Jmas Fan Fiction

Raising the Gate
By Jmas

 

“Dammit!”
           

Just like the other hundred times I’ve said it, I don’t feel any better. Just like the other hundred times I’ve kicked the gate, lying like the lump of useless stone it is right now, my toe throbs in time to my pulse beat. And, just like the other hundred times both of the above have happened, Daniel sighs and turns back to work without a word, refusing to let my bad temper get the better of his determination to get us out of here toot sweet.
           

It’s not like any of this was his fault, after all.


It sure wasn’t his fault the glider crashed into the gate just after Teal’c and Carter jumped through in the nick of time, caught between the rock of the attacking ship bearing down on them and the hard place of holding the gate for us. Definitely wasn’t his fault we got separated and pinned down by a squad of Jaffa. Teal’c was the one who made the shot that brought the ship down, hitting something just aft of the engines that exploded and brought the ship down like a well-aimed rock. Teal’c and Carter had no choice but to jump into the wormhole and leave us behind.


raisingLuckily for Daniel and me, the resulting explosion as the ship crashed took out the remaining Jaffa. There wasn’t enough of most of them left to bury.  Not so lucky for us, it knocked the gate a good hundred feet off its platform and buried it under tons of former glider, a goodly portion of the forest floor, and more than a few of the scrubby deciduous trees that decorate this endless plain.
          

Not that we got off much easier. Aside from an impressive assortment of cuts, abrasions, and bruises, Daniel got grazed in the leg by a staff weapon in the initial attack and my arm snapped like a particularly dry twig when we were thrown by the blast. Field splints are not Daniel’s forte. Then again, I guess he’d say field dressings aren’t mine so we’re even.
           

We wouldn’t have made much progress on this amount of debris on a good day without heavy equipment, but with both of us sore and hurting from our various wounds, well, for all my temper sometimes gets the better of me, I know it’s a nearly impossible task. Daniel, though, seems to be taking it as his holy mission to get us home in record time. I still don’t know why he’s in such a rush.
           

Like now. He’s rolling pieces of glider off the gate with all the obsessive focus of a bowler going for a perfect score. I mean, it’s not like we need to hurry. We’ve got food, water, shelter, all the basics. But from daybreak to dusk for the past three days, Daniel has been out here moving shit off the gate as if he knows the exact date the world’s going to end.


I know we’ve had some trouble reconnecting since he got home from Oma-land, and most of that is my fault; it’s hard to be the friend of a guy who’s only now starting to remember you were friends, can’t remember one big moment in our lives that continues to haunt me.


All that stuff back in Baal’s fun house. He saved my ass and my sanity. I begged him to kill me, but he wouldn’t. I begged him to use his glowy power and bust me out, no go. After seeing what happened when he did break the rules in a big way, I understand that one. I guess my big sticking point about the whole thing is that I begged. I was more vulnerable than I’ve ever been in my life and Daniel had a front row seat…that he can’t even remember. You’d think I’d be relieved, but I need to him to know.  I need to tell him he wasn’t wrong, I think maybe part of me needs to prove it to him.


I just don’t know what’s up with him right now and that’s strange in itself. I’ve generally been able to read Daniel – sometimes like an occasionally painful and wordy book – but I could usually get inside his head. But not now. And I don’t know if it’s the changes in me that are behind it or the changes in him, which bugs me more, but I hate this abyss that still lives between us.
No, I don’t get what’s going on with him, but I am going to find out.

 

 

I hate beans.


Who in the name of military intelligence thought it was a good idea to include beans in MREs? A food guaranteed to create digestive upset and noticeable side-effects in close quarters. I make a mental note to talk to Hammond about banning them from the off-world diet. Daniel’s picking at his like it’s poison, can’t say as I disagree, but at least we’re in this together. Setting aside my empty packet, I poke a stick at the fire and stretch my legs out.


“So, Daniel… How about we take a break tomorrow morning? Restock the wood and water supplies?”
           

He frowns at me and I can see he’s itching to argue, but he knows I can’t do either of those things with one arm without making dozens of trips. He nods shortly, reluctantly agreeing. He sets aside his meal and scoots down to lie back on his pallet using his jacket and pack for a pillow. He’s sipping slowly at his one cup of coffee for the night, all we can afford if we want to make it last.
           

I figure he’s about as mellow as he’ll ever be and jump in with both feet. “Want to tell me why you’re so hell-bent on breaking the speed record for uncovering a gate?”
           

Daniel looks at me sharply, almost spilling his coffee in his surprise. He almost clams up on me, I can see the desire not to tell me flicker over his features and then away as he sighs and sits up to face me. This can’t be good.
raising

“Okay….” He whispers, nodding to himself like he’s reached a decision. “You remember what I started to tell you just before the Jaffa showed up?”
           

We were in the ruins, he was doing his thing and I was watching the tree line while Carter and Teal’c were off taking mineral samples. I remember Daniel saying something about….
           

“Floods?” Massive flooding was actually the term he used.
           

Daniel nods gravely. “This planet is about to enter its rainy season, Jack.”
           

Damn. I remember now. “How long?”
           

“Could be weeks, could be days, but it’s going to be soon.  The writing mentioned signs to watch out for. I started noticing them the first morning. At first, I didn’t want to believe it, but there’s just too many to ignore.”
           

“Signs like…?”
           

“How many animals have you seen the past few days, Jack? Have you noticed how low the water is in the stream compared to the erosion of the banks? How long the nights are getting in just the past three nights we’ve been here? How close the moons seem at night?” He points toward the sky where the three moons of this planet line up in a vague L shape, big and full, and very, very close.
           

“So when were you planning to tell me?” I’m not really angry. Knowing wouldn’t have changed anything except my exasperation with his single-mindedness.
           

He shrugs apologetically. “I still wasn’t sure. Not until I felt the wind today. Wasn’t sure you’d believe me if I did tell you, to be honest.”
           

I remember that wind, quick and steady, then gone as if it had never been. And wet. It smelled wet.
           

I look up at him in realization and he nods. “That’s about the time you decided to have your daily kick at the gate so I let it go. I was just working up to it when you….”
           

“Pushed the point?”
           

“Yeah…” He grins a little, then turns to business. “Ideally, we’d look for higher ground and work on clearing the gate after, but….we know there isn’t any higher ground for miles.”
           

I nod agreement. “We leave it too long and we’re underwater before we know it. We go now and it could be months before we see the gate again, if it doesn’t get buried under even more stuff and mud.”
           

“There’s one idea I’ve thought about….” I spread my hands, inviting him to share. “What if we wait until it rains?”
           

“Not a good plan, according to the Daily Ruins News.”
           

He smiles tightly at my bad joke and nods, “In most circumstances, I’d agree, but…the glider is the only thing we aren’t going to be able to move on our own. Even blasting it into pieces with the two staff weapons we’ve got would take weeks.”
           

I agree and say so.
           

“But the bottom of the ship is solid, at least as far as I can see.”
           

Solid means buoyant. Okay, it might just work, but….
           

“What if you’re wrong?”   
           

“Then we’ll be as good as dead.”


“A major flaw, you’ll admit.”


 “Alternately, we start packing in the morning and hope we can make it to high enough ground before the rain starts.”
           

I blow out a sigh and slip off my rock to lie down on my own hard pallet, settling my bum arm against me and wishing, yet again, for something stronger than Tylenol. “Some choices. But I can’t think of anything better. Anything else at all, for that matter.”
           

Daniel smiles thinly draining his coffee cup. I wanted him to share, and he did. Now part of me is regretting that decision, but it’s better to know. I think.
           

“Sleep on it?” I ask.
          

  “Sleep on it.” He agrees, setting his cup aside and pulling his blanket over him.
           

Somehow, though, I get the feeling neither one of us is going to get all that much rest.
           

           
          

  “Son of a bitch!”
           

Raining, it’s raining. Fire’s out, blankets are already water-logged. Daniel’s trying to shove his boot on a leg that’s clearly stiffened up overnight. I wince in sympathy and pull my own boots on, ignoring the inch of water inside them. We have got to go. It’s now or never, there are no more choices left to us.
           

Daniel takes off at a limping run toward the gate, staff weapons in his hand. What the….?
           

As I hurry to catch up, he starts blasting away at any debris that isn’t part of the main glider wreckage. Lightening the load, I get it.

Grabbing one of the staffs, I wedge it under my bad arm and use my good one to fire. We’re making a little headway; I can see the top of the glider now. Daniel moves off to my left, aiming at a couple of trees leaning against the port side. It’s hard for me to see through the rain, at least I’ve got a visor on my hat. I don’t know how Daniel’s managing with wet glasses and no hat at all. Guess he isn’t seeing all that well, after a few minutes he pulls them off and shoves them into his pocket then starts shooting again.

We’re blasting away and making decent progress when I hear something between the explosions. I stop firing and listen. Behind us, it’s….


“Daniel!”


He takes a couple more shots then looks where I’m pointing. It’s a huge wall of water and it’s heading straight toward us through the creek bed and over the banks in a matter of minutes.
We are out of time. Maybe in more ways than just clearing debris. Daniel takes off for our shelter, turning out our packs and fishing out rope. Good idea. We’re only going to have one shot at this and we can’t afford to get lost from one another. If…when...the glider moves, one of us is going to have to get to the DHD while the other anchors him near the gate. But what in hell are we going to anchor to?


“The gate, Jack! The gate!”


Daniel is tying off his end of the rope around the DHD. I think I get it now. We’re making a safety line. Even though the opening wormhole will slice the rope off, whoever is at the gate will be able to grab on and pull the person at the DHD to the gate. I sense just one little problem here…


“Daniel! My arm!”


He nods, he’s already thought of it. The water is rising around us, up to mid-calf as Daniel climbs the debris pile to get to me. He takes the extra rope from his belt and ties one end around my belt, loops it over the rope strung between the DHD and the gate, then back around my belt. It’s a makeshift affair, but I’m definitely going to be secure until the gate opens. After that, well, I’m just glad Daniel’s been doing all that working out with Teal’c.


Daniel grabs my arm as I start to wade out. “Be careful, Jack. Once that thing rises, it could go either way.”


“I trust you, Daniel. Just hang on. To me and the gate.”


He seems a little surprised by my words, but just nods as I turn and start wading. I need to get in place at the DHD. Making sure the GDO is strapped to my wrist, I head out, feeling him keeping a taut hold on the rope connected to my belt. A couple of times I’m glad it’s there as the current threatens to knock me on my ass. The swirling water is like a living thing around me, pulling and pushing, rushing around my legs as if trying to take possession. Not going to happen, I tell myself, not while Daniel’s got the anchor position.


As I reach the DHD, I look back to see Daniel watching me, one foot hooking under the gate ring as the water edges near his knees, his arms playing out the rope with all the care of a new dad with a baby carrier. My thought of a moment before is truer than even I realized. I trust Daniel.  That thing in Baal’s prison …I trusted Daniel to be there when I needed him and he was. I trusted him to get me out and he did; maybe not in the way I wanted, but he got me out of there and I don’t need him to remember for it to be true. 


Punching in the gate address, holding back on punching the control crystal until the gate is clear, I already feel as if a big weight has moved off of my shoulders. Such a stupid waste of time, of our friendship. It’s no wonder he didn’t think I’d believe him about this flood thing, I haven’t exactly been showing him trust, have I? I’ve barely been showing I have time to listen to him for months now. No damn wonder he was so surprised to see me in Central America. I rescued his body, but after all these months I haven’t put a whole lot of effort into rescuing our friendship. I did better than I was doing before he… left, but better was a long way off from getting it back.


Damn.


If we get out of here, Daniel and I are going to get stinking drunk and mushy as hell. Fraiser or no Fraiser, I’m going to tell him what happened and reclaim what we lost if it costs me my liver and the biggest liquor bill known to Springs Spirits. Friends like Daniel don’t grow on trees, after all, and I hope to God, if I haven’t learned anything else in fifty plus years of existence, I’ve learned not to take second chances for granted.


“Jack!”


The glider is moving, rising slowly and turning ass backwards toward the gate. Daniel is shifting position, swinging out and, dammit, under the glider. I can’t activate the gate until I know where he is. If he’s in the path of the wormhole…


I feel a pull on the rope around my belt, two quick tugs telling me he’s still at the other end. But where is he?


The water is up to my ass, not very high when it comes to lifting former spacecraft. If it sinks back under, if he runs out of air, if, if, if….


“Daniel!”


Nothing but silence and swirling water and a glider slowly, so slowly edging off the gate.
Fuck this; I’m not waiting around while Daniel might be dying. I duck under the water at the base of the DHD and grab the rope, hoping like hell he’s still holding on to it. Why didn’t we tie him on it, too? I pull gently at first, I want to save him, not tangle him up in whatever mess is happening beneath the surface. Nothing, nothing….


There!


A slight tug and then a stronger one, and Daniel breaks the surface on this side of the glider.


“Do it, Jack! Now!”


I don’t need to be told twice. Reaching over the top of the DHD, I jam my hand down on the red center and the gate activates. The billowing wormhole splits the glider down the middle; the remaining half swirls away much faster than you’d expect from half a hull.


As expected, the rope is cut and suddenly it’s the only thing keeping Daniel afloat as the current tries to drag him away like it did the glider. Forgetting my arm, I start hauling on the rope, hurts like a son of a bitch, but the alternative is totally unacceptable. Between the two of us, we get Daniel to the dais and on his feet in short order.


He takes a few breaths and gasps out, “The signal, Jack!”


raisingI start to ask him how he thinks we can get the fifty or so feet to where the gate is sucking down water like the biggest toilet in the universe, then I get it. That toilet will ‘flush’ us right into the gateroom when the iris is open. Hammond is going to be majorly pissed, but right now I don’t care.


I grin at Daniel and punch in the numbers while he unties the other end of the rope around my belt and uses it to tie us together. I kick and he strokes, between us making one good swimmer, and we’re off. Swirling around the drain faster than I would have expected.
As we head down for the final flush, I can’t help sharing the first words that pop into my brain. “Incoming…..”

 

 

“Shit!”


“Close the iris!”


Daniel and I tumble down the ramp on a wave of water, stopping belly deep on our knees at the end. A couple of SFs run to help us on our feet, untying the rope. I’ve got my arm around Daniel’s shoulder, slapping him cheerfully while we both laugh our asses off. Hammond is yelling for an explanation once he sees we’re okay, but he’s just going to have to wait. My arm hurts like hell now and Daniel’s leg is bleeding freely into the water around us.


“Medics first, sir. Then I… we’ll brief you. Sorry about the mess.”


As the SFs help us down the steps and over to the door, I catch Daniel’s arm and point a thumb back toward the gate. “Pretty gutsy move back there.” It’s one way of saying thanks.


As expected, he blushes and nods an acknowledgement. “Good thing you grabbed that rope, I got a little lost there.” And that’s another way to say it.


“My place? All the pizza you can eat?” Not to mention a few bottles of something sure to get us smooshy enough to reach a few home truths.


“Sounds like a plan.”


“If you’re good, I might even spring for dessert.”


He nods and limps a few steps, then grins. “Something illegal and chocolate?”


I grin back, enjoying the déjà vu feeling of really being with Daniel again. “Trust me.”


He nods seriously, his eyes getting that unfocussed look that tells me he’s trying to remember something. “I can do that.”

 


 

 

 

 

 

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