Broca’s Legacy

Colonel O’Neill set a quick pace to put himself in front of Captain Carter, he knew he probably shouldn’t have made that remark about her tank top but he couldn’t resist the urge to keep her guessing.

Now all the excitement was over Jack could feel the adrenaline rush dissipating, he felt like he hadn’t slept in a week. This, he guessed, was pretty accurate considering that the minute they’d established the serum worked, he and Teal’c had gone about organising a rescue team to find Daniel. Jack had been going raving mad back on base because he couldn’t go after Daniel ‘till he had a team, and he didn’t have a team ‘till everyone had taken the antidote. Jack O’Neill had never been known for his patience under ordinary circumstances, knowing one of his team, someone he cared about, was out there alone just made it worse.

Walking through the ever-increasing numbers of ‘Untouched’, Jack found himself seeking out his once lost, but now found teammate. He couldn’t see him, nor could he see the big, bald, black man that was usually his constant shadow. The fact that Teal’c wasn’t in sight either should have calmed him somewhat – the logical conclusion being that wherever the pair were, they were at least together. However, on this occasion, Jack didn’t find that thought any more comforting.

Jack doubled back thinking maybe he’d gone right past them, he knew the other members of the rescue party were questioning his actions, but he didn’t have time to explain, he just needed to find Daniel.

Sam caught sight of her C.O and, for a second, she thought he was coming back to rib her some more – oh the joy. It didn’t take her long to notice the deep worry lines embedded on his forehead, it was a face she was starting to recognised well from previous missions when a certain young and, on occasion, insatiably curious archaeologist forgot the number one rule of ‘Colonel knows best’. Just as Sam was about to enquire why he was looking so stressed this time, Colonel O’Neill veered off to one side, having obviously caught sight of what he was looking for.

Sam followed his movements and tracked slightly ahead to gauge his destination. The worry made sense for, as she predicted, kneeling on the ground, was Daniel. Leaning forward, hands on his knees, back heaving with a large dark shadow cast over him, whom she concluded could only belong to one person - Daniel’s current designated watcher, Teal’c. Colonel O’Neill arrived swiftly at Teal’c’s side, the pair looking absurdly tall looming menacingly, while Daniel remained, almost bent double now, on the ground.

Sam halted her forward progress and observed the Colonel speaking with Teal’c, by the hand gestures alone she could tell he was most likely asking ‘what the hell is wrong with him now for cryin’ out loud?’

Then the flailing hands and arms stopped abruptly and she watched him crouch down, projecting only calm and intense concern, to kneel in front of Daniel. Knowing she could be of assistance Sam broke away from the rest of the SGC team and made her way over to Daniel’s position.

“Carter?” Jack could see her approach out of the corner of his eye. “You got the med kit?” He was holding Daniel’s chin firmly in his grasp when Daniel snapped his head, dislodging Jack’s hand, and dropped it back to hang between his shoulders, gasping big gulps of air into his lungs.

“Yes, sir.” Sam rifled through her pack, producing the standard issue med kit within seconds.

“Jack…I’m…fine…don’t…need…” Daniel was struggling to breathe and Jack wondered just how far he’d get with his sentence before giving in to the inevitable.

“DanielJackson you will refrain from causing yourself further discomfort.” Teal’c interrupted in that deep tone that was once used to command armies.

Daniel, doing as he was told for a change, effectively shut up. Looking suitably chastised, he began chewing on his lower lip in between wheezes, the very action making him look ten kinds of vulnerable.

“What’s the problem, Sir?”

“Daniel’s having a little trouble breathing, he’s doing okay though.” Jack assured her, smiling more for Daniel’s benefit than anything.

“Do you have asthma, Daniel?” Sam asked kneeling down in the grass next to the Colonel.

“Carter, he’s in no shape for twenty questions,” Jack snapped impatiently, the calm façade he was obviously maintaining for Daniel’s sake, wearing thin.

Sam didn’t say anything though; it had been a long wait, trying to convince Tupelo and his people there was no ‘curse’ as such. When she’d had enough of going in circles Sam came out with the crack about ‘lifting the curse’. Daniel had suddenly woken up, so the Colonel never got to elaborate on the funny look he’d given her. Of course if Daniel hadn’t taken so long, making them worry so much then in all likely hood she wouldn’t have gotten to the point where she felt like giving up. But none of that really mattered now.

“No, never ... had ... this ... before,” Daniel managed to pant between inhalations, closing his eyes to concentrate better.

“It might be an allergic reaction.” Sam mused, Jack could literally hear the cogs grinding.

After few more minutes’ speculation, ‘allergic reaction’ seemed to be the most plausible explanation. Jack wondered if it was something in the antidote, but then figured that couldn’t be because Fraiser would have known, though the chances were that Daniel was probably allergic to a whole host of things Doc Fraiser didn’t know about.

“Jack…”

“Daniel, it’s fine, Carter’s going to give you something to help you breathe easier and then Teal’c is going to take you back.” Jack squinted up at Teal’c still looming next to them, practically blocking out the bright sunshine, to confirm the order. If Jack had his way he’d be going with them, but they really needed to wrap things up here and delaying Daniel’s medical care was not an option.

“I will ensure DanielJackson’s safety, O’Neill.”

Nodding his thanks to Teal’c, Jack refocused on Daniel. His gasping breaths were coming faster and becoming more laboured and Daniel was concentrating so hard on breathing that he didn’t even notice when Jack stood up.

“Sir.” Sam touched Jack’s sleeve and drew him slightly away from Daniel. “I’m not sure what to give him. Maybe we should just get him back to Dr. Fraiser?”

She thought she had kept her voice low enough, but Daniel’s strained words belied that. “Sam?”

Sam crouched down next to Daniel again. “You shouldn’t be talking.”

“Epi ... pen. Do ... you ... have ... one?”

Sam tuned her attention to the med kit at her feet and started examining syringes. “Yes, yes there’s one here. Will it help?”

“Carter, just give it to him,” Jack said curtly, the last few hours had been hell; he hadn’t slept in several days. Trying to convince Tuplo and his people that they were not Gods while waiting for Daniel to recover was pure torture. Worst of all Jack was beginning to think Carter’s tactic of playing into the whole God’s and magic psychosis was the only way they’d ever get to leave the damn planet.

Sam ignored her C.O, for the minute concentrating on the syringe in her hand. “Just try and stay still for me, Daniel, okay?” At his nod she rolled up his sleeve and injected the contents.

It only took a couple of minutes for the Epinephrine to work. Daniel, although still wheezing, was breathing without too much effort.

Jack relaxed considerably knowing the situation was improving and rejoined Sam crouched in front of Daniel. “Daniel, you sure do pick your moments.”

Daniel didn’t say a word, the exhaustion of the past few hours catching up with him. The respiratory distress draining what had been remaining of his flagging strength, he nodded his gratitude and slumped forward letting Sam and Jack take the majority of his weight. He just couldn’t wait to get home and put this whole nightmare behind him.

****************************

“Welcome back SG1”

“Glad to be back, General.” Jack sauntered down the ramp, a big shit-eating grin on his face.

Jack was unbelievably relieved to be back on home soil and, most importantly, to be him. Looking around he could see everything was back to normal, as if the whole touched fiasco had never occurred.

“Sir, how’s Daniel?” Sam’s voice broke through Jack’s thoughts like a razor.

All at once Jack wished he’d just blown off the friendly natives and come back with Daniel and Teal’c. Colonel Makepeace handled the demonstration of the injections just fine. It was only adhering to protocol, of all things, that kept him from doing just that.

“Teal’c carried Dr. Jackson straight to the infirmary upon arrival, I’m afraid I haven’t heard anything since.” Hammond reported gravely.

“Carried?”

“He was unconscious when they arrived.” The General scanned their puzzled faces. “I assumed that was the state you found him in.”

“No, sir.” Jack practically doubled his pace down the ramp and headed for the doors, only just stopping himself in time to turn around. “With your permission, sir.” He pointed in the direction he was already dead set on heading no matter what the General said next.

General Hammond nodded his assent, a little perplexed at the Colonel’s reaction. He turned back to Captain Carter, who usually showed more restraint than Colonel O’Neill at the best of times, and seeing the same need to leave in her eyes, he dismissed her and informed her he’d be requiring a full report at the mission debrief at 1400. No exceptions.

Sam gratefully left the ‘gate room with a crisp ‘Yes, Sir’ and followed in the Colonel’s wake.

******************

“Doc! What happened?” Jack stormed into the infirmary, openly displaying his anxiety, uncaring who noticed or that he was disturbing the peace.

“I assume you mean Daniel?” Dr Fraiser asked a little snidely. Jack let it slide, she’d worked extra hard over the past few days, without any sleep and was still here, now, looking after Daniel.

“He okay?” Jack lowered his voice, sounding much wearier now and full of concern. All he wanted was for Daniel to be okay. After almost beating the crap out of him in the control room, Teal’c losing him on the dark side of the planet, finding him too late to stop the touched virus taking over, and having to wait the several hours it took for the antidote to work, Jack didn’t want anything more to add to his mission report.

“He’s resting now. I’m unsure what caused him to lose consciousness but…” Janet’s explanation was cut short by movement from behind her.

“Jack?”

Jack moved straight past Fraiser and over to the bed where Daniel was lying slightly curled on his side.

“Hey, you okay?” Jack asked as he approached on the right side of the bed.

“Yeah, I want to go.” Daniel said hurriedly, not bothering with the usual pleasantries.

Jack rolled his eyes, the audacity astounded him every damn time, and this was no exception. “I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.” Going home by him self, after a day like today? After being missing for over 24 hours? He must be joking.

Dr Fraiser approached to stand on the opposite side of the hospital bed. “Dr Jackson, Daniel, we’ve had this discussion. You are not going anywhere until I know what caused you to lose consciousness.” Janet admonished sternly.

Daniel, severely chastised, pouted and returned pleading eyes to Jack. “I’m fine.” He ground out forcefully.

“Yeah, aren’t you always?” Jack retorted, confident Daniel was far from fine at present. “Doc?” Jack indicated with a shake of his head he wanted to talk to her out of Daniel’s earshot.

“I know you’re talking about me!” Daniel called after them.

“That’s nice Daniel.” Jack pacified, casually walking away.

Once in the CMO’s office, Jack closed the door and turned on the Doctor. “Okay, what’s that all about?!” He indicated with his thumb over his shoulder, pointing in Daniel’s general direction.

“It’s the medication I gave him, Colonel, nothing more. The effects will wear off in a few hours. I’m hoping he’ll be asleep long before then.”

“You’re hoping.” Jack repeated with a humourless laugh.

“As I was trying to say before, I’m not sure what happened exactly,” she paused hoping Jack would get the hint. He didn’t, just stared at her vacantly. “I was hoping you might be able to shed some light, Mr Teal’c hasn’t been all that vocal.”

“Yeah, isn’t much of a conversationalist, Teal’c.” Jack mused.

“Colonel?”

“What?”

“Daniel?” Janet nudged her head in the direction of her patient.

“Oh right, err... well, I don’t know myself. We found him, shot him with the antidote, he recovered. Took his sweet time about it too, thought he was never going to wake up.” The relief Jack felt when he heard Daniel say his name was palpable to say the least. “Teal’c helped him along from there. On our way back to the city Daniel started to have trouble breathing. Carter gave him a shot and Teal’c assisted him back. The last time I saw him he was walking on his own, breathing a little hard, but we all assumed he was allergic to the antidote.”

“Its okay, Colonel, it was most likely an allergic reaction, but I need to know more to prevent it from happening again.” Janet paced the length of her office in deep thought. “Captain Carter gave him a shot?”

“Yeah, just to help his breathing, it seemed to work.”

Jack watched the Doctor pace a little more.

“Okay, well, I’ll work on it. He seems fine, but like I told Daniel, I want to keep him under observation.”

“Best guess, Doc?”

“Best guess at this point would be a reaction to something on P3X 797. If I’m right then it’s just a matter of waiting until Daniel’s body purges it on its own.”

Jack nodded, but made no move to leave.

At his thoughtful look Janet enquired, “Is there something else I should know Colonel?”

“Ah, no, I don’t think…everything else is… alright…right?” Jack asked cryptically, stumbling over his words as he did so.

“Well he’s got a few bruises and contusions, but nothing that won’t heal.” Janet replied nonchalant.

“No I mean…” Jack paused, stuck on how to word this next bit without feeling quite so uncomfortable. “His pants were ripped.” He said bluntly, not being able to think of a more discreet way of asking if Daniel had been sexually interfered with.

Janet raised her eyebrows trying to fathom exactly what Daniel’s torn uniform had to do with anything, but just as she said those words in her head the penny dropped. “No Colonel.”

“No?” Everything’s not all right? Jack was shocked; it had just been one of those wild thoughts flying through his head, not something he really had actually expected to be true.

Seeing his shock Janet quickly retracted her statement. “I mean he’s fine Colonel, nothing happened.”

Oh thank god. “Nothing? You sure?” He asked hesitantly, remembering who Daniel was with when they had found him.

Janet smiled despite herself. “Positive, there’s no need to worry.”

Jack, although still concerned, was satisfied with her answer, and knowing Daniel wasn’t in any serious danger he felt free to leave Fraiser and her drugged to the gills sleeping patient in peace. Upon re entering the infirmary area however he was confronted with the fact that Daniel, although drugged, was most definitely not asleep.

“Daniel, what are you doing?” Jack was tired, and dealing with an immature, pain in the ass Daniel was not something he thought he could cope with right now.

“I don’t like it here.” Daniel replied tersely, pulling up his pants up without even getting off the bed.

Janet had followed Jack out and was not impressed with what she saw. “Daniel, I’m not discharging you; end of discussion.”

Daniel continued to dress regardless, quickly pulling his boots on not bothering with the laces. He was set to jump off the bed to finish the job with his pants, when Jack put a restraining hand on his chest.

“Not so fast, speedy. Doc says you have to stay.” Jack said as calmly as he could.

“I don’t care, I’m not staying.” He pushed at Jack’s hand and tried to force himself off the bed. Every second wasted was a second closer to him succumbing to the sedative Janet gave him; meaning he’d end up staying for sure. If he could just get out the door – they couldn’t force him to stay if he didn’t want to!

Jack saw Dr Fraiser move forward as if to assert her authority, Jack gave her a quick shake of his head and moved to pull the curtain around to give him and Daniel some privacy.

“Okay. What’s going on?” ‘Cause he knew damn well this was more than just medication.

“What?” Daniel’s tone was impertinent.

“You. What’s going on with you?” Jack poked Daniel in the chest for emphasis.

“Nothing.” He denied with a swift shake off his head, arms folding instantly across his chest, not letting anybody in.

“Don’t give me that, you maybe stubborn sometimes, but you’re not a complete idiot. You know you have to stay for your own good. Something is bugging you.”

Daniel studied him for a second before answering in a sulk. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Jack huffed,then resigned to the inevitable. “Get back in bed.” Daniel eyed him warily. “That’s an order.”

Daniel rolled his eyes and threw himself back onto the bed in a huff; arm placed conveniently over face so Jack couldn’t see the brightness in his eyes. Although he couldn’t hear or see him, Daniel instinctively knew Jack was still watching him, so he kept up the act. Minutes passed in silence as the sedative finally kicked in and forced Daniel into an uneasy sleep.

Jack pulled the curtain back to reveal Daniel, unconscious. Janet looked at him in horror.

“What happened?”

“Relax, Doc, he’s just asleep, sedative kicked in.” Jack said idly.

Janet examined her patient and confirmed Jack’s statement. Daniel was indeed just asleep.

“I’ve already beat him up enough for one week, don’t you think?”

Janet didn’t answer, she was aware of how Daniel got his original injury on base.

“What was all that about anyway?” She asked genuinely interested, Daniel had seemed to be so adamant about leaving.

“I don’t know.” Jack replied thoughtfully.

With a cursory nod, Jack left the infirmary and left Janet to undress Daniel and get him settled into bed. He’d only got a few feet down the hall before he bumped into Carter.

“Sir, how’s Daniel?”

He stopped in front of her and contemplated the question.

“Sir?” Sam asked unsure.

“He seems fine. Doc’s keeping him.”

Sam regarded the drawn features and the fact that he seemed to be elsewhere and concluded there was definitely something on his mind. “But?”

“I’m not sure.” Jack said distractedly continuing his walk down the corridor, Sam at his side. “He kicked up a fuss about having to stay in the infirmary.”

“How big a fuss?” Sam asked.

“Imagine he’s just discovered something really fascinating, but I’ve issued the order to leave before he gets a chance to investigate further.”

“That bad?”

“If it wasn’t for the sedative Doc gave him he’d be half way home by now.” Jack looked pensive, the worry lines from earlier gracing his features once again.

Not entirely understanding why, Sam decided to take some of the weight off his mind and offered up her services. “I’m going to be staying on base tonight; I’ll keep an eye on him.”

“Am I that transparent?” Jack joked, not really wanting to hear her reply but knowing he’d get one anyway.

Momentarily stuck with how to respond, Sam had to remind herself Colonel O’Neill was not like a lot of commanding officers. “It’s obvious you care, sir.” She said plainly, settling for the basic truth that she hoped wouldn’t make him too uncomfortable.

“So much for my hard-ass image then huh?”

Their eyes met in understanding and Jack went off to change his clothes, leaving his 2IC behind at the elevator.

**********************

Sam walked into the darkened infirmary, all the lights were dimmed to give the impression of night and there was only the one nurse stationed at the desk. She mulled over whether or not she should proceed, she had the feeling Dr Fraiser wouldn’t appreciate her disturbing the peace.

“Sam?” The quiet and very sleepy voice came out of nowhere.

“Dr. Jackson?”

“Daniel.” He corrected her immediately.

“Daniel. I thought you would be asleep.” She stated, seating herself next to his bed.

Daniel was still lying on his side, one hand idly playing with the IV tubing sitting unused next to his bed. “If you thought I was asleep, why are you here? Are you ill?”

“No, no, I …” She stopped dead, whether he meant to or not he’d tricked her, and she very nearly landed Colonel O’Neill right in it. Despite the fact Sam knew these two people were friends there was a certain give and take to their odd relationship that she hadn’t quite grasped yet. Daniel was self contained and independent, when he was working he rarely seemed to notice the world around him. His blatant disregard for authority, especially the Colonel’s, should have made him the last choice for off world travel, yet the Colonel had agreed to have him on the team. She guessed, despite all those little quirks and differences she was yet to understand, the up shot of it was the Colonel was extremely overprotective of Daniel. Something Daniel was only aware of half the time, but hated all the same, which is why she couldn’t say anything now. “I guess I was just checking up on you. Wanted to make sure you were okay.” She finally admitted, it was the truth, just not the whole truth.

Daniel stared back at her dumbly, his whole face asking ‘why?’ Sam frowned, but refrained from comment.

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine.”

“Hurts like a bitch doesn’t it?” She said bluntly. Sam could tell by the shock Daniel was carefully trying to conceal on his face that he hadn’t pegged her for the blunt, ‘to the point’ type and if she’d been talking about particles and wormhole physics he’d be right.

“If you mean your whole body contorting into something very much not human then changing back again just as abruptly. Yeah, I know what you mean.” Daniel smiled at her and Sam had to admit it was a delightful sight, she could see why the Colonel was so taken with him.

“You sure you’re okay?” She asked, frowning again. Daniel, lying on his side, his head half hidden in the pillow but eyes wide open was a disconcerting sight somehow; he looked so lost and alone.

“Yeah.” Daniel whispered eyes downcast to the tubing sticking out of his hand, looking for all the world like a scared little boy. In fact examining the face more closely she couldn’t help but speculate on just how old Daniel really was. She knew he held at least two PhD’s, and had worked in the field as a once respected archaeologist before his meeting with Catherine, so he couldn’t possibly be as young as he looked. Yet he seemed so young, so naïve, plus his face still held that baby roundness – totally defying her judgement on the matter. She was about to inquire to end her suffering thought processes, but when she looked up, Daniel was fast asleep.

**************************

Jack returned to the mountain bright and early the next day, making his first port of call the infirmary to check up on Daniel. He hadn’t slept well, having spent the better part of the night wondering about Daniel’s odd reaction to staying in the infirmary.

“Doc?”

“Yes Colonel?” Fraiser greeted him without diverting from her task.

“Where’s Daniel?” Jack visibly scanned the infirmary, but Daniel was nowhere to be seen.

“I released him first thing this morning - for his own good.”

“His own good?” Jack asked incredulous.

They were interrupted by the appearance of Captain Carter. “Colonel.”

“Captain,” he greeted, “have a nice night?” She smiled but didn’t reply.

“Janet? Is Daniel still here?” Sam asked.

“No I’ve released him, he needs to sleep and I can’t keep sedating him.”

“Problems I take it?” Jack leaned casually against the wall, knowing he should have expected as much after yesterday.

Janet gathered her files and faced both of them. “He just couldn’t settle, and to be honest I have no idea why.”

“No offence, but it isn’t exactly the Ritz, maybe he was just a bit uncomfortable, kid’s been thrown around a lot recently – it’s going to take him some time to feel comfortable anywhere.” Jack said quietly.

Sam felt incredibly uncomfortable hearing this; she didn’t feel like she knew Daniel well enough to eavesdrop on others discussing him so personally.

“Well, while I’d normally agree with that assessment, I don’t think that’s the case here.” Janet was straight to the point.

“Oh?” Jack, raised eyebrows and all, stood up straight to hear what the Doc had gotten out of Daniel.

Sam slowly backed off and made her way to the door, intending to leave them to it.

“The only time he slept peacefully, without any drugs, was when Captain Carter came to visit.”

Sam had just reached the door when upon hearing her name, she turned back curious. “What?”

Janet addressed Sam directly, not having noticed her gradual departure from the room. “I saw you come in, you two only talked for a matter of minutes before he was fast asleep, but once you’d gone he woke up and we were back to square one, he fought against sleeping for the rest of the night.”

The Colonel turned to face the bemused Captain. “Well Carter, it seems you obviously have a way with our Daniel, care to share?” Jack joked, enjoying her fish out of water expression.

“I don’t know what…” Sam dragged the words out, unsure what to say to that.

“Oh, he has that way with all the girls,” Jack replied with a waggle of his eyebrows, striding past the bemused Captain on a mission to find where Daniel had gotten to.

**********************

“Hey Danny!” Jack greeted as he sauntered into Daniel’s office uninvited.

Daniel looked up from his contemplation of the cold coffee in front of him. “Hello.” He returned the greeting pensively. Did Jack just call him Danny?

“Doc says you didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Daniel ducked his head abashedly, out of habit, he remembered making an idiot of himself yesterday in the infirmary, practically begging not to be made to stay there alone. God, he wished he could just curl up in a corner and die right now. Looking up he saw Jack was still waiting patiently for an answer.

“Um, no-I mean yeah-I…I just hate hospitals that’s all, reminds me of Foster Care.” Oh crap, why did he just say that? He’d been talking all in a rush, an effort to dismiss Jack’s question, to avoid further embarrassment. He shouldn’t have said that.

Daniel risked an upward glance in Jack’s direction and as expected he had his head cocked to the side, quite obviously trying to make sense of that last comment.

“I’m fine.” Daniel stated flatly, well aware all evidence pointed to the contrary.

“Okaaay. Briefing at 1300, don’t be late,” was all Jack said before leaving, puzzled look still firmly in place.

Daniel remained seated behind his desk, staring blankly after the departing figure. Well if that wasn’t one of the strangest conversations he’d had with Jack since he’d returned. Not seeing the obvious concern behind Jack’s few words, Daniel dismissed it as Jack just being Jack and decided to get on with some work.

*************************

“Colonel, where is Dr Jackson?” General Hammond asked checking his watch for what must have been the tenth time since the briefing started fifteen minutes ago.

“Sorry I’m late!” Daniel rushed in to the room, arms ladened with folders, his glasses swinging precariously from one finger. Daniel took his seat next to Sam, dumping everything, including the glasses, in front of him. Jack sat on the opposite side of the table staring at him assessingly.

‘What?’ Daniel mouthed once Sam had started filling in the General on the details of why PX8 Y76 was worth their effort.

Jack narrowed his eyes, lifted one hand and pointed discretely, but not so discretely that Daniel couldn’t read the message loud and clear. Jack was pissed with him.

Briefing finished, with an order to be ready to embark at 0600 hours, everyone filed out of the room. That was everyone, except Daniel. He remained sitting, knuckling his tired eyes and planning just how he was going to get any work done today in his current exhausted state.

“You’ll poke your eye out if you’re not careful.”

Daniel looked up sharply. “Jack. I thought everyone had left.”

Jack pushed away from his leaning position in the still open doorway and walked back into the room.

“They have, I came back when I noticed you weren’t following. Something wrong?”

“No, everything’s fine. You’re mad at me aren’t you?”

Daniel’s bluntness took him by surprise, but he could handle that. “I distinctly remember telling you ‘not to be late’.”

“Is this the point where you also remind me that if I was one of your men my ass would be grass by now?” Daniel gave a weak smile, not having enough energy to do anything more.

“Daniel, I can’t help but notice the complete lack of running dialogue today.” Jack said playfully.

“I’m just tired, Jack.” This time Daniel’s smile actually reached his eyes.

“Yeah, well, let’s see if we can fix that shall we?” Jack indicated Daniel should stand up and follow him out.

Daniel frowned, he was not exactly sure what Jack was suggesting and was wondering if he really wanted to know, but he did stand and follow as requested.

“Jack?”

“You. Sleep. Now.” Jack reiterated once Daniel had caught up to him.

“I can’t, I have work to do.” Daniel said as the pair strolled down the corridor and into the elevator.

“Daniel this is an order, it’s non negotiable.” Jack teased.

They exited the elevator a couple of floors up, walked down yet another corridor, eventually ending up outside an unmarked, locked room.

“Can you order me to do something like that…where are we?” Daniel’s voice trailed off distracted by their new surroundings.

“My quarters.”

“Your quarters?”

“Yeah my office is just across the way.” Jack pointed to another blank door on the opposite side of the corridor.

“You have an office?” Daniel asked, rather amused by that prospect, Jack didn’t seem like the office type.

“Yes, but don’t tell anyone. They’ll start sending me memos.” Jack said, confusing Daniel further.

Jack unlocked the door with a quick swipe of his key card and pushed Daniel into the room.

Daniel, propelled by Jack, stumbled inside and looked around. “Why are we here?”

“We are here because I, believe it or not, have paper work to do. You are here to catch up on sleep before tomorrow’s mission.” Jack leaned on the doorframe, one hand still holding onto the handle.

“Oh. OH!” Daniel caught on. “Jack, I’m fine, I’ll sleep when I get home.”

“No you won’t, because you’re not going home.”

“I’m not?”

“No, we’re leaving at 0600? 6am?” Jack clarified at Daniel’s still bemused expression.

“I worked that out, thank you Jack.” Daniel glared. “Why can’t I sleep at home?”

“Because Daniel, I know you, you’ll work late and by the time you do decide to call it a night and go home you’ll only have a couple of hours before you have to be back at the mountain.”

“Couple of hours is all I need.” Daniel challenged.

“Good. So you can sleep here while I work. I’ll collect you for dinner in the commissary and then we are going to the gym.”

“Gym?” Daniel had been ready to make another protest, but got sidetracked by the ‘gym’ comment.

“Sleep Daniel.” Jack said, ignoring Daniel’s question as he closed the door.

Daniel stood in the middle of the room for a second looking completely confused. The room was very small, it had a bed and a small dresser and was nowhere near as fancy as the VIP rooms, but it was much nicer than the standard bunkrooms or the infirmary. The bed even looked like it might not actually break his spine if he lay on it for a prolonged period. A yawn escaped before Daniel could even lie to himself that sleep wasn’t necessary right now.

Five hours passed and, as promised, Jack returned to drag Daniel to dinner with him, Carter and Teal’c. He knocked on the door as a cursory gesture, letting himself in without waiting for a reply.

Taking in the darkened, silent, room it appeared that Jack’s bet had paid off. Upon flicking on the light he located Daniel curled up in the centre of his bed, still fast asleep. Jack strolled over and sat himself lightly on the edge of the narrow bed, reaching out he roughly shook Daniel’s shoulder.

“Time to get up Danny boy.”

Daniel woke up immediately, lifting his upper body off the surprisingly comfortable bed and examining his strange surroundings. “I fell asleep.”

“Apparently so. Come on Carter and Teal’c will be waiting.” Jack stood up and waited for Daniel by the door.

Daniel followed without further conversation, still drowsy from sleep and looking decidedly rumpled. It usually took him more than a few minutes, bordering on half an hour, to get going after being asleep, so he let Jack guide him out of the room and toward their destination.

***********************

“Alright SG-1, you have a go.”

“Thank you General! Alright kids, you heard the man.” Jack swept his arm in front of him indicating his team should precede him through the wormhole.

One at a time they emerged on the other side, the wormhole cutting off moments after Jack had stepped through. The team fanned out, with Daniel at the DHD confirming their home address.

“Okay Carter?”

“Yes, sir.” Sam came to attention at his side.

“Since this is our first science,” Jack drawled seeking out Daniel, “and of course cultural mission, where do you suggest we start?”

He didn’t like the idea that every mission from now on was to include investigation of the scientific benefit of each planet they visited, but since the President himself had made the order, there wasn’t much he could do except suck it up and make the best of it. The look on Daniel’s face when the General informed him that the President had agreed with him was priceless and almost worth the inconvenience.

“Well we’ve confirmed via the MALP that the immediate vicinity seems to be deserted. Daniel’s been studying the telemetry and found signs that the planet might have been inhabited at some point in the last 100 years…”

“Daniel?” Jack called jovially.

Daniel jogged over, pocketing his notebook with Earths glyphs on it as he went. “Well, you see these, uh, rocks,” Daniel indicated a row of large, angular boulders rising clear above the overgrown grass that led away from the Stargate. “I think they probably lead somewhere, uh, significant.”

“You think?” Daniel gave him a tight little smile and shrug of his shoulders. “Fine, follow the, uh, yellow block road then,” Jack said brightly. Enticing low groans out of everyone except Teal’c, who merely looked puzzled clearly not understanding the reference. “I’ll lend you the tape Teal’c, don’t worry.”

Jack’s comment only served to confuse the Jaffa further and so he then looked to Daniel who immediately shook his head, telling Teal’c it was just another one of Colonel O’Neill’s odd comments and to pay it no mind.

Jack moved forward, taking point, tucking Daniel neatly in behind him, with Sam taking up the rear.

“How’s the arm Daniel?” Jack said over his shoulder.

“Fine, but next time I think I’ll be safer with Teal’c.”

Teal’c raised a solitary eyebrow at the mention of his name, but Sam was the one to speak up.

“What happened to your arm Daniel?”

“Oh Jack decided I needed some extra one on one training, you know ready for the next time I get kidnapped.”

Jack and Sam both grimaced at the tone, but due to their relative positions nobody saw. Daniel was clearly still feeling guilty over the whole ‘Touched’ incident. He’d even apologised to Teal’c, which confused the Jaffa immensely, for being more of a hindrance than a help in their mission to obtain the blood sample that eventually lead to Dr Fraiser creating an antidote.

No more conversation was forthcoming as the team approached their chosen destination. The row of boulders finally led them to a large cliff side pockmarked with caves. Dropping their heavy gear in the clearing at the end of the path SG1 made their way down the slight hill towards the first set of entrances. Daniel was mesmerized; he wandered up and down the face of the cliff, undecided on which opening to investigate first.

“Daniel.”

“Jack?”

“Pick one.”

“Oh, okay.” Daniel moved slowly toward the opening closest to the path they had emerged from.

The mission so far was going smoothly. Although Daniel was back to being eerily quiet and Jack couldn’t help but think it had something to do with what happened in the infirmary the night before last. Daniel had slept fine in his quarters yesterday afternoon and last night, so he knew the docile attitude wasn’t due to lack of sleep.

“Carter, I’m going to stay with Daniel – it looks like he could be a while. Take Teal’c and scout the perimeter, see if there’s anything else that might be of interest, scientifically of course.” Jack wasn’t going to let the science thing go anytime soon.

“Yes, sir,” Sam replied trying not to laugh, she didn’t want to encourage him. Teal’c merely inclined his head in acknowledgement.

“Radio check every thirty minutes.” He ordered over his shoulder.

Jack trailed Daniel into the cave and maintained a post half way between the cave opening and his archaeologist. Daniel was absorbed in his work after only a few minutes, trying to film, write and walk at the same time. Jack smothered an amused smile as he walked forward, feet landing hard on the rocky floor, and took the video camera from Daniel’s lax fingers without him noticing while he juggled his pen and journal.

“You know we’ve really got to work on your observation skills.”

“What?” Daniel said distracted.

Jack sighed, not knowing why he bothered sometimes and decided to leave this conversation for another time. “Here, let me help.”

“Jack?” Daniel turned around, only just noticing he no longer held the camcorder.

“Hmm?” Jack played with the zoom function.

“What are you doing?”

“Ensuring that we aren’t going to be here longer than absolutely necessary.” Jack waved the camera in his face.

Daniel rolled his eyes, on a normal day he would have a snappy come back waiting to be unleashed. Instead he held his tongue and got on with the work at hand. “Could you film the pictographs on that far wall then?”

“Sure.”

Daniel stared at Jack’s back for a minute before going back to scribbling notes in his journal.

They both worked quietly, side by side, getting further and further into the cave cum passageway, their only light now being the flashlights on their vests.

“Carter to Colonel O’Neill.” Both radios burst to life in a storm of static almost obliterating the words.

“O’Neill here.”

“Carter to O’Neill.”

“Captain Carter, this is O’Neill, you’re breaking up.” Jack subconsciously started to walk toward the cave mouth.

“Sir, you’re breaking up.”

“Yeah, I got that. We’ll be out in a minute Captain, stay put.” Jack took his hand off of the radio and turned his attention to Daniel. The young man seemed to have totally ignored the radio exchange he was so absorbed in the faint illustrations on the cave wall.

“Daniel.”

“Umm?”

“Daniel!” Jack barked trying to get his complete and undivided attention.

Daniel finally turned, squinting in the glare of Jack’s flashlight. Jack took the light from his vest and angled it down.

“We need to get back to Carter and Teal’c. There’s no signal this far back.” Jack kept his tone clipped with no room for discussion.

“These pictograms clearly show...”

“Yeah, whatever, we have to go.”

“Jack, I’m just getting started...”

“You’re done, we’ve got to go.”

“Okay, but I just need to look at one thing.”

“Daniel.” Jack warned.

“There’s something here, Jack, just let me...” Daniel let the sentence hang as he walked further into the darkness.

“Daniel!” Jack yelled to the receding back of his obtuse teammate. Jack quickly followed, red tinged visions of beating Daniel in the control room, coming back to throw water on the flames of his anger. He would never hurt Daniel, when he was in his right mind anyway, but the man was definitely pushing all of his buttons at the moment.

Jack caught up with Daniel just as the passage opened up into a large room decorated similarly to what they had seen on Ra’s ship, in the centre of the vast empty space stood a pedestal with a small figure atop it. Daniel was striding purposely across the room to the object, his attention totally absorbed to the exclusion of his surroundings.

Jack called out to him again, and again, Daniel didn’t respond, he was lost in his own little world once more. This was what wound Jack up about Daniel the most, having focus was one thing, but being oblivious to all obstacles was entirely something else. Daniel had an innocence about him that was both endearing and annoying at the same time. Just like a child, Daniel had an exuberant enthusiasm that could not be quashed by anyone. Once his mind was focused on something nothing else existed and unfortunately for Jack this was one of those times.

Examining the odd décor of the room, Jack instinctively knew that something was wrong. Everything was too perfectly set, too open, if there hadn’t been any Goa’uld activity for a hundred years how come there didn’t seem to be so much as a floor title out of place. As Jack’s mind was running through the possible reasons why the room looked like it had seen housekeeping just that morning, the ground beneath his feet began to tremor, giving Jack his answer. Oh. Crap.

“Daniel!”

“O’Neill?”

Jack spun around. “Teal’c, what you doing here?”

“We were concerned when Captain Carter could not reach you on the radio.” Teal’c stated curtly. He took one look around the vast room. “This place is Goa’uld.”

“Yeah I guessed that.”

The floor shifted, gravel and dust rained down from the ceiling. Daniel wavered, but regained his footing and maintained his trajectory toward the centre of the expansive room.

“We should not remain here.” Teal’c said unnecessarily.

“Teal’c, buddy, you read my mind. Everybody out!”

Jack and Teal’c turned to leave the room as it became more unstable by the minute. Realising he wasn’t being followed, Jack looked back and saw that Daniel was still trying to reach the damn pedestal. Jack lunged forward, prepared to drag him out of the cave if necessary, before the whole thing came crashing down on top of them.

Momentarily stunned by the hands grasping his, Daniel snagged the object he’d been so intent on reaching and, with Jack at his back, made a run for it.

Upon exiting the cave, the trio made a break for safer ground. It was clear by anyone’s standards that the shaking wasn’t a natural occurrence as it was only the ground in the immediate vicinity of cliff face that was moving. Rocks were tumbling down and effectively sealing most of the entryways on ground levels.

Jack chased after the younger man who, without even acknowledging him, was headed back to where they’d left their daypacks before reaching the cliff face.

“Daniel, are you crazy? What am I thinking, of course you are, Daniel, damn it!” Jack shouted after him.

Sam was in the clearing waiting for them. “What happened?” She asked seeing Daniel approach covered in dust, coughing and sneezing from breathing the detritus of the cave. Teal’c was directly behind seemingly unperturbed by the dust coating him from head to toe.

“Cave in.” Daniel remarked glibly.

“What?! Are you guys okay?” She’d felt the slight tremors moving beneath her feet but hadn’t had a chance to contemplate what it had signified before Daniel showed up.

When Daniel didn't answer, instead keeping his focus on the object in his hands, Sam turned her gaze to the Colonel who was approaching just a few feet behind Daniel and asked again.

“What were you thinking?!” Jack ignored her completely coming to a stop next to Teal’c, too focused on bawling Daniel out to answer. Sam figured what ever this was about - it wasn’t going to end well.

“The whole place was going to be blocked off. We’d never have been able to access it again.” Daniel stated casually between hacking coughs, not even looking in Jack’s direction.

Sam watched as Jack’s expression went from one of extreme anger to out right astonishment. “Precisely my point, Daniel! Just what the hell did you think you were doing?”

“Jack, this was important!” Daniel turned his pleading to Sam and Teal’c, but it wasn’t going to work, not with the Captain and it was unlikely to make an impression with the Jaffa. Jack was making his lack of sympathy quite evident.

“Am I speaking another language? One he doesn't speak?!” Jack asked crisply, turning on Sam and then Teal’c, both of who had wisely remained silent while the argument played out. “When I say everyone out, it’s pretty clear what I mean, isn't it?”

“It is indeed, O'Neill.” Teal'c threw a positively disapproving look in Daniel’s direction. If he hadn’t had seen it with his own eyes he would never have believed the young man could be so reckless.

Daniel decided he didn't have time for Jack’s argument right now, no matter how founded it actually was. He wasn't stupid, but going back for the statuette was just an instinctive reaction. It was important. He would apologise later for scaring the crap out of them. It wasn't until Daniel felt the finger poking him in his ribs that he realised Jack was still ranting.

“I mean it, Daniel, that's it, I've had it. No more, if you’re going to be on this team, you are going to have to become part of it...Daniel, are you even listening to me?”

So much for apologising later, Daniel figured it was in his best interests to get it out of the way before Jack blew a fuse completely. He’d just opened his month to give voice to an ‘I'm sorry, next time I’ll be more careful’ when part of the figure caught his eye and he said something else entirely.

“It’s Amaunet,” Daniel wheezed, just as another coughing fit wracked his whole body.

“What? Daniel, speak English.” Jack admonished.

He saw Daniel take a deep breath and try to suppress the convulsions in his chest, Jack was prepared for the no doubt long-winded explanation, but it never came. Instead he watched as Daniel's hands went limp and the ceramic icon crashed to the floor, Daniel following almost immediately in its wake.

“Daniel!” Sam was the first to react.

Jack’s look of extreme annoyance quickly turned into one of horror the minute he saw Daniel go down. He and Teal’c both managed to grab an arm before Daniel hit the grassy floor and proceeded to lay him on the ground, quickly manoeuvring him into the recovery position.

“He’s out cold.” Sam announced after she’d checked Daniel for injuries. “He’s got no injuries, what happened?”

Jack remained silent, a rare feeling having momentarily taken over, rendering him speechless and the hot sun beating down on his back was only adding to his discomfiture.

For the second time in as many weeks Jack was struck with a deep sense of dread. Maybe fear was a better word, he wasn’t sure and really didn’t like to think about it much, but truth was, it was there, deep in the pit of his stomach, swirling and twisting his gut.

“Daniel Jackson was not visibly hurt in our escape.” Teal’c said.

Sam ran her hand over Daniel again, lingering over his forehead. “He’s hot, could be heat exhaustion?”

Mere minutes later, Daniel tried to sit up, his breath still whistling in his chest. “Whoa!”

“Hey, Daniel, shh its okay, stay still.” Jack knelt down at his shoulder, leaning over to get a look at his face, giving away nothing as to how concerned he’d been.

“What…happened?” Daniel asked still breathless, turning to get a better view of the people looking down on him.

“You fainted.” Jack replied, sounding rather unsure of himself, like he didn’t quite believe that a guy like Daniel, despite appearances, could suffer from anything close to heat exhaustion.

“I…wha’…” Daniel stopped trying to talk and instead focused on simply drawing air into his lungs, his throat felt like it was closing over, he couldn’t breathe.

Sam frowned, Daniel was heaving and his lips where turning blue. “Daniel you’re going to have to calm down, and concentrate on your breathing.”

Daniel wasn’t hearing her and took another series of rapid breaths.

“Damn it Daniel, calm down!” Jack yelled taking Daniel’s face between his hands, forcing him to hear what he was saying, but it did no good. Daniel was scared, and the worse his breathing got the more scared and panicky he became.

Damn it, what was it Janet had told him? Jack wracked his brain, closing his eyes and concentrating. Then it came to him, he snapped his eyes open, swiftly letting go of Daniel and moving behind to sit him up.

“Teal’c, hold him up.” Jack ordered as he sat down directly behind Daniel, fitting a leg either side of him. “Carter get his pack, there should be an inhaler in the med kit.” With out looking over to see if she was doing as he asked Jack grabbed Daniel around the waist and pulled him up against his chest.

“J…a…ck?” Daniel managed to gasp out wondering what the hell Jack was doing.

“Just breathe, Danny. Concentrate.” Jack put his hand over Daniel’s chest and tried to guide Daniel to match his own breathing. After the last time Dr Fraiser had shown Jack, at his own request, what to do if anything similar happened again like it had on the Touched planet. She’d said the most important thing was to keep Daniel calm and to slow his breathing.

Daniel did as Jack asked him without question for once and, surprisingly enough, Jack’s tactic was working. Daniel still couldn’t breathe properly, but he felt much calmer. The solid, comforting presence holding him helped to concentrate on what was important. Breathing in, and breathing out. In, out, in, out. Sam reappeared before him, momentarily throwing him out of his rhythm. She held the inhaler up to his mouth allowing him to take several quick puffs. Once done Daniel felt himself begin to relax, his breathing becoming much easier, more natural. With all of his energy expended, he couldn’t prevent his eyelids from sliding shut. Feeling safe and secure, he relaxed even further back against the body holding him.

“Carter we have to go back, now.” Jack hissed as he felt Daniel go limp in his arms. It was a moot point but Jack felt better for saying it.

Teal’c stood, handed his staff weapon to Sam and carefully lifted Daniel into his arms. Jack and Sam grabbed everything they could carry and followed as Teal’c set a brisk pace to the ‘gate. Within minutes they were rushing down the ramp of the Embarkation room.

***************************

“What happened, Colonel?” Hammond asked upon entering the infirmary. This was the second time Daniel Jackson had been brought back unconscious in as many missions. He surely hoped this wasn’t going to become a trend with him otherwise he’d have to reconsider the young man’s placement on SG1.

“Don’t know, sir, he suddenly had trouble breathing and passed out.” Jack answered weakly. He’d inform the General of the cave-in part of the mission another time since it wasn’t really directly related to their current predicament.

“Jack, I’m fine.” A hoarse voice spoke up.

Teal’c acknowledged Daniel and gently sat him on one of the infirmary beds. “Why do I get the feeling you’re getting used to carrying me around?” Daniel commented glibly as he quirked his eyebrow in Teal’c’s direction, trying to hide his embarrassment of having to be carried back to the SGC for a second time. “I have a headache.” He said to no one in particular.

“I thought you just said you were fine?” Jack commented dryly. Daniel gave him a look that clearly said ‘don’t start with me, I feel like crap’. He looked it too.

“What happened, son?” The General asked him.

“I don’t know…one minute…I…was…” Oh god, it was happening again. He couldn’t breathe, Daniel immediately braced both arms on the edge of the bed, his shoulders hunched trying to gulp in air to feed his starving lungs.

“Dr Fraiser!” Teal’c called across the infirmary before anyone else could react.

The small Doctor was at Daniel’s side within seconds, tersely ordering everyone out of the way so her staff could work. Jack remained as long as he could, supporting Daniel, helping him to keep his precarious balance on the bed by holding him by the shoulders.

“Daniel, remember what we talked about. Calm down and concentrate.” Daniel nodded and snapped his head back looking up at Jack with open terror.

Jack read the expression loud and clear, sure a similar look was gracing his own features at the same time. “You’re going to be fine Daniel, just breathe.”

Just as Daniel looked set to believe him, his pupils rolled to the back and he plummeted forward. Jack caught him before Daniel really did fall off the bed and could feel the heat emanating from him. He set Daniel right on the bed and noticed something, which made his stomach flip.

Daniel was no longer struggling for breath – he just wasn’t breathing period.

Dr Fraiser began shouting orders at her staff, who responded by hooking Daniel up to all types of machinery. Jack had felt his chest tighten as he was pushed back to watch by the sidelines, the panic rising in his gut while Janet and her team rallied around the bed and started shoving tubes down Daniel’s throat, he didn’t want to watch but there was no damn way he was leaving either.

Fifteen minutes later Jack was still in the infirmary, Sam and Teal’c had re-joined him as soon as the commotion had died down and all that was left to do now was wait.

Jack looked over at Daniel lying inert on the infirmary bed. How could he have let this happen? He didn’t have an answer. Jack was already troubled before this turn of events and the sight of Daniel in those loose white hospital scrubs, looking so vulnerable and helpless only served to trouble him further.

“We’ve put him on a ventilator, so he’s stable for now.” Janet announced walking over to the three people huddled in the far corner of the room.

“What’s the verdict, Doc?”

Janet paused. She had nothing. None of the therapies that she had used would have caused this reaction. None of the other Touched, either here or on the Land of Light, had had reactions like this. For some reason this last attack was even worse than the one he had upon returning from P3X 797.

A nurse approached Dr. Fraiser and handed her a sheaf of papers. “That has to be it.” She muttered to herself, seeing the most recent test results for the first time.

Jack just looked at her like she was crazy. “You want to fill us in Doc?”

“There’s no other logical explanation.” Noting the three blank faces she elaborated. “When Daniel was taken by the Touched he still had antihistamines in his system so he didn’t change right away.”

“So he got a little extra time as a punching bag – what’s the point?”

“Exactly, I’m thinking he contracted something on that planet besides the Touched virus.”

“So not only did Daniel become susceptible to the touched virus, but he contracted a second less noticeable virus on the planet?” Sam caught on to what Janet was explaining.

“Ladies my head is spinning.” Jack interrupted before they could go off on another scientific tangent.

“Basically, Sir, Daniel is suffering from a systemic infection manifested by bronco- constriction that he contracted while stranded on the dark side of P3X 797. It’s possible that we’ve been masking the symptoms with the antihistamines and bronchodilators without ever isolating the cause.”

“Doesn’t anybody speak English anymore?!” Jack asked exasperated, throwing his hands in the air.

“Sorry, sir. Daniel has an unknown alien illness that our tests have failed to detect and we’ve been covering up the cause with our preventive treatments,” Janet explained.

“So what do we do about it?”

“Just pump him full of a couple of broad spectrum antibiotics and antivirals and wait for his body to recover. Depending on how Daniel responds, we should be able to wean him off of the ventilator in twenty-four to forty-eight hours.”

“Peachy.” Jack said dryly, casting another glance in Daniel’s direction. This was all so messed up, Daniel had been the only one immune to start with, yet he’d ended up the worst off! Now how the hell does that happen?

“DanielJackson will recover?” Teal’c asked.

“I’m treating an alien virus with our drugs.” Jack wasn’t sure how he should interpret that, but the very fact the doctor didn’t answer the question with a straightforward ‘yes’ was not a good sign. “You can sit with him if you like, talk to him, let him know you’re here.”

“He can hear us?” Sam asked surprised.

“Well hearing is the last sense to shut down, and the first to awaken, a familiar presence has been known to help coma patients.” Everyone was silent. “I’m sorry I can’t give you more.” She added as an after thought, but truly meant it.

Jack grunted a reply as he walked past her over towards Daniel’s bed, Sam and Teal’c following close behind.

****************************

Jack stood up and stretched. His whole body was seizing up after having been sitting in the same position for the past three hours, with nothing to do but listen to the beeping of Daniel’s monitor and watch the ventilator bellows move up and down. He wasn’t actually due in ‘till 1100 hours for a meeting with the General, yet after leaving last night around midnight, he’d gotten as far as Lake Avenue and turned his truck around. Why? He honestly had no idea. It wasn’t as if Daniel even knew where he was, let alone that Jack was sitting with him. In all actuality he hardly even knew the kid really. They had bonded on the very first mission through the Stargate when they’d destroyed Ra together he couldn’t deny that, and since retrieving him from Abydos Jack had been feeling responsible for him.

Well, he’d be a pretty heartless bastard not to, wouldn’t he? Poor kid had no home, not even any family or friends to come back to, Jack couldn’t just leave him high and dry in the care of the military – hell, the Pentagon would have probably lost him by now. No, Jack had no idea why, at four o’clock in the morning, he was sitting in the base infirmary, other than the feeling that, above all, Daniel wouldn’t want to be here alone.

If he were going to analyse his reasoning, Jack would have to say it was the conversation they’d had the day before the start of that last mission that had got him thinking. Daniel said he didn’t like the infirmary because it reminded him of foster care. Thinking about the discussion they’d had while in said infirmary, he had asked Daniel what the hell was bugging him and Daniel had replied with ‘I don’t want to talk about it’. The pattern forming was a complicated one, if it were a fellow soldier it would be different – none of his business so long as it didn’t interfere with a mission, it wasn’t like it was his job to counsel his men or anything. Only problem was that Daniel wasn’t military, far from it.

Jack just didn’t know what to think, what he was supposed to feel - Daniel was an enigma to him. There were days Jack couldn’t believe anyone could be more of a wide-eyed innocent than Daniel, he seemed so oblivious, so enthusiastic about the smallest of things, failure never stopping him from striving to achieve his goals. Then there were days when all he wanted to do was wring his little neck. Jack doubted there was much of a difference between the Daniel Jackson he knew and the child Daniel was several years ago. Of course that meant in tandem with those wonderful qualities Daniel was naïve, insecure and easily hurt, making situations like this all the more difficult to deal with.

“Colonel, you’re still here.” Dr Fraiser walked, or was that staggered, up to Daniel’s beside and lifted the chart.

“I could say the same about you, shouldn’t you have gone home by now?” Jack paced one more length of the small area and re-took his seat, resting his feet up on the bottom of Daniel’s bed.

“Actually I’m back on at six, so didn’t see the point in going home.”

“Ah, and you’re not resting in one of the bunk rooms because...?”

Janet huffed indignantly and straightened, he wasn’t going to give it up obviously. “Daniel is my patient, sir. I just want to make sure he’s okay.”

“You just want to mother him don’t you?” Jack smiled looking innately pleased with his deductive reasoning, when Janet refused to meet his gaze. “Yep, like I said to Carter, he has a way with all the woman.”

“Oh really? What’s your excuse Colonel?” At Jack’s speechlessness and vacant look Janet smiled sweetly and moved on, taking the chart with her.

“Damn, and she seemed so harmless too.” Jack murmured to himself once Janet was out of earshot. He was quickly coming to realise the Doc was someone not to be trifled with.

*******************************

“Okay, Daniel, I’m going to remove the tube. I need you to blow real hard on the count of three okay?”

Daniel nodded, he looked scared out of his wits, but he seemed to know what the Doctor wanted from him. Jack held his breath as Janet counted and on three pulled out the tube. Daniel coughed and spluttered, looking completely exhausted from that little bit of effort.

“Well done Daniel. Now, your throat will be sore for a while, so don’t talk.”

Daniel opened his mouth to do just that, but Jack beat him to the punch. Before Daniel could utter a syllable he placed a finger to Daniel’s lips. “Uh huh now. Doc said shut up.”

Daniel stared at Jack and, for an insane moment, Jack thought he might actually consider biting it. Carefully moving his finger out of teeth reach Jack smiled and patted Daniel’s hand. “Glad you’re back.”

Daniel just stared dumbly back at him, doubting he could talk if he tried. It was a shame because he’d really like to know what the hell was going on.

“I bet your wondering what the hell is going on.” Jack unknowingly echoed Daniel’s thoughts.

Daniel, wide eyed with surprise, nodded enthusiastically.

“Okay, well you had another asthma attack, you remember?” Daniel nodded again, a bit uncertain this time. “Well it got worse; you stopped breathing, and Dr Fraiser put you on a ventilator.”

Daniel frowned, his eyebrows drawing together, thinking a moment he reached out and grabbed Jack’s hand, fingering the watch on his left wrist.

“You want to know how long?” Jack guessed. “Oh well, roughly 36 hours, Doc’s confident the treatment worked.”

Daniel frowned again. No doubt he had more questions Jack figured, just no way of communicating them yet. Especially with his head fuzzy with all the drugs.

“The treatment did indeed work. It’s nice to have you back Dr. Jackson.” Janet said when she finally looked up from her chart. A smile spread across her features.

Jack was smiling too, a great weight having lifted off his shoulders upon seeing Daniel once again vibrant and trying to communicate.

“Stay?” Daniel croaked, grimacing through the pain that one word caused.

“Yes, you have to stay, at least for another 24 hrs, after that I’ll see. I need to make sure whatever it was you contracted has gone completely this time. I don’t think your body will take another relapse.”

Daniel’s face visibly dropped and Jack found all eyes on him. “What?” He shrugged, then Fraiser sent daggers his way and he woke up to the situation. “I mean, hey what’s 24 hours no big deal.”

Jack’s sudden smile wasn’t enough to convince Daniel; he really didn’t like the idea of being kept in here.

“Colonel? A word?” Janet moved away from the bed, beckoning Jack to follow.

Jack did as asked, patting Daniel’s arm once before following.

“He has a lot of drugs in his system that may make him more edgy or nervous than usual, and I don’t want a repeat performance of last time. He needs to remain calm and, above all, rest.” Janet whispered.

“Daniel’s never edgy, a little flaky maybe…” Jack trailed, missing the point entirely.

“Well, he was the last time he had to stay here. I was hoping you’d talk to him, assure him there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

“Me?”

“Yes, you have been a constant presence in this infirmary since Daniel was admitted. I figured you’d be the best person for the job.” She said rather sadistically and threw that sweet, but deadly, smile at him again before disappearing.

Okay, no big deal. Jack turned around and looked over at Daniel, still lying in bed. He looked lost and alone, much as he had that first night back standing in the corridor, wearing a uniform a size too big for him, when Jack had melted and offered him a room for the night.

He changed his mind - it was a big deal. Crap.

“Hey, don’t look so worried.” Jack chided calmly as he strolled back over to Daniel’s bedside.

Janet bypassed them completely, going about her other duties. Jack eyed her cautiously before continuing.

“You gonna be okay?” Daniel just stared at him. “You want me to stay?” He asked in the same neutral tone.

Daniel shrugged in response.

Jack decided to take that as a yes and re-took his previous position with surprising ease. “Well, this is a rare opportunity,” Jack commented, almost to himself. “While I have you all silent and restrained in one place, this would be a good time to go over some of those team rules you’ve apparently forgotten.”

If Daniel were capable of putting up a fight he would have. Unfortunately the argument was on the tip of his tongue, and that was where it was staying apparently. Despite the topic of choice, Daniel listened with half an ear as Jack’s comforting voice washed over him. He resigned himself to his fate remarkably quickly.

Jack watched Daniel as he spoke, surprised that his inane chatter was actually lulling Daniel to sleep. While debating whether or not he should leave, Jack had the sudden feeling of being watched. Turning on his chair he glanced behind him and sure enough, there was Dr Fraiser, smiling cunningly. Figuring his reputation had already suffered the all the damage it possibly could, Jack decided there was no harm in hanging around just a little bit longer.

**********************

“It’s nice to see you up and around again.” Daniel jumped and spun around to face the owner of the voice in his doorway. “Sorry, covert ops – never quite lost the stealth.”

“Well it comes in handy on missions, and when you’re stealing Sam’s chocolate for me.” Daniel smiled faintly.

Jack laughed and slowly wandered into the room. “So?”

“So?”

He shoved his hands into his pockets. “What you up to?”

“Up to? Err not ‘up to’ anything.” Daniel dropped the routine and relaxed into casual conversation as he sat down behind his desk. “I’m just trying to catch up on work I missed from when… you know.” He waved his hand idly in the air as if mentioning anything of the ordeal he’d been through would somehow bring it all crashing down on him, leaving him a quivering wreck. My, wasn’t that pathetic?

“Yes I know very well. How are you after, you know?” Jack imitated the action.

“Fine, I’m fine.” Daniel said a little too quickly.

“Yeah, right,” Jack whispered, then more loudly added, “So, Danny, Teal’c is grabbing Carter and we’re heading off to my place – not very exciting for Teal’c’s first time out of the mountain, but the General made me promise no public places just yet.”

“I don’t think I can, Dr. Fraiser still has me confined to base.” Daniel answered dejectedly. He would have really liked to go out and have some fun with his friends.

“Nope I’ve sprung you too. She even agreed to let you stay out tonight.”

“I don’t have to stay in the mountain?” Daniel brightened considerably at the prospect.

“Nope.” Jack looked smug.

“How’d you convince her?” Daniel asked already standing up and turning off the light, not bothering to put anything away of course, he didn’t even turn his computer off.

“Oh just the typical O’Neill charm.” He joked, realising for the first time how nice it was to see Daniel smile. It gave him a great sense of accomplishment for some reason.

“Thanks, I really hate staying in there.” As if to prove his point, Daniel visibly shivered.

Jack frowned. “Yeah, I kinda noticed that.”

Daniel looked at Jack over the rim of his glasses. “It’s no big deal. Lots of people hate hospitals.”

Jack guessed by the expression on Daniel’s face he was going for serious, however the long hair framing the round face and baby blue eyes just couldn’t pull it off.

“Of course they do, but I’m betting most of the time the reason isn’t because it reminds them of Foster Care.” Daniel didn’t say anything to that just bit his bottom lip.

“You were a foster child I take it?” Jack asked casually, well aware that he had just made Daniel feel very uncomfortable.

“Err, yeah.” He resumed chewing on his bottom lip.

“Don’t worry Daniel, I’m not going to quiz you for your life story or anything.” Daniel relaxed, thinking the conversation was over. “But I do need to know that you’re not going to flip out every time the Doc wants to keep you.”

“Look, I don’t know why I said that exactly, the Infirmary just-” Daniel dropped the sentence, he couldn’t possibly tell Jack; hell Jack probably didn’t want to know the details anyway. A quick ‘no’ would have sufficed. “I’ll be better next time.” He nodded, trying to look as convincing as possible.

“So long as we don’t leave you alone.” Jack wasn’t fooled, he could see right through him, Daniel may be good with words but he was lousy at controlling his body language.

“Ugh, you’re trying to embarrass me now, aren’t you?” Daniel shot back, making a joke out of his earlier behaviour the best he could.

“Maybe just a little bit.” Jack played along, recognising a coping mechanism when he saw one.

There was a moment’s comfortable silence as Daniel reached for his jacket ready to leave.

“How bad was it?” The question came completely out of the blue. It even took Jack by surprise, and he’d said it. “Sorry, forget I asked that.”

Daniel fidgeted uncomfortably, tucking his hands in his jacket sleeves, idly trying to focus on something else in the room. Jack sighed and wanted to bang his head against the wall, he was all set to apologise again but Daniel beat him to the punch.

“Sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes, it was… worse.” Daniel admitted shyly.

Jack smiled a sad smile, but didn’t comment since there really wasn’t anymore to say. He’d already pointed out enough of Daniel’s insecurities for one evening.

Then it occurred to him just how hard it must have been for Daniel to admit that, to him of all people. Studying Daniel again Jack noticed, although he was still fidgeting and his hands were still hiding somewhere up his sleeves, Daniel was actually making eye contact. Daniel was answering his question, simply because he’d ask it.

Jack’s smile grew wider, suddenly coming to realise the reason why he’d stayed with Daniel in the infirmary for 36 hours straight. It wasn’t just out of some misguided sense of responsibility, he and Daniel were friends and friends did stuff like that and told each other stuff they wouldn’t share with anyone else, but he guessed he was a little slow on the up take, it seemed Daniel already thought of him as a friend.

Jack waited in silence as Daniel gathered the last of his things and exited the room, ready to shut his office door. “Oh, Danny?”

“Yeah?” Daniel poked his head back through.

Jack just pointed to the cluttered desk where upon lay, amongst many things, Daniel’s key card. Looking suitably abashed Daniel retrieved his card, this time following Jack out and shutting the door behind him.

They walked down the hall towards the elevator together, both lost in their individual thoughts. Jack was contemplating on the weirdness of the world in general. For some reason god only knew, he had been reunited with the notorious Dr. Daniel Jackson, and unknowingly embarked upon a friendship that he had a feeling was going to be unlike anything he’d experienced before. All he did know for sure was that Daniel was high maintenance and would need some serious care taking if Jack wanted to keep his natural hair colour. He was still holding out hope that the last few days were an isolated incident, how much more trouble could an archaeologist possibly get into anyway?

Daniel’s thoughts were less complex for a change. He was pondering the thought that he would have to get used to Colonel Jack O’Neill calling him ‘Danny’.

Fin.

 

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Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a parody for entertainment purposes only. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted anywhere without the consent of the author.