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Tall Guys To Fall

by CGB
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Tall Guys To Fall

Tall Guys To Fall

by cgb

Title: Tall Guys To Fall
Author: cgb
Email: luberluber@yahoo.com.au
Category: none
Season: Season 1
Pairing: Sam/Jack
Rating: PG
Warnings: none
Summary: "Life moves on. She moves on."
Sam in the first season. Pre-"Solitudes"
(more Sam and Jack than Sam/ Jack).
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).

Title: Tall Guys To Fall
Author: cgb (luberluber@yahoo.com.au)
Category: Sam/ Jack but more Sam and Jack. Rating: PG
Archive. Sure.
Summary: "Life moves on. She moves on." Sam in the first season. Pre-"Solitudes" Author's notes: This is just one of those things that's been on my hard drive for too long. Thanks -and absolutely no blame for anything that isn't right - to Lin The Cookster, and my gal Teanna, who lights up pixels on my computer.


The prod of an alien weapon urges her forward. Her hands are tied behind her back and she moves slowly, unsure of her step. Beside her O'Neill's hands are similarly bound, an identical weapon positioned against his spine. Now and then he mutters something unintelligible that she hopes their captors can't hear. It's unlikely to be flattering.

When they arrive in the town square they are forced onto their knees. With her hands tied she has difficulty gaining her balance and she barely prevents herself from falling face-first into the dirt. The Colonel catches her eye and gives her a look that tries to be reassuring, but isn't.

They're on their knees execution style and there's a very good reason for it - they're about to be executed.

"Captain Carter and Colonel O'Neill." She looks up into the darkened face of Krida. The locals ran to Krida when they encountered the strange visitors from the other side of "the great circle". Krida, it would seem, handles everything, including extraordinary circumstances. She likens him to a Sheriff - less about law and more about order. "The council holds you responsible for the death of Maya daughter of Lenier, Duga son of Mugeya, and Yater son of Natrini, and as such you are to be executed immediately."

"For the twentieth goddamn time," O'Neill says. "It's a 'Stargate' and your guys will be back as soon as Yater is well again."

"And as you have been told, Colonel O'Neill, the council is not convinced. No one can corroborate your story that Daniel Jackson and Teal'c went into the 'great circle' before Duga."

"Duga wasn't supposed to go! He threw himself into the gate after Daniel had taken Maya and Yater... " O'Neill shakes his head.

She wonders if he's thinking what she is - that they should have foreseen this. They should have foreseen an overeager traveller launching his or herself at the gate. Even if it had not happened on this mission surely it was destined to happen eventually. No doubt Duga was fine (right now, Duga was probably sitting in the commissary eating blue jello) but gate travel is a delicate procedure - in unexpected circumstance the negative outcomes multiply.

They're just learning, still finding their feet, but the margin for error is small and the consequences are dire. These mistakes will cost them.

"The great circle is a curse!" Andke is the religious leader for whatever it is that passes as religion amongst the Wedekki. Daniel said their beliefs were disparate but that they were strongly superstitious, avoiding any temptation of fate. "A curse that has slept for centuries - and you have woken it!"

Centuries! Centuries since the Wedekki have seen a Goa'uld or an even an open Stargate...

She casts a hopeful but futile glance in the direction of the gate. Where were Daniel and Teal'c? They'd been gone two days.

She wishes she had planned for this hostility. She wishes she'd heard the tornado before it lifted them off the ground.

"Look," she says. "If you'd just let us activate the..."


Thwack! Something hard connects with her jaw. She falls sideways, and her shoulder hits the ground awkwardly. Before she has time to assess the damage there are two guards at her side, hauling her back into an upright position.

She blinks, trying to clear the spots from her eyes. Her mouth is full of blood, which is dribbling onto her lip. She spits it out onto the ground.

"Okay!" O'Neill says suddenly. "Okay, I lost Yater, Maya and Yuga in the... 'great circle'. I take full responsibility. But let Carter go. Carter's smart, she can help you. She can help you build better..." His eyes fall to the weapons pointed at his head, "guns."

His words ring around her head along with the pain emanating from her jaw. She tries to focus on what he is saying, to think of a response.

She looks up at Andke, sees his barely concealed derision and knows it will be more than weak promises of weapons expertise that will get them out of this one.

"Enough!" Andke says. "Execute them now!"

Krida seems to hesitate for a moment, and then nods, decisively. "Take aim..."

She looks at O'Neill, desperate, unable to believe it has finally come to this. He catches her look and mirrors it.

"Sorry," he says. And she is too.

And then a voice calls out from the crowd. "Duga!"

She hears the sound of feet falling hard on the dry ground, moving swiftly in a desperate need to arrive. Excited voices are raised above the murmurs of the crowd. "Stop!" "Lower your weapons!"

And then Daniel is there in front of them, falling onto his knees and looking into their eyes. His face asks a thousand questions which O'Neill answers by rolling his eyes. "What in god's name took you so long?" he says.

Duga reasons with the town's leaders. His obvious animation is a convincing argument and Krida tells the guards to untie their hands.

Daniel bends down to assist the Colonel with his bonds. "You have a way with people, Jack. I leave you alone for two days and they're already trying to kill you." Daniel smiles and she wants to laugh but her jaw hurts. Tears start to well in her eyes.

"You okay, Sam?" Daniel says.


"I heard it was a close one?" Dr Fraiser cradles Sam's jaw in her hand, turning it slowly to the right.

"Ouch," Sam says.

Dr Fraiser winces sympathetically. "Sorry." She turns Sam's jaw to the left with a slightly gentler touch, but it hurts anyway.

Sam grits her teeth. "It was too close."

"But you made it."

"This time."

The Doctor takes her hand away. "It's not too bad -nothing broken or sprained, just bruising. You'll probably have a stiff neck for a few days." She leans back and folds her arms. "Too close is still miles away."

It's not, Sam thinks. It's one hair's breadth, one instant, the last, tiny step before the ultimate result. "I don't like relying on luck."

"Luck is what you make it. I call it good management."

Then why does it feel like she isn't managing at all?

The Doctor shifts her position so that she is leaning back onto the examination table, next to Sam. She leans in and speaks quietly, despite the emptiness of the infirmary. "Do you want some time off?"

"No," Sam says. "Gotta, you know, get back on the horse."

"The horse will always be there, Captain. Take a couple of days."

Two days on her own and she might start throwing things - possibly her crockery. She slides off the examination table. "I'll be fine."


She is staring at her locker. The metallic grey is soothing, reassuring and familiar. She should be changing into her civvies and going home but there is something about he metal shine that transfixes her.

She shakes herself out of her state and keys her combination into the lock. Something isn't right, and Dr Fraiser might know best, but she has to be here -even if it's just to see the same old, familiar locker day after day.

Her combination fails twice, and she bangs her hand against the adjacent locker on the second try. She gets it on the third.

She's not usually like this. This is someone else.

She opens her locker and throws her bag over her shoulder without bothering to get changed. She turns to leave and finds herself face to face with O'Neill.

"You finished, Carter?"

"All yours, Sir."

"Thanks. Hey - you going home?"

"Uh - yeah, I was just on my way out."

"Okay. See you tomorrow."

She pauses, expecting something but not knowing what. "See you tomorrow, Sir," she says.

Outside the locker room she doesn't get far. She stands in the hallway, unable to move.

And then she turns and heads back into the locker room.

"How do you do it?" she says.

O'Neill actually jumps. He's shirtless and for a moment she thinks he's going to feign modesty and cover up. He doesn't. Instead he fingers the t-shirt he is holding and raises his hands in a palms-up gesture. "Nope - I give up, Carter, what the hell are you talking about?"

"Sir, I need to... you have to tell me how you do it." She raises a hand and runs it through her hair, frustrated with her inability to communicate simple things. "Nothing gets to you."

"Carter..." For a moment he sounds like he might admonish her, but instead he makes a gesture with the T-shirt in his hand. "Carter, can we have this conversation when I've got clothes on."

Her attention is diverted to his naked torso. She stares at it for a moment, before catching herself in the act and blushing. "S - sorry, Colonel..." At a loss for something to say she indicates the exit. "I'll be outside."


She leans against the wall, letting her head fall back with a slight 'thunk' - hard enough to hurt. The pain in her jaw flares up again, reviving a headache that has lain dormant since she left the infirmary.

She closes her eyes and counts to ten, regulating her breathing in time to the count.

She opens her eyes. Her heart is still pounding. "Dammit," she says out loud.

O'Neill appears in the doorway to the locker room. Dressed in civvies, he gives her a wary eye.

"I think I might be going mad," she says, quietly.

He shrugs. "Take a number."



"Take me seriously for a moment, please?"

"You're not going mad, Carter."

"Is that your expert opinion, Sir?"

"Someone pointed a gun at your head and you got weirded out - happens all the time."

"It hasn't happened before."

He looks down the hallway, as if expecting someone to be there. When no one appears he leans a shoulder onto the wall beside her and takes her in, thoughtfully. "It was pretty close huh?"

"It wasn't the first time." And it probably wouldn't be the last. She wonders whether it was just a matter of time. Whether she'd just avoided that intimation of mortality long enough to keep doing what she needed to do.

And maybe she just didn't expect to go like that. "Sir," she says. "Don't die for me. I don't... I couldn't live with that."

Two SGC technicians walk past at a brisk pace. One of them nods in recognition of O'Neill and he performs a casual salute. "Howdy," he says.

He turns his attention back to Sam. "What if I told you I was just buying for time...?"

She considers this. "It worked."


"What if they had taken you up on the offer?"

He shrugs, nonchalantly. "That would have been good too."


"It didn't happen, Carter. We're still here. We beat them today, we'll beat them tomorrow if we have to."

One day, she thinks, their luck is going to run out and one of them won't return home. "I wish I shared your confidence, Sir."

"I have faith, Carter. With my brains and your good looks..."

She raises an eyebrow.

"You know I'm pretty sure I got that the wrong way around..." He smiles and then fakes a serious face. "Not that you're not good looking..."

This time she does smile. "I think you backed yourself into a corner there."

He pushes himself off the wall and commandeers her shoulder, turning her around so she can walk beside him. "Let's go home, Carter. It will all seem clearer in the morning."

They reach the elevator. O'Neill punches the "up" button and they wait, staring at the numbers above the doors as they each glow in turn.

When the elevator reaches their floor they step in and she presses the ground floor. They ride up in silence.

They are almost at the top when the klaxons sound and a familiar voice, says, "unscheduled off-world activation."

Without a word she punches stop and the elevator comes to a halt. She hits level 28 and the elevator descends again.

She hears O'Neill sigh. "Just a few more minutes..." he says.


Life moves on. She moves on. Occasionally the platitudes make sense.

Lying flat on her stomach in the dirt of PX3 294, she has reason to contemplate another platitude: the more things change the more they stay the same.

Serpent guards block SG1's access to the gate. Their appearance is unexpected - and very inconvenient.

"I thought you said that mine was abandoned," the Colonel hisses at Daniel.

Daniel peers over the fallen tree they have taken refuge behind. "SG6 wrote the report," he says. "Blame them."

Her weapon is trained in front of her, unwaveringly following the movement of the guards. They are all tense and irritable - it was supposed to be a simple mission.

The Colonel says something cavalier like, "don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes," and she laughs nervously.

No one else does. Teal'c gives them a bemused look and Daniel pushes his glasses further up his nose.

"I say we take 'em," O'Neill says. "There's - how many? Twelve?"

The gate comes to life and six more walk through. "Shit," he says.

"We need a diversion, " she says. She eyes the grenade hanging from the Colonel's utility belt.

As if reading her mind he unhooks the grenade from his belt and nods his head at a pile of trees on the opposite side of the clearing. "Teal'c - think you can throw a live one over there?"

Teal'c takes the grenade and pulls the pin. He throws it in a perfect arc across the clearing and it lands on the other side. They watch as the resulting explosion lights up the forest.

"Heck of an arm you got there," O'Neill says. "Ever thought of going pro?"

At least half of the serpent guard contingent leaves to investigate the explosion. She raises her eyebrows at the Colonel. Time to move.

He nods. "Let's go." And they are on their feet and running.

She's a good soldier - acts before thinking and thinks before acting when required. She takes out three guards on the run. The Colonel takes out one before laying down cover fire so that Daniel can run for the DHD.

It's all procedure - standard attack tactics and formation. Teal'c fires a series of blasts at the guards' feet which sends them flying backwards. Daniel runs for the DHD and dials home. The gate comes to life and they move toward it. When it all goes according to plan, it looks effortless.

But weapons fire is falling all around them. She turns to see the guards returning from the other side of the clearing, staff weapons pointed and powering up. She fires and keeps firing, thinking of nothing else.

"Go! Go!" O'Neill says. He waves a hand in the direction of the gate. Daniel gets there first followed by Teal'c. They dive through the gate one after the other.

The Colonel is behind her, the undisputed last. They continue to fire as they run, aiming at anything and everything. It isn't precise, but it's effective.

They're almost there when she hears him cry out. She turns to see him clutching his arm. A large gash is visible through a tear in his uniform - a flesh wound. She feels relief and concern wash over her in an instant. He's injured, his weapon has fallen to the ground, and the guards are relentless, but he's still standing and it's a shimmer of hope in a hopeless situation.

Their eyes meet and for a moment she sees something in them that she can't name. Something wrong.

It's gone before she can pinpoint it, and her thoughts are once again on their predicament.

Unwilling to take her hands off her weapon, she motions with her eyes toward the Colonel's P-90. It's lying on the ground barely two feet away. He follows her look until he sees it and in one effortless swoop it's in his hands and firing again. They continue shooting as they join each other in a mad dash for the gate.

And then they are falling through, arms and legs in a tangle, carried through by their initial momentum.

She feels the hardness of the ramp slamming into her back and she lets her breath go. They made it. They really made it.

The SGC moves swiftly around them. In the background she can hear shouting and orders being issued over the PA. "Close the gate!" "Stand down!" "Medical team to the gate room!"

And then there is General Hammond's face looming above her. "Are you all right, Captain."

"The Colonel's injured." She picks herself up off the ramp. Her hand is still wrapped tightly around the grip of her P-90. Her knuckles are white.

"Cross PX3 294 off the mission list." O'Neill gets to his feet, throwing his wound a cursory glance "Can I get a band-aid?"

Dr Fraiser appears by the Colonel's side and inspects the injury. "I'd like to get this to the infirmary as soon as possibly, Sir."

The General nods. "We'll debrief at 2100," he says.

The Doctor leads the Colonel away and Sam walks wearily after them. It's a pattern of sorts: the General smiles, the Doctor fusses and the Colonel jokes. From order to chaos and back again in an instant.

And they're getting used to it.


Dr Fraiser checks her vision by holding up to fingers and moving them from side to side. "Any nausea?"


"Blurred vision?"


The Doctor smiles. "Looks fine to me."

On the other bed the Colonel is clenching and unclenching his fist. 'Nope," he says. "Can't feel a thing."

"Good," the Doctors says, nodding. "But it won't last - I'll get you something to help you sleep but otherwise, I think you can go."

She disappears. Sam studies the Colonel. His bandage looks like a small pillow and there is blood on a dressing by the bed. It's a disconcerting sight.

He catches her eye. "You know, I don't think those guys like us. Whenever they're around someone always ends up shooting at us."

She looks down at the floor. It seems like someone is always shooting at them, and sometimes they get shot. Three inches to the right and this story could have an entirely different ending.

"You thought you were gone," she says. Her voice is low, quiet.

"You say something, Carter?"

"There was a moment, Sir - when you got shot - you thought you weren't going to make it."

He looks at her with an expression she can't recognise. If she asked, he'd say he was a simple man, but lately she's seen in him a complexity she may never understand, may not want to understand.

"Yeah," he says - and there's nothing more.

"It surprised me," she says.

"Yeah, me too."

She slides off the examination table and rubs her neck. She's bruised but not broken. She'll sleep painfully tonight.

"It's a good thing, Sir."


"I mean," She looks away. There isn't a right way to say this - not to a superior officer. Not to this superior officer. "It's good to have a reason to want to come back - whatever it is."

He looks at his hands. "Yeah," he says quietly.

She turns to go. "I'll see you at the debriefing, Sir."

He nods. "See you at the debriefing."

Outside in the corridor, she walks slowly. Fatigue weights her down, stops her from exercising her body and her brain. From time to time she gets told she thinks too much and it's true she has a propensity to over-think situations when it's practical to take them at face value.

But she doesn't want to see the ordinary in these extraordinary things. And she won't excuse herself for being normal when the situation demands otherwise.

She pushes these thoughts from her mind and plans her report, sinks into the routine, the familiarity of procedure.

She's getting used to it. And she's getting used to him.



(Title from a song called "Ordinary" by You Am I. Nice song.)

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