Title: Dying to Live
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 23 June 2009
Fandom: Stargate SG1
Word Count: 2447
Summary: Sam deals with the grief of Vala's death.
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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Author's Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and all of its characters are property of Gekko & MGM. I only borrow them for fanfiction.
Author's Note: This fic is slightly AU. And special thanks to phpishy for the beta.
She watched as the Stargate turned, each chevron locking into its respective place, but with each empty sound she felt even more hollow than before. The wave billowed before her, pulling back to form the shimmering event horizon, out of which stepped a familiar man. She tried to smile, but managed only a slight twitch of affection for her father and the symbiote that shared his body.
“Sammy,” Jacob Carter greeted her, his face sad as he pulled his only daughter into a hug.
Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter drew in a deep breath, willing herself not to cry as she clung to the man, her fingers tightening on the soft fabric of his tunic. “Hi, Dad,” she managed to reply softly as they pulled away, a small but genuine smile finding its way onto her face. “Shall we go?”
He nodded and shifted so that his arm draped around her shoulders as they left the Gate Room, providing what little comfort he could.
“So what happened?” he asked once they were in the safety of her Volvo, driving the slick streets to her house.
This time a tear did streak from her vividly blue eye, uninhibited. She shook her head. “I don't know, exactly. One minute she was fine and the next she was horribly sick.” She took one deep, rattling breath before she continued, “And then she was gone. I was completely helpless, just like...” she stopped suddenly, the tears renewing themselves in her already damp eyes.
Jacob reached a hand over and squeezed her shoulder lightly. He glanced out the rain streaked windshield and finished her thought. “Just like Janet,” he whispered softly, his voice barely audible over the storm that pounded against her car.
She nodded, the tears in full force now as she pulled over in front of her house, stopping the car and collapsing against the steering wheel. If she was honest with herself, she never truly stopped grieving for her loss with Janet. Even with Cassie away at school, the reminders were everywhere. Their house, the base, even SG1 reminded Sam of the hole that had formed in her heart since the doctor had died.
And maybe that had been why she had been so eager to accept the job at Area 51. It took her away from everything that reminded her of the love she had had before it was ripped away. From the outside, it seemed so simple to help Cassie, to be closer to the girl she had helped raise, but she knew better and she knew Cassie did, too. They were both still hurting, but neither one was ready to do anything about it.
Returning to the SGC was the hardest thing Sam had ever done. It was as if her time at Area 51 had deadened her inside and instead of the pain she had expected to feel upon her return, it was replaced with a dull emptiness. And that hollow shell she had become remained for almost a year as she went about her job, did what was required of her and didn't feel a damn thing about the world she was so expertly saving.
That was, until, the unthinkable happened. Someone broke the shell. Someone had been so willing to take the time and effort to chip away at the tough exterior she had built around herself that she finally made her way into Sam's heart. Someone Sam had never expected.
She could remember the first moment she laid eyes on the alien spitfire. Of course she had heard all about Vala from Daniel, but meeting her was another matter entirely. Sam had never met another person quite like her. The woman was outspoken, defiant and downright gorgeous. And there was something in Sam that liked her right from the start, even if her closest friend couldn't stand to be around the raven haired woman. Then they had lost her, or so they thought. Even on that day, Sam had felt a twinge of sadness when she heard Vala wasn't coming back.
When she did finally return, it was as a different woman. Something had changed in her, changed so dramatically that even Daniel took notice. Sure, there was still the over-bloated self confidence act, but there was something deeper now, something Vala had never shown before. Maybe it was due to all the things she had been through, being tortured and forced to deliver what could only be considered an anti-Christ of a child.
Maybe that's when Sam finally let her guard down, when she realized Vala was just as hurt and wounded as she was. She had allowed an uneasy friendship to develop between them and why not? They were spending a lot of time to together at work, they may as well be friendly outside of it.
The day Vala kissed her for the first time, Sam thought she was going to come apart at the seams. Sure, Janet had kissed her, but not very often like this and not for their first kiss. They were standing on Sam's doorstep, Sam looking for her keys and Vala babbling on about how she had read something about human traditions and first kisses and suddenly the brunette was kissing her.
Sam had dropped her keys, stunned and froze in place as the other woman continued to assault her lips, unashamed and unapologetically. It took a minute, but soon Sam returned the pressure, allowing her eyes to slip closed and her mouth to open, welcoming the tongue that slipped inside to dance with her own. They had barely made it to the bedroom that night, tangled in each other's arms as Sam fumbled with keys and doors before they finally fell onto the bed.
Obviously they had kept their relationship a secret from the guys. Sam hadn't told them about Janet and she sure as hell wasn't going to tell them about sleeping with Vala. At first she wasn't sure if Vala wanted anything more than just a night of sex, but as time went on and the one night became several, it became apparent that the woman was after more than just carnal pleasures.
If only Sam had seen this coming, if only she could have somehow prepared herself for the inevitable. After all, she was Sam Carter and no one who fell for her seemed to have a long and healthy life.
It barely registered when her father handed her a steaming cup of coffee. She didn't remember walking from the car to the house, but apparently she had. Now they were sitting in her living room in front of a roaring fire, the tears still wet on her cheeks. Taking a deep, calming breath, she raised the coffee to her lips and breathed deeply before swallowing.
“Thanks, Dad,” she managed to say as he sat down beside her, his own mug filled with tea.
He smiled sadly and nodded. “Sure, Sammy. Anything you need.
Anything you need. Vala had said the same thing a few days ago. They had been sitting on the bed upstairs, Sam with a computer in her lap and Vala cross-legged with playing cards strewn on the comforter before her. The alien woman had never really learned any human games, but insisted on inventing her own. This one seemed to be a variation of solitaire, but Sam wasn't paying enough attention to figure it out.
“You know, Samantha,” Vala had said, drawling the name as she loved to do when she wanted something, “We should go away together.
Sam's fingers paused on the keyboard. “What? Like a vacation?
Vala shrugged and placed another card on the bedspread. “I would like that.”
“We could do that,” Sam replied with a small smile. “Where would you like to go?”
The alien woman flashed a goofy grin in the scientist's direction. “Someplace tropical.”
“Why? So we can walk around in skimpy little bathing suits all the time?” Sam teased, sensing where this was going. She quickly saved her work and closed the laptop, placing it on the bedside table.
Vala's eyebrows shot up in mock surprise. “Who says we have to wear anything at all?” she asked, her tongue snaking out ever so seductively.
Sam laughed and tackled her, cards flying everywhere as she pressed her lips firmly to Vala's, rolling the woman onto her back. “That could be arranged,” she replied softly, grinning wickedly at the woman beneath her. She stole a look behind them to the handcuffs hanging on the bedpost and bit her lip softly. “Would you?” she asked, glancing back to Vala.
“Anything you need,” Vala replied, reaching up to kiss Sam again.
“Did Dr. Lam ever figure out what was wrong with her?” Jacob asked, taking another sip of his tea.
Sam nodded dully, placing her mug on the coffee table and fixing her gaze on the fire. “Yeah, apparently it was something little, something that if she had been from Earth would have simply made her sick for a few days.” Sam shrugged, another tear slipping down her cheek. “I can't help but think that maybe I gave it to her somehow.
Jacob shook his head and scooted closer on the couch, his hand falling onto her arm in a comforting gesture. “Don't think like that, Sam. You'll drive yourself crazy.
She finally looked at him, seeing the compassion in his eyes and knowing in that moment that even though she had never told this man about what Janet or Vala had really meant to her, he knew. Somehow he had always known and chosen to remain silent. Smiling sadly, she leaned into her father's embrace, letting the tears fall once again.
She raised the phone to her ear and answered softly, “Carter.” Her father was in the kitchen, poking his head into the refrigerator to see if there was any leftovers to heat up.
“Colonel Carter, I believe you should return to base,” the voice of Dr. Lam greeted her on the other end.
She sat up straight. “Why? What's wrong?” she asked, fearing someone else had become sick with whatever Vala had contracted.
“Nothing's wrong, I just think you really should see this,” came the response.
Internal debates waged for a minute. On the one hand, Dr. Lam wasn't military and couldn't order her back to the base. On the other, if the woman decided to push, she did have some sort of clout being head of the SGC infirmary. Sam decided to protest in the easiest way she knew how, “Can't it wait? My father is visiting and I rarely get to see him.”
There was silence for a minute in which Sam thought she could hear someone talking in the background. Probably just a nurse, she reasoned. “It can wait,” Dr. Lam finally responded. “But I really think you're going to want to come see this. It's up to you, Colonel.
Sam sighed and threw a glance in the direction of the kitchen. “Fine,” she replied, standing and wiping away tears, mentally telling herself to go splash cold water on her face. “I'll be there as soon as I can,” she said.
Carolyn Lam watched with trepidation as the second in command of SG1 marched into the infirmary, the look on the blonde's face not one the doctor had seen before or wanted to see again. It was obvious the woman was angry, probably due to the situation and yes, Carolyn's role in all of it. This was not going to be easy.
“Colonel Carter,” the doctor called to the woman. Carolyn fought the urge to cringe when Sam's eyes locked with her own. “Thank you for coming so quickly.
Sam crossed her arms over her chest. “What's this about, doctor?”
Carolyn grimaced and pulled the chart in her arms to her chest, fixing Sam with a glare akin to ones Janet used to give her. “Well, if you'd stop being so hostile, I'll show you.
She brushed by Sam's arm before the woman could respond and kept walking. Sighing, Sam dropped her arms and followed the doctor to a bed that was shrouded by a white curtain. Turning to Sam, Carolyn raised her eyebrows and shook her head.
Grasping the white material, she thrust it aside, revealing a not so empty bed. In fact, it was occupied by a very familiar dark haired woman, who was currently grinning from ear to ear. She seemed to be glowing at the sight of Sam, every part of her exuding with happiness.
“You didn't think I would really leave you all by your lonesome, did you, Samantha?” Vala asked, drawing out the name again.
Sam gaped at the woman, her mouth dropping and her eyes growing wide as her brain tried to grasp the reality before her. “But....” Sam started, switching her gaze to the doctor, her eyes searching for an explanation.
Carolyn shrugged. “Her alien physiology is still foreign to us. Apparently it has some sort of fail safe that shuts everything down in order to heal itself. We thought she was dead.
“So....you're saying she never died,” Sam said, once again turning to look at the woman on the bed. A small smile began to form on her face as she gazed upon a face she never thought she would see light up again. “You're alive,” she repeated, her hand reaching out and tentatively squeezing Vala's.
Vala nodded excitedly. “Yes, I am,” she replied, leaning forward. “And I can show you how very much alive later,” she whispered in Sam's ear, which caused the scientist's face to turn several shades of red.
Both women were suddenly aware of someone clearing a throat. They pulled back in time to see Carolyn's sneaky grin before she thrust the curtain back into place, leaving the two women relatively alone. They could still hear her chuckle as she walked away.
Crawling into the bed beside Vala, Sam captured the woman's lips with her own, pulling Vala toward her so every part of them was touching. When they finally pulled apart, Sam laid her forehead on Vala's and breathed deeply the scent that was distinctly hers. Her fingers found Vala's face, stroking warm skin and threading themselves in the long locks of dark hair.
When she had lost Janet, Sam thought she could never love again. But this, this hadn't been planned. This, Sam thought as she dipped her head down to once again press her lips to Vala's, this was different. Different and yet decidedly similar.
“I love you,” she breathed against warm lips.
Vala smiled, kissing Sam soundly. “I know,” she answered seductively. “And I think you'll be saying it more later.