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Life Goes On

Life Goes On
Author: jackwabbit                               Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Rated: R (adult themes)                       Category: Sam Angst, S/J, Sam/Martouf, Martouf/Jolinar, Team
Season: Four                                       Spoilers: Divide and Conquer (Not What You Think!)
Summary: Sam Is In A Very Dark Place After The Death of Martouf. 


The man was begging. As his lips struggled to form a single word, his eyes pleaded for someone to help him.

No. Not someone.


He rasped out her name and she did the only thing she could do.

As the blue lightning played across the man's body, a part of her soul screamed out in terror and pain. It felt as though someone had reached a fist inside her abdomen, opened it, and grabbed a handful of flesh before yanking it back out again. A part of her died. It was gone, missing forever. In its place was only a grief and a guilt so profound it couldn't even be described.


Samantha Carter sat bolt upright in bed, eyes wide with terror. She was awake, but the images from her nightmare stayed with her, persisting in her vision.

Every night it was the same.




A bizarre love triangle that had ended tragically for all involved. They had each suffered in their own ways, but death had mercifully taken two of them to where it could hurt no more.

Only one remained, and she was utterly and completely alone.

Sam sat dead still for a long time. Only her deep breathing and trembling hands gave away the fact that she was, in fact, alive, and not a statue cut from stone. It wasn't until a cold chill suddenly ran down her spine that she shook herself from her trance.

As Martouf's tortured face dissolved from her vision and was slowly replaced by familiar images of her bedroom, Sam ran a hand down her sweat soaked face and then back up over her head. As her hand rested on the back of her neck, Sam sighed and rubbed absently at a sore spot on one shoulder. She turned her head to better reach the stiff muscle, and as she did, her eyes fell upon the bottle of sedatives Janet had given her the other day. Sam snorted in disgust at the sight.

It angered her that Janet thought she wouldn't be able to handle this on her own. Carter had tried to refuse the drugs, but the SGC's CMO had merely given her friend a knowing look and pushed the bottle into her hands.

"Just in case," Janet had said.

‘Just in case, indeed,' thought Sam. A sad smile played across her face as she wondered what Janet would think if she knew that Sam hadn't taken a single dose of the sleeping pills.

Sam simply thought that she didn't need a single dose.

Taking the whole bottle, though, now that was another story entirely.

As Sam's thoughts turned down that dark road for what seemed like the thousandth time since Martouf's death at her own hand two weeks ago, her fingers involuntarily reached for the full bottle, and she began turning it over from palm to palm, thinking and trying not to feel.

Not to feel.

God, what Major Samantha Carter wouldn't have given for that ability.

The pills rattled in the bottle as Sam toyed with the prescription, and the sound was loud and harsh in the still night air.

It hurt Sam's ears.

With a sudden pang of frustration, Sam clenched the bottle tightly in her hand for a second before sending it flying across the room with a gut-wrenching yell. As the bottle smashed into a wall, the lid cracked and then snapped off. Pills flew everywhere. For a half second, time seemed to stop, and small white tablets stood out like snowflakes falling softly through the air before they abruptly crashed to the floor.

As the rattling sound of pills rolling around echoed too loudly in the room, Sam didn't notice. Her mind transported her to another place and time.



It had been snowing.

He had run and frolicked like a schoolboy.

She had run after him. She had laughed.

The snow fell all around, blanketing the ground in white, slowly obliterating the traces of their games. As the day went on, the snow fell heavier, and finally the pair had taken shelter under the leaves of a broad tree. As they slowed in their fun, it was the most natural thing in the world to hold onto one another. The kiss surprised her at first, but it was only the start of a relationship that never faltered in its devotion over many years.

Jolinar and Martouf.

They had been happy together.


Sam shook her head roughly, and the memory that was not her own fled. It didn't matter if Jolinar and Martouf had been happy.

Because now they were dead.

Both of them.

Sam's brain screamed at her that it was her fault. Nothing could turn off the pain.

Her soul was shattered into a million pieces.

She ached, deep in her being, for Jolinar. And for Martouf. And for herself.

Sam had been forced to kill Martouf, and losing someone she considered a friend in such a tragic way was bad enough, but when the bittersweet memories of Jolinar's time with him were added to her own grief, Sam felt like she would be crushed by the weight of her burden. The fact that sometimes Sam still couldn't separate her thoughts from Jolinar's ate at her gut like a constant drip of acid, slowly disintegrating her from the inside out.

Tears began to flow freely down Sam’s face, and she wiped them away angrily with the back of one hand. She flopped backwards on the bed to lay staring at the ceiling, and wondered if she would ever get past this.

She was tired of fondling a bottle of sedatives every night. She was tired of crying. She was tired of the nightmares and the confusing feelings. She was tired of her friends trying to help and offering to talk, when all she wanted was to be alone.

Sam cried, silently, for a long time, but finally no more tears would come, and Samantha Carter's body decided her next move for her, as it dropped suddenly into an utterly exhausted but not very restful sleep.


The next morning, as Major Carter hurried into the briefing room fifteen minutes late for the next SG-1 mission briefing, Colonel Jack O'Neill looked up.

He looked up, and his brown eyes locked onto Carter's for a half second before blue looked quickly away. It was the briefest of contact, but it was all Jack needed to see into the soul of his 2IC. What he saw there, or rather didn't see, chilled him with its familiarity. Sam's eyes were dead. Lifeless. There was no spark of light in them. No hope. No joy. There was only pain and a distance that made her seem miles away. Jack had seen eyes like that way too many times in the mirror to not recognize them as what they were-a sign of a soul locking itself away, trying its best to shut everyone and everything out, as it attempted to repair damage too great to be processed alongside the everyday functions of life.

Jack knew that Sam was having a hard time dealing with the events surrounding the recent death of the Tok’ra operative Martouf-hell, he was, too-but he’d thought she was doing ok with it, all things considered. He’d thought she just needed a little more time to recover. Sam had brushed off any attempts at help in typical Carter fashion, and she was performing her job with her usual skill, so Jack hadn’t pushed her to talk or seek help. He thought the slumped shoulders and one word answers to questions would gradually fade away as she found her own way to deal with what she had been forced to do.

Now he knew he’d been wrong. Oh, so very wrong.

When the briefing concluded, Jack frowned and stood quickly, trying to catch his 2IC before she left. He failed to do so, but as Carter blew past him out the door, Jack caught the barest hint of a familiar odor on the air, and his brow furrowed as he frowned.

Jack opened his mouth as if to call Carter back, but thought better of it, and closed it again.

As Sam stormed off to prepare for their next mission, O’Neill turned and began to do the same.


Sam had started smoking again the night Martouf died. She’d fled the mountain as fast as possible when all the mess had been mostly sorted out. She had needed to be alone for a while. She’d felt a need to try to process everything on her own.

So she’d driven the extra long way home, thinking and rationalizing and mostly just driving for most of the night. As her fuel ran low, she’d stopped at a small station to fill up. Typical to her luck, the credit card machine had been broken on the pump. After waving to the attendant, who’d allowed her to pump her gas without prepayment, Sam had headed into the store to pay.

The cigarettes were behind the counter. She’d had no intention of buying them. She hadn't done so in ten years, so the idea of doing it now seemed asinine in the extreme.

Samantha Carter was smart. Too smart to do something so dumb.


"You need anything else, miss?"

Apparently Sam wasn’t as bright as she thought. She’d found herself responding to the clerk before she even knew it.

"Yeah. A pack of Winston Lights."

Her old friends were soon delivered, and Sam had bitterly thought about how shocked everyone at the SGC would be if they knew that perfect little Major Carter was about to light up a smoke. How shocked they would be to discover that in her younger days, Sam Carter hadn’t exactly been the picture of healthy living that she was now, and that cigarettes were one of the milder tortures she had forced her body to endure in order to go days without sleep to get a project done or just to escape from the life of perfection she had expected herself to lead.

She’d never done anything too hard, but nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, bad boys and bad toys had gotten Sam through a period of her life that she tried her best to forget.

That was how she’d ended up with Hanson, for crying out loud.

She hadn’t been lying when she told Daniel she had always been attracted to the lunatic fringe.


Hell, she had been the lunatic fringe.

So, while the first one tasted like crap and made Carter cough more than a few times, she smoked her cigarettes anyway, and after the first, it was surprisingly easy to pick the habit up right where she’d left off.

There was something familiar about smoking, and at a time when everything in her world was upside down, it was one thing that made Sam feel like Sam. Not Major Carter, not some twisted version of an alien named Jolinar, but just Sam.


As Sam readied herself for SG-1’s mission now, she desperately wanted a cigarette, but she pushed the desire away. Smoking was frowned upon by the Air Force, so Sam kept her habit to herself, and only smoked before bed and when she got up in the morning, but it was enough. A quiet evening relaxation smoke and a quick wake-me-up were all she needed. She planned to keep it that way. Hell, she even thought she’d quit again when she got over Martouf.


There was that name again.

No matter where she turned, Sam could not escape him.

Every day she tried her best to ignore him, and today was no exception. She’d get through this mission, like she had the handful of others since Martouf’s death, and she’d move on.

No one had to know about the demons that haunted her.

Sam was strong, and held herself to a standard so high that it wouldn’t allow her to accept anyone’s help. She would get through this, somehow, come hell or high water.


SG-1 was assembled in the gateroom for a trip to a planet designated P7L-968 for a simple recon and exploration mission, and everything seemed perfectly normal. Only an astute observer would have noticed the jittery movements of the female member of the team and the uncomfortable glances the tall leader kept shooting her way.

Daniel Jackson was an astute observer.

“Sam, you ok?”

Carter’s response was gruff.

“I’m fine.”

The look on Daniel’s face said he clearly didn’t believe his friend, but he just shrugged and picked up his pack with a slight roll of his eyes. If Jack and Sam were having some sort of argument, which he suspected was the case, it wasn’t his place to interfere.

As the wormhole stabilized, SG-1 walked up the ramp like they had done countless times before, and left on another mission, completely oblivious to the fact that while this one would be routine, it would be nothing but boring.


P7L-968 was a paradise. While there was nothing in the vicinity of the Stargate to indicate settlements or even previous occupants, the planet was beautiful. Tall trees provided shade for the travelers as they scouted the area, and fresh water flowed through innumerable creeks, streams, and brooks around them, making the air ripe with their relaxing noise.

Birds sang high in the trees, and small creatures similar to squirrels darted in and out of the brush on either side of the team. The animals didn’t seem to be overly frightened of the intruders, and the travelers felt as if they had stepped back in time, into a land where humans (and Jaffa) had yet to give the natural world reasons to fear them.

Daniel, as always, was the first to remark on the phenomenon.

“I think we may be the first humanoids to set foot on this planet in a very long time.”

Jack responded with his usual sarcasm. “Ya think?”

Carter backed Daniel up. “Well, sir, it does appear that the indigenous lifeforms have very little fear of us. I think Daniel’s right.”

The large Jaffa in the party also agreed. “Indeed.”

Jack nodded, unable to refute the evidence right in front of him, as another ‘squirrel’ darted out in front of the group and stopped to look at them for a moment before running off again. The colonel smiled at the sight, and the group continued to explore the forest.

They hiked for a while, making their way to the large clearing the UAV had recorded about five clicks from the gate. Carter had seen some anomalous readings in the UAV thermal imaging data, and she suspected that the area might be rich in mineral deposits. Since an uninhabited planet would be the perfect place to gather naquadah, it was SG-1’s job today to determine if there was any to be had there.

When the team arrived at their destination, the sun was already getting low on the horizon. Days were apparently shorter in reality here than their projections had predicted. As Jack O'Neill surveyed the clearing, he made a snap decision.

"Alright. Set up camp."

Sam wasn’t sure she’d heard her CO correctly. "Sir?"

"You can do your mineral survey in the morning, Carter. It's getting dark, and although this place seems pretty friendly, I'd rather not take any chances. We're not due back at the SGC until tomorrow night, so we'll camp here for now."

"Yes, sir."

After camp was set up, all four members of SG-1 dug in their packs for their dinners. As Jack eyed his MRE with distaste, he made a suggestion.

"Here's a thought. There's plenty of deadwood around here. Why don't we make a fire and make us a proper dinner?"

No one argued. They might only have canned food to eat, but warm canned food was certainly better than cold canned food, and energy bars only went so far on the satisfaction scale. Besides, a chill was starting to enter the air, and a fire would ward off the night wind.

It took only twenty minutes for the quartet to gather what they needed and build a pretty sizable fire.

As SG-1 sat around the product of their labor, it almost seemed as if this trip wasn't work. The planet around them was so peaceful and natural it was easy to forget that they weren't on Earth, enjoying a camping trip with friends. The only thing that forced the minds of the four travelers to accept that this was indeed a mission was their clothing, and the weapons that easily rested across the laps of all but one member of the group. Daniel's gun lay off to one side of his leg, but the others were at the ready in case of any change in their situation.

As dinner was prepared and eaten in relative silence, the fire slowly died down to a gentle, sedating flame, and even the three warriors began to join Daniel in relaxation. Quiet conversation about the planet, the recon information gathered here, the lifeforms they had encountered, and all manner of other things came easily to the team.

And then it happened.

The normalcy was shattered by a single, innocent question, and the undercurrent of damage that had been flowing just beneath the surface of this seemingly cohesive unit flashed into a raging rapid.

It was a natural enough question, asked by the one who always worried about such things, but the effects it had were far more profound than he could have expected. Daniel had mostly been just wondering out loud, but the words were out before he realized that his current company might not be the best for this particular musing.

"We haven’t heard from the Tok’ra in a while. I wonder how they’re doing after that whole Za'tarc business?"

If the fire had suddenly gone out and a blinding blizzard had sprung up on this beautiful night, it wouldn't have gotten colder than it did in the little circle of friends as Daniel's remark hit the ears of his teammates.

Jack's eyes blazed with a warning fire, and Teal'c managed to look a little admonishing and surprised at the same time, which was troublesome by itself, but it was Sam's reaction that worried everyone present the most.

Carter simply shut down. Her eyes frosted over with a coldness that was eerie to behold. Her very complexion changed, paling to a shade of white that didn't seem possible. Her body seemed to radiate a warning. ‘Don't touch me or you will regret it’ was written on her as plain as writing in a book.

It was dead quiet for a hundred heartbeats.

Teal'c finally broke the silence, as he often did at times like these. As Sam stared into the fire, Jack stared at Sam, and Daniel stared at the ground, Teal'c looked alternatively between each of his Tau'ri companions and then spoke.

"I am sure the Tok'ra are fine, Daniel Jackson. They are a strong race, much like the Tau'ri. They understand that sacrifices must be made in the battle to free this galaxy from the Goa'uld."

The last part of Teal’c’s statement was purposefully said while regarding Sam, but she didn't seem to notice. As the words floated across campsite, Sam stood suddenly.

"I'm tired. I'm going to bed. If you'll excuse me, sir?"

O'Neill nodded, a bit sadly, and Sam retired to her tent.

As sounds of sleeping bag zippers and tent flaps were added to the forest noises, Daniel lifted his head and sighed deeply. He scrubbed a hand over his face before speaking in a quiet voice.


Jack waved a hand in a gesture that clearly said 'don't worry about it' and Teal'c nodded once, both men indicating that they understood Daniel had meant no harm.

It was quiet around the dying fire for a long time after that, but finally Daniel again spoke up.

"Maybe someone should go talk to her."

As he spoke, Daniel gave his team leader a pointed look. When Jack failed to respond in any way and merely continued to stare into the slowly dying fire, Daniel heaved a huge sigh and stood.

"I'm going to bed."

Daniel departed then and a few minutes passed before Teal'c, too, spoke quietly.

"I believe it would be wise for me to patrol the perimeter a final time before we retire, O'Neill. I shall take me leave of you."

As the Jaffa left, Jack continued to stare straight ahead, the dancing firelight in front of him lighting his eyes with orange but revealing nothing that was hidden in their depths.

He sat that way for a long time, not moving from his cross-legged position.

After what seemed like forever, Jack stirred. His eyes closed, and a deep sigh escaped his chest. His shoulders slumped. He knew what the male members of his team had just done. Daniel and Teal'c had just hinted, in a not so subtle way, that Jack needed to deal with Sam. Teal’c’s little line about the ‘perimeter’ even let Jack know that watch was taken care of for the night, and that the Jaffa thought his team leader had more important things to do.

'Oh, that it were that simple,' thought Jack.

Jack was nervous and dreaded what he had to do, but he stood purposefully all the same, and crossed the distance to Carter's tent in three long strides.

As Jack approached the entry flap, his ears picked up a sound that he’d never thought he would hear. A soft sniffle could be heard inside the tent, and Jack's heart rent at the noise. He couldn't even imagine what Sam was going through. Jack didn’t even pretend to understand the whole Jolinar thing, but he did know that he thought it was brutally unfair that one person had to grieve for two, as it were.

O'Neill hesitated only a moment before lifting the tent flap and crawling halfway inside the tent.


"Go away."

It didn't even cross Jack's mind to correct his 2IC for her apparent insubordination. His response was heartfelt, and had nothing to do with his team.


"Sir, please."


As he denied her request a second time, O'Neill crawled the rest of the way into the tent, and although space was tight, he somehow managed to exist in the small area without touching Carter at all. He squirmed his way in to lay quietly beside her, and merely waited.

He didn't have to wait long.

Jack stared at Carter's forehead, as her face looked down at her chest. When Sam's eyes slowly raised to find his a few minutes later, unshed tears accumulated in the blue orbs. Despite his discomfort at this open display of emotion, Jack's gaze didn't waver, and while Sam tried valiantly to hold back a barely restrained flood of emotions, a single plea was repeated one last time.

"Sir, please." Sam's eyes held a warning. Her control was fleeing fast, and she knew that if Jack didn't want to see the meltdown that was starting, he needed to leave now.

Jack shook his head ever so slightly before responding this time. He was not going to let Sam internalize everything and kill her soul in the process. He’d been down that road, and it wasn’t a path he wanted to see her take. "No."

It was more than Sam could take. A loud breath exhaled out her nose in a sort of small laughing sob, and then the tears began to flow in earnest. Jack's response was fluid, and not voluntary. He took his 2IC in his arms and began to comfort her the only way he could. Words were mumbled on both sides, and they were barely intelligible, but they weren't the important part of the conversation.

"I killed him."

"I know."

"He didn't deserve to die like that."

"I know."

"I...she...I loved him."

"I know."

"He died because of me."

"No, he didn't."

"Yes, he did. I should have figured it out sooner."

"There was no way to know."

"How could we not have seen it sooner?"

"Even if you had, there probably wasn't anything you could’ve done."

"I know, but..."

"Carter, you can't do this."

"I know, but..."

"No, no 'buts'. You can't do this."

"I know. It's just..."

"No...you can't do this. It's killing you…and it's killing me. It wasn't your fault."

When the tears finally subsided, and the emotions played themselves out, it was quiet for a very long time in the tent. Neither Jack nor Sam moved, but as the tidal wave of feelings petered out to a barely noticeable current, Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter began to get uncomfortable. Both moved slightly, putting distance between their bodies awkwardly. Eyes, both brown and blue, became wary, with fear and doubt beginning to battle behind dark pupils.

A shadow crossed Carter's face suddenly, and Jack's fear became mild panic.


"It's nothing..sir."

"No, what?"

"It's just that...never mind, it's not the same."

Jack's voice was gentle as he spoke again. "What's not the same?"


A slight edge of sarcasm entered Jack's question this time. "Compared to?"

Sam hesitated, but finally whispered a reply. "Charlie."

Jack's face fell, and his shoulders sagged. The barricades he kept erected around the memory of his son instantly stiffened, trying to keep out this invader.

Her CO's reaction wasn't lost on Sam, and she backpedaled immediately.

"I'm sorry, sir. I shouldn’t have said that."

"No, it's ok. Really. What did you want to know?" The question was soft and gentle, and it spoke of a wound so deep that pain leaked from the voice that asked it like juice flows from a slowly pressed fruit.

There had been a time when talking about Charlie at all had been unfathomable in the mind of Colonel Jack O'Neill, but he’d done a lot of healing since then, and if it would help Carter, he was willing to talk about almost anything.

Sam's answer was a long time coming, but it did eventually make its way out.

"How did you get over it, sir?"

Jack laughed a little. "Well, for a long time, I didn't. I simply just didn't deal with it. But somebody finally convinced me that just wasn't working. A friend helped me out."

"And it goes away?"

Jack laughed a little again. "Nope. It never goes away. It just dulls down to a controllable level. I won't lie to you, Carter, there's gonna be days it hurts so bad you can't breathe, but they get farther and farther apart, and you learn to survive as best you can."

It was quiet again for a while, but just after the call of a bird rang out in the night, Jack spoke in a thoughtful voice.

"Tell you what, though…it helps if you keep your friends close to you for a while. You want I should stay tonight?" As he spoke, Jack’s hand reached out to just barely touch Sam’s face in a tiny caress, and his eyes were dark and inscrutable.

Carter’s voice was barely audible above the noises of the surrounding night forest.

“I thought we agreed to keep it in the room.”

A long silence followed the statement, but finally Jack O’Neill’s resident sarcasm answered.

“Room, tent-it’s all relative, Carter. Even I know that.”

Sam could hear the smile in her CO’s voice, and she smiled herself.

“Yes, sir, it is.”

“Then it’s settled. Night, Carter.”

“Night, sir.”

As animals scurried, insects hummed, and countless dramas in the battle for life and death in the natural world went on outside without notice of the intruders in their midst, Samantha Carter pushed herself deeper into the welcoming arms of her most trusted friend, and shortly she fell into the most peaceful sleep she’d had in a long time. Her wounds were only beginning to mend, and she had a long journey ahead of her, but under the long awake gaze of Jack O’Neill, Samantha Carter took her first step towards healing, and that was a start.


Sam awoke alone the next morning, and she wasn’t surprised by that. She’d expected nothing else. Colonel O’Neill and Major Carter were too intricately entwined with Jack and Sam to allow anything more than what had already occurred between the two. The Colonel and the Major were too important and too busy to allow Jack and Sam to indulge themselves much. As Carter emerged from her tent, all three male members of her team were breaking camp. If Daniel or Teal’c noticed that their leader’s sleeping bag hadn’t been unrolled, both wisely abstained from comment.

As Sam joined them in packing her things, she noticed something odd in the bottom of her pack.

A colorful glint of shiny paper caught her eye, and as she reached down to examine it, she discovered what it was. A plastic bag containing six packs of gum, several hard candies, a small package of trail mix, and a bag of Skittles was wedged between Sam’s supplies.

A post-it note was included in the bag. Sam’s brow furrowed as she removed the small slip of paper and read it. This was the best I could do on short notice. Hope it’s enough. No worries. Just deal with this, Sam. As she read the words, written in a distinctive scrawl diagonally across the tiny page, she smiled at first, but then a sense of shame filled her as she realized that Jack knew her secret.

The note wasn’t signed, but it didn’t need to be. Nor did it need to spell out what it was about. Sam wasn’t stupid. She got the hint. Sam tucked the note and the snacks back into her bag, and as she did so, she looked around the campsite casually. Her eyes lit upon the kneeling figure of Jack O’Neill, forcefully shoving socks into his pack. She laughed in spite of herself, and O’Neill looked up, annoyance clearly showing on his face.

When he saw the source of the laughter, though, his annoyance fled, and his eyes grew soft. He smiled a sad little smile, and offered Sam the tiniest shrug as she gestured questioningly to her bag with a sideways nod of her head.

“Hey, I know what it’s like. It happens.”

Like his note, Jack’s voice carried no hint of judgment or scorn, only acceptance.

Samantha Carter smiled a true smile, believing her friend, and replied the only way she could.

“Yes, sir. It does.”

The camp was silent a moment, with both participants in this quiet conversation lost in thought for a time, but a soft cough from Daniel brought the two officers back to the present. O’Neill stood, his shoulders straightened, and life went on.

“Alright, campers, let’s get this show on the road. I’d like to be home on time for once.”

Sam, still fractured but beginning to mend, stood and joined him, while Daniel and Teal’c came to stand nearby. Packs were full, supplies and weapons were ready. It was as natural as breathing.

Life went on.


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