and medical clearance. At first I just thought Daniel and Teal'c had gone straight to medical to be with Sam and Jack, but it soon became clear that they weren't there. Besides, usually at least one of them seeks me out to let me know what's going on. They may not be U.S. military, but they know I worry just as much as they do." The General stood up abruptly and began pacing.

"After nearly 40 minutes I started asking around for status reports on the missing SG-1 members. I was shocked to hear that no one had seen or heard a thing from them since Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter were found. Doctor, neither Dr. Jackson or Teal'c made it back through the Stargate." He turned to face the doctor and could see the her mind racing frantically as she quickly grasped the situation.

"General," Janet said her voice becoming agitated. "Right before we put Sam under, I asked one of the nurses for her BP. She told me it was 100/60. This is nearly normal for Major Carter and I asked the nurse if someone had given her any more whole blood. She told me that to her knowledge, no one had administered anything to Major Carter except fluids and pain medication."

"What are you saying Doctor?"

"I'm saying Sir that Daniel, *that idiot * gave Sam way too much blood! Sir, we have to find him. He's in serious danger!"

"Calm down doctor. We'll find him. Odds are that Teal'c is with him, and if Dr. Jackson is incapacitated in any way, Teal'c will watch out for him. I have faith in those two, Doctor. As much as I would love to send a team out to look for them tonight, the only ones available are exhausted and in need of a good night's sleep. I'll send SG-3 back out first thing in the morning."

"Thank you Sir."

"Dismissed. Oh, and Doctor?"

"Yes, Sir?"

"Thank you for bringing the Colonel and Major Carter back to us."

Janet nodded slightly and left the room. She hoped to god Daniel was all right.

Day 6, P3X-677

"DanielJackson, it is daylight. I believe we should depart." Teal'c was worried about the archaeologist. Having never witnessed the human blood sharing procedure, Teal'c did not know what was normal. He was surprised by how weakened DanielJackson had become and shocked that no members of the earth medical community was around to supervise.

"DanielJackson?" Hearing no answer Teal'c knelt down beside his friend. Truth be told, Daniel didn't look good at all. He was extremely pale and his breathing was irregular. Teal'c picked up his friend and made his way quickly towards the Stargate.

He had been walking for over 2 hours when he heard the shouts. Sg-3. And they were searching for them.

Day 6, Earth
0900 hours

The klaxons whirled as they received an outside transmission and attempted to establish a secure wormhole.

"It's Sg-3 Sir."

"Open the iris. Medical team stand by." General Hammond shook his head. No wonder the Colonel always got agitated when another team requested Dr Jackson. The man might be brilliant, but he needed his own to look out for him. He watched as the stretcher bearing Dr. Jackson came through and was instantly enveloped by medical personnel. Teal'c stood passively to one side. At least there was one member of SG-1 not in need of medical attention at the moment.

Day 6, Earth
1700 hours

"Doctor," General Hammond asked looking at his pale, unconscious people lying on the beds. "Shouldn't they be awake by now? It has been nearly 24 hours since Jack and the Major returned, and nearly 8 hours for Dr. Jackson.

"Actually, Sir they this is exactly what they need. I admit I am helping them stay unconscious a little, but only slightly. They need their rest Sir and we're providing them with a nice comfortable environment to do so. Sam and the Colonel spent over 96 hours in a very cold, wet environment, and to be honest I'll be very surprised if neither one of them come down with pneumonia or a post operative infection. Their bodies are severely depleted."

Janet checked her charts again before turning back to the General.

"And then there's Daniel. He scared us with this latest stunt of his Sir." She shook her head in disbelief; the guy DID have more lives than a cat.

"Daniel came in full blown hypovolemic shock. He had lost over 30% of his blood volume and his heart was about ready to give up the battle." Janet swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat. "He nearly didn't make it Sir."

"But he DID doctor." General Hammond said forcibly. Sometimes he forgot just how much Janet cared for her charges. Cared for her friends. "You brought him back."

"With a whole lot of help and a flotilla of guardian angels, we sure did General." Janet's lips twitched in a small smile.

"They're resting comfortably General and should wake up on their own in the next 12 hours or so."

Day 7, Earth

Jack awoke first. It was always the noises that he became aware of first. Beeps and hisses. He sighed. Hospital. He was in a hospital. They had made it back. His eyes started closing again before snapping back open. Sam!

He was vaguely aware of one of those beepy noises increasing in tempo as he searched wildly for his Major. He sat up too fast and a sharp pain in his chest forced him back down. Somehow along the way he had managed to mangle some ribs without being aware of it. Jack began to sweat as he waited for the bed's hydraulics to raise his body. Where was she? His eyes frantically searched the room for his 2IC.

"They're all ok Colonel." A voice behind him said. Janet was glad she had decided to spend the night on Base. She was pretty certain something like this would happen. If it hadn't been the Colonel, it would have been Sam who would have awoken scared and alone. Those two needed each other. Janet idly wondered if they had realized that yet.

"Doc?" Jack asked a bit confused. He was still very tired and his chest hurt like a son of a bitch. Not to mention that he had a vicious headache.

"One and the same." Janet said as she took his pulse. "How are you feeling?"

"Where's Sam?" Jack demanded. *Sam, huh? Guess they did talk. *

"She's right here, Colonel." Janet said pointing to a bundled form on his left. Jack could barely tell it was even Sam. If it wasn't for the curve of the body (definitely female) and the bit of visible blonde hair, it could have been anyone. Janet would have preferred Sam to be resting on her back, but every time she or one of the nurses moved her, Sam would quickly turn back on her left side and go all fetal again. After 5 nights of sleeping curled up to retain body heat, Sam hadn't quite caught on to the fact that other positions were available to her. Janet shuddered at imagining what they must have gone through. First Antarctica and now this. Those two NEVER seemed to get a break.

"Is she cold?" Jack asked in a small voice. She had been so cold…

"No Colonel." Janet said squeezing his hand. "She isn't cold. She's going to be just fine."

Jack let out a shaky breath. They had made it. He honestly didn't think they would. But they had. Jack promised himself he would buy Sam the biggest damn chocolate bar he could find once they were out of here. He smiled at the thought.

"And over here is Daniel."

"Huh?" Jack said still watching Sam breathe. He turned his head to look at the doctor. Sure enough, on the other side of the room was Daniel. He was hooked up to just as many machines as he and Carter. Shit! Why couldn't his team stay out of the infirmary?!

"What's Daniel gone and done to himself this time?" Jack asked with a sigh. Under normal circumstances, Daniel was usually the one Jack most worried about. But this time, Sam occupied the majority of his worry receptors.

"Actually Colonel, he saved Sam's life." Jack's eyes widened as he listened to Janet's tale. It took a good 15 minutes to fill him in on how they were found and Daniel's subsequent role in the rescue.

"And now Colonel, I think you should rest. And you do NOT have permission get up and check on either Sam or Daniel. I have it rigged here so that if you even set one foot out of this bed, I will be notified." Jack looked stricken. Janet softened her voice.

"They are going to be fine Jack. And they won't be going anywhere either. You can stare at them all you want. I'll even leave a nightlight on." With that Janet walked out of the infirmary leaving Jack with his own thoughts.

They were all going to be fine. Jack closed his eyes and smiled.

And on the 7th day, he (finally) rested.

The End!
Completed February 2002

Thanks for coming along on the ride. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. As always, feedback would be MUCH appreciated. First fanfic done! Yippee! <g>

And everyone give a HUGE hand to Kath whose last name I shall not divulge. My Beta-reader. Mine! Girl, you are the best.

All Feedback gets answered (and is much appreciated)

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