Daniels Diaries. Stargate SG-1 Fanfiction by Scribe
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Traitor - Part 2

 

All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

 

This story has spoilers for the Broca Divide and Enigma, and takes place soon after Enigma.

Rated PG13 for language, violence


 

Daniel opened his eyes and found O'Neill gazing down at him. Fear shot through him. "Teal'c!" he yelled in sudden panic. He looked around. Where was the big Jaffa? "Teal'c!"

O'Neill's face was suddenly confused. "Daniel, it's me."

"Keep away from me!" Daniel screamed trying to pull himself upright. Pain from the action etched itself across his features.

Concerned by his friend's obvious fear, O'Neill stepped around the side of the bed, holding out his hands in a placating motion. "Daniel. It's O.K. It's just me."

"God, no!" Daniel cried, pulling his arms protectively over his head and curling himself into the nearest approximation he could get to a ball. "Please!" he whispered. "No more."

Jack's mind spun. He reached out to touch Daniel, a comforting gesture, then thought better of it. His ran a hand through his hair. "Daniel. I..." O'Neill didn't know what to do. Janet's urgent instructions replayed in his mind. He had to get out of here. With one last anguished glance at Daniel he headed out into the corridor.

As the door closed behind O'Neill, Teal'c stepped out from behind a curtained off area. In an instant he was at Daniel's side. "Daniel Jackson. Are you all right?"

Tears of relief ran down Daniel's face. "God, Teal'c Where were you? He was here. Right here. I thought..." The big Jaffa folded his arms around the shuddering body of the anthropologist as though he was a small child. "I would not allow you to be harmed, Daniel Jackson," he said.

As Teal'c sensed the young man regain his composure, he allowed himself to relax. Being in the infirmary to protect Daniel from O'Neill without Daniel knowing he was there had seemed like a good idea. It meant that he, Teal'c did not need to worry about being a witness to O'Neill's escape. As Captain Carter had pointed out, even Jaffa needed to use the bathroom! If he had realised Daniel would react so strongly to O'Neill's presence he would not have agreed to the course of action. Teal'c's usual serious expression became even more grave. Why did assisting one friend have to involve hurting another?

................................................

Carter had the car idling. As O'Neill sprinted across the parking lot, she leapt out and opened the trunk.

"In there?" O'Neill asked.

"Can't get you through the check point any other way, Sir." O'Neill pulled a face but obediently climbed into the back of the car. "Damn," he said as he realised how little space he had. He pulled his knees close to his chest. "You need a bigger car, Carter."

"Yes, Sir." Carter was distracted. Teal'c had promised to delay giving the alarm as long as possible, but she knew the seconds were ticking. Slamming the trunk closed, she drove as far as she dared from the lot to the checkpoint. To her relief, the guard merely glanced at her, She smiled and was waved through.

Ten miles from Cheyenne Mountain, Sam stopped the car and released the colonel. O'Neill groaning as he stretched his cramped muscles. "Do you mind telling me what the hell is going on?"

"As we drive, Sir." Sam got back into the car, and O'Neill slid into the passenger seat.

Sam quickly filled the colonel in on what she and Janet suspected Maybourn was up to. She skirted deliberately around the incident with Daniel, not knowing how the colonel would react. The last thing she needed was for O'Neill to take off after Maybourn. Jack listened quietly, his lips set in a tight line.

"So I'm driving you up to Janet's cabin. You can lay low for 48 hours while we clear this up."

O'Neill looked at the blonde captain and then back at the road. "Sam," he began. "Is that the whole story?"

Sam glanced at him and then back again. She had deliberately avoided the part about Jack beating Daniel. "Pretty much," she said cautiously.

"Uh-uh." Jack nodded slowly. "So why is Daniel in the infirmary and how come he seemed..." Jack paused, unable to put into words the way Daniel had reacted to him.

Sam took a deep breath. O.K., she thought, no more skirting the issue. "You beat him up, Sir. You thought he'd betrayed SGC. We have evidence that you were subjected to subliminal messages, and Janet is trying to prove you were given some sort of drug..." She sensed O'Neill tense. "You weren't yourself," she finished lamely.

O'Neill looked out of the side window. He could see his own image reflected off the glass. A thin face, a few lines starting to show, dark, angry eyes. In his mind he could see Daniel lying in the infirmary bed, his arm encased in plaster and his face bruised and battered. "I did that to Daniel?" He said the words very slowly, self-disgust evident in his voice.

"As I said," Sam began. "You weren't yourself."

Jack's gaze reverted once more to the image of his own face in the car window. His voice so low it was barely audible, he said. "I beat him up again." It was half statement, half question, but the anguish behind the words was clear.

"Again?" Sam was confused.

Jack looked down at his hands - hands that had seen far too much bloodshed. "The other time," he muttered. "Was when we brought that virus back. Daniel wanted to go and see how you were when you were in the infirmary, and..." Jack bit his lip. "I didn't take too kindly to the idea."

"I get the picture," Sam said quickly. She remembered the way Daniel had looked when they'd rescued him on P3X797. She'd thought at the time he'd looked more battered than the rest of the touched. And he had been rather wary of Jack.. Oh boy. Maybourn really had a lot to answer for.

................................................

9a.m. Maybourn's face was red with anger. "You expect me to believe O'Neill escaped? That you didn't just let him walk out of here."

Hammond was none too calm either, but it didn't show. "You dare to question my integrity Maybourn after what you did?"

"What I did?"

Hammond leaned forward in his chair. "I have very good reasons to believe that a young man is lying critically ill in the infirmary as a direct result of your actions."

Maybourn looked at the colonel and then laughed coldly. "I have no idea what you're talking about. Are you suggesting that I am somehow responsible for Dr Jackson's injuries?"

"Damn right I am." Hammond was tired of the game playing. "And when I have proof - which I will have very soon - I'm going to hang you out to dry."

For a fraction of a moment Maybourn looked flustered, but then his face took on a smug expression. "You don't know what you're dealing with, General Hammond. My orders come from a source far higher than any influence you have."

"Then you admit it? You brainwashed O'Neill?"

"I followed orders. And yes. I was told to find a subject that fitted certain criteria for a test. O'Neill was just that person."

"And Jackson?"

"His friendship with O'Neill made him an obvious target. If we could turn O'Neill against him, we can turn anyone against anyone."

Hammond could barely contain his rage. "And your personal animosity towards both men had nothing to do with the choice?"

Maybourn's face took on a cruel smile. "Personal animosity, General? What would you rather I did? Select two men who are paid to risk their lives for our government, or try the procedure out on two innocent civilians."

"Jackson is a civilian!"

"Only in name." Maybourn rose, dismissing the subject. "I want O'Neill, General."

"Colonel O'Neill is a valued member of my staff," Hammond snapped. "You may have friends in high places, Maybourn, but I can play that game too."

For the first time the smile on Maybourn's face faded. "Orders, General. I was merely following orders."

................................................

"Dr Frasier, I'm really sorry to disturb you, but I think you should check on Dr Jackson." A young nurse hovered behind the dark-haired doctor.

Janet glanced up in irritation, but quickly removed the expression from her face. She was in the middle of a particularly tricky test on Jack O'Neill's blood sample and had told her nursing staff not to disturb her unless it was an emergency.

She glanced at the worried face of the nurse and then back at the test. For a moment she was torn between her concern for Daniel and the fact that if she walked away from the bench now she'd lose six hours work. "What's wrong, Sally?"

"I think Dr Jackson's suffering kidney failure."

Janet didn't give her experiment a second glance. In moments she was by Daniel's bedside. The anthropologist had seemed to be making a reasonable recovery considering his injuries, but now his face had turned an unhealthy colour, and the skin beneath his eyes were beginning to look puffy.

"How are you feeling, Daniel?" Janet checked his pulse and temperature.

"Sick." Jackson didn't even attempt to smile in response to Dr Frasier's sympathetic look.

"Dr Jackson has been sick three times in the past hour," Sally Lewis added.

"What's going on?" Daniel asked. "I thought I'd just got a few broken bones and bruises."

Janet frowned. "I mentioned I was worried about potential kidney damage."

Daniel nodded weakly. Retching with broken ribs had to be the purest kind of torture anybody could suffer.

"We'll get you on dialysis. Run a few tests." Janet moved away and started barking orders.

Daniel closed his eyes. This wasn't good. Janet hadn't even attempted to reassure him that everything was going to be all right, and the omission wasn't lost on him.

................................................

"So where are the test results, doctor?" Hammond was none to pleased to find Dr Frasier asking for a further 12 hours to complete her tests on O'Neill's blood sample.

"I ran into a complication," she replied. "Dr Jackson has suffered kidney failure. I had to break off the tests to get him onto dialysis." There were times when Janet Frasier hated her job. Sitting in front of General Hammond reporting this news was one of those times. She glanced down at her notes. "One of his kidneys isn't working at all. The other is at best 15%. From the tests I've run I hold out little hope of it improving. Without a transplant, Daniel faces a life of dialysis." Janet's frown deepened. "I'd have to discharge him from the SGC as medically unfit, Sir."

"Why wasn't I told of this sooner?" Hammond snapped.

"It only happened late last night, Sir. Daniel was in no immediate danger. I didn't think it warranted waking you."

Hammond took this news with a barely audible groan. "A transplant," he sounded the words out with distaste. "What are the odds of finding a potential donor?"

"Well actually quite good. Unlike some organs a kidney can come from any source. I checked through the SGC medical records and came across several potential donors. There is one name on the list that I would like to approach." Janet passed a sheet of paper across the desk to the general. Hammond's eyebrows raised.

"O'Neill?"

"I'd like to talk to him, Sir. If he is willing I could have them both in surgery before the end of the week."

"And the impact of this on both of them."

"Well, strictly speaking Sir, I couldn't accept them onto SGC with one kidney a piece. But an injury in the line of duty. I think their continued presence would be at your discretion. They would be at greater risk in combat, of course."

"In the line of duty." Hammond repeated the words slowly, his face dark. "Very well, doctor. Go and talk to O'Neill."

................................................

O'Neill was sitting on the veranda of the cabin, gazing out over the lake. Parking to the side of the cabin, Janet called out to him and was rewarded with a barely noticeable nod. She joined him on the wooden floor, worn smooth by generations of her family.

"How you doing, colonel?"

Jack didn't even look at her. "Fine."

Janet took a deep breath. She couldn't even begin to imagine what sort of private hell O'Neill was putting himself through. Somehow she knew that the fact O'Neill hadn't been responsible for his actions wouldn't help the colonel come to terms with the fact that Daniel was lying in the infirmary. And the news she had to break wasn't going to make him feel any better. Then again, at least she needed action from him - O'Neill always had been a man of action. Janet glanced at the glass O'Neill was cradling. The colonel instantly saw where her gaze had gone.

"Don't worry doctor. It's only apple juice." He set the glass down. "From the look on your face you didn't drive out here with good news."

"No, I'm afraid I didn't."

"The test results?"

"Aren't back yet. But I wouldn't worry about those. The preliminary results have confirmed exactly what I suspected. And we have that videotape with the subliminal messages. General Hammond is already causing quite a stir amongst the military heirachy."

"Great." O'Neill's flat tone contradicted the meaning of the word.

"I need to talk to you about Daniel." For the first time Janet was rewarded with eye contact.

"What about him?"

It took less than two minutes to fill O'Neill in. The colonel gazed out at the lake for one long minute and then made his decision. "If Daniel needs a kidney, then he'll have one."

"It's not that simple, colonel." Janet wasn't going to let O'Neill rush into the decision through some guilt trip. "You need to consider the impact being a donor will have on your life. With only one kidney you'll be much more open to injury in combat."

"Whatever." Jack shrugged the danger off.

"General Hammond could retire you on medical grounds. Jack, you aren't a young man any more. I would be perfectly with my rights to insist you take a desk job."

O'Neill gave Janet a hard look. "I've been retired before. I'll live."

Jack began to move towards the car. "One thing though doctor. You don't tell Daniel I was the donor."

The request took Janet by surprise. "Why on earth not?"

Jack's gaze wandered back to the lake. "I don't want him to feel he owes me anything. If he should... If he wants to press charges."

"Daniel would never do that. I explained what happened to you. He understands."

Jack's expression didn't change, but he could see Daniel's terror-stricken face as he moved towards him in the infirmary. "Promise me doctor. You won't tell him."

Still confused Frasier raised her hands to show her compliance. "That is your prerogative, colonel. But be warned, you'll be undergoing major surgery. He may guess."

"Not if you keep us apart," O'Neill retorted.

................................................

O'Neill's eyes fluttered open. "How's he doing?"

Janet smiled, amazed that the colonel could wake from major surgery and have Daniel's welfare as his first concern. "We won't know for sure that his body will accept the kidney for a few days, but I think he's going to be fine."

O'Neill nodded.

"I have some really good news for you, colonel. General Hammond had a shouting match with Colonel Maybourn earlier today." Janet smiled at the memory. She had been waiting outside Hammond's office when he took the call and at least part of the conversation had filtered through the door. Some of the language Hammond had used as he informed Maybourn of what would happen if he tried to experiment on any SGC personnel in the future had been extremely colourful. Janet continued, "It seems the colonel will be receiving some new orders concerning your removal to Area 51. You're off the hook."

O'Neill merely nodded again.

Janet turned to her nursing staff. "You can take the colonel out to the recovery room." She had turned one of the small offices into a side ward. Hardly ideal in her opinion, but O'Neill had been adamant about Daniel not waking up to find him in the next bed. In fact, O'Neill had remained insistent that Daniel wasn't to know he was the donor. Janet had already had two days of Daniel trying to wheedle the information out of her, and she wasn't sure how long she could hold out against those big blue eyes of his. Then again, facing Jack O'Neill's wrath wasn't an option she wanted to consider either.

................................................

Daniel was feeling a whole lot better. Janet still wouldn't tell him the name of the mystery donor, but whoever it was the young man knew he owed a large vote of thanks. The transplant had gone as smooth as it possibly could, and day by day Daniel was regaining his strength. He was even hoping that Janet might let him out of the infirmary for a little while later in the day. There was one thing that bothered him though. While Sam and Teal'c were regular visitors to his bedside, he hadn't seen anything of Jack for days. At first he had accepted Janet's explanation that the colonel was keeping a low profile because Maybourn was still after him, but since the General had cleared that up he couldn't understand why Jack was still absent.

There was one other thing that he wanted to sort out, and as he saw Janet come through the infirmary door he decided now was as good a time as any.

"Dr Frasier!" he called.

She glanced over and changed direction. "Daniel? You're looking all together brighter today."

Daniel smiled. "Yeh. I feel... brighter. I need you to sort something for me."

"Anything." Janet smiled, relieved to see the anthropologist returning to his normal cheerful self. She had spent too many night shifts disturbed by Daniel's nightmare-inspired screams over the past few days. With any luck this heralded the start of emotional healing as well as physical. However, Daniel's next statement wiped the smile from her face.

"I want you to get me an appointment with one of the forces lawyers. Somebody who knows their stuff inside out - and especially court martial law."

"Are you sure you want to do that?" Janet asked, certainly unsure about who she was most concerned for, Daniel or Jack.

Daniel's face set into a cold mask. "I have a score to settle, Janet. And since using my fists isn't really my style, I can't think of any other option."

Taken aback by his vehemence, Janet merely nodded. "I'll make a few calls for you."

................................................

Sam and Cassie bounded into the infirmary full of smiles. Sam had somehow found herself with 48 hours leave, and since Janet had her hands full, she had taken Cassie for a long weekend of non-stop fun.

Sam grinned widely as Cassie threw herself into Janet's arms. "I've missed you."

"And I've missed you too," Janet exclaimed hugging her adopted daughter. "Did you have fun?"

"Loads," Cassie grinned.

Sam glanced around the infirmary. "You released Daniel!"

"Kind of. He was driving me nuts. I was beginning to think I was running a library service not an infirmary. I've restricted him to the base for the next three days, and given him strict orders not to do anything more strenuous than sit still with a book."

Janet's face didn't reflect the good news however and Sam was quick to spot it. "Something wrong?"

Janet sighed and hugged Cassie tighter before sending the young girl into her office to fetch something. "Daniel was closeted with a military lawyer all day yesterday. He asked me to arrange it just after you left with Cassie. I didn't think things would move so fast."

"Has he spoken to Jack?"

"Not really." Janet cast her mind back to the awkward conversation the two men had the day before. Jack apologising. Daniel telling him there was nothing to apologise for. Jack nodding but clearly not believing the younger man. Of course it hadn't helped that Jack was only just out of surgery himself and determined not to show it. Men! Why did they have to be so damn complicated.

"Where is he?" Sam demanded.

"Probably in his office." As the blonde captain headed for the infirmary door, Janet called out. "Sam, this really isn't our business."

"Like hell it isn't," Sam retorted and was gone.

................................................

Daniel was in his office, and he wasn't exactly following doctor's orders. He'd finally managed to file the papers O'Neill had scattered across the floor, and was just wondering if he dared drink a second cup of coffee. Dr Frasier had given him some pretty heavy warnings about overdoing the caffeine for a while. He smiled as he saw Sam at the door, and then his jaw dropped as she marched into the room and sat on his desk, a no-nonsense expression on her face.

"So Daniel, what's all this about a lawyer?"

Daniel gazed at her wide-eyed. "No, how you doing, Daniel?" he asked with gentle sarcasm.

"I know how you're doing," Sam retorted. "I just came from Janet."

"Oh!" Daniel took this news in calmly. "I didn't realise she was posting daily bulletins on my condition."

"Daniel, cut the bull. What is all this about a lawyer?"

"Well, not that it's any of your business," Daniel peered at Sam over his glasses still rather confused by her attitude. "I wanted to know where I stood legally, what charges I could press, whether I could get that bastard drummed out of the force."

Sam shook her head, suddenly angry. "I don't get it, Daniel. He apologises his ass off to you, gives you a kidney and you still want to go after him."

"Wha... what?" Daniel confusion deepened. "Maybourn donated the kidney."

Sam opened her mouth and shut it quickly. Oh boy, now she was in trouble. She glanced at Daniel and realised his sharp mind was rapidly putting things together.

"You thought I was... Jack gave..." Daniel stopped and took a deep breath. "I've got part of Jack in me. But that can't be. I saw him just a couple of days ago. I'd have known."

Sam raised her eyebrows at his last statement. Daniel reached for a chair and sat down heavily.

"Daniel, I'm sorry. Jack won't talk to anyone. He wouldn't let Janet tell you it was him. He expected you to hate him and... he didn't want to make you feel you owed him anything. Then when you started talking about a court martial and called in the lawyer..." Sam wanted to kick herself, it all seemed to stupid now. "Well somehow, we got the wrong idea and it just kind of snowballed."

Daniel rubbed at his eyes suddenly tired. "I'd never go after Jack. Did you not think I didn't understand what happened? It's Maybourn I want." Daniel spat out the name as though it disgusted him to even voice it.

"Sorry." Sam apologised again. "I guess everything has just been so weird lately, we lost track of who we all are."

Daniel grimaced. "You can say that again. Where is Jack?" Suddenly everything clicked into place. "Hell. This is why he's been avoiding me isn't it. He's out there playing the martyr, blaming himself for everything."

Sam pursed her lips. "Yep, you've just about got it."

"Where is he?"

"I think he headed for home."

"Fine." Daniel rummaged in a desk drawer and pulled out a set of car keys.

"Daniel, you're restricted to base."

Daniel simply shrugged. "So court martial me."

As Daniel headed for the door Sam moved quickly, blocking his way. "Look at yourself, Daniel," she said her tone one of angry concern. "You're arm is still in plaster and you've just had major surgery. No way are you driving."

Daniel glared at her. "Get out of my way, Sam."

"No!"

For a moment they stood eyeball to eyeball. Then abruptly Daniel backed down. "Then drive me over there."

"No!"

"Sam! I have to see him. Explain..."

"Daniel, Dr Frasier has restricted you to base for your own well-being. You've still got stitches in. No way am I going to help you back into a sick bed."

Daniel jumped up and down on the spot in frustration. "Then what the hell am I going to..." He didn't finish the sentence as a sudden expression of pain crossed his face. Gritting his teeth he moved quickly to a chair and sat down. "Damn!" He folded his good arm protectively over his stomach, and glared up at Sam. "Don't you dare say, told you so."

Sam sighed and moved towards him. Crouching in front of him, she reached up to brush his hair from his eyes, the action every bit that of an older sister. "I'll go for you. This is partly my fault anyway. Janet and I both jumped to the wrong conclusion, and unintentionally encouraged Jack to do the same." She reached for his hand, squeezed it affectionately.

His face still pale, Daniel looked at her with pain in his eyes, both physical and mental. "You'll sort it for me?"

Sam nodded. "I promise."

................................................

Sam hammered on Jack O'Neill's door more insistantly. "Colonel, I know you're in there. Either open up, or I'll say what I have to say from out here." Carter could see curtains twitching across the street.

Abruptly the front door opened. O'Neill glared at her from the dimly lit hallway. Without speaking he disappeared back into the house. Carter took a deep breath and followed him, closing the door behind her.

She found O'Neill sitting at his desk, a large glass of whiskey sitting apparently untouched to one side of him. He picked up a white sealed envelope and held it out to her.

"Frankly Carter, I'm not interested in what you've come to say. But as you're here you can act as messenger. Give that to Hammond when you go back to base."

"What is it?" Sam guessed even as she asked. "It's your resignation isn't it?"

O'Neill picked up the whiskey glass, sniffed at the contents and then put it down again.

Sam shook her head. "Permission to speak, Colonel."

O'Neill looked at her. "You just said it, Captain. That's my resignation. You don't need to ask my permission for anything ever again."

Something in O'Neill's tone made Sam bristle. After all they'd been through did he really think he could dismiss her that easily?

"With all due respect," she began. O'Neill raised an eyebrow. "With all due respect, Jack," Sam emphasised his first name. "I've known you to be arrogant, irritating and downright pigheaded. But I've never taken you to be a selfish bastard before."

O'Neill's mouth dropped open. "Language, Captain," he finally managed to say. He didn't think he'd ever seen Sam so angry. "Selfish?"

Sam slammed the resignation down on the desk in front of him. "Tell me, Jack. Who does this help? You? Oh yes. Go ahead. Resign. Spend your days growing onions and gazing at the stars. But what about Daniel?"

At the mention of the anthropologist's name Jack's shoulders physically fell. "He doesn't need me around screwing up his life for him," he said quietly.

"The hell he doesn't," Sam replied. "Let me tell you something, Jack O'Neill. If you resign over this, you're as good as beating Daniel again." Sam caught her breath as she saw the impact her words had on her commanding officer. "He'll never forgive himself if you quit because of him. Trust me. He's on the mend physically. But it's up to you whether he makes it through this mentally. You may not think so after all you two have been through, but he needs you." Sam took one last deep breath. "And with all due respect, Sir, you need him."

Jack gazed at Sam for what seemed an eternity. "Are you done, Captain?"

Sam nodded, suddenly feeling very nervous. Jack took a deep breath. Selfish? Is that what he was being? It had seemed simple. Obvious even. Get out of SGC. Leave Daniel alone to put his life back together. His best friend. The fact was, Jack realised, he was terrified he'd lost that friendship. And he knew, deep down that resigning was just away of running away from reality. The way he'd run off to Abydos with no intention of coming back when Charlie...

Could this be different? Could he salvage something from the nightmare this time round? Jack stood up, picking up the whiskey glass and the envelope as he did so. He walked into the kitchen with Sam close behind him and poured the alcohol slowly down the sink. Then he tore the letter into small pieces. "Well in that case, Captain, you'd better drive me back to the base. Seems I've got some bridges to rebuild."

 ...................................................

 

Early evening in a local park, two men met as though by chance.

"I'm sorry about the O'Neill incident," Maybourn said. "Seems Hammond had more influence than we anticipated. Although we did get some useful information about the drug."

The tall man's lips stretched into a thin smile. "No apology needed. Did you really think this was about testing out the drug?"

"Well... yes!"

The tall man laughed humourlessly. "So innocent. No, this little incident was designed to make Hammond play his hand. And now that he has," the man smiled, " we know where all the aces are."

"But..." Maybourn's mind was whirling. "You couldn't have known I'd go for O'Neill."

The tall man raised an eyebrow. "Couldn't I?"

Maybourn swallowed hard, suddenly feeling he was in to something dark far deeper than he wished to be. "So what now?"

"Now?" The tall man began to move away. "For now, we just bide our time. But don't worry. I'll be in touch - soon."

...................................................

It had been a week since Daniel returned to full duty. SG1 were down in the storeroom gathering up equipment for their next trip through the gate. As Sam took a small measuring device down from a shelf she couldn't help but smile as Daniel and Jack engaged in some light-hearted banter. It had taken the two men a while to get back to this level. The first few days that Jack had been back on base had been like walking on eggshells, nobody seemed quite to know what to say. Gradually though, the routine of the base and the demands of work had begun to restore the equilibrium. Sam still doubted whether Jack and Daniel had really talked about the incident. Perhaps they never would, she thought. Certainly Jack wasn't prone to what he called 'touchy feelly' stuff, preferring action to words. Ah well, Sam thought, when the time was right, they'd deal with it their own way. At least the team was together again, fully fit, give or take an organ or two, and ready to head out on another trip.

"You know we don't really need that much videotape," Jack complained as Daniel dropped four more cartons on top of the six he'd already put aside.

"Oh yes we do," he retorted.

"Don't."

"Do."

Jack sighed. "We do only if you're planning on videotaping every single blade of grass we come across. Which of course I suppose you are."

Sam grinned and touched Teal'c arm. "Could you help me get this up to the gateroom?" She indicated a large black box.

"Of course, Captain Carter."

Jack and Daniel barely noticed their team mates leave as they continued to verbally spar.

"Well," said Jack. "If you need that much videotape, I'm going to need an extra pillow for all the hours I'm going to be stuck doing nothing."

As Jack reached past Daniel's head towards the shelf the younger man flinched. "I'm sorry!" Daniel apologised rapidly as a hurt expression shot across O'Neill's face.

"Forget it."

"No Jack," Daniel protested. "I really didn't mean..."

"Daniel, it's alright."

Daniel sighed and sat down on the nearest box. For the past three weeks he and Jack had managed to avoid the one issue that still stood before them. Of course, O'Neill had apologised for what he had done and Daniel had fully accepted that apology. Yet it still hung between them like an invisible barrier. "No, it's not alright. Jack, you're my best friend and in my head I know that you'd never deliberately hurt me. It's just that..."

Jack looked at the anthropologist, dreading what Daniel was going to say next, but knowing that they had to get this out in the open if they were ever going to move past it. "Go on."

"I need some time. You know, it's like... It's just that sometimes... you're there in my nightmares. Well, not you exactly, the other you."

Uncomfortable, Jack resorted to humour. "What can I say Daniel? That's me. A regular Jekyll and Hyde."

"But it isn't," Daniel protested. "I know the real Jack. The one who would stand by me through thick and thin." Daniel tried to smile. "The nightmares... they won't last forever."

Jack returned Daniel's smile, not knowing what else to do or what he could say. He knew that Daniel sensed his own pain. Was even desperate to salve it for him. But Jack had his own nightmares. "Please don't hurt me any more." The words haunted his dreams, the image of Daniel on his knees in agony shocking him into sweat-drenched wakefulness. And Jack knew only too well that the nightmares didn't go away. He'd learned to live with enough of them. At least Daniel was half right, given time they would get over this. Maybourn and his twisted plans may have pushed their friendship to its limits, but he hadn't managed to break it. There was a bond between them that went far deeper than perhaps either of them truly realised. And now that the taboo was broken there would be time to talk - perhaps when they got back from this trip. There was nothing like a beer or two to loosen the tongue. Jack smiled, feeling the beginnings of release creeping over him.

Carefully Jack reached past the anthropologist for two extra cartons of videotape. "How about we make that a round dozen. And don't forget my pillow."

 

Extract from Daniel's Diary

Well, Jack was as good as his word. While Sam and I explored the remains of an old encampment near the gate, he spent the entire time dozing. Of course the fact that the planet had a climate resembling a perfect summer's day helped. Now he's boosting about his tan! Well the trip may not have been eventful but the return home was. Seems my lawyer has mysteriously been transferred to an urgent and classified job. I'm meant to be assigned someone new, but nobody seems to know where my file has gone. Jack's livid. Reckons Maybourn is behind it all. He's probably right - it is much too suspicious. But as Jack says - there's more than one way to skin a cat.

At least Jack and I are back on track. It still seems weird though - knowing that part of him is inside me. I wonder if this is how Teal'c feels about his larval goa'uld? Probably not. But it will take a while to get used to the idea. Funny how I feel I owe him because of it - yet he still feels he owes me. Perhaps one day we'll figure it all out.

In the meantime, I've got some low alcohol beer from Somalia for Jack to try.

 


 

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