Without Warning by JoaG

The gunshot, when it came, was silent. Nobody, including Daniel, had realized what had happened until he'd stumbled against Jack. It was only when Daniel had pressed a hand to his side, a confused look on his face when he saw it dripping blood, did Jack realize what had happened.

"Down! Everybody down!"

Still, his warning hadn't been fast enough. Before he could grab Daniel and get him down to cover, another shot had knocked Daniel off his feet. And it wasn't until Carter and Teal'c had dived for cover beside Jack did everyone else realize what was happening.

And then this world's leader, Griogair, had been the next victim. That was when the action finally began.

Pandemonium had struck when the people who had been following SG-1 since their arrival, realized there was a sniper loose. While Jack and Carter desperately attempted to stem the bleeding from Daniel's wounds, the square they'd been touring had quickly emptied, only to be filled by red-uniformed policemen.

One of Griogair's bodyguards had rushed over to them and had garbled something. Jack had shaken his head; Daniel had been the spokesperson, and he'd been unconscious from the moment the second bullet slammed into him.

And now here they were, barely ten minutes after the sniper got Daniel, crouched on the floor of a crowded van that was speeding down the streets, siren wailing uncomfortably. Jack still had his hands pressed against Daniel's side. He could feel the warm stickiness trickling through his fingers, seeping through the bandage. He hated the fact that it reminded him of Daniel's come when Jack had brought him to orgasm just two nights ago. He couldn't seem to get the similarities out of his mind and he wanted nothing more than to wipe his hands clean and tell himself it was just all a nightmare.

The van was strangely quiet despite the congested interior. Its engine was silent, fueled by solar batteries that was one of this world's technologies Carter had been dying to get her hands on. Someone handed Jack another bandage and he quickly placed it on top of the saturated one, glad to get his hands out of Daniel's blood, even for a few moments.

"We are not moving in the direction of the Stargate."

Jack looked up at Teal'c, who had been pushed to the back, near the van's door. There were no windows in the vehicle except at the front.

"They're probably taking us to a hospital. Can you see how badly Griogair's been hurt?"

"He is moving. He lives."

The van turned a corner too fast, and everyone slid against the side. Jack braced himself, trying to maintain the pressure on the wound in Daniel's abdomen. Carter was kneeling beside him, holding another pressure bandage at an entry wound just below Daniel's ribs.

Suddenly they were squealing to a stop and the back door opened. Several men crawled by Jack, and then they and Teal'c were pulling Daniel out and loading him onto a gurney. Jack let Carter precede him and then jumped out of the van. Policemen were everywhere; even as Jack climbed out, more were pulling into the parking lot and surrounding the van.

Why the hell hadn't they been out there when it counted? No, instead they'd stayed in the background, allowing the crowds to merge with the 'alien' visitors, the news crews and hordes of reporters constantly following on their tail.

This was a strange society. Nothing, it seemed, was kept hidden from the people. Tonight on the 6 o'clock news, everyone would see Daniel taken down, seconds before their beloved leader.

Jack didn't wait to see if Griogair was really still alive; all his attention was focused on the man being attended to by two women, dressed in white uniforms with thick blue aprons wrapped around the front of their bodies. It was obvious they were medics of some sort and before Jack could reach them, they were rushing Daniel inside the open doors of a large building.

As Jack and his team followed, he was peripherally aware of another gurney being loaded and several more medics swarming around it. Then he was jogging down a long corridor and into a large, sterile cubicle. One of the women began cutting Daniel's jacket and tee shirt off while the other was yelling something, trying to hold the pressure bandages in place.

There was a loud commotion outside in the hall and Jack saw Griogair's gurney pushed past, surrounded by white-garbed medics and red-uniformed policeman. The news crews followed; their number more numerous than the medics and security combined.

Then two of the camera crews spotted Jack and turned towards the open door. Before he could protest, Teal'c was there, effectively blocking their entrance. Carter added her own slight bulk to his, both of them glaring down the news men's objections.

The medic began yelling at the news crews and they finally relented, although they didn't move far from the entrance. As Jack turned towards Daniel again, the medic was staring at Jack's blood-stained hands and urgently motioned to him to take her place.

As he quickly moved forward to help, Jack wondered if they had a lack of personnel or if everyone available had rushed to Griogair's side. He pressed down on the bandages, grateful that the feeling of surrealism he'd experienced in the van had left him.

The medic brushed past him and stuck her head outside the cubicle, yelling once more. Jack exchanged perplexed looks with Carter and Teal'c, who were leaning against the wall, looking and probably feeling helpless.

As the medic returned to Daniel's side, Jack heard running footsteps. Two men, dressed similarly to the women but with light green aprons, rushed into the cubicle. One took Jack's place and the other began grabbing supplies, helping set up oxygen and an IV.

An older man entered carrying a tray with three units of blood. But just as the male nurse went to pick one up, the quieter of the two doctors spoke up. The male nurse looked at Jack, then Teal'c and Carter, startled. He paled, and then dropped the blood back onto the tray.

The doctor came to Jack, motioned first at the blood and then towards Daniel. She looked up at him expectantly.

Yeah, Daniel needed a transfusion. He'd lost a lot of blood; Jack knew - he'd felt it gush through his fingers.

"Sir, I think she's afraid to give Daniel blood from the people here. I agree, even though they're obviously of Gaelic descent and obviously displaced from Earth, we don't know if there's anything on the planet which might have changed their physiology throughout the centuries."

"I'm type O positive. I'm not sure what Daniel's blood type is, I just know Fraiser warned me never to try and use my blood if we were ever in this type of situation."

"He's AB negative, same as me." She stepped forward, already rolling up her sleeve and offering her arm to the doctor. It took the doctor only a minute to set Carter up, and one of the nurses rushed out of the room with samples of both Carter's and Daniel's blood.

And that was when Jack realized Daniel was waking up. He pushed past the nurse and doctors and went to the head of the bed where he'd be out of the way. He leaned over so Daniel would see him. Another soft moan, and Daniel's eyes fluttered open.

"Easy, I'm here," Jack said as Daniel began to gasp in pain. "You're in a hospital." He grabbed Daniel's flailing hand and looked up at the doctor, worry and fear making his voice rougher than he'd have wanted. "Can't you give him something for the pain?"

"Sam? Tea..." Daniel was looking around wildly and Jack was pretty sure he wasn't focusing on anything.

"We're fine, Daniel." Carter sat forward in her chair, but she couldn't get into Daniel's line of site.

Teal'c moved from his position by the door and stood beside Jack. "We were not injured. Do not concern yourself for our welfare."

Maybe Daniel couldn't quite see his teammates, but he apparently recognized their voices, because he calmed a little. Or maybe it was due to whatever the doctor was injecting into Daniel's IV.


"Yeah, 'fraid so." Jack bent over and went to wipe some of the sweat from Daniel's face, but when he saw his blood-streaked hand, he quickly put his hand back down out of Daniel's sight. But it wouldn't have mattered because at that moment, Daniel's eyes rolled back and his head shifted to one side as he passed out again with a soft sighing breath.

Jack held onto Daniel's chilled fingers for a few seconds longer before he stepped away, ignoring the looks of sympathy from the medical personnel.

By the time Carter's blood filled one small pouch, the nurse had returned. Apparently Carter had been right about their blood types because they started transfusing Daniel immediately.

As a second pouch began to fill with Carter's blood, the two doctors and the second nurse positioned themselves around Daniel's bed and began to wheel it out of the room. Jack took a step to follow, but one of the doctors put a hand to Jack's chest, stopping him. She pointed towards Daniel's abdomen, and made a cutting motion against her stomach.

Ah damn. Operating room.

Jack nodded his understanding, and looked towards Carter, who was effectively tied to her chair with a tube leading out of her vein. Jack joined Teal'c in leaning against the wall, trying to ignore the several cameras aimed their way through the open door. When someone brought them both a chair to sit on a few minutes later, they sat with their backs to the door, trying to ignore the reporters.

- - - - - -

Daniel woke up in unbearable agony. Fire burned along his ribs and abdomen. It felt like someone was cutting into him with a knife laced with acid. He tried to scream, and nearly choked. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't inhale, he was going to suffocate—then his lungs inflated with air, all without his doing, driving the pain in his abdomen up another notch, if that was even possible. He felt himself exhaling slowly, and he tried to scream once again, while he still had air in his lungs.

He couldn't. He was paralyzed. Someone was cutting into him and he couldn't move away from the pain, which continued unceasingly. He couldn't even tell anyone he was awake, and to please, please, take pity on him.

Who had captured him? What were they doing to him? Why were they cutting him up, were they vivisecting him to see what made him tick?

He tried to calm himself, and realized there were several persons surrounding him. He could hear the sound of a heart monitor. It couldn't be his; his heart had to be racing, that slow, rhythmic beeping couldn't be him? Could it?

He tried to concentrate on the snatches of conversation – maybe he could find out what was happening. Who was doing this? And more importantly, what had happened to the rest of his team.

To Jack.

The language was familiar, but Daniel couldn't quite understand. He had to concentrate hard, and the pain was making that very difficult.

"... take down Griogair ... with this one ... leader should ... listened to the people."

"How's his pressure?"

"... curfews helped... was little rioting the past two..."

"... people are scared."

"... I'm scared myself."

"Put some pressure ... there. Good."

"There, there it is."

Then something inside him ripped and Daniel nearly blacked out as the pain shot up to an unbearable level. Then the person torturing him stopped, and a few seconds later he heard something metallic dropped into a bowl.

"... that's it, close him up."

"... these strangers ... out of the portal ... tricked into ... everything is fine?"

Please, please, please, let them end this. Daniel didn't know what was worse, the pain in his abdomen or the constant feel of choking when air was pumped into his lungs. But he began to suspect he was in a hospital, and that he was being operated on. But why wasn't he unconscious? Why hadn't he been sedated? Why hadn't they given him something for the pain?

"... nothing to share ... technology ... probably inferior."

"... scares me ... these beasts called the Goa'uld ... don't blame ... shoot them all."

"Don't say that!"

The pain was a little better now, although someone was still cutting or doing something to his insides. He had to tell them he was awake. If he could only move a finger, or even open his eyes. But he couldn't see, and he could feel something across his face, covering his eyes. So even if he had been able to open them, nobody would know.

It was hopeless.

"... lead their enemy to us?"

"... deserve to die."

Daniel heard their voices beginning to fade and he realized he was going to pass out. He welcomed it, embraced it, waited for it, but the darkness and oblivion and relief from pain waited tantalizingly, just out of reach.

"These people trusted us."

"... and return our people to slavery?"

And despite his pain and confusion, Daniel finally realized where he was. On one of the few planets SG-1 had visited that was equal in technology to Earth. One planet whose people had forgotten what the Stargate was, what it could do, what it meant to them and their past. Forgotten until it had been discovered just two years ago, buried in the middle of a lost, unmarked ruins of a once-sprawling city.

Brought to a museum, archaeologists had believed it to be a simple decoration, until one day the glyphs carved on it had begun to glow, and a mechanical device had rumbled through it, conveying words of greeting and friendship.

And the people had invited the inhabitants of Earth to come through. Friendship and exchange of knowledge had been offered, until pain had ripped through Daniel as he was shot down in the street like a dog.

The darkness finally whirled down on Daniel, spiraling him dizzily as it carried him in its grip, away from the agony, the helplessness, and the words spoken by a people who were very obviously terrified of the news of their past SG-1 had brought with them.


- - - - - -

Jack stood up quickly when one of the doctors who'd whisked Daniel away earlier popped her head into the room. They'd been moved into the small hospital room a few hours ago, several flights up from the emergency room, giving them all a chance to clean up and providing a semblance of privacy from the hordes of reporters still swarming the hospital.

Jack quickly motioned to Teal'c to accompany him outside, moving quietly so as not to wake Carter, who was drowsing on one of the two beds in the room. She was pale and shaky and would probably continue to be so until they got her home and Fraiser replaced the blood she'd given up for Daniel.

The doctor spoke to them, despite the fact that neither understood her words. What Jack did understand, though, was her broad smile. He figured Daniel was doing fine. Grinning, he smacked Teal'c on the back of the arm. He didn't even mind the cameras pointing in their direction.

"Danny's fine." He turned to Teal'c. "He's gonna be fine."

"So it would appear." Teal'c smiled back, his expressive eyes shining with the news. Good, Jack hadn't misinterpreted the doctor's body language.

The doctor then motioned for Jack to put his hand out, and she dropped two round pieces of metal into his hand, one of them was flattened slightly, probably from where it had hit Daniel's ribs. Jack let the bullets roll back and forth on his palm, then pocketed them. Daniel might like to have them as souvenirs.

He motioned down the hallway, and shrugged his shoulders. He figured Daniel was probably in recovery. The woman tucked one hand, fingers slightly curled, against her cheek and closed her eyes. Ah yes, the universal sign for sleeping. Still trying to mime, Jack pointed at himself, then two fingers walking, then mimicked her version of Daniel sleeping.

The doctor shook her head and motioned for Jack to go back into the room. She repeated the sleeping sign, then popped her eyes open, then pointed down along the hallway into the room.

Okay, so they'd bring Daniel here once he woke up. He understood that. Still, he wished he could peek in on Daniel just for a second. He sighed heavily as the doctor turned around and walked back the way she'd come. He stepped into the middle of the hallway and noted which door she went through, and muttering to Teal'c that he'd be right back, he followed.

He did note the camera crews didn't pursue him, although they continued to track him with their equipment. Maybe there was a sign somewhere saying only medical personnel were allowed from this point on. Well, too bad, 'cause if there were such a sign, he couldn't read it.

He reached the door she'd gone through and peered through the small window. It showed a large room with many small cubicles leading out from it. He wondered if Daniel was in one of them. A few looked occupied, but they all had curtains hanging over the door, hiding their occupants from his view.

Unable to spot Daniel, Jack turned to go back to the room when he heard someone cry out in pain. He hoped it wasn't Daniel. He stopped, waiting, and the cry was repeated, along with his name.

Daniel sounded terrified.

Without hesitation, Jack rushed through the door, Daniel's screams leading him unerringly to the right.

"Stay away from me! Don't touch me!"

Jack shoved the curtain out of the way and saw Daniel writhing in the bed, trying to push the doctor away from him.


Daniel had twisted until he was lying near the edge of the bed, threatening to fall out of it. The doctor and a nurse were trying to get him back into the center of the bed in order to raise the protective railing, but he was fighting their efforts.

"Ah, ah, ah, Jack, please, help me. Oh God, don't let them hurt me."

His breathing was short, gasping breaths, and Jack wondered how he could manage to get enough air into his lungs to even speak.

Jack moved to Daniel's side and grabbed one of his thrashing hands, holding it close to him and with the other, stroked Daniel's perspiring face. "Calm down, you're safe, it's okay, you're in a hospital."

"Please, Jack. Ah, ah, ah, it hurts." Daniel tried to turn onto his side and to curl up around his injury, and in the process, nearly slid off the bed. Jack dropped Daniel's hand and tried to push his shoulders back onto the bed, preventing him from falling and from opening his sutures. He leaned his weight against Daniel's hip, keeping him on the mattress.

"Daniel, hold still. Try to not move around so much."

Jack looked up at the doctor, who had stopped trying to calm Daniel once Jack had entered the cubicle, since her efforts had obviously been part of the problem. "He's hurting. Give him something for the pain."

The doctor shook her head in confusion. Jack patted his abdomen, at the same spot Daniel had been shot. "He's in pain. He needs painkillers. What kind of people are you?"

The doctor jabbered some more, then moved to the IV and placed her fingers around a small bottle containing blue liquid. It was piggy backed to the Daniel's IV line.

"Sir, I think she's trying to tell us that the painkiller isn't working."

Jack looked up to see Carter and Teal' standing by the open curtain. Carter looked wobbly as she held onto the wall for support.

"Damn it."

Daniel was shivering, his breath still coming in quick pants. He needed relief, there had to be something...

"Morphine? Where's your pack?" Jack privately thanked Carter's foresight for always carrying a fully-packed first aid kit, along with her own personal toiletries.

"In the room. I'll get it." Before Jack could tell her to stay put and sit down and suggest Teal'c go for the drugs, Daniel let out a loud moan and clutched his side.

There were spots of blood seeping through the sheet covering Daniel. The doctor quickly moved forward, but Daniel yelled out as she neared. "No, stay away. Jack, please. Keep her away from me. Please, don't hurt me anymore."

The doctor paused at Daniel's outburst, looking to Jack in confusion.

"Okay, okay. She's staying put. See?" Jack reached for the blanket, moving slowly as Daniel quieted again, the only sound being his panting. "Listen, you're bleeding again. Will you let me look at your side?"

Daniel nodded, then gripped the edge of the mattress as Jack motioned to Teal'c to give him a hand. First they shifted Daniel away to a more secure position in the center of the bed. Then Jack lifted the sheet away. Daniel was wearing what looked like white hospital scrubs which resembling a patchwork quilt.

There was a piece missing around Daniel's groin area, a tube of some kind encompassing his penis, and a small device sitting right above Daniel's pubic hair with a wire leading to the tube. Jack guessed it had something to do with a catheter, if the yellow line of urine flowing out of the tube was any indication.

The pieces of material looked like they were connected with very fine Velcro and he could see that if he pulled the blood-speckled piece off right here, he could easily remove it and expose the bandage beneath. He adjusted the sheet, covering Daniel's modesty. He pulled the Velcro off and reached for the bloody bandage beneath.

To his surprise, the doctor stopped him, reaching over Daniel to grab his hand. Then she quickly moved around the bed and still keeping her hand on Jack, pulled him to a small, square, metallic-looking apparatus hanging on the wall. It had a large opening in the center. She pushed his hand into it, and hot, wet air wafted onto his hand from all sides. When he pulled his hand out, there was a viscous gel coating his hand, but it dried in seconds. She repeated the action with his other hand.

She motioned to him to return to the bed. As Jack eased the bandage off, Daniel moaned, his body tensing in pain, his breathing speeding up even more. Jack carefully wiped the blood away from the neatly stapled incision with a piece of gauze handed to him by the doctor. A couple more swipes with fresh gauze and soon the bleeding had stopped.

"Hurry, hurry, please. Please, stop," Daniel moaned, twisting in pain.

Damn, where was Carter? Daniel needed that morphine. Then he suddenly felt contrite and worried. She shouldn't have gone for it, she could have passed out and nobody would know.

"Teal'c, go check on Carter. She's been gone a long time."

As Teal'c left the cubicle, Jack placed a fresh bandage over the wound at the doctor's nod. She then handed him a clean piece of material and he realized it fit where the Velcro'd piece he'd removed had been.

"Here's the morphine." Carter walked into the room, twin spots of color high on her cheekbones. It accentuated her pallor, but as she held out the pre-measured syringe, Jack could see that her hand was shaking badly. Teal'c took the drug from her and moved to the IV line.

"Carter, sit down before you fall down."

"Don't mind if I do, sir," she added a few seconds later. She dropped the pack she'd been carrying and leaned her back against the wall and simply allowed herself to slide down onto the floor, head pressed against bent knees.

The doctor removed the alien drug and showed Teal'c where to inject theirs. Jack leaned over Daniel, cupping a hand to his cold, sweaty cheek.

"Hold on just a little longer. The morphine's gonna hit your system in a couple of minutes and you'll start to feel better."

"Jack." Daniel looked at Jack, eyes wild and panicked. "Don't leave me, don't let them hurt me."

"I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere. Relax, okay? Shhh, it's fine. Nobody's gonna hurt you."

Jack leaned close and lowered his forehead close to Daniel's, alien doctors be-damned. He saw Daniel close his eyes and felt his breath puff against his neck, felt the beloved body shivering against his hands. He waited with Daniel, trying to reassure him any way he could, until his pain eased off.

Then a large, warm hand was on his shoulder. Jack saw Teal'c's fatigue-clad pants next to him, and he welcomed the comfort.

Slowly, slowly, the shivering lessened, the breathing slowed, the awful gasps quieting and the stiffness beneath his fingers began to lesson. Jack pulled away a little ways and saw the lines of tension in Daniel's face easing.

"Better?" Jack whispered.

- - - - - -

The relief from the all-consuming pain was so intense that Daniel couldn't seem to bring himself to answer Jack. He had never experienced anything this bad; every time he'd died, he'd... died. The staff blasts had hurt. A lot. Even the ones that had been or would have been fatal. The ribbon devices had been bad, too. And Nem's memory device. But nothing had come close to the level of agony he'd just gone through.

The pain was still there, still bad, but endurable now. And even as he thought about it, it eased a little more.

He felt moisture run down his cheeks, his vision swimming as involuntary tears pooled. He finally realized Jack was waiting for an answer, and he nodded. Jack's face relaxed visibly as the tension left it.

Exhaustion hit Daniel like a two by four, the fear- and pain-induced adrenaline leaving him unable to put two thoughts together. There had been something he needed to tell Jack, his team... but it was ephemeral, teasing him on the outskirts of where cognizant thought started.

His eyelids were heavy, keeping them open was becoming difficult. There was still a burning sensation deep inside him, but even that wasn't so bad now. Something was placed over his mouth and nose, and a gentle puff of air tickled his face. Something soft was spread over him, and warmth cocooned him, making him feel safe. With Jack there, maybe he could sleep. The sounds of the room began to fade, his body began to float except for the deep burning inside that kept him anchored to the bed. Jack's thumb was rubbing his wrist, the small motion constant and soothing. He floated a little more, going... going...

Then he heard a voice and he was assailed by the sound of a heart monitor, the smell of antiseptics, metal clanging on metal, the paralysis, the terror and the unbearable agony.

He had to tell them he was awake, they had to stop, he couldn't go through this again.


He jerked upwards, and pain exploded throughout his side. The voice was back, the words incomprehensible, hands forcing him down.

Then one voice, speaking only one word, cut through his terror.


Hands gripped his shoulders, and the darkness of his nightmare coalesced into Jack's face. Jack's mouth was moving, but if there were sounds, Daniel couldn't distinguish them from the hissing in his ears. The grip on his shoulders eased, and he felt a soft touch on his cheek. Strangely, the residual pain that had kept him anchored was gone, despite the flash of agony his movement had just caused. He kept his gaze on Jack's face for as long as he could; if he could *see* Jack, then Daniel knew he was safe.

- - - - - -

"He's asleep," Jack responded to Carter's query. Daniel had fought sleep for the longest time, staring at Jack as if he were the only thing that could protect him. The terror in Daniel's scream when he'd jerked awake had scared them all. Where in the world had the guy gotten the energy to sit up after the operation and blood loss?

As the doctor moved in to check Daniel's vitals, Jack moved back, deciding it was high time he check on his 2IC. Carter was now sitting on a chair, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders, having refused to return to the room to wait for them. She should be resting, Jack knew.

At least the personnel here had been kind and attentive. It would have been easier had they been able to understand one another, but the doctor had acquiesced to Daniel's obvious trust in Jack, allowing Jack to do the comforting and reassuring.

Now Jack had to figure out a way to ask how soon they could move Daniel out of here and to the Stargate. Not that he didn't trust the medical staff, but the painkillers obviously hadn't done any good and they only had another syringe of morphine. They'd have to move Daniel in several hours, or try and get Fraiser and her drugs here to him.

He walked to Carter's side, who was listing to the right in the chair. She looked half asleep, but she raised her head when Jack stopped before her.

"You sure you don't want to go lie down?"

"I'd rather stay here," she said softly.

"I would accompany you. DanielJackson is in good hands."

Carter didn't answer Teal'c, but her incredulous look spoke volumes.

"I think one of us needs to get back to the Stargate," she said. "There won't be enough morphine to keep Daniel comfortable for long." Jack nodded, her words similar to Jack's earlier thoughts. "But there's something else we have to consider. They have to be administering some type of antibiotics, to prevent infection. But what if—"

"They don't work, the same as the pain med?"

"Yes, sir."

"I will leave immediately for the Stargate, and return with DoctorFraiser. Perhaps it would be prudent for you to accompany me?"

"I agree, Carter. You probably need a blood transfusion, you did give Daniel a little more than you could afford to."

"Would you think less of me if I admitted to not wanting to move from this chair?" she sighed.

"Then Fraiser can bring back whatever she needs to help you out, too. She'll need more blood for Daniel, in any case."

"Then I will proceed immediately." Teal'c nodded at Jack, then left the room.

Jack leaned against the wall, watching the doctor as she continued to check out Daniel. Some things were familiar, blood pressure and pulse, but others were... different. Like the catheter he'd seen earlier.

Examination finished, she smiled at Jack and then walked past them, and called out softly. A moment later, two men entered the room, and both began easing some of the machinery surrounding Daniel onto his bed. Ah, it looked like they were moving.

Carter got up, waiting beside Jack as Daniel's bed was wheeled out of the recovery area. When she staggered, Jack placed an arm around her waist and drew her to him. She smiled her thanks and allowed him to help her down the corridor.

Jack had forgotten about the news crew and within moments, Daniel and his bed were surrounded by people and cameras. Jack let go of Carter, striding forward angrily, ready to beat them away from his lover, but the men and women were solicitous and quiet, merely filming, the reporters speaking into mikes at a respectable distance. All obviously careful not to awaken the patient.

God, their own news people could learn a few things from these guys.

Then Daniel's bed was turned and pushed into his room. Jack waited for Carter to catch up, then allowed her to enter first, refraining from shoving the cameras away from their faces as they entered.

Jack brooked no argument from Carter, he steered her towards the empty bed while Daniel was shifted to the other one. He made sure she was comfortable, very aware of the activity behind him and fighting the urge to help. He knew he'd probably be in their way and he just wanted Daniel comfortable.

When Daniel was finally settled to the doctor's satisfaction, Jack pulled a chair up and sat down beside him, watching him sleep. With luck, Daniel would be pain-free for a few more hours, which, with the second dose of morphine, would give Teal'c enough time to get Fraiser and bring her back. The building the Stargate was housed in was clear across town, and even with transportation, it would probably take Teal'c a good two to three hours to get there, what with traffic and all.

Jack tried not to think of the language problems Teal'c might encounter in getting someone to provide him transport. Then again, SG-1 was probably a household name right now, and Teal'c was anything but inconspicuous. Jack was confident Teal'c would be able to get a ride without a problem. Most likely one of the cops would drive him.

And which brought Jack to the subject of Griogair. Was the man even alive? They hadn't been told anything and nobody in any form of authority had come looking for them. Jack was sure they weren't forgotten and that there were plenty of problems to solve with Griogair's shooting, but heck, even a diplomat coming to check on them might have been a nice gesture.

So when Teal'c walked into the room an hour later, Jack, for a split second, expected Fraiser to walk in behind him, thinking that maybe he'd somehow pulled off a miracle and had gotten airlifted to and from the hospital.

But Teal'c's face was set, his muscles bunched as he barely held in his rage. Before Jack could ask what was going on, Teal'c spoke up.

"The hospital is surrounded. It is impossible to leave the building."

"Surrounded? By who?" Jack looked around the four walls, wishing there was a window he could have peered out.

"The people. They are upset – I would assume they did not appreciate the shooting of their leader. In any case, the security personnel would not allow me to leave the building. I was unable to convey the urgency of my mission and incapable of leaving the building unseen."

"That's okay, Teal'c. If there are angry crowds out there, it might be safer to wait a little while until they settle a bit. We need to find out about Griogair and which room he's in. Maybe we can get him to try and get us a—"

Jack stopped talking when a familiar face entered the room. The city's chief of security paused in the doorway, glanced at Teal'c as if assuring himself he was still there, then slowly walked over to Daniel's bed.

"Well, about time someone showed up," Jack mumbled under his breath.

Batair stood staring at Daniel a few moments. Then he spoke softly. Although Jack couldn't understand the words, he did recognize it to be an apology. Then the man turned to look at Carter, who had fallen asleep, head buried beneath the sheet. Batair said a few more words to them, then shook his head, as if realizing it was all pointless. So Jack decided to try for something simple, and essential.


Batair nodded, then smiled. He said something else, with the leader's name popping up a couple of times, then looked at Jack expectantly. When Jack didn't reply, he mumbled something under his breath which Jack took to be what he himself felt like muttering out of frustration.

Then the man slapped Jack on the arm and motioned for him to follow.

"Teal'c. Stay here, this might be our chance in getting a police escort to the 'gate."

He followed Batair past the reporters, down the corridor and through enough tight security to make the SGC look shameful, and finally down a flight of stairs.

"Hey, any chance of getting us transportation to the Stargate? The Chaapa'ai?" Jack asked when they were halfway down the stairwell.

Batair's back stiffened as he muttered a few words, shaking his head.

Then they were through the door at the bottom of the stairwell, and in another corridor which was teaming with reporters. If Jack thought they had problems with them camped out close to Daniel's room, he pitied Griogair, if he was on this floor.

But the reporters appeared as solicitous here as they were upstairs; although they quickly aimed their cameras at him, none of them pushed at him or tried to question him. To Jack's surprise, Batair stopped a moment, spoke a few words to them, then continued on.

Jack knew immediately which room Griogair was in; the red security uniforms of the guards outside the door made it quite obvious. They nodded at Batair, eyed Jack doubtfully, but allowed both men inside.

Griogair was in a bed similar to Daniel's, with just as much medical paraphernalia surrounding him. The man was sleeping, but Jack could see his colour was good. Heck, he looked much healthier than Daniel.

A woman sat beside the sleeping man and she stood up when Jack entered the room. He recognized her as Griogair's wife, Dearshul. SG-1 had eaten supper with the couple the previous night at a state affair. She reached her hand out, clasping Jack's as he stopped near the bed. Dearshul spoke softly to him, and Jack wondered if she was apologizing for the incident, or telling him he was glad he stopped by to pay his respects. But then he heard her mention Daniel's name, and she stopped talking and looked at him questioningly.

"I'm not sure, but I think Daniel's doing okay," Jack said. "But he'd do a lot better if we could get him to the Chaapa'ai?"

Jack paused, waiting for a response. Batair muttered something and Dearshul answered, sounding sad.

"I hope your husband gets well soon," Jack said once she stopped speaking. "I sure as heck don't know what happened to have provoked this incident, but I hope your guys got the sniper." Then there was nothing more to say, so Jack turned to leave.

Batair followed Jack back outside, but instead of leading him back to the stairs, he turned the other way and brought him into a brightly lit room. It appeared to be a waiting room, or a day-room, where patients could probably relax and talk with visitors. There were several chairs and couches, and a television was playing in the corner of the room. Batair went to the window and spoke angrily, obviously not pleased. Jack moved next to him and almost recoiled in shock.

Teal'c hadn't been kidding when he'd said the place was surrounded. It looked like the outdoor Vatican masses he'd seen on television. Wall to wall people, and from his vantage point, he could see how the people flowed into all the streets surrounding the hospital. Hell, there were people as far as the eye could see.

Except the people weren't here to pray; if anything, the crowd looked ugly.

Even as he watched, fights broke out in various areas. The red-uniformed policemen were swarming everywhere, but were evidently having problems traversing the crowded streets and controlling the people's tempers. Many had signs and banners, and were shaking them in some kind of frenzy. Jack couldn't tell if the overall atmosphere was worry about Griogair being shot, or happiness because he was recovering. One thing was certain; most of the people out there didn't look happy.

"Okay, I see why getting to the Stargate isn't on your list of priorities right now." Although Jack didn't feel very safe. If that mob happened to overrun the security people and made their way into the hospital...

"Damn." They still needed to get Daniel out of here and home before they ran out of painkiller.

As they turned around, he heard Carter's voice. He stopped, surprised, then realized it came from the television.

"I said, give me that."

He saw a close up of their GDO on the screen, and then someone picked it up and moved it out of the camera's range. As the camera panned back, he saw a reporter standing in their room, Carter's pack in his hand, and several items spread out on one of the beds. The reporter and the cameraman had obviously snuck inside their room when SG-1 had gone to the recovery room earlier.

Carter picked up the scattered items angrily, then held her hand out for the pack. The reporter was talking quickly to the camera, holding the pack away from Carter's reach and was trying to pull something out of it. Carter, pale, shaking and sweating, and as Jack knew, weak as a kitten, moved into the man's space and stared him down.

"I said, give that back to me."

Jack grinned when the man swallowed and handed her the pack. She quickly began rifling through it and found the first aid kit. Then glaring at the camera, she stuffed the other items she'd picked up back into it and walked out the room.

Now Jack understood why she'd looked so shaky on her return. It must have taken everything out of her not to show any weakness, especially as the cameras continued to follow her until she turned into the recovery room.

Jack had never been as proud of her as he was now. Grinning, he turned to Batair, and was surprised to see a look of anger on his face.

They returned down the hallway and up the stairs in silence, Jack wondering why Batair was angry. It didn't take him long to find out. Going straight to the bunch of news people, he singled out the reporter who'd been on the air and began quietly lashing into him. The man argued back, but before he could get much of a say in, two armed security people showed up. The reporter quickly quieted and meekly allowed himself to be escorted out of the hospital.

After Batair barked out a question, a man with a camera in hand got up and followed the reporter out.

When Batair turned to him, Jack simply said, "Thank you." Batair nodded, then escorted Jack to their room, and left.

Jack spent the next couple of hours alternating between sitting and watching Daniel sleep and Carter doze, and pacing up and down the hallway. He spent some time in the visitors' room on the floor, watching the sun set. The people continued to mass outside, and the local police tried to keep the peace. He envied Teal'c the self-control and patience to simply stand by the door, ensuring that none of the reporters tried to sneak in again. Jack hated waiting, despite the fact it was a huge part of a soldier's life.

One of the nurses stopped him as he walked past the nurses' station, making a motion by bringing her hand to her mouth and looking at him expectantly. His stomach growled, answering for him. She giggled, and motioned him to follow her. They took an elevator down a few flights and Jack found himself in a cafeteria.

She showed him a variety of foods, many of which looked and smelled exotic and alien. After being permitted to taste a few dishes, he finally settled on a soup that tasted like chicken and rice, and something that resembled lasagna, with some buns. The nurse then picked up two trays and three portions of each were divided onto them and covered with a plastic cover.

When they returned to the room with their supper, Teal'c immediately got up from his chair.

"DanielJackson becomes restless. I fear he has a temperature. It may also be time to administer the last of the pain killer."

Jack put his tray down near Carter's bed and hurried to feel Daniel's forehead. His skin was warm and dry to the touch. "How long ago did the nurses check on him?"

"No one has entered the room since you left."

"I'm suspecting Carter may have been right about the antibiotics."

The nurse had placed her tray beside Jack's and moved to Daniel's side when she noticed Jack fussing over him. It didn't take her long to discover he had a fever. She left immediately and returned moments later with another doctor, one whom Jack hadn't met yet.

They both looked over Daniel's chart and the readings on the monitors for what felt like forever. Then the nurse left, leaving the doctor alone with them.

He fiddled with the two small bottles attached to the IV. No blue stuff this time; both were clear liquids, but the doctor seemed satisfied with what he found. A few minutes later, the female doctor who'd operated on Daniel came in and the two of them conferred quietly.

When they turned towards him, Jack simply said, "Looks like your antibiotics are a no-go, huh?" Without turning from the doctors, he asked, "Teal'c, we got any in our kit? Do you think it might hurt him to give him some if we do?"

"Only in capsule form, sir." Jack turned to see Carter sitting up in bed, rubbing her eyes. "Better give him three, his body might need a large dose to get a jump start on the infection."

"DanielJackson will need to be woken in order to ingest them. And there are not enough to sustain him for a long period of time."

"Well, let's try and get some into him now, before the morphine wears off. 'Cause I don't think there'll be much of a chance of him swallowing much of anything at that point."

While Jack moved to wake Daniel, Teal'c found the medication and Carter got up and poured some water from a pitcher. The female doctor examined the pills, and Teal'c motioned towards their version of antibiotics attached to the IV. She nodded her head in understanding.

Jack, meanwhile, sat on the side of the bed. He hated having to do this. He reached for Daniel and shook his shoulder. "Hey Danny, wanna wake up for a moment?"

Daniel stirred, opened his eyes just a crack to look at Jack, then he turned his head away from him, muttering something beneath the oxygen mask. Jack smiled, then placed a hand on Daniel's cheek and turned his head so he was facing Jack again.

"C'mon, just for a sec." He slipped his fingers beneath Daniel's head and raised it up. That got Daniel's attention, and his eyes opened all the way. He looked around in confusion until he locked onto Jack's face.

"We need you to swallow some antibiotics. Can you do that?"

Daniel's gaze shifted to Teal'c's hand, which held three large capsules.

"Jack? What's going on?"

"You have a fever, and I kinda think the drugs they're giving you aren't doing much good."


"Yeah. Teal'c, maybe you could throw in some Tylenol with the mix?" He stroked his thumb, feeling it rub against Daniel's hair, smiling at Daniel's confusion. "Think you can manage the pills?"

Daniel nodded, and while Jack supported Daniel, Teal'c moved the oxygen mask aside while he fed him the meds and the water. Then he lowered Daniel back onto the pillow, smiling again as Daniel watched them sleepily.

"How's the pain?"

Daniel scrunched his face. "It's okay."

"Tell me when you need more painkiller, okay?" Jack suspected it wouldn't be long. It had been nearly five hours since he'd gotten the first injection; it was just about time for the stuff to begin to wear off.

Daniel nodded. "Where's Sam?"

"She's fine. She's right here." Jack motioned to the other side of the bed, and although Daniel turned his head in her direction, his eyes closed sleepily.

Jack thought Daniel would fall right back to sleep, but instead, he began mumbling, eyes still closed.

"Something... need to tell you something."

"It's not important. Go to sleep." Jack kept his voice low and soft.

"No, it is. Can't remember... heard them talking..."

"You were probably dreaming. You should get some sleep while you can."

Daniel sighed, his breath steaming up the clear plastic of the oxygen mask. Then he opened his eyes and shifted his position, looking as if he wanted to either get up or turn. Jack didn't miss the wince that quickly flashed across Daniel's face.

The doctor immediately picked something up that had been secreted in a pocket near Daniel's pillow. She pressed a button and the bed's head began to rise. She only allowed Daniel a few inches, but he smiled at her gratefully.

"It wasn't a dream," Daniel said slowly as Jack fiddled with the blanket, busying himself with evening out the wrinkles and making sure the edge was folded back evenly against Daniel's chest. "We're not wanted here."

"Why do you say that?" Carter sat at the foot of Daniel's bed, pulling the blanket down with her weight, spoiling the effect that Jack had been going for.

"They're afraid. Scared that we'll bring the Goa'uld back to them."

Jack didn't miss the doctor's startle at the mention of the snakes. She gave Jack a quick, nervous look. "That's not surprising, considering what we've told them."

So okay, SG-1 hadn't minced words when they'd explained their common enemy to Griogair. And of course, since there had been a multitude of cameras aimed their way at the time, probably everyone on the whole damn planet knew that the ancient gods who had brought their ancestors to this world were still out there, just as mean and just as heartless as ever.

"But what wasn't mentioned to us was how the people were rebelling at our presence here." Daniel's breathing began to quicken and beads of sweat began to pool at his temples. "There was rioting, Jack. There was a curfew imposed. All because of us. And still, Griogair wined and dined us and brought us sightseeing. And never mentioned a word about the riots and uprisings."

Daniel grimaced and gasped, his hand coming up to his side. The doctor said something to Jack, waving towards the IV. Before Jack could move to get the last of their morphine, Teal'c was there, injecting the medication into the line.

"How do you know all of this?" Jack asked, watching Daniel's face for a sign that the medication was working, hating to see him in pain.

"Surgery. Woke up," Daniel gasped, writhing on the bed.

"What?" Carter straightened, nearly falling off the bed.

"You woke up during surgery?" Jack asked in shock.

"...couldn't tell them, couldn't move. It hurt... Oh God, Jack, it hurts."

Teal'c placed the empty syringe onto a nearby table and leaned over Daniel. "The medication will help in a moment. Here, hold my hand." He grabbed Daniel's hand and Jack could see how badly Daniel's was shaking as his fingers curled around Teal'c's.

"Carter, is that possible?" Jack asked, turning to her, the horror of what Daniel might have gone through making him feel weak and nauseous.

"There have been stories of people waking up in the middle of an operation, unable to move due to the paralytic and experiencing everything without benefit of a painkiller. I figured they were urban legends." She looked at Jack, her eyes wide in horror. "Oh God, that would explain why Daniel was so agitated when he woke up."

"Couldn't make them stop," Daniel replied, his voice slurring slightly as the meds hit his system. "They were talking, about me, about how I deserved to..."

"To what?"

"To die."

"God damn it!" Jack took several angry steps away from the bed, wanting to hit someone, something, anything. He could feel his blood boiling, his body shaking from the rage-fed adrenaline that was coursing through him. That Daniel had experienced this was unbelievable, that he had heard them talking about... He turned angrily towards the doctor.

"What the hell did you do? Couldn't you tell he was awake during the surgery? Didn't you even care?" He knew he was yelling, could hear Carter and Teal'c trying to calm him, but he shook their hands from him, advancing towards the doctor. He knew, deep inside, that he needed to calm down, knew his tone of voice had alerted the camera crews to something out of the ordinary going on, but at the moment he didn't want to calm down.

He saw Teal'c walk to the door and slowly force the cameras away from the room. Still, he continued his tirade, needing to lash out and not caring whether or not she could understand. He'd make her understand, make them all understand.

"Was this payback? Make Daniel pay for scaring everyone because he was the one who everyone understood? Is that why he's the one who got shot, instead of me, instead of Carter or Teal'c? Your people made him the scapegoat, and you just shot him down like a dog, and operated on him without caring if he was awake and feeling every god-damn instrument inside of him?

"Instead of telling us we weren't wanted, you just decided to put Daniel through torture that's worse than what a fucking Goa'uld would do to him!"


The fear in Daniel's voice brought Jack back to himself.

"They didn't know. They couldn't have known. I tried, I tried to tell them, but I couldn't move. They'd have stopped, if they'd known. I'm sure they would."

Jack quickly calmed down and sat gingerly on the edge of the bed. He stroked Daniel's sweat-laden face, while Daniel turned to the doctor and began speaking to her. Her face blanched and her hand came up to her mouth in shock. Jack wondered exactly what Daniel was saying, until she grabbed Daniel's hand, talking quickly and softly to him. She kept glancing back at Jack, tears in her eyes.

"She didn't know, Jack. She didn't know."

"Sir, it's possible that the anesthesia was just ineffective as the pain killers and the antibiotics."

"Great, and the paralytic would be the one thing that works on this world? What a god damn screw up."

He calmed himself again and spoke quickly when he saw Daniel begin to lose the energy to stay awake.

"Danny, you have to tell her we need to get off this planet in the next few hours. What Teal'c gave you was the last of the morphine. When that wears off... well, just tell her they need to find a way to get us out of here before then. Tell her if we can get back home, then they can bury the Stargate behind us, just like when they found it. It'll help quell some of the panic outside."


"That rioting you kinda mentioned just now."

Daniel began talking again while the doctor wiped her eyes with the back of her hands. She nodded when he'd finished, and in her reply Jack recognized both Griogair's and Batair's names. As she hurried out of the room, Daniel told Jack she was going to speak to the two men.

"The situation appears hopeless." Teal'c moved to the trays that Jack had forgotten he'd brought from the cafeteria. "There are too many for us to attempt to force our way through." The aroma of chicken soup assailed Jack's nostrils as Teal'c uncovered a bowl. "Subterfuge would not work, either. And it would be impossible to convey a stretcher through the streets, or maneuver a vehicle."

Jack accepted the bowl of soup and took a cautious sip. It was still hot and delicious; whatever was used to cover the food had kept it from cooling. As he took a second sip, Daniel's eyes slid shut.

By the time they'd finished their meal, Carter was listing. Jack helped her off of Daniel's bed and into her own.

He sat down, his head in his hands. He felt helpless; and he hated it. Their fate, Daniel's health, and the poor saps out there, all was in the hands of the people in charge. Jack just hoped they could come up with a solution to get them home.

- - - - - -

Four and a half hours. Four hours and thirty minutes of pacing and quietly swearing beneath his breath. Jack's nerves were so tightly wound up that he couldn't even pretend to relax in front of the cameras. At least the news people knew by now to stay away from him and didn't dare meet his eyes whenever he stomped through their midst.

Daniel's time was running out, and pretty soon there would be nothing they could do for him except watch him suffer. At least he'd slept peacefully throughout this period, despite his growing fever. But the morphine was wearing off, Daniel's sleep was restless and pretty soon this calm and quiet was going to turn to angst and helplessness on everyone else's parts.

So when the doctor entered the room for a routine check on Daniel, Jack was ready to yell at her just so he could take out his frustrations on someone. He opened his mouth to do just that, ignoring the signs of her fatigue and the fact that she'd been in the hospital since Daniel had been brought in. He had no idea what their shifts were like and he didn't give a damn at this point.

But Jack's anger deflated the moment he realized something was up. Instead of heading straight for Daniel, she motioned to Teal'c to stand guard by the door, and Carter and Jack come join her by Daniel's bed. Then she proceeded to wake Daniel. Once Daniel was semi-coherent, she began whispering to him, and he translated Batair's plan to Jack and the others.

When she was sure everyone had understood, she left the room in a rush. Before any of them could even discuss amongst themselves the events that were going to take place, the doctor returned with two male nurses who were pushing an empty gurney. They disconnected Daniel from the monitors and before anyone could object, he was transferred onto it.

"Hey, hey, where are you taking him?" Jack's voice was loud and rough in anger. "Damn it, what's wrong with him now? It's nearly the middle of the night, for crying out loud!"

The doctor rattled something off to him as the oxygen and IV were transferred to the gurney and Daniel was pushed out of the room. They all followed the gurney into the hallway, Jack two steps behind it when suddenly he heard a small commotion behind him.


He turned, the urgency in Teal'c's voice causing the back of his neck to prickle in tension.

Carter had collapsed, lying unconscious in the middle of the hallway. Even as he turned to go to her, he glanced back at the gurney which was disappearing into an elevator.

"Damn it."

There was a rustle of sounds as the camera crews fought for dominance, and Jack glared them down, daring any of them to come any closer. Footsteps rushed towards them and a doctor knelt beside Carter. Before Jack could count to ten, the doctor was yelling orders and another gurney was brought to their side and Carter loaded onto it.

This time the gurney was rushed down the hallway and the sense of urgency was unmistakable. Jack and Teal'c ran behind them, Jack yelling for them to tell him what was going on. Several more daring camera men followed, until they all squeezed into the elevator.

Jack refrained from throwing the finger at the news crews that hadn't been able to fit into the elevator car, then glared at the two who had managed to do so.

He turned his attention to Carter, who was lying still and pale on the gurney. He took her hand, feeling her chilled fingers beneath his. She didn't move, didn't twitch an eyelash.

The elevator rose quickly to the top floor and the doors opened. Jack waited until the gurney was pushed out, then he and Teal'c were running behind it down another hallway, until they entered another room. The cameras and reporters were stopped outside the doors, much to Jack's relief. Carter was brought down a smaller corridor and into a large room, where Daniel and his doctor were waiting for them, along with several other nurses and doctors.

"You can sit up now," Jack told Carter when the gurney was positioned beside Daniel's. She opened her eyes and peered around curiously.

"Thank God. I thought I was going to get sick on this thing." She sat up slowly, smiled at Daniel who was watching them wearily, and slid off the side of the gurney.

Okay, part one of the plan had been executed. Now to get them to the rooftop.

"Take your boots and socks off," Daniel told Jack and Carter as three bulky wheelchairs were positioned near them. The doctor motioned for them to sit in the chairs, and showed them small compartments on either side of the cushions large enough to contain their footwear.

Their pant legs were rolled up their calves, exposing their bare feet. A warm blanket was wrapped around them, reaching up to cover their shoulders, effectively hiding their uniforms. Jack had seen many similar patients in wheelchairs, so he figured they could pass for one of them, from afar.

But what surprised him were the wigs and hairpieces that were placed over his and Carter's heads. She now had curly brown hair, untidy and unruly. He wondered what he looked like as grey and brown hair tickled his nose. As he watched the doctor change her blue apron for a light green one, he began to suspect that perhaps some of the personnel here had experience in sneaking patients out from behind the cameras' watchful eyes.

Then Daniel was next. Jack grimaced as he watched Daniel being raised into a seated position and then helped off the gurney. Daniel's knees buckled but the two nurses had been ready for it. The doctor expertly wheeled the wheelchair behind him and he was lowered into it.

A small moan escaped Daniel.

"You okay?" Jack went to get up and go to him but Daniel waved him back.

"I'm fine, just a little dizzy."

Jack suspected Daniel was more than a little dizzy, and in a hell of a lot of pain just from the way he was breathing. But they'd run out of options and they just had to pray they'd be home soon.

As Daniel's feet were raised onto the footrests, the doctor adjusted some straps around Daniel's torso, effectively strapping him into the chair and helping hold him still and steady. When she finished, she pulled the chair's back downwards, so he was half lying in it. The IV was hung on a pole attached to the chair, but she left off the oxygen.

While Jack's attention had been on Daniel, he hadn't noticed Teal'c, so he did a double take when Teal'c walked before him in a fire engine red security outfit. Jack grinned. With the mask up, nobody would be able to distinguish Teal'c's differing skin colouring.

"You look good in a uniform," Carter teased as Teal'c adjusted the gloves on his hands.

"Unquestionably. It is also very comfortable."

"Kinda hard on the eyes, though." Daniel, his hair now long and very blond, squinted at Teal'c. "You'd think they'd tone the colour down a little."

"The colour helps distinguish the officers from afar."

Hell, if Jack didn't know Teal'c better, he'd think he was preening. He smiled at the Jaffa, wishing he had mobility instead of being stuck on wheels.

He couldn't help think about Teal'c's words, though. During the days they'd been here on the planet, they had seen some security personnel, but not all that many. From the evidence outside, their numbers were huge. Jack suspected that many of the streets leading to and from the places SG-1 had been touring had been blocked, keeping the majority of the crowds away. He remembered also how quickly they had responded after the shootings, so they had to have been waiting close by. So, this was definitely not the idyllic world they had been led to believe it was.

They all appeared to be ready, but everyone was just waiting around. Daniel's eyes were now closed, his breathing laboured. Couldn't they just get the show on the road already?

"What's going on? What are we waiting for?"

Daniel opened his eyes and spoke to the doctor, and she leaned down close to him and replied softly. She placed a hand on his shoulder, and watched Jack as Daniel translated.

"She's waiting for news from Batair that the Stargate's been cleared of people. It shouldn't be long now. It's okay, Jack. It's going to be fine."

Jack wished he had Daniel's confidence, especially since it was Daniel who was hurting so much. He forced his eyes down, rubbing his bare toes on the edge of the blanket, ignoring the chill of the metal footrests while trying not to show his apprehension to Daniel.

True to the doctor's word, several minutes later a woman entered the room and spoke quietly to her. She nodded, and she and the two other nurses each grabbed a wheelchair.

Carter was wheeled out first, and then Daniel was wheeled out a minute later, accompanied by Teal'c. When Jack's turn came, he laid his head back with his eyes partly open, watching discreetly. He saw a couple of reporters lounging in the hallway, but none of them even glanced at him as he rolled by. Then he was waiting by a small elevator in the far end of a little-used corridor. When the elevator doors closed and hid the corridor from them, the nurse clasped Jack's shoulder, and said something, which Jack hoped meant they were clear.

The elevator brought them to the rooftop, where a large helicopter-like vehicle was parked. The two wheelchairs were near the open doors of the craft, and he could see Daniel being unbuckled from his.

As Jack was wheeled towards them, he quickly grabbed his boots, pulled his socks out from where he'd stuffed them inside, and began putting them on.

He jumped out of the chair and rushed to Daniel's side the moment his boots were tied. Daniel was now lying on a small stretcher and the doctor was in the process of strapping him in.

Daniel was shivering, sweat beginning to bead on his temples and upper lip. When the doctor finished, Jack took one end of the stretcher, Teal'c the other, and they hefted Daniel into the interior of the helicopter.

To Jack's surprise, Batair was already inside. He and the pilot helped fasten the stretcher into the aisle, and Jack took a seat beside Daniel. Carter climbed aboard and sank wearily into a seat. Teal'c went to sit beside her.

The trip was quick, barely fifteen minutes. Jack could see out the windows and the streets everywhere were still crowded. They didn't land on the museum's rooftop, but in the center of the large plaza before the building. As they descended, Jack saw hordes of people watching in the streets around the building, being kept away by the security people. Even as Jack brought Daniel's stretcher outside, he could hear the angry cries of the crowd over the noise of the propellers.

Batair motioned them inside, leading them towards the area that housed the Stargate. Carter went immediately to the DHD and began dialing home. To Jack's surprise, all their gear and packs were neatly piled off to the side, including their weapons. Everything had been left in their hotel room that morning, Griogair having politely requested they not attend any of the functions armed. Jack was extremely appreciative of the efforts Batair had just gone through for them.

Jack sent Carter through first, knowing she'd be yelling for a medical team the moment she was home. He and Teal'c took a few seconds to toss their belongings through the open wormhole before picking Daniel's stretcher up.

"Wait," Daniel said as Jack reached for the handles. He tried to twist to look behind him, then gasped in pain.

"What? What is it?"

"Batair," Daniel whispered.

Jack motioned the man forward. Daniel spoke to him a moment and Batair stepped back, nodding fervently. Then he clasped Jack's arm and said a few words, then pushed him gently towards the 'gate. Without hesitation, they brought Daniel home.

- - - - - -

"Colonel!" Hammond rushed into the Gateroom to meet them as they tramped down the ramp. "A medical team is on its way." He came to stand beside Carter and eyed Daniel with worry as Jack and Teal'c circumvented two airmen who were picking up their strewn gear around the bottom of the ramp.

"If you don't mind, sir, we'll go meet them." Jack figured the faster he got Daniel into Fraiser's hands, the faster Daniel would be pain free.

"Here, I'll take him." Siler was at his side, his hands overlapping Jack's on the stretcher's handles. Jack reluctantly let Daniel go, knowing his place was here, despite his heart wanting to follow Daniel to the infirmary.

"Go on," Jack told Carter softly as she stayed behind with Jack. She nodded gratefully and followed her two teammates out.

"There was an uprising." Jack waited until all had gone through the door before turning his attention to the men sorting out their gear. "Apparently the people panicked when they heard about the Goa'uld being out there." Jack waved towards the idle Stargate. "Someone tried to assassinate Daniel and the world's leader." Jack snapped his fingers together. "I think Daniel told them to bury the 'gate, so you might want to take the coordinates out of our dialing computer."

"You're sure about that?"

"Pretty sure that's what he told Batair. But I'm not so sure Daniel will remember what he said to them. He was... pretty out of it."

"We'll attempt to dial the planet in a few days. If there's no connection, we'll consider them a lost cause."

"Yeah... too bad. They had a few bits of technology that we could have really used." Jack sighed. "Carter can fill you in on that - she might have taken notes or something when we got the grand tour."

Hammond smiled gently at Jack, and motioned towards the door. "Go on, get yourself checked out. I'll schedule a debriefing for tomorrow afternoon. That'll give you time to get some rest."

"Thank you, sir."

- - - - - -

By the time Jack entered the infirmary, Carter was already set up in a bed about to get up close and personal with a unit of blood. A drawn curtain next to her indicated where Daniel had been placed. Carter smiled at Jack as he approached.

He eyed the crimson tubing as the nurse taped the needle to her skin. "So... having lunch?"

She laughed. "Not quite. Although I'm sure I'll feel a lot better once I've... ingested this."

"Thanks... you know... for—" He waved towards the small bag hanging above her head.

"You'd have done the same for any of us," she said in surprise.

"Yeah, but Daniel needed so much and you..."

"He'll be fine, sir," she said with a catch in her voice.

"Yeah..." He tilted his head towards the next bed, ears straining for telltale sounds of pain or discomfort. "So... anything?"

"Janet's given him something for the pain," she said softly after clearing her throat. "He's quiet now."

Jack closed his eyes in relief. He stood there for a moment until a nurse came up to him and informed him they were ready for him. He followed her to a bed a small ways away from the closed curtain and patiently underwent the post-medical examination.

He answered all of Doctor Warner's questions, sat through all the needles and probes, all the while keeping his eyes on the curtain separating Daniel from the rest of them. Just as Warner was finishing up, Fraiser pulled the edge away and stepped through. She looked around, then stopped when she spotted him. She stood still and busied herself writing in Daniel's chart, but it was obvious to Jack that she was waiting for him.

The moment Warner was finished with him, Jack jumped off the bed and went to Fraiser.

She began speaking in a clipped, professional voice, and Jack didn't miss the angry look she bestowed upon him.

"We're giving Daniel a transfusion and some pretty potent antibiotics to make up for lost time. He's comfortable for the moment, but he's hemorrhaging and I may have to open him up to control the bleeding if it doesn't stop soon."

"He's bleeding?"

"He shouldn't have been moved, sir. Surely whoever operated on him knew better than to let you take him out of the hospital so soon after surgery."

What the hell? Why was Fraiser coming down on him for this? "Hey, we had no choice. There was a very good chance of the hospital being overrun by unfriendlies, and more importantly, we ran out of medication to give Daniel since none of the local stuff was working."

"You couldn't have sent someone back to the SGC for some?"

"No. Teal'c tried. The place was rebelling. We're lucky we managed to sneak out as it was."

Fraiser's face softened slightly. "Should the bleeding stop on its own, I'll still have to run a few tests to evaluate the internal damage and whether it's been taken care of properly."

"When will you know if you have to operate?"

"As soon as I get the results of his H&H. The bleeding could be external but to be honest, I'm not optimistic." She finally smiled at him. "You can go sit with him, if you want. I need to go make some preparations."

Jack moved to the curtain and slid through the gap without pulling it wider. The patchwork scrubs were gone, Daniel's bare chest was exposed, a bloody bandage evident on his side. Jack swore when he saw it; Daniel had been so well wrapped up in the stretcher that nobody had even noticed he'd started bleeding.

A nurse leaned over Daniel and placed a fresh bandage over the existing one. Jack supposed it didn't bode well because the one already there was saturated with blood.

Blood and plasma hung from a pole, along with an IV. At least Daniel was getting blood faster than he was losing it. When the nurse busied herself taking Daniel's vitals, Jack ran a finger along Daniel's shoulder, the skin hot and dry to the touch. Daniel was pale under the infirmary lights; he hadn't looked this bad at the other hospital. Dully Jack wondered what kind of wattage they used; Fraiser could use some of those bulbs so her patients didn't look like death warmed over.

At the touch, Daniel opened his eyes and looked around fuzzily.


"Hey." Daniel coughed and winced. "Home?"

"Yeah. We're home." Jack smiled down at him. "You doing okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." He seemed to notice the IV connected to his hand and looked at it blearily for a few seconds before turning to Jack. "Did Batair bury the 'gate?"

"Is that what you told him just before we went through?"

Daniel nodded.

"Hammond said he'll wait a few days and wait to see if things settle down before trying to dial the planet."

"I told him the people wouldn't be as afraid…"

Daniel's eyes slid shut and stayed closed. Jack looked for a chair to sit on. There wasn't one beside the bed so he stepped outside the seclusion of the curtain and rolled one in.

He sat there watching Daniel breathe for several minutes, like he had in the other hospital. He was worried, but not the deep gut-wrenching, stomach-twisting kind he'd experienced offworld. Daniel was now in competent, familiar hands, ones that had healed his team many times before.

"…if they knew the Goa'uld couldn't come through."

Jack straightened as Daniel mumbled the words, obviously continuing his earlier sentence, not realizing he'd drifted off to sleep mid-sentence. He opened his eyes and frowned at Jack.

"I think Batair understands." Jack used a corner of the sheet to wipe a drop of sweat as it slid down Daniel's face. "Don't worry about it. We'll wait and see what happens…"

He broke off as Fraiser walked in, and sat quietly as she checked the bleeding. She looked at Jack and shook her head. Daniel turned to gaze at her and she placed a hand on his cheek.

"Daniel, your blood count level is very low and you're hemorrhaging pretty badly. I'm going to need to go in and see what damage might have been done," she said to him gently.

"No, it's okay. It's fine." Daniel moved his hand to his side, trying to cover the blood-drenched bandages with his splayed fingers.

"I'm sorry, Daniel. But you're bleeding internally. I have to go in and fix it."

Daniel tried to shift away from her. "No!" Daniel turned to Jack, terror evident on his face. "Please, Jack, don't let—promise me, please, don't."

Jack stood, leaning over and trying to hold Daniel's shoulders down. "Shhh. It's okay. This is Janet, remember?"

"Daniel, it'll be okay." Fraiser motioned the nurse closer and spoke softly to her. A moment later, she injected something into Daniel's IV, and he quickly began to relax. Fraiser looked up at Jack, confusion evident on her face.

As Daniel sank back onto the mattress, Jack motioned Fraiser aside. She checked on Daniel's vitals and then quickly moved to Jack's side.

"He woke up during the operation back on the planet. He was a little freaked, to say the least."

"He what!" Fraiser looked at Jack incredulously. "Please tell me they put him back under."

Jack shook his head sadly. "Felt every cut, heard everything that was said. He says he couldn't move, that he couldn't tell them he was awake."

"God damn it." Fraiser took a few steps away, her body rigid in anger. Then she whirled around and went back to Daniel. She put a hand on his cheek and patted it gently until he opened his eyes.

"Daniel." She lowered her hand and took his, curling her fingers around his. "I promise you won't wake up during the surgery." She covered the top of his hand with her other one. "I won't lie to you. There have been cases where patients become aware during surgery. It's not something that's admitted to very much, but it does happen. That's why we use a sensor that works like an EEG, telling us how awake a patient is. If you start to wake up, we'll just give you more anesthesia."


She smiled at him. "I promise. You won't feel a thing. You trust me, right?"

Daniel nodded, then turned his head, looking for Jack.

He stepped forward immediately. "Be here?"

"I'll be right here."


Daniel shut his eyes, putting his trust in them.

"Okay, let's bring him in."

Jack moved back, watching as they wheeled Daniel's bed away.

- - - - - -

Jack laughed as he missed the Frisbee and it flew past him and rebounded off the wooden fence. "Okay, Enough. Give an old man a break," he puffed as he jogged several feet to pick it up. He threw it towards Cassie, intentionally aiming off to the side, towards the partygoers. He continued jogging, putting action to his words.

The teenager laughed and ran after the Frisbee, picked it up without missing a beat and continued on to sit down with Carter. Even before Jack joined the group, she and Carter were sharing a chair. He wondered how two grown women could fit so easily in a tight space like that. Maybe it was one of those laws of physics that Carter could never quite explain.

He glanced towards Daniel, saw that he was in the midst of a discussion with Teal'c and one of Fraiser's nurses. He was happy to see Daniel so vocal; he'd been very quiet the past few days. Jack had accounted some of it to illness, but there was something else that Jack couldn't quite put his finger on.

Seeing that Daniel was okay and in good hands, he headed off towards one of the ice-filled coolers on the deck. He helped himself to a beer, twisted off the cap and dropped it into the cooler.

Taking a long swallow of the cold brew, Jack surveyed Fraiser's guests. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, standing or sitting in small groups, chatting, laughing.

The door beside him opened and Fraiser stepped out, holding the door with her hip while balancing two large bowls in her arms. Jack grabbed the door and she smiled her thanks.

He let the door close behind her as she brought the food out to a table already laden with dishes and paper plates. Jack caught a whiff of cooking meat. He grabbed a second beer and headed out to see if Hammond needed help manning the BBQs.

His CO was standing firm over his domain, easily flipping burgers, hot dogs and skewered meats as they hissed and crackled over the gas fires. One of the BBQs was his, having offered it to the doc when she'd made plans weeks ago for this day.

Jack handed Hammond the beer, who accepted it gratefully. Jack eyed the meats spread out on the grills. To his practiced eye, they looked cooked. Before he could voice his opinion, Hammond began transferring them onto a clean plate.

"Mind getting me the second batch sittin' in the fridge?" Hammond filled the first plate and after handing Jack the overflowing platter, began working on filling a second.

"Sure." He did as requested, glancing again at Daniel as he walked past. Although still pale and shaky, Daniel was recovering well from his wounds. He'd been permitted to attend this 'do only if he promised to take it easy and not over-exert himself. Daniel looked to be enjoying himself and he smiled at Jack when he glanced his way.

"Come 'n git it!" Fraiser yelled to her guests once Jack put the two plates on the picnic table. As everyone headed for the food-laden table, Jack quickly filled a plate for Daniel. By the time he worked his way away from the table, Daniel had just gotten up and was slowly walking towards him, a hand held to his side. He quickly dropped his hand when he saw Jack.

"Need your pills?" Jack asked as Daniel returned to his chair.

"No, I'm fine. Just stiffened up a bit." He sat down, his face expressionless except for a few tight lines around his mouth. He accepted the food, balancing the plate on his lap while Jack fetched a napkin and plastic fork.

"Want something to drink?"

Daniel reached down by his foot and showed Jack a large glass of lemonade. He made a show of taking a sip, then began to eat. Jack was eyeing the crowd still surrounding the picnic table when Hammond bellowed his name.

He turned around, startled, when he realized Hammond was still waiting for the rest of the prepared meat. "Be right back," Jack said to Daniel.

By the time Jack managed to get some food for himself, Daniel was talking with Teal'c and Carter, so Jack sat down in an empty chair beside Ferretti. Before he knew it, they were talking cards and an impromptu game of poker began.

The music was cranked up and some of the younger people started dancing. Someone gave Jack another beer and he began giving the other players a run for their money.

It wasn't until there was fairly good-sized pile of dollar bills stacked in front of Jack did he realize the party had become fairly quiet. Jack had been so engrossed in the game, he didn't quite realize exactly when the music had been turned off.

There was quiet conversation, soft laughter; the sounds of people replete in food and company. Still, there was something nagging at him, and he wasn't quite sure what it was. He looked around and spotted Daniel sitting in the same chair he'd been in earlier.

Jack picked up his winnings and folded the bills in half.

"Thank you, boys. It was a pleasure doing business with you." He pocketed the bills, grinning at the groans and moans as everyone got up. He stood and stretched, cramped from sitting for so long, his bladder full and pressing painfully from the beers he'd drunk.

Jack slapped Ferretti on the back as he moved around him, heading for the bathroom. He looked around the yard, noting the crowd hadn't quite begun to thin.

As he headed back outside, he remembered shoo fly pies on the kitchen counter and decided to see if any pieces were left. He was in luck, there were a couple pieces of what Fraiser had called shoo fly pie left. He poured himself a coffee and wedge of pie in hand, stood leaning against the counter, staring out the window.

He'd almost finished the pie when he realized what it was that had been bothering him earlier. He couldn't hear Daniel. Earlier his lover's voice had risen over the music as he'd laughed and joked with his friends, a soothing background noise which Jack had been peripherally aware of. And now it was missing, the silence almost grating in its absence.

He moved to the side of the window, noting that although Daniel was sitting with people he knew well, he had pulled away from them and wasn't participating in the conversation. As a matter of fact, even from where Jack was standing, Daniel looked ill and tired. As he watched, Fraiser approached Daniel and leaned over him, blocking Jack's view.

Immediately he put the plate and fork down and headed outside. What the hell? Why hadn't he noticed this earlier when he'd been playing cards? He pushed the screen door open and hurried towards them.

"Don't be ridiculous," Fraiser was saying as Jack walked up to them.

"So, what's up?" Jack asked, trying to act nonchalant and not overly concerned in front of Fraiser's guests.

"I'm fine," Daniel said quickly. His pallor and glassy look belied his words.

"No, you're not." Fraiser's voice was low enough not to carry, but with enough weight behind them to show she was serious. "You're tired and you've got a fever." She turned to Jack. "I want Daniel to take some Tylenol and go inside and lie down."

"We can leave," Jack immediately said, visions of Daniel lying in the infirmary bed during his recovery flitting through his mind.

"I'd rather he get some rest now," she replied softly. "He'll feel better after some sleep." The unspoken words were more than obvious – she wanted Daniel where she could keep an eye on him until she was satisfied about his condition.

"Come on, Danny," Jack said softly. Daniel gave him a stubborn look. But after a moment's hesitation, he eased himself to the edge of the chair. Jack placed a hand beneath his shoulder, supporting him while Daniel, a hand held to his side, stood up slowly. Fraiser led them inside, Daniel leaning heavily on the banister as he walked up the stairs and into the house. Jack followed immediately on Daniel's footsteps, worried about his unsteady pace.

Carter hurried across the yard and came in behind them.

"Is everything all right, sir?"

"Just putting Daniel down for a nap," Jack said as they entered the house. He lagged behind a little. "I think he's just overtired. Fraiser wants him to rest."

"If there's anything I can do—"

"I know. Thanks."

He entered Fraiser's bedroom, where she was in the process of pulling back the comforter. It was a warm day, the room stiflingly hot, heated by the afternoon sun. But Daniel was visibly shivering, standing near the bed. Other than Carter, the house was empty, the sounds of the party outside filtering in through the closed window.

Daniel sat down on the bed while Fraiser moved to the window and pulled the curtains shut and turned the air conditioner on.

"I'll be right back." She left them alone, closing the door partway shut behind her. Cool air streamed into the room, quickly replacing the mid-afternoon heat.

Daniel sat lethargically on the bed, staring at the curtained window.

"Take your shoes off," Jack ordered as he pulled the comforter farther down the bed. When Daniel didn't move, Jack touched his arm. "Hey, you with me?" He could feel the heat from Daniel's fever; although not high, it had the potential to become worrisome, especially in light of the fact that Daniel had been fever-free for several days now.

At Jack's touch, Daniel turned to look at Jack. "Shoes?" Jack reiterated.

"This is embarrassing," Daniel finally said.

"No, embarrassing would be the fact that you let yourself get this bad without telling anyone. Come on, get those shoes off and climb under the covers."

"Can we at least go home?"

"Later. You're about dead on your feet and I'd rather make sure I can take you home later rather than back to the infirmary."

"The Colonel's right." Fraiser entered the bedroom and handed Daniel pills and a glass of water. "Let's just make sure this isn't anything more serious than fatigue, okay?" She smiled gently while Daniel took the pills and drank the water down in several large, noisy gulps.

She took the glass back, motioning to the bed with her finger. "Now, shoes off, and get into that bed, mister." She smiled again to offset the tone of her voice.

Daniel sluggishly toed his shoes off. But instead of moving under the covers, he continued to sit. "Janet, this is just so…"

"I know. Would you feel better if the Colonel stayed here with you?"

Jack started to object. The last thing he wanted was to be caught in bed with his lover in a house full of colleagues. But for a split second he saw the look of hope flit over Daniel's face just as he opened his mouth. It disappeared just as quickly as it had appeared.

"I'll tell everyone the truth. That you weren't feeling well and that I ordered you to bed. And that Colonel O'Neill dozed off waiting for you to fall asleep." She motioned towards the bed. "Go ahead, I'll make sure you're not disturbed. Just let me check your incision first."

Daniel lay down, wincing slightly as he lowered himself onto the mattress. Fraiser pulled Daniel's shirt up, exposing the bandage. She carefully peeled off a corner while Jack moved to the bed's other side and busied himself with taking his sandals off.

"Looks good," she announced after a moment. Jack glanced at the partly-opened door before stiffly sliding his body underneath the comforter. "I spoke to Sam, and I'll get Teal'c to come inside and help keep watch, so you won't have to worry about anyone accidentally barging in."

Jack relaxed, knowing his teammates wouldn't allow anyone past their guard.

"Thanks, doc." Jack made a show of settling in the bed, waiting until Fraiser left the room, shutting the door softly behind her. He lay there beside Daniel, hyper-aware of the man lying beside him, but waiting and listening intently until he heard Teal'c's heavy tread over the hum of the air conditioner.

Only then did he let himself relax, turning onto his side and reaching to touch Daniel's shoulder. Daniel sighed softly, already half asleep. He turned his head at Jack's touch, opening his eyes to look at him, his exhaustion and illness obvious now that he could let his defenses down in the privacy behind closed doors.

"Go to sleep," Jack whispered, rubbing a hand up and down Daniel's arm. "I'll be right here."

"Sorry," Daniel mumbled sleepily, looking at Jack through half-lidded eyes.

"Shhh. Not your fault, I know how fast you get tired; I should have been paying attention."

"I was having a good time." Daniel shut his eyes, his breathing slowing with every exhalation.

"I know." He stretched his neck to kiss Daniel's temple. "I still am."

Daniel's mouth quirked into a smile just as he drifted off into sleep. Jack lay there a long time, watching Daniel sleep. After a short time Daniel's clothes dampened as his fever broke and his skin cooled to a normal temperature. By the time Daniel's clothes had dried off, Daniel had turned onto his side and was snuggled against Jack's chest, snoring lightly.

Jack wasn't quite asleep, but was close to dozing himself when he became aware of the slow increase in intensity of light. He raised his head off the pillow and glanced towards the opening door just as Fraiser stuck her head into the room. She smiled at him when she saw he was awake.

"How's he doing?" she whispered as she shut the door behind her and stepped softly towards them.

"Fever's broke and he's sleeping soundly."

Fraiser placed a hand to Daniel's cheek, then took his pulse. "He's probably going to sleep for a while yet. People are leaving; I thought you might want to step out and make an appearance."

Jack realized she was right; he could do the sheepish 'I just woke up and I'm stiff and feeling a little silly about it' routine. He eased himself away from Daniel, who snuffled and burrowed his head beneath the comforter. Jack pulled the heavy quilt away from Daniel's nose out of habit.

He shoved his feet into his sandals and followed Fraiser out, yawning and massaging his neck and shoulder, as if he'd fallen asleep in a chair rather than in a double bed.

He nodded at Teal'c and Carter, who were seated in the living room just off the corridor leading to the bedroom, playing a game of chess. Jack continued on outside and was approached by Ferretti and one of his team the moment he went through the door.

"Sleep well?" Ferretti slapped Jack on the back, grinning at him as he handed Jack a fresh beer.

Jack stretched, beer bottle raised high in the air. "Like a baby." He took a sip and leaned closer to the major and whispered conspiratorially. "Remember those god-awful infirmary chairs made out of hard plastic that left your ass numb after sitting in 'em after ten minutes?"

The two men nodded.

"I know where they ended up when Fraiser got those new chairs." Jack made a show of rubbing his butt.

Ferretti laughed, then sobered quickly. "How's he doing?"

"Better. He'll be fine, the party just tired him out. I'll let him sleep and take him home when he wakes up."

"You know, I think Daniel's spent more time at your place recuperating from injuries this past year than he's lived at his own apartment."

Jack forced a laugh, but inwardly his stomach clenched. "Yeah, I know. I've warned him if he continues like this, I'm gonna start charging him rent."

"If you ask me, he should move in full time. It'd save you the trouble of constantly needing to take him in."

Jack relaxed slightly at Ferretti's words. "Well, he's returned the favour many times over."

Ferretti nodded. "Yeah. Can't find better friends than that."

- - - - - -

Jack straightened, dumped the last of the paper plates, cups and plastic forks into the garbage bag, and stretched his back. He surveyed the now tidy yard, looking for any errant pieces of paper or plastic he might have missed. Satisfied he'd found everything, he knotted the bag and carried it into Fraiser's garage.

Carter and Cassie were washing the last of the dishes. Jack did a double take when he saw Teal'c sweeping the floor. Fraiser was nowhere in sight. He moved into the living room to see if there was anything there to clean up when he saw her come out of her bedroom and shut the door softly behind her.

"Doc?" he asked as she came towards him.

"He's still asleep."

"He's been sleeping for over four hours. Is that normal?"

"There's no sign of fever and his vitals are fine. His body just needs the rest, Colonel." She picked up a forgotten glass from behind a chair and continued on into the kitchen. He followed, and seeing there was nothing more to be done, poured himself a coffee and leaned against the wall close to the kitchen's entrance.

The women were chatting, talking about the party. He sipped his coffee, wishing Daniel would wake up so they could at least head on home and relax in his own home. Sure, the day had been enjoyable despite Daniel's slight setback, but he was now more than ready to leave. He glanced towards the closed bedroom door, feeling guilty as impatience warred with worry.

A sudden thought suddenly hit him; what if Daniel was all set to sleep through the night and wouldn't be waking up until tomorrow morning. Not that Jack didn't begrudge him his rest, Daniel was still far from recovered. But the thought of having to spend the night here certainly wasn't appealing in the least. Not that Jack wanted the comfort of his own bed, with his own pillow and blankets. It was privacy he craved.

And it wasn't that he didn't care for everyone who was here right now. And it wasn't that they didn't know about him and Daniel, Cassandra included. But he still felt constrained with an audience, unable to truly be himself with Daniel. And Daniel, bless his heart, was always aware of Jack's reticence, and held back also. It was only in the shelter of their homes were they truly able to be themselves, and not hold back.

And Jack hadn't held back these past days. Although Daniel had spent a lot of time sleeping and resting, he'd been unusually quiet, tense and introspective. He only seemed to relax when he was close to Jack.

Daniel hadn't once spoken of his experiences on that operating table, and that worried him. Jack hadn't yet mentioned his concerns to Fraiser or Mackenzie yet, but if Daniel continued being this… clingy, he certainly would soon.

Jack finished his coffee and brought the mug to the sink. He handed it to Cassie with an apologetic look since she had just finished washing the last item.

"Make yourself at home." Fraiser handed him the remote and pointed him into the living room.

As he walked into the room, he thought he heard something. He stopped, listening. The noise came again so he walked to the bedroom door and opened it. Just as he went to peer into the room, Daniel screamed.

"Stop! Please stop! I'm awake! It hurts. Oh God, Jack! Where are you! Stop!"

"Daniel, wake up." Jack lunged for Daniel just as he bolted upright, already sliding off the bed. Jack caught him before he ran out the room but Daniel struggled, still caught up in his nightmare. Jack wrapped his arms around him, preventing him from escaping out the door.

Immediately Daniel resisted, reaching up to grab Jack's arms and twisting, trying to force them away.

"Danny, wake up. It's a dream. You're dreaming."

Daniel screamed Jack's name again, thrashing violently and almost breaking free from Jack's hold.

"I'm awake. Please. Help!"

Jack heard footsteps running towards them and he held on tight, hoping Daniel didn't try punching and kicking. Jack's first thought was for the women and he called out before they could come inside. Daniel was in position to kick whoever came in should he want to.

"Stay back! Teal'c! Give me a hand."

The women stopped in the doorway, Jack aware of their startled faces as Teal'c pushed through past them. With Teal'c holding Daniel securely, Jack moved around so he was facing Daniel. He palmed Daniel's face and spoke softly.

"Shhhh, it's okay, you're dreaming. Come on, Daniel, wake up." He rubbed his thumb against Daniel's cheek, soothing and speaking softly while he slipped his other hand behind Daniel's nape. Sweat dripped down Daniel's face, Jack could feel that the hair between his fingers was soaked.

Somehow Jack's voice seemed to be getting through to Daniel because he stopped fighting Teal'c. His eyes finally focused on Jack's. He whispered Jack's name at the same moment his knees gave out.

Teal'c still had a secure hold and eased Daniel down. Jack immediately got down onto his knees and pulled Daniel to him, hugging him close. He could feel Daniel shivering as he burrowed as close to Jack as humanly possible once Teal'c let him go. His breath was hitching, loud and shaky and rapid.

"It's okay, you were just dreaming… just a dream."

Then Fraiser was there kneeling beside them, trying to take Daniel's pulse and check on his breathing.

"I couldn't move." Daniel tried to take a deep breath, but it hitched several times. "I couldn't wake up."

"I know. It was a flashback, that's all. It's okay." Jack rocked Daniel back and forth with small, gentle movements.

He thought Daniel was calming, starting to relax, when he suddenly pushed away from Jack and tried to scramble to his feet. Jack lunged for Daniel but only caught a fingerful of Daniel's denims. Off balance, Daniel stumbled to his knees, almost falling flat on his face.

Thankfully Fraiser realized what was happening and grabbed a garbage pail. She held it to Daniel's mouth just as he began to heave.

Jack was peripherally aware of Carter leading Cassie away from the room, and Teal'c and Fraiser flanking Daniel as he continued to vomit. Jack felt helpless, unable to do anything except run his hand over Daniel's back and make sure he didn't fall as Daniel crouched on hands and knees and emptied his stomach.

Finally there was nothing more to bring up and Fraiser left Jack and Teal'c supporting Daniel while she got up and got some tissues. Daniel simply remained on all fours, head drooping low, breathing heavily through his mouth as a string of saliva dangled obscenely from it. Fraiser gently wiped Daniel's mouth, then blotted the sweat from his face.

"Do you want to lie down?" she asked gently.

With what appeared to be superhuman effort, Daniel raised his head and looked around. He shook his head, then leaned his weight to his left and sat heavily on the floor. He looked dazed, which wasn't unsurprising. Fraiser knelt beside him and reached for his wrist.

Teal'c still had a solid hold on Daniel so Jack simply slid forward until he was in front of Daniel. He reached out and put a hand on Daniel's arm and felt him shivering.


Daniel squinted up at Jack, then quickly lowered his gaze.

"You might feel a little better if you lie down."

"I'm fine. Just let me catch my breath." Daniel cleared his throat, and Fraiser got up, picked up the garbage pail and returned moments later with a glass of water.

"Here, try taking a few sips."

Daniel reached for the glass but his hand was shaking badly, sloshing water over his fingers. Jack wrapped his own around Daniel's and helped guide the glass to his mouth. He heard Daniel's teeth rattle against the tumbler.

Fraiser took the glass from Daniel when he'd finished and put it on the floor beside her, and Jack took the opportunity to shift closer to him. Teal'c let go of Daniel and Jack sat ready to take Daniel's weight should he falter, but he seemed able to sit up by himself.

"How's your side?" Fraiser reached for Daniel's shirt but he placed a hand against his side, preventing her from raising it and exposing the bandage beneath.

"I'm fine, Janet." He raised his head, giving her a small, tight smile. "I'm just a little disoriented and a lot embarrassed."

Fraiser stared at Daniel for several seconds, then nodded. "Okay. Your pulse is racing and I'm sure your pressure's a little high, but that'll probably settle once you calm down a bit. How about we leave you and the colonel alone for a few minutes?" She turned her attention to Jack. "If he doesn't start feeling better, let me know." She stood and walked to the door, then turned to look back at them.

"Do you wish assistance to sit on the bed?" Teal'c put a hand to Daniel's shoulder, but Daniel just shook his head.

"I'm fine. Please, I just want to... I'm fine."

Jack nodded at Teal'c when he turned to look at Jack. "It's okay." Teal'c stood reluctantly and joined Fraiser, who shut the door behind her.

"God, this couldn't get more embarrassing." Daniel ducked his head. Jack immediately put his arms around Daniel, pulling him close. He felt Daniel stiffen and for a moment, thought he'd done the wrong thing, but Daniel relaxed against Jack and rested his head against Jack's shoulder.

"There's nothing to be ashamed of. I'm just surprised it took you this long before having a nightmare about it."

"This was more than a nightmare." Daniel shivered convulsively and Jack reached up and pulled the comforter from the bed. He wrapped its bulk around both of them.

"Flashback. You were back *in* the moment. We couldn't wake you up even though you kept screaming that you were awake."

Daniel swallowed, and Jack felt his throat working through the light material of his shirt. "You okay?"

Daniel's face rubbed against Jack's neck as he nodded. "Can we go home?"

"As soon as you're up to it."

He'd half expected Daniel to pull away and get up, but he simply remained there, leaning into Jack's hold. Jack kept quiet, clasping Daniel and occasionally nuzzling his neck, ignoring the ripe smell coming from the man he held close.

Jack's back and knees began to protest, but he refrained from moving, not wanting to disturb Daniel right now. But before the discomfort got more than a little uncomfortable, Daniel inhaled deeply and pulled back.

His eyes no longer looked haunted and he was still a little pale.


"Yeah. Thanks..." Daniel made a circling motion with his finger. "For... you know."

"Yeah. S'okay."

"I don't know what happened... I was dreaming and I woke up and my side hurt and I couldn't move and..." His words coming faster and faster, Daniel pushed onto his knees. He was a little shaky on his feet but he managed to stand without Jack's help. Jack placed the comforter back on Janet's bed and straightened it out while Daniel stood there, a hand held to his side.

"You wanna let Fraiser take a look at that?"

Immediately Daniel lowered his hand. "No, I'm fine. I think I'm just overdue for my meds."

Jack did a quick calculation and realized Daniel was right. "If you're sure..."

Daniel nodded, then headed for the door.

They entered the living room and Daniel paused when he spotted everyone sitting and looking at him. Carter immediately stood and went to him, placing a hand on his arm. "Are you okay?" she asked softly.

Daniel nodded, and she reached to take him into a hug, moving slowly and carefully, as if he would break. Daniel returned the hug, holding her close to him. When they pulled apart, Daniel looked at Fraiser and Cassie in discomfiture.

Cassie wouldn't look at Daniel. She sat there, staring at her feet, her long hair hiding her face from everyone. Daniel went to her and sat beside her on the couch. Jack decided to give Daniel some space, and leaned against the wall, watching.

"I'm sorry," he said softly, hands dangling between his knees. "I'm sorry you had to see that."

"I was scared," she finally told her feet.

"So was I." Daniel reached for her hand and twined his fingers with hers. "It was just a really bad dream. Like you used to have when you first came to us, remember?"

She nodded, and Daniel reached with his other hand to tuck her hair behind her ear. Jack didn't miss the wince that Daniel nearly managed to hide at the movement.

Cassie raised her head and gave Daniel a tearful smile before getting up and running out of the room. Daniel went to get up and go after her, then froze halfway, a hand held to his side again.

"I'm okay," he wheezed as he sat down a little more heavily this time. "It's past time for my meds. I'm okay," he reiterated when Fraiser sat where Cassie had been sitting.

This time Daniel didn't make a fuss when she reached for his shirt, staring instead down the corridor towards the teenager's closed bedroom door while she checked his wound.

"She'll be fine," Fraiser said matter of factly, noticing the direction of his gaze.

"Want me to get your pills?" Jack asked.

"Not without eating something first." Fraiser pulled down his shirt tail and circled her fingers around his wrist once more.

Daniel's face paled at the mention of food, so Jack didn't push the subject.

"Looking good," Fraiser finally said with a smile. "Do you think you can eat something?"

Daniel fiddled with a thread on his shirt and shook his head.

"Okay, let's see what I can do." She stood up and walked towards her bedroom.

"Can I go home now?"

Fraiser paused in the doorway. "Of course. Let me just give you something to help with the discomfort, okay?"

Daniel lowered his head again, and Jack moved away from the wall to go sit beside him. Daniel leaned into Jack, not much - just enough so that their shoulders were touching. It wasn't a lot in the way of reassurance, but Jack pressed against Daniel, telling him without words that he understood.

"Here you go, Daniel." Fraiser walked back into the room and handed Daniel something - small and encapsulated in silver. Daniel took it from her and frowned. As Daniel closed his shaking fingers around the object, Jack recognized it as a suppository. "It'll do for now, at least until your stomach's settled a little."

Daniel sighed. "I'll be right back," he said as he stood up.

"Need any help with that?" Jack asked Daniel's retreating back.

Daniel stopped and turned to look at Jack, the first small smile appearing on his face since he'd gone to sleep earlier that afternoon. "In your dreams."

"Always," Jack replied, and grinned at the slight blush that appeared on Daniel's face, who quickly turned around and continued into the bathroom. Carter was smiling at them and Teal'c looked amused.

"Try and get him to eat something later." Fraiser sat beside Jack, exhaling noisily. "The meds I just gave him will make him sleepy, so don't be concerned about that. Keep an eye on his temperature. I'm pretty sure he's fine, but it won't hurt to be cautious."

Jack nodded. He was already doing an inventory of his fridge and cupboards, thinking what he could feed him. It was the flashback right now that was worrying him. Would it be some reoccurring thing that would require time in therapy?

"Doc... the nightmare Daniel just had..."

"It's not uncommon for patients who've experienced what he did to suffer from PTSD. Then again, it might just have been an isolated occurrence. Only time will tell."

"He said he thinks the pain in his side brought it on."

"It's possible. In cases where patients underwent what Daniel experienced, it's the smell of alcohol, or the sound of metal grating on bone. You know how it works, sir."

Jack nodded. He'd both experienced and seen incidents like this; it just seemed worse when it happened to someone he cared for. He could only hope that Daniel would be able to get over what happened to him and that it wouldn't haunt him.

When Daniel walked back in, Jack stood, giving him his seat on the couch. But Daniel chose to remain standing, looking at Jack with a pleading look.

"Doc, if it's all right with you, we'll take our leave now."

Fraiser stood, as did Carter and Teal'c.

"We'd better be going too," Carter said. They all bid one another goodbye, walking out to their respective vehicles together. Fraiser stood in the door, watching them, and as Jack opened the truck's door, he saw a shadow in an upstairs window. He caught Daniel looking up and Jack said softly to him, "She'll be fine. You know how teens are."

"Yeah." Daniel slid into the passenger seat of the Avalanche, Jack watching surreptitiously, ready to help if Daniel needed it. When Daniel reached for his seatbelt, Jack shut the door and started the engine.

Daniel sat staring out the window on the drive home, watching the scenery go by. Jack glanced towards him a few times, trying to gauge how he felt. Finally when they stopped at a traffic light, Jack reached over and placed a hand on Daniel's thigh and squeezed.

"How're you doing?"

Daniel turned to Jack, eyebrows raised, smiling widely. "Good. Why?"

"Your side... Fraiser's meds...?"

Daniel raised a hand to his side, slapping it lightly. "Don't feel a thing. I could get used to this stuff."

Jack winced at Daniel's action. "Yeah, well, I wouldn't, if I were you. I kinda like you whole and hearty." He was relieved when Daniel put his hand down and began humming softly, off key. The light changed and Jack took his foot off the brake.

Whatever Fraiser had given Daniel seemed to be stronger than the others meds he'd been taking. Daniel almost seemed a little drunk, not that Jack minded as long as he wasn't feeling any pain. Maybe it had to do with the earlier flashback; it seemed to have taken a lot out of Daniel – maybe his system was just a little less tolerant tonight.

"You know, we never did find out her name."

"Whose?" Jack asked, a little distracted as he checked for traffic in order to turn onto his street.

"The doctor who operated on me... You'd think she could have introduced herself after I got up close and personal with her surgical techniques."

"Daniel... it wasn't her fault."

"Mmmm. Yeah. I guess. I still would have liked to know her name. At least Bagair managed to bury their Stargate – General Hammond tried to contact them more than once, didn't he?"

"It's Batair, Daniel and yes, the General tried at least once every day. He told me he was going to have the address removed from the dialing computer." Jack maneuvered the SUV into his driveway and turned off the motor.

"Batair, Bagair..." Daniel waggled his head from side to side. "It's just too much trouble trying to keep the names straight. Maybe I should carry crib notes."

Jack unbuckled his seatbelt and turned towards Daniel. "Maybe you should go to bed and worry about keeping the names straight tomorrow."

"Ha." Daniel fumbled with his belt buckle then turned and opened the door before Jack could react. He stepped out of the SUV and nearly slid to the ground, catching himself at the last second on the open door.

"Woops." Daniel giggled. "Careful," he said as Jack scrambled out the door and hurried around the front of the Avalanche. "That first step's a doozy." Daniel grinned at Jack as he took his arm and pulled him away from the vehicle.

Daniel staggered, obviously unsteady on his feet. He seemed happy to allow Jack to put an arm around his shoulder and guide him to the house. As Jack reached for his keys, Daniel leaned on Jack, his forehead resting against the side of Jack's head. Daniel's breath puffed against his neck and Jack tried to ignore his sour breath.

He got the door open and waited for Daniel to go inside. When Daniel didn't seem to want to move from where he was, Jack placed a hand on the small of his back and rubbed.

"You okay?"

"Hmmm?" Daniel raised his head, blinking at Jack. "Yeah." He looked at the open door, blinked again, and stepped inside. He stopped just past the entrance, seeming unsure of where he wanted to go.

"You hungry? You wanna lie down?"

"Shower. I stink." Daniel squinted down the hallway towards the bedroom.

"Yes, you do," Jack said in a teasing voice. He waited a moment, but Daniel seemed content to simply stand there, preventing Jack from closing the door. "Daniel?"



"Oh. Right." He turned and swayed down the hallway. Visions of an unsteady Daniel standing in a slippery bathtub alone had Jack quickly shutting the door and locking up, then hurrying to their bedroom.

He found Daniel with one shoe off and in the process of trying to pull his still-buttoned shirt up over his head. His face was caught in the small opening and the whole thing had bunched up around his shoulders, again caught by the buttons at his wrist.

"Hey, let me help." Jack pulled the shirt back down, tugging it past Daniel's nose where it had caught on and dislodged his glasses. Jack removed the lenses and holding them in one hand for safekeeping, quickly got Daniel's shirt unbuttoned.

"Thanks," Daniel mumbled, staring down at himself in confusion. He managed to get the shirt off and threw it onto the bed while Jack went and placed the glasses on the bedside table. The shirt promptly slithered off the bed, and when he turned around, Daniel, one hand on the bed for support, was bending over to pick the shirt up. He almost overbalanced, but with an ungraceful move, caught the shirt and stood up. Even as Jack watched, Daniel tossed the shirt onto the bed and missed, with the shirt landing on the floor again.

In a slow and exaggerated motion, Daniel bent over, picked it up in and placed it onto the bed once more. Jack stifled a laugh when Daniel sat down on the bed to remove his other shoe, and the shirt slipped off once more.

"I've got it," Jack quickly said, bending down to retrieve it before Daniel could do so again. He pulled his own tee shirt off and threw it into the pile of dirty clothes in the corner of the room. He toed off his shoes and got his pants off just as Daniel managed to pull his other shoe off.

"Let me," he said as Daniel reached for the buttons to his pants. He pulled Daniel up and undid the pants himself. Then he allowed them to slide down Daniel's legs. When Daniel stepped out of them, Jack picked them up and quickly emptied the pockets as Daniel entered the bathroom. Jack could hear him brushing his teeth so he took a few seconds to pull back the covers on the bed.

By the time Jack had the shower set to his liking, Daniel finished at the sink and straightened, swaying slightly. He removed the bandages off of Daniel, helped him out of his boxers and followed suit, then holding on tightly to him, held his breath as he supervised as he and Daniel stepped into the tub.

Jack maneuvered Daniel until the water was streaming over him and down his face. He stood there, content, while Jack reached for the shampoo.

"Move over here a little." He pulled Daniel's neck forward and began to lather the shampoo over Daniel's scalp. With a small sound of satisfaction, Daniel lowered his forehead against Jack's shoulder. Jack took his time, massaging Daniel's scalp, enjoying the deep sighs coming from the man before him.

When he finished, he let the stream of water rinse Daniel's hair while he quickly soaped Daniel down. He gave himself a cursory wash and then turned the water off. Remembering Daniel's clumsiness while undressing, Jack took a bath towel and wiped Daniel down with it, being careful of the healing scars, and replaced the bandages with fresh ones.

Jack steered Daniel into the bedroom while using the damp towel to wipe himself off. Daniel moved to the dresser and took out two pairs of sweats, handing one to Jack. "Think your stomach can stand a bit of food?" he asked as he struggled to get cotton pants over damp skin.

"Sure." Daniel stood there, naked, sweats dangling from his hand, watching as Jack pulled a thin tee shirt over his head.

"You hungry?" Jack asked when Daniel finally made a move to put his clothes on. He hovered, afraid Daniel would lose his balance but his lover managed to get his pants on with less problems than Jack had.

Daniel raised a hand to rub the back of his neck, looking at Jack through half-closed eyes. "I'm not sure."

"How about some toast for starters."

"Sounds good."

Jack whipped up some scrambled eggs and toast, and Daniel, to Jack's delight, ate nearly everything Jack put in front of him. The last few bites were swallowed with difficulty, his drooping eyelids an indication of where his body wanted to be at the moment.

"C'mon, let's get you tucked in," Jack said, not even trying to hide a grin. A pliant, sleepy Daniel was something he didn't get to enjoy very often and he slowly walked him to their bed. Daniel slipped beneath the covers, not even complaining when Jack tucked him in and kissed his temple. When Jack straightened, Daniel was already asleep.

He stood there gazing down at Daniel for a few minutes, thanking God and every person who had had even the remotest part in getting Daniel home from this last mission. There were times his love for Daniel scared the crap out of him; this was one of them. He felt horribly vulnerable right now, seeing Daniel like this. He knew Daniel was a strong man, both emotionally and physically. That he'd experienced a flashback had terrified Jack to no end. He added another prayer that this was an isolated incident before tiptoeing out of the bedroom.

- - - - - -

Daniel entered the den three hours later, shuffling his feet and yawning, hair tousled, eyes still half closed. He sat down heavily on the couch, his body still sleep-warm and relaxed as he leaned against Jack.

"Have a good nap?"

"Mmm." Daniel let his head fall against Jack's shoulder and closed his eyes.

Jack yawned. He was tired, but he'd been contemplating heading to bed soon, right after the end of the movie he was watching.

"How's your side?"

"Mmm, good."

"Need anything? Water? You hungry?"

"Mmm fine."

Daniel appeared content to simply sit there and Jack pulled him closer. He enjoyed the feeling of a warm, loving body next to him, feeling satisfaction knowing Daniel didn't hesitate to come to him for comfort and trusted Jack to understand.

He waited until the movie finished, only half his attention now on the action playing out, the other half concentrating on Daniel. Jack closed his eyes for a few minutes, listening to Daniel's breathing and suspecting Daniel had dozed off.

It was only when the loud grating sounds of commercials intruded into the room did Jack realize the movie was over. He reached for the nearby remote and clicked the television off, then gently shook Daniel awake.

"Huh?" Daniel blinked, looking around in confusion.

"Time for bed." He rubbed Daniel's arm in encouragement, until Daniel leaned away from Jack and stood, moving more easily than he had in a long while. Jack followed, stretching his muscles. He quickly checked windows and doors while Daniel headed for their bedroom. By the time Jack finished in the bathroom, Daniel was back under the covers. He blinked sleepily while Jack slid into bed and joined him.

Daniel rolled onto his side and threw and arm and leg over Jack's, sighing heavily. Within seconds, he was dead to the world again.

Jack didn't think he'd be able to sleep, not when images of Daniel screaming through his flashback kept echoing through his head. Instead he listened to Daniel's soft snores and savored the profile, illuminated by the moon's gentle glow as it shone through the bedroom window. Daniel's face was relaxed, no signs of pain and recovery evident on his face as he slept.

Although both of them had shared the bed since Daniel had been released from the infirmary, this was the first time Daniel had actually turned to Jack and slept *with* him. Up until then he'd been in too much pain and Jack had been afraid to accidentally hurt him while he slept, so they'd kept plenty of space between them. Jack thought it was ironic that tonight Daniel was seeking Jack out, coming so soon after the chaos at Fraiser's. But that Daniel was relaxed enough to sleep was encouraging - considering the timeframe, Fraiser's drugs must have left Daniel's body by now.

Daniel shifted, moving closer. Jack reached out and clasped the hard body to him, relishing the feel. He closed his eyes and buried his head into Daniel's neck, inhaling the scent that was pure Daniel.

- - - - - -

Jack surfaced from a deep sleep with wonderful things happening around his cock. He opened his eyes as his hips bucked in reflex, then made a surprised 'mmmph' sound as Daniel's mouth found his.

Oh yeah, things were definitely *happening* down there. Daniel's hand was wrapped around him, pumping him slowly, while Jack could feel Daniel's erection rubbing against his thigh. He slid his hands underneath the tee shirt and when he skimmed over Daniel's lower abs, they twitched.

With a growl, Jack eased Daniel onto his back and nuzzled the exposed skin. He licked his way down towards Daniel's groin, keeping well away from Daniel's injured side. He smiled to himself as Daniel's hold on his cock eased as he lost himself in the sensations, freeing Jack to do what he wanted.

Jack took Daniel into his mouth, the taste and smell of his lover exciting him even more. Every time he did this, he was amazed at how easily he'd taken to this kind of loving. Daniel was making small breathless sounds, and Jack knew from experience that Daniel was already close to orgasm. He slowly withdrew and replaced his mouth with his hand, slowly moving back up to kiss Daniel soundly.

Daniel bucked in his hand, his breathing changing to gasps as he suddenly froze, and wet warmth splashed across Jack's hand.

Daniel moaned softly and went limp, and suddenly Jack could smell the coppery scent of blood, feel Daniel's life force as it oozed from his body across his palm and through his fingers, the feelings of helplessness as Daniel slowly bled to death before him overwhelming in their intensity.

Jack scrambled from the bed, the urgent need to wash the feel of Daniel's blood from his hands so overpowering that the next thing he knew, he was in the bathroom, his hands full of soap and unable to get rid of the smell.

The light flicked on and Jack blinked. He could see Daniel's startled reflection in the mirror as he stood behind him. Jack glanced down at his hands, relieved to see there was no telltale sign of red stuck in the creases of his knuckles or underneath his nails. He recalled how hard it had been when he'd finally been permitted to wash his hands at the alien hospital...

"Jack, are you okay?"

He felt a hand on his shoulder and realized Daniel was standing directly behind him. He turned the water off and straightened.

"Yeah, I'm fine." He felt a twinge of guilt as he saw Daniel's worried expression. Daniel should be sleeping off his post-coital euphoria instead of worrying about him. He should be resting, and not being subject to the sight of Jack freaking out. He saw streaks of semen on Daniel's abdomen and grabbed a washcloth and wet it. He turned around and began to wipe Daniel's body clean.

Daniel kept his eyes on Jack's face, ignoring Jack's ministrations. "That wasn't... you... did I...?"

Jack cupped Daniel's cheek and then pulled Daniel close to him, flinging the wash cloth into the sink. "It wasn't you, it was me. I just remembered something... it's no big deal," he said against Daniel's neck. He needed the closeness, and Daniel seemed to sense it as he wrapped his arms around Jack's back.

"It looked like a big deal to me."

"I'm sorry. I just..."

"What? Tell me."

Jack took a deep breath and released Daniel. "The feel of you on me, for a second it felt like your blood... I just remembered you lying there after getting shot and I couldn't get the bleeding to stop."

"You...? I'm sorry, I don't remember..."

"Of course you don't." Jack smiled, and pulled away. "Thank God you don't remember that." He moved into the bedroom, feeling like an old man, and sat on the bed.

Daniel sat beside him, hands clasped together, looking a little lost.

"Hey, it's okay, it just all kinda caught me by surprise." Jack leaned towards Daniel and kissed him.

Daniel returned the kiss, then pulled back and gently nuzzled his neck, his hand reaching towards Jack's groin.

"I think it's a little too late for that," Jack lamented as Daniel fondled his limp penis.

"Let's see if I can find a remedy for this... it worked pretty good a little earlier. You know what doctors say when you need to work out problems like this."

"No, what?" Jack smiled as he felt himself twitch into Daniel's hand.

"Desensitization." Daniel let go of him and pushed at Jack's shoulders until Jack was lying flat in the bed. "You know, experience the sensation over and over until it doesn't bother you anymore?" He lay down between Jack's legs and took Jack into his mouth.

Jack moaned, his erection now full and throbbing for release. He clutched the blankets as sensations coursed through him. "I can do the 'over and over' part, but damn, if my cock ever gets desensitized, Daniel, it'll be on your head."

Daniel laughed, the vibrations making Jack jump as his cock very much enjoyed the feelings. Jack came seconds later, leaving him limp and sated and very much at peace as Daniel snuggled up beside him. "I don't think there's much danger of that happening," Daniel replied, still laughing softly.

Jack let himself relax, feeling good about the world once again, although he thought maybe once he came down off his high, he might think differently. Then again, if Daniel were ready to start facing the world, despite what he'd gone through, Jack sure could give it a try also. If there were repercussions with this mission, they'd work it out. They had one another; for now, that would have to do.



Author's Comments: Thanks and hugs to DebA who as usual helped with the medical stuff. And to my Heartsisters, thanks! For everything.


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