Silent Memories by JoaG

Forcing the heavy metal door open, Jack O'Neill braved a look into the dark room. His relief was almost palpable; he could make out three shapes lying on the hard ground, chains leading from the wall to their wrists. After searching for nearly 14 hours, his team, consisting of three quarters of SG1, along with SG4 and SG8 and a battalion of marines, had finally made a breakthrough. They'd found the hidden entrance to this underground complex of rooms and tunnels running under the ruins of the temple where Daniel and his team had been working. Jack had found his missing team of archeologists. And they appeared to be alive.

From the moment that he’d heard that the love of his life had been missing, Jack had ruthlessly pushed his people, forcing them to search for clues, his demeanor chillingly calm. Carter and Teal’c hadn’t needed any prodding from him, they were nearly as anxious as he was to find Daniel. Ferretti had been the one yelling furiously at the others when they didn’t jump quickly enough in response to Jack’s orders.

Jack had expected a fierce and bloody battle, but there had been no signs of Goa'uld or Jaffa. Daniel, Ramirez and Sullivan had been taken prisoner, presumably by the damned snakes. SG4, who had accompanied the archeologists to the planet, had never even realized that something was wrong until the civilians hadn’t shown up at camp for their evening meal. They had been prisoners now for close to 36 hours.

Jack hadn't had a chance to chew out Hanson yet for leaving Daniel and the other civilians at the temple without any backup. It was standard operating procedure to have at least one man on guard when a civilian was required to work away from the rest of the team. Hanson hadn't had a chance to debrief the General either, as he and his men had joined the search for the errant archeologists as soon as he had reported them missing.

Entering the damp room, Jack played his flashlight over the unconscious men. Spotting his friend lying farthest from him, he quickly made his way over to Daniel, leaving the other two men to the care of Ferretti and Carter. Teal'c and Hanson stood guard at the door.

Daniel was lying on his side, his arms held away from his body. In the harsh light of the flashlight, Jack could see how pale Daniel was beneath the dirt and sweat. His hands were chained together, but Jack’s stomach churned as he saw as to the manner in which they had been fastened. A thin metal-like rod had been run through the palms of both hands, affixed to a metal plate placed between his hands. Chains were affixed to metal bars attached to the rod on the outside of his hands. The wounds, although slight, appeared to be infected.

“My God,” Carter exclaimed upon examining the similar restraints on Tomas Ramirez. Jack's shaking hand reached for Daniel's swollen, slightly bleeding ones.

Carter took hold of Ramirez's hands, endeavoring to undo the chains. At her touch, Ramirez suddenly came to life and started screaming and struggling wildly. Before Ferretti was able to help her hold him down, Ramirez's flailing foot nudged the leg of the other seemingly unconscious man and Ben Sullivan also started struggling and yelling incoherently.

“Help me hold him down,” yelled Carter, when she saw that she and Ferretti weren't able to handle Ramirez on their own. Quickly Teal'c and Hanson left their posts and came inside to help restrain the man.

After a few moments, Sullivan quieted down, curling up on his side, sobbing hysterically.

As Jack looked up at the commotion, his wavering hand gently brushed Daniel's and suddenly Daniel curled up upon himself and tried to escape Jack’s touch. Jack quickly grabbed Daniel's shoulders to prevent him from injuring his hands further. Daniel fell against Jack's chest, so Jack grabbed him and held him still, rocking his friend gently against him, trying to keep Daniel's hands still. Jack tried to force him to look up at him, but Daniel wasn't focusing. His eyes were open but he didn't seem to recognize Jack. Jack wasn't sure whether Daniel could actually see him in the dim room, although there was some light coming in through the open door. Daniel was gasping, but unlike the other two men, he wasn't making any sounds.

Ramirez was struggling ferociously against the four trying to restrain him. Carter let him go and dug through her pack, and finding the vial she was searching for, drew the drug up into a syringe and injected Ramirez with it. She added her weight to the men holding down Ramirez, holding tightly onto his legs until the medication took effect.

“Daniel, it's me, it's Jack. It's okay, you're safe. Calm down, we're going to get you out of here. Daniel, look at me.” Jack kept talking, all the while trying to calm Daniel, continuing to rock him in his arms. He looked over as the others carefully approached the now quiescent Sullivan, trying to catch their breaths after their hard struggle with Ramirez.

Feeling the body in his arms relax slightly, he looked down at Daniel. He was panting harshly, his body still shivering slightly, but his eyes had finally focused on Jack. Squeezing his love's shoulders slightly, he said softly, “Daniel?”

Daniel stopped struggling completely and he slowly raised his bound hands towards Jack's face. Jack quickly grabbed his hands, not wanting Daniel to tug on the chains, but he curled his fingers around Daniel's. Jack could finally see recognition in Daniel's eyes.

Carter had readied the second syringe and when she nodded, Teal'c and the other two men quickly grabbed Sullivan. At their touch, he began yelling and struggling once again. At the sound of the hysterical man, Daniel suddenly curled himself up as tightly as he could. Jack grabbed Daniel’s neck and forced his face into his shoulder. He could feel Daniel trembling, his harsh pants puffing up against his throat. Jack placed his hand around Daniel’s nape and gently massaged, trying to calm him down.

“Shhh, it's okay, it's okay. They're just taking care of Sullivan. He'll be all right,” Jack murmured softly to Daniel. Daniel’s breathing slowed down as he relaxed into Jack’s hold.

Once Sullivan had succumbed to the drug, Carter turned to Daniel, and was surprised to see him lying there relatively calm in the Colonel's arms.

“Sir?” she questioned, holding up the spent syringe.

“I don't know, Major,” he answered. “He's more lucid than they are. Maybe we can get him home without the shot.” She nodded and approached Daniel, but her touch on his leg caused him to buck and struggle once again.

Grinding his teeth together, holding Daniel tightly, Jack said to Carter, “Give him the shot.” She nodded, took out a new syringe and prepared the needle. As she worked, Daniel stopped struggling. But as she approached Daniel once again, he tried to back away from her. Jack tightened his grip and spoke to him. “Hey, it's just Sam. You know Sam, don'tcha? She won't hurt you.”

At Jack's soft words, Daniel stopped trying to move away, and lay still in Jack's arms, trembling and panting. He tried to burrow his head as far as he could into Jack's jacket.

“Daniel?” Sam said softly. Jack could feel him shake harder. She reached over to administer the drug, but he began to struggle again.

“Major, back off!” Jack barked. She quickly moved back, giving Daniel a worried look. After a few moments, Daniel calmed down again. Gently extracting an arm from around Daniel's shoulders, he extended it towards Carter. “Give me the needle,” he said gently. Carefully, she handed it to her commanding officer.

“Danny, I'm going to give you a shot, it's going to help calm you down and stop the pain, okay?” At the lack of response from Daniel, he took it to mean Daniel understood. Quickly injecting the contents, he rubbed Daniel's shoulder and arm until he became completely limp. Carter turned and left the room.

Teal'c came over and started fiddling with the chains attached to Daniel's hands. Movement at the door caught Jack's eye, and he saw two members of SG8 arrive with a stretcher and quickly load Ramirez on it and carry him off. Teal'c finally released the chains but left the metal rods running through Daniel's hands.

Pointing to the rods, he stated, “It is best that we leave these for Doctor Fraiser to remove. They served to administer drugs. She will want to examine the contents.” Jack winced.

Sullivan was also quickly carted off, and Carter soon arrived with a stretcher on which Jack and Teal'c carefully lifted Daniel and proceeded to carry him to the stargate.

- - - - - -

Doctor Janet Fraiser finished bandaging Tomas Ramirez's hands, and removing her surgical gloves, picked up a fresh pair and moved to Daniel’s bed. Jack had been sitting beside his bedside ever since he'd been brought in.

The nurses had already removed Daniel's soiled clothes, exchanging them for hospital scrubs. They'd also cleaned him up and taken all necessary vitals. An IV line was affixed to his forearm. All that remained was for Janet to remove the rods from his hands. Dr. Warner had nearly finished doing so to Ben Sullivan.

She began to swab disinfectant over the wounds in preparation to removing the implement. “Colonel, was Doctor Jackson cognizant when you found him?” she asked.

“Not at first, it took him a few moments to figure out who I was. Not like the other two, they didn't recognize anyone.” Fraiser fixed her gaze on Jack for a moment, and he knew that she was processing the fact that Daniel’s different reaction could be due to the fact that he and Daniel were lovers. “Daniel never recognized Carter, though,” Jack continued. “He took a fit when she went anywhere near him.”

Janet nodded her understanding. She began disassembling the mechanism as she spoke. “Did he say anything as to what had happened?” Jack winced as she pulled the rod through one of Daniel's palms.

“No, he didn't say a word…” Jack, sitting by the head of Daniel's bed, saw his eyelids flutter and quickly warned the Doctor. “Doc, he's coming to.”

“That's impossible,” she replied, having just finished removing the rod from Daniel's other hand. “He has enough drugs in his bloodstream to keep him under for at least another four hours.” And Daniel then did the impossible, he opened his eyes. “Doc!” warned Jack.

Daniel was lying on his right side, his arms extended in front of his body so that Janet could work on his hands. Upon seeing Janet, Daniel tensed and sat up in the bed, trying to get away from her. He brought his injured hands to his chest, cradling them there. His breathing quickened and he started looking around wildly. Jack quickly grabbed Daniel's shoulders before he could get very far and held him firmly, trying not to get the IV line tangled.

“Doctor Jackson,” Janet started. “Please, let me finish disinfecting your hands.” She extended her hand towards his injured palms, but Daniel continued to try to back away, struggling in Jack's grip.

“Daniel,” Jack said. “Stop it, look at me,” he insisted. At the sound of Jack's voice, Daniel turned towards him. “Hey,” Jack smiled. “You don't wanna give the Doc a hard time, do you? Why don't you let her finish up here?”

Daniel looked at Janet, then back to Jack. He slowly started to relax and Jack helped him lie down again. Gently grasping the wounded hands, Jack pulled them back out so that Janet could finish disinfecting them. As Janet touched him, Daniel started trembling. Trying to soothe his friend, Jack placed one hand on Daniel's arm to keep it in place, and another on his back, gently rubbing in circles trying to keep him calm. Daniel turned so that his face was hidden against Jack’s chest. Jack could feel his breath puffing warmly through his tee-shirt. Jack brought his hand up and held him tightly to him, gently massaging the back of his neck. Although clearly upset, Daniel allowed Janet’s ministrations.

Sudden, loud screaming started up a few beds away from Daniel. Jerking his hands back, Daniel quickly curled up on the bed, bringing his knees to his chest. Jack could hear Daniel panting harshly. Sitting down on the bed, Jack lifted him up and maneuvered himself so that Daniel was cradled against his chest. Jack could feel Daniel shivering, and he rocked him gently, trying to keep him settled. Daniel’s head was tucked into Jack’s shoulder, and Jack rested his chin on top of Daniel’s head. This was the closest physical contact he could manage with Daniel in the very visible milieu of the infirmary.

Janet left Daniel's side and went over to help Dr. Warner tend to Sullivan, who, unlike Daniel, had come to kicking and screaming. As they were attempting to restrain the man to the bed with leather straps, Ramirez woke up and added his howls and screams to Sullivan's. He was also quickly restrained.

Jack was dismayed at seeing Daniel in this state. Daniel had always been there for Jack. He had been Jack’s best friend before they had taken their relationship one step further and become lovers. But at the moment, Jack didn't know what to do to help him. The only thing he could think of was to try keeping him calm and still.

Jack remembered the last time he'd held Daniel in his arms. They had made sweet love the night before Daniel had left on that damn mission. Knowing that Daniel would be gone for several days, Jack had tried to make up for all the intimacy he’d be missing in that one night. He’d felt bad, though, when Daniel had gotten up to leave, pale and eyes red-rimmed due to lack of sleep. When he’d apologized, Daniel had simply smiled, kissed him, and thanked him for the wonderful memories he’d have to tide him over their short separation.

Daniel was a strong and self-sufficient man. Having endured hardship at a young age when his parents died right before him, he was fostered off from place to place until he was old enough to look after himself. His own grandfather had wanted nothing to do with him, and Daniel spent his late teens and young adulthood in school, earning himself two PHDs and various other degrees. Even then things didn't go well for Daniel. He'd been laughed out of the archeological society due to his wild theories on pyramids and aliens. Actually, he'd been right about the whole thing, the problem was, he couldn't tell anyone due to the nature of his current work.

Jack had seen Daniel totally out of control twice in his life, once when he'd been suffering from addiction and the other when everyone thought that he was psychotic. Jack was horribly afraid that Daniel was heading down that particular venue again. Jack swore to himself that if this was the case, then this time Jack would be there with Daniel every step of the way.

Once the doctors managed to sedate the two patients, Janet returned to Daniel's bed. After several more minutes of Jack unsuccessfully trying to get Daniel calmed enough to allow Janet to finish treating his wounds, she injected a sedative into his IV. When he’d calmed down enough for her to treat him, Jack tried to slip out from beneath Daniel. Daniel suddenly twisted and grabbed Jack around the waist to try and keep him there. Jack relented and continued to hold him as Daniel slowly relaxed. By the time Janet had finally wrapped his hands in bandages, Daniel was asleep.

Once he was certain that Daniel was deeply asleep, Jack extracted himself from underneath Daniel, and took his seat by the bed, watching as Janet took yet another blood sample from the slumbering man.

- - - - - -

Janet Fraiser looked tired as she walked into the conference room. Nodding at General Hammond, she quickly took her seat. “Doctor, how are your patients?” he asked. Jack, Carter, Teal'c, Ferretti and Hanson were also attending the briefing.

“Physically, they're going to be fine. They're all a little battered, but nothing too serious. Bruises and scrapes, mostly. They're all dehydrated and half-starved, and the injuries on their hands aren't severe and will heal without any nerve or ligament damage.”

She took a deep breath before continuing. “As to their mental health, sir, I honestly don't know. Both Ramirez and Sullivan are either hysterical or nearly catatonic when they're awake. They won't respond to any of their teammates or friends. We've had to sedate and restrain them to prevent them from injuring themselves. If there's no improvement soon, I'm going to have to recommend that they be moved to Mental Health.”

“But Daniel isn't reacting like they are,” Jack interrupted, worried that Daniel was going to be shipped off to the loony bin once again. He sat up from his slightly slouched position, giving the doctor his full attention.

“You're right, and I have absolutely no idea why.” Looking at the General, the doctor explained. “Dr. Jackson appears to be responding solely to Colonel O'Neill, sir. He is clearly very upset when anyone else approaches, but has an almost childlike trust in the Colonel.”

Jack was tempted to duck his head in discomfiture, but instead met both the general’s and the doctor’s eyes. They both knew of his and Daniel’s relationship, had known for several months that Jack and Daniel were lovers. To him their silence meant tacit approval.

“He hasn't spoken since we've found him, has he?” questioned Sam.

“No, and that's also very strange. The other two are very vocal when they're awake, they're screaming and yelling and cursing, but Dr. Jackson hasn't uttered a word since he's been in the infirmary.”

“He never made a sound when we found him,” Jack added. “The others were screaming like banshees, but he was quiet even then.”

“I'll exam his throat to make sure that there's been no damage to his vocal chords,” Janet said to Jack. Shuffling some papers, she added, “Preliminary blood work shows that one of the drugs administered to them was some kind of hallucinogen. It could be what's causing their delirium at the moment, but I still don't understand why Doctor Jackson is behaving differently. There's another drug in their system which seems to have increased their metabolic rate, and any sedatives we give them are only effective for short periods of time. I'm still running tests. I'll let you know when I have further results.”

The General nodded and replied, “Thank you Doctor.” Turning his attention away from the Doctor, the General questioned, “Major Hanson, maybe you can inform me as to why you hadn't assigned anyone to remain with the civilians while they were away from base camp?”

“Sir, there didn't seem to be any need. The planet was clearly uninhabited, and we had plenty to do ourselves at the camp.”

Hanson was sitting up straight, his hands clasped before him. He exuded confidence, which made Jack’s blood boil.

“That's no excuse,” Jack interrupted, “there should always, always! be someone with non-military staff. And you know Daniel. Hell, I warned you that he always walks into trouble.”

“Sir, Doctor Jackson himself insisted. He was armed, and has had years of battle experience with SG1. Are you telling me that you don't trust your own man?”

“Hanson, I trust Daniel with my life. But the reason I insisted someone remain with him and his men was to prevent exactly what did happen,” Jack yelled.

Hanson at least had the courage to say, “Guess you're right, sir.”

Turning to Jack, Hammond asked, “Colonel, do you have any idea what the Goa'uld would have wanted with our civilians?”

“No sir, at this point we don't even know if they were Goa'ulds. Or why they didn't take SG4 rather than the archeologists. We also don't know what Daniel and his team had discovered at the site. Until one of them is able to tell us, we won't know why they were kidnapped in the first place.”

Sam added, “Sir, Ramirez and Sullivan are newly appointed to the SGC. If they were tortured and questioned, they wouldn't have much useful information to divulge.”

“Ahhh, but the snakes don't know that,” Jack pointed out.

“Yes, sir. But I meant to say that maybe that's the reason why they're reacting differently than Daniel is. Maybe because they were tortured and weren't able to give any information away. Daniel, on the other hand, knows most of the SGC's classified information, so he would have been able to…”

“Carter, are you saying that Daniel gave in to torture?” Jack was almost growling.

“No sir, I'm just saying that maybe…”

“Damnit, I know Daniel. I know he wouldn't talk!”

“People, that's enough,” interceded the General. “We won't know what's been said and done until we can question our men, and that won't be until they're lucid enough. At this point we'll assume that Doctor Jackson has been compromised. Major Carter, your first task is changing all the codes in the computer. You know the drill.”

“Yes sir”, she answered.

“Colonel O'Neill, you are relieved of your duties for the time being.”

“Sir?” Jack asked in confusion. Thoughts flew through his mind, all of them ending up with him being removed from Daniel’s bedside.

“Considering what's happened, it's probably best you remain with Doctor Jackson to help his recovery so we that we can find out exactly what happened. I think you should return to the infirmary and see to our boy.” Jack nodded with relief. As the General was aware of his and Daniel’s relationship, he knew that if anyone could help Daniel, it was Jack.

“Doctor, keep me informed.”

“Yes sir.”

“All right, people. Dismissed.”

- - - - - -

Jack returned to the infirmary and was dismayed to find Daniel and company awake. Fraiser had said that they'd sleep for at least another hour or two, even with the alien drug somehow neutralizing the sedatives. Daniel was still lying on his side, bandaged hands cradled against his chest. The other two men were restlessly fighting their restraints and at every sound they made, Daniel would flinch slightly.

Approaching the bed slowly so as to not further frighten the nervous man, Jack softly called to Daniel. “Hey, you awake?” Daniel didn't look up. Sitting down in a chair by the bedside, Jack gently took one of his friend's bandaged hands and said, “Danny, look at me.” At the gentle touch and familiar voice, Daniel looked up at Jack. Jack could see that Daniel was breathing fast, and he was sweating slightly. He was obviously upset and Jack could see tremors coursing through his body.

“Aw shit,” Jack swore under his breath. Jack wasn’t able to undo the past 36 hours, but he could at least try and ease Daniel’s discomfort. Moving from the chair to the bed, Jack said “C'mere,” as he gently lifted Daniel’s torso up off the mattress and slid his own body underneath. As Jack settled his friend, Daniel brought an arm up and circled Jack's chest in a loose hug. Daniel obviously didn't want Jack going anywhere.

Jack had never been the touchy feely type of person until he had met Daniel. He'd only been able to openly show his emotions to his family, it had never extended into his work. When his son died and his wife left him, Jack had withdrawn into himself and abandoned the few friends that he did have. Somehow, Daniel had coaxed Jack out of his shell. He'd even brought Jack away from the brink of suicide.

Daniel brought out both ends of the emotional range in Jack. He could irritate Jack to the ends of his patience, but he could also bring out the most protective instincts in him. And now those protective instincts had been extended to his latest family, which included Carter and Teal'c.

His new life with Daniel was something he had never expected. They brought out the best in each other, and of course, sometimes the worst. Still, their fights never lasted long and they always had the best make up sex.

This seemed to be one of those instances where physical contact seemed to be the only thing that got through to Daniel. Jack noticed that he reacted to his voice, but it was mostly his physical touch that was getting the most reaction from Daniel. He just didn't know whether Daniel understood his words, or if it was simply the tone of his voice he reacted to. Obviously sedatives were not going to work, he had to get Daniel to relax, and then to sleep.

“Danny, why don't you try to get some sleep? I'll stay right here, okay?” Jack brought a hand up and gently stroked Daniel's cheek. Daniel’s eyes closed as he accepted the caress. Jack felt Daniel’s other spasm lightly against his chest, but then realized that Daniel was trying to stroke him back. After several minutes, Jack could feel Daniel's breathing start to even out and slow slightly. Sullivan or Ramirez, Jack wasn't sure which, suddenly yelled out, and Daniel stiffened up again. Jack sighed.

For the next two hours Jack continued to hold Daniel who would begin to relax, only to tense up whenever a scream or shout disturbed the peace. Finally he signaled a nurse and asked her to go get Fraiser.

“Doc, can we move Daniel to one of the isolation rooms? He's really jumpy here. I think some peace and quiet might help him get some rest.”

After agreeing, Janet settled Daniel in the new room and Jack once again gathered his friend in his arms. This time the relative quiet helped, he felt his friend's body begin to relax and his breathing slow down and even out. Jack was beginning to cramp, sharing the small bed with Daniel was hard on his muscles and joints. After a half hour, thinking he was finally asleep, Jack started to get off the bed when he felt Daniel's arms tighten their hold around him. Looking down at his face, he saw Daniel's eyes were open and staring at the wall.

“Hey, you're supposed to be sleeping.” Exhausted and red-rimmed eyes looked up at Jack. “Danny, this bed is hardly big enough for even one of us,” Jack joked. Gazing at his lover, he added, “Okay, I'll stay here with you, just…go to sleep.”

- - - - - -

It was several hours later, and Daniel still wasn't sleeping. Jack was thankful that at least Daniel was resting quietly. He hated to think how he'd be reacting if he'd had to be tied down like the other two.

Janet walked in carrying a tray, on which was some medical equipment. Seeing that Daniel was awake, she poured some water into a nearby glass, adding a straw to the water.

“Colonel, can you try and see if he'll take some water?”

Handing the glass to Jack, he put the straw to Daniel's mouth, but Daniel made no attempt to take it. Discarding the straw, Jack took the glass and tipped a few drops of water into his friend's mouth. He was rewarded to see Daniel's tongue come out and lick the drops. Placing the glass once again to his lips, he tipped a bit more water into his mouth. Daniel's hands came up swiftly and he tried to tilt the glass in order to get more water. Jack pulled the glass away.

“Easy there, drink it slowly.” Daniel finished the water and closed his eyes.

“Colonel, I want to try and get a look down his throat. I'm going to give him something to relax him now.” Taking a syringe from the tray, she injected the contents into his IV. Jack helped turn Daniel onto his back once he was asleep. Janet titled Daniel's head back and taking the piece of equipment from the tray, she used it to look down his trachea.

“I can't see anything physically wrong which would cause him to stop talking,” Janet said as she placed the instrument back onto the tray.

“It's not only that he's not making any sounds,” Jack said thoughtfully. “It's like he isn't really communicating. He hasn't even nodded his head in answer to a question.”

“Come to think of it, you're right. He's definitely aware of his surroundings, and obviously recognizes you. But we really won't know anything concrete until all the drugs are out of his system and it looks like it won't be for a couple more days. Do you think you can keep him quiet and calm for that long? I'd hate to have to restrain him also…”

“Doc, I'll do anything so you don't have to tie him up. Those chains were pretty nasty, and I wouldn't want to remind him of those and what he must have gone through over there.”

“I've examined that contraption, Colonel. It was used to administer the drugs slowly and continuously through the wounds in his hands. Very crude but effective.”

“So his hands, they'll be all right?”

“Yes, they'll be fine. There's a slight infection, but he's being given antibiotics, and they should do the trick fairly quickly. Colonel…Jack. You should take the time while he's sleeping to go and eat something. I don't think I'll be able to keep him under for very long, he keeps burning the sedatives out of his system very quickly. I've never seen anything like it.”

“I don't want to leave him alone while…”

“I'll have a nurse sit with him, and I'll let you know if he wakes before you come back. Now go, scoot.”

- - - - - -

Daniel could see the huge coverstone poised right above his head, teetering back and forth. He could hear the creaking of the ropes holding the stone up on the pulley. The coverstone suddenly turned into the stargate in the gateroom. Daniel he saw the protective Iris which covered the stargate start to open up. It then turned back into the coverstone. He knew the pulley wouldn't hold; he could see it start to give. The coverstone was going to fall and crush him…it loomed menacingly, the shadow of the coverstone playing fitfully over his face at each swing of the rope.

He tried to cry out and lifted a hand in warning. Suddenly the coverstone was falling, looming larger and larger. As it fell it changed into the stargate, then the closed Iris, then the coverstone again. It was crushing him! He couldn't see, he couldn't breathe, he couldn't move. Strangely, there was no pain. Screams were sounding at the edge of his consciousness. He suddenly found himself able to move, and turned his head towards the screams. They were those of his parents as the coverstone toppled over them. He was a child of eight again, seeing his parents crushed to death.

Gasping, he couldn't breathe, couldn't get enough air into his lungs. He was sitting up, and his eyes focused suddenly on a face near his which he didn't recognize. // Get away, get away. Pain, my hands, my head. Don't touch, don't touch me! Have to get away, if they touch, they'll hurt me. Can't breathe, can't get away. //

He batted away her hands as the stranger tried to keep him on the bed. Sounds came from her mouth, demanding things from him that he couldn’t provide.

// Jack where are you? You should have come. You should have come to help me. JACK! //

Two other strangers came in at the first one's yells for help. Two held him down as one started attaching leather straps to his arms, pinning him to the bed.

// They're touching me, NO! No, let go of my arms. Can't move my arms now. Let go of my feet! What do you want from me! I can't, I can't. Jack, please, please come! //

- - - - - -

Jack entered the isolation room expecting to see Daniel sleeping soundly, and instead he found bedlam. Two nurses were attempting to hold down Daniel while another was trying to catch his kicking feet in order to tie them to the bed. Daniel was struggling silently, his arms already restrained. Blood ran down his arm where he had pulled the IV out from a vein. Rage surged through Jack and he ran to the bed and angrily pulled the nearest nurse away from Daniel and attempted to untie the leather strap holding Daniel's hand to the cot.

“Get away from him,” Jack shouted. The nurse that he'd pulled away from Daniel ran out of the room. Finally getting the leather strap untied, he grabbed Daniel's struggling body and held him down on the bed with his own.

“Daniel, stop, stop this,” Jack panted. Looking over to the other nurses, who had by now backed off, he yelled, “Untie his other hand!” No one moved.

Moving one arm up to try and hold Daniel's head still, Jack continued to talk to Daniel softly. “Danny, it's me, it's Jack. Shhhh, stay still. Calm down so I can get your other hand untied.”

The other two nurses had moved away from the bed, watching warily. The third nurse returned with two SF personnel, who were ready to remove Jack forcibly from the room.

“Damn it, get Doctor Fraiser,” Jack yelled. One of the other nurses quickly ran out to find the Doctor.

The SFs stood at the door, unsure of what to do. Jack barked at them, “Untie his hand. He'll calm down if you untie him.” The nearest guard hastened to the bed and quickly untied Daniel's hand.

Grabbing both hands in one of his, Jack yelled at the nurses and guards, “Everyone get the hell out of here.” They quickly left the room. Jack kept talking softly to Daniel. Slowly, slowly, he felt the body beneath him stop bucking, and he felt the tension start to ease.

// Can't move, hurts, head hurts, can't breathe, someone…heavy, hands hurt. Tired, hurts. //

Loosening his grip on Daniel's hands slightly, Jack waited for a reaction. No movement. Slowly moving off of Daniel, he slid to the edge of the mattress and gathered Daniel in his arms. Daniel lay completely limp, his eyes unseeing, his breathing quick and shallow.

“Danny, don't do this. Come on, look at me,” Jack begged. Turning Daniel's head into his shoulder, he gently massaged the back of his head and nape. Disregarding the chance that they might be interrupted, Jack lowered his face into Daniel’s hair. He continued speaking softly to Daniel, hoping that his voice and touch could bring Daniel back from wherever he’d gone.

Janet entered the room at a run. Her nurse's hurried explanation of the situation had caused her heart to jump into the throat. Seeing Jack half lying there with Daniel in his arms, she approached cautiously.


Jack lifted his head up and glared at Janet. “They tied him up. They went and tied him up.” His voice got louder. “You told me you weren't going to have him tied down. You lied to me.”

“Colonel, Daniel apparently woke up and started to panic. They tried to restrain him and he got violent.”

“They should have let him be. He'd have calmed down on his own.”

“Jack, you don't know that.”

Lowering his face onto the top of Daniel's head, Jack silently acknowledged the truth in her words. Damn, had they just pushed Daniel over the edge? Ignoring her, he returned his attention to the man in his arms. “Daniel, come on, look at me. Come on, Danny.”

// My name, hear my name. Jack, where are…Jack! It's Jack, can feel him, smell him. Safe, safe. Jack! //

Jack felt movement, and saw Daniel's limp arm slowly come up and reach for Jack's chest. His hand opened and he grabbed the material of Jack's tee-shirt. He felt Daniel attempt to raise his head. Lifting his own head out of the way, he looked down at Daniel and saw Daniel trying to look up at Jack. // Oh God, please, let him see me // Jack prayed.

Bleary blue eyes looked into Jack's chocolate brown ones. Recognition. Tiredly dropping his head back down on Jack's chest, Jack felt Daniel's whole body relax, the only tension coming from the hand firmly holding onto Jack's shirt.

“Jesus, Danny. You scared the shit out of me! Why didn't you stay asleep 10 minutes longer?” Jack breathed into Daniel's hair.

Looking up he saw Janet looking at them, a relieved look on her face.

- - - - - -

Sam quietly opened the door and popped her head inside the room. “Colonel?” she whispered. Jack looked up and motioned with his head for her to enter. She walked in and approached the bed. “Is he sleeping?” Jack shook his head. “No, he won't let himself sleep.”

Feeling the tension build up in Daniel at Sam's approach, he spoke quietly, “Daniel, it's just Carter. You know who she is; you've worked with her for years. Come on, Danny, look at Sam. She's worried about you, y'know.”

“Daniel, hi, it's me,” Sam said softly, coming around and bringing a chair up near the bed. “Daniel, do you remember me?” she asked. There was no movement. She gently extended her hand and rubbed one of Daniel's fingers with her own. His fingers twitched, but Jack put his hand on Daniel's arm to prevent him from moving it away. Jack could feel Daniel's breathing start to falter, almost becoming gasps.

“Keep it up for a bit,” he whispered to Carter. She continued rubbing Daniel's fingers with hers. Slowly she moved from finger to finger. Jack could hear Daniel's breathing start to even out once again, and he felt him slowly start to relax again. He relaxed the pressure on Daniel's arm. “Danny, do you want to look at Sam? You know who she is. Come on, look at her.” Slowly Jack turned his body so that Daniel's face was exposed and gently tilted his head towards Carter.

Sam saw Daniel lift his eyes towards her, but there was no recognition in them. Tears started pooling in her own eyes, and she dabbed them quickly before the Colonel could see them. Daniel closed his eyes, and then opened them, lifting them to her face once again. Suddenly she felt a twitch under her fingers, and his fingers curled around her own.

“Daniel?” she breathed hopefully. A corresponding squeeze against her hand answered her. “Sir, I think he remembers.”

“What?” Jack grunted sleepily. He had almost dozed off.

“I think he remembers me,” she repeated. Slowly she brought her other hand up and gently laid it against Daniel's cheek. He lay there, eyes closed, accepting the caress.

- - - - - -

Daniel just wouldn't fall asleep. Jack uncomfortably shared the hospital bed with Daniel lying in his arms for the past several hours, and watched as he would relax and start to drift to sleep, when suddenly his body would shudder and he'd wake up with a start. The man was clearly exhausted. Hell, Jack was exhausted himself.

Janet had relegated the task of caring for Daniel to herself and one other nurse. They decided it was best to keep the number of staff around Daniel to a minimum. Sam was the only other person permitted into the room. They would later see what Daniel's reaction to Teal'c would be when he returned from searching the underground caves for clues from which they had rescued Daniel and his team.

Janet had brought in a bowl of watery porridge earlier and Jack had successfully spoon fed Daniel, coaxing and cajoling him into eating nearly half the contents. The next hurdle would be lunch. If Daniel was able to eat something then, Janet would remove his IV and move Daniel into one of the VIP rooms, where Jack himself would be able to lie down more comfortably in the double bed there, rather than in the tight squeeze of a shared infirmary cot. Jack's body was aching to sleep, and he found himself dozing until Daniel's twitches woke him up.

- - - - - -

// Safety, being held tightly, secure, no more questions, no beatings. No, stay awake – no dreams. Breathe deeply, can smell Jack. Aftershave, hint of shampoo, sweat, essence of Jack. Safe with Jack. Love Jack. He came! He came for me! Don't let me go, hold me, don't let them come for me again. Tired, so tired. Daddy…no, doesn't smell like daddy. Jack, it's Jack. Can't sleep, dreams, don't want dreams. Maybe this is a dream, don't want to wake then. Waited so long for Jack to come. Wake up Wake up! Jack might leave if I sleep. Arms holding me. Safe. Safe now. //

- - - - - -

“Come on, Danny, drink the soup. You like chicken broth Just a little more,” Jack cajoled.

Sitting on the bed beside Daniel, Jack tried coaxing Daniel to drink the lukewarm soup from a cup, but Daniel was too exhausted to take in any more food. Jack had managed to get him to drink less than half the soup, he'd been hoping that Daniel would have taken more. He sighed and put the cup down. Reaching over to the tray that Janet's nurse had brought earlier, Jack reached for the bowl of applesauce. Spooning up a bit, he lifted the dessert to Daniel's lips and forced the spoon into his mouth. Quickly removing the spoon, he watched Daniel's reaction. “Mmmm, that's good, isn't it Danny?” he said as Daniel finally got a taste of the sweet stuff and swallowed. Quickly spooning more, he fed Daniel the rest of the bowl. Bed, here we come.

- - - - - -

Janet wheeled Daniel into the VIP room, Jack walking slightly in front of the wheelchair in order to remain in Daniel's line of sight. The move was done late at night, where there were fewer personnel walking around and thus less chance of upsetting Daniel.

Jack helped Daniel into the bed, and then walked over to the other side, where he promptly sat down and removed his shoes. Sliding under the covers, Jack sighed happily, finally being able to stretch out fully after either lying cramped in Daniel's small infirmary bed or sitting in the hard chair beside the bed for the past many hours.

It was agreed that while Jack slept, Sam would remain in the room with Jack, with either Janet or her appointed nurse checking on him every few hours. Sam collected her computer and settled herself to work in the corner where she could keep an eye on her friend and CO. Janet busied herself by arranging the medical equipment and medication she had brought with her into the VIP room on top of a dresser.

Yawning, Jack turned towards Daniel and noticed that the younger man was lying on his back, shivering. Lifting himself onto his elbows, Jack quickly put a hand on Daniel's forehead to test for fever. Nope, normal. Cupping Daniel's face and turning it towards himself, he noticed that Daniel's hands were cradled on his chest.

“Doc, I think his hands are bothering him,” Jack told Janet.

“How can you tell?” she asked.

“I dunno, I just think he's hurting. Look how he's holding his hands.”

“I think you're right, Colonel.”

Sorting through the meds that she had brought with her, she quickly found the one she wanted and shook two tablets out. Handing them to Jack along with a glass of water, she and Sam helped Daniel sit up while Jack put the pills into his mouth. Bringing the glass of water up to Daniel's face, he encouraged Daniel to drink and swallow the pills.

After laying him back down on the bed, Jack carefully coaxed Daniel onto his side and tucked Daniel's head onto his shoulder.

// Pain, safety, tired, hurts, Jack, holding me, hands hurt, head hurts, Jack's here, stay awake, hurts hurts hurts //

Jack felt the trembling begin to ease off. Daniel's arm came and gently gripped Jack's waist, the way he always did after he’d had a nightmare and needed physical contact to remind him that it hadn’t been real. Daniel slid a hand under Jack’s shirt, his forefinger lightly rubbing Jack’s skin.

Janet turned down all the lights except a desk lamp near Sam, and left the men to their rest. Before settling down to her work station in the corner, Sam made sure that the men had water and extra blankets at hand.

“Do you need anything else?” she asked in a soft voice.

“No, we’re good. Thanks,” Jack answered. He watched with a smile as Carter brushed a few stray hairs off Daniel’s forehead before leaning over and kissing Daniel’s cheek.

“Hey, trying to make me jealous here?” Jack groused.

“I don’t see Daniel complaining,” she answered back with a grin, as Jack kissed the top of Daniel’s head. “Good night, sleep well,” she said before moving off to her computer.

Jack quickly fell asleep. His soft snores caught Daniel's attention and cautiously lifting his head up from Jack's shoulder, saw that Jack was indeed asleep. Putting his head back down on his human pillow, Daniel closed his own eyes.

// Safe, Jack's asleep, tired, hurts, sleeping – Jack's sleeping, so tired, safe, if Jack's sleeping it must be safe, hurts less now, safe safe, sleep, Jack, safe safe, sleep, sleeee… //

Soon after nearly days of sleeplessness, Daniel Jackson was finally sleeping soundly.

- - - - - -

Something soft was tickling Jack's nose. He blew on it, but it continued to annoy him. Lifting his hand to bat it away, Jack felt something hard under the softness. Opening his eyes, he realized that his face was resting in Daniel's hair, with Daniel cuddled up on his side against Jack's shoulder. Carefully extracting himself from underneath Daniel, Jack realized that the arm that Daniel was lying on was numb. As he sat up, he saw Teal'c sitting where Carter had been earlier.

“Hey Teal'c, what time is it?” Jack asked quietly, shaking his arm to get the circulation moving again.

Teal'c got up and walked to O'Neill's side. “It is nearly noontime, O'Neill. I believe you have been asleep for nearly 12 hours.”

“12 hours, shit! Danny…” He quickly turned to Daniel.

“Do not worry, O'Neill. DanielJackson has been sleeping as soundly as you.”

“How long you been sitting there?”

“I relieved MajorCarter approximately six hours ago upon my return from the archeological site.”

“Oh…Did you find anything?” Jack continued shaking his arm, trying to speed up pins and needles coursing through his limb.

“Indeed. I believe that at least ten individuals have been hiding out in the tunnels for several weeks. They must have discovered our interest in the planet and laid a trap for our people, waiting patiently for us to send a team out.”

“Step into my parlour, said the spider to the fly.”

“I saw no spiders on the planet, O'Neill.”

“Forget it,” Jack said with a smile.

“I believe that the archeological team was attacked shortly after they entered the temple. There was very little evidence of their having started to excavate. It must have been done swiftly and silently, if SG4 heard nothing from base camp.”

“Shit. Teal'c, why didn't the snakes take Danny and the others away with them? Why leave them there when they'd finished with 'em? They must have known that we would come looking for them eventually.”

“I do not believe that the captors were either Jaffa or Goa'uld. I presume that they hoped to get whatever information they needed from our people before we discovered them. Either they extracted the information and left, or they were unable to do so and ran out of time. We do not know at this point which scenario is correct.”

“Yeah, I know,” he said softly, staring at Daniel.

The door opened suddenly and Sam and Janet appeared carrying heavily laden trays.

“Gentlemen, lunch is served. Colonel, we're going to need you to wake Daniel up, he's going to need to eat something, otherwise I'm going to have to put the IV back in.” Walking over to the table, they placed the trays down. Teal'c went over and helped them clear the table of Sam's paraphernalia.

Jack turned to Daniel and gently placed his hand on his shoulder. Shaking him gently, Jack said, “Danny, time to wake up now.” Daniel didn't stir. Shaking him again, he said, “Come on, you wouldn't close your eyes before, now you don't wanna open them?” he teased.

Taking Daniel by the shoulders, he lifted the younger man to a sitting position. The movement woke Daniel up, who suddenly grabbed at Jack's arms in alarm. He winced suddenly as his injured palms jarred against Jack's arms.

“Hey, it's only me. Wakey wakey.” Jack grinned at Daniel, who looked up at him sleepily and somewhat confused.

“It's lunch time, we gotta get some food into you. You can't sleep all day without eating now, you know.” Jack looked towards Carter and Janet, and Daniel followed Jack's gaze. Jack felt Daniel's hands on his arms tighten in alarm. “Hey, that's the Doc and Sam? You know who they are, remember. And that's Teal'c. You remember Teal'c, don'tcha Daniel?”

At the mention of his name, Teal'c had turned around to look at Daniel. Slowly he approached the bed and sat on its edge. Daniel let go of Jack and tried to squirm away from him but couldn't go anywhere as he was right up against Jack. “Daniel, this is Teal'c. He's part of SG1 – along with you, me and Carter. You remember SG1, don’t you? The guys that kicked Goa'uld butt for the past couple of years?”

“DanielJackson, it is good to see you awake.”

Daniel was staring at Teal'c's tattoo. His breathing was starting to hitch. Jack, noticing what Daniel was looking at, said, “Danny, yes, that's Apophis's sign. But you know that Teal'c was Apophis's First Prime years ago…remember?”

“We met on Chulak, do you not remember, DanielJackson?”

“Teal'c saved our lives. We brought him back with us to earth. He's been with us for years. He won't hurt you.”

“I am upsetting him. I will leave so he may recover.”

“No wait. Teal'c, try taking his hand, that's what Carter did.”

“That may not be a good idea, ColonelO'Neill. DanielJackson appears to be suffering discomfort with his hands. I would not wish to cause further pain.”

Noticing that Daniel was now cradling his hands again to his chest, Jack realized that Teal'c was right. Overhearing their conversation, Janet went to the meds and shook out two painkillers.

Slowly Teal'c reached into his jacket pocket and took out Daniel's glasses, which he had found at the dig site. Unfolding the glasses, he slowly reached forward and hooked them behind Daniel’s ears. Daniel tried to squirm out of Teal'c reach, but Jack held him fast. At the feel of the glasses on his face, Daniel slowly reached up and touched them with a shaking hand. Then he looked at Teal'c, and Jack felt Daniel start to relax again against him.

As Janet approached the bed, Teal'c got up and allowed her to take his place.

“Daniel, do your hands hurt?” she asked. He looked up at her silently. Slowly opening her hand and showing him the pills, she asked again, “Daniel, do your hands hurt? If they hurt, I want you to take these pills.”

“Doc, whatcha doin?” Jack asked.

“Just trying something, Colonel.”

Daniel looked from her face down to the pills and then back to her face. “Daniel,” she repeated. “Take the pills if your hands hurt.” Sighing, she pulled her hand away at Daniel's lack of response.

“Doc, let me try,” Jack said. Repeating the request, Jack offered Daniel the pills. With trembling hands, Daniel tried to pick the pills up but wasn't able to coordinate his fingers properly.

“Doc!” Jack exclaimed. Gently closing his hand over Daniel's fumbling ones, Jack took the pills and held them to Daniel's mouth. Daniel opened his mouth and allowed Jack to pop them in. Jack took the glass of apple juice Janet offered him and helped Daniel drink from it.

Janet looked at Jack and said, “It doesn't mean anything, Colonel. He'll probably accept anything from you at this point. We're going to need to see how much he actually understands, we'll try running a few tests when he's a bit stronger.”

Bringing the tray over to the bed, Janet placed it slowly over Daniel's knees. He looked carefully at the tray, and then at Janet. Sam brought Jack's meal over to him and she and Teal'c both settled down at the foot of the bed to eat their own lunch. Janet tried to assist Daniel with his food as he couldn't grasp anything with much strength with his injured hands, but he'd only accept the food from Jack.

- - - - - -

After helping Daniel to the bathroom and then taking care of his own pressing needs, Jack decided to take the opportunity to tackle some of the paperwork which Carter had fetched from his office and go over the data which Teal’c had procured from Daniel’s prison. The others had left the two men and had returned to their duties.

Daniel had initially curled up in the bed beside Jack, who was leaning against the headboard. Daniel slowly inched his way over to Jack's side so that his face was buried against Jack's hip. His fingers were curled around Jack's shirttail, almost like a security blanket. Jack absently stroked Daniel's hair as he worked. He didn't think Daniel was asleep, even though he couldn't see his face. Jack soon lost track of time in his work, being disturbed only once when Daniel’s appointed nurse came to take his vitals.

Jack’s concentration was broken a short while later when Daniel’s fingers began rubbing a distracting pattern on Jack’s thigh. His fingers began a slow, tantalizing upward climb, and Jack felt his cock come to attention in anticipation of Daniel’s touch. He closed his eyes and laid his head back, his breath beginning to come a little faster. As Daniel cupped Jack’s groin, Jack realized where they were and he grabbed Daniel’s hand, reluctantly pulling it away from himself.

“Daniel, don’t,” Jack said gently when Daniel looked up at him in apparent confusion. “Not here, okay?”

Daniel pulled away from Jack’s grip and pushed himself up so that he was lying on top of Jack. Jack could feel Daniel’s erection against his thigh as he dragged himself over Jack to kiss his mouth. Daniel’s tongue flitted over Jack’s lips, demanding entry. Never able to refuse Daniel, Jack opened his mouth. Daniel surprised Jack with the urgency of his kiss. When his hands slipped under Jack’s tee-shirt, Jack reluctantly pushed Daniel away from him. He didn’t know if this was wise. They weren’t even sure how much Daniel understood what was going on around him. Jack was afraid that when… and that was definitely when and not if, Daniel came back to his senses, he’d have memories of having been coerced into having sex with someone who he might not even remember being Jack.

“Danny, stop,” Jack said into Daniel’s mouth as Daniel tried to kiss him again. “Your hands…,” he said as Daniel began fumbling with the buttons of Jack’s pants. Jack was thinking of how painful it had been for Daniel to use his hands when they ate earlier.

Daniel obviously wanted Jack. He pushed Jack’s shirt up and lowered his head. The touch of Daniel’s teeth and tongue on his abdomen sent his muscles quivering. He gasped at the sensation and was quickly losing his determination to stop Daniel.

Daniel looked up at Jack, his eyes dilated with desire. Jack realized at that moment that Daniel knew exactly who Jack was and what he was about to get himself into.

Realizing that anyone could walk in on them at any moment, Jack decided to try and make this fast.

“C’mere,” Jack growled. Jack tugged on Daniel’s arm, encouraging him to move up beside Jack. As he did so, Jack shifted Daniel onto his back while taking Daniel’s mouth. Jack’s hands slipped under Daniel’s shirt and caressed his chest, stopping to occasionally tweak and pinch his nipples. Daniel slipped his hands beneath Jack’s tee-shirt, rubbing his skin. The feel of Daniel’s bandages against Jack’s skin was a little distracting.

Jack reveled in the feel of Daniel beneath him, but at the same time, it felt strange. This was Daniel. It felt like Daniel, it smelled like Daniel; he reacted to the same erogenous zones that Jack had lovingly discovered in their months together. But other than small gasps and panting breaths, he still made no sound. The low moans and whispered words of love he’d become so used to hearing were not forthcoming.

Jack reached for Daniel’s pants. Daniel raised his hips, allowing Jack to pull them down and freeing Daniel’s already weeping erection. Jack first tongued one of his balls and then the other, before licking Daniel’s engorged penis and taking it into his mouth. Daniel thrust once instinctively, but Jack was ready and had his hands firmly placed on his hips. He licked and nibbled slowly a moment, hearing Daniel’s breathing catch as he passed his tongue over Daniel’s sensitive tip. He could feel Daniel straining to hold himself still. Even disoriented as he was, Daniel was careful to not injure Jack.

Footsteps outside reminded Jack once more that he needed to quickly get this over with. Using his hands, tongue and mouth, knowing exactly how Daniel loved to be pleasured, Jack quickly brought his lover writhing and gasping to completion.

He pulled Daniel’s pants back up, covering his now flaccid penis. Daniel was still breathing loudly and quickly, his weakened body not quite recovering as quickly as it normally did. Jack slid up beside Daniel, placing a hand around his chest to pull him close. That was when he noticed the tears that were sliding down Daniel’s cheeks.

“Danny?” With a sinking heart, Jack thought that he’d just made one huge mistake. He wiped the tears from Daniel’s cheeks with his thumb, and leaned over and gently kissed Daniel’s closed eyelids. Daniel raised his head, offering his mouth to Jack. Jack accepted the invitation, his tongue tenderly stroking Daniel’s lips and tongue.

He broke off the kiss and pulled Daniel to him. Daniel settled against Jack, his face nestled against Jack’s neck. He draped an arm over Jack’s chest, and his leg came up to lie possessively over Jack’s.

“It’s okay, Danny. I’m here, it’s gonna be okay,” he whispered in Daniel’s ear. Jack felt Daniel slip his hand beneath Jack’s tee shirt, his fingers lying amongst Jack’s chest hairs. His hand moved in a small tight pattern, a habit of Daniel’s whenever they were getting ready to go to sleep. Jack could always tell the moment when Daniel fell asleep, which was when the movement stopped.

With Daniel’s breath puffing softly against Jack’s skin, Jack felt him relax totally, his fingers stilling within seconds.

Knowing that Daniel desperately needed the rest, Jack gingerly extracted himself from Daniel’s hold. Daniel sighed softly, but simply settled himself into the pillow. Jack picked up the papers which had become strewn all over the bed, and tried to put them into some kind of order. Reaching for his discarded laptop, he moved over to the table where Carter and Teal’c had been working earlier.

Jack stretched mightily, glad to be up and about. Glancing at Daniel who still appeared to be sleeping soundly, Jack decided to chance a quick shower. Although he was in and out in record time, he felt refreshed. He finished with a shave, thinking that Daniel might also appreciate a wash and shave later.

- - - - - -

// Creak. What's that noise? Creak. Stargate’s swinging above me. No, it’s the coverstone. Mom, Dad, look out! The Iris, it’s closing. The coverstone, the Iris opening, the coverstone. No it's falling…falling…nooooooooo //

- - - - - -

At the sound of a low moan coming from the bed, Jack whipped his head up from where he sat staring at the computer screen. He looked at Daniel, who was a bit restless. Jack got up and as he walked over to the bed, he heard Daniel moan again. He saw Daniel’s eyelids flickering in the midst of REM and knew that he was experiencing a nightmare. Damn, the man had barely been asleep for thirty minutes.

As he kneeled on the bed beside Daniel to wake him, Jack heard Daniel make a sound which sounded like a strangled version of his name. He realized that if Daniel were unable to consciously make a sound, either in trying to communicate with his friends and family or in the throes of passion, the sounds now being forced from his throat must be due to some unimaginable memories or images.

Before Jack could touch him in order to wake him, Daniel threw himself sideways, arms and legs flailing. As he tumbled off the bed, Jack tried to grab Daniel and at the same time avoid a fist in his face. Finally, he threw him weight over Daniel, pinning him to the floor, trying to keep him still.

Lifting his head to look at Daniel, he saw his terrified blue eyes searching wildly as he turned his head side to side. He had stopped struggling once Jack had immobilized him, so Jack grabbed Daniel's face to hold him still and spoke to him gently.

“Daniel, shhhh. I'm right here.” Blue eyes met brown. “Hey, that was one heck of a nightmare, big guy.” Jack saw Daniel close his eyes and his body sagged in relief. Jack was confused at first when Daniel began struggling once more. When he began heaving Jack quickly rolled to the side, allowing Daniel to turn and vomit onto the floor. He raised Daniel’s shoulders, supporting his head, waiting until his stomach stopped convulsing.

Daniel was a dead weight in his arms by this time, exhausted by his exertions. Jack pulled him backwards until he lay against his chest. Jack could feel Daniel’s heartbeat thudding hard and fast beneath his hands as he held him close. His clothes were damp with sweat, his breathing still somewhat quick and shallow.

When Daniel’s breathing had returned to something close to normal, Jack manhandled him so that he was sitting on the bed. He removed his soiled and sweaty clothes, and laid him back onto the bed, naked, covering him with a sheet. Jack cleaned up Daniel’s mess with the discarded clothes before heading for the bathroom.

Daniel watched Jack anxiously as he entered the bathroom, his eyes never leaving him as Jack gathered what he needed. Although Daniel had been cleaned up when he’d first arrived at the SGC, he hadn’t trusted any of the nurses to touch him long enough to bathe him again. And after his exertions with their impromptu sexual tussle and now the end result of this nightmare, Daniel definitely needed some freshening up.

Jack had been on the receiving end of many a sponge baths, but he thought that it was definitely a different perspective when being the one giving the bath. At first Daniel remained passive, allowing Jack to pass the washcloth over him. Jack took his time, enjoying the tactile feel of Daniel beneath the cloth. As Jack was finishing up, Daniel became restless. Not wanting to start anything he didn’t want to finish, Jack hurriedly completed the bath. Jack smiled to himself when he realized that Daniel had probably been on the receiving end of a sponge bath too often for comfort.

After throwing out the dirty water and returning with his electric shaver, Jack finished up with a giving Daniel a shave. Before having him put on some clean clothes, he urged Daniel to lie down on his stomach. Jack kneaded Daniel’s back, feeling his lover relaxing beneath his massage.

click for larger picture A birthday prezzie,

sketched by Ximeria

When he’d gotten Daniel dressed again in a clean pair of hospital scrubs, Jack picked up his discarded work and settled back on his side of the bed. Daniel curled up on his side facing Jack, his bandaged hand coming up to grab Jack’s shirt. Jack found he couldn’t concentrate, and finally put everything down on the floor and pulled Daniel up so he was lying nestled against Jack. They lay like that until their friends came in with their next meal.

- - - - - -

Supper was a similar setup as lunch, with Jack and Daniel's teammates sitting on the bed sharing their supper between them. Daniel still had problems using his hands, but his appetite seemed to be improving. His energy was flagging, though. Even though he had spent the rest of the afternoon in bed with Jack, he hadn't slept. He curled up again beside Jack once he'd finished eating, as sitting up was exhausting him. His hand had found Jack's shirt once again.

Jack sat back against the headboard, a cup of coffee in one hand balanced on his knee, his other hand rubbing his face tiredly.

“Carter, has the Doc said if the drugs are starting to clear his system?”

“I don't know, sir. She did say that it would probably be a couple of days.” She moved to sit beside Daniel, her hand gently stroking his hair. Jack heard Daniel sigh, followed by a yawn.

“Well, it's been a day already,” he complained. “What about the others, Ramirez and Sullivan, what's their status?”

“They're not responding well to anyone, at least not like Daniel is. They're still restrained, they're not lucid yet.”

“So why is Daniel so trusting here, did they use a different drug on him?” He glanced down at Daniel, frowning as Daniel appeared totally oblivious to the conversation going on around him. Jack wondered if this was due to the exhaustion that Daniel was experiencing, or if it was a result of the drugs still in his system. Jack thought back to this afternoon when Daniel had come onto Jack. He was sure that Daniel had been totally aware of what had been going on at the time. Daniel experienced moments of total lucidity, but more often it was this apathetic exhaustion that plagued him.

“No, Janet said that they were all given the same drugs, and in the same quantity. Something must have happened to cause Daniel to react differently. Unless it has something to do with the fact that the first person Daniel saw was you.”

“Maybe…at least I’d like to think that’s why he’s more responsive than they are. But there’s no way of knowing, is there. And it still doesn’t explain why he’s not talking. Teal'c, do you know anything about these drugs they used?”

He nodded. “I have heard of these drugs, but they are very rarely used as the results are difficult to control. The two are usually used in tandem, one to break down the captive's defenses by disorienting him, and the other, which is a powerful hallucinogen, is used for mind control, usually in an attempt to extract information. This is probably why our people were not tortured excessively; they were expecting the drugs to do the work for them.”

Jack sat forward slightly. “Mind control? Do you think that they did something to Daniel's mind, maybe made him think that he can't talk?” Daniel’s hand tightened, pulling slightly on Jack’s shirt. Jack relaxed back against the headboard and placed his hand over Daniel’s, rubbing his fingers soothingly over the clenched fist.

“No sir, that's not logical. They would want him to talk, so why make him stop?” Jack saw Carter lean forward, trying to see if Daniel was asleep. He shook his head no, he could feel the tension in Daniel’s hand still gripping his shirt.

“What if Daniel saw something that they didn't want him to reveal?”

“That doesn't make sense. Wouldn't it have been easier just to kill him?”

“Oh thank you, Carter, for that lovely thought.”

She glowered at him slightly. “No, I think it's more likely that they wanted information out of them.”

“O'Neill, this is why the drugs are rarely used. A strong-willed individual may impede the desired effects of the drug. What if it is DanielJackson himself who caused his inability to talk?”

“You mean like will himself not to talk?” Sam questioned, looking intently at Teal’c.

“Carter, could he do that?”

Carter sat up straight as she thought about Jack’s question. “Yes sir, I think so. With the use of the drugs, he might have convinced himself, somehow, to forget how to communicate so that he wouldn't reveal any information to them. Shit, that would make sense.” She bent over Daniel once more, her fingers carding through his hair.

“Ah Geez, Danny.” Jack looked down at his lover. “Okay, let's say by some miracle he managed to talk himself into not talking anymore. But I still don’t understand why he remembered me and the others don’t seem to recognize anyone else.”

“Like you said earlier, it’s possible that your relationship might be a factor here. Daniel trusts and loves you, maybe that’s enough to break the barrier that’s stopping the others from responding.”

“What about this other thing?”

“Thing, sir?”

“I can't explain it. He's…clingy, like Charlie was when he was sick.” He pointed to Daniel’s hand clutching his shirt tails. “That's what it reminds me of, a sick child. It's like…Daniel's reverted back to childhood. Trusting, clingy, insecure. It's like he's using me as his security blanket right now.”

“You are correct, O'Neill. I remember my own son exhibiting similar behaviour when ill.”

“There are times that he’s almost himself; I can see it in his eyes. But then he’s like this,” he said, looking down at Daniel who was obviously not listening or understanding their conversation about him.

“I can't think of anything that could cause this. I'll go talk to Janet; maybe she'll have some ideas.”

- - - - - -

Jack was getting mighty tired of being stuck in bed. He'd been lying or sitting in one bed or another for nearly two days. After a trip to the bathroom, he decided he was going to stay up, and paced back and forth, nearly driving Carter crazy.

She was going over the video footage Teal'c and his investigative team had returned with of the site where Daniel and his archeological team had been held prisoners. Jack had already examined the data and was alternating between looking over her shoulder and pacing.

Daniel kept his eyes on Jack, tracking his movements back and forth across the room. That was starting to get on Jack's nerves.

“Damnit, Danny, I wish you'd close your eyes and go to sleep,” he muttered to himself. Sam looked up at the Colonel questioningly.

“I'm starting to get cabin fever, is all” he explained. Stopping his pacing suddenly, he turned to Carter and said, “Look, he's quiet right now. I'm just going to go out for a change of scenery, pick up some clean clothes for both him and myself from the locker room, grab a cup of coffee… I won't be gone long, okay?”

“Sir, you are sure that's a good idea. Daniel seems to be really attached to you. You haven't been out of his sight since the first few hours we got back…”

“Carter, I really really need to get out of here for a while.”

“Okay, I understand,” she sighed.

Going to the bed, Jack sat down beside Daniel and told him, “I'm going to go out for a little while. Sam will stay with you, okay? I won't be gone long.” Not sure if Daniel actually understood him, he stroked Daniel’s cheek before getting up and walking to the door. Neither he nor Sam saw Daniel's hand come up in a pleading gesture for him not to go.

- - - - - -

Sam kept an eye on Daniel as she worked. He was curled up on his side but she couldn't tell if his eyes were closed as his face was in shadow. He hadn't moved since Jack had left, nearly 45 minutes ago.

// Afraid, alone. Jack’s gone, hurts, head hurts, cold. Where's daddy? So cold. Mommy? Was Jack a dream? Come back, please, hurts, cold. //

The door opened and Sam smiled at Janet as she came in for a last check on Daniel before heading off to bed. “Where's the colonel?” Janet asked, looking around.

“Oh, he was getting a little antsy being cooped up in here. He went to stretch his legs, he should be back soon.”

“How long has he been gone?” Janet inquired as she walked towards the bed.

“Just over an hour.”

As Janet sat on the edge of the bed she realized that Daniel was shaking. “Daniel,” she called softly. She reached out to him slowly but as her hand approached his face, he recoiled sharply. Inching back away from her, his breathing started to come more quickly.

“Shit,” Sam said, and got up, intending to go to the bed.

“Stay there,” ordered Janet, one hand coming up behind her to emphasize her command. Sam froze.

Moving her hand away slowly from Daniel, she sat still for a moment, watching Daniel's reaction. On seeing that nobody came nearer, he stopped his backward movement.

“Sam, go find the colonel,” Janet ordered, keeping her eyes on Daniel. With a last glance at Daniel, Sam quickly obeyed.

- - - - - -

Sam finally found Jack sitting in the commissary, nursing a cup of coffee. Having stopped earlier at their respective lockers and picked up a change of clothes for himself and Daniel, he'd walked around the base a while, stretching his legs and checking up on a few work details. He was just on the verge of heading back to the VIP room when Carter rushed in.

At Carter's hurried explanations, Jack rushed back to their room. He came barreling through the door, with Carter just a step behind him. Stopping inside, he saw Daniel seemingly lying quietly in the middle of the bed, with Janet standing at its foot.

“What's up?” he asked, throwing the bag containing their clothes on a chair as he approached.

“He's on the verge of panicking. Can you try and calm him down?” Janet asked as she backed up and gave the colonel some room.

Moving to the bed, he sat down and took a good look at Daniel. He was shuddering uncontrollably, his face streaked with sweat, and breathing heavily through his mouth. He was staring at the wall, ignoring everyone in the room.

“Damn, I wasn't gone that long,” he told Janet. As Jack sat on the bed beside Daniel, he said, “Hey, I guess you missed me, huh? Danny, it's okay, I'm back now. Come on, lemme see those baby blues. Look at me, won't you.” Daniel gave no reaction as to whether he was hearing Jack.

Kicking his shoes off, Jack slowly climbed into the bed beside Daniel. As he raised a hand towards Daniel, Daniel flinched and pulled back. Damn. Jack moved slowly and sat with his back against the headboard. No reaction. “Danny, come on over here, willya?” Jack patted his thigh. “Come on, look, see, a nice warm pillow for you to lie on.”

// Jack's voice, just a dream…cold, cold. Head hurts, where's Daddy? Want Jack, please be Jack. Love you Jack. Don't leave. Don't leave! //

Slowly, Daniel lifted his eyes towards Jack.

“That’s it. It’s me. Come on over here, Danny,” Jack coaxed.

Slowly Daniel wormed himself forward, and lifted his head and placed it on Jack's thigh. He curled his body around himself, trying to control the shivering. Jack placed a hand in Daniel’s hair then looked up at Janet in concern.

“Janet, he's got a fever.” Picking up a thermometer from the table, she slowly handed it to Jack, who inserted the tip into Daniel's ear and then handed it back to Janet. “It's not very high, 100.3. I'll give him something for the fever, which should also help if his hands are hurting. I don’t think he’ll let me look at them right now. Sam, can you get me some water, please.”

Sam picked up an empty glass and walked to the bathroom, while Janet rummaged for the pills. She shook out the appropriate dosage and took the water from Sam, handing both to Jack. He pulled up slightly on Daniel's shoulder. “Danny, sit up a minute, okay? I want you to take these.” Daniel looked up at Jack and lifted himself shakily onto his arms. Jack quickly popped the pills in his mouth and helped Daniel drink the water. Daniel lay his head back down on Jack's thigh.

“Colonel, I want to take some more blood. Can you help me, please?” Jack took Daniel's arm and gently offered it to Janet, who quickly made short work of taking the sample. Daniel lay quiescent in Jack's arms, eyes closed, shivering against his friend.

“I'll leave the thermometer close by. Check his temperature every couple of hours. If it gets any higher, have Sam or Teal'c call me or the infirmary.” Jack nodded. Janet left Jack and Sam alone with Daniel.

“Sir, can I get you anything?” Sam asked.

Jack shook his head. “No, it's late. I think I'll try and get him settled and get some sleep myself.”

Lifting Daniel's head up from his thigh, Jack slid down to a lying position beside Daniel, and then repositioned his head against his shoulder. Sighing, Jack closed his eyes and prayed that Daniel would quickly come back to himself.

- - - - - -

It took him a long time to fall asleep, his worry over Daniel making him restless. He was still awake when Teal'c came to relieve Carter in the middle of the night. He could feel Daniel shiver occasionally beside him, but his temperature was now closer to normal. He knew that Daniel wasn't sleeping, but he wasn't sure if it was his own restlessness that was keeping Daniel awake, or if it was due to something else.

Hearing voices, he opened his eyes and saw Carter and Teal'c talking in the corner. Looking at his watch, he realized he'd fallen asleep and had slept late, it was past 11 am. When she saw that he was awake, Carter came and sat on the bed beside him. “We got word from the Tok'ra that Dad will be coming by today. He apparently has some important information for us.”

Yawning, he turned to check on Daniel, who was sleeping peacefully beside him. Placing his hand on Daniel's forehead, he was relieved to see that his temperature felt normal. Getting up, he went to the bathroom to empty his bladder. Carter offered to get them breakfast and returning to the bed, he settled back beside a still slumbering Daniel.

“I was observing DanielJackson last night. It was only after you were clearly asleep did he permit himself to do so also. He observed you once you had begun to snore, and then promptly went to sleep.”

“Teal'c, I don't snore,” Jack said, insulted.

“Indeed you do, O'Neill.”

“So, you're saying that he didn't want to sleep until he was sure that I was sleeping.”

“Perhaps he felt safe enough to sleep only because you felt safe enough to.”

“That would explain why he's trying to stay awake all the time. Maybe I should fake the snoring bit a little to get him to sleep more.”

Carter came back with a breakfast tray. Handing Jack a cup of coffee while she divided the dishes up, Jack sighed and sipped it gratefully. Rustlings beside him soon revealed a disheveled head and sleepy eyes.

“Morning sleepyhead,” Jack said, ruffling Daniel’s hair. Smiling, Jack took another sip of coffee. Suddenly Daniel sat up partway and sniffed. He stared at Jack's cup.

“Oh no you don't, this is mine. Anyway, Janet's gonna kill me if she saw you drinking this stuff right now.” Daniel pulled himself up fully to a sitting position and leaned in towards Jack, his eyes still on Jack's cup. Begging blue eyes looked at Jack.

“Okay, just a sip,” Jack relented. He offered Daniel his cup and let him take a drink, then placed the cup on the tray that Sam handed him, away from Daniel.

Daniel leaned back against the headboard, savouring the taste. Looking at the coffee cup sadly, he sighed. He pushed the blankets back and got up shakily. Jack stared as Daniel walked to the bathroom by himself. He shared a look with Sam and Teal'c. After a few moments, they heard the toilet flush and Daniel walked back to the bed.

Once Daniel had made himself comfortable against the headboard, Sam handed Daniel his breakfast. This time Daniel was able to handle the fork with only a bit of discomfort.

- - - - - -

Janet came in as they were finishing up, and she looked happy. “Last night's blood work shows the drugs starting to dissipate. I think that Daniel and the others will start behaving a little more normally soon. Actually, Daniel, you're looking a little more alert today.”

Daniel smiled at her, and continued eating.

Sam added, “There doesn't seem to be any kind of adverse reaction from yesterday's episode.”

“DanielJackson woke up this morning and smelled the coffee.”

“What?” asked Janet, confused.

“He woke up and literally begged to have some of my coffee,” grumbled Jack.

“You didn't…”

“Um, yeah, but just a sip.”

“Colonel, you know better…”

“Doc, if you had seen the look on Daniel's face, you'd have given him some too.”

Sam laughed.

At that, Daniel reached over onto Jack's tray and picked up his nearly empty cup of coffee and drained it.

- - - - - -

Seeing that Daniel was stronger, Jack guided Daniel to the bathroom where they both undressed. He then led Daniel into the shower. Daniel insisted on washing himself, and stubbornly proceeded to do so although he was very shaky on his feet. Jack was glad to see Daniel begin to show a bit of independence.

Once finished, he helped Daniel into some old sweats that Daniel usually slept in when he stayed overnight on base, and settled him back into bed. Daniel appeared to be feeling stronger. He sat leaning against the headboard, watching his friends instead of lying there in a world of his own. Jack wished he knew how aware Daniel was of his surroundings. It wasn't normal for him to be so still. Daniel normally had his nose buried in a book, his hands were constantly moving while talking…seeing him lying there quiet all the time just didn't seem right.

A knock on the door revealed General Hammond along with Jacob Carter. On seeing her father, Sam went to him for a hug.

Daniel remained sitting on the bed, looking warily at the two visitors, but not showing any signs of anxiety. Jack was keeping a close eye on him. He remained lounging beside Daniel.

Looking at Daniel, General Hammond asked, “How's our boy doing?”

Jack answered, “He seems to be doing better today, sir. He had a bad episode last night, but he seems to have gotten through it pretty well.”

Walking over to the bed, Jacob looked at Daniel. “Danny, George told me what happened. I'm so sorry.”

Daniel blinked at Jacob. Nobody knew whether Daniel had even understood what Jacob was saying.

Jacob and George made themselves comfortable in the chairs by the corner. Sam went and sat on the foot of the bed, her hand reaching back and rubbing Daniel's foot. Teal'c stood at attention by the door.

Looking at Jack, Jacob continued. “One of our Tok'ra operatives learned that a trap was being set for the capture of some of your people, but she was only able to get the information to us yesterday. Had we been able to warn you earlier, we'd have done so.”

“Why'd they set up a trap? Who? What for?” Sam and Jack exclaimed together.

“Apophis has put out a reward for any information on a device which the Tok'ra had discovered a few months back,” Jacob answered reluctantly.

“You forget to tell us something a few months ago, Jacob?” Jack asked sarcastically. That was just like the Tok'ra, keeping most information hidden from their allies if they thought they didn't need to know about it.

Glaring at Jack, Jacob continued. “Our operative heard about a bunch of mercenaries who discovered a planet where you guys had recently shown an interest. They were planning an ambush there. We'd also heard that they possibly had gotten their hands on certain rare drugs…”

“Looks like Danny got to experience those drugs firsthand,” interrupted Jack. Looking over at Daniel, he noticed that he was rubbing the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. Jack nudged Daniel, asking softly, “You okay?” Daniel’s look was hard to interpret, but Jack was thinking that he saw pain reflected in Daniel’s eyes.

“Dad, Daniel obviously didn't know anything about the device you mentioned. We think that he sort of willed himself to stop speaking, so why would he have gone to those extremes if he couldn't tell them anything about it.”

“Sammie, the mercenaries wouldn't ask about the device alone. They probably wanted to know about the Harcesus, the Tok'ra, the Asgard, the SGC. Any information which they could sell to Apophis would have made this whole escapade worth their while.”

“Is there anything the Tok’ra can do for Daniel and the others?”

“No, not in this case. The drugs will just have to run their course and we can only hope for the best that your men can recover from their effects.”

Sam nodded her understanding. “Janet says that the drugs are nearly gone from Daniel's system. Maybe he'll be able to tell us more about what happened in another day or so.”

“I hope so, Sammie.” Jacob looked at Daniel, who was rubbing his forehead.

- - - - - -

George and Jacob soon took their leave thereafter. Sam left with them, wanting to take a bit of time to talk with her father before he left the base.

Noticing that Daniel had taken his glasses off and had laid his head back against the headboard with his eyes closed, Jack asked Teal’c to call the infirmary. When Janet arrived, he told her he thought that Daniel might have a headache.

She told Jack that she wanted to try something. Getting some water from the bathroom, she then picked up three bottles from her supply of medications on the bureau. She went to Daniel and shook his leg lightly to get his attention. He opened his eyes and looked at her.

“Daniel, I want you to pay attention.” Holding up three bottles of pills one at a time, she placed them on the bed before Daniel. Pointing to each, she said, “this one is for an upset stomach, this one is for a headache, and this one is a sedative.” Pointing to the glass of water, she said, “this is for if you're feeling well. Can you show me if you need any one of these?”

With a frown, Daniel looked at the four items lined up in front of him. He glanced quickly at Jack, then at Janet, and resumed looking at the items. Jack was encouraged; it had been a definite 'Danny' look.

// Tired. Head hurts. Oh, gotta concentrate. Headache, yeah, want to tell her my head hurts. Why can't I tell her? My brain feels like it's on novacaine…why can't I…oh, that one, that's the one, the headache bottle. //

Daniel reached out and picked up the bottle Janet had pointed out was for headaches. Jack reached over and squeezed Daniel's shoulder.

“That's good, Daniel,” she said. Taking it from him, she shook out two pills and handed them to him. He took them from her and then took the glass of water she held out. Swallowing the pills and draining the water, he then sat there with the glass in his hands, not knowing what to do with it. Jack took it from him and placed it on the table beside the bed.

“He's improving steadily, Colonel. I think maybe by tomorrow you could take him home. It might be best for him now to be in familiar surroundings.”

“I'd rather take him to my place, he feels just as comfortable there as he does at his apartment.” In truth, Daniel spent more time at Jack’s place now than he did at his own home. He’d feel more comfortable in Jack’s king sized bed where they had spent many happy hours together.

“It doesn't matter where you take him, as long as he feels safe. It might also be a good idea for Sam and Teal'c to stay with you, if it's not too much bother. Having them around will be good for him, they're familiar.”

“They're family,” Jack corrected. “We're family.” Jack looked over at Teal'c, who inclined his head at Jack's warm gaze.

After Janet left, Teal'c and Jack began discussing arrangements for moving Daniel to Jack's house. As they talked, Daniel slid down onto the bed until he was lying on his back. He could hear the drone of their voices; it was comforting and relaxing. He closed his eyes, willing his headache to ease.

A noise beside him caught Jack's attention. Daniel was snoring softly, lying sprawled on the bed. Jack just hoped that the nightmares stayed away this time. Encouraged that Daniel was sleeping by himself, Jack turned back to Teal’c with a smile. Things were starting to look better.

- - - - - -

This time when Sam and Teal'c brought supper, Daniel got up out of bed and joined them for their meal at the small table in the room. He still appeared confused and disoriented at times, but more and more of his personality was cropping up in his expressions. A few times Jack thought that Daniel wanted to say something, but a bewildered expression would appear on his face, as if he wanted to speak but lost his train of thought.

Janet had wanted to see how Daniel would react today with Jack being out of Daniel's sight for a while. It was decided that Jack would go get their civilian clothes from the locker room, and the rest would stay and monitor Daniel. Jack was to come back after 20 minutes.

As the door closed behind Jack, Daniel got up and started for the door. Teal'c moved quickly to stand in front of it, barring the way. Looking a little confused, he looked at his friends sitting at the table, and then he glared at Teal'c. He went to the bed and threw himself down, leaning back against the headboard. He sat there with his arms crossed, a visible pout on his face.

“Ooh, he's not a happy camper,” Sam said in an undertone to Janet. Both smiled.

After a few minutes, Daniel got up and walked to the door again. Seeing that Teal'c wasn't going to let him out, he turned back and started pacing. He was visibly becoming a little uneasy. Stopping a moment and giving Sam and Janet a pleading look, he turned back and threw an arm out in an agitated manner. He resumed pacing.

After several minutes of this, Sam couldn't bear to see Daniel so upset. She went up to him, and taking his arm, led him to the side of the bed. She could feel him trembling slightly as she sat him down. “Daniel, the colonel will be back in a few more minutes. It's okay, he didn't go far.”

He looked at her, then placing his glasses down on the bed, he rubbed his face briskly. Taking a deep breath, he tried to relax. Sam could see that Daniel was making an effort to control his emotions. He remained sitting, his arms hugging his sides. Sam sat beside him and wrapped her arm around his shoulder.

// Jack, Jack. Don't go. Don't leave. Daddy left, Jack don't leave me too. Sam, please let me go find him. Jack. Where are you? Teal'c, please let me out. Jack! //

“Five more minutes,” she thought to herself. Actually, Daniel was reacting better than they had thought he would. Janet had said that there were still trace amounts of the drugs in his system, and these would take several more days to clear completely. He probably would remain at the same emotional state until then.

Jack stood outside the door for the last few minutes, counting the seconds before going back in. He had no idea what to expect, but the sight of Daniel sitting fairly calmly beside Sam was a sight to sore eyes. Upon seeing Jack, Daniel got up hastily and rushed to him. When he reached him, he did an about face and threw himself back on the bed as he had done earlier. He wouldn't look at Jack. Confused, Jack looked at Daniel then at the girls, and asked, “What?”

“He wasn't too thrilled about you leaving, colonel,” replied Janet. “He's going to have to get over this, otherwise he'll be following you around the house like a puppy dog.”

Placing the clothes on the table, Jack walked to Daniel and joked, “Heeere Danny, heel boy.” Everyone snickered, but Daniel just glared back. He'd definitely gotten that joke.

- - - - - -

General Hammond came by to inform them that both Ramirez and Sullivan were fairly stable and lucid. They had just finished debriefing the General, but weren't able to remember much. Jacob's information was correct, the mercenaries had wanted information about the device the Tok'ra had discovered, but had also questioned them about the SGC and their allies. The archeologists hadn't been able to divulge much information as they had only basic information on those subjects. They also didn't know what had happened to Doctor Jackson. They had been so muddled with the effects of the drugs that most of their memories were too dream-like to be relied upon.

- - - - - -

The team spent the remainder of the evening playing cards. Daniel joined in but he tired quickly, and his concentration waned. He left the group after a bit and picked up Sam's laptop. He fiddled with it for a while and started going through the footage that Teal'c had brought back from his investigations a few days ago.

Jack was watching Daniel, not paying much attention to his poker hand. He was glad that they weren't playing for money at the moment because he'd probably owe them quite a bit. He was happy to see Daniel doing things on his own; his natural inquisitiveness seemed to be returning. He had hated seeing Daniel lying there in an exhausted stupor.

Daniel watched the tape curiously, his memory at times just on the verge of being jogged.

// Pictures, images. Familiar, yet not familiar. Want to ask…can't, mouth numb, questions, tip of the tongue. Tongue won't work. Why? //

Suddenly when the image of a large room came into view, he tensed. He knew this room.

The video camera had filmed the image of Goa'uld script on the ceiling, painted in a large circle. The room was huge, and the person who had taped this scene had been standing directly underneath.

// Circle overhead, coverstone, stargate, circle, coverstone, Iris opening. Pain. Voices, questions. Circle overhead. Iris opening. Coverstone falling. Screams. Daddy Mommy! Screams. Sullivan. Ramirez. Questions. Hurts. Lying underneath circle. Circle overhead. Questions – can't answer. Pain. Questions – no no no. Pain. Questions – stop asking! Jack where are you? //

Jack saw Daniel stiffen suddenly. He realized immediately that Daniel had recognized something on the computer. He put his cards down and started to get up. Daniel suddenly gasped and shoved the computer away from him as if it had burned him. As he got up to run, he bumped into Jack, who had come up behind him. Jack grabbed his arms and held him. He could feel him quivering, his chest heaving as he began gasping in breaths.

Slowly, Daniel's knees buckled and he started to fall to the floor. Jack held onto him and helped guide him down, Sam and Teal'c rushed over to assist. Daniel was sobbing now, enfolded in Jack's arms, his face against Jack’s shoulder.

Sam looked at Jack helplessly, and then picked up the computer. The frame had frozen on the picture of the circle painted on the ceiling. Turning the screen so that Jack could see, she shrugged her shoulders. Only Daniel could tell them what it meant, and he wasn't talking.

- - - - - -

After several minutes, Daniel got himself under control. He remembered now, he'd been lying under that painted circle, the aliens having drugged him. The circle had reminded him of both the stargate when the Iris was closed protectively before it, and also the coverstone that had fallen and killed his parents in a New York museum when he was a child. The drugs had confused his memories with the current moment. He hadn't been able to tell if the screams were coming from him and his companions, or from his memories of his parents' dying cries and horrified museum workers.

He remembered thinking all along that Jack would find them. That thought had kept him strong during most of the interrogations. He knew that Jack wouldn't stop searching once he'd known that he was missing. He himself had nearly worked himself sick on those occasions that Jack had been missing and needed his help. Jack would find him; it had just been a matter of time. He'd had to hold on till then. He’d concentrated on the previous night’s lovemaking sessions with Jack, remembering Jack’s smell, his touch, the sound of his voice. The drugs made it easy to remember, for some reason, and he’d been able to ignore the beatings and questions to a certain degree.

Taking a deep breath, he tried to sit up. Jack was holding him, but upon feeling Daniel pull away, he loosened his grip, rubbing his thumb comfortingly along Daniel’s arm. Wiping his damp face with his hands, Daniel looked up at Jack with what he hoped was an apologetic smile. Standing up with Jack and Teal'c's help, he walked unsteadily to the bathroom and washed his face. Jack appeared behind him and handed him his night clothes. Guess that meant funtime was over. God he hoped he could sleep. He shakily got undressed and changed his clothes.

When Jack had seen Daniel go down, he was sure that Daniel had lost it, and that he'd regressed back to the state he'd been in when they had first found him. He was very relieved to see Daniel calm himself down quickly and to see his usual intelligence behind his eyes when he'd looked at Jack. He wished that Daniel could tell him what he had just remembered so that Jack could assure him that it was going to be okay.

- - - - - -

Memories of what had happened in the room with the painted ceiling kept Daniel from falling asleep. After feeling like he'd been in a stupor for the past several days, tonight his mind had finally started feeling close to normal. Realization of what had happened to him in that room had embarrassed him. The drugs had confused his memories of his parents' death with the pain of the interrogation, and the need to feel safe and secure had caused him to confuse Jack with his father.

He felt that he had been turned into a fretful, whining and spoiled child. Geez, how had Jack stood to be around him the past few days? He remembered the awful need to feel Jack's presence close by to keep the nightmares away. Always needing to hear the sound of his voice, his touch to keep him grounded. And the sex… he ducked his head in discomfiture as he remembered how he had thrown himself at Jack. In the SGC, of all places! His face burned with embarrassment as he tried to think what Jack must have been thinking about him at the time.

He couldn't seem to get comfortable in the bed. He tried turning on his side, facing away from Jack. Even now, he could hear Jack's breathing behind him, and he felt safe. He'd almost lost it earlier today when Jack had left the room. God how was he going to be able to get on with his life if he couldn't let Jack out of his sight for two minutes? He 'knew' Jack hadn't gone far, but he'd not been able to rationalize the thought. His emotions had taken control so quickly that he was panicking before he'd known it had happened.

He wished he could tell Jack how he felt, apologize to him for having been such a pain. He knew something was still wrong with him, because whenever he tried to say something, or to answer a question, his brain just wouldn't work. The words were there, he could picture them, outline them in his mind's eye in whatever language he wanted, he just couldn't get them past his tongue. He had heard his friends talking, saying that it was something he'd done to himself. If this was true, he couldn't remember. There was so much that he didn't remember during his captivity, he'd been heavily drugged for most of the time and most of what he did remember either came through in flashes, or in his nightmares. He mostly remembered thinking of Jack throughout his ordeal.

He flipped restlessly onto his back. His head was starting to ache again.

He had tried to write something down, and nothing had happened. He had held the pen in his hand, he had seen the words in his mind, but he hadn’t been able to get the message through from his brain to his hand. He thought of Janet's experiment with the headache pills and the multiple choice answer. That was pretty inventive on her part. That might work, but it would take a heck of a long time to ask 20 questions.

His brain still wasn't functioning at one hundred percent capacity. There were times that he was listening to his friends talking and suddenly he realized he had zoned out, had missed a large part of the conversation. Sometimes it was only for a few minutes; sometimes he thought it might be longer. He figured the drugs were still affecting him; that was probably why he still felt shaky and dizzy. And that darned headache that kept coming back was not helping him get to sleep. Maybe he'd sleep if he turned back on his side.

// Whoops, sorry Jack. Pulled too hard on the blankets. I know I'm keeping you awake, I just can't sleep. What? What are you doing? Darn, I don't want to sleep on top of you again. Okay, okay, if it'll make you happy. Here, happy now? I have a Jack pillow underneath me. Yawn. Mmmm, feels good. Safe. Yaaaawn. Okay, I'll stay here for a moment, maybe you'll be able to fall asleeee…//

- - - - - -

Having had enough of Daniel tossing and turning behind him, Jack turned around and pulled him into his arms, placing his lover’s head on his shoulder. He felt Daniel tense for a moment, then felt him relax against him. Two minutes later, both were sleeping soundly. Daniel's fingers slowly came up and entwined themselves in Jack's shirt.

- - - - - -

Jack escorted Daniel to the infirmary. He carefully watched Daniel whenever they met someone in the corridor, but Daniel seemed to be reacting well to being with people. Once in the infirmary, Janet checked Daniel's vitals one more time, took a final blood sample, and then gave them her blessings to leave.

Teal'c accompanied them to Jack's house. Sam was staying at the mountain as she had work to complete, and would join them for supper. Settling Daniel on the couch and handing him the TV remote, Jack went about getting a grocery list made and then sent Teal'c out to fill it. He made sure he remained in Daniel's line of sight all the time.

Daniel eventually dozed off and Jack took the opportunity to go upstairs and change the linen on his bed. While he was making up the spare beds for Sam and Teal'c, he heard footsteps on the stairs. Yup, there was Danny, still half asleep and probably a little disoriented.

“Miss me?” Daniel heard Jack tease. He scowled at Jack and went over to give him a hand with the sheets. Darn, he'd woken up alone and had almost panicked when he couldn't find Jack. He was ready to run outside to look for him, when he heard the creak of floorboards coming from upstairs. Janet was right, he felt like a puppy dog having to follow his master around the house.

“I figure after lunch we'll take a trip over to your place and get you some fresh clothes, feed the fish and get your mail. You okay with that?”

Daniel had finished spreading out the bedspread and had leaned back against the wall as Jack placed the throw pillows onto the bed. Daniel was staring blankly out the window.

“Daniel, did you hear me?” Jack asked, taking Daniel's arm. A startled look from Daniel answered his question. “Hey, you still feeling a little spacey? I said we'll go to your place after lunch and get you a few changes of clothes, feed the fishies and pay your bills, okay?”

// Okay? he asks. How does he want me to answer that? Two stomps on the floor for yes and one for no? Hey, I wonder if that would work… //

Jack was baffled as he watched as Daniel stared at his feet.

// Nope, doesn't work either. Shit! //

He rubbed at his forehead. His headache was back.

- - - - - -

Daniel tried reading the book he'd brought back from his apartment, but the nagging headache prevented him from concentrating. After reading the same page several times, he slammed the book's cover in irritation. He was aware of Jack looking up at him, startled as he read his newspaper.

Daniel really needed something for his headache. He'd been warned by both Jack and Janet that he wasn't to take any medication on his own because they were afraid he'd overdose himself as the drugs were still making him muddled at times. But he didn't know how to let Jack know that he needed something for his head.

Daniel got up and walked restlessly to the bedroom. He rummaged through Jack’s bedside table, hoping that this was where Jack had put away what he was looking for. Bingo. He found the medications that Janet had sent home along with him, and chose the one that would help his headache. He decided he’d hand it over to Jack, hoping that Jack would understand that he needed this.

He turned from the bed, and was surprised to see Jack leaning in the doorway, watching with a frown on his face.

“I thought you understood that you weren’t to touch those, Daniel.”

Daniel shot a glance at the bottle held in his hand and looked up guiltily at Jack. He took the few steps separating them, and offered Jack the bottle. Jack took it from him and to Daniel’s surprise, returned it to the table drawer.

Before Jack could close the drawer, Daniel’s hand shot out and stopped him. He reached inside and removed the bottle, once again offering it to Jack. Jack’s eyes widened as he understood, and he accepted the pills from Daniel.

“Headache?” Jack asked gently. In response, Daniel tapped the bottle in Jack’s hand.

“That bad, huh? Sorry.” Shaking out a couple, he handed them to Daniel after retrieving a glass of water from the bathroom. He then insisted Daniel lie down on the bed. Jack covered him with the comforter and sat down beside him. Closing his eyes, Daniel waited while the pills eased the throbbing in his head. When Jack began stroking his hair, Daniel leaned his head into Jack’s hand. The caress segued into a massage. Daniel sighed. Jack’s touch was beginning to ease some of his pain.

- - - - - -

The painkillers had taken the edge off his headache, but it was still nagging him by the time he dragged himself to supper. Sam had arrived with the news that Janet and Cassandra were going to drop in the next day for a bit. Cassie wanted to give Daniel a little something to help make him feel better.

After supper, they sat around in the living room, discussing the civilians' abduction while sipping their coffees. Daniel was lying between Jack’s legs, his back against Jack’s chest. Sam told them that Sullivan and Ramirez still couldn't remember much more than what they had originally told the General. They were to undergo hypnosis in a few days. Daniel was only keeping half an ear open, enjoying the sensation of Jack’s hands absently rubbing against his ribs. He listened attentively when Sam asked no one in particular, 'why would they bother drugging only three civilians when they had seven SGC staff members to choose from'.

// Three? No, that's not right. There were more, weren't there? Why can't I remember? The room was full, three?…no five, or…more? There had to have been at least four others with me at times in the room. //

Jack had felt Daniel stiffen up and a panicked look appeared on his face when he sat up to stare at Jack.

“What is it, Daniel?” he asked. Daniel glanced at Sam before opening his mouth.

// There were others! Jack, they took the others! SG4 !!! God, Jack, how do I let you know? //

Daniel jumped up off the couch and started pacing along the living room a couple of times and then walked right up to Jack. He was clearly agitated. He stared at Jack again, and Jack could see that his hands were shaking. He resumed his pacing.

“Danny, is there something you remembered? Do you want to tell us something?”

Daniel spun around and faced Jack, clenching his fists.

// Yes! I need to tell you this. How can I tell you this! //

“Daniel, is it about the hypnosis?” Sam queried.

He looked at her then returned to stare at Jack.

“Is it about Ramirez and Sullivan?” Jack asked.

He turned and started pacing again.

“Is it about SG4?” asked Teal'c.

Daniel suddenly went up to Teal'c and grabbed his arms.

“That's it! It's about Hanson not assigning someone to guard you guys at the temple, isn't it?” Jack said.

Daniel ignored Jack and continued staring at Teal'c.

“I do not believe that is what he is trying to tell us, O'Neill.”

Sam tried. “Okay, you remembered something about SG4…do you remember them looking for you?”

Daniel dropped Teal'c's hands and rubbed his face.

// How do I tell them? //

Jack said. “What would you remember about SG4 and your kidnapping, they didn't even know you were taken.”

Daniel spun towards Jack.

// They knew they knew! They were there!!! //

Jack suddenly understood. He sat up. “Shit, Daniel. You mean they knew? Was SG4 also captured?”

Daniel grabbed Jack's shoulders.

“That's it, isn't it? Shit shit shit.”

Jack lunged for the phone and dialed General Hammond's private number.

Daniel listened carefully to the conversation.

“Sir, it's O'Neill. You have to question Sullivan and Ramirez again right away. Ask them if they remember any members of SG4 being captured along with them…No sir, Daniel seems to think that SG4 might have been among the prisoners…it's hard to explain how he told us that, sir. You just have to trust us, he remembered something.”

Daniel sat down on the couch. He was exhausted beyond belief.

“Thank you, sir. Yes sir, we'll be waiting for your call.”

- - - - - -

Twenty minutes later, Jack hung up the phone. “You were right, Daniel. Sullivan and Ramirez remembered that one or two members of SG4 were with them during their interrogations. The General has ordered them back to the mountain, where they'll be questioned more thoroughly and placed under observation.”

Daniel was slouched on the couch. He shut his eyes in relief.

“My God, we didn't know, they could have been programmed to do anything,” said Sam.

Jack nodded. “The General's also ordered that their movements be backtracked to make sure they didn't tamper with anything.”

Standing before Daniel, he said, “You know, for someone who can't talk, you sure said a lot tonight. Come on, let's get you to bed. You look exhausted.”

Helping Daniel up, he turned to Sam and Teal'c. “You guys gonna stay down here or are you coming up?”

“If it's all right with you, I'll stay here for a while. Don't worry, I'll lock up.”

“I will remain with MajorCarter.”

“Okay, goodnight kids.”

Jack brought Daniel upstairs and guided him to their bedroom. His eyes half-closed, Daniel walked forward into the room and sat on the bed. His sweats were already laid out on the bed for him. He kicked off his shoes, grabbed his clothes and shuffled into the adjoining bathroom to wash and change. As he got into bed, Jack entered the bathroom and by the time Jack got into bed, Daniel was already asleep. As Jack stretched out beside Daniel, his friend turned around and moved closer to Jack, his hand coming up to grab Jack's sweatshirt. Jack grinned, and closed his eyes.

- - - - - -

As Jack came out of the bathroom, Daniel cracked his eyes open and looked at him sleepily. Jack leaned over and kissed Daniel’s forehead.

“Go back to sleep,” Jack suggested. Daniel curled his lips in a slight smile as he closed his eyes. Jack waited a few moments, but Daniel didn’t stir again.

Jack could hear voices coming from the kitchen. He quietly left the bedroom, leaving the door ajar. This way, when Daniel woke up he would hear them talking downstairs. Grabbing a cup of coffee, Jack joined his teammates at the kitchen table.

“Any news?” he asked.

“They've found all of SG4 and put them in confinement. I spoke to Janet a little while ago and she said that there were no abnormalities in their blood work. I'm going to speak to Dad later; maybe he knows more about those drugs. There might have been a third one that we're not aware of.”

Jack agreed.

“When are Janet and Cassie coming over? You did invite them for supper, didn't you?”

“Oh, Janet didn't want to impose…”

“Carter, you call her up right now and make sure they know they're welcome to stay. I'll just set the BBQ up and we'll grill a few steaks.”

“I'm on it, sir.”

- - - - - -

Not long before lunchtime, Jack heard the shower start upstairs. He waited until he heard the water turn off, poured a cup of coffee and went up to greet Daniel. As Daniel stepped out of the bathroom nearly dressed, Jack handed him the coffee. Daniel's grin was quickly lost behind the cup.

“Don't tell Janet, she'll kill me if she finds out I just gave you coffee.” An empty cup handed back was Daniel's agreement. A nice, deep kiss was his thank you.

“Come on downstairs, I'll make you brunch.”

- - - - - -

Cassandra Fraiser nervously walked up the path leading to uncle Jack's front door. She knew that uncle Danny was sick, mom had explained that he couldn't talk. He could understand whatever she said, but he wouldn't be able to answer back. She wasn’t sure now whether this had been a good idea to come by and see him, she didn't know what she was going to say to him. Switching the plate containing the home made chocolate brownies to her other hand, she turned around and watched her mom walk up to her side. Janet saw her adopted daughter's worried look.

“It'll be okay, sweetie, Daniel will be happy to see you. Just knowing you care will make him feel better.”

“Mom, what will I say to him?” she whined.

“Exactly what you would say to him if he wasn't sick. Tell him how you feel. Just be there for him.” The young teenager nodded uncertainly.

Janet rang the doorbell and the door was answered by Sam. She kissed Cassie hello, and took the plate from her. Jack came up and grabbed Cassie in a huge hug and spun her around. Squealing, she started hitting him on the back to let her go. “How's my favourite girl?” he asked. “I'm fine” teased Janet. “Moooom” complained Cassie, giggling.

“Hey, whatcha brought me?” Jack asked, seeing Sam go by with the covered plate.

“I baked some chocolate brownies for uncle Danny. I thought, um, he might like some…maybe to make him feel better.”

“The same ones your mom brought a couple of weeks ago?”

Cassie nodded.

“Sweet. I'll make sure to leave a couple for Daniel.” Cassie giggled. “Go on in and say hi, he's in the backyard.”

Reluctantly, Cassandra walked through the house to the backdoor. She saw uncle Teal'c sitting in a deck chair beside uncle Daniel. She froze when Daniel turned around at the sound of the door opening. Seeing her uncertainty, he stood up and smiled at her. He spread his arms out, begging for a hug. Sobbing, she ran to Daniel and wrapped her arms around him. “I love you, uncle Danny,” she whispered in his ear. He hugged her tightly and rocked her in his arms.

“I'm sorry you're not well,” she said when she was able to stop crying. Looking up at her uncle, she saw tears in his eyes too. Embarrassed, she had to get away. “I um, think I have to go wash my face. Excuse me.”

Daniel stared at her retreating back, and sat back down, staring at his hands. Teal'c reached over and silently touched Daniel's shoulder in understanding. Daniel glanced at Teal'c, then laid his head back, massaging his forehead.

Janet came out shortly, with a glass of juice and a bottle of pills in her hand. Crouching beside Daniel, she said, “Sullivan has been complaining of constant headaches. The Colonel told me you seem to suffering from them too. I brought a different medication for you; these are a little stronger and are longer lasting. Let's see if they'll help, okay?” She shook out a couple and handed them over to him. He swallowed them down with the juice. “You'll need to take these with every meal, so if Jack forgets to give them to you, just bounce the bottle off his head as a reminder,” she teased.

While her mom was talking to Daniel, Cassandra walked over to Teal'c. “I'm sorry, uncle Teal'c, I didn't mean to ignore you. She bent over and gave him a hug. Teal'c hugged her back. “I understand, little one. Daniel is very happy that you came.”

- - - - - -

The pills were making Daniel drowsy and he was having trouble keeping track of the conversation. Janet and Cassie had left a short while ago. While Cassie had been a little uncomfortable around Daniel, he was happy that she had made the effort to sit with him.

Daniel decided he was going to go to bed. He got up and looked at his friends, and realized he couldn't even tell them goodnight. Sighing, he made his way upstairs.

Jack and the others watched Daniel leave. Worried, Jack followed him up and saw him enter the bathroom. He leaned against the doorjamb and waited for Daniel to come out. Seeing Daniel in his sweats, Jack realized he'd been getting ready for bed. “Just thought I'd tuck you in.” Jack smiled and pulled the blankets away from the bed, inviting Daniel to get in. “You gonna be all right up here by yourself, or do you want me to come and join you?”

Not knowing how to answer Jack, he simply smiled at him, and turned on his side away from him. Jack reached over and kissed his temple. “Okay, I'll tell everyone you said goodnight.” Jack walked out of the bedroom, leaving the door ajar.

It was thirty minutes later when they all heard Daniel yell Jack's name. Hurriedly running upstairs, they all piled into the bedroom to see Daniel in the throes of a nightmare. Trying to wake Daniel up, Jack sat beside him, gripped his shoulders and called his name. Daniel's eyes opened suddenly, and he yelled Jack's name again as he sat up.

Bewildered, Daniel looked around to see everyone staring at him. He recognized Jack’s bedroom and realized he'd been dreaming. He dropped back down onto the mattress and closed his eyes. In his dream he had seen the stargate again with the Iris before it opening, and then the stargate had turned into the painted circle on the ceiling. This time there was no memory of his parents' death, no vision of the coverstone falling.

“Daniel?” Jack coaxed. Daniel opened his eyes. “Dya remember calling my name?” Daniel frowned, looking at Jack, then glanced quickly at Sam and Teal'c.

“You said the colonel’s name twice in your sleep,” Sam said. Daniel looked at Jack for confirmation. He nodded.

Daniel sighed. He may have spoken unconsciously but he still couldn't utter a word consciously.

“Hey, it's a start.” Jack consoled, rubbing his shoulder. “You gonna be all right now?” Daniel closed his eyes and turned again onto his side. Sam and Teal'c said their goodnights and left Jack alone with Daniel. “I’ll be back soon,” he told him.

Making sure his guests had everything they needed, he returned to his bedroom and to Daniel. Jack stripped and got into bed, cuddling up beside him.

Daniel turned to face Jack, his fingers coming up to stroke Jack’s face. Jack smiled, and when Daniel’s forefinger brushed his lips, Jack took it into his mouth and sucked gently on it, twirling his tongue around the digit. Daniel’s penis twitched in response to Jack’s actions.

Daniel moved closer and pushed his tongue into Jack’s mouth, thrusting it past his finger and searching out Jack’s. He pulled his finger out when Jack released it in favour of Daniel’s questing tongue.

Jack’s hands caressed Daniel’s ribs and his mouth left Daniel’s in order to kiss all of Daniel’s erogenous and sensitive areas. He reached for Daniel’s pants, pulling them down over his hips and freeing Daniel’s quickly hardening cock. A few quick strokes and Daniel realized that this wasn’t what he wanted. He put his hand out over Jack’s, and smiled at Jack, letting him know that it was all right.

Daniel turned over onto his stomach, offering Jack his body.

“Daniel, are you sure about this,” Jack asked cautiously. In answer, Daniel raised his butt in the air. His breathing quickened when Jack reached over for the lube under the pillow.

A lubricated finger was gently inserted into Daniel, who immediately pushed back against Jack’s hand. As Jack stretched and prepared Daniel, Daniel’s hands clenched and unclenched. Jack stopped a moment, asking if Daniel was all right. Daniel pushed himself back on his knees and elbows, tightening his anus around Jack’s fingers and letting him know that he wanted this.

Jack pushed slowly into Daniel, and Daniel relished the sensation. When Jack could go no farther, he remained still until Daniel began to squirm. Jack began to move, slowly at first, angling his thrusts until Jack hit his prostate. A gasp escaped Daniel, the pleasure almost too intense to bear.

Daniel could feel his muscles shaking as he tried to hold his still weakened body in the same position. Jack sped up his rhythm, and reached over and took Daniel’s penis in his hand, stroking in time with his movements. Daniel’s body convulsed around Jack as his orgasm hit him. Jack followed Daniel seconds later, giving a soft cry as he came.

Daniel’s arms gave way and Jack eased him down, his arms wrapped around him. He held him as Daniel’s body continued to shudder. As Daniel slowly came down off his orgasmic high, he realized that he was shaking. Jack slipped out of Daniel, spooning up behind him, holding him close. Listening to Jack whisper words of endearment, Daniel had to content himself with rubbing Jack’s arm lightly with his fingertips.

- - - - - -

Janet had asked that Jack bring Daniel to the infirmary for a follow up the next day. They arrived at the mountain shortly after breakfast. There'd been a message for Jack to go see General Hammond upon his arrival, so after escorting Daniel into Janet's care, he left to see his boss.

Hammond informed Jack that the Tok'ra had confirmed there had been a third drug rumoured to have been used by the mercenaries. It was used mainly to alter memories, but could also be used to plant a command in someone's mind. They suspected that SG4 had been drugged to forget the capture of the civilians, and that perhaps one or more of the soldiers had been used to try and perform sabotage.

They'd had no luck so far in prompting more memories from the civilians. They were also still trying to trace SG4's movements, but it was a time consuming job.

Once Janet had finished with Daniel, he decided he wanted to go look for Jack. The craving to be near Jack was still there, but it was much weaker. Daniel decided that he was more bored than anything. Worried, Janet called after Daniel as he left, but he just turned around, his hands in his pockets, and smiled at her.

Wandering up towards the General's office, he tried to listen to see if he could hear Jack's voice. He didn't want to barge in if Jack wasn't there. The General was talking and Daniel could make out that he was on the phone, and that Jack was sitting before the General's desk, waiting for him to finish his phone call. Daniel wandered into the briefing room, which overlooked the stargate. He went to the window and stood staring at the 'gate.

He felt slightly dizzy at the moment, the drugs still caused him to have occasional dizzy spells, and combined with Janet's latest headache pills, there were times when he wasn't too steady. The stargate wavered before him and suddenly he could see the painted ceiling superimposed over the stargate. He staggered slightly, catching himself against the bulletproof glass. The ceiling faded and he could see the stargate again, and suddenly he saw a vision of the Iris closing over the stargate, and then opening.

// Voices, he could hear voices. Crude sounds, speaking English, accented English. The words 'Stargate, Iris, Codes' Why do I keep hearing these words? Were these memories? Can't remember. JACK! There's something I have to remember… //

Jack had seen Daniel walk by and go into the empty briefing room. The General had just hung up the phone when they heard Daniel crying his name. He and the General ran out just in time to see Daniel fall to his knees. Jack reached him before he toppled over to the floor. He heard the General call for medical help. Daniel's eyes were open but he was definitely not seeing anything in the room. Jack supported Daniel's weight as he leaned limply against him.

Suddenly Daniel found himself on his knees, hardly able to support himself, leaning against something. He realized then that Jack was crouching beside him, holding him up to prevent him from falling over. He grabbed Jack's arm and found he could barely lift his head. He couldn't stop shaking.

Janet arrived moments later, looking unbelieving at Daniel. He had been fine minutes ago, how could he have deteriorated so quickly. His pulse was racing, he was sweating and shaking. His breathing was shallow and quick.

// Something about the stargate. Something important. I have to remember, it's right on the tip of my brain //

The thought made him want to laugh. // Tip of my brain, wish I could get it past the tip of my tongue. Damn, my head's so fuzzy, why can't I remember? // He lifted his head off of Jack's shoulder and looked at the stargate again through the clear glass.

“Daniel, what is it? Did you remember something?” Daniel could hear Jack talking, but he couldn't seem to be able to focus on the words. He could still hear echoes of the accented words in his mind // Stargate, Iris, Codes //. If only he could concentrate on that memory.

// Jack be quiet, you're making too much noise. I can't think. I have to remember. It's so fuzzy. Why can't I think? //

When the medics appeared with a gurney to cart Daniel off to the infirmary, Daniel grabbed Jack's arm tightly to try and convey the message that he didn't want to leave. He had to stay here, he had to remember.

“Daniel, you have to go with them. Come on, you're sick again.”

When the medics insisted on moving him, Daniel started to struggle. Jack held him down while Janet injected Daniel with a sedative. When he'd calmed down and stopped fighting Jack, they placed him on the gurney and wheeled him back to the infirmary.

- - - - - -

// Infirmary. I'm in the infirmary again. What happened this time? //

He heard a rustling beside him and turned his head towards it. Jack was sitting on the chair beside him, staring across the room. Daniel moved his hand to get Jack's attention. Jack smiled on seeing Daniel's eyes open.

“Hey, can't leave you alone for any amount of time, can I?” he teased.

Daniel just stared at Jack.

“Shit Danny, what the hell happened up there? Janet said you were fine minutes before. And then you go and have a fit or something and get carted back here in shock.”

// I don't know, I don't know what happened. I don't know how to tell you that I don't know. This is so frustrating! //

Daniel turned his head away from Jack, getting angry at himself.

“Did you see something in the embarkation room that scared you? Did you remember something maybe? About the stargate?”

// Stargate? Yeah, I was looking at it when I had some kind of flashback. I remember looking at it, hearing voices, the 'gate, the Iris…shit, I remember the mercenaries talking about it! That's it! They want to sabotage the Iris! Jack! shit Jack! //

Daniel sat up suddenly, swinging his legs off the side of the bed, and dizzily toppling on top of Jack. Jack grabbed his arms to hold him steady and tried to lay him back down. Daniel fought Jack, trying to remain seated. He tried to look at Jack, but his face kept wavering. Taking a deep breath, he put his head down onto Jack's chest for a moment, trying to take control of himself. Looking back up at Jack, he squeezed Jack's arms as hard as he could.

// I have to tell him! How? How? //

“What Danny? You remembered something?” Daniel lowered his head again and loosened his grip on Jack's arms.

// I didn't want to tell the mercenaries anything, I remember now them wanting me to give them information about the Iris, about the GDO codes. I was so close to telling them, and I wanted to not talk so badly that I must have willed myself then to stop talking. Okay, that makes sense. Now how do I will myself to talk again? Shit! //

“Shhhit.” The word was slurred, but understandable.


// What? //


“Daniel, you know, if you're gonna start talking again, I'd really like to hear my name rather than hear you swear.”

// wwhhaa what? //


“Danny, can you say Jack?”

// Jack what are you talking about? //

“Jck, whut r yu talkin bout?”


// I'm talking ! God! //

“Rrris, sabtaj! Jck, ssstaargte, Irsss”

“I got you Danny. Stay here, don't move.”

Jack ran to the phone and called the General. “It's the Iris! They tried to sabotage the Iris! Get all available personnel to check out every little screw and bolt. Get Carter to check the computer system. I'll be down there as soon as I can, sir.”

Jack returned to see Daniel standing by the bed, wavering slightly. “Daniel, get back in that bed.”

“Noooo, wanna go up.”

“Danny I don't have time to take care of you now.”

“Jck, go! Now! Lll flllow.”

“Crap. You'll fall flat on your face. Okay, lemme help you. But you make sure you stay out of the way.”

- - - - - -

A meticulous search revealed an intricate bomb concealed in the inner workings of the Iris. A cursory look would never have revealed it. It was on a timer, which was set to go off in several more hours. Search crews continued searching in the off chance that further sabotage had been attempted. Nothing suspicious had been found.

Daniel sat at the conference table, his arms on the table, his head pillowed on his arms. The search had taken several hours, and he had refused to return to the infirmary. He hadn't spoken any more, the effort of speaking those few sentences had exhausted him. He was dozing on and off, partly aware of what was happening, and when he had the energy, he would lift his head up and see the goings on around the stargate.

He was aware of Jack coming to check on him occasionally. He'd tried to coax Daniel to go to bed at one point, but a deliberate and slow shake of the head on Daniel's part convinced him that Daniel actually needed to be here.

Things were winding down and the general had actually ordered Jack to take Daniel home to rest. Janet had come up twice to check Daniel's vitals, and had stated that at the moment he seemed to be suffering mostly from exhaustion. A good night's sleep and a proper meal would probably do him the most good.

Walking up to Daniel, Jack pulled a chair out next to him and sat down. Daniel shifted his head slightly towards Jack, acknowledging his presence. Placing a hand on Daniel's nape, Jack said “You ready to go home? The General's throwing me out of here. I just thought you might like to come along.”

Daniel lifted his head up tiredly and pushed his arms up off the table until he was leaning back in the chair. “Go now?” Daniel asked.

“You got it.”

- - - - - -

Two days later, Jack and Daniel were walking up to Janet Fraiser's home. Daniel was talking animatedly, one hand gesturing enthusiastically to emphasize his words, the other hand carefully balancing a cake box. “So you see, the real reason we civilians were taken was simply a diversion. Their main objective was to get that bomb up on the Iris. We were just icing on the cake, had we talked, any information they got would simply have been a bonus.”

Jack tucked the bottle of wine he was carrying under his arm. “Sorry, I disagree. I still think that you were the main target. Had you talked, given them the GDO codes, the bomb would have been obsolete. I think the bomb was simply a backup plan, which incidentally, why do you think the timer was set for nearly a week later?”

“I don't know, either Hanson managed to sneak the bomb onto the Iris only a short time ago, or it was a planned attack set for a specific day and time. Guess we'll never really know.”

“I guess.”

“You know, you're gonna have to apologize to Hanson.”

“What for?”

“That comment about leaving the civilians unguarded. He actually had two of his team members up at the ruins with us when we were attacked.”

“Um, yeah, guess I'll have to go talk to the guy.”

At their knock, Janet opened the door and invited the guys in, accepting the wine and dessert from them. Cassie came running down the hall and threw herself into Jack's arms, who hugged her and swung her around. Once her feet were back on the ground, she turned and grinned at Daniel and turned into his open arms. As he held her close, he whispered in her ear, “I love you too, Cassie.”  


My thanks for everyone who voted for this story!


Author's Comments: This is a redrafted slash version. The original version was actually the second story I had ever written. Although at the time I had no compulsion to write slash, I found myself constantly writing the guys in bed. Looking back now, I realized that the story was just begging to be written as slash.


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