FIC: Chance Encounter 1/1
NOTE: My answer to the Challenge to use: Launch pad, hug, reboot, eccentric, hard-headed, legend, Full moon, Discovery Channel, astrophysics, president, defibrillator, "try the paddles.", nevermore, wild horses, "Pull my turtle.", "triple grande latte, light caramel syrup, no foam, 150 degrees." in one story. This came out pretty dark, I'm afraid.
SET: Season 6.
SYNOPSIS: A chance encounter in the park leads to danger.
Sam did not realize at the time that a chance encounter in a park one sunny Saturday morning in spring could be the launch pad for so many conflicting emotions and events. She had gone for a walk to clear her head after one of O'Neill's downtime parties the night before. Janet was on duty so she had woken alone although the note on the pillow beside her had been enough to make her blush. They were meeting for lunch in an hour or so. She paused at the bridge over the stream and leant over it, gazing into the water.
Suddenly someone was behind her and before she could react she was enveloped in a bear hug. "Ally, I'd recognize that cute butt anywhere." Before Sam had chance to say anything, she was abruptly released again. "Ah, crap. You're not her, are you?"
"No, I'm not. Do you want to back off a little?" Sam said, turning round and getting a good look at her attacker for the first time. He was dark haired with a scruffy beard, dressed in a Mutant Turtle Ninja Heroes t-shirt and baggy shorts. He was also a good six inches taller than she was and built like a quarterback. If she had to take him out, Sam had no doubt that she could do it but the crimson cheeks and downcast eyes made her think that perhaps it had been a genuine case of mistaken identity.
"I'm really sorry. I thought you were my ex. Look, can we just reboot and start again from scratch. Hi, I'm Stephen Leadgate. And you are not Alison Fremont."
Sam smiled. "No, I'm not. Samantha Carter – Sam for short," she held out her hand. Stephen shook it.
"By the way that was not the world's most eccentric pick up line. You honestly do look very like her – from behind anyway. It's been a while since I've seen her and we did make a date to meet here today. We have some things to sort out and I'm rambling again aren't I…"
Sam seesawed her hand. "Maybe a little. Look, it was nice to meet you, but I have somewhere to be. Good luck with your ex."
Smiling again to show there were no hard feelings, Sam continued on her walk, circumnavigating the park to get back to where she had parked her car.
Stopping off at the deli to get their lunch, she drove up to the mountain. Janet was waiting for her at the gate. "How's your day been so far?" Sam asked.
"Quiet. I won't say any more unless I jinx it," Janet said. For an otherwise hardheaded scientific type, Janet could be very superstitious at times, Sam reflected. Then again if anyone else was to read the note that Janet had left for her that morning or any of the other keepsakes Sam had lovingly treasured away the legend of Dr Janet Fraiser MD, terror of the infirmary, Napoleonic Power Monger and Stalin in a skirt (as O'Neill frequently described her, usually after a particularly intense medical) would be gone forever. Sam was forever glad that she got to see the secret romantic side of her lover. "What did you do this morning? You were still pretty much out for the count when I left." They left the car in the clearing at the picnic spot and wandered over to the edge of the trees to eat their lunch.
"Well someone kept buying me tequila slammers all night," Sam said, leaning over to steal a kiss from her lover. "And then you had your wicked way with me until well past the witching hour."
"Full moon last night. And you know how I love to watch you in moonlight," Janet said softly. "All silver and gold." Her hand climbed higher up Sam's thigh, making her squirm in anticipation and then moan in disappointment as it was withdrawn again. "Someone's watching us."
"Shit. Who?" Sam glanced over her shoulder to see her erstwhile attacker from that morning. Stephen Leadgate - or if not him then his evil twin, Skippy. "I don't believe it. He was in the park this morning, when I was walking." Quickly she related her encounter with the man. Janet was instantly concerned. Memories of the four days apart when Sam had been abducted by Adrian Conrad shivered through her.
"I don't like this, Sam. It's too open here."
"It could be a coincidence. You watch the Discovery Channel too much. All those documentaries about serial killers." Sam tried to make a joke of it, but her stomach was churning. Nowhere in the guidance for careers in astrophysics did it say anything about acquiring a stalker. For several months after the Conrad incident Sam had carried a gun with her at all times, but lately she had let it drop. "But just in case, let's head back to the car, shall we?"
"I think we should go back to the base," Janet said. "I don't want to take any chances with you."
"Janet, if this guy intended me any harm then he had ample opportunity to do it to me when he grabbed me in the park," Sam said, following her friend back to the car. "It could all be just coincidence, as I said. Colorado Springs isn't that big a place."
"If this guy showing up again is coincidence then I'm the president of the United States," Janet said grimly, getting into the passenger seat. She turned to look back at Sam and gasped. The man was standing only a few feet behind Sam and he had a gun in his hand. "Sam! Look out!"
"I won't let you run away from me again, Alison," the man said, pointing the gun at Sam and then at Janet. "I won't let you take her away from me!"
Without warning he fired at Janet. The bullet starred the windscreen and took her high in the chest, sending her thudding back against the car seat. Sam ran towards her and the man caught up with her, the heavy handle of the pistol catching her across the jaw and temple. Sam went down, unconscious almost before she hit the ground. The last thing she heard was Stephen say was, "Why won't you stay dead?"
Leadgate heaved Sam's limp body over his shoulder. Two men who had run over at the sound of the shot backed away as Leadgate pointed the gun at them as he started towards the heavy undergrowth at the side of the clearing. Janet who was finding it increasingly hard to breathe and impossible to move could only watch as he disappeared into the trees, still carrying Sam's body.
Half an hour later and there were military personnel all over the clearing. Janet was in her own infirmary being prepared for surgery to remove the bullet from her lung. Hammond himself had come to debrief her. Janet managed to tell him about Sam's encounter earlier that morning. Then her eyes drifted closed and monitors around her bed started to beep.
"She's crashed. Get the defibrillator." Warner ordered. "Code Blue."
Hammond stood back as Janet's team began to work on her, trying to get her heart restarted. He had already recalled O'Neill, Teal'c and Quinn from their downtime.
"Try the paddles again… okay; we have a rhythm, firming up. She's back with us… General Hammond, we need to get her into surgery now."
Sam opened her eyes. She was lying on her side, her hands and feet tied with rope, her hands behind her back. She was lying on what felt like an air mattress. A few inches from her face was the canvas wall of a tent. Her face hurt, a lot. Something, probably a handkerchief, had been stuffed into her mouth. She remembered a bearded face, sort of familiar, looking down on her. And a shot. Someone had been shot.
She shuddered. It replayed in her mind with perfect clarity. Janet sitting in the car looking over Sam's shoulder at something or someone behind her. As Sam turned to see who it was, Leadgate raised the gun, pointing first at her and then at Janet. He said something about not letting her go again. The gun fired. Sam spun to see Janet jerk back against the car seat, the windscreen starred, blood beginning to seep through Janet's shirt somewhere above her left breast. He had shot Janet. Then he had attacked her, knocked her out and brought her here. His last words "Why won't you stay dead?"
O'Neill and Quinn joined Hammond in the briefing room. Teal'c was out trying to track whoever had shot Janet Fraiser and abducted Sam. "There was an item on the local news about half an hour ago," Quinn said. "A woman's body was found in the park where Sam encountered this guy this morning. From the description at first I thought it might be Sam, but when O'Neill and I contacted the civilian authorities they had already identified the body as an Alison Fremont. She was Stephen Leadgate's girlfriend until a few weeks ago. They've searched Leadgate's house and he seems to have left town. He quit his job a few days ago. I've a description of him and his car which is also missing."
"How is Cassie doing?" Hammond asked.
"Haley is with her," O'Neill said. "She's bringing her into the SGC. Fraiser's still in surgery. We won't know for a couple of hours."
Sam froze. She had managed to draw her body up into a fetal position and was trying to undo the rope around her ankles. But she was fast losing circulation in her hands, her numb fingers clumsy on the slick nylon rope. The position also constricted her breathing making her increasingly light headed. The canvas shuddered and the light filtering through diminished. She heard voices. Whoever they were they were right outside the tent. She tried to scream, kicking her feet out again to make contact with the canvas.
"Over here," she heard someone shout. The doorway to the tent was unzipped, someone peered inside. "She's in here!"
Strong hands on her body again, pulling her out into the daylight. "I have you, Major Carter." It was Teal'c. He carefully removed the gag from her mouth, then cut the bindings on her hands and feet. "Can you stand?"
"Numb," she managed to say. The light hurt her eyes. "Janet?"
"She is in surgery," Teal'c said. He lifted her into his arms as if she weighed no more than Cassie. "You are also in need of medical attention. Do you know where your abductor has gone?"
Sam felt her senses escape her again.
Janet brushed her fringe back from her face, delicately traced the cut on her cheek. "I hate it when you get hurt," she whispered. "Every time it happens I say no more, nevermore. I want to keep you safe forever." Her eyes were silver, her skin gray. Sam realized that her lover was dead. "Of course, if you were dead like me, then you would be safe. Wild horses couldn't keep us apart. No one would ever hurt either of us again." She looked up at someone standing behind Sam. "Don't you agree, Stephen?"
Sam turned to see her abductor. Instead of wearing the Ninja Turtle tee shirt he was somehow transforming into one. He pointed the gun at her again.
"What did she say? Pull my turtle?"
"Ninja Turtle, I think. The description the two guys gave said Leadgate was wearing a Ninja Turtle tee shirt. Carter, come on back to us, now. Major Carter!"
"Yessir!" Sam opened her eyes. She was in the SGC infirmary. Dr Warner, Teal'c and O'Neill were standing by her bed. Her face felt stiff, but did not hurt as much as it had though she could feel the slight pull of stitches in her cheek. There were dressings on her wrists.
"You're okay, Carter though you took quite a bang to the head. Leadgate's in custody," O'Neill said.
"He killed her, didn't he?" Sam said. She was quite proud of how steady her voice was, considering that her life was over.
"The police found her body in the park. Thought it was you at first." O'Neill saw the pain and confusion in Sam's eyes and realized what she had meant. "Whoa, no Sam, the Doc's going to be fine. She's in recovery, but they got the bullet out and stopped the bleeding. Cassie's with her. The body in the park was his girl friend – the woman he mistook you for. He shot her as well. He was one sick f…" O'Neill coughed and looked away. "Anyway, the Doc's okay. Especially now she knows you're safe."
Sam shut her eyes again, resting her sore face against the cool of her pillow. "Thanks guys. I don't think I've ever been so relieved as I was when I saw Teal'c."
"Hey, just part of the service," O'Neill said softly. "We'll let you rest now. Buy us a coffee when you're out of here."
"Yeah, we haven't done that for a while, just gone out and had a coffee," Sam said. "Not since…" Daniel's loss still brought a lump to her throat.
"Triple grande latte, light caramel syrup, no foam, 150 degrees," Teal'c said solemnly.
"Yeah," O'Neill smiled. "We should do it again. As soon as you and the Doc are fit."
"Sure, Sir," Sam let her eyes drift closed again, and this time her dreams were sweet.