Jmas Fan Fiction

Title: The Fire Inside
Status: Complete
Author: Jmas
Category: h/c, angst, 1st person (lots of persons)
Rating: PG (possibly PG-13, mature theme).
Email:jmasg1@bellsouth.net
Archive: Stargate Fan, Heliopolis, Belle
Disclaimer de officiale: Characters are property of MGM, etc. I have other means of making money, so I don't need yours...(lesser gifts are gladly accepted).
Summary: The events of "Into the Fire" were only the tip of the virtual iceberg. My answer to Daniel's strange behavior...
Spoilers: Into the Fire, Out of Mind, Hathor
Author's Notes: Taking Yum@'s advice to take things a step further...
This is only my second published fic ( " Dammit, Daniel" being the first.) I lay claim to a warped sense of humor and an insane need to discover the things that make people tick...so be warned. But if I take them apart, I always try to put them back together again in mostly the same order...mostly.
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Chapter 1: Janet

SG-1 sure cut it closely this time. Gone for over three weeks, feared dead then reported prisoners of Hathor, the hastily assembled rescue party (so wonderfully willing to go in after their comrades and friends---so many of them gone now), Teal'c's disappearance and later General Hammond's covert personal mission when he could no longer provide support for his stranded teams. They certainly pulled another one out of the fire this time...

As I watch my two unwilling patients and the other two members of SG-1, I sigh deeply in relief. As a military doctor, I knew my job would entail the repair of a lot of damaged bodies. What I never expected was that the bodies damaged the most would become my dearest friends, as well as surrogate aunt and uncles to my adopted daughter, Cassandra.

I have to laugh now at the sight of Colonel Jack O'Neill looking pale and uncomfortable in his standard issue infirmary gown trying to get Teal'c to retell the story of 'threading the needle' and General Hammond's 'Texas battle cry'. while simultaneously trying to keep an eye on my other bed-ridden patient, (who else) Daniel Jackson.

Physically, Daniel is going to be fine; cuts, bruises and of course the deep laceration which required some major stitching on my part, thank you...and provided a plausible reason to keep him in the infirmary. My other reason...and I can see that Jack is aware of it, too...is that ever since their return, Daniel has been far too quiet and more than usually preoccupied. After assuring himself that Jack really was Jack, he seemed to fold in upon himself and had barely responded to anything since.

Sam's brought coffee and is passing it out to everyone. As she leans over to give Jack his, I see the small bandage on her right temple...a bandage they all share. When I was dressing the small circular wounds, Jack had cheerfully joked that now they would all have matching scars...a kind of SG-1 birthmark. Not forgetting for a moment of course how they got those wounds, it seems entirely appropriate that this particular team should have something to signify just how tightly-knit a family they are.

Such an unlikely group to be so close...A wise-cracking, militaristic mother-hen, a tender-hearted, military brat with a Ph.D., an alien warrior with an overly-developed sense of honor and a heart of gold, and a too-intelligent and far too-sensitive-for-his-own-good walking time bomb. Ahh, yes, definitely on a short fuse and ready to go off...

As I look away from the bomb in question, I see Jack staring back at me. His mother-hen instincts are in over-drive. Very little escapes his notice when it comes to Daniel....

Chapter 2: Jack

God, I'm tired...

I can't remember being this tired since....well for a long time anyway. Just the same, I'm in no hurry at all to go to sleep. If it hadn't been for that Tok'ra spy...

I shiver a little a that particular memory and look around to see if anybody's noticed. I've got a rep to protect, you know.

Carter's still passing out coffee and talking to Teal'c about that weird machine he flew out of the stargate, Doc's checking out somebody's chart and Daniel's...just not with us. His steaming coffee is still sitting on the bedside table untouched. That fact alone bugs me. Daniel's obsession with coffee is an SGC legend and after nearly a month without any, he should be embracing it like a long lost friend. Instead he just lays there looking at us like he knows we're here, but it's just too much of an effort to come out and play.

Hey, I know he's been through a lot, we all have, but Danny's usual M.O. in dealing with the rough stuff is to either talk our ears off or to beg Janet to let him go back to work so he can get too busy to think. I can see Doc's noticed it, too...there's more going on here than just a leg wound and a couple of weeks in a deep freeze.

Some of what happened while we were...gone is, thankfully, a blur, but a couple of things stand out. Like Daniel's face when we woke him up in that pseudo-future SGC; the mixture of relief and pain told me better than any words could that he had grieved the loss.

Hell, I did, too.

I remember all to well what he said to that bitch when she tried to remind him of all they'd 'shared'. I really try not to. And how he'd raised his hands in a gesture so Daniel-like that I almost laughed right there. But then I saw the pain and the fear in his eye and something ..else...that made my blood run cold and all I wanted to do right then was grab Daniel and Carter and get the hell out of Dodge.

Of course, since running wasn't an option I decided to run my mouth off instead which earned me a Goa'uld-sized pain in the neck and a trip back to the frozen food section...

Doc decides we've had enough for one evening and proceeds to kick Carter and Teal'c out so her 'patients' can get some rest. I look over at Daniel to make some sort of comment and there it is again...that 'look'.

"Daniel!" I say it in my best C.O. tone.

He seems to snap out of it and looks up at me.

"Jack? What's the matter? You okay?"

Am I okay?

"Yeah, how 'bout you?'

" 'kay, tired..." Suiting words to action he curls up and seems to sleep.

What in the hell is going on underneath that weird haircut?

I wait until I hear his breathing even out and tow my I.V. friend along with me to Janet's office. I need help if I'm gonna figure this one out.

Chapter 3: Janet

I knew he'd come as soon as Daniel was asleep and sure enough I hear the mobile I.V. wheels scooting along the linoleum floor long before the knock at my office door. I've had the cleaned-up version, now I want to hear the details behind the story that didn't make it into the official report.

Jack comes in and sits down as nonchalantly as one can in a backless hospital gown. I really shouldn't be letting him out of bed this soon; he's still very dehydrated, not to mention bruised and contused. But, like I said, when it comes to Daniel...Jack will do anything to help.

I used to think it was a guilt thing, but after all this time, seeing how they are with each other; I think their relationship is born of equal parts of friendship, respect and loyalty. Just like a good family should be. And when one of your family is hurting, you don't just sit back and let it fester. Take it from a mother who knows.

Jack starts by telling me all of the events surrounding the Hathor 'reunion' and the look in Daniel's eyes when he saw her again. Nobody could blame Daniel for being afraid of that...witch, but what could have affected him so deeply that he still can't let go of it now that he's safely home and Hathor, as Jack puts it, is safely freeze-dried.

Jack shakes his head, I can see he's really disturbed by this. There's nothing wrong with Jack's Daniel-radar.

We just don't know what is going on inside Daniel's head and won't until he's ready to open up. One thing I do know...when he's ready, it will be his family he tells it to, not some imported shrink.

For all his usual volubility, Daniel is extremely close-mouthed when it comes to discussing all things personal. Without a doubt, Jack O'Neill knows more about Daniel Jackson than anyone...on Earth at any rate.

"Jack," I say, hoping he'll catch on and I won't have to explain." What SG-1 needs is a vacation."

He looks at me in confusion at first. He really is tired! Then a slow smile as understanding dawns.

"Y'know, you may be right."

Chapter 4: General Hammond

After Colonel O'Neill and Doctor Frasier explained the situation, I was only too happy to go along with their plan. Hell, I was going to give them time off anyway...that team's been through the wringer lately and God knows they deserve it. Now after hearing their concerns about Dr. Jackson, I feel compelled to offer my own contribution to their efforts and hand over the keys to my little sanctuary up north, O'Neill takes them with a grateful smile and a look of what might be called shock. I'm not that much of a hard-ass, am I?

Don't answer that, George.

Over the past 2 years, SG-1 has run the gamut as far as duty, stress and emotional upheaval are concerned...Any fool could see that and Mother Hammond didn't raise any fools.

I don't even want to think how close we came to losing SG-1 on this one. For the first time in my very long career, I'm involved in a duty that is more than just duty...it's a commitment. And SG-1 is one of the tightest and most strongly committed teams I have ever served with.

From the first time I met them, long before they ever suspected, I knew there was something special about this particular group of people.

O'Neill; military up one side and down the other, but with an ever-vigilant sense of what is right and an extreme loyalty to his team.

Carter; I've watched her grow from a runny-nosed kid on a military base to a fine officer and a premier scientist in her field.

Teal'c; the stoic, steady presence with carefully hidden passions when it comes to his family, his friends and the freedom of his people.

And, of course, Dr. Jackson; scholar, humanitarian, sometimes like a fish out of water among us military types, but a young man who has earned my respect on more than one occasion with his courage, high ideals and passionate opinions.

No, I don't mind if people think I've gone a little soft where SG-1 is concerned. Besides, by thunder, I'm a Major General, who's going to say it to my face?


Chapter 5: Daniel

I'm just so tired....

I try to keep those thoughts away, but they keep coming back...

If I let my guard down...

I know they're all worrying about me and I'm trying to act halfway normal, but I know Jack's seeing right past it.

What's all that about a 'vacation'? I don't want to get away from it all...as if I could... I just want to get back to work and try to push this stuff out of my head, but I know Jack, he's not going to let me off on this one...

I'm can't Jack...don't you see that?

Sooner or later this is going to break and I don't want to drag you guys down with me.....

Chapter 6: Sam

I have to admit I was more than a little shocked when the colonel brought up this vacation idea. Two weeks? It's unheard of! True we've been through a lot lately, but we've also been gone from SGC for nearly a month now counting the days the colonel and Daniel spent in the infirmary.

The mathematician in me tries to take over and calculate the hours, but as we round the last bend before reaching General Hammond's cabin, I tell the mathematician to just shut up...I am on vacation.

It's truly a marvelous sight. A lovely A-frame cabin nestled among the firs adjacent to a small lake and all of it overlooking a glorious view of the northern Rockies. I wonder how the General afforded something like this on a military salary?

The Colonel---Jack-- insisted on driving the latest in his long line of Jeep's, this one is in slightly better condition than the last, but unfortunately without any heat. As we'd gotten further into the mountains, I'd pulled some blankets out of the back for Daniel and me.

Since Teal'c had claimed shotgun, as usual, Daniel and I had gotten relegated to the back seat, as usual. Daniel had opened his eyes long enough to thank me with a small smile and then drifted back off to sleep...or wherever it is his mind keeps taking him off to.

This thing has got us all concerned. I saw the looks between Janet and the Colonel that first night in the infirmary and I'm still catching Teal'c on his usual silent guard, not caring if anyone sees him.

I also saw the look in Daniel's eyes when Hathor stood there taunting us in that fake Gate room. It seems to me that Daniel's quietness started then. Several times in those Tok'ra tunnels I looked over at Daniel only to see that glazed, distracted expression that, at the time, I'd chalked up to shock, blood loss and concern for the Colonel. But now I can't shake the feeling that there's a lot more to it than any of us could have guessed.

My thoughts are interrupted as the Colonel pulls to a not-so-gentle stop (he even drives like a flyboy) in front of the cabin. Daniel is jolted awake and stares around him for a moment in confusion before realizing where he is.

I grab our blankets off and notice that Daniel is still shivering even after several hours under them. As the Colonel opens Daniel's door to help him out, I see that he notices it, too.

"C'mon, Danny-boy, let's all get inside before we freeze to death..."

Daniel nods distractedly and climbs out slowly, grabbing for his ever-present bag of books and pulling it over his shoulder, as Jack hands him his crutches off the luggage rack.

Teal'c and I start unloading the rest as the Colonel grabs a couple of bags and walks up the long stairway with Daniel, grumbling as he sorts out the right key.

By the time Teal'c and I stumble in with the rest of our stuff, the Colonel has Daniel firmly planted on one of the ample sofas under a blanket...How he managed that so quickly I'll never know. Daniel's usually so self-reliant and doesn't generally take kindly to Jack's mothering. That he'd submit so readily to it now tells me more about his state of mind than anything else could.

While the Colonel lays a fire, I take the opportunity to check the place out. the cabin is rustic, but with all the modern conveniences unobtrusively added. A high, vaulted ceiling and huge south-facing windows give a feeling of melding with the snow-capped mountains all around us.

The Colonel...being the Colonel (even off duty he can't help taking charge) designates the room assignments; Teal'c and I get the two upstairs bedrooms, he and Daniel get the two downstairs. I can see his reasoning in this, so I only argue a little bit for the sake of my reputation as we carry the bags to their respective destinations.

Chapter 7: Teal'c

I am extremely concerned about Daniel Jackson.

My Tau'ri friends have suffered much in the time that I have known them. Daniel Jackson is no exception, but he has always faced his difficulties with courage and honor at times when even a Jaffa warrior might have cringed. I had never thought to see him do completely distance himself from the support of our adopted 'family'.

It is as if he is engaged in a battle for his very being and I fear that all we can do is wait and be prepared to assist him should he require it.

O'Neill has prepared food and a pot of that 'coffee' the Tau'ri seem unable to function fully without. As Captain Carter readies the table, I notice that Daniel Jackson is watching them both with an extremely...forlorn...look in his eyes.

He reminds me suddenly of my own son, R'yac, when he was very small and received his first serious injury after falling from a tree. R'yac had been extremely affronted by the tree and the force of gravity that had caused him to hit the ground so hard. After I had explained these facts to him, he seemed to feel distrustful of his previously secure world.

Of course, as with all children, it hadn't lasted long....

O'Neill calls out that 'chow' is on, undoubtedly another idiom from his abundant supply. I move to assist Daniel Jackson, but O'Neill shakes his head quickly and I turn away.

Chapter 8: Jack

"C'mon, Danny, time to eat. It's been a long time since breakfast"

Which you didn't eat either, I almost say, but catch myself in time.

If anything the kid looks worse now than before. Dark shadows stand out under his eyes and I can tell he's lost a lot of weight since we stepped through that 'gate almost a month ago...not that he had much to spare in the first place.

Switching tactics, I prop him up on the pillows and hand him his coffee, which I've sweetened up quite a bit. He'll hate it, but at least it'll get some calories into him. To my surprise, he actually takes it and sips...not even reacting to my little additive. I notice his hands are still shaking. He can't still be cold, the fire's roaring not 10 feet away.

I look back in time to see it...As he stares into the flames the 'look' is there again, but somehow deeper and more disturbed...and disturbing. Whatever is going on inside that agile mind of his...I don't think he's winning.

I put my hand on his shoulder and squeeze it a little and he jumps, startled back from wherever he's been. He ducks his head and says, "Sorry," in a voice I can barely hear. It's like talking is a monumental effort.

"C'mon, Danny, You've got to try at least a little of this, okay?" I'm trying the cajoling tone I used to use with Charlie when some illness had robbed him of his appetite.

Daniel nods his head a little and reaches out to put his coffee cup on the table. His hands are actually trembling. This isn't just from the cold.

I put the tray on his lap and hand him the fork in my best headwaiter imitation and order, "Eat."

He picks at the plate, more to please me, I think, than because he really wants to. He actually swallows a few bites before painfully admitting, "Sorry, Jack...I just can't..."

As he lays his head back on the pillow, I tell him it's okay. But it's not. I cover him back up and take the tray away.

Chapter 9: Sam

When the Colonel comes back into the kitchen, I can see from his expression and the nearly full plate that he wasn't very successful. He confirms this, saying, " Barely a few bites. Says he can't eat..."

I can see the concern and a touch of fear in the Colonel's eyes. He puts the tray on the counter and sits down with us, his back to the wall giving him a clear view of Daniel.

" What do you think it is, Sir?" I ask quietly.

Shaking his head and running his hands through his silvering hair, he says, "I dunno, Sam. Whatever it is it started when Hathor touched him..."

"Do you think she may still have had a mental connection with him?" Teal'c asks.

The Colonel shakes his head again. "I don't think so, at least it didn't seem like it. For now we just take it nice and easy, if that doesn't work..." he trails off in frustration. It isn't often I see the Colonel at a loss for words...or a plan of action.

"Then we will try something else," Teal'c states assuredly. "We will not fail Daniel Jackson."

And that just about says it all, doesn't it?

Chapter 10: Daniel

I know I shouldn't be giving in to this now....

Jack's been through hell, he looks so worried...

I'm sorry, Jack---again. Seems like I'm always apologizing to you for something.....
But I'm so close to remembering....

And so afraid to......

Chapter 11: Jack

Waking up with a start, it takes me a moment to realize that I actually did hear Daniel's voice. Then I hear it again, a low sad note calling out my name. I'm on my feet before the sound fades.

As I step quietly into Daniel's room, I can see that he's sitting up in the bed, still in his T-shirt and jeans, rocking back and forth with his head down and his arms wrapped around his legs. Even in the dim light, I can see that his hair and his shirt are soaked with sweat.

"Daniel?"

His head shoots up and he looks at me that lost, desperate look I haven't seen since he first realized Shau'ri was gone.

"God, Jack," he breathes. "I'm so close....if only...."

He starts rocking again and I absently rub at his tense, trembling shoulder as I try to draw him out.

"If only what, Danny?"

With his head down like that, it's hard to hear the already small, weak voice, "Remember...."

"Remember what?" I wonder, more confused than ever.

"Have to remember, Jack....don't want to...so close....." He rambles on about 'remembering' and being afraid to, until I finally realize that he's caught up in it...a kind of waking nightmare. I shake him, gently at first, then with a little more force.

"Daniel!"

He literally jumps back, barely catching himself before he can fall off the bed.

"J-jack?"

He looks so completely disoriented that I start to get angry. Angry with him, angry with whatever this is, angry with myself for not being able to help him...

"Christ, Daniel, what the hell is going on?"

He rubs his hands across his face, "I don't know....I don't know...I don't know..." He repeats it like a moan, then looks at me again with eyes blazing and intent. "It's just....I have to remember, Jack....I tried so hard not to ...but I have to, don't you see?"

No. I don't see...what I see is my best friend falling apart in front of me.

But he looks so desperate for me to understand that I nod my head anyway and try to get him to lay back down. He tries to fight it but doesn't have the strength right now to argue with me.

"Can't sleep, Jack" he mumbles as his eyes close. "I have to figure this out...I'm so sorry, Jack..." He trails off repeating that he's sorry until his voice just kind of fades away.

I sit there awhile brushing back the damp...short...hair, hoping it will somehow ease him back into sleep. I can't help but wonder just what it is that he has to remember. And why the thought of remembering it has him so obviously terrified.

God, what a regular nanny goat I'm turning out to be....

Chapter 12: Sam

Daniel looks a little more alert this morning, he's actually stirring around on his own.
I heard him call for the colonel last night. I stepped out of my bedroom at just about the same time Teal'c did. We both listened for a moment just to be sure we weren't needed and then silently agreed that Daniel needed his best friend right then, not an audience.

As Daniel hobbles his way to the table on one crutch, trying not to upset the coffee cup in his hand, he gives me a small, hesitant smile and a quiet, "Morning."

He looks like hell, but at least he's making an effort at functioning, which is, I guess, a kind of progress. As he sits there apparently intent on his coffee, I notice the tremor in his hands and the way he's using both of them to steady the cup so he can drink.

Working around the lump in my throat, I decide to take the cheery approach, "So, are you hungry?"

He starts to shake his head, but my hopefulness must be showing and he shrugs. "Maybe...toast?"

Not the best choice in the world, but I'm not arguing. I set to work quickly and put it down in front of him before he can change his mind.

As he picks at the edges of the toast, he asks, "Where's everybody at?"

I smile at that and announce that the colonel is giving Teal'c an Earth-style fishing lesson.
Daniel actually smiles back and says quietly, " That's one I've got to see," as he levers himself up, leaving his breakfast practically untouched.

I can't not say it, "Daniel, you have to eat!"

He looks at me with that sweet, little-boy-lost expression which usually makes me just want to kill him, and says, " I just...can't right now...okay?"

I start to protest, but the look does the trick this time and I bite down on it as he limps his way out the door. The last thing he needs right now is another conflict.

Chapter 13: Teal'c

I do not understand this...fishing.

Why would one wish to catch an aquatic life form with a barbed hook upon which one has impaled an arthropod...in essence feeding the fish and piercing it's mouth before capture...only to remove the hook and return the wounded creature to the water because it is "too small, too big, too ugly or to beautiful" to consume?

And O'Neill calls the Goa'uld barbarians?

As O'Neill launches into another of his oblique monologues on the "joys of fishing," I notice Daniel Jackson awkwardly descending the steps toward our position. I bring O'Neill's attention to this as unobtrusively as possible and he nods to me in understanding.

Daniel Jackson looks decidedly unwell, but it is very...gratifying to see him engaging in battle against whatever it is that disturbs him.

I have come to expect no less from my young friend.

Chapter 14: Jack

"Hiya, Danny...grab a pole."

I figure the best way to handle this right now is to just play it cool. Hey, I can do cool...

He really does look a hell of a lot better than he did last night.

He shakes his head at my invitation and sits down carefully on the deck chair next to me. His eyes move across the lake and he sighs deeply as if drawing strength, or comfort, from the mountains all around us.

Carter comes up behind us bearing coffee and a bottled water for Teal'c. We all just sit in a comfortable silence; too preoccupied with the peaceful beauty all around us to ruin it with chatter. A real Kodak moment.

Boy, did we ever need this vacation...

After a long while, I look over to check on Daniel and I'm shocked to see a single tear rolling unnoticed down his cheek and a look of such total desolation that I almost jump up.
But then Teal'c gets a bite on his line, Carter starts shouting and Daniel blinks, as if waking up.

I start yelling at Carter for making so much noise she's scaring my fish back across the lake.

When I look back, Daniel seems to be asleep.

Chapter 15: Daniel

I've got to stop this...

I can see Jack looking at me as if he's afraid I'm going to break at any moment. I'm not so sure he he's wrong...After last night....

It's been a long time since I've had nightmares like that...

Ever since I was a kid, I've always locked away the heavy emotional stuff and paid the price in bad dreams and insomnia. After a while, it just got to be a habit...

This time though....I'm afraid it's not content to stay hidden away and only come out at night, and with no work to wrap myself up in.....

What I do know is...whatever this is...I've got to get it out.

It's one thing to know your fears and either face them or run away from them...

But to not even know what it is you can't face...

Chapter 16: Sam

For someone alien to the language (among other things), Teal'c sure has gotten the hang of it. That's three games of Scrabble so far and he's creamed me every time. I throw the tiles back into the bag in mock-disgust and challenge him to a rematch.

The sun is low off to our left, but still warm enough here on the deck to make us want to stay out a little longer.

The colonel---Jack---is taking another shot at catching a fish without me there to scare them off and Daniel is hobbling aimlessly around the lakeshore watching as the golden sun crowns this nearly perfect day.

Nearly perfect...

Daniel didn't come in for lunch and the sandwich Teal'c carried out to him in his deck chair is still sitting there, untouched and probably feeding an entire ant colony by now. It's like I told the colonel earlier, if he doesn't start eating soon, we'll have to call Janet. Daniel just can't keep on this way. The colonel had nodded agreement, but wants to give Daniel more time.

Daniel may not have 'time'. Daniel has always been lean, but now he actually looks gaunt; the cheekbones standing out starkly, the sensitive long-fingered hands bony and fragile.
I look up sharply at he sound of splashing and see Daniel flailing around in the water and the colonel tearing off after him. Teal'c and I storm off the deck and arrive just a few seconds behind the colonel who is already diving in.

A Rocky Mountain lake in June at sunset still rates as water too cold for swimming and, seeing that the colonel and Teal'c have things well in hand, I run back to the house for towels and blankets.

By the time I get back, they've got Daniel out of the water. He's shivering and coughing, but trying to sit up. Teal'c helps him to his feet as I ask, "What the hell happened?"
I wrap him in a blanket and hand the other to the colonel, as he shakes his head.
"I dunno...leg must've given out..."

The colonel looks at Daniel sharply and then at us over his head. There's more to it than that...

Teal'c supports Daniel as they head back to the house and I look around for Daniel's crutch, if he fell it has to be around here somewhere...

The colonel stops me. "Don't bother, it's at the bottom of the lake by now."

Chapter 17: Jack

If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes....

There was Daniel doing his Peg-leg Pete imitation beside the lake...the next time I look, he's strolling into the water, not even trying to keep himself from sinking. It was until the third or fourth time he surfaced that he seemed to fight not to drown. It was like he'd been sleepwalking and had finally woken up.

After we get Daniel safely tucked into bed, I spell it all out for Carter and Teal'c their eyes grow wide in shock. I know how they feel. For all that Daniel's been through in the past two years...and believe me it's been a lot...I have never thought of him as being even remotely suicidal.

Sam is so shocked she has to sit down and Teal'c looks...upset. You'd have to know him.

I suggest that we take shifts staying awake...just in case. I want somebody with Daniel tonight. I've got a strange feeling that this thing is, it's about to break.

Teal'c volunteers to take first watch and Carter and I settle down on the sofas, none of us wants to be too far away tonight.

"Do you honestly think he'd try to hurt himself, Sir?" Carter asks in tone of disbelief.
I just shake my head. "Two hours ago I'd've been sure the answer was 'no'...Daniel's one of the most resilient people I know, look at all the shit he's been through and kept on going, but now?

"I just don't know, Sam."

I can see Carter's scientific mind going to work. That's one of the things I mostly like about Carter; she's 45% scientist, 45% soldier and 10% pure emotional female and sometimes that 10% can put the facts together better than the other 90% put together.

We both lay there mulling it over, but somewhere along the line, I fall asleep.


Chapter 18: Teal'c

Daniel Jackson is dreaming. I do not know the substance of these dreams, but I can see they are unpleasant. More than once he has raised his hands in a defensive position and moved as if under physical attack.

I place my hand on his forehead as I have seen Dr. Frasier do to check for fever. Immersion in cold water in his already debilitated state cannot have been beneficial to his health.

A particularly violent attack seems to grip him and I find I must say something.

"All will be well, Daniel Jackson. We will not leave you."

His tense expression seems to calm somewhat and his hands fall to rest against his chest. As his breathing slows, I return to my chair at his bedside.

I recall our first missions as a team, when Daniel Jackson would suffer disturbances in his sleep. O'Neill had been very apprehensive about these 'nightmares' and had questioned the wisdom of allowing Daniel Jackson to continue with SG-1. Captain Carter and I had both assured him that they would pass in time. I am not certain that they ever completely stopped.

Daniel Jackson is a man who feels things very deeply.

Chapter 19: Sam

I can't stop wondering what's going on inside Daniel's head...so what else is new?

Now I know I'm very good at what I do (no brag, just fact as Dad used to say), but sometimes Daniel's intuitive brilliance simply amazes me. Look at how quickly he solved the mystery of the Stargate. In less than two weeks, he learned more than the best minds in the military and the private sector had learned in two years. His single-minded dedication to the mystery at hand is one of the many things I like and respect about him.

It occurs to me that in a way this strange behavior is really a manifestation of the same tendency to get lost in a mystery. Except this time the mystery is inside his own mind and all of his energy and focus is in there trying to unearth it.

I can see it even as he sleeps...

I've heard it theorized that dreams are our minds' way of making sense out of the things that happen to us while awake. As I watch Daniel trembling and trying to claw his way ever deeper into the mattress, I'm beginning to form a theory of my own.

This all started when he saw Hathor again. Her pointed reference to the events of their first encounter and his strained reply seemed to set all this in motion.

Exactly what happened between them 'behind closed doors' was never really openly discussed. Janet had checked him out and cleared him for duty, but other than the admission that 'a lot of the DNA' in her Goa'uld soup would be his, he claimed not to remember anything from the time he questioned her in the holding cell until her control over him had broken. He had suffered a lot of guilt over his unwilling betrayal of his wife, but if he ever remembered anything else he never mentioned it.

The more I think about it though, I wonder just 'how' Hathor's pheromones worked. Was her control as total as it had seemed or just another form of Goa'uld possession in which the mind is aware of what is occurring, but unable to act upon it?

Oh, God...

It's got to be! It would explain so much; the 'look', the depression, the apparent suicide attempt....

Memory can be a tricky thing. Nobody knows that better than I do. Our subconscious minds tend to protect us while at the same time memory won't allow it....

I think what we're seeing here is a perfect example of that...Memories brought to life at the sight of Hathor that Daniel probably hadn't known existed until then. Memories of a violation of both mind and body. A violation so complete it could only be called rape.

I need to talk to the colonel...

Chapter 20: Jack

"Damn, damn, damn..."

Why didn't we see this sooner? He seemed okay back then...well, not exactly okay, but dealing with it. Could a person really go through something like that and not remember...

Dumb question, O'Neill... how much do you remember about 'X marks the spot'...

It was there all along, Carter just put the pieces together faster than the rest of us... including Daniel.

Daniel...

Damn it! Why Daniel? Like I haven't said that before... Hasn't he paid enough dues in his young life to deserve a little peace?

I feel like I want to hit something. I guess that's why Carter brought me outside to tell me this.

"Damn, damn, damn..."

" Colonel, you've got to calm down..."

She's right and I know she's right, but...

"Dammit, how am I supposed to calm down? Daniel almost took a long walk in deep water today because of that..."

I stop that train of thought right there. If I'd known this when I killed her, I'd've done it slower and had more fun with it...

I stomp around in the darkness of the yard a little longer and try to get my heart to stop trying to jump out of my chest. I stop a few paces away from Sam with my back to her, scrubbing my face with my hands like that's going to help me wake up from this nightmare...

" So what do we now, Sam?"

She looks as helpless as I feel. " God, I don't know, Jack. Something like this is..."
"O'Neill!"

Without hesitation we run back to the house. If something's important enough for Teal'c to shout, it's important....

As we run into Daniel's room, Teal'c is looking through Daniel's things, but Daniel is...gone.

Teal'c apologetically explains that Daniel had asked for a drink of water and by the time Teal'c had got back with it, Daniel had disappeared. Teal'c's search reveals that nothing is missing but Daniel and the clothes on his back...even his shoes and his crutches...crutch... are still here.

So Daniel's out there in God knows what state of mind, barefoot, on a bum leg, wearing only jeans and a thin shirt on a cold Rocky Mountain night...

"Damn!"

Chapter 21: Teal'c

Once again Daniel Jackson was trusted into my care and I have lost him. If what Captain Carter says is correct, I failed him more than I could ever have suspected when Hathor 'chose' him...

O'Neill says that it is more important that we find Daniel Jackson than to waste time with self-recrimination. Later I will meditate on this...

We deploy in separate directions to increase our chances of success. Following what O'Neill would call a 'hunch," I begin my search behind the house, beneath Daniel Jackson's bedroom window. On the dew-covered ground, I can see places where the grass has been disturbed and follow this.

As I move into the forest, the trail fades beneath the trees so I must rely on my other senses to direct me. To my right, I hear the sound of small rocks rattling as if dislodged by someone climbing. I follow that sound.

The forest gives way to a stone out-cropping and there in the beam of my flashlight I see the impression of a wet, unshod foot on a flat stone. The out-cropping climbs ever steeper and again I stop to listen.

I hear a rustling sound and a low moan not far above me. I hasten my climb.

Within a few minutes, I see him. Daniel Jackson is pacing at the edge of a very steep cliff like a trapped animal and is sobbing quietly.

I am unsure of what to do. O'Neill would know; his compassion and understanding for our young friend seems boundless. My training as a Jaffa did not prepare me to deal with one who is as emotionally driven as Daniel Jackson.

"Daniel Jackson?" I try to keep my voice low in order not to startle him, but he whirls around quickly on his injured leg, almost losing his balance.

"Teal'c?" His voice is so distraught that I find myself reminded of my own son.

He looks at me in such visible pain that I start toward him without thinking.''

"No! Don't..." He is looking out over the cliff and I begin to fear what he might do in this state.

"May I assist you back to the house, Daniel Jackson?"

He drops to his knees and moans as if in great physical pain. " I can't...can't...Don't you see that, Teal'c...Couldn't stop it then...Can't stop it now...S-she said...she said she'd kill me....She said it..."

I cannot fathom the meaning of his words, so I respond more to the desolate tone.

"Let us help you, Daniel Jackson."

He shakes his head and sinks lower, wrapping his arms around his legs, still staring out over the cliff. "Can't help...no one can...She said if I wouldn't...I couldn't...."

He is becoming more and more visibly agitated, his voice coming in short gasps of pain. He rises slowly, moving until his feet are at the very rim of the precipice. " I can't stop her, Teal'c...I have to make it stop...."

I can see his muscles tense and for the first time in many long years, I am afraid of what seems about to happen.

"Daniel!"

He turns at my voice, startled, and loses balance. I reach him before he can fall and gather him up into my arms. He fights me for a moment, but lacks the strength to give much resistance.

He looks at me entreatingly and whispers, "Please, Teal'c, make it stop..." He moans again and loses consciousness.

Chapter 22: Jack

"O'Neill!"

We hear Teal'c coming out of the trees behind the house and run to him. He's carrying Daniel who is so still...

" He is alive." Teal'c reassures us, carrying him into the house.

He puts him down in the bed and we strip off his wet, dirty clothes. Once again I feel myself getting angry at Daniel's physical state; the weight loss is all too visible, his hands and feet are a bloody mess from his little midnight excursion and his body is shaking so hard that Teal'c has to hold him while I put a clean shirt on him. We wrap him up in blankets and Carter bandages his newest wounds while Teal'c fills us in on what happened on the cliff.

That's twice in one day Daniel's come close to killing himself over that...thing. I almost wish she were still alive so I can kill her again...almost.

And what did Daniel mean, she said she would kill him?

Carter finishes up and I settle beside Daniel on the bed. I'm not leaving him this time. That female demon is not going to drag my friend down...not while I'm around.

Carter brings me a cup of coffee then she and Teal'c go out into the living room. They know me well enough to know that it's vigil time again and Jack O'Neill is in it for the duration.

I sit there sipping my coffee rubbing the tight, trembling muscles of Daniel's shoulder and wonder if Carter's theory is entirely right... The first time with Hathor, Daniel was her 'chosen'...She wanted to make him her new 'pharaoh', for crying out loud; she wouldn't have been threatening to kill him. This time, on her planet, we were all together when she spoke to us, weren't we?

"J-jack?" Daniel is stirring under my hand, his voice raw and breathless.

"Yeah, Danny, I'm here." Where else would...could...I be.

"Make...make it stop, Jack..." His voice trails off into a gasp of pain that nearly folds him over as he grabs at my arm.

I shift around and gather him up against me, holding him tightly until the pain passes.
"I..I can see it, Jack...everything..."

See what? What Hathor made him do?

He takes a few deep breathes and tries to continue, his voice trembling almost as much as his body.

"Aft-after...we were taken...s-she drugged you...sent Teal'c back..."

What the... He's remembering when we were captured by Hathor this time. None of us remembered that.

"She said...She said..." He has to stop again to catch his breath and I can see the effort this is costing him.

"Daniel, we can do this later. Rest now."

"No...no..," he moans, "have to now...May not have...later..."

May not have later? What the hell?

I tighten my grip on him as he rides out another wave of pain. I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this...The bedroom door is open and if I know Carter, she's already read my mind and called Doc.

"Jack...she wanted me to go with her again..." He's rushing the words now, like he's trying to get it all out before the pain hits again. "She said she'd let you go if..." His voice fades off again and I can feel his silent tears soaking through my shirt. "She...she made me remember it, Jack...All of it..."

His body stiffens in pain once again and his hands wrap weakly around my bicep as he tries not to cry out.

God...damn...that snake of a ...Bad enough to have to live through it the first time...

Daniel slumps a little in my arms and I start to get worried, but he starts talking again.
"I guess ...I knew...what must've happened...but...." He takes a deep shuddering breath and I can feel the physical revulsion run through his body and I have to say something...

"It wasn't your fault, Danny...She used that 'stuff' on all of us."

He nods weakly. "Know that...in my head, but..." He shivers again, but continues. "She said...if I'd go...she wouldn't kill...you, but...I knew....lying..." His energy seems to be ebbing away by the moment, but now that he's remembering he won't give up. That's our
Daniel...

I start rubbing his back, as if that's going to help. Well it helps me...

"Told her...go to hell..." I'd've loved to have seen that. "Knocked me out...one punch..." He almost laughs at that, but another wave of pain cuts it off and he grabs onto my arm again.

"God, Danny..." I can't stand feeling this helpless...

Carter sticks her head around the door and whispers that Doc's on her way. Her eyes widen at the sight of Daniel clinging to me in agony and I can see the tears well up in her eyes. She ducks her head hoping I won't see it and backs out of the room. Probably gonna go punch out some trees....

Daniel relaxes once again and I try to shift him around to make him a little more comfortable, but he clings to me like I'm the only thing in the world that he's got left to hold on to. Maybe right now I am.

I try to reassure him, "I'm not going anywhere, Danny..."

He nods his head and goes on weakly. "When...woke up...she had...cut my hair... Was tied...table...She tried to...to...to..." He trails off again and from his voice and the tightening of his body, I can tell very well what she tried. I squeeze his shoulder and nod my head to let him know I understand. Giving him an out. But Daniel, being Daniel, won't take the easy way.

"Tried to...make me...respond to her..." He shivers again, repulsed by the memory. Then he does laugh, a harsh dry breath. "Bit her...."

I laugh with him at that thought. We'd better make sure he's had his shots.

His body stiffens again, not in pain but at the memory. "That's when...she decided to go with the...other plan..."

"The fake SGC?" I ask to spare him having top tell it. He nods his head against my chest, a barely perceptible movement. His energy is fading so fast...

"She said...if I wouldn't...I'd pay...God!" The pain strikes again, the worst one yet and he nearly falls out of my arms. I hold him tighter still wishing that somehow I could take this suffering away from him.

When it finally eases, he is so still that I think he's lost consciousness, but he stirs a little and whispers. "That's... when...pain came..." He closes his eyes, exhausted but determined to press on. "She said...make me...forget...would hurt...to remember....kill...me...to..."

He goes completely limp in my arms now and I yell for Carter. His pulse is there, but weak and erratic, his breath coming in shuddering gasps. Carter checks him, looks at me and shakes her head.

I do not...will not...accept that."

Chapter 23: Sam

The colonel paces the room like he's looking for something to hit. I know how he feels.

Daniel is fading in front of our eyes. I can't believe what he just told us...it explains so much. I wish I'd killed that red-headed bitch myself.

Do you think we'd have gone to these lengths...

That's how she knew the pheromones wouldn't work. She'd tried it on Daniel...

Daniel...He must have felt so alone without us there to back him up. It sounds like he did alright though. Wonder where he bit her?

What could she have done to make him forget, though?

When I woke up she'd cut my hair...

The hair. Why did she cut his hair?

I yell for the colonel to bring a flashlight and start brushing through Daniel's short, sandy hair. The colonel looks at me like I'm crazy, but doesn't question me right now. I start to think he may be right about that, then...there. At the back of Daniel's head where his hair is the thickest...a tiny silver probe, so tiny it looks like another strand of hair.

I look at the colonel. The question doesn't need to be asked. His lips tighten for a moment as he looks at Daniel's face, so still and tortured even now, and he nods.

As gently as possible, I draw the probe out. It resists a t first, then, all too slowly, it comes out.

Daniel's body shudders, then he sighs. The pain lines between his eyes seem to fade and he relaxes into true sleep...probably the first he's had in weeks. I check his pulse again and smile at the colonel as I feel the heartbeat steady and strengthen.

I brush Daniel's hair back and breathe a deep sigh myself. I smile at the colonel.

"He really has got nine lives, Sir!"


Chapter 24: Janet

Nine lives, my ass...

What Daniel Jackson has got is more luck and better friends than most of us are allowed in a lifetime. Cutting things close is getting to be a bad habit for SG-1. One I could really do without.

Physically Daniel is exhausted and malnourished, but otherwise fine. Thankfully all of his exertions didn't rip open any stitches, but he's going to have to stay off of it to give it time to heal...Of course until his feet heal that shouldn't be a problem.

My first instinct is to order him back to SGC to recuperate, but Jack argues with me on that one.

True, Daniel can rest and recuperate here. True, he's only a phone call away from help. True, This is a gorgeous spot. And true, they do still have 12 days of vacation left.
Jack really turns on that Irish charm and I find myself relenting on one condition; Cassie and I are taking a few days off and coming up next week.

Chapter 25: Teal'c

I am most gratified to see Daniel Jackson doing so well.

For the first several days he did little but eat and sleep, but, considering the events of the prior days, that in itself was enough.

He is still suffering nightmares, but Captain Carter says this is to be expected. He is coping with two distinctly traumatic memories and it will take time for him to recover, emotionally as well as physically.

O'Neill and I moved his bed into Daniel Jackson's room, so he could be at hand if needed. Several nights I have heard Daniel Jackson call out and O'Neill's voice calming him back to sleep or both voices talking well into the night.

I tried to apologize to Daniel Jackson for failing to guard him. He only shook his head and thanked me for stopping him on that precipice. I had not realized that I had called him by his first name only on that occasion He seems to think that is what caught his attention and asked me to do it more often.

I will try, but I do not think it will work.

Chapter 26: Jack

God, life can be so good sometimes....

Once again we are gathered on the dock, fishing and enjoying the view. However...it is not quiet and I almost tell Daniel to shut up already, but it's so damn good to have him here...really here, that I just don't have the heart.

As I watch him sitting there, still too pale and too thin, but animatedly describing the Native American peoples who once inhabited this region, I can't help but smile.

It's been a long week filled with nightmares, not all of them Daniel's, and long talks. I can't pretend to know how he feels, but I can be there and I can listen. He's working hard to face up to those memories he almost died to uncover and if I know Daniel, and I do, he's going to be just fine.

If Sam doesn't turn him into a blimp. She can't seem to stop trying to feed him-...must be that maternal thing.

Daniel and I haven't talked much about the suicide attempts. It scared him to think that he was so far gone into Hathor's mind trap that he'd even think about doing something like that , which is enough to tell me that, in his right mind, he wouldn't.

He's thanked all of us in his own awkward way for taking care of him when he couldn't take care of himself.

Helllloo? That's what families do.

And that's what we are really...in our own crazy, only slightly dysfunctional way.

Family.


Chapter 27: Daniel

Jack has been so great ...Once I got him to stop treating me like I was breakable.

Although, for a while there I kind of felt like I was...

When I woke up after sleeping 12 hours straight, there he was sleeping away in a bed next to mine (How they managed that without waking me I'll never know). I threw a pillow at him to make him roll over and be quiet, but he'd jumped up and hugged me so hard I thought he was going to break my ribs.

I think maybe I scared him...Hell, I scared myself. I found myself apologizing to him...again...for worrying him. he told me to shut up in his usual blunt-caring way and we talked for a long time.

I managed to fill in some of the details of what happened with...Hathor and he told me about the things that had happened since our return. It still makes me crazy to think that she could...Now that I remember it all, I almost wish I didn't...

Jack says that, in time, it will be okay. And I know he's right, but just thinking about it now makes me want to run. I guess that's only natural, fight or flight instinct being what it is, but I know my friends won't let me run...and they will always help me fight.


Chapter 28: Cassandra

Mommy says Daniel went through some very bad things and is a little sad right now. I think Uncle Jack is feeling sad, too, but he is trying to make Daniel feel better.

Everybody seems very happy that Uncle Daniel is okay, but he looks awful. He laughed when I told him that and said that was true, but he is better than he was. I'm glad I didn't see him before.

I saw Uncle Daniel cry last night.

I told him not to cry that we would all help him get better. He hugged me for a very long time and said I was right. Then he had laughed and we walked down to the lake to join the rest of our family.

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

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