Summary: The tangled web cannot be ignored and, though she wants to ignore it, Sam is forced to confront it when Hammond takes notice of SG-1's behavior
Samantha Carter dragged a duffle bag down the steps, not thinking about its contents. She was late, she knew, but she didn’t care. Already thrown back into the SGC, there wasn’t much that she did care about. Two weeks had not been nearly long enough.
As she walked through the halls, her eyes wandered of their own accord, not letting her know what they had seen. She walked around in a haze, her eyes covered by an invisible gauze, and she stared at body parts that she never would have dreamed of even glancing at in broad day light. If anyone would have had the guts to do something about it, her eyes could have gotten her into a lot of trouble on that mundane day.
The only thing that made her aware of her own existance was the brief moment it took her to turn a door knob and find her way to the briefing room.
“Major Carter, nice of you to join us.”
The General was seated at the head of the table, flanked by two people on each side. At the left, there was Doctor Fraiser, who’s eyes went wide when she spotted Sam, only to go down to her lap the moment Carter looked at her, and Teal’c was next to her, watching everyone around him with great interest.
To the right, Jack and Daniel fidgeted guiltily.
Sam took her seat and her eyes continued to do as they pleased. She was almost glad to see Daniel and Jack avoid her eyes. She didn’t even look at Janet.
General Hammond gave her a dubious look as she flopped into the chair directly across from him. She didn't even look up at him when he entered into his prepared pre-mission speech.
“We’ve identified four elements on this planet, based on the data provided by Major Carter, that we think will be important resources for us. But there are a few things that I am concerned about that Doctor Fraiser would like to illuminate for us before I authorize a mission.”
Janet had still been looking at her hands when General Hammond had begun to speak and she didn’t seem eager to say anything; she kept looking at her hands, her lap, and the table as though she hadn’t heard him. After a long moment of silence, she started to speak to the floor.
“There are several pathogens in the air that I have to warn you about...”
Sam tuned her out from the first few words and watched Daniel, who was biting the inside of his cheek. Jack was staring at the table, presumably ignoring Janet for reasons far separated from the usual boredom. Carter didn’t even notice Teal’c, who was observing her and the others intently.
Teal’c’s gaze went from Daniel, to Jack, to Sam, and to Janet Fraiser over and over again, cycling from person to person periodically. He had never seen such behavior from any of them and it was as troubling as it was intriguing. O’Neill, in particular, caught his eye.
“The helmets should be used, even with the vaccine...”
Jack was staring down at his hands, which Teal’c surmised were folded and hanging between his legs. He never once looked up or made one of his expected jokes about Janet just wanting to give him more shots.
Teal’c looked to Doctor Fraiser, who constantly stole glances at Samantha, only to look down again when she found her to still be watching Daniel with lazily opened eyes. Janet’s eyes would grow very large then return to a normal size when they were focused safely on her hands once more.
Sam was not listening. Jack wasn’t making jokes or sighing in boredom. Daniel wasn’t taking notes.
Something was very wrong.
“Excuse me for a moment, Doctor.”
Janet looked up at the General and nodded.
“Just what the hell is going on here?”
Everyone looked up at him simultaneously. He stood, grinding his knuckles into the table and looking over everyone present with controlled frustration.
“I like to think that I am not blind, ladies and gentlemen. I do not know what is wrong with all of you–and yes, that includes you, Doctor Fraiser–but I want you all to get it out of your systems before you all go anywhere.”
He lifted his mission folder from the table and turned to leave.
“And you all better take care of this quickly, because I will order psych evaluations for you all if this isn’t resolved quickly.”
Everyone was very silent as he left and no one dared to be the first to leave. Each of them, even Samantha, who had been staring at Daniel even when the General had reprimanded them, was keeping her eyes downcast like a punished child. There was an awkward, tense silence until someone's chair creaked loudly.
“He’s right, you know.”
Sam and Janet looked up at Jack, who was standing just next to his chair.
“We should all fix this or...”
He apparently wasn’t going to finish that thought, because he turned and left. Sam looked back down at the table and heard what she assumed to be Janet’s and Daniel’s chairs groaning as they left.
Teal’c hadn’t moved and Sam was suddenly aware of what he was probably going to ask her if she stayed. Not wanting to answer the questions he had, Sam tried in vain to follow the others out, quickly grasping the arms of her chair and swinging herself out of the seat.
Her name coming from the deep throat of the Jaffa always startled her, temporarily robbing her of her self-control, and Samantha was trapped. For a second, her feet refused to move and he knew that she had heard him. She knew that and was frozen, not knowing what to do.
“Teal’c, I don’t want to--”
“Before you say anything, Samantha Carter, I would like you to know that I do not judge you for your anger.”
Samantha did not turn, but balled her hands up into fists.
“I am your friend and I would like to hear your view on the situation before I hear Daniel Jackson and O'Neill.”
She didn’t know how to react. What she wanted to do was to run right out of the room, but she knew that it would do her no good. Teal’c, in his desire to help her, had forced her into a painful position. He knew that she wanted to talk to someone, even if she told herself otherwise. She was caught.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
She heard Teal’c rise, but still did not turn to face him.
“I will only listen, if that is what you wish. I would hope that, were I in the same situation, you would do the same.”
Sam bit her bottom lip and with it, bit down her words. She couldn’t talk to him. She needed to be angry! For once, she wanted to be the one who wasn’t alright, the one who was in control. She had done that long enough, long enough to ruin her life.
“Major Carter, do not pretend that I am blind to the relationship of Daniel Jackson and O’Neill.”
Samantha spun on her heels, the comment stinging like a re-opened wound. It was no surprise that Teal’c had noticed (it was his observance that made him so good at what he did) but Sam wasn’t prepared for someone to so suddenly put it into the open air.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sam bit, her eyes darting across the floor to avoid Teal’c knowing gaze.
“Major Carter, I have been aware of their feelings for some time, as have I been aware of the feelings between yourself and Doctor Fraiser.”
Samantha looked up sharply, narrowing her eyes.
“What did you say?”
“I said that I knew about their relationship and I cannot believe that you, in your present state, do not. I would indeed presume that you are angry because of their relationship.”
Sam shook her head, folding her arms. Teal’c’s precise words had saved SG-1 countless times but suddenly, now that they were aimed at her, she didn’t very much appreciate his straight forward nature.
“Teal’c, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but I don’t think I can talk about Jack and Daniel...”
“Why is it you will not refer to Doctor Fraiser?”
Sam looked up it him, confusion evident in her eyes. It was an innocent enough question, but she didn’t understand.
“Are you not aware of your feelings and hers?”
No, she wasn’t, in fact, she had no idea what he was talking about.
“Teal’c, I don’t understand. What does Janet have to do with this?”
Teal’c, arms behind his back as was usual, did not blink at Sam.
“What, you wanted to talk, Teal’c, I’m talking!”
He merely nodded at her and it made her even angrier. He kept talking and asking but he wasn’t making any sense. Fine, thought Sam. If he wants me to talk, I’ll talk.
“Teal’c, what do you want from me! What do you want me to say!” She threw her hands in the air and broke her rigid stance, pacing like a wild animal. “I walk in on two of the people I care about most in bed, one of the people that I thought I loved and loved me, I’ve lost all of my friends, and now I can’t even do my job! And you keep asking me about Janet, and I don’t even know what you’re talking about!”
She wasn’t even aware that she had been pacing until she had to stop because she almost hit a wall. Reaching up, she trailed her fingers down the wall.
“I found out that you can’t have it all, Teal’c.”
She bit her lip and choked on a few tears before slamming her fist against the solid wall.
“You can’t have the career of your dreams, friends better than you ever dreamed, and love. It just doesn’t work.”
Teal’c had moved closer to her, just behind her, but he left a meter or so between them. He let her continue to rant, allowing for it to do as he had hoped: to get everything out into the open.
“You speak of losing your friends,” he cleared his throat and paused, watching her drag her hand on the wall, “yet I am still here.”
Sam turned to look at him, her eyes red with the tears that had just begun to taint her cheeks.
“I know, Teal’c, but you have to know that I can’t ever have them back. It won’t ever be the same...”
Teal’c nodded in agreement; that wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted him to tell her that everything was going to be okay, that everything she had thought had happened and what she had thought she’d seen was just a dream, some terrible nightmare, but he just nodded.
“But you may also have love, Samantha Carter.”
Rubbing her tears on her sleeve, she glared at him.
“See, there you go again, Teal’c. How can I have love? Jack’s gone!”
“I was not referring to O’Neill.”
She just stared at him, lost.
“Were you not informed of Janet Fraiser’s feelings? Do you not feel the same?”
“Teal’c, I’ve got nothing against her for being a lesbian--”
“I did not ask your thoughts on her sexuality, I asked what you thought about her feelings toward you and your reciprocation of those feelings.”
For a long moment, Sam stared at him as though looking through him.
Janet came and asked you...
It was as if she were hearing those words for the first time, like Daniel was speaking from the recesses of her mind. Hadn’t she heard him? Had she simply ignored his words?
“Do you now see?”
Sam was pulled back into reality by Teal’c’s voice and realized that she was not in to the random work room with Daniel, two weeks ago before her world had been torn away. She felt deep, terrible feelings well in her. She saw memories flash in her, Janet’s face covered in tears, Cassie screaming at her over and over again...
Teal’c’s hands twitched slightly as he lifted his arms in what appeared to be an offering of an embrace. Still, he remained where he was, not moving, not forcing her to do something that she did not want too. For a second as she moved across the small space between them, Sam feared that he would pull away. Once she was safely in his arms, Samantha Carter began to unravel. Against Teal’c’s chest, she began to let herself cry. She had been a fool to suffocate her emotions, to put them all in a box deep within in her and think that everything would be fine if she just ignored it. Now the box was shattering, splinters flying everywhere, and she was paying the price for trying to be stronger than could ever be expected of her.
Teal’c gave her an encouraging squeeze and Sam poured her tears into him, glad to know that he would stay there until her tears stopped, no matter how long it took.