"Daniel, aren't you ready yet?"
It was Jack's tone of voice that pulled Daniel from the depths of his daze. He blinked and saw first an array of scrolls spread out on his worktable, then Jack leaning against his office door.
Daniel frowned at Jack in confusion, feeling like he'd been pulled out of a light doze. Jack was dressed in his Class A's, looking incredibly hot despite his casual pose. Daniel had a sudden urge to bolt from the base and drag Jack home with him. He'd peel the uniform off of Jack's body while paying special attention to the slowly exposed skin with his tongue and—"
Daniel forced his gaze back up to Jack's face and licked hot, dry lips. There was a hint of perfume in the room, almost sickeningly sweet. Daniel couldn't remember why Jack was dressed up and standing before his office door, until he spotted the empty champagne glass sitting off to the side of his desk. Memory came crashing back to him.
"It's not time for the ceremony yet, is it?" Daniel looked again at the scrolls he'd left the boring reception to work on, and couldn't remember if he'd actually worked on one since he'd sat down in the relative silence of his office. He wondered vaguely how much champagne he'd had. He did still feel a little drowsy and damn if he didn't need to run to the bathroom.
Jack eyed the empty champagne glass with a quirky smile and Daniel just knew Jack wouldn't let him hear the end of this for quite a while. "You've got ten minutes."
"Oh shit." Daniel stood quickly, buttoning the top button of his shirt and adjusting his tie. His ears buzzed for a few seconds and everything seemed a little too bright despite the dimness of the room. He adjusted his sleeves then grabbed his suit jacket from the back of his chair.
"I'm sorry. I needed to get away from all the pomp and circumstance and came back here for few minutes of quiet." He buttoned his suit jacket and as he brushed by Jack, he took a deep whiff, trying to see if the perfume emanated from him. Nope, Jack's regular aftershave teased Daniel's nostrils, overriding the irritating scent. He wrinkled his nose and stepped into the corridor, blinking in the brighter lighting.
"You mean you wanted to look at those scrolls SG-4 brought back yesterday from that planet full of Egyptian culture." Jack grinned and slapped Daniel on the back as they walked down the corridor.
"Well, it is interesting. The scrolls mention the God Shai and how he's played a large role in the Endallan culture. You know, Shai is the god of fate and destiny, and the Egyptians, along with the Endallans, believe Shai is born with each individual, and follows them from the moment of their birth, to the time of judgment at their death.
"I haven't found any clues yet proving whether or not he's actually a Goa'uld." Daniel pushed the door to the nearest washroom open and entered, still talking. "But in Graeco-Roman times, the people of Alexandria linked him to the serpent god of fortune-telling, Agathodaimon, so you can see where I'm going with this.
"But I have to tell you it's really fascinating to see how the Endallans still believe Shai is involved in their everyday life. I've missed this. Missed seeing how cultures existed in ways we only speculated here on Earth. We've had so many military-based missions lately that—"
Hearing only silence behind him, Daniel realized Jack hadn't entered the room with him, and that he was, in fact, alone, and talking to himself. Sighing heavily, realizing he'd bored Jack with his enthusiastic descriptions of his latest interest, Daniel quickly got down to business of relieving himself of the few glasses of champagne he obviously had no memory of imbibing.
- - - - - -
Jack hadn't waited for him so Daniel made his way quickly down to level 28. As he entered into a now crowded gateroom, he spotted Sam and Teal'c standing near the edge of a red carpet which had been positioned all the way up the Stargate's ramp. A small podium and several flags held the position of honor at the top of the ramp, right before the inactive Stargate.
Sam looked sharp in her Class A uniform, medals gleaming brightly. Everyone, actually, had some kind of decoration on their uniforms, leaving Teal'c and Daniel and a handful of others looking plain and drab in their suits.
It was a typical scene of military pageantry, one which Daniel, in the four plus years he'd been with the program, had come to know quite well. These fancy do's usually came with a lot of pretty speeches. Many were moving, most were boring. Today's would probably border on the importance of their allies, since several of the Tok'ra were here.
He wondered if there would also be a promotion this afternoon. If so, it would have to be someone pretty special, since a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff didn't usually rub shoulders with the Head of the Tok'ra. Daniel smiled to himself, thinking of how General Ryan and Garshaw had had to dance around their respective attendants and guards in order to exchange pleasantries at the reception.
Threading his way through a variety of personnel, big brass and their assorted bodyguards, Daniel spotted two visitors he hadn't expected to see here today.
"Jacob. Bra'tac. It's good to see you." Daniel offered his hand to Sam's father and shook it warmly. Jacob grinned at Daniel, covering their clasped hands with his free one. Bra'tac, to Daniel's delight, clasped his arm in a warrior's greeting. "When did you two get here? I didn't hear the Stargate activate."
Daniel realized that with Jacob here, there was a good chance it was Sam who was going to be honored. He still couldn't figure out why the memo outlining the circumstances of this day's pageantry had been so vague in detail.
"The alarms were disconnected so we wouldn't disturb our guests." Sam grinned at Daniel, and was about to say something else, when General Hammond stepped into the room, followed by General Ryan, and Jack. Jacob immediately joined his fellow Tok'ra. Bra'tac and Teal'c positioned themselves beside Sam, and Daniel moved to stand on her other side.
The room immediately came to attention, the buzz of conversation dying off. Daniel turned to stand facing the red carpet, waiting expectantly for the ceremony to begin so he could get back to his work. He swayed slightly, hearing the buzzing in his ears once again. Like his office, the gateroom felt too bright, the few colors in the room glaringly bright. He squinted and looked at the sea of uniforms across from him, trying not to be distracted by the red of the carpet at his feet. Instead, he concentrated on the drab greys of the Tok'ra attire.
"How much of the good stuff did you drink?" Jack whispered as he took his place beside Daniel, leaning slightly towards him.
"Not enough to make me forget how much I hate these affairs," Daniel answered back just as softly as he watched the two generals walk up the ramp. The sweet fragrance was back, and as Daniel raised a hand to adjust his glasses, he realized the smell was coming from him.
"Not half as much as I do," Jack whispered back out of the corner of his mouth. "Except today, I wouldn't have missed this for the world."
"Ladies and gentlemen, honored guests."
Daniel glanced at Jack then brought his attention up to the podium, where General Hammond had begun his speech and was introducing General Ryan. Daniel tried to concentrate on the man's words about admiration, peace and allies, but his attention kept wandering. He looked away from the speaker, trying to focus on something less distracting. In desperation, he lowered his head and stared at his feet.
A flicker of green light flashed against the carpet near his shoes and he glanced up, startled. For a second he thought he'd seen something akin to a laser sight. He looked around in alarm, but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary.
Everyone began clapping, and Daniel realized that General Ryan had finished speaking. General Hammond took his place at the podium again, and Daniel forced himself to listen.
"We are gathered here to award recognition to one without whom the Stargate program would not be where it is today. Over the years, we have come to know, and admire, the dedication and bravery our colleague has invariably displayed.
"He has, on many occasions, put his life in danger for our home, our world, our planet. We owe our relationship with many of our allies to his foresight and strength of conviction. Which is why representatives of the Tok'ra, and the rebel Jaffa, are here with us today, to help us honor our friend.
Daniel's attention began to wander as the sweet scent invaded his nostrils once again, only to be pulled back in shock at the mention of his name.
"Doctor Daniel Jackson, in recognition of numerous and outstanding valorous acts of heroism over the years, with voluntary risk of personal safety in the face of great danger, it gives me great pleasure to present to you, the Air Force Civilian Award for Valor."
Applause rang deafeningly throughout the crowded room and several persons behind him slapped him on the back and shoulders. He felt someone pushing him forward as he turned towards Jack in confusion.
Jack was grinning from ear to ear, his hand on Daniel's back, gently prodding him towards the makeshift stage.
"Go on," Jack urged. Daniel turned towards the podium and saw everyone smiling and grinning at him, clapping their hands enthusiastically. Smiling shyly, Daniel stepped onto the carpet and made his way up the ramp. The two men waiting for him were standing perpendicular to the Stargate and Daniel stopped before them. He stood proudly as an aide handed General Hammond a small box.
As the general removed the ribboned medal from the box, Daniel couldn't help but glance sideways at his friends. They were looking at him with pride, beaming up at him. The Tok'ra were mostly expressionless, except for Jacob, whose smile mirrored Sam's. Bra'tac was smiling and nodded at him as he stood beside an equally pleased looking Teal'c.
"I am extremely proud, son," General Hammond said, bringing Daniel's attention back to the fore. But as he turned his head, Daniel again saw the green beam of light, this time clearly centered on Garshaw's chest. He followed the line of light upwards, where it disappeared a dozen feet off the wall, seeming to hang in mid air. The light affixed on Garshaw was moving slowly, until it stopped at the center of her neck.
Without thought, Daniel bolted down the ramp and threw himself over the edge, aiming for the Tok'ra. As his arms caught the woman, he felt a bolt of agony go through his shoulder. Then he was landing on the hard cement floor. Garshaw's body fell heavily onto his as he broke her fall. His head exploded in pain as it connected with the ground, and suddenly all went black.
- - - - - -
He couldn't breathe. He couldn't see. His shoulder was on fire and there were hands touching him, moving him. His chest strained mightily as he tried to force air into his lungs, and suddenly, with a loud whoop, blessed air flowed into his mouth and down his throat.
He forced his eyes open and saw a multitude of feet, all in constant motion. There was a faraway sound, like a freight train, slowly approaching. The noise got louder and louder when suddenly there was pandemonium, people shouting, footsteps pounding on the hard cement as the motion of the shifting feet eventually matched the sounds they made.
"Close that door and don't let anybody out!" General Hammond's voice momentarily drowned out all the other sounds, startling Daniel.
"Easy, easy," Jack's voice sounded in his ear and like a moth to a flame, Daniel turned his head, searching for his familiar face. Jack was leaning over him, as was Janet.
"Sir, he's bleeding heavily. We need to—"
"I got it, Doc." Jack began unbuttoning his jacket and shrugged out of it. Daniel watched confusedly as Jack quickly bundled it up, then pressed it against Daniel's shoulder. Daniel grunted as the pain escalated.
"Lift him up, gently." Daniel felt someone raise his injured shoulder and something was shoved underneath. "Okay, lower him." Janet and Jack were now both minus their jackets. For a moment Daniel wondered what they had done with them, when he realized they were using the clothing to try and stop the bleeding.
God, no. Jack's jacket... the blood, his medals. It would be ruined. He had to tell him no, he had wanted to take that jacket off of Jack himself, now he wouldn't be able to if it was ruined by his blood. He tried to raise his hand to push the jacket away from him. But his fingers merely twitched and he couldn't get them to move.
"How is he?"
Daniel turned towards the new voice. General Hammond was staring down at him. Everything around the general was grey and wavy, making the people in the background into a fuzzy blur.
"I need to get him into surgery to stop the bleeding."
"There's a medical team on the way, doctor. Jacob, how's Master Garshaw?" General Hammond turned slightly to look somewhere behind Daniel.
"The bullet went right through Daniel and nicked her arm. Both of them were very lucky. Garshaw's wound doesn't look serious." Jacob knelt beside Jack, and reached a hand out to touch Daniel's arm. "But it's bleeding like the dickens.
"Hey, Danny, how are you doing?"
Daniel blinked up at Jacob, his vision beginning to blur even more. His brain felt full of cotton, his thoughts hard to focus. Bullet? Garshaw? He licked his lips, his mouth dry and pasty.
"What happened?" He thought he'd spoken the words, but nothing seemed to come out of his mouth. Evidently Jacob understood him, because he answered Daniel's question.
"You saved Garshaw's life, but got in the way of the bullet. Don't worry, you'll be fine."
"Shot?" He tried to form the word but now his mouth wasn't working right.
Frustrated, Daniel managed to turn his head and saw the Tok'ra sitting close by with blood streaming down her arm, while another Tok'ra, whose name Daniel couldn't seem to remember and knew he should, was holding a green cloth to the wound to try and stop the bleeding.
Green... there had been something... the ceremony... a gun... Daniel turned to look where the laser sight had emanated from. But there was nothing there. But he hadn't imagined it, had he? There had been something, someone, up on the wall opposite him, somehow, pointing a gun of some kind at the Tok'ra leader. Even though he hadn't been able to see the shooter. Or the gun. No, of course he hadn't imagined it. The bullet had gone through him, the pain he was feeling certainly wasn't a figment of his imagination.
He opened his mouth, trying to get the words out, to warn Jack of the invisible assassin. But the noise around him was fading, his vision blurred even more, and his body began shaking as cold sweat poured from him. He could hear small, sharp gasps as someone close by struggled to breathe. He closed his eyes as wisps of conversation merged into the background melee of sounds.
"...going into shock." Then he was being lifted and he cried out in pain as his shoulder was jostled. He greyed out, unable to concentrate on anything but the agony. By the time he managed to focus on Janet's blurry face once more, he'd been wrapped in blankets and there was something over his mouth. By the familiar plastic smell, he recognized it as an oxygen mask.
Then he was moving. He turned his head, searching the room desperately. Jack's white shirt stood out in a sea of blue as Daniel was wheeled away from him. All Daniel could hear was the uneven squeaking of one of the gurney's wheels, strangely loud in such a crowded room. Another gurney conveying Garshaw followed Daniel's, and he saw a second Tok'ra walking beside her, touching her hand as they were both pushed out into the corridor.
Daniel envied Garshaw that comfort as he craned his head for a last look at Jack, before the doors slammed shut, cutting off his view.
- - - - - -
"Nobody is to leave this room until I give the order." Hammond eyed everyone with a steely glare, then turned to Jack. "Colonel, I want you to supervise the search for this assailant." Jack nodded, glancing quickly over the crowded room. Most of the people here weren't armed except for a handful of marines standing by the closed doors. If the assailant decided to shoot his way out, it could get pretty messy.
"Siler." The man approached at Hammond's call. "I want to see the security tapes of the past hour. Major Carter can assist you."
'Yes, sirs' came from both. Carter quickly filed past Jack and followed Siler towards the door, her eyes averted from the bloody pieces of clothing lying at Jack's feet. Jack turned to Teal'c. "Wanna give me a hand, buddy?"
Teal'c inclined his head and although his face looked calm, Jack recognized the anger emanating from his eyes. He felt pretty furious himself, and when he found the person who'd tried to shoot a guest here in their base, and had injured Daniel in the process, Teal'c just might have to hold him back. Then again, from the looks on most people's faces here, it seemed they all felt the way Jack did.
"I would help also." Bra'tac stepped forward, and Jack shrugged. Both men had been standing beside him, he knew they hadn't been the one with the gun, and if anything, two Jaffa might intimidate the assailant enough for him to make a mistake.
"Sure." As Jack turned to begin ordering the men into lines, he noticed something dangling from Hammond's fingers.
"Sir," Jack said, waving towards the medal. "If you'd like me to…"
Hammond looked at Daniel's medal in surprise, obviously he'd forgotten he was still holding it. He handed it to Jack, who folded the ribbon neatly and put it into his pants pockets. "I'll keep it safe for him," he told Hammond, who nodded back at Jack with a sympathetic look.
Turning to the waiting crowd, Jack raised his voice and ordered everyone where he wanted them in order to begin his search.
- - - - - -
Jack ground his teeth together in frustration as he watched several SFs escort General Ryan and his people from the gateroom and into a secure room. Everyone who had attended the ceremony had been cleared, thanks to the security tapes. It had taken Carter and Siler a couple of hours to identify everyone but it looked as if the assailant wasn't any of the attendees.
"What do you mean, the Stargate's not working?"
Jack glared at Siler, who, used to Jack's outbursts, simply shrugged.
"Major Carter is checking the diagnostics, but I don't think it's anything computer-related. I'm betting next week's paycheck that someone sabotaged it." He moved to the side, and pointed towards one of the glyphs at the top of the 'gate, the back of which was connected with more wires than would be found throughout his home. "See, here?" He pointed to one of the connections that hadn't activated when the Alpha site had been dialed.
"Wouldn't someone be kinda obvious climbing this thing in order to sabotage it?"
Siler shrugged again. "Unless he pretended to be one of the technicians undergoing a routine check, yes."
Before Jack could ask him to do so, Siler offered to speak to the technicians and other personnel and see if anyone had noticed anything unusual in the past day or two.
"I'll get started on the repairs. If it's just the conductors, it might not take more than a couple of hours."
Jack nodded and watched Siler hurry off to speak to some airmen. While waiting until he got word that the VIPs were now secure, he looked around the empty room. Someone had picked up the bloody jackets, but hadn't yet cleaned the floor. Smears of dried blood were a haunting reminder that someone had almost died here today.
Uncomfortable in his clothes now that he wasn't actively doing something, Jack wished he'd taken the time to change into a pair of fatigues.
As he waited, he glanced up at the large window, seeing Carter working diligently at the computer console beside Technician Davis. He could see movement in the briefing room above the control room, but they were only vague shadows. Jacob, Teal'c and Bra'tac had established themselves there, and were busy checking and rechecking the videos, trying to find any clue as to who or what the assailant was.
The Tok'ra were in the infirmary, standing guard over Garshaw. Hammond had ordered several SFs to add to their security, as well as outside the recovery room, where Daniel had recently been moved.
They'd gotten no news other than Fraiser had had difficulty in stopping the bleeding. Garshaw, too, had had some problem with bleeding and Fraiser suspected that the bullet had exuded some type of anti-coagulant.
The call finally came that the VIPs were now secure. He hurried down the ramp, his footsteps muffled by the now-dirty red carpet. He ran up the stairs to the control room.
"Carter, anything?" Jack stopped behind her chair and looked over her shoulder at the scrolling data on the computer consoles.
"Nothing yet, sir. I think the problem might be the Stargate itself. We can't rule out sabotage." She sounded distracted and Jack figured if she could make sense of all those numbers running down the screen, she had a right to be.
"That's what Siler thought. He's gonna start checking the 'gate out." Jack turned to leave, but Carter called him back.
"We've heard from Janet." Her voice sounded strangled, and she turned from the computer monitor to look at him. Jack noted she looked tired. "Daniel's in a coma."
Jack's heart constricted and he suddenly couldn't seem to catch his breath. He swallowed once, then nodded before turning away.
He moved slowly up the stairs, telling himself that Daniel was still alive, and in the best of care. He steeled himself as he passed by Jacob, Teal'c and Bra'tac, heading for Hammond's office.
He stopped and turned to look at Jacob.
"Did you hear...? Daniel—"
"Carter told me," Jack said softly.
"I'm sorry. But he's strong, he'll pull through."
Jack nodded, his lips pursed tightly together. He met Teal'c's gaze and saw the worry and fear for their friend in his brown eyes.
"I need to report to the general," Jack said, tilting his head towards the office, anxious to be gone from their looks of sympathy. He hurried to the door and knocked, telling himself that they were also worried for Daniel.
"Siler thinks the Stargate's been sabotaged," Jack announced when Hammond looked up at him. He stopped before a chair and leaned his hands against the chair's back. "Carter hasn't found anything wrong yet with the computer, but Siler's ready to start checking it manually. General Ryan and his men are safe and sound in two VIP suites, and the Tok'ra are camping out in the infirmary."
"Good. So at least we have a few less things to stop worrying about. Doctor Fraiser has informed me that the bleeding associated with both Garshaw and Doctor Jackson's injuries is under control. The bullet contained not only the anti-coagulant, but some type of poison. Doctor Jackson, from the seriousness of his injuries, has been exposed to a larger quantity of both. Garshaw, on the other hand, although her host received a smaller dose, is very ill."
"Sir, we have one of those healing devices on base. Could the Tok'ra—" Jack's hands were cramping and he realized he was squeezing the chair so tightly, his knuckles were white. With great effort, he relaxed his hold.
"It was one of the first things they asked for. Unfortunately, it reacts badly with the poison. We didn't even dare try it on Doctor Jackson. I know you'd like to be with him at the moment, Colonel, but I'm afraid we have another problem.
"We may have a Reetou on our hands." Jacob walked into the office and leaned against the wall. "We've gone over the videotapes frame by frame. It's obvious that Daniel saw something. He looked towards the back of the room before he started running for Garshaw. But I'll be damned if we can find a thing on any of the security tapes to show us exactly what it was. There's nothing there."
"You think it's invisible?" Jack was suddenly weary at the thought of what lay ahead of him. "Damn, we opened the doors and let it out of the room."
"I know. But we had no way of telling and—"
"Wait a minute." Hammond leaned forward, staring at Jacob. "If it was a Reetou, wouldn't your symbiotes have reacted? There were several Tok'ra and two Jaffa in there. Certainly one of you would have experienced some kind of discomfort."
"You're right. Unless it found a way stay undetected. Or it's not a Reetou."
"I'll need to start a search, sir," Jack said. He scratched his head, wondering if he could stop off at the infirmary for a few minutes before heading off. He let go the chair and started for the door.
He stopped, turning back towards Hammond.
"I'll get the people together. I'm sure Doctor Fraiser will let you have five minutes before you begin."
"Thank you, sir." Jack left the room quickly before he lost control of his voice.
- - - - - -
Daniel was pale, his face and hair damp with sweat. There was a bruise on his cheekbone, and a scrape on his chin, evidence of his hard landing on the cement floor. Jack was pretty sure there were more bruises hidden beneath the blankets.
He pulled up a chair and sat down, his hand automatically reaching for Daniel's. Careful not to snag the IV lines delivering blood and saline, Jack gently caressed the hot skin between his palms.
"You hang in there," Jack whispered, his voice barely audible over the rapid beeping of the heart monitor. He raised one hand and gently brushed Daniel's cheek, careful of the nasal canula. "I can't stay. We haven't found the guy who tried to shoot Garshaw, so we need to search the base from top to bottom. You know how long these things take – so don't worry if I'm not back in a couple of hours.
"We don't know if you saw who did this. But just in case, there are a couple of SFs right outside the door. And the Tok'ra are here, in the infirmary, so if anything goes down, they'll be on hand to help. Okay?"
Jack wished that Fraiser had pulled the privacy curtain. He was aching to kiss Daniel's cheek, to let him know in a more tactile manner that he was here for him. Instead he brushed a finger again down his cheek in farewell.
With a quick glance towards the far end of the room where Garshaw was resting, Jack headed for the armory in search of a TER, and a small army of men.
- - - - - -
"That's the last one, Colonel." Ferretti turned to Jack, fatigue and exasperation evident in both his stance and tone of voice. He lowered his P-90, and Jack his TER, after making one last sweep of the room with the alien weapon.
"Damn it." Jack stormed out of the room and returned to the elevator. It had taken them over six hours to carefully sweep each room, each closet, each small hidey hole.
Obviously they had missed something. Or maybe whatever they were looking for wasn't a Reetou or using Reetou technology to make it invisible. Maybe the TERs were useless and they were all wasting their time.
"This is O'Neill. All clear on level 11."
"Understood, Colonel. Meet me in the infirmary."
Jack quickly turned on his heels and rushed for the elevator, reaching for his keycard in his pocket as he punched the call button. He was glad he'd taken the time to grab at least part of a uniform to put over his white dress shirt. It made him feel less of a target, somehow. He entered the elevator, swiped his card and pressed the level for the infirmary.
He hurried into the infirmary and instinctively made his way towards Daniel's bed. He wasn't surprised when he found General Hammond talking with the doc, just a few beds away from Daniel's.
"What happened?" He jogged the last few feet, automatically looking towards Daniel. At first glance, nothing seemed to have changed. Daniel still lay partly on his side, propped up by pillows to prevent him from lying on his wounds. He looked to be asleep, except for the fact he wasn't waking up.
Fraiser turned to Jack and placed a hand on his arm. "There's no change in Daniel's status, sir. But we've managed to isolate the anti-coagulant in his bloodstream, as well as the poison. Traces of both were also found inside the bullet. It's a deadly little thing; a small compartment holding the poison - if the bullet itself didn't kill you, then certainly the toxins inside of it would."
"Since the bullet passed right through Daniel, I don't think he got a deadly dose. The recovered bullet still contained a good amount of the toxin. But if it had lodged inside his body, I don't think his prognosis would be so optimistic."
"So you think he'll be okay?" Jack's attention strayed back to the bed where the most important thing in the world to him lay unresponsive.
"We've stopped the bleeding and replaced most of the blood lost. His fever is elevated, but it hasn't gone up in the past four hours. He's sick, yes. But what's worrying me is the other alien substance the lab identified in Daniel's blood."
"I believe that it's the mix of all three substances that's causing the coma. If I could just identify this third drug, I might be able to neutralize it. And there's no trace of it in Garshaw, or in the bullet."
"So where did this stuff come from?"
"There were traces of it on Daniel's hands, and on his shirt sleeves. It has a very faint smell, sweet, like perfume."
"Damn, I remember smelling something in Daniel's office. I was going to tease him about hanging around with strange women."
"Then maybe the cause of it is in his office. Excuse me, sirs, I need to send a hazmat team there."
As she rushed off, Jack turned to look at his commanding officer. Hammond looked just as tired as Jack felt.
"I'm going to order another sweep of the base," Hammond said after a few long seconds.
"Yes, sir," Jack answered wearily. As much as he hated the work, he would have ordered it himself were he in Hammond's shoes.
"But not tonight. The men are all tired since there's been no shift relief since the lockdown. I'm ordering guards armed with TERs posted at every level and at every vulnerable area, and the sweep re-initiated in six hours."
"Yes, sir. But I'm beginning to suspect we may not be dealing with Reetou technology, and that the TERs aren't doing much good."
"I'm thinking the same thing. But we need to be absolutely positive before ruling out the Reetou. I want every nook and cranny searched out and the threat eliminated from that source."
Jack nodded, trying to think if there might be a few places they'd missed, and that they'd have to take more care in doing their sweeps. He'd have to talk to the men - it was too bad they didn't have more of the TERs so he could have added more manpower to the job.
"By the way, Siler confirmed that the Stargate was sabotaged. He has a team working on it but he doesn't expect it to be up and running before another twelve hours.
"Jack. I know you want to be here with Doctor Jackson." Hammond was looking past Jack, at Daniel. "But you need your rest also. I need you at a hundred percent, despite what's just happened."
Jack cleared his throat. He'd always suspected Hammond knew about him and Daniel - if he'd had any doubts before, they were gone now.
"I'll be sure to get plenty of rest," Jack assured Hammond. The general nodded, then headed for the exit.
Jack approached Daniel's bed, and this time pulled the curtains closed before sitting down beside him. He leaned over the bed and placed a kiss to Daniel's temple, feeling the heat and sweat on his lips.
"Hey, Daniel. Told you I'd be back," Jack whispered in Daniel's ear before cupping the hot cheek in his hand. "You're doing okay, according to doc. Got hit with a booby trapped bullet, of all things. You keep fighting this thing, you hear me?"
Jack sighed and straightened up. There wasn't much he could do here, and he knew he needed to get some rest before starting another long and tedious job of sweeping the base. But he would sit with Daniel for a little while longer, and then go lie down, despite the fact that he knew he wouldn't sleep.
- - - - - -
There was confusion.
There was pain.
A familiar touch. A voice – calming, soothing.
The fog around him was thick – in his mind, in his body. He tried to push through it; it was light and airy. It was as strong as steel.
He was lost. Despite the anchor that spoke to him, grounded him.
The fog lightened.
The pain increased.
He drew back, unable to endure.
The confusion grew.
The fog thickened.
The pain continued.
Then he was alone. The voice was gone.
A smell. Sweet. Sickly. Almost familiar.
It drew him, despite his wanting to find the voice again. Unable to flee, he followed, unwilling.
** Danny trotted into the large, busy room, looking for his parents. He was hungry and they'd promised to go and get something to eat an hour ago. Although the museum was fun and interesting, with many places for him to explore, his stomach had been growling non stop.
His parents were still working on the exhibition, and a large cover stone was being slowly lifted into the air. Curious, Danny approached them, cautiously skirting the museum's curator, who didn't seem to like him. The cover stone was raised above his parents' heads and slowly moved up and over the Egyptian exhibit.
"Mom?" Danny stood a few feet away from the start of the exhibit. He wanted to go over and join them but he knew from previous experience that he'd be shooed away from the work area.
"Yes, dear?" She turned to smile at Danny before gazing over at the cover stone, which was still being maneuvered into position.
"I'm hungry," Danny whined.
"I know. It won't be long now."
"But you said that an hour ago." Danny pouted, and crossed his arms. His dad moved closer to his mom and Danny knew that they were so engrossed in their work, nothing short of a miracle would get them away now. This was boring, as had watching all the pillars be positioned into place over the past week.
He scuffed his foot on the fake stone floor, and then went to lean against a pillar, wondering if he could sneak out and look for a food vender by himself. Then again, he hadn’t seen any of those in their short forays from the hotel to the museum. And he still didn’t quite understand the currency here, although he had a few coins in his pocket that his dad had given him. But people had to eat… there had to be a place close by that sold snacks.
His stomach grumbled again and Danny made his decision. He walked over to the corner of the room where he'd dumped his belongings and picked up his jacket. As he turned around, a green light shone right in front of him. He looked at it, curious. It was like a very fine sunbeam, crossing from one end of the room to the other. It ended in a point on the wall close to him and cut clear across to the other side, stopping near the door. Curiously, Danny put his hand through it. He felt nothing; the light simply came to an end against his palm, like it had the wall.
It was moving slowly upwards in a straight line. He followed it, his jacket forgotten in his hand as he slowly crossed the room, head up in the air, marveling at the odd sight.
The light just seemed to end near the top of the door, right in midair.
"Jake, it's swinging a bit." He glanced at is mom, who was looking up, her hands busy with a set of blueprints. .
"Can you bring this thing on the left a little more?"
Danny turned and saw that the beam had moved over and up, and was now resting against the winch through which the chains were attached to the heavy cover stone.
"Move it towards the back. Careful." Danny looked at his parents. His dad was looking up at the cover stone, motioning with his hands as it slowly continued to move over him and his mom.
"Watch it on your... left, okay?" His mom was just as engrossed as his dad and Danny sighed and turned back to the green light.
"On your left. Jake? Can we bring this in? Careful. Bring it down. Let's look at the front."
Daniel ignored his parents, letting their instructions to the crane operator flow past him and concentrated instead on trying to solve the mystery of the weird light. It had to be coming from someplace, but he couldn't see where.
"It's okay, it's fine. We'll be fine. Careful."
His mom's voice sounded worried, his dad's confident. Danny glanced back. The light was now glowing against part of the chain, but there was smoke coming from the metal now. It almost looked like it was melting.
"Mom? Dad?" He looked up, and there, hanging onto the wall in an impossible way, was a man, holding what appeared to be a gun, aimed straight for the heavy chain, which held tons of rock, right above his parents. The man wasn't looking at them, though. He was staring straight at Danny, a grin on his face.
Suddenly realizing what was happening, Danny turned and ran towards his parents. The cover stone tilted as the chains weakened— **
- - - - - -
Jack watched as Daniel's eyes moved behind his eyelids, his breathing quickening and hitching slightly as his fingers twitched beneath Jack's. Daniel moaned softly, and turned his head to the side.
"Colonel? Weren't you supposed to get some sleep?"
Jack glanced away from Daniel and looked at Fraiser, who had stuck her head through a break in the curtain. "Yeah. I'm gonna go lie down in a sec." He'd been here longer than he'd planned to, but despite the uncomfortable chair, Jack had been able to relax. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he could see Daniel for himself and not wonder if anything bad was happening without his knowledge. Nodding his head towards Daniel, he said, "Funny how he just looks like he's asleep. Heck, he's even dreaming."
"He's not dreaming, Colonel. Coma patients can't dream."
"He's in REM sleep, Doc."
Before Jack knew what was happening, Fraiser was leaning over Daniel, slapping his cheek.
"Daniel. Daniel, wake up. Come on, Daniel, can you open your eyes for me?"
Despite her insistent voice and fairly sharp taps, Daniel didn't react. His breathing continued to speed up, but Jack assumed that was from the dream. Fraiser pulled the blankets down and pressed her knuckles sharply against Daniel's sternum.
Daniel didn't react except to continue his dream. She turned to Jack. "How long was he dreaming?"
Suddenly wide awake, Jack wasn't sure whether to be alarmed or hopeful. "Not long, just a few minutes before you came. Is he coming out of the coma?"
"No, I don't think so… he's still non-responsive. This isn't a normal reaction."
Daniel frowned, then called out softly. "No."
"Should I have tried to wake him up when the dream started?"
"No, it wouldn't have made any difference. Whether he's in a coma or a deep, unresponsive state, he's just not ready to wake up yet." She straightened and sighed. "You really should go get some rest, sir."
Jack stood up slowly, stretching. "You kicking me out?"
She smiled. "Considered yourself kicked."
Jack winked at her and left the room, figuring four hours' sleep was still better than none.
- - - - - -
"Well, sir," Jack said as he shouldered the P-90's strap a little more comfortably across his chest, "I'm thinking that either whatever shot Gershwin either crawled into a hole and died, or managed to fly the coop without our noticing."
"Garshaw." Jacob, who had paced Jack through seven grueling hours of checking and double checking all the possible nooks and crannies big enough for someone to hide inside, looked just as fresh as when he'd arrived.
Jack shrugged. He, on the other hand, was exhausted. It wasn't the walking that got to him, it was the constant tension, thinking that the TER's beams were going to finally catch a glimpse of the bastard. And of course every time he used the alien devices, it brought back memories of the Reetou, and little Charlie.
He hadn't visited the kid in quite a while – he'd have to make arrangements with Jacob when all of this was over and done with.
"So the TER's are ineffective against this technology."
"If it's even a technology," Carter added as she entered the briefing room. She put her TER down and laid it on the briefing room table, stretching her shoulders. "It could simply be a natural defensive mechanism—"
"Like the Nox?"
"Yes, sir," she added with a tight smile. "What I'd give for one of the gadgets they had on the Enterprise – you know, the ones where they could count all the people on the ship and pinpoint the alien being." She looked at her father. "Haven't the Tok'ra figured that one out yet?"
Jacob laughed. "I'm a Tok'ra, not an engineer," he countered.
"And speaking of engineers." Hammond moved away from the table to look down at the gateroom and the buzzing activity around the Stargate. "Repairs are almost done and they'll need your help recalibrating the computers, Major."
"Yes, sir. I was just about to go and check with Siler." She nodded at Jack and smiled at her father, picked up her discarded weapon and skipped down the stairs. Jack envied her energy.
"There's nothing more to be done here for the moment, Colonel. You might as well dismiss the men."
"Yes, sir." Which meant that Jack had been given tacit permission to go visit the infirmary for a short while. He turned and hurried for the elevators. It had been too long since he'd gotten any news about Daniel.
- - - - - -
// Daniel leaned back in his chair, and smiled at the sloe-eyed beauty who was perched on the corner of his desk. He reached for the glass of champagne he'd brought back from the reception, but she caught his hand. Smiling seductively, she clasped both hands around his, and the glass. Her skin was hot and smooth, velvety soft, unlike Shau'ri's work-roughened fingers, or Jack's callused ones.
She brought the glass to her mouth and took a sip, then guided the glass to Daniel. The smell of alcohol was strong, momentarily overpowering the scent of perfume.
He took a sip, then drank some more until there was no more champagne left. He licked his lips while Shait ran a finger around the rim of the glass.
"So, tell me how Shai can be a God, and still follow each person through birth until death."
"He is a God, Daniel. There need be no explanation."
"Yeah, well, um, that might work for your people, but I'd like to understand more about it."
Shait put down the champagne glass and removed a small vial worn on a chain around her neck. She pulled the top off, and the scent of crushed flowers filled the room.
"Shai has judged you, and will assist you in the rebirth."
There was a small glass rod attached to the stopper and she slid it along her neck, down towards her breasts.
"But you're Shai. Shait..."
She glanced up at Daniel coquettishly, dipped the rod back into the bottle, and brought it down along Daniel's cheek.
"You're both him and her. Shait, the female personification of Shai. Why...?"
The scent was strong, strong enough to make his eyes water. The liquid on the stopper was cold against his skin, and he raised a finger to his cheek. It came away wet. He sniffed his fingertip, then pulled back suddenly as the perfume turned acrid.
"Shai will protect you. Do not fear." //
- - - - - -
The word came out as a sigh, and Jack and Teal'c leaned forward, thinking perhaps Daniel was starting to wake. But they waited for several long minutes, and it was clear that he had gone back into wherever he went when he wasn't dreaming.
Jack had come down to the infirmary to find Teal'c sitting beside Daniel, talking to him in a gentle and soft voice. Bra'tac had accompanied Teal'c, but had taken a seat a little ways away, allowing Jack and Teal'c a bit of privacy with their teammate.
Daniel had begun dreaming again shortly after Jack got there. Fraiser had come to watch the EEG and even Jack had seen how different Daniel's brain waves were at that point in time compared to the slow oscillations prior to the REM.
Jack pulled a chair and rolled it to the bed, positioning it beside Teal'c, waiting while Fraiser checked the machinery and lines surrounding Daniel's bed. "So, who d'ya think he was dreaming about? He said 'she'."
"I believe DanielJackson said 'Shai'. Legends say he is god of destiny and fortune, the god of all gods."
"What, the Goa'uld have gods?" Somehow Jack couldn't see any of them giving obeisance to anyone else unless forced to.
"Not in that sense." Bra'tac leaned forward, his forearms balanced on his thighs. "Legend states that Shai was one of the most powerful Goa'uld in Jaffa history. He was known to either protect those he believed worthy, or brought misfortune down on those he did not. His notoriety is ancient, and far older than any of the known system lords. And so, he must long since be dead."
Despite Bra'tac's story about the ancient Goa'uld, the name sounded familiar to Jack.
"From your mouth to God's ears. That's all what we need. A prehistoric Goa'uld with a bone to pick with us." Jack watched as Fraiser made notations in Daniel's chart. She shook her head when she caught him watching her. He sighed. No change, despite the dream.
"You know, I think Daniel was talking about this Shai guy earlier."
"In what context?" asked Teal'c.
"Just talk. You know Daniel. I think he said something about Shai being part of the Endallan culture. You know, the stuff SG-4 brought back with them."
"I was not aware of this. DanielJackson did not mention any reference of a Goa'uld on the planet."
"Oh, not a snakehead. He was just excited about their culture. Yammering on about birth and death, and how it was similar to the Egyptian..."
Jack let his words fade as Fraiser came rushing towards them. "Colonel. General Hammond asks that you report to Level 23. There's been an incident near engineering."
Jack immediately got up and rushed out of the infirmary, Teal'c and Bra'tac's directly behind him. Instead of going for the elevator, he took the stairs and quickly descended the two levels.
They jogged down the corridor, slowing down when the one of the two guards assigned to the entrance to the secondary and emergency engineering pointed his weapon at them. The second guard wasn't in sight.
"What happened?" Jack asked, noting the tenseness in the man.
"We were checking the hallway intermittently with our TERs, as ordered, sir. Henderson spotted someone with his. Just part of a body, but definitely human. The suspect ran off and Henderson went after him down that way."
"Go." Jack motioned for the Jaffa to take the lead, realizing that none of them were armed. He signaled the airman to stay where he was.
The reached the intersection where the intruder had been spotted and carefully looked around the corner. Teal'c went one way while Jack and Bra'tac the other. They both turned in opposite directions at yet another intersection.
Bra'tac's cry had Jack turning back in a second. To his dismay, the second airman lay on the ground, unmoving. The Jaffa already had the TER in his hands and was flooding the corridors with its light as Jack quickly rushed to the downed man.
"He is dead."
Jack checked anyway. It only took a second. He was definitely dead, his neck broken. By the time Teal'c had joined them, Bra'tac had lowered the TER. Nothing. The area was clear.
- - - - - -
"Three sweeps. Three! And still no sign of the bastard." Jack paced the small space before Hammond's desk, frustrated and feeling like he was caught in a bad dream. He wondered if Daniel's dreams were as bad as this - like he was running around in a circle with no end in sight. He drew a hand over his scalp, then stopped to massage the tight muscles in his neck.
"At least we know the intruder is still on the base and hasn't managed to escape before we locked it down. And we know the TERs do work on whatever form of invisibility he's using." Hammond looked less frazzled than Jack felt, but the man had always been good at hiding his emotions.
"Well, the TERs would work on the damned thing if we could catch him. Either he's really good at hiding or there's something else going on here that we're all missing."
"All we can do at this point is remain vigilant. I've doubled the guards, and nobody is to go off alone after this person if he's spotted again. On the plus side, Siler has reported that the Stargate is repaired. Unfortunately we can't test it and take the chance that the intruder is waiting for us to do just that in order to make his escape."
"Oh, the Tok'ra will be so happy to hear that."
"Well, I can't blame then, Jack. Their leader is injured, our medical facilities are somewhat primitive compared to theirs, and they're stuck here with an assassin which we can't find."
"Small detail they need to remember - Daniel saved their leader's life!" Jack pressed both of his palms hard against his temples to try and rein in the pressure in his head that was threatening to escalate into a humdinger of a headache.
"They're more than aware of that," Hammond said softly. "Go on, get some rest. It's been a long day for all of us."
Jack nodded and left the office. He hadn't eaten anything all day and wondered maybe if that was the cause of his headache. Standing at the elevators, he decided he'd stop off for a quick sandwich and coffee. That way he wouldn't have to leave Daniel's side until he was good and ready.
He wolfed down the food, noticing how tense everyone in the commissary was. He didn't blame them, he was strung tight as a bowstring himself. Who knew where that killer was, maybe standing in a corner of the room, watching. What the hell did he want? He hadn't gone after anyone else since he'd tried to kill Garshaw. It was obvious, though, that the guard's death had been self-defense on the assassin's part, since he hadn't hurt anyone since he'd shot at Garshaw. Despite that fact, the needless killing had incensed everyone. Plus it wasn't helping that Daniel was still in the infirmary, still unresponsive.
The food suddenly tasted like sawdust and Jack washed down the mouthful with a swallow of coffee. He picked up his tray and threw his half-eaten sandwich into the garbage, and headed for the infirmary.
- - - - - -
Jack stopped several feet from the bed, watching as Carter ran her fingers through Daniel's hair. He envied her the freedom she had of giving Daniel comfort. How he ached to be the one doing the touching. But still the same, he was thankful that at least there was someone who could do so. And would.
Her other hand was clasping Daniel's, and she was talking to him softly as she leaned close to the bed. As much as Jack wanted to sit with Daniel right now, he decided that Carter probably needed time alone with him also. But just as he turned to leave, she looked up at him, and smiled.
"His fever's gone down and Janet says he's a little stronger." She straightened when Jack came to stand opposite her, but continued to hold onto Daniel's hand.
Daniel did look better; although still pale and the fever-flush was gone, as was the nasal canula. Now if only he'd open his eyes and look at them.
"He was a little restless, but calmed when I started talking to him."
"Restless?" Now that was something new, since Daniel had been lying like a lump from the moment he'd been shot.
Daniel immediately turned his head towards Jack, his forehead creasing in a slight frown.
"Daniel?" Jack's heart suddenly began hammering in excitement, then doubled in speed when Daniel made a guttural sound deep in his throat. His leg moved as he flexed it then relaxed.
"Like that, sir," Carter said with a wide grin. "Janet says he'll probably wake up pretty soon."
Jack immediate bent forward and took Daniel's now cooler cheeks between his palms. "You waking up here, Danny?" Jack's smile probably mirrored Carter's as Daniel frowned, his eyebrows moving up and down in what was probably an effort in opening his eyes. "Come on, you can do it."
Daniel tried for a few more seconds, then seemed to relax. It had been a valiant attempt, considering how deeply an unconscious state he'd been in. Jack straightened up after a final stroke to Daniel's cheek, and was surprised to see Fraiser standing beside Carter. He'd been so focused he hadn't even heard her approach.
"I need to check his wound," she informed him. He nodded and leaned against the empty bed behind him as Carter pushed her chair farther back, allowing the doc space to work.
He watched as Fraiser pulled the bandages back from the shoulder wound. It was red and inflamed, but she looked pleased at the results. She reached down and pressed against the reddened skin with a gloved finger.
To Jack's surprise, Daniel grunted and immediately raised a hand to bat Fraiser's hand away. He moved restlessly, his legs and head achieving more motion in those few seconds than in the past thirty-six hours.
"Shhh, it's okay, Daniel. I know it hurts." She grabbed his hand and placed it on the bed. "How about I give you a little something for the pain?"
"Doc, he's feeling this?"
"Yes." She grinned up at Jack as Daniel continued to toss restlessly. "He didn't feel any pain before, but as he comes out of the coma, he'll start feeling it more and more. It's a good thing."
She loosely covered the wound with a sterile cloth and busied herself with injecting something into Daniel's IV.
"You said this wasn't a coma."
She kept smiling broadly as she stood waiting for the medication to take effect. Jack couldn't help thinking it was ironic that she was pleased because Daniel was hurting.
"No, it's not, but the symptoms are similar to one."
She reached over and continued her examination. Daniel groaned and raised his hand again, but this time Jack was quicker and grabbed hold of it. He could feel Daniel's muscles tensing and his breathing was definitely faster.
"This is looking good. His last blood work showed the poison was dissipating, and the infection is getting better."
Jack massaged Daniel's hand, hoping to convey a bit of comfort. At least Daniel's movements had slowed. The pain med must have kicked in.
"Let the doc do her work. It's okay, she's almost done."
Fraiser nodded at Jack, then replaced the sterile cloth with fresh bandages. "Help me turn him over so I can check the exit wound." She leaned close to Daniel's face and spoke softly to him. "Daniel, we're just going to turn you over so I can check the back of your shoulder. It won't take long." She nodded at Jack and they rolled Daniel in a smooth motion.
Jack held Daniel in position as he lay partly onto his stomach, and Fraiser pulled the second set of bandages off after warning Daniel she would do so. Again at her touch, Daniel moaned.
This time Jack was ready and regardless of surveillance and an audience, put a hand to Daniel's nape and lowered his face close to Daniel's ear.
"Just hold on a little longer, okay?"
"He's feeling some pain, but I've managed to take the edge off. This way it won't stop him from waking up." She quickly finished and they turned Daniel onto his back again, Carter fiddling with the blankets and pillow, making sure Daniel was lying comfortably.
"Is there anything we can do?" Jack grabbed Daniel's flailing hand and rubbed his arm. Daniel immediately quieted.
"Talk to him, let him know he's not alone. Touch is good, as you can see. He'll probably begin to be more and more aware." With a last glance at Daniel, she left Carter and Jack alone.
"Have you eaten yet?" Carter reached down and put a hand to Daniel's forehead. Like a cat seeking a petting hand, Daniel turned his face into her caress. "I was just going to go and get some supper."
"I had a sandwich before coming here."
"If you're still hungry, I could bring something back?"
"Pie and coffee would be nice."
"Consider it done." She rose slowly, seeming reluctant to leave Daniel. Then she turned and Jack's stomach growled, anxious for that pie.
- - - - - -
Jack was here.
Touch. Familiar. Safe.
// Why are you doing this?" Daniel tried to move away, but his body would no longer obey him. The smell was everywhere. Sweet. Acrid. Sickening. Revolting.
"Shai is benevolent. He wishes to show you how he has shaped your life, and those of your loved ones."
"Shait, that doesn't make sense. You, you're him. You're Shai. Shait, the female impersonation of Shai. I – wait, my loved ones? You killed my parents! How could you have – why?"
"So you could be the person you are today, of course. Consider this the birth of your new life." //
- - - - - -
Daniel moaned softly as his eyelids barely covered the rapidly moving eyes beneath. Jack sat back and let Daniel's hand go, realizing he was dreaming again. He'd gone straight from almost waking, to dreaming, within seconds. Weird.
- - - - - -
** Charlie/Daniel ran to his bedroom window, hearing his dad's car pull up in the driveway. He peered outside and watched his dad get out of the car and run up and hug his mom. Grinning, he watched as they kissed.
"How was your day?" His dad's voice floated up to the open window of his bedroom, and Charlie/Daniel felt a surge of excitement, knowing his dad would be here for a few more months before he'd be sent away again.
"Fine. Oh, look what came home from school today."
Charlie/Daniel groaned. He hated that school picture, he looked like an idiot. His friend Matthew had been making faces and he had started laughing just as the camera snapped. He just knew his dad was gonna comment on that picture when they went out back to play baseball.
As he turned away from the window to get his baseball and mitt, he heard a sound. He froze. For a moment he debated calling his parents, knowing he was the only one inside the house, but then he figured it was the wind blowing the curtains, and the curtains were hitting against mom's little knickknacks on the table beside the window. He'd go close the window before something got broke.
Charlie/Daniel sauntered into their bedroom. He looked at the open window, but the curtains lay still, unmoving. He glanced around and was about to turn away when he spotted something dark lying in the middle of the bed.
Instinctively he knew what it was. He wasn't supposed to know where his dad kept his gun, but he'd found it accidentally a few weeks ago. He glanced towards his dad's underwear drawer and saw it hadn't been shut properly. His mom was such a stickler for that – if Charlie/Daniel, or even his dad, failed to shut a drawer or cabinet door after opening it, she'd nag them forever about it. It was so much easier to remember to close the things than to have to listen to her nag. He grinned. Dad was so going to hear about this.
Then his grin faded. His dad hadn't been home all day. How had the gun gotten here? He was sure his mom hadn't touched it. She was unhappy enough about it being in the house. He'd overheard them arguing over it more than once when they thought he was asleep.
But then he turned to the gun on the bed. He knew he shouldn't touch it, but he was drawn to it nevertheless. It wasn't loaded, of course. He'd spent hours searching for the bullets once he'd found the gun, sneaking into his parents' bedroom every time he had a chance. Those were in a shoebox, at the top of the closet.
Charlie/Daniel touched the cool metal with his fingertip. It was smooth, almost oily. He wondered what it would feel like if he were to pick it up. He curled his fingers around it, using both hands to grasp it.
Suddenly there was a shadow looming over him and Charlie/Daniel thought his dad had discovered him. He opened his mouth to say he was sorry, that he knew he shouldn't have touched the gun. He went to relinquish the weapon when suddenly fingers that felt strange were squeezing his hard. His hands were forced up towards his face, gun and all. He tried to pull away but the man behind him was too strong. He felt a finger insinuate itself through his and move towards the trigger. The gun was pointed right at him now, and Charlie/Daniel opened his mouth to scream when he heard a loud bang— **
- - - - - -
Daniel gasped loudly as his eyes flew open. The hand that Jack had been holding suddenly squeezed him painfully. Daniel arched his back and odd, strangling sounds came from the back of his throat. The monitors went crazy as alarms began to shrill.
"Doc!" Jack stood so quickly that the chair went crashing into a roll-away table behind him. He heard smashing glass and knew his empty coffee cup and pie plate had just been knocked to the floor, and had shattered. Several sets of footsteps ran towards him as he tried to calm Daniel down.
But Daniel was having some sort of seizure or fit, and Jack knew that Daniel wasn't breathing from the way his chest wasn't moving. Fraiser shouldered her way in between Jack and the bed. He tried to move away but Daniel's grip was relentless, already cutting off the circulation in his hand.
Despite being tethered to the bed, Jack tried to move aside and allow the medical staff room to maneuver around Daniel's bed. He watched, speechless, as Daniel's head was forced back, his jaw opened and a tube situated into his mouth. Medication was being injected into Daniel's IV in order to try and force his heart to slow into a more normal beat.
Fraiser looked up impatiently at the nurse.
"He's breathing on his own."
Fraiser quickly removed the tube and an oxygen mask was placed over Daniel's mouth. There was a continuous round of numbers and orders being exchanged, everyone hyper-alert to what was happening. Jack, unable to do anything to help, simply watched helplessly, and prayed.
Jack looked up from Daniel's sightless eyes into Fraiser's concerned ones. Despite Daniel's unresponsiveness, he wasn't loosening his grip on Jack's hand. "Did anything happen to bring this on?" Jack shook his head dumbly. "Did you notice anything before it started?"
"He was dreaming."
"Did he seem agitated?"
"No more than before, except maybe for the last few seconds at the end. His breathing sped up and he made a few sounds. Then he just—" Jack passed his free hand over his face and wasn't surprised to see it shaking. "How is... is he...?"
She smiled gently at him. "He's stable." She took both Daniel's and Jack's hands in hers and gently massaged Daniel's fingers. "He's got you pretty good, huh?" Slowly, after a few seconds, Daniel's muscles relaxed enough so that Jack could slip out of his hold. He shook his hand to get the circulation going while immediately grasping Daniel's with his other hand before Fraiser could place it back onto the bed. He took up the gentle massage, trying to relax the still muscle-stiff fingers.
"Is he conscious?" Although Daniel's eyes were open, he hadn't seemed aware of anyone except for the death grip he'd had on Jack.
"I don't think so. His body just went through some pretty severe trauma. If he hadn't been pumped full of poison and alien drugs, he'd probably sleep it off in order to recuperate. He's probably still trying to do the equivalent of that, however he can." She wiped the back of her hand across her forehead, trying to nudge a few hairs out of her eyes. "Just let him rest for now."
- - - - - -
// You killed him! You killed Charlie! Why? He was just a little boy." Daniel tried to push his chair away from his work table, away from this monster, but his legs wouldn't obey him. "You killed him," Daniel repeated in a dull whisper.
Jack had thought Charlie had killed himself, but it had been murder. Cold blooded murder, just like his parents.
Shait reached over and picked up one of Daniel's tightly clenched fists. She massaged it gently, then she leaned forward and kissed a finger.
"To bring you both to where you are now, of course. Had your parents lived, you would not have become the man that you are today, and would probably never have been hired for your Stargate program. Jack would never have been the one to go with you to Abydos on your first mission together. Your destinies would have never crossed."
"Who else did you kill? Who else did you murder in the sake of destiny?" He tried to pull his hand back, but she held on too tightly.
"Look. See. Understand."
** She was angry. Jacob had promised to pick her up and as usual, he was late. Still, she considered herself lucky to have been able to catch a cab so easily tonight after the play.
She had only herself to blame, though. She should know her husband by now, and how she couldn't rely on him despite his promises. Something at work had to have come up. As usual.
She sighed and looked out the window as the cab stopped for a red light. She watched without interest as a car came down the road. Jacob should have attended the play with her. She'd had tickets for two, he'd promised weeks ago to make sure he'd be free. And what had happened? He'd had to work. Tired and discouraged, she leaned the side of her head against the cool glass of the window.
But he'd be home early, he'd said. He'd pick her up, he'd said. They'd go out for a late supper together, he'd said.
Ha. He was working. He'd forgotten all about his promises, and all about her.
The approaching car had begun to speed up and she raised her head as the glaring beams of its headlights blinded her. It kept coming and coming and with horror, the light turned green and the driver of the cab started through the intersection. She saw the oncoming car swerve slightly and come right for her.
The overhead light in the oncoming car was on. She shouldn't be able to see inside the car due to the glare of the headlights, but the driver's face was as clear as if he was sitting beside her. He was grinning and staring right at her. She knew he was going to hit, and she braced herself— **
Daniel screamed in shock. "Stop! This isn't real." Again he pulled feebly at the hand holding his, but was unable to break the grip. "This isn't possible. Shai couldn't have changed everyone's lives just so that we could all meet and be on SG-1. Next thing you'll be showing me is that Shai really killed Teal'c's father and not Cronos so Teal'c could be made Apophis' First Prime. This is all in my mind. You're doing this to me deliberately. I don't believe you. This isn't real. This is a dream. A nightmare." Daniel was panting in both fear and horror. He'd just experienced two deaths, knew two persons who he loved had had someone brutally murdered by this so-called 'god'.
No, make that false god. No matter what, if Shai was a Goa'uld and had somehow come to Earth years ago to ruin three persons' lives, he was still a Goa'uld. He had to warn Jack, to tell him there was something here...
Shait let his hand go and smiled sweetly at him. "Good. Now you understand." //
- - - - - -
Fraiser spoke out excitedly as she entered the briefing room. "We've found the source of the hallucinatory drug."
"In Daniel's office?"
She turned to Hammond. "Yes, sir. It was found on one of the scrolls on his desk." She stood beside the table with her hands in her pockets. "The ink on the scroll was heavily infused with the stuff. I'm guessing the world they came from is pretty dry?"
"Desert-conditions," Jack supplied.
"So probably the humidity in the base and Daniel's skin moisturized the ink and released the drug. Which explains why traces of it were found on his shirt sleeves. He absorbed it through his skin."
"So, one mystery solved," Carter mumbled.
"Now if only we could find a way to trap our intruder." Jack sighed and slid down into the depths of the chair. He had a feeling they'd probably be running another base-wide sweep pretty soon. He watched Hammond as he finished with Doctor Fraiser, and began betting with himself the moment the general would issue the order.
He was spot on.
"I'd like you to conduct another sweep at 0500 tomorrow morning, Colonel."
Jack bit back a groan, and nodded. He avoided Carter and Teal'c's discouraged looks. They hated this just as much as he did.
- - - - - -
"I can't stay long, Daniel." Jack took his hand out of his pocket and reached for a nearby chair. God, he was tired.
"I gotta go run another security sweep. Damn bastard's still out there. The Tok'ra wanna go home, General Ryan and his people are getting fed up being cooped up in those VIP rooms, not that I blame 'em any. And the whole base is so tense that anytime someone farts, there's twenty guns aimed in his way." Okay, there hadn't been exactly twenty, but it sure had looked like it at the time.
He sat down and stared moodily at Daniel's Medal of Valor, which he'd pulled out of his pocket. He'd been carrying it around as a sort of good luck charm. Maybe, he was the wrong person to be holding it. Maybe, it was time now for Daniel to take it.
"You never got a chance to accept this, huh? Things just happened too fast that day." Jack placed the medal face up on his palm, and reached for Daniel's lax hand. "I've been holding this for you, keeping it safe. Maybe it's time you got to see what you earned."
He let Daniel's palm drop close to his own, with the fingers extended over the medal. Then with his other hand, Jack picked up Daniel's index finger.
"See here?" He rubbed Daniel's finger over the etched metal. "There's an eagle replacing the Air Force emblem." Jack moved the finger over and over, showing Daniel the eagle. "And here's a triangle that goes right over the eagle." He did the same thing with the symbol. "And the eagle's perched on a scroll that has the word 'Valor' written on it, and there's an olive wreath around the whole thing.
"You don't know how long Hammond's been lobbying to get you this. How long he's been trying to get some kind of acknowledgement for everything you've done for the SGC. For Earth. For our allies.
"I honestly don't know why they've taken so long to finally come to their senses. You deserve a trunkful of these, Daniel. For what it's worth, I know it's just a piece of metal tied to a fancy ribbon, but at least the acknowledgement is there. Finally. You more than earned this many times over."
Jack continued to move Daniel's fingertip around the medal, repeating over and over what it was, what it represented, and how much Daniel deserved it.
- - - - - -
Pain. It hit him like a punch to the gut. He tried to breathe deeply, but only managed to make the agony in his shoulder worse.
The fog had lifted, leaving only a small, grey barrier of mist between himself and the real world.
He made a small sound. His body was heavy, an indifferent lump barely obeying his commands. The noise escaped him again, sounding loud in his ears.
"It's okay. Easy, I'm here."
There was pressure on his finger and he realized Jack was holding his hand. Something touched his brow, and he tried to turn his head to see. But the mist hid his sight, made it impossible to see beyond his slowly waking senses.
"Are you gonna wake up for real this time, Danny? You wanna try and open your eyes?"
Eyes. Yeah, that might help. Daniel squeezed them tightly first, then tried to open them. There was light, blinding, fuzzy, indistinct shapes bobbing before him. He closed them, wishing he could focus.
"No, no, come on, try and keep 'em open."
He tried again, moving his head and trying to hone in on the so-familiar voice. The blur coalesced into a nearly-recognizable shape before it returned into haziness.
He rested a moment, concentrating instead on the sounds around him. The infirmary. Yes, after all these years, coming to amidst the medical beeps and squeaks was, literally, music to his ears. He felt his mouth twitch into an involuntary smile at the thought.
So he was hurt, obviously. His shoulder, by the feel of it. Staff blast? Didn't quite feel like one. Gunshot? Maybe. Why was it so painful, though?
Memory of a green light teased him, and he recalled melting chains, laser beam and... Oh God, Garshaw! Someone had been up on the wall, someone, somehow, like in his dreams, clambering over the cement, not quite human, and had pointed a gun at her. The person had been invisible, but the gun had been up way up high overhead. He had to warn them.
"Wall. On the wall. Look up, you have to look up."
- - - - - -
"It's okay, Daniel. Don't try to talk. I'm right here."
Jack placed his hand on Daniel's cheek, trying to keep him from growing more agitated. He'd begun making sounds and was growing increasingly distressed, although Jack wasn't sure if it was because he was trying to tell him something or if it was just part of the illness.
Daniel raised his hand towards Jack, his eyes partway open, the medal clutched between his fingers with the colored ribbon hanging over his wrist. Maybe it was the movement, maybe the colors, but whatever it was, it caught Daniel's eye. In a graceless move, Daniel brought the medal close to his face, his fingers relaxing, exposing the gold piece. Jack was pretty sure Daniel knew what it was, and was truly seeing it.
Daniel closed his eyes and scrunched his face tightly, letting his hand drop to his side. It looked like he was trying to focus himself.
"Yeah, Danny, I'm right here." Jack stroked a finger along the hand that still held the medal.
Eyes still shut, Daniel opened his mouth and closed it. He stuck his tongue out, and tried speaking again. "Look. Up."
Jack looked up at the ceiling, seeing nothing.
Jack saw that Daniel was looking at him, a sober expression on his face.
"Where. What do you want me to see?"
"The guy who shot you?"
A faint nod.
"We know, he was standing near the wall."
"No. On. Wall."
Jack pursed his lips thoughtfully. "The guy who tried to shoot the Tok'ra was standing on the wall?"
"Up. Climb. Search. Look. Up."
"Oh shit." No wonder they couldn't find the bastard. He'd been hugging the walls and ceilings. "You're saying he's been climbing above us all this time on the ceiling and walls?"
Daniel nodded, his eyelids beginning to slide downwards.
"Wait, wait. Don't go back to sleep yet." Jack leaned forward, and brought Daniel's hand tightly against his chest as he leaned forward, close to Daniel's ear. "Remember this. I love you, Daniel."
Daniel smiled at that. "Too." Then his eyes shut all the way, and Jack was pretty sure this time he'd slid into normal sleep. He put Daniel's hand down gently and removed the medal. He hung it from the IV pole, for everyone to see. He'd been right. It had been Daniel's good luck charm, and it had now, hopefully, just rubbed some of its luck onto him. He left the infirmary, for once looking forward to the upcoming sweep, knowing this time they were gonna catch this guy.
- - - - - -
This time they were prepared. Four teams. Teal'c and Jacob's teams worked from the upper levels down towards the lower floors, and Jack and Carter's teams worked from the lowest levels up. There were more men in each team, with half the TERs pointed down the corridors and the other half concentrated on the walls and ceilings.
Jack started in the Gateroom. It didn't take long. It was Ferretti's TER that caught the image of something clinging to the inside of the briefing room window, staring down at them. Jack ignored it, caught Ferretti's eye and motioned him to continue the sweep as if nothing had occurred. He signaled Carter and two of her men to go around and meet him at the elevators.
Walking as quietly as possible, they entered the briefing room from both entrances and trained their TERs on the window. Nothing.
"Damn." Angry and frustrated, Jack twirled on the ball of his foot and aimed his TER against the wall, crisscrossing from one end of the room to the other as quickly as he could.
There, on the wall above the star map, perched a man dressed in what appeared to be tight-fitting, black wool pants and sweater. He was bare of feet, and from Jack's point of view, it looked like he was hanging onto the cement wall with his bare hands and feet.
It only took the man only a second to realize he'd been made. He pulled out a small gun and aimed it at Jack. A green laser light crossed the room and lit right on Jack's chest.
Jack threw himself to the side, feeling the bullet rush right past his face. As he tucked and rolled, he heard the combined sounds of a zat and rifle fire. He looked up. The man was down. Jack scrambled to his feet and was just in time to see the man's eyes do the Goa'uld glow before they faded, leaving a pair of confused and frightened purple eyes looking around in pain.
Carter held her P-90 towards the downed man while she simultaneously kicked the intruder's weapon out of reach. As Jack approached, the life in the man's eyes faded as the Goa'uld's host succumbed to his injuries.
Jack keyed his radio. "We got one. Continue the sweep, there might be more." He changed frequencies. "I need security in the briefing room."
"Look at this, sir." Carter was kneeling beside the dead person, examining his hands. "His feet are the same."
Jack bent down beside her and noticed little suction pads along the palms of his hands, sorta like an octopus. So that was how he stayed up on the walls. "So he's not quite human."
"Other than these, he looks pretty human," Carter added as she did a cursory examination. I guess an autopsy will determine if there are other discrepancies."
"What about the snake?"
"The Tok'ra would be able to identify it. They'll probably ask to take it back with them."
Jack shrugged. "They're welcome to any and all dead snakes. Live ones, too."
Two SFs entered the room and Jack instructed them to tie the body up securely. No use taking chances. The man appeared to be dead, but this was a Goa'uld, after all. Short of cutting his head off or blowing him up into pieces, there were no guarantees.
"Let's get this over with." Jack picked up his TER and went to finish his share of the sweeps.
- - - - - - -
"Well, the good news is, there was just one Goa'uld on base." Jack sighed heavily as he walked over to the small table beneath the star map and poured himself a coffee, waving the pitcher at the others in invitation. Jacob nodded, General Hammond declined. Funny how quickly the blood had been cleared from the floor and the room made to look like nothing had happened here only a few hours ago.
"Garshaw requested we turn the body over to the Tok'ra so they can remove the symbiote and identify it."
"How's she doing, by the way?" Jack asked guiltily as he sat down opposite Jacob and handed him his coffee. All his spare time had been focused on Daniel, and he'd barely even thought about the injured Tok'ra.
"She's doing fine, thanks for asking. The poison had affected her more than her host. It seems its design was specifically for symbiotes. It's a blessing that she got such a small dose of it."
"So, bullet for the host, poison for the snake?" Jack winced inwardly, often forgetting about Selmak. But even though he was Tok'ra, he didn't seem to be as bad as the others – maybe it was Jacob's influence. "The poison would make sure the Goa'uld died even if it managed to find another host."
Jacob's eyes glowed, and said Tok'ra looked at Jack. "What is confusing is why a Goa'uld would be carrying such a weapon. That is one of the reasons why we wish to take possession of the bodies. Was he planning on attacking the Tok'ra? It appears likely, since he did attack one of our leaders."
"Yeah, it does. Considering he chose her out of a room full of people." Jack took a sip of coffee, and as the hot brew hit his stomach, he realized how hungry he was.
"We would also like copies of all the data Doctor Fraiser has collected on the poison. With any luck, we might be able to make a weapon of it."
"Of course." General Hammond made a notation on the pad of paper in front of him. "Of course, we expect to receive anything you come up with about the poison and all information about the host's odd ability of climbing walls.
"That little trick could come in handy if we could duplicate it and turn out some kind of gloves and socks for the teams to use."
A vision of SG-1 crawling over the ceiling of a Goa'uld mothership went through Jack's mind, with the Jaffa running crazily below them, with nary a clue to where they were.
Selmac nodded. His head lowered, and Jacob looked at Hammond. "Only if you can make yourselves invisible."
"Speaking of which—"
"We'll let you know what we come up with on that count, too, George."
"That's all that I can ask for."
An aide entered the room and whispered something in Hammond's ear.
"They're ready to test the Stargate." All three of them stood up and walked to the window overlooking the gateroom. A short time later, the Stargate began to turn and light up.
They watched as the wormhole erupted out, illuminating the room in a vivid blue. Technicians swarmed over it, and several minutes later, Siler turned to give Hammond a thumb's up. The 'gate shut down, and the room looked dim and dingy once more.
"Guess I better go collect my guys," Jacob said, shaking Hammond's hand. He looked at Jack. "I'll walk you to the infirmary, if that's where you're headed now."
Jack nodded. Yep, Daniel was definitely next on his agenda. He picked up the half-full mug of coffee and followed Jacob out the door.
- - - - - -
Daniel was half lying, half sitting, propped up in bed. Which meant he must have woken up again. Excited, Jack hurried his pace, but slowed just as he reached the bed. Daniel might be sitting up, but by the way his head had slid to the side and the fact that his eyes were closed, he'd also fallen asleep again.
Moving quietly, Jack pulled up the nearest chair and sat down, ignoring the slight squeak of its wheels as he settled. He took another sip of coffee, and laid the cup against his lap, and just looked at Daniel.
"Is that coffee I smell?"
The words were whispered, his eyes were still closed, but there was a slight, teasing smile quirking the side of Daniel's mouth.
"Uh huh." Jack took another sip, making deliberate slurping noises. "And you can be pretty sure Fraiser won't be letting you drink any for a couple of days, so don't get your hopes up."
"Damn." The curse was said with an all out grin. Daniel opened his eyes and looked at Jack. "I heard you caught the guy."
"Thanks to you. You were right, he was just hanging onto the wall, like a fly. We had no choice but to take him down, though."
"That's too bad. I'd have liked to have asked him some questions..."
"I was thinking... I bet he came in with SG-4. From Endal." Daniel turned to look at the Tok'ra, who had gathered in a small group at the other end of the infirmary. "He didn't attack anyone but Garshaw, and that guard he killed, it sounded like that was self-defense. I bet he came here simply to gather some intel." The Tok'ra were now approaching his bed. Daniel lowered his voice and spoke quickly. "And I bet they discover that the Goa'uld was the god Shai."
"Daniel Jackson." Garshaw greeted him, stopping near his bed. Her arm was in a sling, but she looked pretty much recovered. Better, much better, than Daniel did.
"You're Yosuuf, right?" Daniel frowned up at the Tok'ra and Jack raised his eyebrows.
"You're right. My symbiote is still sleeping as she hasn't fully recovered from the effects of the poison." She smiled down at Daniel, the gruffness of the Tok'ra not apparent in the host. "But she's improving quickly, thanks to Doctor Fraiser's excellent care. We're leaving now, but I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for saving our lives." She looked at the medal which was still hanging from the IV pole. She reached out and removed it, holding it in her hand.
"This is such a small token to show appreciation. The Tok'ra do not believe in decorations as such, and Jacob and my symbiote have had many discussions about the merits of such honors. We believe it more appropriate by telling the person of our esteem and then awarding him rights and privileges while suitably adjusting their ranks."
"So you believe in promoting up, huh?" Jack said, his face serious. He bit his lip to stop from laughing when Daniel rolled his eyes at him.
"Hey, works for the Air Force." Jacob, on the other hand, was laughing.
"Funny," Jack replied.
Jacob reached over and took the medal from Yosuuf's hand and contemplated it. "You're right, it is a small token, and Daniel deserves much, much more than this." He raised his head and looked at Daniel. "On the other hand, it's the Air Force's highest civilian award. We can't do better than this." He grinned. "You never really got the chance to receive this, did you?" He took it in both hands, separated the ribbons, and brought the medal over Daniel's head. "Consider yourself decorated."
Daniel picked the gold medal up and turned it around so he could look at it. His index finger traveled over it, just as Jack had done earlier. "An eagle, which replaces the Air Force emblem, surrounded by a pyramid. The eagle's perched on a scroll that has the word 'Valor' written on it, and there's an olive wreath surrounding it." He turned to look at Jack. "Thank you," he said simply.
The thanks could have been either for himself or Jacob, but Jack nodded, certain that Daniel was remembering his earlier words describing the medal. Daniel looked a little shaky, but when he caught Jack's eye, he just mouthed, 'later'.
The Tok'ra said their goodbyes, and despite the fact that Jack wanted to question Daniel about the identity of the Goa'uld, he could see that Daniel needed to rest and he certainly wasn't about to push him.
"I had the strangest dreams while I was sick." Daniel relaxed against his pillow once they were alone, eyes closed, finger still tracing the medal.
"Do tell," Jack prompted.
Daniel swallowed and took a deep breath. "It was about how you and I became what we are now. How, certain... painful... portions of our lives steered us towards the Stargate program... towards one another."
Daniel nodded. "And my parents. Sam's mom. Teal'c's father. If you believe in this kind of stuff, you could almost say that our destinies were guided to bring us here, now. Fighting the Goa'uld to protect Earth."
"And this Shai god you were talking about the other day is the god of destiny." When Daniel opened an eye to peer at him, Jack shrugged. "Hey, I listen."
Daniel quirked an eyebrow.
"Sometimes," Jack conceded.
Jack smiled back. "That's kind of a misnomer, isn't it? If this Shai guy had a hand in molding our futures, then he brought us together so we could kill him."
"I didn't mean literally. The Goa'uld Shai was powerful and ancient, probably one of the first of his kind. He probably existed before Ra." Daniel stopped, canted his head and looked at Jack, his brow furrowed in thought. "Now how did I know that?"
Jack smiled to himself. Jack and Teal'c had been sitting by Daniel's death when Bra'tac had brought up the Jaffa legends about that Goa'uld. "Funny the things you pick up when you're asleep."
Daniel shrugged. "So, I'm assuming since he's no longer known around town, it stands to reason he either got conquered a long time ago, or decided to retire on some nice, backwater planet and enjoy his old age."
"Until we came along and stirred things up."
"He must have hung around the base, checked things out. He had to have put two and two together about the Tok'ra, even if he'd been out of the loop, he knew they were his enemy."
"So he decided to take one of 'em out, just to stir things up? There's no tactical advantage in doing that."
"There would be if he wanted to see how we reacted. Remember, he probably just sat there," Daniel pointed to the ceiling, "and watched us. If we hadn't found him and he'd escaped, he could have gone to the nearest System Lord and gotten himself reinstated in a powerful position for the type of information about the base."
"Too true. So I have to say..." Jack placed his hand around Daniel's, the one that was still clutching the medal. "You more than earned this thing."
- - - - - -
Jack shifted, rolling onto his back. Daniel's thigh was pressing into his groin and as much as the feeling was enjoyable, Jack was just too sated at the moment to try anything else. Daniel sighed and rolled with Jack, until he was half lying on top of him, his head pillowed on Jack's chest.
"Nothing. Just getting comfy."
"Hmmm." Daniel wiggled a little, carefully adjusting his injured arm. "Feels good to be home."
"Yeah." And it was. Good to have Daniel pronounced well enough to leave the infirmary, and well enough for Jack to check him out intimately the moment they'd walked into the house to make sure he really was okay.
And now they were both very relaxed, sleepy, and at peace.
"I could hear you, you know."
"Hmmm?" He lifted his head to kiss the soft hair that tickled his chin.
"When I was asleep. I couldn't answer, but your voice made me feel safe. Especially after those dreams."
"Yeah." Daniel's reply was mostly an expulsion of air. "They made me start doubting myself, made me think it was all a game. That our lives had been manipulated, somehow. I knew it couldn't be real, but it felt like it at the time."
"They were hallucinations from the drug in the scroll. They weren't real." Daniel hadn't yet recounted the dreams to Jack, but the emotions in his voice whenever someone brought them up told Jack how much they still affected him.
"I know that. And I also knew I had to warn you about what I'd seen. By the time you began talking about the medal, your voice, your words, helped me fight through the fog around me and come back to you. So, thank you." Daniel craned his neck and kissed Jack, then settled back down to pillow his head against Jack's shoulder.
"That was spooky, the thing you did about guessing the Goa'uld." The Tok'ra had gotten back to them today, confirming it had indeed been Shai.
"It was the dreams. They sort of guided me." Daniel's head bounced up and down a few times as he chuckled. "Even Jacob sounded awed."
"So, you think the Tok'ra are gonna find anything on that planet?"
"They'll probably find a stasis machine. It's impossible for a Goa'uld to have lived this long, according to Sam." Jack nodded, thinking of Yu and his slowly deteriorating mentality.
Daniel sighed deeply, his body totally relaxed. Jack slowly rubbed his fingers through Daniel's hair, thinking. Maybe in a way, there had been some sort of divine intervention to get them, and by them, he meant all of his team, to where they were now. There were just too many coincidences and disparities in their lives, to not consider that possibility.
"Maybe there's a bit of truth to your dreams," Jack whispered to the sleeping man. "And for which I'm very, very grateful."
Author's Comments: Many thanks to Jmas for accepting this story for her E-zine 'Ancients Gate IV - Recognition'
If you want to see more of Jmas' ezines, here's her link:
And HUGS and thanks to devra, who once again went above and beyond to look at this fic with an eagle eye, and thanks to the sisters of my heart, who always keep me in check
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