Title: Flying Monkeys
Author: Corgilady (aka Winterstar aka Donna)
Category: Angst, Drama
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Mention of torture, Major character death

 

 

            Will he forgive me?

            He slumps against the wall, his face a curse. His hands are empty, the absence of a weapon echoes through the dark cell. It is this, strangely, that makes me shiver with impending fear. I glance to the solid door of our prison, knowing they are coming soon. My hand curls around Jack’s. The long thin fingers are still strong and grip mine as waves of pain shoot through him.

            I want to murmur words of comfort but none remain on my tongue. I’ve said as much as I can and the soothing words have dried up, desiccate and lifeless. His eyes rise from the pain to meet mine.  I want to speak with him, these are our last minutes together. There will be no more.

            A shudder takes him and I pull him into my arms to try and help him through the pain. How long will it take, the finality.  This was supposed to be fast, they promised me it would be fast.

            Jack breathes out a sigh and I can tell the pain has receded like the beckoning tide. It threatens the shore, rising to erode the sandy wake but then dissipates to leave the shore a remnant of what it once was to never be the same.

            Jack will never be the same. I stifle the ache in my chest. I don’t want to feel this, I cannot even look at my friend. We have been friends forever it seems. We’ve loved and hated one another. We have been each other in so many ways.

            He’s trying to say something, but his lips barely move against the parched dryness we’ve been suffering. They do not bring water, not anymore. What is the use?

            Jack is dying.

            And it is my fault. I squeeze my eyes closed, denying the reality sitting in front of me. He sits there, holding his chest, holding his fragile body together. The slow breakdown of his body, of his life as it bleeds over his hands to pool on his lap then drip over his legs. I tried, tried to make this easy for him.

            Will he forgive me?

            I didn’t want him to suffer. I wanted it to be fast, quick. This was as easy as they would offer. I said yes. This would be the way Jack died. My breath hitches in my throat and Jack shakes his head. My hands cover his, plastered against him to staunch the flow of his blood. It won’t be long now.

            I peer at the door again. As soon as Jack is gone, they will come for me. That was the deal, what I promised. His eyes are loosing consistency, and I recognize the fading light of who he is. Death is like that – it is slow and insidious and beautiful all at once. He wants to say things to me, to finish off his life. I want to refuse to hear, I don’t want to hear what he has to say. If I hear it – it will truly mean he is dead.

            “Daniel.” His voice is weak and he is sliding further down the mold laden wall.

            I reach to his shoulder and stroke it. My hands are bloody and I want to apologize but the words stick in my throat.

            “Daniel, this was right. This was good.” He lets loose his wound and touches my face, just gently, just briefly. “This is how a commander lives.” He gives a little chuckle. “Kind of ironic, huh?”

            I drop my head and murmur, “Jack, please.”

            Then he says the words I once said to Teal’c. “You did the right thing.”

            How could it be the right thing when he is dying in front of me? I can’t look at him, how can I look at the man I condemned?

            “Please,” I say and I hate the sound of my voice, the tone is petulant and small like a child’s.

            “Come on Daniel, you gotta have more faith than that.”  He grimaces as another shot of pain hits him. “The cavalry will get here; flying monkeys wouldn’t keep them away.”

            “Flying monkeys, Jack?” I’d give anything for flying monkeys right now and green witches that melt when a bucket of water is dumped on them. But no one is coming; they won’t find us in time. They don’t even know where we are. Jack will be dead soon. The thought stops me cold and I can’t breathe. I start to hyperventilate and Jack’s hand rubs my back as he tries to calm me.

            “Whoa big fella, nice and easy. Take a breath.”

            “No, no, no.” The hysteria rises in me; I feel my heart banging against my throat, deafening my ears.

            “This was the best thing, Daniel. You had to pick one of us. You did the right thing.”

            He’s right, of course. I had to pick one of us. Our jailers asked me to choose one. I recall Jack standing over me as I interpreted the words and made the deal. I remember looking up into his face from my crouched position. I can still see the eyes, brown and slitted. The worry etched over his features, marring them. We were captured; they held Jack in bindings and kicked him to submission. They imprisoned us for days after our initial abduction, beating us without reason then beating us for attempting to escape. They clamped manacles about my wrists and I begged them to listen to me.  They did.

            I was lucky.  I laugh a mirthless sound down deep in my throat.  How could I be lucky when my best friend is dying before me? But they listened to me, heard my pleas and agreed to my compromise.

            I remember Jack’s expression as I turned to him to tell him the negotiated deal. “They’ve agreed.”

            “We can go?”

            “Not exactly.”

            “Daniel.” He said it in that sing-song way he does when he is frustrated, exasperated with me.

            “Well one of us has to die a quick death.”

            “Not much of a deal. I have to say, Daniel, your negotiating skills have really gone down the toilet.”

            “It’s the only thing they would agree to,” I said back to him, holding his gaze hoping he would make the next leap himself.  I didn’t want to say it to him, I didn’t want to say it to his face.

            His eyes examined my face, looked back to our captors then back to me. “A quick death.”

            I nodded then.

            “A quick death for one of us.”

            I nodded again, but I never looked at him.  I kept my eyes unfocused as he looked at me and he read my face.

            He made the jump and landed exactly where I wanted him to. “A quick death for one of us and freedom for the other.”

            At that point, I let silence drop over us. It was the easiest thing to do, to keep my eyes to the ground. I remember looking at the mud on his boots, seeing the polish he so carefully worked into the leather gone and smudged with dirt. I concentrated on that instead of looking at him, instead of letting him see my eyes.

            But I couldn’t not say something, I had to speak. I only murmured, “Jack.”

            He glanced at the aliens surrounding us. “Right. Well tell them it will be me then.”

            “Jack,” I said.

            “No, Daniel, no.” He glared at me then and I swallowed hard. How could I do this to him? How could I let him? “Tell them, you go free.” He laughed a bit then and said, “You always get to be the one to die. It’s my turn.”

            So I did what he told me to do. I don’t know if he was surprised that I actually followed his orders. They shot him without ceremony and then dumped us in this cell to wait Jack’s final moments. I hope they let me stay with him.

            I hear a clang and turn toward the door to see it opening. I swear under my breath, how could they come now? I need to stay with him, I have to stay with him. I caused this to happen to him. My faulty negotiating skills damned him.

            But they are on me in seconds, grappling hands, pulling chains.

            “Flying monkeys, Daniel,” Jack whispers and then fades, falling to the floor.

            “Jack, Jack,” I’m yelling as they yank me out of the cell. I struggle to get back to the cell to see him in his final moments. I fail. I scream out at the futility of the moment. I’m not screaming words, nothing but primal animal like screams are coming out of me. I can’t even think of words. What the hell are words when my friend is dying. Alone.

            They drag me to another place, another cell. This cell is to be my home. This cell is to be my death chamber, my torture chamber. I gulp for air as the daylight of life grays in and out. This was the deal, this was the promise. I’d learned their culture; it was an easy one to grasp. They were sadists of the cruelest kind. They like to watch people die, they liked to see how people reacted to death.  Our deal was simple. We had only one option.

            They offered it to me.  Death.

            There was no other option. We were caught. Sam and Teal’c had no hope of knowing where we were, the address they dialed. Escape only drove the beatings to a climax. They were going to kill us one way or another. Freedom was never an option, I never told Jack it was. I allowed him to assume that was the option and because they shot him so quickly, he could not ensure that the deal was in fact about my freedom. Their deal was simple they wanted to watch and see one of us suffer. I chose me. It’s easy to lie when you are the only one that knows the language.

            First they would watch my reaction to Jack’s death and then they would torture me to death.  My only restriction was that Jack’s death had to be fast. While their idea of fast did not match up with mine – at least I knew he would die without being actively tortured. That would be my sentence.

            They are tying me to a pole in the middle of the cell, stripping me. I’m not really coherent at this moment. I’m hearing Jack. Not really hearing him, but visions of him are floating through my grief sodden head. I can’t escape the images. Sobs steal my air and I know as the torture begins it will be more difficult for me if I can’t breath.

            They come at me with implements both grotesque and crude. Torture is best done with the simplest of instruments. What they have gives hot pokers a whole new meaning to me. I grit my teeth against the pain. This is just the start, they promised me with such delight in their eyes that while Jack’s death would be simple and easy mine would be long and arduous. I took them for their word.

            My flesh is punctured, my skin is torn, salt is poured over my wounds. I am beaten and bruised. I am broken but none of the pain hurts as much as the moment I last laid eyes upon Jack. It was the last moments of his life and I could not help him.

            My eyes close as I sink and welcome the pain. It, at least, numbs the memory.

~~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~~

            “Daniel? Daniel?”

            The voice is insistent but I brush it away. I don’t want to answer, I don’t want to remember.

            “Daniel, we know you’re awake.”

            “Sam?” My mouth seems to be glued together. I lick my lips and test my voice again. “Sam?” It tastes and feels like I have been chewing on rocks.

            “Yes.” She squeezes my hand and I open my eyes. “There you are.”

            I’m in the infirmary and there is something so extraordinary about the mundane beep of the machinery, of the starkness of the white linens. “How? Why?”

            She smiles at me and I realize Teal’c is behind her like a silent guardian. She huffs a little as if it is difficult to go through the story of my rescue. “Not so simple. We were able to figure out where the aliens dialed through to when we were attacked on P6Y-772.”

            “Major Carter was quite ingenious although it did cause irreparable damage to the dial home device on P6Y-772.”

            She gives him that half smile that I have come to love from Sam. “After the aliens  attacked us on 772 and took you and the colonel with them we weren’t able to see the address they dialed. I was able to retrieve the last address dialed from the DHD but it caused some damage.”

            “The DHD exploded.”

            Sam frowns at Teal’c. “Well, yes, it did explode. But we were able to rig a make shift power source.”

            “Major Carter confuscated my staff weapon and dissembled it.”

            She turns to Teal’c and says, “It worked didn’t it?”

            He bows and says, “Indeed.” Teal’c allows her to smile in satisfaction and then adds, “After acquiring the needed address to the planet of your captors, we were able to utilize Major Carter’s improvised power source to return to the SGC.”

            “Anyway, we were able to bring backup from the SGC and follow you. It was only a matter of time.”

            I nod. Time we did not have, time that Jack did not have. I curse myself. How could I have not believed we would be rescued. Jack didn’t have that time. I shift uneasy and painfully in the bed. My legs are in casts, my ribs are bound, I feel a bandage on the side of my face and another is on my right arm and hand.

            “It wasn’t soon enough.”

            “It was soon enough. How many times do I have to tell you to believe in the cavalry, Dannyboy?”    

            The voice startles me and I turn to the curtain as Sam tugs it aside. Jack sits there in the bed next to mine. He is ghastly white like he has lost a ton of blood which I am sure he has. He smiles at me and gives me a half wave.

            “What’s a matter Daniel, you seeing a ghost.”

            “How, Jack?”

            “The old dog is a hard one to kill.”

            “Actually the Colonel was very nearly dead when we arrived but he wasn’t as bad off as you were.  His main issue was blood loss.” Sam touches my arm. “You on the other hand sustained some very serious injuries. They almost lost you in the operating room. But I’ll let Janet tell you about it.”

            Both Teal’c and Sam decide it is time to let us rest and say their farewells as they leave. I lay my head back on the pillow still waiting to wake up in the cell, waiting to feel the next blow.

            “Oh Daniel,” Jack says.

            I turn to him. “Jack?”

            “You lied.”

“Lied?”

            “Yeah, Daniel, you lied to me. You told me those aliens were going to let you go free.”

            “Actually Jack I never said that at all. I just let you assume that was what the deal was.”

            He’s silent.  The silence ticks away at the clock and I almost drift off to sleep as he considers this fact.

            “You weren’t playing fair Daniel. You being the only one to understand the language, you weren’t playing fair.”

            “Probably not.”

            “So the deal was?”

            “Their culture was based on sadistic rituals that culminate in”

            He interrupts me, “Daniel.”

            “They would kill you simply and torture me to death.”

            “Not a great deal.”

            “It was the only one they were willing to accept.”

            “You still lied to me.”

            “I never said anything.”

            “Daniel, you ever do anything like that again I will send flying monkeys after you myself. That was a command decision, not a civilian consultant’s decision.” He clenches his teeth. “Damn it Daniel, both your legs are broken, do you know that? Do you know how many ribs you don’t have fractured? Not as many as you have fractured. Christ, Daniel, you could have died.”

            I look at him and shake my head. “I couldn’t stand to see you suffer. Their culture gave me no other choice.”

            He falls into silence again and I close my eyes. I think he is going to let me sleep this time but he clears his throat and I open my eyes and shift to gaze at him. “Secrets between friends are dangerous Daniel.  We could have figured out a better strategy.”

            “Maybe.”

            “No maybe about it.”

            I nod, the exhaustion is claiming me.

            “Daniel?”

            “Jack?” Irritation laces my voice.

            “Flying monkeys Daniel, next time I will send flying monkeys after you if you do it again.”

            I don’t open my eyes but I do smile as I hear him murmur again, “Flying monkeys.”

THE END.

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