Part One

Slash:  Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: NC-17.
Category: Pre-Slash. Angst. Hurt/Comfort. Action/Adventure.  Drama
Season/Spoilers: Season 2.  Small Spoiler for Cor Ai. Stargate the Movie.  Serpent's Grasp/Serpent's Lair.
Synopsis: SG-1 returns from an aborted mission and it's business as usual. Or is it?
Warnings: intense situations, violence, torture, character death is alluded to but does not actually occur in the course of the story.
Length:  300  Kb  Originally completed early 2000.


There was something definitely screwy with Daniel. Maybe it was simply a case of 'once a wingnut, always a wingnut' but this was right off the wall, even for SG-1's resident – flake.

Okay, it was strange enough that the guy had already polished off half a dozen beers and he was not only still standing, but also showing no apparent neurological impairments, but this – this was definitely pushing the envelope.

Jack shifted uncomfortably on the couch, trying not to stare at his companion. Who had better than half the contents of Jack's fridge arranged on the coffee table before him and appeared to be attempting to work his way though the buffet in a fairly systematic fashion.

Not a truly dedicated consume-everything-in-sight type of binge – no that wasn't it. It was more like – sampling. He would take a bite of this, a spoonful of that, consider it, then move on to something else. When he wasn't just touching it, seemingly as fascinated with what it felt like as what it tasted like.

Geez, the way he was carrying on you'd think the guy had never EATEN before!

As if he could read his mind Daniel suddenly turned to him, grinned widely and attempted to speak around the obstruction of his latest mouthful.

"This is really GOOD! What's it called again?"

"Uh – mayonnaise, Daniel. And you're actually supposed to…put it on something. Like bread. With a knife. You know – condiment? Not – out of the jar with a spoon." Jack shuddered. "Oh – oh – stop that! Just… stop. You're grossing me out, already! That's disgusting!"

Daniel froze, his eyes widening. Hastily he swallowed, and put down the spoon and the jar of mayonnaise.

"I'm sorry, Jack," he said quickly. "You're right of course. This is very silly of me. Not the proper way to act at all. I apologize for upsetting you."

Okay – that was it. This had to be some sort of elaborate practical joke. Daniel was having him on big time. Getting back at him for what had happened on the mission. That had to be what it was. Had to be.

Something had been bothering Daniel when they went through the gate this morning to P3S-354. He had been acting antsy all through the pre-mission brief and as they had been drawing their equipment. His behaviour hadn't improved once they hit the other side.

Mind you, Daniel had been a bit 'off' for the last couple of months. Ever since the business with Xi'a. He'd come back from it and all, but the incident had left some effects that were at times, a little wearing on the nerves.

Daniel had picked up a case of the heebie jeebies that was making each trip through the gate a rather trying exercise in 'by the pricking of my thumbs.' He just had this 'feeling' he 'couldn't explain' – that 'something' was about to happen. Almost all the time now.

What was really annoying was that nine times out of ten he'd been right. This whatever-it-was had saved their butts more than once but what it was doing to Daniel almost didn't make it worth it.

Daniel had dutifully gone for his little chats with Doctor McKenzie which had resulted in the good Doc pronouncing him a little fatalistic but otherwise fine.

Jack had to concede that as much as it bugged him, Daniel's propensity to skittishness wasn't an impediment to his performance in the field and actually had become more than a bit of a useful tool.

Still, Jack hated to watch his friend go through it, and if it was up to him, he'd find some way to make it go away. Jack fervently hoped that the Doc was right – this was just a phase Daniel was going through and it would pass.

God, he hoped so but if THIS was what was replacing it….

The jaunt to P3S-354 had been – weird. They had sent the MALP through 24 hours ago and the video it sent back had promptly sent Carter into paroxysms of scientific ecstasy. The gate on P3S-354 resided in futuristic looking building that was loaded with all sorts of – stuff. Technical stuff. Stuff that made Carter pretty happy anyway.

The site appeared to be abandoned, but to be on the safe way they'd left the MALP there with the camera set to go on if something tripped the motion detector. When they'd checked it the next day it had not been moved or interfered with in any way, nor was there any evidence of activity in the building.

So they'd pronounced the place deserted and decided to go for a look-see.

It was very plain from the way he'd been fidgeting during the brief Daniel wasn't too keen on going. He didn't try to get out of it or anything, it wasn't anything he'd said, and when Jack had leaned over and asked him if everything was okay he'd whipped his head around, a tight-lipped smile on his face, jabbed his glasses back up on his nose with his index finger and simply said, "Fine. Fine. I'm fine."

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Carter and Teal'c fanned out, starting to give the place the once over. Daniel stuck pretty close to him, practically banging right into him at times, all the while vibrating like a plucked string. For some reason, having Daniel there like that – bugged him. He didn't know why, it just did.

It kept on bugging him as he made his way around, Daniel still hovering and vibrating. Jack resisted the urge to smack him as he moved along what looked like a wall full of computer - thingees - Daniel trailing just behind him, darting his eyes about with a furtive, slightly hunted expression on his face.

After about ten minutes of this Jack couldn't help it. He braked and spun so abruptly Daniel bumped into him and then swiftly retreated, backing off in embarrassed haste.

"What?" Jack demanded testily. "What is it now?"

Daniel's head came up, chin jutting out defiantly. Behind his glasses his eyes narrowed, but not quite enough to conceal the hurt expression in them.

"Nothing." He said in a voice as shuttered as his expression. "Nothing at all. Pardon me for bothering you."

He stalked away in a cloud of offended dignity. Jack watched Daniel's stiff-backed progress feeling an overwhelming desire to pull chunks of hair out of his head.

Which was fairly interesting, because he couldn't for the life of him figure out where all the anger was coming from and why it should be so specifically directed at Daniel.

Maybe he should find out if there was something funny going on here.

Keeping one eye on Daniel, who was engaged in a rapt study of the items on a small table in the centre of the room, his back to the man who was watching him while trying not to look like he was, Jack crossed over to Carter. She was engrossed in examining a pedestal-like structure which looked like it was some sort of control console. She glanced up to acknowledge him as he reached her.

"So how's it going, Captain?"

Her face was shining with her excitement. "Sir, this place is absolutely amazing. I – I can't even BEGIN to speculate on the function of most of what I have seen here. It might take years to evaluate all of this equipment. Sir, this very well could be THE technological find we have been looking for."

"Ya think?" Jack gave her a 'very impressive' nod. "Well, that's fine, Captain. Sounds good. Listen, ah, what about the place here? What kinda readings are you getting? Everything clean? No – funny stuff? Oh I dunno, strange radiation or emissions or anything along those lines? Pixie dust? Laughing gas?"

She gave him a puzzled look before replying. "No sir, nothing like that. I would have reported any dangerous or anomalous readings immediately. Why do you ask?"

"Just… procedure. And yes, I know you would have informed me immediately if there had been – anything - like that – to inform me of. Good job. Carry on… I'll just be…over there. If anybody needs me..."

Good one, O'Neill. Next time see if you can sound any more like a goon.

He smiled crookedly at Carter and ambled away in the general direction of Daniel, rubbing the back of his neck with a rueful hand. No outside explanation for his outburst existed. That only left one other possibility.

He was letting Daniel get under his skin again. Over reacting. Again. Best bite the bullet and mend the fence.

His transit across the room was arrested by the beeping of one of Carter's instruments.

"Ah, Colonel," she began. "I might have been a little premature in my previous statement."

Jack swung around to look at her. "Meaning?"

"I don't understand why, but all of a sudden, the radiation level in the room is rapidly rising." She frowned at the instrument as if she did not believe what she was seeing. "It's going off the scale, sir. Well past safe levels. Colonel, this entire complex is being flooded with high intensity gamma radiation. We can't stay here, sir."

The words flew out of him before he even knew what he was saying.

"For crying out loud Daniel, what did you touch?"

What the – where the HELL had that come from? He could feel Sam and Teal'c's eyes upon him, no doubt wondering, as he was, if he had lost his mind.

The man accused snapped around to face him, visibly bristling as he started to stride toward him.

"Nothing. I didn't touch anything. Whenever anything goes wrong, why do you always ASSUME it's my fault?"

Even though Jack tried to stop it, it still came out. Like something inside him beyond his control was deliberately trying to provoke Daniel. And doing a damned fine job of it.

"That's because it usually is."

Daniel halted in mid-stride, a stunned expression on his face. His mouth gaped open, then began working with the force of his anger. At first only a few strangled sounds came out, and then he shook his head and waved Jack away as he started walking again, past him without looking, heading towards the others.

"I don't have to take this," he muttered. "Screw you, Colonel, sir."

Crap. He hadn't meant to say any of that. Wasn't fair, wasn't right, wasn't what he really believed. And yet, he couldn't seem to help himself. He didn't care what Sam said; there was something weird going on here. Radiation or no, they were getting the hell out of this place. Now!

"Just dial it up, Daniel," he said in a low voice as he started to walk after him.

Daniel stood in front of the DHD, his arms folded across his chest, a very stubborn look on his face.

"I can't." he said in a decidedly petulant voice.

"What do you mean – you CAN'T?" Oh boy, it was happening again.

"Because, then I would have to TOUCH something. Apparently I'm not allowed to do that."

Daniel continued to stand there, staring at him, his jaw set, lips tight, eyes staring daggers, looking for all the world like a kid about to hold his breath till he turned blue.

Daniel's resemblance to a truculent twelve-year-old was at complete odds with his confrontational glare and stance. He just looked so – cute. Jack closed his eyes, lowered his head, biting his lip to bite back an almost uncontrollable urge – to laugh.

"Oh for crying out loud!"

That was Carter, using one of his most favorite expressions in a very disgusted voice as she crossed quickly to the DHD and input the destination chevrons.

"With all due respect, sir, could you two settle this on your own time? We hang around here much longer and we are going to get fried."

Jack found he couldn't reply. The urge to laugh was getting too strong. But he didn't dare give into it. He'd already done enough damage. If he laughed at Daniel right now, there was a very good chance he wouldn't be forgiven for a long time.

Carter and Teal'c were already heading for the gate. She had tried to get Daniel to follow her, but he'd shrugged off her arm and refused to move. He still stood there, glaring at Jack as he approached.

Jack was shaking with the effort of suppressing his laughter as he grabbed Daniel by the arm and hauled him after him toward the gate.

Come on," he snickered. "Let's get the hell out of here. You can punch me out when we get home. Promise."

They had almost reached the event horizon when Daniel suddenly pulled his arm out of Jack's clasp and took a step back.

"Damn – forgot my pack. Left it by the DHD. I'll just go and get it."

Jack halted, intending to wait for him, but Daniel had other plans. A sudden shove sent him flying into the event horizon. Homeward bound. By the time he emerged in the gate room he was almost prostrate with laughter.

It took a couple of minutes for him to get a hold of himself. He was well aware he was getting more than a couple of strange looks from his teammates.

"Sir, " Carter said, with an edge to her voice. "Where's Daniel?"

"He's right behind me. He had to go back for his pack."

They turned and looked at the shimmering event horizon. Nothing happened.

Nothing happened for some more.

After five minutes of this, Jack found himself getting more than a bit concerned.

Just as he was about to hit panic mode and get them to redial P3S-354 Daniel came bounding through the event horizon, pack in hand.

Well, he had been mad, amused and worried all in a row. Now all he was – was relieved.

Daniel bounced down the ramp toward him, an enormous smile on his face. It there was any residual annoyed-ness in him over what had just gone down across the universe, you sure couldn't tell from looking at him.

"What took you so long?" he began as Daniel reached him. "We were starting to get a little worried."

Daniel put a hand on his shoulder and looked at him with earnest eyes.

"I just want to say how sorry I am Jack. I wish to make up. I don't like fighting with you. It upsets me very much. So, I wish to tell you that I am not offended by what was said, and that it is forgotten."

With that he smiled, squeezed Jack's shoulder warmly, and walked away, towards the opening blast doors.

Jack gaped at him for a moment, and then looked at Sam and Teal'c. Who had been doing a fair bit of gaping themselves.

"Uh, I probably shouldn't be complaining, but will somebody explain something to me? What – was THAT?"

Sam shrugged. "Got me, Sir."

"I am equally unable to explain DanielJackson's behaviour. Or your own, for that matter."

Would have to bring that up, huh, Teal'c?

It wasn't 'til much later that Jack was to remember Daniel hadn't answered his question…


Presence of life forms detected in specimen collection area. Scan and identify.

That voice. Dead. Metallic. Inhuman. He had heard it before. Heard it say those words…

Target species detected. Initiating specimen collection program.

Dreaming. He was dreaming again. The same dream. The one he had been trying to remember.

Scanning life forms to select optimum specimen for collection.

He was standing in a huge room filled with the strange, vaguely menacing machinery and the eerie, faceless beings. Black, blank identical figures touched parts of a huge console in the centre of the room blinking with soft lights and unfamiliar symbols. A huge globe of diffused light hovered several feet in the air above the console.

There was an image in the light. A representation of a large, unfamiliar, room. Scared him for some reason, he didn't know why. Didn't want to look at it, but couldn't help it. The room in the light was full of more equipment and machines not unlike the ones here, where he was standing.

But there was more. There was a Stargate in the other room too, the mobile, liquid, activated event horizon pulsing softly. Four people emerged from it. People with faces. Very familiar faces…

Compatible specimen detected. High receptivity to telepathic stimulus suggests previous conditioning or exposure. Maximum compatibility with patterning protocols confirmed. Initiating isolation program.

The people in the room had been walking around, investigating, but now were starting to move back toward the Stargate. They were leaving. Going away. The woman activated the gate, and walked through the event horizon with the dark man. Something bad was about to happen. He had to warn them. He had to say something before they were gone. Before they all were gone…

Activating Probe. Initiating patterning program. Initiating specimen collection sequence. Activating.

The other two men were approaching the Stargate. Wait, they were stopping. No – don't stop! Keep going! This is where it starts getting bad…

Alone. The last man was alone. It was happening… Oh God…

Specimen acquired. Probe patterned and launched. Target species evaluation program on line and functioning. Encoding of specimen's physical and mental/experiential source data commencing. Construction of baseline database commencing. Specimen termination and disposal program on standby. Program to be activated automatically upon successful encoding of all data.

Don't be afraid. It's only a dream. Dreams aren't real, they can't hurt you. Mommy used to say that. Dreams can't hurt… All you have to do is wake up, Danny…

PAIN! Shattering, screaming, hot fire coursing through him... godgodgod hurts so much too real only a dream wake up now please…


Sam stomped down the corridor, a seething mass of angry, frustrated astrophysicist. Damn damn damn DAMN! Why did this always happen? They hit the jackpot again, only to have it snatched away. Again! This was – what? The third time this year? The key to the secrets dies, the damn place blows up and now – well this was the best one yet.

They had tried to redial P3C-354 hoping to find out from the MALP whether or not the radiation levels were still rising or if they had leveled off. There was always the hope they could go through with suits and attempt some sort of salvage operation. But – no.

The signals they sent to the MALP kept bouncing back, as if they were being deflected by some sort of barrier. Which could only mean that the destination wormhole was now sealed by something akin to their iris. Effectively locking them out. Damn.

This new obstacle to her plans must have been part of some automatic defense program that they had unwittingly triggered somehow. Along with the radiation that had made them clear out in the first place. Well, guess they should be grateful it had let them get out of there before locking the place down. Damn. Wasn't this just – peachy.

Well, now that the post-mortems were completed all she wanted to do was find something that would get her mind off the whole lousy, rotten, stinking thing. Damn. Where was a punching bag when you needed one?

She rounded the bend in the corridor and stopped dead. Daniel was standing there, about fifty feet further down the same corridor, leaning up against the wall, looking extremely attractive in his civvies. A fact which did not appear to be lost on the woman who was standing in front of him. Hell, almost on top of him. Whoa!

She recognized the woman right away. Willis. One of the newer techs assigned to the Astrophysics section. She hadn't been here very long, but had already quite distinguished herself as one of the more persistent hunter-gatherers stalking the elusive and oblivious Daniel.

Bless him, on any given day he had a pack of panting females sniffing around him and he was completely unaware of it. It was usually quite funny to watch but what she was seeing right now wasn't particularly amusing.

Not only was Daniel not looking so oblivious, he was also clearly not running. Nor did he appear to be in the slightest bit perturbed by the overwhelming indications he was about to get – gathered…

Almost on cue Willis reached out, grabbed him by the lapels and pulled him down into a blistering kiss. Sam's eyes widened with disbelief as he avidly responded, pulling her to him firmly, kissing her back with an enthusiasm that made his astonished team-mate slightly nauseous.

Deciding she had already seen way more than she ever cared to, she was about to beat a hasty retreat back down the way she had come when suddenly Daniel put his hands on Willis's shoulders and pushed her away. He shook his head and started to walk away from Willis, toward her.

The woman suddenly scorned had a rather ugly look on her face and was about to come after him, possibly to debate the issue a little further, but then she saw they were not alone.

One sight of Captain Carter and she turned tail and ran. Good thing too. Sam made a mental note to have a talk with the Lieutenant about her on duty conduct at the first possible opportunity.

But now, she had to figure out a way to deal with the man walking toward her. A big smile on his face as if knowing she had seen what she had just seen did not bother him in the slightest.


Daniel's voice was as clear of shame or guile as his face. His blue eyes sparkled with genuine affection as he reached her side. She suddenly felt very confused.

"Samantha. I've always been very fond of the name Samantha. Such a lovely name. So lyrical. It's Aramaic. Means 'The Listener.' Did you know that?"

Mesmerized by the strange light in his eyes, Sam shook her head.

"The Listener." Daniel continued softly. "It's very appropriate, don't you think? Much more suitable for someone with a heart as compassionate and understanding as yours. I've always thought it was a shame you prefer to be addressed by the diminutive. Sam is so harsh. So – unlike you. I've never told you that, have I? There are a lot of things I've never told you."

Sam realized he was stroking her cheek with the lightest of touches. Those eyes – my god, you could drown in them…

"I'm very fond of you, Samantha."

Oh no Daniel please don't do this... not this…

"I've never told you that either. I should have. You've been such a good friend. You've helped me far more than you could ever know. You deserve to know you are appreciated. That your friendship is appreciated. It is, I assure you."

Friend. He said friend. Thank god he said friend. I – I think…

"I appreciate you too, Daniel."

Wow! That was her voice. She actually managed to say something. Maybe she should have just kept quiet because the look of genuine happiness on his face was starting to make her feel a little weak in the knees.

"Do you? That means a lot. It really does. I'm grateful. I haven't had many friends in my life. That makes the ones I have now even more special."

Suddenly his eyes grew distant, pensive, releasing her from their spell. She heaved a grateful sigh.

"It does mean a lot," he murmured. "I'm beginning to understand…"

"Daniel? Are you okay?"

He nodded shifting his focus back to her. His face wore a deeply puzzled look, as if he was struggling with something. Looking to her for explanations or answers.

"Kissing that woman was very stimulating," he began. "She wanted me to kiss her. But – I - I wouldn't do that, would I? It wouldn't be right."

She had no idea what was going on now. Safest to just – go along.

"No Daniel, you wouldn't."

"Doing the right thing is very important to me, isn't it?"

"Daniel, are you sure you're okay? You don't usually talk like this."

He smiled kindly at her again. "Maybe it's time I started. Thank you, Samantha."

Before she knew what was happening he leaned down, kissed her softly on the cheek and then moved past her, walking quickly away down the corridor.

Finally released from the mesmerism of his presence, Sam collapsed against the wall. She needed it to hold her up. Needed it for several long minutes while she just stood there and trembled, caught in a strange mixture of fear, confusion and regret. As soon as the trembling stopped and her legs would work again she went to find the Colonel.

By the time Sam found him Teal'c had already come to him with a very similar tale of having just had an extremely uncharacteristic conversation with Daniel. Teal'c had been unwilling to divulge the contents of that conversation, but the fact the Jaffa was disturbed enough by it to report it to him was more than an indication there was a problem.

Sam was equally evasive when it came to spelling out just what had gone down. It was almost as if they were both torn between needing to do the right thing, and wanting to protect the man they were concerned about. It was damned peculiar.

After assuring both of them he would get to the bottom of it, Jack set out to find the object of all this concern. Whatever the problem was, he was hoping they could straighten it out without involving anyone else. Daniel had been scrutinized, poked, prodded and evaluated quite enough these past few months. The last thing he needed was the pall of another 'evaluation' hanging over him again.

Stress. That's all it was. Had to be. He'd find Daniel, they'd kick back, have a little chat, clear the air, get it all out. Nothing they hadn't had to do before. SG-1 been turned loose for the weekend, so he had plenty of time to make Daniel come clean. If that was how long it took, that would be how long it took.

Hey, what are friends for?

On a hunch he decided to save himself some steps and check with the security desk. Yup, the bird had flown. No problem. Had a feeling he knew where Daniel was going. Best get there so as to not keep him waiting too long.

It didn't take a major expenditure of mental energy to work it out. If Sam and Teal'c were anything to go by, it would seem Daniel was working his way down the list. Only one name left on it. Saving the best for last? Or avoiding the worst till the end?

Sure enough, Daniel had been waiting for him when he got home. And then had promptly taken him on a trip through the looking glass.

Nothing Sam and Teal'c had said to him had in any way prepared him for his evening with the Mayonnaise Kid.

Daniel hadn't done a lot of talking at first. He'd been too busy roaming all over the house – touching stuff. Like a little kid on his first visit to Disneyland.

When the conversation finally came it had been a lot of "hey Jack, remember when we," or "what about the time when," or "how about this, I really enjoyed this."

While following along on this trip down memory lane Jack was stunned to realize just how many things he possessed had direct associations – with Daniel. He had never, ever seen this before. How – connected - his life had become with this man. There were pieces of Daniel all over the place.

Suddenly, that scared him. He wasn't sure why, but he didn't have time for it at the moment. This wasn't about him.

After the guided tour they'd segued into adventures in dubious gastronomy, and now here they were, trading glances over the mayonnaise. Daniel had this very strange look in his eyes. Jack felt himself starting to sweat.

"There are a lot of things I've never told you, Jack. I don't know why. I don't understand a lot of the things I do. A lot of the things I don't allow myself to do or say. Why do I feel these things, and not share them? It doesn't make sense to me. It doesn't make me happy to keep them to myself. I'm sure I'd be a lot happier if some of my questions were answered."

Ohhhh crap…


…pain gone… finally… awake, but still in the nightmare. Can't move. Cold. So cold… Everything hurts… Where… Open eyes… so hard... hurts…

The room. In the dream. Not a dream. Real! God. I'm really here. Awake - not dreaming. Can't move. Why? So cold… Clothes? Where? Lying on something... some kind of table… no clothes. Over head...lights... some kind of device…don't like the looks of it it's coming down – toward me..,. ohhh – this can't be good… saw it before – and then the pain… no – not again! Have to get out of here! Have to get off this table! Shit! Can't – can't move. Can't get away! What's that – oh shit. Those – those things are here too. Coming back. I think I'm in big trouble, Jack. Hope you guys are on your way back for me...please god come back for me Jack…

NO! Not again... ahhhh hurts so much why are you doing this – stop it! Please ... no more pain…



"You can punch me out when we get back home. Promise."

Ah Jack, like that would have made it all better….

I was so angry at you, Jack. I didn't need to hear those things from you. I was only trying to remember. I was scared. Didn't know why. Wasn't trying to be a pain. Just trying to figure out what was wrong.

I didn't mean to be a bother. I never mean to be a bother. Always seem to be one though, huh? Well, looks like I won't have to worry about being a bother much longer…

If only the last words that passed between us hadn't been harsh ones. Wish I could take them back. If only my last act hadn't been – to shove you away. Change that too, if I could. Too late now. If you were coming back for me, you'd be here by now. You're not coming. I'm on my own. I'm going to die here… alone…

I know why now. It's all starting to come back to me. It's okay; I don't blame you for leaving me behind. It's not your fault. You don't know…

I remember everything now. Those black things in the gate room. Coming out of nowhere. All of a sudden they were just – there. A bunch of faceless, black figures that looked like store mannequins except I've never in my life seen a store mannequin that could move around, paralyze me and make me feel so much pain…

One of them grabbed my face. I thought I was going to pass out when it touched me. Thought I was seeing things it hurt so bad because all of a sudden I wasn't looking into my face reflected back at me in the black surface of the thing – I was looking at my face. Literally.

I was beside myself. Hey Jack, I made a joke! Jesus. Wasn't laughing then. Come to think of it, not a lot to crack me up here now.

It was me. Right down to the nick under my chin where I cut myself shaving this morning. By the time it let me go I was starting to pass out from the pain. Last thing I remember is watching myself go through the Stargate. Then I woke up here.

Oh god, whatever happened to 'ignorance is bliss?" Why did I have to remember all that? What good does it do me to remember watching some – thing - take my place? Stealing my life. Sealing my fate…

What good does it do to remember that I was – left behind? As far as Jack and the others are concerned, I'm home, safe and sound. They won't be looking for me, because they don't know I'm lost. There's a wolf in the fold wearing my face, and they don't even know it. I know it, but I can't tell them. Can't warn them that they're in danger. From – from me…

Are they safe? What's going on? What does it want? Why is it there? What does it intend to do? God, I wish I knew. Wish there was something I could do.

I've tried everything. Struggling, calling out to the mannequins to let me go until I lost my voice, struggling some more. Pointless. All pointless. Struggling is pointless. Can't break free from this table, trying to communicate with these things is a waste of time. I'm just a thing to them. Something for them to do whatever they please to whenever they please. For as long as they feel like it. Powerless. Completely powerless. Can't free myself. Can't warn my friends. Can't do anything.

Can't move. Can't escape. Can't even wipe my eyes. Shit. Stop it. This isn't helping. Have to think. Have to get out of this. Too much at stake to give up. Don't even know how much time I have before they… finish it.

Just don't hurt my friends… please…


"Teal'c, I need you to help me understand why I don't hate you."

The Jaffa raised his head and looked across at the man who was sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of him. The soft, flickering candlelight played across DanielJackson's features, softening them, adding a strange, otherworldly dimension to an expression already… troubling.

"I do not understand what you wish to know, DanielJackson."

"We are friends, are we not, Teal'c?" The blue eyes bored into him, seeking – something. For just an instant they were the eyes of a stranger.

"We are."

"That should not be."

"Perhaps, it would not be possible. With a lesser soul. You are a very unique man, DanielJackson. To be able to forgive as you have done is not common."

The man before him nodded thoughtfully. "Forgiveness. Yes. That is what I wish to understand. It is a difficult concept. So highly thought of, and yet so seldom embraced or embodied. More of an ideal than an actual practice."

"Not in you."

"So it would seem." DanielJackson suddenly tilted his head slightly as a warm smile spread across his face. 'I do forgive you, have forgiven you. A long time ago. You were the man who offered my wife up to the thing that stole her from me, and yet, I forgave you. I forgave you. I've never told you why, have I Teal'c?"

The eyes upon him held him and terrified him. The Jaffa who had been the First Prime of Apophis, who had faced without flinching countless dangers on a hundred different worlds and dared to oppose the System Lords themselves suddenly felt a fear he had never known. He would have given anything to have been able to look away.

But he could not. He had no choice but to accept the regard of the man before him, and listen to his words.

"I had no choice, Teal'c." Daniel's smile was the brightest light in the room. "I tried to hate you. I needed to hate someone for taking Sha'uri from me and you were there. You would have thought hating you'd have been a very easy thing to do.

"But I couldn't. I saw what you were. You didn't deserve it. It wasn't possible to hate someone as honest and honourable as you are. Doing that would have been as much an insult to Sha'uri as it was to you."

"I do not deserve these words from you. You do not know – what I have done."

"Teal'c you are the most honourable man I have ever met. The honesty, courage and valour you embody didn't come out of nowhere. Those qualities were always there within you, and they expressed themselves constantly in everything you did because they were a part of you. They were there even when you were forced by circumstances to perform acts that shamed you.

"When I defended you in the Cor-Ai I meant everything I said. Those weren't just cleverly constructed arguments, spoken merely in an attempt to influence the decision. They were the truth.

"Don't you see – the true measure of anything done lies in the intention behind it. What is in the heart determines what is good or evil, not what the hand performs, even in service of another. Your heart was pure. There was no true will to harm within it even as you were forced to commit harmful acts.

"There were even times, by your own admission, you placed yourself in danger trying to mitigate the evil acts you were forced to carry out at the behest of the man who controlled your fate. When your heart demanded you resist in the small ways that made a difference. Hanno's father was one of those ways in which good came of harm. Because of the choice you made. To do – good!

"How could I hate a man who was so strongly principled? So obviously noble, brave and caring? How could I not want such a man for a friend? And what can I give him now, except my thanks for being my friend."

Teal'c looked down at the hands folded in his lap. Hands that had hurt. Hands that had killed. Hands soaked in the blood of countless innocents. This was the first time he had looked at those hands – and been unable to see it.

As if he was able to read his thoughts, DanielJackson's soft voice reached out to him again.

"Forgiveness is not an easy thing, is it my friend? Especially when the one it requires you to forgive is – yourself."

"I would be no less brave in this than the one who has shown me the way."

He was puzzled to see DanielJackson suddenly close his eyes as if he was in pain.

"Oh Teal'c, you have no idea what you are saying," he murmured softly. "I am not at all what you think I am. I only wish I really was the man you value."

DanielJackson opened his eyes and looked at him searchingly, with deep sorrow and regret in his expression.

"Goodbye, my friend. I pray you will remember me with kindness, and forgive me for what I have been a part of."

He sprang to his feet and fled from the room. Teal'c watched him depart, perplexed and suddenly afraid. Something was very wrong. It was imperative he speak to O'Neill immediately.



A small space of peace. Pain gone. For now. How long have I been here? Feels like forever…

Tired…head hurts...getting hard to think. Can't struggle anymore. Too tired. Pointless anyway. No way to move. Can hardly even turn my head anymore. Getting hard to see. Notscarednotscared. Funny, Daniel. Who are you kidding…

Hope everyone is okay… wish I knew… would make it easier…

Baseline file of physical data completed. Phase two of encoding program initiating. Beginning activation, absorption and encoding of memory engrams.

Light! Ahhh! What? Head! Splitting godnotagain…

Where… those sounds, those voices… hot. It's so hot. So loud, confusing… People all around I'm up so high. What…

Moving but not walking. Holding onto something soft – my hands! So small… Hair. Dark hair… My hands in his hair…

Ohhh – this is Cairo. Walking through the market. Riding on Daddy's shoulders. Up high, so I can see everything. I remember this…..practically the first thing I remember…

So many people so much noise I'm a little scared but I'm a big boy that's what they tell me so I try but Oh! Strange man scary face comes too close to me try not to be scared don't mean to cry…

"Honestly! You're scaring him! He's just a baby. Give him to me! Come here, Danny come to Mommy."

I'm so small and she's so big she hold me hugs me tight and all the scary noises go away. Safe. Mommy has me now…not scared any more. No more bad things. Mommy won't let anything bad happen to me Mommy makes it all better…

Ahhhhh! Wrenching pain… something taken…hurts… where was I somewhere –safe… can't remember…

Wait I know this place. Abydos. The caves, we're in the cave… the people…know them. Not well… There's Jack. Kawalsky. Ferretti? The boys are laughing at me. Nabeh has just told me something startling. I have to find Sha'uri. It's something to do with Sha'uri.

Have barely even met her. Can you really love someone after only a few hours? I don't know, but whatever this is – it is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. I only wish it hadn't happened now – not when we don't even know if any of us are going to be alive in the morning.

Sha'uri is looking down at the grain she is grinding. She looks so ashamed.

"Don't be angry. I didn't tell them that you did not want me."

Not want you? Oh, if only you knew. I didn't turn you away because I didn't want you. I didn't want to – to make you do something you didn't want…… Not want you? It's taken everything I've had – not to touch you…

I see it in her eyes. She wants me, I want her stupid not to – to kiss… so sweet, sweeter than I dreamed nothing matters anymore but this…

Loss, emptiness – something taken what's happening where… Dark. Everything's dark. Hard to breathe, side… on fire… pain, nothing but pain slipping…so black…

Arms holding tight. So tight not falling now hear the voice from far away, pulling me back.

"Hold on Danny, help's coming."

Jack. Jack's got me. He won't let anything bad happen to me. It's going to be all right. Jack says so…

Someone else somewhere – used to – can't remember.. something gone… Jack – Jack where are you what's happening why can't I remember…

God, they're stealing my soul…


"Uh Daniel, we've both had a bit too much to drink, maybe we should call it a night."

"No Jack, please listen to me. I have to tell you something and we don't have a lot of time."

Whoa. Someone had changed the channel when he wasn't looking. Daniel had switched into big- time-heavy meaning-of life-stuff. The kind of conversation that usually made his head hurt. Ah geez, he wasn't in the mood for one of these right now. The night had already been weird enough as it was. Jack groaned softly and sat back down on the couch, hoping he could make one last-ditch attempt at heading Daniel off at the pass.

Before he even got a chance to open his mouth Daniel nailed him right between the eyes with a look he had absolutely no defense against. The one where Daniel's soul just sorta started spilling out of his eyes and made you want to go out and kill things hoping it would make him feel better. Anything just so he would stop – looking like that.

Just SHOOT me, Daniel, and get it over with…

Daniel flashed him a tight smile that did not touch his eyes and hunched forward, staring at the hands dangling between his knees.

"I'll try and keep this brief. We don't have a lot of time. I've already been so selfish. Squandered so much of the little time he has left. Didn't mean to be so greedy. I only wanted these few short hours. Some time with you. Before I gave this life – back to him."

Jack now felt so confused if he was standing on his head things wouldn't be any less bizarre.

"Daniel – what the HELL are you talking about?"

Daniel's head shot around. Jack was shocked to see that his eyes were filled with pain, and tears were rolling down his cheeks.

"Shit, Danny, what the hell is going on?"

"Jack!" he blurted out between clenched teeth. "Just SHUT UP and hear me out. Please. Just – hear me out. Oh god, you have no idea how hard it is to talk to you. Between your fear and his…"

His head fell forward; his slumped shoulders started to shake. Jack just sat there, staring at him, frankly too weirded out to say or do anything. He had fallen several paces behind the situation a long time ago, and didn't look as if he was going to be coming up to speed any time soon.

After several, long, silent seconds Daniel's head suddenly snapped up. He sniffed, took a huge breath and said, in a rapid, clipped voice, "Okayokayokay. I'm fine. I can do this. I can do this."

Daniel gasped a shaky laugh. "Oh, this is so hard. There is so much fear in him. It's hard to tell what he wants you to know. It was so clear with the others, but you…"

Suddenly Daniel was calm. Whatever he was trying to get to, he had it. Jack could tell by the fond look in his eyes.

"You're both a pair of damned fools. You know that, don't you. Lashing out at each other all the time as if the simple act of admitting you care about each other is some sort of – crime. There's nothing to fear here, Jack. You matter to him. All he's ever tried to do is give a damn.

"Don't throw it away, Jack O'Neill. He's the truest soul you'll ever know. He'd follow you through the fires of hell and back again, if you asked him. Just BECAUSE you asked him. Don't throw it away. You never know. Believe me, you just never know how quickly things change.

"I'm sitting here trying to tell you this, and it might already be too late. He's lucky to have found a friend like you. He understands this a little better than you do, but not by much. All I know is if this life was really mine to live – I wouldn't be afraid. I wouldn't let anything stop me. Not even you."

Daniel finally fell silent. He stared straight ahead, his eyes impossibly bleak. Jack waited. Just making sure he really was finished.

"Ah – Daniel? Done? Can I say something now?"

Daniel nodded.

"What's with the pronouns? Why are you referring to yourself in the third person? Like you are talking about someone else?"

Daniel turned to look at him once more. He couldn't have had a more mask-like look on his face if he tried. Jack could feel his skin starting to crawl, as part of him knew what was coming before Daniel said it.

Had known for a long time actually.

"I am talking about someone else, Jack. I'm talking about your friend. Daniel Jackson. I may look like him, but I am not Daniel. Right now your friend is still on P3C-354 and he doesn't have a lot of time left. And just so I don't have to waste any more of it trying to convince you I am telling the truth…"

Daniel smiled ruefully and flashed his eyes at him. Literally. Twin red spots flared in the pupils of Daniel's eyes, swiftly expanding outward until they completely filled his eye sockets with a soft, mechanical red glow. As quickly as the light had appeared, it winked out again. Like a switch turning off and on.

Once again normal blue eyes looked at him as what definitely wasn't Daniel said to him in a slightly apologetic tone, "See?"

On to Part Two


PhoenixE, 2000-9.
Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate Productions, Sci Fi Channel, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. These stories are for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. These stories may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author. Copyright on images remains with the above named rightsholders.
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