By The Numbers by babs
Slash:  Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: PG-13.
Category: Angst.  Drama.  Hurt/Comfort.
Season/Spoilers: Season 5.
Synopsis: Sam feels guilty for an injury Daniel receives on a mission. 
Warnings: This is only slash in the sense that Daniel and Sam talk about Jack/Daniel’s relationship. It was really written as a story to see if I could get inside Sam’s head. I hope I made a decent attempt. 
Length:  20Kb

By The Numbers by babs

"J..j..." Daniel's voice came in a low hoarse whisper. He moved his head further into Sam's touch. "Jack? Go home?"

"Not yet, Daniel." Sam leaned close to speak into his ear. "The colonel and Teal'c'll be back soon."

"Sam?" Daniel opened eyes that weren't quite focusing on anything or anyone. "Sam? You here?"

"I'm here, Daniel," Sam reassured him, smiling down as she wiped at his face with a damp bandana. "The others went to get help, remember?" She looked at her watch. One hour and forty-five minutes. Surely they were on their way back with help by now. Sam's stomach gave another lurch of fear. What if they'd been delayed? What if the Gate malfunctioned? What if...what if? She turned her eyes back on Daniel, not liking the pallor of his skin or his confusion.

"Ummm." Daniel frowned, obviously having no memory of any earlier conversation. "Sam? I'm tired."

"I know, Daniel. But I really, really, need you to stay awake for a little bit, okay?" Sam tapped on his cheek with a finger and got a brief smile and a dazed look.

"I will," Daniel promised. "My head hurts. Sam, why does my head hurt?"

"You kinda got a little knock on it, Daniel." Sam caught the hand that was drifting up to rub at his forehead. "I think you've got a concussion."

"Oh," Daniel murmured. His eyes closed briefly. "Don't worry, Sam. I'm staying awake. Just the light's hurting my eyes."

Sam placed the damp bandana over his eyes and let her hand rest on his hair. "Feel better?"

"Mmm-hmm." Daniel sighed. "Better."

"Daniel," Sam said sharply when he appeared to be drifting from her. "Stay with me. How about you give me a number?"

"A number?" Daniel pulled the bandana from his eyes and managed to focus on her for a moment. "Um, forty eight? Is that right?"

"Uh, I was thinking more of the 'Dr. Janet Frasier one to ten on the pain scale' numbers." Sam almost laughed but forced herself not to. She knew that if she started, if she gave in to the laughter just under the surface that tears would come, and she'd lose the thin control she had over the situation.

"Okay," Daniel's voice appeared to be a little stronger. "About a five as concussions go. But I can't really remember what happened."

"That's fine, Daniel. Don't worry about it." Sam patted his shoulder. "But I really would like you to try to stay awake for awhile." "Where are Jack and Teal'c?" Daniel asked again.

"They went for help," Sam said, hoping she sounded sufficiently optimistic. "They're probably on their way back right now."

"Yeah, yeah," Daniel muttered. "I'm feeling better now, Sam. We can meet them. They shouldn't have to walk all the way back here." Daniel started to try to sit up.

"NO!" Sam shouted, putting both her hands on his shoulders forcing him to lie still. "Don't move, Daniel."

Daniel was looking at her as if she'd suddenly grown another head. "What's wrong with you, Sam? I've had concussions before." He pushed at one of her hands with his.

"I said lie still, Daniel. I meant it." Sam dug her fingers into his shoulder regretting the wince he gave at the pressure. Dammit, it was her fault Daniel was lying here, she wasn't going to screw up anymore.

"Sam?" Daniel gave up trying to remove her hand and kept his voice calm.

"Sam, um, could you let up on that shoulder? Please?"

Sam removed her hand as if the soft plea had burnt her. "Sorry, Daniel. It's just...Just stay still, okay?"

"Okay," Daniel agreed. "But I still don't see why..." Daniel gave a sigh that would have had the colonel jumping to do his bidding. "I'd feel better if I could turn over a little. Feels likes there's a boulder under my ribs."He tried to shift just a little.

Sam saw the exact moment that Daniel realized what was going on. Suddenly, Daniel's hand was seeking hers and it latched onto her forearm before she could grab it. He was looking at her with fear-filled eyes. "Sam," his voice was rising, "Sam, why can't I feel my legs?" His grip grew painful.

"Daniel," Sam covered the hand tightened on her forearm with her own, trying to calm his fear while her own was raging. "Daniel, it's going to be alright. You're going to be fine."

Daniel smiled sadly at her. "You don't believe that." He closed his eyes again. "I need to rest, Sam." His voice was a mere thread of its usual vibrancy.

Sam let go of the breath she was holding as Daniel's hand loosened its grip. She didn't believe it. Daniel was right. This time she didn't believe that everything would be alright,and now Daniel was going to give up and not fight. Sam reached out a hand that wouldn't stop shaking and held on to Daniel's. There was a brief squeeze and then his hand lay lax in hers. She placed his hand by his side and moved on her hands and knees to Daniel's legs. There was no reaction as she placed her hand over his foot, checking to see that the toes were still warm. "Oh God," she whispered. "Oh God." She looked to the horizon, to the direction of the Gate. "Please come soon. Please come for us soon. Daniel needs help. I don't know what to do for him. I don't know what to do."

She glanced at the darkening sky and crawled back up to Daniel's head. Sam placed her hand back on his face, letting her fingers trace over his nose, his closed eyes. "Don't leave me, too, Daniel. Stay with me. They're coming soon, I promise." Sam shivered at a clap of thunder. Had to keep Daniel warm. She stood up, dusted off her fatigues and set to work figuring out how to put up a tent around a man she couldn't move, glad she had a reason for action. This was a problem she could solve. At least, if she kept herself busy, she wouldn't have to think about all the things she couldn't control.

"Samantha?" Sam looked up from her computer screen at the deep voice.

"Oh, hi, Teal'c." She rubbed at her temples, another headache beginning. "I was just finishing running some tests. Did you need something?"

"DanielJackson has been asking for you. Dr. Frasier believes it would help if you were to visit him." Teal'c moved closer, causing Sam to scoot back in her chair. "Are you avoiding him, Samantha?"

She tore her gaze away from Teal'c and tried to focus on the monitor once more, but the numbers were blurring before her eyes. She rubbed at them impatiently as if that would take away her exhaustion. "Of course I'm not avoiding him, Teal'c. I had work to do. Important work," she lied.

"More important than visiting a fallen comrade?" Teal'c asked.

Sam swallowed hard against the sudden lump in her throat. "You don't understand," she choked out.

"DanielJackson does not understand. I do." Teal'c said. "Dr. Frasier sent me to retrieve you. You will accompany me to the infirmary, SamanthaCarter."

Sam bit her lip to hold back a sob trying to bubble its way to the surface. She gave one last look at her monitor, at the numbers scrolling their way across the screen. Numbers were safe, numbers didn't lie, numbers didn't fail their friends. Pushing away from the desk she stood up, closing her eyes against a brief spell of dizziness. 'Well, what did you expect? Not sleeping, not eating,' her own disgusted voice sounded in her head. She took one step away from the desk and felt a burning in her throat. Her legs felt heavy, there was an ocean roar echoing in her ears and Teal'c's strong arms were around her. His voice was distant. "Samantha, Samantha," a voice was calling, but Sam had long ago lost the desire to listen to it.

"Well, glad to see you're back with us, Sam," Janet Frasier said as Sam opened her eyes in the familiar setting of the infirmary.

Sam threw her arm over her eyes. "I fainted?"

"Yes, you did. I think you gave Teal'c quite a scare." Janet smiled and pulled Sam's arm away from her face. Janet perched on the side of the bed. "You've been asleep for most of the day."

Sam turned away, feeling the heat of embarrassment on her cheeks.

"Want to talk about it?" Janet asked softly.

Sam shook her head. What she wanted was to go home, pull the covers over her head and hide. Or lock herself in her lab and find some obscure problem of Gate technology to work on until everyone forgot her existence.

"That wasn't really a request, Sam." Janet continued. "Talk to me. Not as your doctor, but as your friend."

Sam let out a shuddering sigh and closed her eyes a second. Just enough time to put the emotion to the back burner, just enough time to become an objective scientist.

"It was my idea, Janet," Sam whispered. "My idea to explore that area. Colonel O'Neill was saying that we should head back to the Gate. I asked him for just a few more hours and then Daniel volunteered to help while the colonel and Teal'c broke down camp."

"Are you telling me that Daniel's never asked for more time to explore?"

Janet smiled. "I've heard Colonel O'Neill's complaints about that often enough, believe me."

Sam smiled in spite of herself, hearing the colonel's grumblings while he waited for Daniel to finish just one more rubbing, catalogue just one more artifact, and now what if her stupidity had caused Daniel to no longer be able to do the job he loved. She clenched her hand around the edge of the blanket that covered her.

"I should have realized the ground was unstable," Sam said, still staring at the blanket. They really should get some different colors in here, soothing colors, bright colors. She thought of the old afghan she had at home, one her mother had made her the year before the accident.

"Sam," Janet placed a finger on Sam's chin, forcing her to look up, "I think the only person who's blaming you for what happened on P4R-995 is you."

"Daniel could have died, Janet," Sam blurted out. "He might be sitting in a wheelchair the rest of his life.Tell me that I'm supposed to feel no blame."

"Oh," Sam heard Janet say in a soft exhalation. "Oh, Sam." Janet got off the bed and suddenly the blanket was pulled away. "Get up, Sam."

Sam frowned at Janet. The understanding friend of the last few moments was being quickly replaced by the Janet Frasier Colonel O'Neill called 'Napoleon Frasier' when he was absolutely sure the doctor was nowhere in earshot.

"Now, you listen to me, Sam Carter, Daniel is going to be fine. He's going to need some intensive rehab, but he is going to be fine." The last words were accompanied by jabs of a finger perilously close to Sam's nose. "I swear, none of SG-1 ever listens to a word I say. Did you listen to anything I told you and the colonel and Teal'c after Daniel's surgery?"

Had she? Sam really couldn't remember. All she did remember after the colonel and Teal'c had come with the medics and Dr. Warner was Colonel O'Neill telling her that she'd done a good job keeping Daniel dry. She remembered walking to the Gate with Teal'c by her side and feeling his warmth as he moved to keep the wind from hitting her. She remembered the mud pulling at her boots and thinking about a hot, hot shower. And she remembered the look in Daniel's eyes as he caught sight of the colonel and his anxious "Jack." The colonel had cupped a hand on Daniel's head and bent low, murmuring some type of reassurance. Whatever the colonel had said had relaxed Daniel because the fear that had been there since Daniel had realized he couldn't move his legs had dissipated. He'd given a smile to the colonel, the one that Sam recognized as reserved just for Colonel O'Neill. She remembered debriefing with General Hammond and Colonel O'Neill watching the clock mentally counting the hours Daniel had been in surgery. Sam remembered meeting with Janet and Dr. Warner, but she couldn't remember the whole conversation. She remembered hearing words like paralysis and spinal shock and rehab and wanting desperately to run to her lab and bury herself in numbers. She was a scientist. She wanted facts and figures that were certainties, not possibilities.

"Sam?" Janet's hand was on her arm. She smiled when Sam looked at her. "I want you to come with me."

"Where are we going?" Sam asked, her mouth dry. She already knew Janet was going to take her to one of the small private rooms in the infirmary. 'I can do this,' she told herself firmly. 'I can get through this. Soldiers don't cry, remember Sammy girl?'

Daniel looked up from the book he was reading when Sam entered the room with Janet. His face broke into a sweet smile. "Sam." He kept his voice low in deference to the man who lay sleeping on a small cot beside him. "Where have you been? I've been asking and asking. I thought maybe you were hurt too. I really couldn't remember."

"No, Daniel," Sam said, her voice sounding shaky to her own ears, but Daniel didn't seem to notice anything out of the ordinary. She heard the door click closed behind her as Janet left them alone.

"So," they both said at the same time and they both laughed. Daniel putting a finger to his lips as Jack stirred slightly at the noise.

"Janet's been trying to get him to go home for the past three days," Daniel whispered fondly, looking over at the colonel. "He really needs to get some rest."

"I don't believe you, Daniel." Sam shook her head. "You're the one lying here hurt and you're worried about everyone else."

Daniel shrugged. "I care about you, Sam. I care about all of you." His voice cracked slightly.

"And you love him," Sam whispered as she gestured at Jack.

Daniel's face reddened slightly. He seemed to develop an intense interest in the ceiling tiles.

"Daniel, I'm sorry. That was out of line," Sam apologized, her own voice starting to echo the cracking in Daniel's.

"You and Teal'c have known for awhile, huh?" Daniel finally looked back at her with a small smile.

Sam nodded. "Teal'c actually figured it out before I did. Do you mind?"

"That you know?" Daniel shook his head. "Jack actually had a bet with me on who figured it out first. I hope it was Teal'c."

Sam laughed. "It was." She grinned at Daniel's expression. "I guess that means you win."

The room grew silent then, the small talk over. Sam stood by Daniel's bed, trying hard not to glance back at the door and escape.

"I don't blame you, Sam." Daniel said, reaching out his hand and tugging lightly on her wrist to draw her closer. "It was just an accident and everything is going to be fine. Maybe not right away, but it..I will be fine. Janet said so."

"And who would argue with her," Sam finished for him.

"Look," Daniel was saying and shaking her wrist just a little. "Sam, look." His voice held wonder and a note of pride. "I've been doing it off and on all day."

Sam studied him in confusion and then followed his gaze down to his feet. She pulled her wrist out of his loose grasp and moved to the foot of the bed. Sam reached out a trembling hand and froze, looking up to see Daniel nod. She pulled the blanket back exposing his feet and watched him wiggle his toes.

"Daniel?" Sam laughed and watched as he did it again. "Oh God, Daniel. I..." And the laughter that had been bubbling from her seconds before changed to sobs. Huge gulping sobs that she couldn't control. Sam was vaguely aware of Daniel's voice calling her name in alarm and then another voice, Colonel

O'Neill's the sane part of her brain supplied the name, barking for her to 'Stop crying dammit.' Daniel's voice yelling not at her but at the colonel saying something about letting Sam cry if she wanted to. For her part, Sam just gave in to her legs deciding to fold under her and slid down to lean against Daniel's bed. The yelling was continuing with Daniel sounding increasingly distressed and Colonel O'Neill sounding more and more frustrated.

"Calm down," another voice said, a Dr. Janet Frasier voice. Sam giggled despite the sobs that weren't stopping.

'I'm trying, Janet,' Sam thought. She let her head rest against the cool metal of the bed frame.

"Samantha," that was another voice she recognized, a voice that had provided comfort in more situations than she could count on her two hands. Teal'c's hands came into view, helping her to stand. A tissue wiped at her face, and she stood leaning against Teal'c trusting him to keep her standing even when her legs felt as if they couldn't hold her anymore.

Sam gave a small hiccup. She always got hiccups when she cried. She hated crying. She leaned into Teal'c and slowly tuned in to the conversation taking place around her.

"No, I want you to go home, now, Jack." Daniel was using his reasonable tone. The colonel always fell for it too. "Please, Jack." Now the polite pleading. "I'll feel better if I know you're getting a good night's rest away from all this." God, even the concerned tone. The colonel was dead meat, Sam knew.

She opened slightly swollen eyes to see Colonel O'Neill give a huge sigh. The martyr one. He placed a hand over Daniel's. "You sure?" he asked in a low voice.

Daniel smiled up at him. "I'm sure, Jack." He twisted his hand in Jack's to give it a gentle squeeze. "Besides, I'm going to have company tonight."

"Yeah, I know, Danny," Colonel O'Neill whispered just loud enough for the others to hear. "See you tomorrow morning."

"Tomorrow afternoon, Colonel." Janet corrected.

Sam held her breath as the colonel came closer. He pulled her into a rough hug. "You take good care of him for me, Carter."

Sam stood stunned as the colonel left the room with Janet. "Take care?" she squeaked.

Daniel was looking at her. "Sam, come over here." He was gesturing at the cot that the colonel had been sleeping on. She felt Teal'c give her a gentle push in that direction.

"Now, sit down," Daniel ordered.

"Yes, sir," Sam couldn't resist saying. She really was glad to be sitting again. Her legs still felt rubbery. She leaned forward to touch Daniel's arm and felt his warm hand cover hers. "I will remain outside your door in case you require my assistance, DanielJackson, Samantha Carter." Teal'c nodded at both of them and left the room to settle on a chair placed by the door.

"Daniel?" Sam asked. "What do you want from me?"

"I want to talk, Sam." Daniel patted her hand. "I want us to talk, for you to let go of the guilt, and for you to not be afraid."

Sam sighed. "That's a lot, Daniel."

Daniel nodded solemnly. "I know, Sam. I'm not going anywhere. We have plenty of time."

Sam looked at the hand covering hers. The hand of an artist, strong, gentle. She looked into Daniel's face, saw the love and affection in his eyes, and took a deep breath before beginning. " I keep thinking that I should have known the ground was unstable."

Daniel's hand remained on hers, his eyes remained fixed on her face. With Daniel, she realized, she didn't have to be a soldier or a scientist or a daughter to be of value. With Daniel, she only had to be herself.

FINIS
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babs, 2002.
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Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. These stories are for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. These stories may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author. Copyright on images remains with the above named rightsholders.
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