HIDE AND SEEK BY PHOENIX
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
Enormous spoilers for FIAD, Legacy, Holiday.
||A day in paradise suddenly turns
into a nightmare as Jack struggles to save Daniel
from an evil influence from his past.
intense emotional situations.
||510 Kb Gen
version completed Spring 2000. Slash version
completed and posted to net 24 Mar 01
Notes: Woo Hoo. This story has an interesting history. It's the last 'Gen'
story I wrote before taking the slash fork in the road. It was intended
for and promised to Gateways 3 - where it ended up in its original incarnation,
however during the course of writing it I realized it didn't want to BE a
Gen story. Most emphatically not. I spent most of the story yelling at
the boys to behave and basically forcing it to be something it didn't want
to be. I've never been happy with it as a result. So I'm fixing it. The
Gen version will stay as it is, and I'm leaving it to Gateways. You really
want to read it you'll have to buy the zine. This version is substantially
rewritten, expanded and I've let the boys go to do what they wanted to do
in the first place. And then some. Woo. True love will out What can I
tell you. Thanks to Biblio for her assitance on the slash version, the suggestions,
catching my boo-boos and ceaselessly nagging me to get Daniel naked ASAP.
up, down and sideways if it was the very last thing he
ever did, he was going to get that giggling geek out of the
tree, and then, he was going to kill him.
was going to find a sarcophagus.
him back to life.
Ah - it
still wouldn’t be enough!
it hard to believe just a few short hours ago he'd been
having such a wonderful time. The Stargate had for once
deposited them in a veritable paradise adrift in a languidly
green, tropical sea. A large, lush volcanic island lousy
with a fantastic abundance of greenery, not unlike the
kind one would find on a similar South Sea location back
on ole Terra Cognita. Which would have been pleasant enough
all on its own, but what made everything even more agreeable
were the serene and friendly little brown people frolicking
all over the place. They didn’t wear a lot apart from
the tan, but they sure knew how to say hello!
been a hell of an afternoon. SG-1 had sauntered through
the Stargate and the second their feet hit the sand they
were greeted by a mob of wide, smiling faces and a host
of welcoming arms. They were summarily hugged, flower
bedecked, pinched, patted and enthusiastically hauled into the
midst of a party already in progress showing no signs of
letting up any time soon. Jack didn’t know what the hell the
natives were celebrating, but they were having a high time
of it and didn't seem to have any problems with making
room for four more.
what the hell, when in Rome…
himself deposited on the ground in front of an array of
rather appetzing-looking eatables seeming to stretch on
forever. He felt slightly bemused, definitely overwhelmed
and very much as if he'd just been dropped onto the set
of Blue Hawaii. Warm tropical sun beating down, lightly
toasting without roasting; invigorating sea breeze filling
his nostrils with a refreshing, salty, ocean tang. Picturesque
clearing with a suitable jungle backdrop, the collection
of little grass shacks behind him, the food for the big
luau scene in front of him and a bevy of smiling native
extras all around him. And all over him. Whoa! If the
luscious little thing plastered to his right side blew in
his ear one more time he was going to have to soak his head.
the fact she looked young enough to be his daughter helped
him put the whole thing in a little more realistic perspective.
himself to relax. Surrounded by so much obvious good will
and with no immediate evidence of anything about cast a
cloud over all the happy sharing, well, why the hell not
just kick back and go with the flow? What was the harm
in a little good, clean fun? He didn’t often have an
opportunity to bask in the warm glow of paradise, and having
learned long ago to take whatever he could get whenever
it came around, he did his level best to get completely
into the spirit of things. An attitude apparently shared
by some, but not all of his companions.
his gaze across the sea of fruit and other eatables stretching
between him and the two members of SG-1 camping on the
opposite shore. Teal’c was sitting gravely sandwiched between
two lovely ladies who had draped themselves around him
on either side. An inscrutable Jaffa thorn between two
luscious tropical roses. As his Jaffa brother sat solemnly,
straight-backed and cross-armed, he alternately favoured each
of young ladies flanking him and frankly fondling with deeply
contemplative glances. Jack allowed a wide grin to
possess his face as he took in the sight, itching to know
what was going on in Teal'c's head.
Make it so, or what? Teal’c suddenly looked across at him,
acknowledging Jack's inquisitive leer with his characteristic
appear these are a very friendly people, O’Neill,” the
Jaffa observed with solemn correctness.
Jack shot back at him. “Got a problem with that?”
considered his response for a minute.
not accustomed to it,” he finally replied. “However, it
is not unpleasant.”
old buddy, there’s hope for you yet!
him a grin clearly saying, Enjoy, and turned his
attention to Carter.
going with the flow, here. The major was clearly NOT having
as good a time with being downright 'appreciated' as Teal'c.
She was looking extremely unsettled by the attention being
lavished upon her by some obviously adoring male members
of the assemblage. Half-naked and well muscled to boot.
Jack only barely managed to resist the impulse to flex a
compensatory bicep. Not that he was suddenly feeling
threatened or anything by all the young bucks clustering
around Carter and obviously - displaying. Leastwise not
nearly as threatened as Carter was by all the enthusiastic
attention. She was smiling with decided strain at the
young, bronze Adonis making a fascinated examination of
several strands of her blonde hair, while grimly attempting to
ignore the ardent admirer on her other side taking happy
possession of her hand and looking very much as if he
wouldn’t mind handling quite a bit more. She realised
her CO was smirking at her and hurled a not-too-subtle Help
me! expression his way.
sunshine and warm feelings were making Jack feel rather
generous, so he opted against teasing the crap out of her
and slightly tempered his response. “Relax, Major,” he
said in a reassuring tone. “All this might seem a bit
weird, but from what I can see, it's just their way. Naturally
friendly. They don’t mean any harm. Mind you, I might
be careful about eating anything anybody offers you. You
don’t want to get accidentally married or anything.”
an ‘oh, that’s SO helpful’ face at him.
to me you would know more about that than anyone else here,
Sir,” she replied with more than a gleam in her eye, shifting
her gaze to the woman at his side. “By the way, your cap
looks very nice on her, Colonel. Better hope THAT doesn’t
Jack replied hastily, as he reached over and quickly snatched
his cap back. So THAT’S where the darned thing had gotten
to. Had any other pieces of his kit gone missing? He
probably should go hunting for his brains, for starters.
time to start acting like he knew what he was doing.
Jack quipped, being loudly cheerful as he elbowed the man
at his side. “Any strange cultural thingees we should
know about? Daniel?”
been dreading this moment. The whole time they'd been
here he'd deliberately avoided looking at the far too quiet
and much too quiescent man beside him. Jack didn't want
to look at Daniel because he didn't want to see him the
way he knew he was going to be, still so sad, and still so far
away, for all he was sitting right next to him.
hadn't heard him; he was in the place he now ran to every
moment he was free to. The dark, solitary inner sanctuary
he hid in, keeping everyone else outside and very far away.
Jack tried not to choke on the knot of concern welling
up in his throat as he sorrowfully took in the man close
to him and yet worlds away. Not right, Danny looking like
that in the middle of all of this. So not right, and yet,
there he was. Oblivious. Not seeing, not caring, unaware
of anything going on around him.
for his hopes bringing Daniel here would make him feel
long legs were tucked tightly into his chest, arms hugging
them fiercely, his chin resting heavily on his drawn up
knees. His distant, empty eyes glowering darkly in his
tight face, looking piercingly at something only he could
see. Jack could feel the wall around Daniel as tangibly as if
it was made of five-foot thick concrete. So, apparently, could
the little brown guys and gals. They milled around the
rest of them with quite endearing and innocent curiosity,
physically exploring the members of SG-1 with unconcerned
and somewhat disconcerting abandon. All of them except
for Danny-with-the-thunderclouds-on-his-brow. Daniel was
getting as cold a shoulder from their hosts as he was giving
What’s wrong with this picture?
heart tumbled down into his boots, his simple contentment
in the warmth and happiness around him instantly soured
by the sight of his friend’s obvious, continuing unhappiness.
He'd really been hoping the infectious, almost aggressive
hospitality of the folks here would get through to Daniel
and snap him out of this - funk - he was in. More than
hoping, it was the reason Jack had asked for this mission
in the first place. This 'going native' stuff wasn't really
his thing, but it was most definitely Daniel's. Of all
of them, Daniel should be enjoying this the most. This
was the sort of thing he lived for.
Used to. Used to live for. When he used to be Daniel. Before
he started changing.
harsh, cold sorrow clutch him as he stared mournfully at
the distant, glowering stranger at his side. God, but he
missed Daniel. The Daniel he used to know before it happened
and all the good in both their lives started going bad.
It would have been utterly impossible for the Daniel of
happier days to be in the middle of this raucous native
free-for-all without instantly jumping up and joining in.
No matter how wild or strange, whatever weird-ass dance
or ritual going on; Daniel was your man. The original
'try anything once' kid. He'd be right in there like your
proverbial dirty shirt, just one of the guys in the war
paint, the beads and the feathers or what the hell else the
well-dressed native was barely wearing this week, whooping it
up, dancing up a storm, running around in circles, getting
roaring drunk on a thimble-full of the local version of
moonshine, full of life, his eyes shining.
there like he was now, staring, a dead-eyed, emotionless
shadow of his former self. Becoming even more of a shadow
with each passing day. Starting with the day he'd stood
and watched stone-faced while they put Sha'uri into the
ground. Then he'd turned his back on her grave and started
walking away from her, from everyone who loved him, and
had already traveled so far from what he once was, Jack
was beginning to fear his friend would never be able to find
his way back.
been a slow, insidious journey. Terrible to watch, impossible
to prevent. Not that he hadn't tried. Jack understood
grief, only too well. He'd tried to reach out to Daniel,
tried to lend a hand, only to have Daniel turn his back
and walk away from every single offer. During the months
since Sha'uri's death Jack had watched helplessly as Daniel
slipped away. Little by little, piece by piece, Daniel
was disappearing, everything making him 'Daniel' seeming to
slide from him and vanish into blackness. Daniel was leaving
him in agonizing increments and what was worse, Daniel
didn't seem to care. Didn't care it was happening, didn't
care he was vanishing, couldn't be bothered making the
effort to stop the slow slide. There was such a thing
as willing yourself to die. Jack was watching Daniel do
it before his very eyes, and there didn’t seem to be a
damned thing he could do to stop it.
was gone, and she was taking Daniel with her. He'd pinned
all his hopes on finding her and now she was dead he had
a big hole in the middle of his life where his hope for
her used to be. Daniel had never come out and said he
was giving up - Daniel never talked to anyone about anything
going on with him any more - but he certainly was acting like
someone who'd decided they had nothing left to live for.
It wasn't true, but if that was the way Daniel felt - now
Sha'uri was gone he was all alone because there was no
one else around who cared about him - whose fault was that?
fault, Jack? Okay, maybe Daniel had turned his back and
walked, but who had let him? Who'd taken no for an answer,
secretly relieved to be turned down because that meant
he didn't have - have to - well he just didn't have to.
Who'd let Daniel walk away counting on the guy's demonstrated
talent for coping with his own crap all by himself, waiting
confidently for him to get over it on his own and get back
to being Daniel.
happened. It wasn't happening. Daniel was steadily drowning
in a sea of his own grief, right before his eyes. The
proof was sitting beside him, not staring him right in
left to live for, Danny? I've been there too, my friend.
Was going to take the same way out, as well. Only I was
going to do it the fast and easy way. Bullet to the brain.
Not the way you've chosen. Killing yourself by inches.
But it's the same thing, Danny, same damned thing. And
it's not right. I know that now, and guess who taught
me. You did. Time to repay the favour. I've let this
go on long enough. You've shut me out, and I've let you.
What's even worse, I haven't given you what you've most
needed from me. You do have something to live for, Daniel.
Maybe I haven't had the guts to let you know, but I'll
be damned if I'll let you leave me. And I'll be damned
if I let her take you away from me again. Not without
his determination and nudged Daniel again. This time he
was going to get an answer if he had to shake Daniel stupid
until he acknowledged him “Danny!” he began loudly. “Throw
me a clue, here. What’s going on? Do you know what these
guys are saying?”
started guiltily and swiftly turned to look at Jack, veiling
the embarrassment in his eyes as he began speaking. “I’m
sorry, Jack,” he mumbled. “I was - was - I was thinking.
What did you say?”
him an ‘it happens, no big deal’ shrug. “We’ve been having
a wonderful time, language barrier and all, but I was wondering
if you could - “
job, perhaps?” Daniel sighed resignedly. “For a change?”
Jack’s rejoinder was only mildly indignant. He absolutely,
positively did NOT want to start a fight with Daniel.
Not now, not again. Too much of that. Enough of that.
He wanted Daniel to talk to him, not get his back up and
get all defensive because he thought Colonel O'Neill was
putting him down. Again.
put words in my mouth, Daniel. I did NOT say that. And
I didn’t imply it, either.”
eyes meeting his were tired, sad, and far too old. They
were also really open and searching, for the first time
in a long time. Contact? Looking at him, seeing - Jack
hoped - concern, not condemnation. Seeing a friend, someone
who missed him, cared about him, someone who -
lowered his head and started speaking again.
you didn’t say it, but maybe you should have. Maybe you
also should take me somewhere and spend several hours pounding
some sense into me.”
okay, if that's what you really want," Jack teased lightly
as he gently punched Daniel's arm. "But I'd be just as
happy settling for talking, how about you?"
was liking the sound of this. This was starting to sound
like the Daniel he used to know. He was liking it even
better when Daniel looked up at him again, grinned ruefully
and said quietly, "Talking is good."
Danny, talking is great. Talk to me. Keep talking to
wide, blue eyes were clearer than Jack had seen them for
longer than he could remember. Alert, aware, looking deep
into his, as if he was needing something. Needing it bad.
asking me if I could understand what they are saying,"
Daniel began slowly, a slight crease of concentration beginning
to furrow his brow. "Not a whole lot, I’m afraid. I
was always a little weak on my Polynesian studies. Not
one of my major areas of interest.”
a light quip ready on the tip of his tongue, but held it
back as the evidence of Daniel's growing engagement not
only with him but also with everything going on around them
had Jack holding his breath in heady anticipation. Jack
hovered between hope and disappointment as Daniel looked
intently first at him, and then carefully all around them.
As if he was finally waking up and joining them after a long
Daniel asked softly, as he licked his lower lip before
gnawing it worriedly between his teeth. "Uh - where are
me?" Jack blurted out, totally bewildered by the question.
"What are you talking about, where are we? Same damned
place we've been all afternoon - where the hell have you
a good question, Jack," Daniel replied, real fear glinting
briefly in his eyes as he turned to the man beside him
seeking from him an explanation obviously desperately needed.
"I wish I knew."
Daniel MEANT it, he wasn't kidding. He really didn't know,
he was scared because he didn't know and Jack realised
he was feeling a little spooked himself as a result. This
was getting creepy, but before anybody panicked and started
making an already spooky situation worse -
abrupt, harsh gasp cut through Jack, startling him. Daniel
sat frozen in shock, staring straight ahead, his mouth
agape. Wide, disbelieving eyes skimmed over the heads of
the people seated on the other side of the spread, becoming
riveted on something making Daniel go whiter than a sheet and
causing him to completely forget to breathe. Jack hurriedly
looked around, following along Daniel's line of sight,
trying to see what it was making Daniel act like he'd just
seen a ghost.
he should mention ghosts, 'cause unless he was very much
mistaken the woman standing next to the that tall guy with all
the feathers and beads and even taller head-dress definitely
qualified as one. A ghost, that is. Holy crap,
what the hell was this? A couple of hours in the sun and
he was seeing things?
looking at a ghost. Funny, he'd always heard they were
thin and wispy and floated around dragging chains and moaning
and stuff, they didn't stand there looking as firm and solid as
everyone else, like they were flesh and blood and breathing,
and maybe he should just stop looking at her now, 'cause he
was starting to get really freaked and he had to get his
head back on straight and…logical, think logic. There had
to be a logical explanation for what he was seeing. No
such thing as ghosts. Dead. She was dead. He'd
helped put her in the ground. Then how come
she was standing over there - looking right back at him?
was that? Pain, he was feeling pain, clutching fingers
biting into the flesh of his forearm, someone had a grip
on him, going to be drawing blood in a minute if they didn't
ease off. God, he hoped he wasn't seeing what he thought
he was seeing because if he was, that would mean…
Daniel sobbed almost inaudibly, his voice quavering with
horrible hope and disbelief.
for thinking this was all a trick of the light or a weird
vision brought on by some local moonshine he hadn't even
tried yet. Sha'uri was standing over there, large as
life - pardon the expression - he was seeing her, and so was Daniel. Sonofabitch!
Well, he'd been wanting to try and get back some more quality
time with his friend, but joint hallucinations didn't make
his wish-list of things he wanted to share with Daniel.
But there ya go.
the precise moment Daniel was going to up and bolt toward
her and already had his hand on Daniel's shoulder, pushing
him back down before he'd barely started to move. No matter
who they both thought they were seeing, Sha’uri was dead.
Dead and buried. No doubt about. It didn't mean squat
who she looked like, there was no way that gal over yonder
COULD be Sha'uri, so until he found out what was going on here
he was not about to let Daniel go running off half-cocked, flinging
himself at who knows who or what she was. Jack didn't believe
in ghosts, but he'd also seen enough in the time they'd
been going through the gate to know there were any number
of possible explanations for what they were seeing, none
of them involving anything supernatural, but possibly involving
stuff they wanted no part of all the same.
want to have anything to do with 'ghosts'; didn't want
to see one, didn't want to have a chat with one and certainly
didn't want anyone on his team becoming one.
go, Jack!" Daniel bristled angrily, trying to twist out
from under the hand clamped on his shoulder. "Look - are
you blind! It's Sha'uri! She's standing right there,
Jack, I have to - LET ME GO!"
Dannyboy," Jack shook his head and hung on stubbornly.
"Just because she looks like Sha'uri doesn't mean she is.
She CAN'T be - you know that. Calm down, now, buddy, stay
with me. Let's not rush into anything we both might not
live to regret."
bells were going off in Jack's head so loudly he could
hear the strident clanging plainly over the rising level of
noise and confusion suddenly erupting all around them as if
cued by 'Sha'uri's' appearance. He tried to catch Sam
and Teal'c's attention, but all of a sudden the natives were
clustering around them, drawing their focus. Shielding
them from his sight. He couldn't see them and they
couldn't see what was happening, didn't realise
who was standing behind them.
with the feathers had noticed them staring bug-eyed at
the Shau'ri wannabe beside him and turned to have a look at her too.
He immediately started jumping around and howling - Jack
couldn't help it, he had to say it - like he'd just seen
a ghost, waving this big horking rattle he was holding
first at 'Sha'uri', who completely ignored him, and then
at both of them. No, that was wrong. Not both of them.
Mostly Danny. He was yelling and waving the rattle at
Danny. Really yelling and developing an alarmingly major
attitude problem. The dude was getting extremely pissed.
Rapidly. At Daniel.
here we go again, and for once it wasn't even anything
Daniel had said.
dude stopped yelling and shaking the rattle and started
staring. He had eyes like lasers and he was using them
to sear Daniel to the bone. Daniel flinched as if he could
feel the beams going right through him and shrunk up against
Jack like he was suddenly in pain. Or scared. The Boogie
Man made a strange, grunting sound then turned the evil
eye on Jack. An eerie, tingling feeling raked over and
through him. Daniel was pressed up to him, tight, shuddering,
clutching at him, touching, holding. Jack felt weird,
hot, his head was spinning in lazy circles, his clothes
were irritating his skin, itchy, scratchy, he wanted to
- Daniel was so close, almost close enough to…to…
hell was going on? Jack shook his head vigorously to get
rid of all the weirdness in it. He was appalled to discover
he had his arms around Daniel, was holding him tightly
clasped to him, almost in his frigging lap! His head was
lowered, Daniel's head was resting in the crook of his
arm, they were frigging close enough to - to -
huge gulp Jack let Daniel go and pushed him clumsily, roughly
away with the fierce force of his embarrassment. He hadn't
actually meant the move to be that emphatic, but they'd
both needed some distance pronto, and besides, Daniel knew it
was nothing personal. Daniel's cheeks were flaming; he
was breathing heavy and wouldn't meet his eye. Crap.
Daniel was just as freaked. Jack didn't know what had
come over the two of them, but he'd snapped them both out of
it in time. No problem.
Man huffed at them again as if what he was seeing wasn't
much to his liking, then he suddenly opened his mouth and
howled like someone was slicing vital body parts off. Still
shrieking he shook his fist at them and then snapped his
wrist violently like he was flinging a handful of something
right into their faces. Jack blinked reflexively at the
unmistakable sensation of something gritty striking his face
and eyes. Daniel flinched and threw his arm up
defensively across his face at the same time. Okay, this was
way too much like twilight zone time for him. Definitely
his fingers across his face to clear the phantom grit out
of his eyes. His danger meter had been screaming 'Will
Robinson' for the past few minutes. This had gone
way past creepy and was rapidly heading into scary. Time
to go now. All the spooky special effects aside, the Boogie
Man's behaviour was now well off the acceptable scale.
Jack had no idea what the Feathered Wonder's problem was,
but whatever he was on about, it was major, and it seemed
to be mostly about Daniel. That was simply tragic, but Jack
remembered he'd forgotten to pack his empathy before leaving
the house this morning. Boogie was just going to have to
find a way to live with his issues, 'cause Jack had no
intention of letting him explore them at Daniel's expense.
- man on the move, here! Boogie was coming right at them,
stalking around the banquet on the ground, barking orders,
shaking the rattle, jingling and jangling rapidly in their
direction, never taking his eyes off Daniel. The pool
of brown inhabitants parted like the Red Sea before him.
People scurried to get out of his way like shit-scared bunnies
hot to be doing what he was yelling at them to be doing.
Wait - where was the woman who had been right beside him?
The one who looked like Sha’uri? Where did she go? One
second she had been right - there. Then - poof.
hated it when that happened.
He couldn't see her behind the bronze wall of writhing
bodies suddenly forming around both her and Teal'c, but
he could tell from the terse urgency in her voice she'd
picked up on the new scent of danger wafting in on the
formerly calming sea breeze. She sounded like she was
ready for action and waiting for his lead. He didn’t need
to see Teal'c to know he was likewise.
kids,” he called across to them in a calm, conversational
tone. Nothing to worry about, guys, go on with your dancing,
just talking to my friends, asking them about the weather,
no big deal, pay no attention. “I think it's time to go,
don't you? Let’s see if we can get up nice and easy and
make our way back to the Stargate without anybody getting
hurt. Especially us.”
his hand firmly wrapped around Daniel’s upper arm, meaning
to pull the archaeologist up with him as he got to his
feet. As it was, their hosts had other ideas about any of them
getting to leave quietly. Or at all.
this wasn’t part of the plan! About the same time as Carter
and Teal’c were being grabbed and hauled to their feet
Jack felt very strong hands on his own arms being equally
helpful. They held him helpless, unable to do a damned
thing but watch his teammates being quickly and efficiently
divested of their gear. While they stripped him down to
his T-shirt in turn he did a quick visual check to the left,
knowing what he would see. Yup, Danny in the bag as
well. Shit! How had he let this happen? Stone
knives and bearskins, and they had gotten the drop on them
all the same. Way to go, O’Neill.
that was what he got for forgetting there was no such thing
about to try to yell something across at Carter and Teal’c
when both he and Daniel were roughly turned around and
dragged away, apparently in order to be offered up to the
Boogie Man still huffing and puffing and jingling his way
toward them. Who was not only the one with the worst
taste in accessories but also seemed to be the guy in charge
Jack called across to the man by his side, trying to project
a little moral support. Daniel was in the clutches of
four burly guys who were being none-too-gentle with him.
They'd pinioned Daniel's arms roughly behind his back and
were man-handling him over to Boogie, who was glaring fixedly
and fiercely at Daniel in a way making Jack want to do
a little glaring of his own. Followed by severe pounding
and very possibly killing. Make that definitely killing.
Boogie was glaring and screaming and waving the rattle
at Daniel. Jack was itching to make the creep eat it,
but seeing as how he had problems of his own in the shape
of several bozos holding on to him, thinking unkind thoughts
was about all he could manage at the moment.
the bastards were strong!
this is the shaman,” Daniel began uncertainly, blinking
rapidly as if he was deeply confused. He wasn't the only
one. “Tribal…medicine man, kahuna - no that’s a Hawaiian
term sorry, hard to concentrate, can’t think of the -“
okay, Daniel, I get it," Jack supplied quickly. "Witch
Doctor, right?” No need for Daniel to waste time and energy
on stuff that didn't matter right now. Calling the guy
'Creep' worked fine for him; all he wanted to know was
how to make these other creeps let go of them!
frowned unhappily. “Well, that is a little more of a colloquial
term than I was going for but -“
it’s okay. I don’t care what we call him. Let’s just
focus on trying to find out what the hell is going on.
Any clues what his problem is – shit! Ow! Watch it! I
man was shaking the rattle at Daniel’s head. Jabbing the
thing all around him, and then right into his face, making
oogie boogie noises the whole time. The closer Boogie
got with the thing, the more freaked Daniel seemed to be
getting. He started to struggle against the men holding
him, trying to duck his head back and out of the way of
the in-yer-face rattle attack. But the Boogie Man was
pretty good. It didn't matter how hard Daniel tried to
evade the jabs to his face, no matter which way he turned -
wham! There the creep was with the rattle. Watching the
weird, menacing interaction between Daniel and the tormenting
bauble on a stick was almost fascinating, There was even a
strange rhythm to it; duck - thrust, bob- thrust, dip -
parry, but this wasn't a game, certainly wasn't a joke.
Boogie wasn't kidding and Daniel definitely wasn’t having
a good time. He was just about ready to jump out of his
freaking skin and Boogied looked like he wasn't too far
from giving him a helping hand.
Jack shouted at the witch doctor, trying to get his attention.
Anything to get it off Daniel, even for a second. To give
Daniel a chance to catch his breath, regain his composure,
so he could do his stuff, talk to the guy and hopefully
get them out of this mess. This trying to make nice with
the natives - communicating, finding common ground - this
was Daniel's department. The guy had as much of a gift
for getting people to open up and talk to him as he did
for pissing them off. Strange but true. Right now they
needed the former to be happening in place of the latter.
They needed to know what was going on and if they had any
hope of fixing it before things went from bad to worse.
was, Daniel didn't look like he was in any shape to be
having any meaningful dialogues at the moment. So even
though communicating wasn't exactly Jack's forte…
Jack yelled again, louder this time. "I'm the leader!
You've got problems with us, I'm the one you should be
Man completely ignored him and grabbed Daniel's chin so
hard his fingers started to turn white from the pressure,
holding Daniel so he couldn’t move his head at all. He
started banging Daniel on the head with the damned rattle
and shrieking right into his face. The whole thing looked
so absurd Jack almost burst out laughing, but Daniel's
evident, growing terror was anything but funny. Or anything
like Daniel, even. It didn't make sense. Nothing that
was happening made sense. Jack had watched Daniel sneer
at System Lords and not blink, the guy did NOT scare easy.
And yet some feathered clown beating him about the head
with a kid's toy had Daniel so scared he was just this
side shy of needing a change of underwear.
Daniel was panicking. Daniel didn't panic. He didn't.
He just - didn't. That was like saying Daniel would turn
tail in a crisis situation and run out on them. He wouldn't
do that either. Not in a million years.
the hell was going on here?
he’d had just about enough of this. This was NOT fun, it
wasn't making any sense, it was his fault it was happening,
and they'd sort the whole thing out once they got home.
Daniel was scared, he was pissed - it was time to go. It was a
long shot, but maybe with all the attention focused on the
pair of them Carter and Teal'c were having better luck.
Teal’c!” He hurled the call for help behind him, hoping
they were in a better position than he was to come to Daniel’s
Colonel.” That was Carter's voice, behind him. A fair
distance behind him. “Are you okay? We can’t see you.”
peachy, Major!” he snarled, not at her, but at the dashing
of his hopes. “And you?”
okay, sir. They’re not hurting us, just seem to be holding
us. Teal’c is tied up, but my hands are free.”
suppose there is any chance you can get to a WEAPON?”
sir, that I can see. For the moment.” Carter’s deliberate
emphasis of the last phrase was not lost on him.
that thought, Major!” he bellowed back. “Stay frosty, and
grab the first opening you can. Your first priority is
to get back to the gate and get back-up. I don't want
to start shooting these people, especially if this is a
simple misunderstanding we can settle another way, but
we're badly outnumbered, here."
noticed, sir," Carter shouted back, her voice getting farther
away. "We won't let you down, Colonel!"
holding up, Danny?” Jack turned his attention back to
his friend. The witch doctor had stopped hitting him on
the head while he and Carter had been chatting but he was
still holding Daniel's chin so tightly it was starting
slid his eyes toward him, unable to look at him any other
way. A sharp, harsh bark of laugher leapt from his chest.
“I feel strange. I'm scared, I’m so scared - I don’t understand,
Jack - I don’t know why this guy is making me feel so scared!
What’s happening Jack? Ahhhhh!”
cry of pain escaped Daniel as the shaman violently wrenched
his face away, breaking the eye contact between them.
Jack roared. “Cut that out! What’s your damned problem?
Why don’t you pick on somebody in your own species, ya
Finally! THAT got his attention! Boogie suddenly let go
of Daniel, then turned and looked Jack up and down, taking
his time as he sized him up. He looked back at Daniel
and then at Jack again, as if making up his mind about
something. Then he nodded, gobbled at the bozo brigade
and next thing Jack knew he and Daniel were stumbling off
together, going for a walk in the wake of the wacko.
they wanted to or not. "Hey, Daniel!" Jack called across
to the man being similarly forced to follow the witch doctor.
Jack didn't bother trying to fight the hands holding him.
There wasn't any point; the guys were way too strong.
He called out to Daniel again, trying to reach out to his
friend with his voice even though there was no way he could
actually touch him.
wouldn't look at him. Jack couldn't tell if he was even
hearing him. Daniel seemed to be buried down deep in himself
again, barely aware of or reacting to the rough, aggressive
hands pushing him mercilessly onward. He was dumbly submitting
to what was happening, giving no outward indication he
was aware of his situation, or if he even gave a damn.
About either himself, or his partner in peril. Daniel
looked like he'd given up.
get over it. Couldn't - wouldn't believe it. Give up?
Daniel NEVER gave up. Never. This was so not Daniel.
He just was not seeing this. Not, not - oh hello, end
of the line? What have we here now?
stopped the parade in front of a little mat on the ground
with a bunch of stuff already on laid out on it. Jack
quickly scanned the collection. What he saw didn't make
him any the wiser for the effort. An assortment of powders
and dried grass and leaves in hollowed out gourds, some
bundles of leaves tied together, a couple of crystals,
wooden bowls with water in them. So far, confusing, but
nothing to get his shorts in a knot over. Oh wait -
spoke too soon! Definite blip registering on the danger
meter. Long, slender, obsidian shard jammed into a bone
handle, the shard with obviously laboriously worked, shaped,
very razor-sharp edges. This was a knife. Definitely
was worried. Definitely worried. A quick glance at Daniel's
vacant, staring face told him he seemed to be the only
one. Crap! Get with it, Daniel! Jack didn't want to
get angry with Daniel, but they needed information and
of the two of them Daniel was the only one who might have
half a change of getting it.
Jack urged gently. Nothing. Not even a flicker of reaction.
"Daniel!" Jack hissed, louder this time. Still nothing.
Guess it was still up to him to try talking their way out
of this. Whatever 'this' was.
me," Jack appealed to the feathered man standing on the
other side of the mat with his eyes closed, muttering something
in a low, guttural voice. "Can we talk about this?”
him his arm wrenched for his pains.
holding Daniel forced him down to his knees a few feet
in front of the mat, and then let him go. Jack was hoping
for the same, but no such luck. Daniel didn't even seem
to notice he was no longer being restrained. He just sat
there, sunk back on his haunches, slumped over, head bowed.
Two men bearing torches moved in to flank him on either
side. He took no more notice of them than he was of anything
Jack called out to him again. "Daniel, LOOK at me! Please!"
he entreated. "Are you still with me, buddy?"
shoulders shook slightly, a faint ripple of movement, like
a tenuous tremor of life. Jack felt his heart hammering
with anxious anticipation, hardly daring to breathe as
he watched Daniel's head finally come up with what seemed
to be deliberate, agonizing slowness.
eyes beneath him were blank for a moment. Then Daniel
blinked, took a deep breath, focused. LOOKED at him. "Yeah,
Jack," he said slowly, uncertainty hanging in his voice
as well as his expression. "I- I'm here. But where are
we - what's - what's…"
eyes went blank again, his voice faltered and trailed away.
He didn't say another word despite several frantic attempts
to get him to respond. Gone again, like he was in some
sort of trance. Jack spared him a final, worried glance
and then turned his attention back to the Boogie Man.
doctor had finished with the muttering and now was hunkering
down in front of the mat. He'd put the rattle down, picked
up one of the bowls of water and was chanting in a sonorous,
quiet monotone as he put a couple of pinches of a white,
coarse, crystalline substance into the water. He swirled
the water around in the bowl, peered at it, sang to it
some more, then got up and started to advance on Daniel.
The angel of death would probably be wearing a kinder
dipped his fingers in the bowl, still chanting monotonously,
then flung a large quantity of the droplets into Daniel’s
blank face. Whoa! Definite reaction, here! Daniel violently
flinched as the water struck him. Boogie continued chanting
and flicking, peering at Daniel blinking and shrinking
away from every liquid volley. The witch doctor was clearly
expecting something to happen, also clearly not seeing
what he was looking for. Which wasn't making him very
happy. The dude looked definitely pissed. That probably
stopped chanting and huffed and glowered at Daniel, who'd
stopped cowering now he wasn't getting water thrown in
his face and had resumed his former 'out to lunch' slouch.
Daniel looked back at the witch doctor with uncaring eyes and
a wooden expression. Boogie heaved a sharp snort of
disgust, whirled and stomped back to his goodies. After
putting down the bowl he retrieved another object from the
mat. Plan B appeared to be one of those bundles of tied
up, dried leaves. Boogie stalked over to the torch to Daniel's
right, and thrust the bundle into the flame. It sharply
ignited, scattering sparks, then settled down to copiously
smoking. When it was fuming alarmingly he proceeded to
wave it about Daniel’s head and body, smothering him in
a dark cloud of thick, fetid smoke.
It smelled bad enough from here. It couldn’t have been
any fun where Daniel was. Wasn’t going to do his allergies
Jack could hear him after only a couple of seconds of being
completely fogged in, coughing and choking and sneezing.
Daniel croaked and weakly tried to wave the smoke away.
“This is awful! I can barely breathe!”
if the stuff could finally get him to wake up it couldn't
be all bad!
as Daniel spoke the witch doctor drew back with his free
hand and viciously backhanded Daniel with so much force
he nearly knocked him over. Pure, blind fury knifed through
Jack, but he didn't move or let it show. Jack knew well
enough by now it wouldn’t do him any good to struggle so he
didn’t. Besides, he didn't want to give this painted
bully anything more he could use against Daniel. Jack
was past reacting pointlessly or blindly now. Matters
had definitely progressed to the ‘things I need to do if
it’s the last thing I ever do’ stage. One thing he
knew for certain. If Boogie laid one more hand on Daniel
he wasn't going to see the sun rise on another day.
done with the smoke and still not satisfied by the results,
Boogie gave Daniel a disgusted look and tossed the smoking
stinkweed. He stood over Daniel a few seconds longer,
watching him weakly coughing and struggling to recover
from the blow he'd just received. The look on his craggy,
painted face withering enough to kill. He gave Daniel a
snort of derision before turning his back on him and stalking
off towards his stuff.
divided his attention between Daniel and his tormentor.
Daniel still looked pale and shaken, but he seemed to be
recovering. Jack tried to catch his eye, with no success.
Boogie was standing before the mat, eyes closed, muttering
under his breath. More praying? Getting ready for Plan
he have the feeling he really wasn’t going to like what
was coming next?
was looking better now, all things considered, looking
a lot more like himself than he had since this whole nightmare
had started. He was calm, deep concentration furrowing
his brow. Jack had seen that look on his friend’s
face, many, many times. It was so familiar, so DANIEL, so good
to finally see. Welcome back, Dannyboy. I've
Jack called to him. "Are you all right?"
Jack," Daniel murmured, the crease in his brow deepening.
"I'm just trying to…give me a minute…"
to, Daniel," Jack replied. "Problem is, we might not HAVE
one. You might not have one. The Boogie Man over there
sees to have it in for you for some reason. You got ANY
clues why? Anything?"
Jack," Daniel nodded emphatically. "As a matter of fact,
I think I do. Sorry I didn't say sooner, I was - I was
kinda out of it there for a bit, not sure why. It's been
happening a lot lately, starting to worry me. These headaches
I keep getting. They're getting worse, sometimes I'm not
sure where I am, how I - "
Jack interrupted gently, but firmly. What he was hearing
was definitely concerning him, but it wasn't anything they
could do anything about at the moment. For sure top of
his list of things to look into further once they got out
of this pickle they were in. Presuming they did. But
for now -
it to me later, Daniel, okay?" Jack smiled encouraging
at the man kneeling beside him, and was happy to see Daniel
smile back. It wasn't a big one, but it was the best thing
Jack had seen so far today. "I promise I'll listen when
we're not inches away from God only knows what about to
happen to us next, but right now - focus on the immediate
problem, 'kay? What's going on - now - and what we need
do to get these guys to let us go?"
nodded, the look of intense concentration back. "You're
right, Jack, you're right. Focus. I can do that. I know
this. I think I know what he's doing. It looks pretty bad,
but I don't think we've got anything to worry about. This
- this is some kind of purification ritual. Salt water,
smudge stick, rattles, the yelling, the intimidation, token
blows, He - he’s trying to - cleanse me of something.”
soap and water be easier?" Jack asked.
not that kind of cleansing, Jack," Daniel smiled back at
WHAT then?" Jack returned stubbornly. "What exactly is
he trying to 'cleanse' you of? The guy's been roughing
you up something fierce, and looking at you like he thinks
you're pond scum. Never mind he never bothered ASKING
you whether you wanted him to slap you around, gas you
and scare the shit out of both of us. All with the best
of intentions, I'm sure. That's rude enough for me all
by itself, everything else he's done to you is definitely
pushing the 'good intentions' envelope. Maybe you think
this free public service you're getting is nothing to be
concerned about, but - call me crazy - from what I've been
seeing, I'm plenty worried."
just looked at him with that – look he got when he just
KNEW he was right, and couldn’t explain how. The one always
driving Jack crazy because he just found it so hard to
trust what he didn’t know himself without something more
concrete to go on than “well, I just, KNOW, that’s all.”
had more fights over just this very thing and yet here
Daniel was, asking him to take it on faith yet again.
Jack just hoped this wasn’t finally the time when Daniel was
at last proven wrong. This definitely was not the way he
wanted to win the argument.
what it looks like, Jack," Daniel explained in the same,
tired, patient tone he assumed when he accepted the inevitable
evil of justifying himself. Again. At length. "I can't
explain it, but I don’t think he means me any real harm.
He's not going to hurt us. I know it. He’s trying to help.”
TRUST me!" Daniel cried out suddenly, his eyes flaring
with an angry, hurt light. "Just for once, can't you just
- trust me?"
earnest, entreating eyes, begging across the space between
them, pleading with him to take a simple leap of faith.
So little he was asking, and yet so much, with so much
movement out of the corner of his eye. Boogie was coming
back. With a knife in his hand. Heading straight for
Daniel. So much for 'not meaning us any harm'. Jesus,
Daniel, this is what I'm always trying to tell you, sometimes
'faith' just isn't enough. Or even right. I'll spare us
both the 'I told you so's'.
the time to bask in his bitter victory; he was going to
be much too busy praying. Not a thing he'd ever done much
in his life, certainly not since Charlie had died, but
right here and now he'd sell his soul to whoever'd have
it just so long as what it looked like was about to happen
reached Daniel and stood staring at him, while Daniel looked
very calmly back up at him. Much too calmly, way too calm,
almost accepting. Resigned. Boogie was menacing, Jack
was close to crapping himself, and Daniel was just calm.
So quiet and eerily serene it was scary.
poked the knife at his softly smiling intended victim and
boomed a few phrases at him. Jack might not have been able
to understand the words, but there was no mistaking the tone.
Judgment time. End of the road. Prepare to meet
thy maker. Any last requests?
letting us go? No?
doctor finished making with the pronouncement of doom and
then just stood there, silently glaring at the condemned
man. Daniel stared back up at him, not moving, not even
blinking. Neither worried, nor scared.
some of that,” Daniel announced suddenly, making Jack just
about jump out of his skin at the unexpected sound of his
voice. “It was like he wasn’t talking to - to me, exactly.
He was saying something about vengeful spirits, and ties
to the grave. One who feeds and needs release. One who
needs to chose - between the worlds.” He shook his head.
“It doesn’t make any sense - “
it did, Jack realised with a jolt. It so did. "Daniel!"
he called out urgently. "What you were saying before -
what he's trying to do - Daniel! Find out how he knows
- try talking to him - please!"
Daniel wasn't listening to him. Dammit! Oh my God, they
were out of time. The witch doctor dropped to one knee,
grabbed Daniel by the hair and pulled him back until his
torso was bent and splayed over his thigh. He raised the
dagger high over his head and with a scream that would have
peeled paint off walls plunged it down towards the center of
Daniel's chest. Straight toward Daniel’s heart.
so fast, it was all happening too fast. He had to stop
it - couldn't. Nothing he could do to help him, nothing
left for him to do but watch Daniel die. Right before
descending. No. This wasn't happening, this couldn't be
it, couldn't be the way it ended. He wasn't watching this,
wasn't seeing this, after everything they'd lived through,
been through together, over? It was all over? Finished?
That's all she wrote? Couldn't be, it was too soon, he
needed more time. He wasn't ready for this, wasn't ready
for it to be over, there was so much he hadn't done yet,
so much he hadn't said. Daniel couldn't leave him yet,
couldn't, he didn't know, he'd never told him. Not like
this. Please don't let him die like this. Please, don't
do this, don't -
me, he heard me, he's looking at me, so sorry I can’t stop
it. Failed you, Daniel, failed. Sorry, so sorry for every
way I failed you.
so deep, so full of affection, speaking to him so clearly.
I know. You did everything you could.
in Daniel's eyes, taking everything he could of his final
gift of forgiveness as long as that brave, dear light was
allowed to shine.
standing still. It had to be. What other reason could
there be for what he was seeing?
still bent backwards over the shaman’s knee, unmoving,
unresisting, looking up at his executioner, the black blade
frozen in abeyance, hovering just above his heart.
do it, he didn’t kill Daniel. Thankgodthankgodthankgod…
washed over Jack, turning his legs to water. If not for
the bozos holding him up, he would have been a puddle on
drew the knife back, then reached down and put it on the
ground. He wasn't going to kill Daniel. He really wasn't.
Jack didn't fully believe it, even after he watched the witch
doctor dispense with the knife, but now, the way he was
looking at Daniel, there wasn't any doubt in his mind.
a bitch, Daniel was right. The bastard wasn't going to
hurt Daniel after all. Had never intended to. Wanted
to scare the crap out of him, but not hurt him. Jack felt
an enormous weight lift off his soul as he realised even
though he didn't understand why the guy felt he had to
perform this service for Daniel, his intentions were good.
Just like Daniel had told him they were.
all going to walk away from this in one piece. Jack was
sure of it. Not a question of if, but when.
as Boogie took Daniel’s face in his hands, gazing deeply
at him as if he could see everything inside him. Daniel
wasn’t saying a word, but he was asking a question just
the same. Jack could read it across the space between
them, and he didn’t like what he wasn’t hearing.
you do it?
sighed and sadly shook his head. He murmured a few soft
phrases, almost as if pronouncing some kind of blessing
upon Daniel, then leaned solemnly forward and kissed him
gravely on the forehead. He placed a hand on the top of
Daniel's head, stroked it once, set him back upright on his
knees and then released him. As Daniel watched him mournfully
he rose gracefully to his feet.
over? Could they go? Oh please, let it be over.
It wasn’t over yet. If it was over, the bullyboys wouldn't
still be feeling him up and he and Daniel would be going.
Which…wasn't happening. He was still being held up and
onto, and Daniel was still kneeling on the ground, looking
as if he wasn't entirely happy with the fact he was still
breathing. Well, that made ONE of them! He was downright
over the moon Daniel was still breathing and what was more,
he wanted to keep him that way. Jack cast a hasty glance
over in the direction of the Boogie Man. Crap! Now what?
was hunched over his mat, chanting away, putting a pinch
of this and a dash of that into a gourd filled with a very
dark, nasty looking liquid. Refreshments? Oh, let's not
and say we did! Would it be considered rude to refuse this
latest version of island hospitality? If so, Jack planned to
be very insulting. Oh boy, just look at that crud.
They'd probably be better off swilling swamp water. Jack
didn't know what was going into the rather alarming looking
concoction, but whatever it was, he was guessing drinking
it wouldn't be high up on his list of smart things to do
and probably wouldn’t make Doctor Fraiser very happy either.
If the potion didn't kill them then Janet would. Ooh.
anxiously back at Daniel. He was slouched over again,
head hanging, arms wrapped around himself. He began to
slowly rock and mumble to himself, soft, broken phrases
tumbling rapidly out of him.
her, saw, not just hearing things now, saw her. Not going
crazy, not - not like before, didn't - didn't, not real,
it's not real she wasn't real - "
The woman they'd both seen who looked like Sha'uri? Holy
Hallucinations, with all the subsequent excitement he'd
completely forgotten about seeing her. Is THAT what was
eating Daniel? Why he was being so - so - strange? Being
all freaked out and weird? He thought because he'd seen
Sha'uri back there, he was seeing things, losing it - he
was going nuts? Is that why he'd been acting like he WAS
not seeing things, Daniel!" Jack called reassuringly to
him. "I saw her too, remember?"
Daniel's head shot up, his eyes flaring with fierce suspicion.
"You did?" His face hardened. "You're just saying that.
You're lying. Trying to trick me."
almost hateful look hurled at him hit Jack harder than
then a runaway freight train. Dark suspicion and even
darker anger boiled in Daniel's eyes, cutting Jack to the
core. That Daniel could think Jack would - could do something
like that to him, especially at a time like this -
What the HELL was going on? Every time he thought he was
getting a handle on the weirdness, reality took a turn for
the worst. He needed more time to sort all of this out, calm
Daniel down, TALK to him and find out what the problem was. He
wasn't going to get it; Boogie was done with the mixing
and the singing. On his way back to them; they were running
out of time.
crap, crap, he'd screwed up royally this time! The things
Daniel had been saying, the tantalizing little clues he'd
just dropped about what he'd been experiencing during the
time he'd been pulling away from all of them added up to a
frightening picture. All these months he'd been assuming
Daniel was withdrawn because he was grieving, and sure,
there'd been some of that, a lot of what he'd gone through
since her death had been grieving, but what if it wasn't that
simple? What if something else had been going on as
well, all this time, something even more serious, more
frightening? Jack had just assumed he knew what the
problem was and had done nothing strenuous to overcome
Daniel's objections, had let him walk away and left him to
it. Let Daniel get farther and farther away, leaving him
alone to deal not with grief, but with fear.
maybe he had screwed up, but there was nothing he could
do about it now. Beating himself up over what he had or
hadn't done for Daniel wasn't going to get them out of this
mess. He had to find the rest of his team, get them
away, get them home safe, all of them, then there'd be time,
plenty of time, he'd be with Daniel all the way, they'd find
out what was going on, they'd work through it. Together.
He had to get Daniel to safety, and then he could deal
Daniel, would you please just work with me here!" Jack
knew he was sounding absolutely desperate, which was pretty
much the way he was feeling. "Your pal is coming back
here with the next phase of the 'treatment'. You have
to try and talk him out of this - I do NOT want you drinking
any of that stuff - Daniel, are you reading me, buddy -
we don't know what it is or what it could do to you - JE-SUS!"
almost knocking the men holding him over as Daniel suddenly
snarled and sprang at him like he was meaning to rip his
throat out. He didn't get very far; the men with the torches
dropped them and grabbed Daniel as soon as he started moving,
grimly restraining him while he raged and fought bitterly
against the hands on him.
believe what he was seeing. Daniel was struggling with
almost insane ferocity, cursing, screaming, and spitting
at the witch doctor as soon as he came within range. Daniel's
eyes were as feral and terrifying as his behaviour. They
were scaring the hell out of Jack - Daniel was scaring
the hell out of him.
glowered balefully at him, desperate rage spewing from
him. "Stop him!" he howled at Jack. "You say you're
my friend? Do something! Help me!"
too much. He'd watched Daniel lay there and do nothing
when he thought he was going to get his heart carved out
and now when it looked like he was going to have to drink
some kind of potion he was acting like a crazy man? Screaming
for him to do something to stop it from happening? What
did Daniel think he could do to stop it now that he wouldn't
have done to try and save him before? Why was Daniel so
afraid of some funky native cocktail when he hadn't even
been fazed by the knife?
was seeing Daniel acting like this making the hairs on
the back of his neck stand to attention? Why did it seem
what was glaring at him out of Daniel's eyes wasn't - Daniel?
Why did Jack suddenly feel as if rather than running to help
Daniel he wanted to book in the opposite direction instead?
doctor thundered a short, harsh phrase into the face of
the man raging at him and Daniel's head snapped back as if
he had been physically struck. He immediately slumped,
going alarmingly limp in the hands of the men holding him.
Jack watched horrified, his heart hammering with confusion and
fear as the men loosened their grip and allowed Daniel to
gently slide down until he was back on his knees again.
hunkered down before Daniel, holding his potion cup in
one hand while he gently grasped Daniel's chin and raised his
head with the other. Daniel looked at him with wide,
deeply confused eyes. The witch doctor started to speak
to him in a soft voice. Jack couldn't hear what he was
saying and strained forward, listening fiercely before he
caught himself. No point in trying to hear what Boogie
was saying, even if he could make it out he couldn't
understand it anyway.
could. Seems like he did. More to the point, the wild
man was gone and he was Daniel again. He was definitely
dazed and wavering, but he seemed 'normal'. Not ranting,
not cursing, not looking like some blood-lusting berserker
just escaped from the freak show and looking for some throats
to rip out with his teeth. Daniel was fully focused on
what Boogie was saying to him, nodding as if he was understanding
every word and agreeing to something. Boogie smiled, patted
the top of his head and then handed him the cup.
- don't!" Jack cried out with alarm as he realised what
was about to happen. "Don't drink that stuff! You don't
know what it is - he could be poisoning you!"
okay, Jack," Daniel told him as he turned his head and
smiled weakly at him. "It will help me. It will make
the voices stop."
don't leave me alone this time, Jack," Daniel's pleading
voice nearly finished him as Jack watched him sigh, close
his eyes and quickly drain the contents of the cup.
instantly, Daniel violently shuddered and pitched forward,
coughing and sputtering. His arms were shaking with the
effort of bracing his body against the heaving, retching
spasms wracking it. Boogie stepped back from Daniel and
clapped his hands. Relief surged through Jack as the men
holding him immediately let him go and backed off as well.
Dammit, Daniel why did you drink that crap?
spare his former tormenters a glance as he leapt to Daniel's
side. They could all go to hell as far as he was concerned,
all he wanted to do was get to Daniel and get him away
from here as quickly as he could.
Jack said urgently as he fell to his knees beside Daniel.
Who was still on all fours, coughing and retching. "Are
you all right?" A fresh bout of coughing was Daniel's
gripped Jack as he wrapped his arms around Daniel's torso,
supporting his friend's shaking body until the violent
spasms ceased. "Th - thanks, Jack," Daniel weakly panted,
his head still hanging as he slumped shaking against the
man holding him up. "That was pretty stupid. I- I'm sorry.
Don't know why - don't know what made me do that."
worry about it," Jack returned gruffly, his voice rasping
with mingling relief and concern. He gave Daniel a reassuring
squeeze. "We'll sort it out later. What do you say we
leave the party early, huh, Daniel? You feeling up to
finding Carter and Teal'c and going home?"
Daniel nodded his head vigorously. "I'm - I'm up." He
clumsily lifted an arm and flopped it against Jack's chest,
his hand groping towards Jack's shoulder for support.
"I think you're gonna - think you're gonna have - have
to help - help me up, Jack?" he pleaded in a slightly
pushed down on Jack's shoulder, trying to heave himself
up from all fours. Before Jack could help him Daniel's
supporting arm buckled and he lurched heavily against the man
shoring him up. Jack had to quickly catch him and clasp him
firmly to his chest to prevent both of them from tumbling
lay trembling and panting in Jack's arms, half draped across
him, his head resting heavily against Jack's shoulder,
hands fluttering weakly against his back. Jack tightened
his grip, hugging him closer as Daniel's warm, erratic
exhalations teased and flushed the hollow of his throat.
A surge of protectiveness, almost possessiveness blazed
through him. Daniel seemed so - he felt so - the emotions
raging through Jack were so fierce, so confusing, jumbled and
swirling around inside him, but they'd never been stronger;
he'd never been so AWARE of them, never as aware of the
cause, of the man in his arms, as he was at this very moment.
burning and wanting, wanting only to hold Daniel close
like he was holding him now. Hold him and hold him and
never, ever let him go.
Daniel hiccupped and started giggling into Jack's neck,
the small, warm gusts of laughter coming faster against
his skin. “Ohhh, that was nasty. Very, very nasty," Daniel
sighed heavily and thumped his head against Jack's shoulder.
"Yuck. Nash-ty." He finally raised his head and peered
blearily at the man holding him. "Don't feel so good,
Jack," he announced in a faltering, confused voice.
Daniel was green. As in 'around the gills', definitely
not his normal, glowing, golden complexion. Unmistakable
hint of an olive flush happening all over his face having
nothing to do with the luck of the Irish. What was just
as scary, Daniel's pupils were so dilated they'd almost
totally overcome the blue.
say," Jack tried to keep the panic out of his voice as
he smiled back at the wavering, dazed but trusting grin.
Whatever this stuff was, it sure worked fast! "You're
not looking too shit-hot either, buddy. Come on now, Dannyboy.
Work with me here. We’re gonna take a little walk and
get you home. How does that sound?”
good, Jack," Daniel bobbed his head in dreamy acquiescence.
"Are we standing up yet?"
Jack replied as he reluctantly relaxed his firm, possessive
hold on Daniel, grabbed him under the armpits and hauled
him up to his feet. The instant he was he was upright
Daniel's knees folded and he would have dribbled happily
back down to the ground again if Jack hadn't grabbed him
quickly and tightly around the waist.
Jack," Daniel mumbled sheepishly, giving him a shy grin
as Jack put Daniel's arm around his shoulders and hitched
him in closely to his side for better support. "Almost
worry about it, Danny," Jack patted the hand dangling close
to his cheek as he took a careful, thorough look around.
No sign of Carter and Teal'c or their gear, but if he had
to hazard a guess the other two members of his team were
cooling their heels in one of those shacks. Along with
all their stuff. The same shacks every damned soul on the
island seemed to be standing in front of staring bug-eyed at
the pair of them. Not a blessed one of them making a
sound or any menacing moves, but still creeping him out all
a deep breath. Peachy. This was just perfect, just what
he'd had in mind for how he wanted to spend the day when
he got out of bed this morning. Here he was, trapped in
paradise, surrounded by the Stepford Samoans, Carter and
Teal’c nowhere in sight, an extremely pie-eyed archaeologist
on his hands. And rather distractingly all over him. Daniel
was so looped he was almost liquefying in his arms. It
seemed Dannyboy couldn’t hold his alien potions any more
than he could hold his liquor. Well, at least he could
thank his lucky stars Daniel appeared to be a happy drunk.
Or – whatever. Jack just wished his blitzed burden wasn't
so damned cuddly in the bargain. Daniel's blissful acquiescence,
warm, willing proximity and sudden propensity for - patting
him affectionately - was making it very hard for Jack to
concentrate on trying to figure out their next move.
cut it out!" Jack grumbled lightly as he grabbed the hand
playing with his ear and held it firmly so it couldn't.
Crap. Jack wished devoutly Daniel would quit DOING stuff
like that. Oh well, he shouldn't complain too much, at
least Daniel wasn't -
out loud, Daniel, quit blowing in my ear!" Jack roared.
FUN, Jack!" Daniel chortled.
not here to have fun," Jack explained slowly, already beginning
to feel the strain of trying to be patient with Daniel
while he was also trying to plan their next move. "We
have to figure out how to get home first."
sighed and considered this for a moment. "Then we can
have fun?" he asked hopefully.
whatever," Jack answered him quickly, absently as he restlessly
scanned the area all about him. Looking for any signs
of his missing teammates and their equipment, trying to
gauge the mood of their 'audience'.
Daniel asked suspiciously.
I promise!" Jack snapped, patting Daniel on the cheek
to shut him up. "Quiet now, Daniel, be a good boy. Jack
is trying to think, here."
do? Jack was sure he'd find the rest of SG-1 in those huts,
but did he dare try to run the gauntlet of the bug-eyed
natives with Daniel in the shape he was in? There was no
way they could move fast if they had to. And no way he
was going to leave Daniel alone to make a solo assault on the
shacks. In his present, juiced condition who knows where
Daniel would wander off to. Jack didn't have the faintest
hope his willful and whacked-out archaeologist would stay
where he'd try to stash him while he had a go at freeing
Carter and Teal'c.
the direct approach was out. That left temporarily abandoning
the rest of SG-1 and making a run for the gate. Even though
he'd told Carter and Teal'c to leave THEM behind and get
to the gate if they got the chance, running out on them
was the last thing he wanted to do. 'Nobody gets left
behind' warred with the rising, almost primal need to protect
Daniel and get him to safety as soon as possible. Anywhere
that wasn't here. Getting back to the SGC was not an option
without a GDO, but if he could get to the gate he could
at least make sure Daniel was safe. But that would mean
- Carter and Teal'c -
eyes found the dark, distant ones of the witch doctor.
During the time he'd been busy dealing with Daniel Boogie had
relocated. All the way over on the other side of the
sandy expanse where the fun had been happening, standing at
the head of the crowd of his people barricading the huts.
Jack stared hard at the tall, feathered man staring back at
him. Boogie was the key to what happened next. All the
other villagers, they weren't the issue. THIS was the
guy he had to worry about; everyone else would do what HE
said. If there was any further grief in SG-1's future,
it was all down to the Boogster.
men studied each other across the gulf between them. Jack
tried to read the weathered face before him, still not
knowing whether or not he could afford to trust the witch
doctor. Daniel did. Daniel trusted him. That counted
in the feathered man's favour. Boogie could have killed
Daniel - could have killed all of them. But he hadn't.
Still could, though. But he'd already had the perfect
chance and he hadn't. Jesus. Hell of a choice, but what
other option did he have? Jack shook his head, desperately
hoping he wasn't making the biggest mistake of all their
lives, and decided to take a chance.
On to Part Two