Not Alone

 

“Daniel!”  Please still be alive, we’re here kiddo, we never meant to leave without you. 

I look around, and out to sea, I don’t know where to start.  All my effort up until now has been focused on coming back for him.  I think I had this silly notion in my head that he’d just be here waiting for us and he’d greet us with open arms, but we’re here now and he’s nowhere in sight.

“Maybe we’re too late.”

Don’t even think it Carter, I don’t wanna hear it.  I did not come this far, go through all that…the best word I can think of to describe my pain of last few days is ‘torture’, not to bring him home. 

“Not leaving here without him this time Captain.” Even if…no Jack, don’t finish that thought, don’t even think it! 

There’s movement in the water that attracts my attention.  I remember this part from before, and yep, just like before the big ugly green scaly thing extracts itself from the water and walks toward us.  Oh shit.  He took Daniel, I know it, I don’t remember it, but I know it.  Teal’c’s just given me the ‘look’, he is not a happy camper. I dismiss his first reaction with a sharp wave of my hand - running the risk of sounding like Daniel - we need to resolve this peacefully if we’re going to see him again. 

“Don’t Shoot!”

For a second it doesn’t register, I’m too much in a state of denial to believe it.  Then my brain catches up to the rest of me and it’s confirmed.  Daniel, the very same Daniel we held a memorial service for the other day, has just dragged his sorry young butt out of the water.

I’m in too much bewildered shock to say anything right now, so is the rest of my team it seems.  Daniel gives us a quick glance, as if to confirm it’s really us, then directs his attention back to everyone’s favourite kidnapper.

“Nem you have your answer.  Now let us go.” 

Daniel struggles to get the words out.  He looks completely exhausted, and I’d bet my bottom dollar he’s in shock.  It takes all of my will power, plus me reminding myself I’m a Colonel in the US Air Force, to restrain from walking over there right now and giving him a big hug.

“You may go.”

Now isn’t that just peachy?  The big fish is going to let us take our little boy lost home.  I’ll try and remember to send him a thank-you note.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t give you the answer you wanted.”

Kay, not liking this -

“I am sorry also”

“We could still become friends your people and mine.”

“That’s why we were here we meant no harm”

Oh for cryin’ out loud!  Do these two ever know when to quit?  He’s letting Daniel go!  End.  Of.  Story.  Frankly this has been a lot easier than the last time a native took a fancy Danny and we, or to be more accurate, I had to acquire him back, let’s not push our luck here kids. 

“Perhaps in time.”

Yeah?  Oh well what a shame…don’t call us we’ll call you…

“Right”

Arh crap, I know that face, that’s the face of failure.  Daniel when are you going to learn that it isn’t necessary to get every freakin’ alien we meet to like us?  Actually that’ll probably be never, not even when hell freezers over.  Daniel likes everyone; he even likes the people he doesn’t like, if that makes sense.  It doesn’t to me, but I’m sure it does to Daniel, quite frankly that’s all that matters.

“And in time Daniel, you will find what fate Shau’re.”

Well fuck.  There it is.  Yes that’s right, leave him high and dry, and go back to ya under water layer you big… fish!  Once ‘Nem’, as Daniel referred to him, returns to the water, I shake my head to dispel the weirdness of this whole situation.  It doesn’t work, Carter smiles at me, I actually manage to smile back.  Daniel’s alive, nothing else matters right now.

“Er…This, this is a long story…” Daniel waves out towards the water.

“Yeah I’ll bet.”

“Tell us about it over Sushi.”  I feel the need to break the tension

…And it works - Daniel smiled!

“That’s funny.” 

Yeah I thought so…

“I will, after I go get some sleep”

Uh oh, well no time like the present…”Ah home, yeah about that apartment…” I didn’t finish hoping he’d get the message.

“Oh you didn’t!”

He got it.

“The um, day after the memorial service.”  Oh Carter you brave women you.

“Memorial service?!”

“The Colonel said some really nice things.”

“Oh he did!”  Daniel does a double take.  “He did?”

Hey, I resent that!  What?  He thinks I’d be glad to be rid of him? …Huh, maybe I do give him that impression - sometimes.  It’s hard to listen to him go on and on, and…on about god knows what without getting a little irritated. 

Jesus, what a couple of days, I just want to get back to the SGC, get Daniel checked out and safely tucked in an infirmary bed.  Then maybe, maybe I’ll be able to go home and get some sleep.  The damn briefing can wait.

**********

“He did.” I double take, not quite believing what I’m hearing.  “He did?”

Wow, who’d have thought it?  I want details, as macabre as that may be, but I can see Sam’s not going say anymore.  Jack’s just glared at me, I think I’ve offended him, still want to know what he said about me though.  Jack’s usual repartee in my presence normally consists of ‘Daniel don’t touch that!’ or ‘Daniel for cryin’ out loud, learn to duck!’ or my personal favourite, ‘Damn it Daniel!’  Makes me wonder what he could possibly have said about me that could be construed as anything even bordering nice.   Actually I’m probably not giving him enough credit, yeah he yells at me a lot, but I know it’s only because he worries, why he worries so much I don’t know, but Jack’s like that.  I don’t even pretend to understand him in that way. 

I’m so tired now all I want to do is find a comfortable bed and sleep for a week, even the infirmary would do.  Guess it’ll have to since I apparently don’t have an apartment anymore… 

Now that’s a strange thought.  They had a memorial service and everything - they really thought I was dead.  Makes me wonder what kind of reaction I’m going to get when I appear in the ‘gate room, quite obviously very much alive.  When Nem told me what he’d done I could feel my stomach tightening, the thought that I was there, trapped, all alone and that no one would even think about rescuing me…it scared me more than I believed possible.  It obviously scared everyone else too I can see it in their eyes, well Sam and Teal’c's at any rate.  Jack’s wearing his sunglasses.  Teal’c hasn’t said a word, which isn’t all that strange for Teal’c, but still, he looks troubled and Sam looks as if she doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. 

Knowing I’m the cause for their discomfort makes me feel very uneasy.  In retrospect I think I got the lesser of two evils, I may have been the one kidnapped and subjected to painful mind messing machinery, but at least I knew they were okay.  I am dreading the debriefing, Jack’s not going let up until I tell him the whole story, and he isn’t going to like the fact that I voluntarily used the device that brought me my ticket home.  He’ll never understand how desperate I was.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had a place to call home, since I’ve had true friends like them.  They mean the world to me, hell they are my world!  How could I not do everything thing in my power to be returned to them?  I just hope…OW!  What the hell? …Oh god that hurts…Jack… “JACK!”

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

“Daniel?”  Jack spun around the minute he heard the pain-ridden cry.  “Crap!”  He strode over, coming to rest just in front of Daniel who was kneeling on the ground, head clasped tightly in both hands.

“Are you in need of assistance Daniel Jackson?”  Teal’c asked, all set to offer to carry Daniel back through the Stargate if necessary, he didn’t want to remain on this planet a moment longer and sensed the same attitude in his other two teammates as well.

“No, no I’m fine Teal’c, just a little headache,” Daniel lied through gritted teeth, the pulsating in his head was far from little and ache just didn’t even begin to cover it.

“Yeah, you always collapse screaming my name when you’ve got a little headache.” Jack scolded him, offering a hand to help Daniel up. 

“Sure you can walk?” He asked when he got no reaction from Daniel whatsoever.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Daniel released the death grip he held on his head and took the proffered hand in his, pulling himself up very, very slowly.  Dizziness threatened to take him back down again as a rather lame attempt to keep his feet underneath him failed. 

“Sure you are.” Jack said, sliding an arm around Daniel’s waist before he landed butt first in the sand. 

Not exactly feeling his best right now, Daniel decided to accept the help without complaint and stumbled his way back home.  Going home was all that mattered at the moment anyway, and he really didn’t care how he arrived, as long as he was alive to appreciate it.

 

As the foursome emerged from the wormhole, it seemed the trip had proven to be too much for the recently reclaimed Daniel Jackson, who promptly fell to his knees on the ramp taking Jack straight down with him.  The thumped of them hitting the metal simultaneously was drowned out by the noise of the blaring Klaxons over head.  Jack could hear orders being barked from a distance, but was only perpetually aware of the movement around him.   Daniel, having fallen backward and completely unaware of his surroundings, was currently lounging over the Colonel’s lap.

Sam, with Teal’c at her heel, moved out of the way to let the medical staff work.  Coming to a halt further down the ramp, handing their weapons to the MPs as they went, they remained hovering with worried anticipation.  For a while no one else spoke, the only sound being the quiet mutterings of Colonel O’Neill as he assured Daniel everything was going to okay.  For Sam the mere sight of Daniel walking through the ‘gate, a little soggy around the edges, but walking all the same, words just could not describe.  What was the saying?  You never really know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  That summed Daniel up rather nicely.

Janet launched herself onto the ramp with impressive speed.  Sinking quickly to her knees, she spared Jack a cursory glance before grabbing Daniel’s face between her palms.  He was pale, clammy, most likely from fever, but there were no bruises or contusions.  Feeling the heat of the Colonel’s gaze boring into her Janet swallowed the uncomfortable lump in her throat.  Daniel was alive, but she’d have to relish in that fact later.

“Daniel?  Look at me Daniel.”  Upon hearing Dr Frasier’s instruction Daniel did as asked, and he immediately regretted it.

Growling in pain and frustration he instantly snapped his head away from the blinding white light, burying himself in the darkest, safest place he could find, which at that moment happened to be Jack’s combat Jacket.   Reaching blindly, with the one free hand that wasn’t holding onto Jack with a vice like grip, Daniel pushed the tiny pen and source of the searing pain now travelling through his retainer, away.

Jack, who up until this point had been crouching very uncomfortably down next to Daniel, was knocked onto to his backside with an audible ‘oomph’.  “Daniel, it’s just a penlight!”

“Say’s you!”  Daniel mumbled into his Jacket, followed by several other unintelligible words and something about solar eclipses.

“What did he say?”  Janet asked in a near whisper.

Jack shook his head in a manor that suggested he didn’t think it mattered.  Daniel was probably delirious for all he knew.   Keeping one hand on his shoulder, Jack calmly moved his other arm around the wet and bedraggled body formally known as Daniel, and stroked the damp hair out of his eyes.

“It hurts.” Daniel snapped unnecessarily, when he felt the gentle touch to his forehead.

“I know.”  Jack said.  “C’mon, let’s get you to the infirmary.”

With Teal’c’s help Jack managed to pull away and bodily lift Daniel onto the waiting gurney.  After settling him down he lifted the side bar and eventually moved back to allow Janet’s staff to wheel Daniel away.  Jack then took a moment to catch his breath and come to terms with the reality that Daniel was indeed not dead.  Unfortunately with that realisation came the over whelming feeling of guilt at having left one of his team behind, images of the memorial services, the wake, breaking General Hammond’s car came unbidden into his mind.  Worst than all those put together was the false memory of Daniel, burning alive before his eyes, and him doing nothing to stop it.

“Colonel, report!” General Hammond commanded.  How long he’d been standing in the ‘gate room Jack had no idea, but here he was and he was asking Jack a question.

“Daniel’s alive, sir!” Jack cheered, shaking himself out of his melancholy mood with record-breaking speed.  This was a positive outcome; the time for mourning had definitely passed.

“I can see that Colonel, what exactly happened?”  The General was struggling to keep the smile off his face, very glad to see the young man returned to them, but concerned for the condition in which he had arrived.  Being held prisoner is traumatic for any trained soldier and Daniel Jackson wasn’t a soldier, trained or otherwise.

“Well sir, I think we’ll have to wait for Daniel to fill us in.” Jack conceded.  By the looks of things it was going to be some story, he just hoped it had a happy ending.  Jack glanced in the direction Daniel and his medical entourage had just gone.  It had to have a happy ending; there was no other acceptable outcome.

General Hammond hadn’t failed to notice the wistful look, nor had he neglected to notice the two other members of SG-1 were eerily silent and both pretty eager to check on their friend.  After what they’d been through over the past couple of days he couldn’t blame them.  “Understood Colonel, dismissed.”  He said kindly.

“Thank you, Sir.” Jack left the ‘gate room immediately and headed for the infirmary, Carter and Teal’c following close behind.

“Where’s Daniel?” Jack demanded the minute he stepped through the infirmary doors.

“Shhh!”  Janet put her finger to her lips while nodding towards a bed in the far corner.

On said bed lay Daniel, still dripping wet, lying curled up on his side hugging a pillow.  Sam walked from behind the Colonel, over to Daniel and gentle stroked his hair.

“Glad to have you back, Daniel.”  She placed a comforting hand on his arm.  “He’s freezing.”

“I know,” Janet held her hands up in surrender.  “I wanted him to shower and change before the exam, but he passed out the minute he lay on the bed.”

“Passed out?”  Jack questioned worriedly.

“From exhaustion, Colonel, that’s all.  I haven’t got his blood work back, but he seems fine.  I’ll have to wait till he wakes up and tells me what exactly happened before I can do anymore.  However…” she said slyly walking up to the bed SG-1 was gathered around “…he does need to get out of those wet clothes before he comes down with pneumonia.”

Jack caught the Doc’s eye and read from her expression that she thought a little help from his friends would be better for Daniel than a bunch of strangers giving him a bed bath.  Jack breathed deep and resigned to his fate.  “Don’t worry doc, Teal’c and I will sort him out for ya, won’t we Teal’c?”  He wasn’t much in the mood for going home yet anyway.

“Indeed O’Neill.”  Teal’c agreed without question.

“Well just be gentle with him, he’s obviously had a rough time.”  Janet smiled warmly, for once she was glad to have Daniel back as a patient.

There wasn’t anything wrong with him that a hot meal and a shower wouldn’t fix, that said she wasn’t discounting any possible mental trauma.  Janet guessed it was going to be a matter of wait and see.

Jack nodded he understood perfectly and made a silence promise to be gentle.  He waited till Doc Fraiser left, Carter on her heel’s, before making his move.

“Wakey wakey Danny boy.  Rise and shine!”  Jack shouted while shaking Daniel’s shoulder. 

Nothing.

“Daniel Jackson!”  Teal’c said in a very low, commanding voice. 

Still nothing.

“Alright,” Jack thought, “time to play dirty.”

He hated to do this, actually, that was a lie, he loved to torment Daniel.  It was even more special now because Jack had thought he’d never have the opportunity again. 

Jack grabbed Daniel’s nose and cupped his chin.  Daniel suddenly awoke.

“Jack!” Daniel took a deep breath once Jack released his nose. “What the hell are you doing?” despite the words Daniel’s tone was soft and slurred, without a trace of anger.

“Public service Daniel.”

“Huh?”  Daniel narrowed his eyes, regarding his two friends currently looming over him in his bed with deep suspicion.
                       
“You need to change clothes Daniel Jackson.”

“Why?” There was a little impertinence in that word.

“Why?” Jack echoed.  “Because you’re dripping wet and you’ll catch pneumonia if you don’t, plus… you smell rather bad.”  He shrugged.

“Well I have been held captive for god knows how many days under water.  I was thinking more of escaping than showering.”  Daniel’s words were swallowed in a yawn.  His eyes half way to closing.

“Daniel!” Jack nudged the younger man into a sitting position and proceeded to drag him off the bed.

“Jack I’m tired.”  He didn’t want to leave the comforting safety of his warm bed.  Everything was all too much for him to deal right now, why couldn’t anyone appreciate that?

“I know Daniel.” Jack sympathised.  “You can sleep all you want, after you have a shower.”  He promised.

“I don’t have the energy.” Daniel shrugged out of Jack’s hold, flopping face first back onto the bed.

“Daniel Jackson.  You must obey Doctor Frasier’s orders.  It is for your own good.” Teal’c said sternly, making it abundantly clear Daniel had no choice in the matter.  

It had the desired effect.

“Oh alright, you’re not going to leave me alone until I do, are you?”  Daniel said, irritated enough to sit up and slide off the bed all by his self.

“You know me well Daniel.”  Jack smiled as he led the barely conscious archaeologist out of the infirmary toward the locker rooms.

Once inside the shower didn’t take long, Daniel had no desire to drag it out so made a very quick reappearance into the dressing area where Jack and Teal’c where still waiting for him, grabbed his blue robe and indicated it was time to leave. 

Jack didn’t comment, and steadily walked out of the locker room, Daniel on one arm, clean clothes folded neatly in the other. 

Teal’c followed them, walking at a short distance behind.  Losing Daniel had had a huge impact on the team’s resident Jaffa, aka Daniel’s guardian angel.  He glared at anyone who came with in a foot of the clueless archaeologist.  Clueless, simply because Daniel kept asking Jack why people seemed almost excited to see him.  Jack had given up explaining that his presence was greatly missed after the third well-wisher crossed paths with Teal’c.  The surrealism of it all was astounding, and something Jack really didn’t want to contemplate now, or ever for that matter.

“There, now, was that so bad?”  Jack asked him as they re-entered the infirmary.

“Yes.” Daniel said flatly.

The nurses had remade Daniel’s bed in the far corner in his momentary absence.  Having removed the sodden bedding and replaced it with fresh, dry blankets.  Eyeing the object of his desire, Daniel pulled away from Jack at break neck speed and collapsed haphazardly on top.

“Christ sakes, Daniel, at least put your clothes on first!” Jack chided.

Daniel lifted his weary head from the clean, now slightly damp, pillow and examined his attire as if he had no idea what Jack was talking about.  To Daniel’s surprise he was still dressed in his blue robe, a towel wrapped neatly around his waist.

“Oh,” he said quietly, pushing himself up into a sitting position on the bed.  He must have forgotten to change back in the locker room, but surely that was why Jack had accompanied him wasn’t it?  So he didn’t do anything foolish like fall down in the shower, cut himself on his raiser or, possibly, LEAVE before actually getting dressed!

“Yes ‘oh’, Daniel, get with it.”  Jack chided, handing Daniel the scrub top and bottoms he’d acquired from Fraiser while Daniel was getting clean. 

Daniel didn’t react to the strange white items that where prominently thrust under his nose and continued to stare at them mutely.  “Daniel you gonna put them on?” 

No answer. 

“Daniel!”

“Huh, wha’?  Oh yeah.”  Daniel’s head shot up, looking first at the wall, then at Jack, then back to the wall again.

“Oh for cryin’ out loud.”  Jack said, getting frustrated, Daniel was obviously in la la land playing with the fairies again. 

He really wanted to go home, he hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep since Daniel’s ‘alleged’ death and now that he knew the kid was safe and being looked after Jack thought he’d probably sleep for a week.  That was if he actually got to go home tonight.  Coming to the conclusion that Daniel wasn’t going to come back to them any time soon Jack dropped the hospital scrubs on the bed, deciding he’d just have to dress Daniel himself.

“Teal’c, get the curtain will ya?”  Jack threw over his shoulder, already beginning the process of removing Daniel from his bathrobe.  Pulling out one arm then the other and still not enticing a reaction.

Teal’c did as requested and pulled the curtain around the bed. 

“Okay Danny, upsey daisy.”  Jack pulled Daniel forward off the bed just far enough so he could snag the towel from around his waist.

Daniel still didn’t say a word, leaning heavier onto Jack as his weight was shifted forward.  Teal’c arrived at Jack’s side in the nick of time and assisted him to lift Daniel back onto the bed. 

Towel in hand, Jack dried Daniel’s hair, ruffling it up to stick up at funny angles.  Making idle chatter with Teal’c, as a way to make the situation a little less uncomfortable, they proceeded to dry and redress Daniel in the clean infirmary scrubs.  Within minutes their archaeologist was tucked up in bed, fast asleep.  Daniel hadn’t so much as blinked throughout the entire procedure.  He’d not even complained about the indignity of having Jack and Teal’c dress him and put him to bed.

“Daniel, I swear that is longest you’ve gone without talking since I met you.”  Jack whispered to him while Teal’c pulled the curtains back to their rightful place.

Daniel huffed, he was still conscious despite all evidence to the contrary.  He couldn’t be bothered coming up with a re-joiner though, Daniel was barely aware of where he was, let alone what was being said.  It took less than a minute of lying down, head nestled on the pillow, with no one prodding or messing with him, for Daniel to fall into deep slumber.

“I believe Daniel Jackson is sleeping.”  Teal’c stated proudly.

“I think your right.”  Jack moved back to admire his handy work.

Teal’c made to leave and noticed O’Neill wasn’t doing the same. “Should we not depart?” 

“Yeah, you go, I wanna talk to Doc for a minute.”

Teal’c studied his friend, “Daniel Jackson will be fine, O’Neill.”

“I know,” was all Jack could say. 

Despite knowing everything was all right, Jack was still hesitant to leave Daniel alone.  His conflicting memories aside, Jack felt like he might still be needed.  He turned slightly to smile at Teal’c who, in turn, bowed his head in understanding. 

Teal’c left and Jack pulled over a nearby chair and rested it next to Daniel’s bedside.  Truth was he just couldn’t bring himself to leave.  Even the lure of his own bed wasn’t enough to shift him.  Sitting himself down Jack instinctively knew it wouldn’t matter where he was tonight, sleep was going to evade him no matter what. 

The whole mess had forced Jack to think a little too deeply about this friendship thing he had going with Daniel.  He had considered retirement – again - all because of Daniel.  The last time he’d retired it was because he’d lost his son!  There was something Freudian about that, Jack was sure of it, if he ever got the guts to tell Daniel he’d have to ask him. 

Jack couldn’t deny it now.  Despite the annoying whine, the endless lectures and the inane nervous chatter, he really did care for the little shit.  He cared a lot more than he should, realistically.  Jack had never done what he just did for Daniel for anyone else under his command.  Dressing your teammate for bed was not part of the C.O’s job description, yet he’d done it for Daniel without blinking an eye, it had been like second nature. 

Jack glanced up, only just realising he’d been contemplating the floor, took one look at Daniel’s peaceful, sleeping face, and instantly knew he was going soft in his old age.

 

A few days later…

Jack wandered into Daniel’s office, just like he’d done a hundred times before. 

"So…” Jack said, perching himself on one of the work benches, “what happened?"

"Nothing happened, really."  Daniel was getting tired of this conversation.  “Jack, when are you going to quit?”

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe…never?”  Jack shot him a disapproving stare.  Daniel was lying, Jack knew it, Hammond knew it, hell - most of the SGC knew it!  Daniel seemed to be the only one who didn’t know.

"Nem didn't hurt me intentionally.” 

Jack figured he was going to have to rehash the whole lecture on trying not to sympathise or help your kidnapper, since the last one had quite obviously gone completely unheard. 

“Honestly, I’m fine!"  Daniel stressed. 

It had been two days!  Two very long, very tiring, days since Jack, Sam and Teal’c had brought him back through to the Stargate to Earth and, since then, none of them had stopped asking him about exactly what went down during his brief period of captivity.  Granted his report could have been a little more detailed, but quite frankly he didn’t see how it really mattered as long as the core details were there. 

Nem singled him out for knowing knowledge of Babylon, gave his friends the memory of his death so they’d leave him behind and allow Nem to keep Daniel until he coughed up the details of his fiancée’s demise.  They don’t need to know that he actually feared for his life, that the thought of never being rescued caused a fluttery feeling in his stomach, that he willing exposed himself to potential brain damage – even death – for a chance to return home.  They didn’t need to hear how weak he was without them to rely on.

Jack scowled; he was disappointed that Daniel didn’t trust him enough to tell him the truth.  He had gone through hell thinking Daniel was dead!  Dead and never to be seen, or heard from again.  Jack didn’t even want to imagine it.  The very thought of not having Daniel in his life was like a knot tied so tight it would stop the blood flow.  Impossible, but true, that in the few months since bringing him back from Abydos Jack would get so damn attached to the scrawny dweeb with glasses.  

Jack hesitantly left Daniel’s office, shaking his head and not forgetting to give one of his patented ‘I'll kill you if I find out otherwise’ looks before closing the door. 

Once Jack had cleared the threshold Daniel fixed his gaze down upon the desk in front of him and silently berated himself for not being able to admit to anyone, including Jack, just how much pain the memory retrieval had put him through.  Frantically blinking back potential tears Daniel reached blindly across his desk and downed a couple of painkillers straight from the bottle.  Rinsing his mouth with some cold coffee he sat back in a slump and contemplated the situation. 

Unfortunately for him, Daniel problems didn’t end with the physical pain of the seemingly never-ending headaches that kept cropping up.  He'd been back more than two days now and in that time he’d not slept more than a few hours.  Every time he closed his eyes his dreams assaulted him with memories from his past.  His parents, his foster parents, College, Shau’re, the list was endless.  The machine he’d let the alien Nem use on him would be the most logical explanation for this sudden impromptu reliving of his past.  It wasn’t content with bringing forth the memory of Omaroca, so it dragged a load of Daniel’s own personal baggage back with it.  Memories Daniel had long since buried. 

The headaches actually felt like they were getting worse, they were so bad Daniel contemplated a visit to the infirmary.  And he knew he definitely wasn’t all right if he was considering visiting the infirmary.  A quick shake of his head was all it took to bring Daniel back to his senses.  He wiped the dried tears from his face and started gathering the papers he needed for the next mission briefing.

 

Sam was walking into the briefing room when she spotted Colonel O’Neill heading in her direction.

"How's Daniel?"

Jack stopped a little in front of her and rolled his eyes. 

"Fine, apparently." He drawled, with a spark of sarcasm that did not go unnoticed.

Sam gave him a reproachful look that spoke a thousand words.  Words that suggested there would be severe pain in his near future if he didn’t fix this – and soon.

"Oh don't give me that!  You know what he's like."  Jack shrugged uncomfortably, he knew exactly what Daniel was like, which was why he was so bothered in the first place.

"Maybe so sir, but I still don't think Daniel should be alone right now."  Sam was more than a little concerned that since his rescue Daniel had done little more than work.

“Not this again.”  Jack muttered, bouncing on the spot.

“Sir, we left him behind.”  She said in all honesty.

“I know, Carter.”  Jack remarked pointedly.  “I really don’t need reminding.” 

“It’s the first time none of us have been there to protect him.”  Jack opened his mouth, to protest no doubt, so Sam hastened to continue.  “I know you have confidence in his abilities, I do to, and he has come along great in the training we’ve been giving him, but we can’t overlook the fact that he isn’t trained to deal with…situations…like this.”  She stumbled over her words.

“Hostage situations, prisoner interrogations…that sort of thing?”  He said casually.

“That sort of thing, Sir.”

Contemplating the situation Jack was unsure how he should proceed.  He knew Carter was right, that Daniel really shouldn't be locking himself away.  What he didn't know was how he was supposed to get the usually enthusiastic archaeologist to open up to him.  Daniel wasn’t the type of person who voluntarily talked about himself.  Though make a random comment about Ramses III and you just can’t shut him up.

Noticing Carter awaiting an answer Jack simply shrugged.  "How's about after the briefing we force him to the commissary for something to eat?  You'd have thought returning from the dead would give him an appetite." he joked, trying to lift his sprits a little and failing miserably. 

Sam was about to comment when General Hammond walked in and called order to the briefing.  Everyone took their seat, Jack sitting next to Teal’c with Carter opposite. The General surveyed the room and Jack immediately knew what, or rather who, he was looking for.

"Where's Dr. Jackson?" The General looked toward Jack for an explanation.

Jack was about to answer with one of his usual quips when the rogue Dr. Jackson walked into the briefing room, looking pale and more awkward than usual.  Daniel excused himself for being late and took his seat next to Sam.

Jack sat back down, keeping a rather close eye on Daniel.  He could sense something wasn’t right, and decided while Carter prattled on about the lush benefits of PY7 652 he’d try and think up a way to cheer Daniel up.   

Daniel noticed Jack’s sideway glances and, knowing that the man was way smarter than he ever gave him credit for, Daniel conceded he could probably see right through him and his ‘I’m much stronger than you think’ façade.  If only it were true, but, for the moment, Daniel didn't care.  He just wanted this over and done with as soon as possible.  He had made it half way through the briefing and it was now Daniel’s turn to present his theories on the planet’s cultural aspects.  Reluctantly Daniel bodily pushed himself up from the table and put on his best lecture face.  He got as far as the projector before the dull ache in his head began to flare up.  He spun around on his heels, suddenly he wasn't in the briefing room anymore, hell he wasn't in the SGC period!  The place Daniel found himself was much darker – the cold creeping through his clothes sinking into his skin, the rhythmic dripping like rain on a pain of glass.  Daniel moved around - he was back on Oannes, scared and cold, hooked up to Nem’s mind probe machine.  “This can’t be happening....”

Jack saw the sheer concentration it took for Daniel to stand up.  The strength it was taking to give the impression he was fine.  Daniel was a stubborn son of a gun he had to give him that, though there was such a thing as too stubborn. 

Stubborn actually described them both to a tea.  One of the very few things they had in common was their joint inability to ask for help.  The difference, as Jack saw it, was that he could take care of himself.  Where as Daniel, though very self reliant had little confidence or self esteem.  Layers.  Layers, was the best way to describe him Jack thought.  Daniel’s numerous layers enabled him to stand up in a room full of very important powerful people and frankly inform everyone the work they’d been doing for the past two years was absolute codswallop, but in direct contrast he’d stutter all over himself just trying to express his own desires.  There was a layer for the pain in the ass student that always asked Why? And then there was an even deeper, more misguided layer for the abandoned child who grew up in a city full of people, but probably still felt alone.

Daniel was a physicist’s dream come true.  All his little nuances, the way Daniel would wrap his arms around himself whenever he felt personally threaten, his almost shy politeness when talking to strangers.  Daniel was insecure, and with his background Jack wasn’t exactly surprised.  His temperament was something Jack was still getting used to, but all in all, Daniel was turning out to be a fine young man, and with enough positive re-enforcement he’d build up his confidence in no time. 

Taking a short time out from his future planning Jack decided to ease himself back into the present because he sensed something was wrong - Daniel hadn't started boring the crap out of him yet.  In fact he looked extremely pale, hands suddenly clasping his head as if in terrible pain.

"Daniel?" Jack questioned, already half standing.

The call went unanswered as Daniel fell to the floor in a crumpled heap, Jack arriving at his friends’ side seconds later.  Teal’c appeared to their right and helped to move Daniel onto his back.  Sam knelt down too and took his pulse at the neck.

“Steady rhythm, but he’s unconscious.”  She reported.

"Medical emergency, briefing room..." General Hammond grabbed the receiver from the wall, requesting medical assistance within seconds.

Jack removed his base shirt and balled it up with Carter’s to make a pillow, placing it neatly under Daniel’s head.

“I can’t see any sign of trauma.  Did he hit his head?”  Sam asked while checking him for any other injuries.

“There’s no blood.”  Jack ran his fingers through Daniel’s hair to check for any bumps or bruises, but found nothing.  He sat back, not knowing what to think.

“What we got?”  Dr Frasier demanded the details the minute she stepped into the room.

Sam told Janet what they knew. Teal’c got up and stood back to let Janet do her job.  Jack couldn’t move from Daniel’s side – only seconds ago he was planning Daniel’s future at the SGC and now Daniel was lying unconscious on the briefing room floor for no obvious reason.

"Daniel?” Dr. Janet Frasier was on her knees at Daniel’s side.   “Can you hear me Daniel?"  She took out her penlight and began a preliminary exam before moving him.

A bright light brought Daniel back to where he belonged.  ‘Why can't people just leave me alone?'  Daniel thought absently.  Then realization suddenly hit him.  Remembering what had happened he cracked one blue eye open and looked around to find five very worried faces looking right back at him.  'Oh crap'.

"How you feeling?" Jack asked with a smile when Daniel finally came around.

Daniel pondered for a moment before answering, "Fine", in the most normal tone he could manage, while he struggled to get himself into a semi sitting position.  Jack gave him a 'you've got to be kidding me' look that stopped Daniel from commenting further.  He knew he would dissolve into an emotional display in the briefing room - complete with audience - something Daniel definitely wanted to avoid right now. 

"Daniel?"

"Jack?"

"Daniel."

"Jack."

They would have continued like that for hours if Dr. Frasier hadn't interrupted.  "Okay, Daniel, if your feeling up to it I'd like to check you out properly in the infirmary."

Daniel began to protest that he was fine, but was quickly subdued by Jack waving a pointed finger in his face.  He didn't have the energy to fight so relented any further protests and let Jack help him up off the floor.

 

Once in the infirmary Daniel sat on the end of one of the examination beds, legs swinging back and forth with nervous frustration.  Janet had ushered everyone who had followed out the room before she began to poke and prod him.  Without saying one word she finished her exam and looked him directly in the eye.  Daniel let out a huge sigh, he had a feeling he knew exactly what was coming.

"Now Daniel, I'm getting the feeling you haven't told me everything.”  Janet pulled up a stool.  “What say you and me have a little chat?" 

Daniel gave her a wan smile. He didn't know what to say.  Daniel knew he could trust Dr. Frasier, in the short time he'd known her they'd become quite well acquainted, maybe even friends.  Still, he was finding it hard to admit that this problem was something that he couldn't deal with alone.  It wasn’t going to go away over night either. 

Daniel’s mind had obviously wandered too long because Janet spoke again. "Daniel, I know something's bothering you.”

Daniel plastered a fake smile on his face.  “It’s no big deal, really.”  He sounded nervous - he knew it, which meant he’d blown it.  He probably only had seconds before Janet called Jack in to either beat it out of him or try and talk to him about his troubles man to man.  Due to the serve embarrassment factor in that scenario Daniel thought he’d prefer the beating

But it was the thought of having both Janet and Jack looking down on him, and putting him in the hot seat that made up his mind.

"I'm getting headaches," Daniel said simply.

Dr. Frasier lent over the bed to pick up his chart, as she did she glanced back at Daniel.  She couldn't help the smile that touched her lips.  He looked so much like a lost little boy she had to remind herself he was a multiple PhD holder in his late twenties. The slightly rumpled hair from his earlier fainting spell didn't help dispel the image.

"Are they the same as when you first got back from P3X 866, or are they getting worse?"  It was a simple question she thought, but he seemed to take an inordinate amount of time thinking about it.  “Daniel?"

"Huh?  Oh sorry, I err... The pain's mostly the same except...” He stopped, how could he continue?  He'd have to tell her all about the sudden flashbacks, for lack of a better word, he had in the briefing room.  She was sure to keep him in the infirmary then.  All Daniel wanted was to be left alone.  He could deal with all of this on his own.  He had never needed anyone to be there for him in the past and didn’t want that to change, especially now. 

Daniel kept his head low and looked over his glasses at Dr. Frasier.  She was still watching him, waiting patiently for him to continue.  He realized he was being stupid, he had to be honest with her, just like he was going to have to be honest with Jack and Sam when they asked him. 

He sighed. 

It was going to take time for him to adjust to so many people wanting to know about him. 

Daniel took a deep breath, and when he was sure he could talk without breaking down, began to tell Janet the details of his episode in the briefing room.

Janet was a little taken back.  When SG-1 had first brought Daniel home from the planet he was soaking wet and exhausted.  She had checked him over for any major injuries, but hadn’t learned about the memory recall device Nem had used on him until he woke up the following day.  She was concerned at the time, but he had obviously been skimming the surface with the details of how much pain he’d experienced.  Another thing Daniel had neglected to mention was the alien had increased the intensity of the machine to get the correct memories.  Colonel O'Neill wasn't happy when Daniel said he'd volunteered to use it after the alien said it could damage him.  Janet could just imagine how the Colonel was going to take this new information.

Daniel finished with his theory that Nem’s machine had unearthed many other memories, memories he didn't want to go into detail about if he could help it.  He sat, his face a mask of indifference, awaiting Dr. Frasier's inevitable order to have him subjected to more tests and an extended infirmary stay. 

"Its okay, Daniel." Janet reassured the young man sat before her and looked back to her charts.  "I'll give you some medication to help with the headaches - you need rest more than anything.  From your latest test results I'd say the symptoms you’re experiencing are most likely an after effect of exposure to this alien technology.  It’ll most likely fade with time."  She paused a moment to take in Daniel’s expression, he looked like he was barely holding himself together, not the result she was hoping for. 

Janet was confident his fragile state had little to do with the pain Daniel was experiencing and plenty to do with his emotions getting the better of him.  'I hope I'm not going to regret this' Janet thought to herself as she came to a decision.  "I'm not going to keep you in the infirmary.  So you're free to go."

Daniel’s eyes lit up.  To say he was surprised would’ve been an understatement, he was about to thank her when she began to speak again. 

"Under certain conditions of course."

He was so close.

"You're to remain on base until I decide otherwise.  If the headaches progress or you have another fainting spell I want you back in here immediately.  Okay?"  Janet tried to put some authority in her voice, but seeing those blue eyes smile at her made her heart melt and adopt a more motherly tone instead.

Daniel breathed a sigh of relief, it could have been worse.  He didn't mind remaining on base, he had a lot of work he could catch up on...

"And I don't want you working, rest means rest Dr. Jackson."  Janet eyed him, she succeed with the professional tone this time, just barely mind you.

Janet Frasier knew him well it seemed.  Maybe his first instinct was the correct one after all, they were friends, he was glad he’d confided in her.  Only one thing he needed to do.  “Please, call me Daniel.”

Daniel didn’t give her chance to respond, he nodded his thanks and promised to obey her rules, quickly leaving the infirmary.  Not daring to hang around for too long in case she changed her mind. 

First thing Daniel did was head straight for his office.  He wasn't about to disobey Dr. Frasier's orders, he simple felt safe there, surrounded by his own possessions, artefacts and books.  It was private, and a damn site more comfortable than those bunk rooms.  He ploughed down the corridor with all the strength he had left and burst into his office.  Daniel felt so drained, and cold. All of a sudden he was very, very cold.  Daniel felt so tired he didn’t even bother with the light and, grabbing the leather jacket from the back of his chair on the way, headed straight for the small sofa sitting idle in the corner of the room.  The jacket wasn't his, he wasn't entirely sure what it was doing there, but it looked warm and the smell of the leather comforted him slightly.  Daniel lay down, got comfy, and closed his eyes.  He was sleeping within minutes.

 

"Daniel Jackson does not appear to be himself, O'Neill"

Jack and Teal’c were walking side by side down the corridor of level 23 having just gone one on one in the gym.  Teal’c had barely broken a sweat, but Jack felt he’d had a good enough work out for one day.

"Ya think?"

"I believe he is concealing something."

"Yeah I get that feeling too," Jack pondered for a moment, "c'mon."  He gestured for Teal’c to follow him.   

Jack was walking through the infirmary doors at the same time Janet was walking out.

"Colonel O'Neill!"  Dr Frasier was slightly startled at the two men’s sudden appearance.  "If you’re looking for Daniel, he left already."

"How is he?"  Jack got straight to the point.

Janet lowered her voice and beckoned them inside.  "Well, I've released him from the infirmary and confined him to base.  I'll be checking on him tomorrow.  He's in no immediate danger as far as anything medical is concerned."

“What happened today?”  Jack walked the length of the infirmary, perching on a lone stool at the far end.

“I can’t say for sure, but my prognosis is he suffered a mild seizure brought on by exposure to alien technology.”  Janet said calmly.

“Seizure?”  Teal’c picked up on the key word, vocalising his concern.

“He going to be okay?” 

“With proper care he’ll be fine.  I couldn’t find any deliberating effects and hopefully if he goes forty-eight hours without another episode I see no reason to keep him from active duty.”

There was something about the look on the Doc’s face; it didn’t match the enthusiasm of her words, which had Jack questioning whether he was being told the complete truth. 

"Teal’c, why don't you go find Carter, let her know Daniel’s okay."  Jack said without taking his eyes off Janet.

"What do you intend to do O'Neill?"  Teal’c enquired.

"I'm gonna check on Daniel, we'll meet in the commissary later.  Okay?"  Jack pacified.

Teal’c glanced at Dr. Frasier, then back at O’Neill.  "As you wish." 

 

Jack knocked on the door of Daniel’s office.  He was absolutely furious that Daniel didn’t tell him about the memory thing.  Jack could see how it might have been a little awkward, but he could have helped!  He knew Daniel’s file like the back of his hand.  He had a good idea what kind of life Daniel had been living, thus he could imagine the sort of memories that were keeping him awake at night.  Jack wasn’t even going to start on the migraine thing.  Images of Daniel suffering a traumatic nightmare every night were enough for now. 

In his irritation Jack knocked again.  There was no answer so he tried the handle instead.  The door wasn’t locked, Jack pushed it open and walked straight in, ready for whatever onslaught Daniel may have prepared.

He, however, was not prepared for the sight before him.  Daniel was lying curled up on his office sofa, fast asleep.  Jack couldn't help but smile, there was no words to describe the site of Daniel bundled up fast asleep covered only by a leather jacket.  His leather jacket if he wasn’t mistaken. 

Daniel looked so peaceful that Jack decided to leave.  He didn't want to disturb a peacefully sleeping Daniel, a rare occurrence on any given night, the Doc would most likely string him up if she found out. 

Jack made it as far as the door before a scream seemed to emulate out of nowhere.  He spun around on the spot and quickly made his way back over to his friend.  The scream, as short lived as it was, failed to rouse him and was quickly followed by actual words.

"…I can't, I can’t.  Oh God, Argh!  Oh god he killed her!  Arh, Argh – I’m sorry…I’m sorry that’s all I ever knew I swear!" 

Daniel had started out shouting, his voice dying slowly into a whimper.  Tears of pain were running endlessly down Daniel’s cheeks.  Jack grabbed hold of both shoulders and shook hard to wake him up. 

Catching Jack slightly off guard Daniel bolted upright, falling from the sofa straight onto the floor, shoving his hands in front of him in a defensive posture, his eyes shockingly wide. 

Jack immediately knelt down and took both of Daniel’s hands in his to try and calm him down. 

It took more than a minute of frantic searching and unsteady breathing for Daniel realise where he was and who was in front of him.  'A nightmare, that's all.  A lousy nightmare! God damn it Daniel, get a grip,’ he berated himself.  Daniel snatched his hands out of Jack’s hold to wipe the traitorous tears from his face.  He couldn't remember ever being this embarrassed.

“You look terrified, what the hell did that bastard do to you?” Jack whispered in a mixture of disbelief and extreme anger.

He was about to call Doc Frasier when Daniel appeared to gain control.  Jack wanted to ask if he was all right, but knew that was a stupid question. 

Daniel was avoiding looking at him now, 'aw Danny.  You don't have to be embarrassed.  I'm not that much of a hard ass.' 

Jack mentally kicked himself, it wasn't until they thought Daniel dead that he realised just how much the kid’s friendship had meant to him.  To his recollection he couldn't think of any reason why Daniel wouldn’t feel uncomfortable in his present vulnerable condition.  The poor boy was desperately trying to prove himself to them day after day.  Now here he was, emotionally weakened to the point of tears, most likely feeling like a complete failure. 

Daniel tried to direct his focus on a spot above Jack’s head.  "I'm okay now, thanks." 

Jack didn’t believe a word of it, but he offered Daniel a hand up anyway.

“Just a bad dream.”  Daniel explained as he shakily took it and stood, giving Jack a quick nod of gratitude.

Jack cleared his throat.  “Sure...no problem." 

They stood opposite each other for a second in silence, neither one sure what to do next.  Jack was about as good at this sort of thing as Daniel was when it came down to it. 

Daniel made the first move, breaking away to turn around and shuffle some papers on his desk. 

"You okay?"  Jack asked already walking towards the door sensing Daniel needed some time alone.

"Sure."  Daniel kept his back to Jack, not trusting himself to say anything further.

Jack O'Neill had just put his hand on the door handle to leave when the annoying voice inside his head began to yell at him.  'Of course he's not all right you idiot.  He's putting on a brave face for your benefit.  Don't be such a coward!' 

Jack knew what he had to do, the very reason he was there in the first place.  Granted he'd prepared himself to talk to a sleep deprived, pissy archaeologist.  The scene that had just played out may have thrown him slightly off balance, but that was no reason to turn tail and run.  A new strategy was in order was all, one more befitting the person and the situation.

Jack took another look over his shoulder and could see Daniel standing still, staring, but not seeing the book held tight in his clasped hands.  Making his decision Jack let go of the door handle and walked back over to the desk.  He stood behind Daniel and reached around him to slowly take the book from his hands, placing it carefully on the table.  Jack put a hand on each arm and turned Daniel around.  He fell against him and without pausing Jack moved one hand into Daniel’s long hair, wrapping the other around his lower back, Jack held Daniel close in a tight hug. 

Daniel knew what Jack was doing before he even turned him around.  He held it in as long as possible, the mind was semi willing, but the flesh was definitely weak.  Daniel couldn’t fight this alone anymore.  He let Jack cup his head and went with it, burying his face in Jack’s neck he began to cry. 

Jack tried not to react to his shock at how easily Daniel caved.  He’d been expecting some resistance, but guessed, in the long run, this was better.  It proved Daniel trusted him enough to let him into the closed off areas of his past that made up his everyday life.

Daniel was simply grateful that for the first time in a very long time he knew he wasn’t alone.

 

A short amount of time passed by before Jack noticed Daniel was slowly putting more and more weight onto him.  He dragged Daniel over to lie on the sofa and by the time Jack had him lying down, Daniel had fallen asleep. 

Jack covered him back up with the leather jacket, standing for a minute watching his friend sleep.  He looked at his watch, there were still a few hours till dinner, and since he didn’t have anything better to do Jack decided to stay, in case there were anymore nightmares lurking in the shadows.   Jack pulled a chair up, subconsciously brushing Daniel’s hair out of his eyes and wiping away any trace of tears, he was content to sit and wait.

 

"Whoa!"

"Hey easy there Daniel, it's alright - Just a dream."

"Just a dream?"

"Yeah do you remember where you are?"  Jack had to ask.  The confused look on Daniel’s face was beginning to worry him.

"Office.” Daniel panted as if out of breath.  He looked at Jack, then swiped at his face, 'Tears? Shit!'  Daniel slowly sat up allowing Jack to get off the floor and sit next to him on the sofa. 

"Want to tell me about it?"  Jack ventured, nervously rubbing his palms together in his lap, unsure what to do with himself.

Two hours had passed since Daniel had finally broken under the all consuming pressure of pretending to be fine. He’d had a good hour’s sleep before the second nightmare kicked in, and wasn't looking much better for it. 

Daniel’s mind was racing, everything jumbled together, he couldn't think straight.

'Why was Jack sitting watching me sleep?'  He tried to think, the last thing he remembered was being released from the infirmary, feeling cold and deciding to lie down for a bit….  'Oh I'm so pathetic-’ it all came rushing back, the nightmare, waking up to find Jack holding his hands, him crying in Jack’s arms…  Daniel hung his head in shame, how on Earth was he going to live this down?

While Daniel was mentally chastising himself for losing it in front of his friend, Jack was still waiting for Daniel’s reply.  He could see Daniel was trying to work something out, then when Daniel frowned Jack had an idea what that something might be.

"Daniel it's okay.  We're friends, you can tell me."  Jack said honestly.

Daniel looked up at Jack, the frown replaced by bewilderment.  That was the last thing he had expected to hear. 

Daniel cleared his throat, "I was dreaming about something that happened to me a long time ago."  He said a little nervously.

"I take it it wasn't a happy something?"  Jack wafted his index finger under his eyes indicating Daniel’s tear tracks.

Daniel self-consciously swiped at his eyes again using the cuffs of his shirt.  “No,” he admitted, “no it wasn’t.”

“Not going to tell me?”  Jack guessed.

“You don’t want to know, trust me.”  Daniel frowned at Jack’s disappointment and wanted to offer him something.  “Look, it’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s just it happened a long time ago and…well I know how’d you react given the subject matter.”

“How I’d react?”  Jack enunciated slowly, thinking he was getting the gist of this and not likely his current train of thought one bit.

Daniel sighed, part in frustration.  It didn’t matter what he said, Jack wasn’t going let it rest.  “It’s in your nature to protect, Jack.”  Daniel slouched back and ducked his head, closing his eyes and hugging himself so tight no way could anything get through to hurt him.  Why was his life so screwed up?

Jack cursed under his breath.  Damn it, he was right.  This was messed up.  “I saw Doc earlier.”  Jack hinted to get the conversation rolling.

“Is nothing sacred around here?”  Daniel whined half heartedly.  “The effects – the memories…  It’ll fade same as your implanted memory will.”

Fire.  Flames rising bubbles - rising.  The memory in question invaded Jack’s mind.  ‘Jack, help me!’

“…..this won’t be a problem.  Jack I know you’ve taken a lot-”

Jack snapped out of the nightmare as quickly as he’d entered it, catching the tail end of Daniel’s explanation.  Daniel was trying to convince him he needn’t be concerned, that he wouldn’t be a problem. 

That he was worth the effort.

“- I’ll do better, I promise -” 

Jack lent back, exhausted, kicking the chair more centre to the sofa so he could rest his feet on it.  He wanted to laugh it was so ridiculous, Daniel was trying to convince him that he shouldn’t be concerned about Daniel's ability to do his job, he was trying to sell his worthiness to the Stargate programme so Jack didn’t cast him aside like damaged goods. 

Daniel didn’t deserve to feel bad or responsible for the mistreatment he’d suffer by others in the past - so Jack wasn’t going to let him.  “Daniel, you’re a good kid.”  He spoke confidently.  “Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Lifting his head in surprise Daniel made eye contact, a small tentative smile slowly spreading across his face. 

Daniel pulled the leather jacket up around him once more and got comfortable again.

 

"Teal’c have you seen the Colonel or Daniel?"  Sam asked the Jaffa when she passed him in the corridor.

"I have not.  O'Neill said he would meet later for sustenance, if anything were wrong he would have informed us before now."

"Maybe, but I'm going to check Daniel’s office just in case."

”I will accompany you."

Sam knocked on the door to Daniel’s office.  She didn't wait for a reply before trying the handle and walking in.

Jack heard the knock and was getting ready to shoo the person away, then when he recognized the blonde hair and realised it was Carter he relaxed and let her walk right on in, Teal’c following close behind.

Sam spotted the sleeping Daniel and slowly crept over to where the Colonel was sitting arms wrapped around him.

"He was tired." Jack said flatly, as if to defend himself for his current position.

"How's he doing?"  Sam was focusing so intently on Daniel she didn't even bother look up for the answer.

"Nightmares.  He hasn’t been sleeping well."  That was an understatement.    

"After effect of him using that mind probe?"  Sam leaned over to get a better look, mainly to assure herself once again that the images of her friend burning to death were completely false.

“Been talking to Frasier?” Jack raised an eyebrow.

“No, lucky guess.”  

Although their voices were hushed Daniel could still here them.  Jack, Sam, even Teal’c, were there for him.  He thought he should probably open his eyes and let them know he was awake.  But for the moment Daniel was content to just wallow, in the fact that for the first time since he’d returned to Earth, he felt like he might have a chance at having another family.  He’d told Nem, a total stranger and his kidnapper, how much he’d wanted to go home to his friends’.  One day he'd tell his friends’ how much they meant to him.

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.