HIDE AND SEEK BY PHOENIX
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
Angst. Hurt/Comfort. Action/Adventure.
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.
Gen version completed Spring 2000. Slash version
completed and posted to net 24 Mar 01
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 in the first
place. And then some. Woo. True love will out. What can I tell you. Thanks
to Biblio for her assistance on the slash version, the suggestions, catching
my boo-boos and ceaselessly nagging me to get Daniel naked ASAP.
the time Jack had been mulling things over Daniel appeared
to have been happily doing a little 'mulling' of his own.
An uncomfortably warm and tingling sensation in his chest
rapidly spreading to more problematic areas of his body
brought Jack rather jolting back to the realisation Daniel was
quite thoroughly and intimately stroking his chest. If
the soft, contented sounds he was making were any indication,
Daniel was getting as much out of doing it as Jack was,
being, er, done. Jack knew he had a problem on his hands.
Well, a couple of problems. All having to do with the out-to-lunch
and way too touchable bundle of trouble currently touching
him in a way making him feel far too good. Jack couldn't
decide what was more worrisome; the fact Daniel was definitely
behaving in an - inappropriate - fashion, or that Jack,
well, he LIKED it. A lot.
wasn't the time for this!
he said a little gruffly, swallowing his grumbling libido
and giving Daniel a little pat on the cheek to get his
attention. Daniel's head came up slowly in response; his
up-turned face was glowing with utter contentment as he
gently swayed, stroked and completely failed to focus on
the man trying desperately not to think about how amazingly
radiant he looked and how much he liked where Daniel's
hand was and what it was doing and oh my God, those eyes…
Daniel smiled dreamily.
God, he was beautiful…
we be - shouldn't we be doing something?"
Oh crap!" Jack shook his head angrily. What the hell
was the matter with him? What was he thinking, going off
like a goon like that, mooning over Daniel - DANIEL, for
crying out loud, like some love-struck, randy adolescent?
Where were his brains?
was peering at him expectantly, intently, as much someone
in his condition could form any sort of intent as all.
"We've got to find Carter and Teal'c," Jack said to him
Daniel parroted, nodding seriously, still trying to focus
furiously even though his head was starting to waver a
little. "Okey doke!"
so good. Some brain cells still on line inside that gorgeous,
addled head. Making progress here.
going to have to walk all the way over there and talk to
your pal, there. See if he will tell us where they are
and let them go. You're going to have to do most of the
talking, though. Think you can do that for me, Danny?"
Jack asked hopefully. "Walk over there and talk to witchie
poo with me?"
smiled blazingly at him. "For you, Jack?" he enthused
me," Jack groaned under his breath as he started them walking
toward the Boogie Man.
took a couple of extremely uncertain steps, then fell heavily
against Jack as his legs buckled. He started to giggle
as if his incapacity was just the funniest thing in the
I don’t think so. Legs don’t want to go. Howcum?”
Daniel,” Jack sighed. “Up you go. Let’s try it again.
I’ll carry you if I have to, but you’re a big boy and I’d
just as soon not.”
started Daniel giggling and patting again, but to give
the kid his due, he was also really trying to get his legs
to cooperate. After a few false starts and a lot more
giggling Daniel finally seemed to be getting the hang of
walking again. They set out across the sand, moving not
so much forward as away from where they had been, maybe not
gracefully or efficiently, but at least they were moving.
They slowly stumbled, reeled and staggered like a pair of
tipsy tee-totalers, hips bumping and clashing against each
other, Daniel's laughter dancing in the air as they lurched
along the silent line of villagers standing impassively,
watching their every move. With disturbing focus
and interest. Staring. Dozens of pairs of big,
black bug eyes, staring at them. Jack scowled at them.
Take a damned picture, it lasts longer!
the eyes boring into them none pricked at Jack as much
as the dark, piercing ones belonging to the Boogie Man.
It wasn't that they were menacing or dangerous: nothing like
that. Jack no longer feared the man in the sense he was
afraid any of them were going to come to harm. If that
was the case he'd hardly be trying to steer Danny over to him
in order to have a little pow wow.
was bothering Jack because he was looking at him like he
could see right through him. Jack was being checked out,
looked up and down, sized up - judged - every inch of the
way on over. And he wasn't the only one getting the visual
once over. Boogie was checking Daniel out as well. But
with Daniel it was different. Daniel he was watching,
waiting for something to happen. Him - it was as if Boogie
was expecting him to DO something.
was after something from both of them. Something different,
but still something. But just what - Jack hadn't a clue.
it less unsettling to look at the witch doctor than he
did the silent sea of broad, expressionless faces they were
weaving past. With everything happening so fast before Jack
hadn't had a chance to register the witch doctor as anything
more than a conflicting impression of noise, sharp movement
and menace. As well as a lot of feathers, beads and
was calm and with Boogie merely standing there quietly
looking at them, he didn't strike Jack as being nearly
as intimidating. Imposing, yes, maybe regal, even, but not
intimidating. He was still full-out native, the guy in
charge and the most decked-out dude of the bunch, but Jack
could tell just by looking at him the way he'd been acting
wasn't the way he was. All the yelling and bad-ass, strong-arm
stuff had been about getting a job done. It wasn't the
way Boogie normally did business. This man was
definitely not the bully he had been pretending to be.
wise was the first thing that came to Jack's mind as he
took in the impressive, solid figure towering over everyone
else. The witch doctor was at least a head taller than
the rest of the crowd, also not built along the short, more
compact lines of most of the other folks. He was tall, taut
and lean, as opposed to short, stocky and more across than
up. He also looked a lot older than most of them, his craggy,
serene face speaking of an 'age' earned not simply from
being here the longest, but from what he'd done during
the time he'd been breathing. This guy had been around
some, and he'd made good use of his time.
was also a man who understood sometimes you had to do what
you had to do. The end justified the means if the end
was important enough. The wise, dark eyes locked sorrowfully
with his and suddenly Jack felt a renewed taste of fear
in his mouth. Boogie hadn't done any of this on a whim.
Nor had he meant to be arbitrary or deliberately cruel
to any of them. He believed what he'd had to do to Danny
was for a very good reason. What was more, it wasn't
over yet. It was far from over, far from decided, and
the guy was still worried. Worried about Danny. Worried
for both of them, but mostly for Danny.
That made two of them.
to be taking an eternity to negotiate the distance between
where they were and where they were still trying to get
to. It wasn't helping they weren't exactly travelling in a
straight line. More like taking the scenic route. Daniel
was giggling and stumbling into him again, sending them
gracefully listing off to port this time. Jack sighed
and nudged Daniel with his hip to steer them back on course.
Being with Daniel like this, having him so close was - well
it was nice, in a weird sort of way. He was even getting
used to the touches, although he was trying very hard not
to listen to some of the things Daniel was murmuring.
Not anything he wanted to hear. Not if he had any hope
of putting things back into their proper - perspective
- once this was all over and Daniel sobered up again.
think about that right now, let's just get there and get
the job done!
just starting to feel as if they finally were settling
into a rhythm when Daniel abruptly twisted around in his
arms and grabbed a fistful of Jack's shirt. Jack stumbled
with surprise as Daniel yanked them nearly nose to nose.
Daniel's face was excited but serious and so close to his
their lips were almost touching. Jack froze, alarmed by
his disturbing proximity and the warm feeling of Daniel's
moist breath gusting rapidly across his lips.
Daniel exclaimed dramatically. "I have to tell you something.
It's really important! You gotta LISTEN to me!"
knew he was he had to get Daniel away from him. Fast.
He grabbed the hand entangled in his shirt, tried to pry
it lose. "Daniel, let go of me!" he grated.
please!" Daniel insisted, not letting go and not backing
Jack warned. He'd pretty much had it. With Daniel, with
sand, with sunshine, with frigging ocean breezes, but mostly
with Daniel. This was taking too long; Daniel was still
standing way too close and Boogie's disconcerting looks
were starting to make him feel jumpy and apprehensive again.
Jack just wanted to get to the feathered one and get him
to give up Carter and Teal'c so they could all go home.
And Daniel was being difficult and holding the whole lot
of them up with this latest dumb-ass observation floating
through his fogged up head he just HAD to share this minute
or he'd die. What was it this time? His nose was cute?
Yippee! Call the media, they could share it with the world!
Why couldn't Daniel just shut up and BEHAVE! For once!
He knew it wasn’t Daniel’s fault, he was looped out of
his skull, after all, but with all the giggling and stumbling
and squirming and snuggling and now Daniel was standing
so close, close enough to -
Daniel!" Jack snapped, finally managing to get Daniel's
hand free and swinging him back around so he was hanging
off his hip again. Instead of hanging off his neck. "Move
it, Daniel. We're going over there, remember? Off to see
the wizard? Carter and Teal'c?"
this is SERIOUS!” Daniel persisted. "I have to tell you
this - NOW! You gotta listen!"
it. That was when he'd blown it, but good. Daniel wasn't
in a mood to be messed with; he'd had his back up and then
some. It was there, the warning sign, plain in his voice;
Jack would have heard it. That is, if he'd been listening.
He should have been listening, should have paid attention.
It would have saved both of them a lot of grief, seeing
what happened later as a result of one little lapse.
was pretty much par for the course where he and Daniel
were concerned. This time wasn't any different from any
of the other times he should have listened to Daniel, should
have paid a little attention, and hadn't. It was turning
out just as badly as all the other times as well. You'd think
he'd have learned his lesson by now.
doing this to Daniel for as long as they'd known each other.
Blowing him off, shutting him down, patting him on the
head. Ignorant and condescending, Daniel had said that
him once. How to call it, Dannyboy. He should have listened.
He never listened. Never listened to Daniel, never paid
attention to him, never took him seriously, never gave
him his due. He was always underestimating Daniel. It
usually ended up the same way. Lots of hurt feelings,
misunderstanding and plenty of regret with the benefit of
hindsight. A mountain of regret.
please! You don't understand!” Daniel persisted, pleading,
a deeply pained look on his face. Which Jack didn't see
because he was too busy being annoyed with him for holding
Daniel’s fault. He shouldn’t have snapped at him. Really
shouldn’t have. Always leading with his mouth. Always
saying the wrong thing. Always pushing him away.
my back, Daniel! We haven't got time for this crap! Now,
can it and WALK!”
huffed with affronted ferocity, planted his feet and straightened
up with such unexpected swiftness he broke free of Jack’s
grasp. Before Jack had time to react Daniel shoved him
away with so much force he was thrust staggering backward
for several stumbling steps.
only gape at him, completely stunned as Daniel took a deep
breath, puffed out his chest and announced with all the
pomposity of the truly pissed: “You are such a POOP!
Bossy, big-mouthed POOP! Sick of you treating me like I'm a
little kid! I don’t wanna TALK to you no more! Those
people look nice. They're not poops! They'll listen.
They won't be mean to me. Not like you! Poop! Going
over there. Talk to them. Go – play with - play in traffic.”
an expansive, dismissing gesture with his hand, Daniel
executed a shaky turn and started to weave away. Jack
actually let him get several feet away before he recovered
enough from the shock to try and regain control of the
I’m sorry. Don’t
be like that. Come on back here.”
kept on walking back the way they had come, waving Jack
away over his shoulder, his back still firmly set against him.
I was sorry.”
stopped walking as if considering what the man behind him
had just said. “I heard you," he finally said, quietly.
" I don’t believe you. You always say that. It doesn’t
mean anything. You never mean it. You never listen. I
don't know why I thought you would this time. Stupid,
I guess. That's me. Stupid. Stupid because I - never,
never mind. You don't care. I know that now.”
flashed through Jack’s mind. ‘In vino, veritas.’ Hell,
he even knew what it meant. Jack wasn't sure where he
had picked it up, but there it was. And there was Daniel,
still standing there, not going forward, not going back,
not turning around, wavering dizzily, but still there.
Waiting. What? What was he waiting for?
over to Boogie, not sure why he suddenly thought the guy
could or would, but hoping he would throw him some sort
of clue. The dark, old eyes were saying something, but
Jack didn't know what he was seeing.
know - or didn't want to know? Daniel was waiting. Boogie
was waiting. Waiting for something from him? What? What
was he supposed to do, what was he supposed to say? Daniel
was right? So, what if he was, what if his good friend
Jack had been acting like a horse's ass, this wasn't anything
they were going to be able to settle now. Especially given
the state Daniel was in at the moment. Jack made a flamboyant
gesture of annoyance at Daniel’s sullen back. They just
didn’t have TIME for this right now. Honest to God, sometimes
Daniel could be as frustrating as… Oh my, O’Neill,
don’t go there.
It definitely had to be sunstroke. Screw it! This wasn't
the time or the place for any of this touch-feely emotional
crap. Maybe he had hurt Daniel's feelings, but he'd sort
it out with him later. Presuming Daniel even remembered
any of this once he sobered up - or came down - from whatever
he was presently floating around on. A process they could
hopefully expedite if Daniel would just cooperate so they
could get him home and into Doc Fraiser's tender medical
clutches. Jack didn't want to be fighting with a pissy,
pissed Daniel. He could march over there and force Daniel
to come with him, but better, easier if he could persuade
him to play nice.
to his better nature. Trick him. One thing Jack knew for
sure, if Daniel wouldn’t come quietly on his account, he’d
come back for the sake of someone else. Two someone elses
– to be precise.
Daniel," Jack called to him, "stay mad at me if you want
to, but don’t you think we should try and find out what's
happened to Carter and Teal’c? I could really use your
help to find them. What do you say?”
of the man behind him rapidly rose and fell in a visible
shrug. “Okay,” he said in an agreeable voice as he turned
around and began to stumble back toward Jack.
watched him approach, trying very hard not to be too pleased
with himself. Yup, it really was that easy. Who said
he didn’t know his archaeologist?
continued to waft towards him, a slightly wavering, open
smile upon his face. Daniel was almost to his side before
Jack saw his eyes. It was just sinking in there was something
very, very wrong with them when the punch came of nowhere,
taking him completely by surprise.
deadly right cross caught him just under the chin, lifting
him off his feet with its violent power. Jack felt his
brains fly out simultaneously in assorted different directions
as his body hurtled to the ground. Ow!
lying flat on his back with his head scattered in several
large pieces all around him. What the hell – who knew
Daniel could throw a punch like that? Jack didn’t know
whether to be proud of him or scared shitless.
opened his eyes and saw the cruel contempt on the face
of the man standing over him and decided definitely in
favour of the latter. Jack blinked, trying to clear his
head, convinced the shock of the blow was making him see
things, and looked again.
Daniel laughed down at him in a way making Jack's blood
curdle with sudden, irrational fear.
sneered at him through Daniel’s eyes. That scary, creepy
something he'd seen before when Daniel had come at him
like a wild beast. He wasn't imagining it. Not then,
do you think I am?” it laughed at him contemptuously.
This DEFINITELY wasn't good.
his back on the sand and half stunned from the punch Jack
was no more in the frame than he had been from the first
moment he'd set foot on this god-forsaken paradise, but one
thing he did know for sure, even though he was looking at
Daniel standing there and laughing at him, what was sneering
and leering at him and using Daniel to do it - wasn't Daniel.
It wasn't Daniel who'd clocked him, wasn't Daniel saying
those things and no way those eyes - God - those EYES -
the glacial hatred in them freezing his blood in his veins
- not Daniel's eyes. Moe, Larry and Curly, what the hell
was he looking at? More to the point, what the hell was
looking back at HIM, making a suddenly menacing, utterly
terrifying stranger out of the one person Jack thought
he knew and trusted more than any other.
the thing with Daniel's face scoffed at him, and then shuddered.
Daniel wavered dangerously, for an appalling instant Jack
though he was going to crumple to the ground, and then
Daniel shook his head and stopped shaking and, oh yeah,
there he was, Daniel, his Daniel again, looking down at
him, his huge, blue eyes soft with delighted confusion.
From the way he was starting to giggle, what he was seeing
had to be pretty funny.
doing down there, Jack?” Daniel asked with honest curiosity.
He squinted a Jack for a moment, then looked around, gnawing
on his lower lip, his expression worried and distraught.
"Oh, oh boy," he murmured. " I was over there and now
I'm here. How'd I get over here? It's happening again.
Oh boy." Daniel aimed his distressed gaze back down at
the man still sprawled at his feet. "What's going on.
Jack?" he implored, his desperate need for an explanation
tearing at Jack as much as his inability provide Daniel
a damned good question, Daniel," Jack tried to reassure
him. "And as soon as I have an answer, you'll be the first
he had a huge problem on his hands was like saying the
sky was blue. So stating the obvious. So why waste time
even talking about it? Or trying to pretend it wasn't
so? Face facts. Whatever was going on - for whatever
reason he'd done it - Daniel - or whatever - had just taken
a swing at him. A damned good one too. This was the second
time Daniel had gone bonzo and tried to come at him. The
only reason Daniel hadn't ripped his heart out the first
time was because the guys holding onto him hadn't let him.
was nobody stopping Daniel from taking another crack at
him if psycho boy decided to go unexpectedly darkside on him
again. Jack had more than enough to worry about already
without getting taken out by someone he was trying to protect.
much as he hated to admit it, in the here and now, Daniel
was dangerous. Which meant before either one of them could
take another step Jack was going to have to take drastic
steps to secure the situation. Or more to the point,
secure Daniel. Hell of a thing to contemplate hog-tying
your best friend, but even more inconvenient to have him
trying to kill you while you were trying to help him.
had to get his hands on Daniel first.
out a hand to the man who stood over him. “Hey Daniel,
be a pal. Help me up, will ya?”
considered this for a moment before smiling.
don't think so, Jack," he grinned craftily at the man lying
supine on the ground before him silently, fervently cursing
him and every infuriating, intractable, uncooperative cell
in his body. "I know what you're doing. You can't fool
me!" he sing-songed, waggling an admonishing finger at
Jack. "Naughty, naughty! You're trying to trick me. I
know you! It's not going to be that easy, Colonel. You’ll
have to catch me first! Bye!” Daniel giggled, whirled
and sprinted across the sand. Making a beeline for the
jungle. The thick, dark, wild, untamed, hot, sweltering,
jungle. THAT jungle!
to his feet, swearing a blue streak and nursing his aching
head. Shit, look at that, will you, scarfing down the
witch doctor's sludge had apparently made Daniel incapable
of walking a straight line but it didn't seem to be at
all impacting on his ability to run like stink. Daniel
wasn't having any trouble making tracks. No weaving or
stumbling now, he was sprinting flat out, streaking across
the sand like a freaking gazelle, and by the time Jack
stumbled to his own feet 'runs like the wind' boy had already
disappeared into the fringes of the jungle behind the outer
edge of the village. Crap.
going to have to go in there after him. But not by himself,
that was for damned sure. No FRICKING way! The shape
he was in? Might as well just put a gun to his head.
Carter and Teal’c and the GDOs had to be in one of those
huts so he would just carry on with the original plan,
try and get through to Boogie, get him to give up the rest
of his team, and then they'd all go after Daniel. Send
through for a couple more teams, they'd have the jungle
combed and the doped-up delinquent extracted in no time flat.
Sounded like a plan.
back, took one look at the witchdoctor's face and knew
there was no point in taking another step. Why, oh why
had he bothered to get out of bed this morning?
pointed his rattle at the huts and shook his head. Well,
that was plain enough. He shook it again, first at Jack
and then at the jungle Daniel had disappeared into. Even
plainer. So much for the language barrier. Boogie meant
for him to go after 'pain in the ass' boy all by himself.
And nobody was going anywhere until he brought him back.
God, but he loved these no-win situations. "Thanks
for nothing, 'pal'!" he scowled at the witch doctor.
"I hope all your freaking feathers fall off! Have a
Boogie the bird and ran into the jungle after Daniel.
through the claustrophobic greenery, inwardly as torrid
and seething as the steaming, humid air he was battling.
He grumbled and cursed silently as he followed the clearly
delineated trail Daniel had blazed through the vegetation
during his hasty, unheeding transit. Obviously Daniel
wasn't taking any great pains to hide his tracks. Good.
All the easier to find to find the dear boy and get the
hell out of this frigging green nightmare. Like yesterday.
Good thing Daniel wasn’t thinking clearly enough to be
more careful. Mind you, if Daniel was thinking clearly,
they wouldn’t have to be doing this in the first place.
behind his eyes had receded to a dull thud. The swelling
on his jaw was going to take a little longer. Jack continued
to thread his way through the tropical profusion, realizing
once he caught up with Daniel he'd best be prepared for
anything. Finding Daniel might be the easy part. Holding
onto him after he found him, that could be something else
onto Daniel. Nice. It had been really, really nice.
Holding him, so close, feeling him, so warm and happy,
Daniel smiling at him, looking at him with such trust,
was the other way Daniel had looked at him. Lunging at
him, punching him, staring down at him with that weird,
hateful look in his eyes. No - not Daniel. It looked
like Daniel, but it wasn't Daniel. Daniel hadn't done
any of those things to him. Not Daniel.
know exactly what was in Daniel, but one thing he did know
for sure, it wasn’t a Goa’uld. There had been no glowing
eyes or funny voice, and although he wasn't ‘Goa’uld sensitive’
like Carter, Jack still knew Daniel's problem wasn't snake-related.
Couldn't be. Even though he couldn't smell the damned
things, Carter and Teal'c could, and they'd both been close
enough to Daniel today to have sensed - they would have
picked up on it. Whatever he'd seen in him, whatever the
Boogie Man had been trying to 'cleanse' Daniel of, it wasn't
hadn’t picked up a snake in his travels, but there definitely
was a little something ‘extra’ to his personality all the
same. Defining exactly what that something was, that was
the scary part. Of course, the simplest explanation for
Daniel's aberrant behaviour was the obvious psychological
one. He could be just plain nuts. You could make a case
for it. A very plausible one. Much more plausible than
- well, the other explanation he was trying very hard not
to think about.
had to be carrying a shit-load of deeply hidden and buried
hurts and resentments against a certain colonel in his
subconscious. They'd had three years to accumulate, fester and
simmer. Something in the potion Daniel had been forced
to drink had turned up the heat and the whole sordid mess had
come to a boil, all over the object of his ire. Now here
it all was, every bad thing he'd ever made Daniel feel,
out in the open and itching to kick his Air Force ass into
the middle of the next century. As an explanation for
Daniel's Mr. Hyde routine, it could fly.
sure that's the way Carter would call it. Probably all
the head doctors as well. Jack knew it was the most logical
and acceptable explanation, most probably the ‘right’ one.
However, it didn’t quite do it as far as he was concerned,
and certainly didn't explain everything he had personally
observed. It didn't allow for the Boogie Man's reaction
to Daniel, for what he'd done to him and why, and it certainly
didn't explain the strange, palpable feeling of ‘presence’
Jack had so jarringly experienced during those moments
when Daniel hadn't been - Daniel. It couldn't account
for the very, very real sense of malevolence oozing out
of him. Hatred so tangible and consuming he'd been repelled
and horrified almost to the point of wanting to flee. During
those moments when 'it' had looked at him he'd felt primal,
instinctive terror, the kind that turned your bones to
water, worse than your worst childhood fears of the things
lurking in the darkness. He'd felt it, and he'd also sensed
something else, something weighing so heavily on the scales
of the improbable it was tipping them well and truly over
to that which shouldn't be, but couldn't be anything else.
What had been all around Daniel, covering him like some
noxious cloud, the FEELING of - of -
Jack – say it.
had looked at him through Daniel’s eyes, it was Evil.
With a capital 'E'. One thing Jack knew with as much
certainty as he knew the sun was going to rise in the morning,
however pissed off he had ever made Daniel or would ever
make him for the next thousand years, no way in hell he
would ever, EVER believe Daniel’s darkest thought or desire
would even come close to being that. Not possible. Ever.
believe in hocus pocus, oogie boogie shit. Things that
went 'bump' in the night was what happened when you fell
out of bed. All that supernatural crap was for suckers.
That was how he felt about it, until now, that is. Now
he was seriously having to revise his views about what
could and couldn't be possible. If he was unwilling to
accept the rational explanations for what was happening
to Daniel, he had no other choice but to go with the only
other possible explanation. Daniel didn't have a Goa'uld,
he wasn't homicidal, he was - possessed.
that just made him feel SO much better!
was in his friend. Something evil. Something the Boogie
Man had picked up on and had tried to get out of Daniel
with the rattles and the smoke and the screaming and all
that other crap. Tried and failed. That Something was
STILL in Daniel, and now the pair of them were out there,
loose, somewhere ahead of him. And lest he forget, this
Something apparently didn’t care for him any more than
he was overly fond of it. Not a particularly comforting
radar tapped him on the shoulder. He stopped abruptly
as he realized what it was telling him.
noises had stopped. It was quiet. Too quiet. Oh my,
this wasn’t good.
had time to complete the thought when a body came hurtling
at him from out of the thick undergrowth behind him. Damn!
Daniel had circled – behind him? How in the hell had he
managed to do that?
shoulder slammed into the middle of his back, thrusting
him violently forward. Right into a tree. Face met bark
in such a manner as to make Jack rather the loser for the
encounter and once again, Jack found himself becoming distressingly
disconnected from his gray matter. Daniel kept charging,
mashing him into the tree, dashing the wind from him and
making his ribs shriek alarmingly under the strain. Daniel
leapt away from him and Jack dropped like a stone, crashing
to the ground where he lay dazed and dumbly gasping, mad
sparks flashing in his head, his chest a searing mass of
pain as it heaved futilely and wildly for air.
down, he was out, a beached whale had a better chance right
now than he did. He was going to have to give the kid points
for this one. If he lived. Either he was slipping or
Daniel was improving. Whichever it was, the first round
definitely went to Dannyboy. That is, Jack was hoping
it was Daniel who'd gotten the drop on him, and had subsequently
dropped him. 'Cause if it wasn't he wasn't in much of
a position to stop - whatever - from finishing the job.
of giggling came down to meet Jack as he slowly drifted
back up from the twilight edges of unconsciousness. This
had not helped his headache one damned bit. He warily
opened his eyes. A blurred figure was swimming around
right beside him. He couldn't really make out the face
yet, but he certainly knew the laugh. What's more, the
little shit was standing within grabbing range. Good.
out a hand and tried to snag his quarry. His hand closed
on empty air as Daniel nimbly evaded his clumsy attempt.
going to have to do better than that, Jack,” Daniel taunted
was really starting to get to him.
one for me!" Daniel crowed. "Catch me if you can, Colonel.
Wheeee! This is FUN!”
over, turning the air more than slightly blue in his frustration
as he made another frantic but futile grab at Daniel.
“Danny – WAIT!” he bellowed after him.
Daniel had slipped through his fingers once more and was
already on the move again, making like a giggling gazelle
through the green.
on, Jack. Let’s play!” he laughed back at the swearing
man struggling to get up.
Danny!” Jack yelled after him. “Got a deck of CARDS?”
Groaning, he hauled his aching bones the rest of the way
to his feet and doggedly trudged deeper into the jungle.
been two hours ago. Two lousy, stinking hours of slogging
through this lousy, stinking jungle. Sweltering along
in a sauna bath, sweating his ass off as he pushed his
way past more green stuff than he ever wanted to see for
the rest of his life, steadily developing an irrational
hatred of rain forests and every thing in them approaching
epic proportions. Struggling over terrain becoming increasingly
steep and treacherous, being a walking smorgasbord for
an astonishing variety of flying, biting, stinging insects
and generally just not having a good time at all. And
now here he was, two hours after Daniel had first clocked
him, standing at the base of this damned thousand-feet-tall-if-it-was-an-inch
tree, trying to catch a glimpse of the man who'd managed,
more than once, to make a monkey of this rather abused
and abashed Special Ops colonel.
fucking trees. He hated the fucking jungle. But most
of all he hated getting his ass kicked. Repeatedly. Boy
oh boy, had he been whumped.
had jumped him and thumped him twice, and had followed
this up by becoming one with the jungle and thumping him some
more. In his new persona of Nature Boy he'd swung by him
on a vine, shirtless and yodeling and had almost kicked his
head in. And that was just for starters.
with achieving aerial superiority, Daniel had launched
an impressive and very effective ground assault. Daniel
had pushed him down a ravine, tumbled him into a stream
and whipped a rock at him, catching him above the right eye so
bad it was still bleeding. All the time giggling and
dancing around him like Danny was freaking invincible.
had some moves, and he was driving Jack absolutely insane.
He couldn't seem to lay a finger on Daniel, and it wasn't
for lack of trying. Jack wasn't sure if it was because
Daniel had suddenly become much more physically confident
and capable than he'd ever seen him - and he didn't even
want to THINK about why that was - or if it was because
Nature Boy's current whipping boy was slowing down from having
been so effectively, repeatedly TROUNCED, but whatever the
reason, Daniel was dancing rings around him. Laughing
all the way.
Daniel was continuing to get the better of him, it had
NOTHING to do with him being distracted. By the memories
of seeing that lithe, sleekly muscled, sweat-gleaming body
flying at him, making disturbing thoughts flash through his
aching head. Followed by more thoughts, and even more
disturbing images…desires… thoughts about wanting to see
even more of that body, shiny and sweating, wanting to slide
his fingers over the glistening skin, touching it, smelling
it, wondering what it would feel like to have Daniel panting
and wild eyed beneath him, imagining what sort of sounds
would he make, what would he taste like, thinking how much
he would like to run his tongue across that wide, firm
Jack shook his head to banish such terrifying, exciting
notions. He had to stop his mind from going where it kept
wanting to go. Not only was this not the place or the
time, it just wasn't supposed to go there. Ever. Daniel
had a certain place in his life, his own, nice comfortable
little mental niche, just like everyone else who was important
to him, and that's where Dannyboy was staying. Safe in
the best friend box where he belonged. All the other stuff
he'd been thinking and feeling about Daniel since this
whole nightmare had started, it was stress and worry. Getting
his brains rattled one too many times. That's all it was.
That's all he was going to let be. Period.
crap stopped here and it stopped now! He wasn't himself
at the moment, plain and simple. Small wonder, his head
was three sizes bigger than normal, he'd been thoroughly
used and abused, he was angry, hurt, tired, sweaty, itchy
in places he didn’t even know he had, hungry, thirsty and
all in all, one really cranky colonel. Add confused and
more than slightly horny - okay, REALLY horny - to the
mix and you're talking a full day of thrills and adventure.
More than enough for Mother O'Neill's baby boy.
He’d had his fill of fun and games for one afternoon. Not to
mention giggling. Please, God, no more giggling!
And if Daniel made him climb this fricking tree to get him the
hell out of it…
hooo – Jaaaackkk! Are you down there? Look at me!”
of the devil. Smile Jack. Be nice. Make him come down.
Then kill him.
Jack ventured in what he hoped was a friendly. persuasive
tone. “I’ve been having a lot of fun, but it’s getting
late. Can we go home now? Please?”
burst of laughter answered him. “Jack, you are such a LIAR.
I come down there, you’re gonna wring my neck! God, you’re
funny!” Daniel chortled.
well so are you!” Jack howled back up at him, the remaining
shreds of his control abruptly snapping. “Daniel, cut
the crap already. Don't make me come up there! I mean
it! Enough is enough. already. This is NOT funny anymore!
I’m hurt and you’re – you're crazy. Get your ass down here
Way to go, DICKHEAD! There goes your 'Mister Sensitive
of the Year' award! Even though the guy has been making
you crazy it's not his fault. He's still looped and/or
ah, inhabited, and you've just gone and yelled at him
and probably scared the shit out of him. Like he's gonna
come down if he thinks you're waiting here to thump him
as soon as his feet hit the ground.
nothing happening up there. No sounds, no movement. Nothing.
Nada. Zip. Jack moved in closer to the tree, anxiously
peering up the length of the massive trunk, trying to catch
a glimpse of Daniel through the concealing foliage high
Jack called up to him in a much kinder voice. Genuinely
contrite. "Danny? Listen, buddy, I'm - I'm sorry I yelled
at you. I'm having a bad day. Come on down, now, Daniel,
I'm not mad at you. I promise I won't give you a hard time.
in the hole!” Daniel shrieked.
Jack realized he'd been suckered. Again. Something small
and round, probably a nut but feeling like a cannon ball
hitting him right between the eyes. Somewhere on the
periphery of his awareness he heard Daniel whoop exultantly
The Revenge of Plant Boy!”
was when the lights finally went – out.
across his face. Nice. It felt really nice. Just what
he needed, something nice and cool. Nice after all that
frigging heat. The breeze smelled great, too. Like the
ocean. Wow, he couldn't just smell it, he could hear it,
the sound of waves crashing, roaring. The sounds were
faint, distant, but he could hear them. Ocean sounds.
By the sea…sweet. He could use a nice seaside vacation
right about now. Hold the frigging sand, though.
minute, that wasn't quite right, was it? Hadn't he been
- wasn't he - he'd been standing under this really big
tree and then…Ow! Crap! What the hell was that, sticking
into his back? It hurt like a bitch. What was he lying
on - rocks? Rocks? Ocean?
up with a start, felt a stab of pain in his skull shooting
through him right down to his toes, groaned and fell back
again. Ow - Ow - OW!
a bitch, was there a single spot on his body that didn’t
hurt? He was a giant mass of pain. What a day. Join
the Stargate Program, they said, see the universe, they
said, get the crap beat out of you, all part of the job
description. When he got home he was going to have to give
some serious thought to considering a less dangerous line
of work. Like landmine locator. Or TV talk show host.
He was definitely getting too old for this crap.
and groaned again. The sound of his own breathing was
making his head throb. He didn’t even want to think how
much it would hurt if he tried to open his eyes.
head really hurts. Sorry about that.”
voice! Daniel! Off to his right, about twenty feet away.
God, where was his head at, so busy moaning about a few
minor bumps and bruises when he should have been thinking
about Daniel. Daniel was okay, but he still sounded a
bit spaced, though. But that was okay, high or stone cold
sober, at least he was here. Daniel was here, he was
close at hand, he was here. Wherever 'here' was. He'd
get to that in just a minute, as soon as he could open
his eyes without having his head explode. What mattered
was they were both here. They were together. Thank God
still, breathing deeply, trying to get his head to stop
spinning, his senses straining and alert for the slightest
sound of movement from the man with him indicating Daniel
was about to up and scamper off again. So far so good.
Jack knew approximately where Daniel was, but he was still no
closer to getting his hands on him then he'd been since the
merry chase had started. And he had to get his hands on
Daniel. Had to get him under control. Although
Daniel evidently hadn't abandoned him while he'd been out, it
was no guarantee he still wouldn't up and bolt in the next
second. Start the whole, damn 'Whee, Jack let's play'
deal up again. Not going to happen. There was just no
way Jack was going to allow himself to get suckered into
chasing the wing nut over one more square foot of this
stupid, stinking island. He’d lie here till doomsday first.
he was in no shape to either chase Daniel any more or deal
with any Mr. Hyde stuff. Right now it was looking like
he wouldn't have to. Daniel was being nice and quiet,
sitting where he was, kinda - humming - or something, from
the sounds of things, but that didn't mean either one of
them were out of the woods yet for all it seemed they were
no longer in the jungle.
was actually starting to feel a little better, but no reason
to let Daniel know that. In fact, it was probably smarter
to let Daniel think he was feeling pretty darned terrible.
Yeah, play possum and pull Dannyboy into grabbing range
that way. Shamelessly appeal to his better nature. Being
he was Daniel, even though he was still doped up and whatevered,
Jack was banking he still had one. Not only counting on
it, he was planning to use it to turn the tables on Nature
Boy. This colonel had been played for a sucker long enough.
sounded like a plan.
let out an experimental groan and lay perfectly still,
confident his vocalized distress would be all it would
take to bring Danny running. Make Daniel come to him.
And he would. Daniel's kind heart was both his greatest
strength and his biggest weakness. Jack intended to take
full advantage of it.
still and waited. Waited. Waited some more.
Daniel; take the damned bait, already. Ah geez, there
he goes with the damned laughing again!
Jack, Jack, you just never quit, do you?” Daniel chuckled.
heart jumped at the warmth in Daniel's voice. He heard
real fondness in the words and the way they were spoken.
Maybe he was imagining things, but Daniel sounded different
now, more like Daniel in his right mind. Relatively
speaking, of course. Was Daniel coming back to him?
Was the drug finally wearing off?
you might as well give it up and get up," Daniel continued
in a fondly scolding voice. "You’re wasting your time.
I’m not going to go over there. I’m only still here because
I wanted to say good-bye to you before I go.”
GO? Wait a minute - what was Daniel talking about? Going?
Where did Daniel think he was going without him?
sat up, his alarm outweighing any concerns he might have
had for what getting up so quickly might do to him. The
sight of his new surroundings set him back a bit. But
only for a split second.
weren't in the jungle any more. Or in Kansas, for that
matter. Jack was sitting on the more or less flat, but
still very rough and rocky surface of a cliff top. Probably
one of those cliffs along the shoreline of the island,
if the ocean sounds were anything to go by. Jack shot
a look over his left shoulder. Nothing but more rock and
cliffs behind them, a whole lot of wide open space in front.
Complete with one hell of a first step, he was guessing,
to whatever lay beneath. No jungle. Not a tree in sight.
where was his head, who cared about the scenery - Daniel
- where was Daniel? Daniel? His voice had come from
the right, look over to the right -
was about twenty-five feet away from him, roughly in the
middle of the rocky shelf, sitting cross-legged, staring
at him, a strange, bemused expression on his face. Playing
Nature Boy had messed him up some, but even like this,
sitting serenely before him in all his grimy glory, God help
him, but Daniel was a sight. A positive…vision.
was sublime, sweaty, small cuts and scratches tattooing
his naked torso, his bare chest and arms shimmering with a
thin covering of perspiration and smeared with dark, dirty
patches, looking like some mussed up, slightly smudged,
wild-eyed angel. Jack's breath stilled in his chest at the
dangerous beauty of the man beaming tenuous but utterly
compelling benevolence at him. To hell with the face that
launched a thousand ships, this was a face he'd cheerfully
kill for. Oh, and not just the face… Have mercy!
head was tilted slightly to one side, spiking tufts of
his short, sweat-drenched hair framing his high, placid
brow like a dark halo. Teasing fire danced in his wide,
cerulean eyes as he stroked his naked chest with a wondering,
grubby hand, his long, sensitive fingers gliding with
agonizing sensuality across his moist, glowing skin, lightly
caressing the slippery, dirt-streaked surface they were
at him, confused and captivated. His throat was dry, his
mouth a wasteland which seemed to have developed strange
adhesive properties. The only reason his tongue wasn't
hanging out was because it was stuck to the roof of it.
lush, full lips curved in a small, surprised smile and
then parted. Jack stared longingly at them through a rising,
sweltering cloud of desire, his entire awareness contracting
and focussed upon the sweet, inviting ripeness before him,
opening slightly, the tip of a pink, moist tongue darting
out of inviting depths, slowly, languorously tasting the
fullness, soft moaning following. Daniel, his mouth quivering,
sighing, his eyes closing, smiling dreamily as his fingers
reached, touched, delicately teased and danced over a puckering
like what you see, Jack?" he murmured in silky, lust-laden
voice, caressing, asking, offering…
give him a coherent answer if his life depended on it,
even though the answer was most emphatically, YES. YES,
YES, YES, OH GOD, YES.
been one or two times in the past, okay, several times,
okay, LOTS more times lately, when looking at Daniel had
evoked a certain - response. Which he'd ignored. Stomped
on, strangled, kicked to pieces, killed to death, shoved
down deep and then ignored. But now, but this, Daniel,
what he was doing to himself, the way he looked, touching
himself, like that, breathing harder, that mouth panting,
lips quivering, shining, rosy and flushed, hand stroking,
playing, muscles working sinuously beneath his sleek skin
as his chest rose and fell, harder, faster, deeper. Hot,
so hot, Daniel was so hot, he was so hot, who needed a
jungle with all the wildness, the fire, the heat looking right
at him, burning for him, right before his eyes. A private
conflagration, hotter and brighter than the centre of the sun.
Daniel burning and writhing, unashamed and unbridled before
him was the most intensely honest, nakedly passionate,
most erotic thing he'd ever seen. Daniel opened eyes wide
with the wonder of his own excitement, groaning deeply,
hungrily and arching his back into the hand loving his chest.
Pressing harder, moving it in widening circles, his smoking
eyes devouring the man drinking him in as avidly.
Daniel's was luminous, passion incarnate, shining with a love
so vast and vehement it nearly yanked Jack's heart right
out of his chest.
was looking at him. That light - that love was for him.
All for him, only him. Oh my god.
smiled languorously at him, shuddering with rising bliss,
the hand resting in his lap beginning to move slowly, rhythmically,
purposefully massaging the blatant bulge beneath. Touching
himself, pleasuring himself, showing Jack what Daniel wanted,
how he could be, what Jack - what he could have. Daniel
moving like that, looking like that, burning, begging,
wanting, needing, molten, shivering desire. Oh God, how
he wanted everything Daniel wanted to give him.
fingers clenched. His palms were sweating, his hands aching
to reach across, to touch, answering need making him harder
than he'd ever been in his life. What Daniel was doing
- for him, the look in his eyes, the pure desire on his
face. Offering, asking, pleading…
wasn't teasing him, making some sick show of himself.
Daniel was offering himself up, showing him how much - coming,
coming - for him. It was exciting, it was beautiful,
it was enough to make him come right along with him just
watching Daniel's flushed, shining face, his dewy, gleaming
eyes, hear the sounds, smell the arousal, feel what he
was showing him as Daniel brought himself closer and closer
me, Jack," Daniel trembled and groaned, his eyes mere slits
of passion, his hand pushing harder into his groin, rubbing
faster as his pelvis rocked insistently, vehemently thrusting
forward, increasing its urgent rhythm.
too much. It was so honest, so intense, so incredible,
and it was - so, so wrong. Wrong Daniel was acting this
way, so wrong for him to be seeing it. This was worse
than hiding in the closet and taking pictures of the guy on
his wedding night. Daniel wasn't in his right mind,
didn't know what he was doing. He wouldn't be behaving like
this if he wasn't full of the Boogie Man's happy juice. Jack
felt disgusted with himself, like some sick voyeur, drooling
over Daniel acting this way when he couldn't help himself,
taking advantage of him because of a drug which had ripped
away his inhibitions, stripped him of his dignity and left
him naked and exposed, a secret part of his soul showing.
He was salivating over something Daniel had never meant
for him to know. His innermost feelings - feelings for
him, they were private, a secret, something Daniel had
never let him see, wouldn't be letting him see now if he
wasn't - wasn't as whacked as he was. Daniel would die
if he knew Jack had seen him behaving like this. Daniel
would never - never do this to himself in front of him.
Not if he was able to know what he was doing.
take what Daniel was offering him. Not like this. He
couldn't have this gift he wanted so bad it was killing
keeping his hands to himself, but Daniel didn't know what
he was doing. It just wasn't right. And what was more,
once they were out of this mess and both back to normal
again, he couldn't let on about any of it. He'd seen
nothing, knew nothing about how Daniel felt about him.
Nothing to see here, nothing to tell. It never happened.
going to happen. Because, when Daniel was in his right
mind again, he wouldn't want him to know. Again. Ah…Daniel…
a deep, resolute breath and grimly shoved away all thoughts
of what could have been. "Daniel!" he barked harshly
at him, not able to look at him as he started to get up.
"Stop fooling around and let's go home."
hissed with alarm, instantly on the defensive as soon as
Jack said the words. Daniel sprang up into a low crouch
with the disconcerting, rapid agility of a tense jungle
cat preparing to pounce on its unsuspecting prey. His
large, blue eyes were wide and wringing with hurt and
suspicion. And a strange, hostile fire reminding Jack
far too much of that scary something he'd seen lurking behind
those eyes earlier.
Daniel snarled at him, coiling his long legs beneath him
as if he meant to leap right over Jack's head and take
off back down the mountain again. "You're too late!"
Danny, easy. Take it easy. I'm staying put." Jack held
up his hands in surrender. Crap, but he was an absolute
MORON! He'd just gone and blown it again. Daniel had been
begging - begging him to - perfect, he'd had a perfect
chance to get a hold of him and like the stupid dumb FUCK
he was, he'd blown it. Scruples be damned, Jack wanted to
kick his stupid, principled butt around the block.
Stupid, stupid, STUPID! Thirty seconds ago Danny was so
happy, horny and adoring he'd have done anything for him.
It would have been a piece of cake to handle him. Hell,
he'd been begging for it! Schmuck! What an ass he
was! They could be halfway to the gate by now, but no,
he had go all freaking noble and screw things up and now all
he'd done was to piss Daniel off and make him all paranoid and
he get any more retarded and could things get any worse?
was still crouching warily in loose cannon land, his narrowed,
aroused eyes sparking suspicious fire, skittish, muscles
tensing and twitching, his body coiled and taut like an
apprehensive, randy spring. Half of him still desperate
to jump the bones of the man he was smouldering at while
the other half was looking more and more like he wouldn't
mind killing him.
work past these other guys and get to the part that was
his friend. He'd calm Danny down, get him back in the
driver's seat, and then walk them both back down to the
village. As soon as he could figure out where it was.
All of this hopefully before his poor, aching head imploded
and all the other aching parts of him gave up the ghost as
not too late, Daniel," Jack soothed. "Whatever it is,
we'll work on it. Talk about it. But not here. We're
both a little banged up and we need some rest. Let's just
calm down, now, take a little walk, you and me, go find
Teal'c and Carter and go home. It's time to go home, now,
Danny. What do you say? You can have a little nap, rest
up, tell me all about it after."
was shaking his head mournfully, looking right at him but
not seeing him. "No," he sighed, a restive, regretful
sound. "It's too late to go back. No point now. She
told me so. She told me, but I wouldn't listen. Didn't
want to believe her. She was right. Wasting my time waiting,
trying. H - hoping… I should have listened to her and
gone while you were sleeping. Shouldn't have waited. She
told me you wouldn't…wouldn't want… " Daniel's voice
wavered, his eyes filling with aching pain and loss.
"I had to try. I hoped… Stupid," he sighed sadly.
"She told me so. She was right."
She who? What was Daniel talking about? Hoping? Jack
suddenly felt colder as Daniel's recent, previous actions
began taking on a terrifying, deeper significance. By
shutting Daniel down, rejecting him, had he made his final,
truly fatal mistake?
think like that! Don't think about anything but keeping
Daniel talking, getting through to him.
was wrong. Whoever the fuck SHE was!
Jack asked carefully. The only 'she' he could think of
having any possible relevance to the situation even though
he wasn't exactly sure how.
Daniel smiled ruefully at him, the tension in is body marginally
easing as his voice grew calmer and more confidential in
tone. "Not Sam. I'll miss Sam. Teal'c too. You'll say
good-bye to them for me, won't you Jack?" Daniel's eyes
suddenly softened with fondness, becoming overtaken with
the earnestness of his request. "Tell them I'm sorry I
couldn't wait for them and say good-bye myself. You'll
do that for me, won't you, Jack?"
scaring me, Daniel." Crap, that was out before he could
stop it. He hadn't meant to say it. But it was true.
He was shit-scared, and getting even more so with each
passing second. He was in over his head, the water so
deep he might never be able to claw to the surface and
see his way clear, but he sure wasn't going to go down for
the last time without a damned good fight. Danny was
counting on him. He was it and he was all Daniel had.
God help both of them. He'd have a time-out to crap his
drawers later, right now he needed to hold onto his sanity and
not let go of Daniel no matter what happened.
angry with me for bringing you here," Daniel's distant
eyes were filling with tears. "Very angry. She wanted
me to leave you behind in the jungle, but I couldn't do
that. Actually,” he paused and leaned forward, lowering
his voice to a conspiratorial whisper, “What she REALLY
wanted - I think she wanted me to kill you, but I couldn’t
do that either.”
to hear it,” Jack smiled weakly, only barely managing to
keep the fear out of his voice. "Killing your CO is definitely
against the regs. I'd have to bring you up on charges
for sure." He tried to laugh, but only managed a weak
croak. So much for humorous icebreakers.
your friends isn't very nice either," Daniel's expression
was as unfathomable as his emotionless voice. "Are you
my friend, Jack?" Daniel continued after a slight pause,
in a quiet, cunning tone making Jack's skin crawl.
kind of a question is that, Daniel, you know I am!" Jack
replied quickly, horrified Daniel would think he'd even
need to ask such a thing.
that's what you say, what you want me to think." Daniel's
brow was deeply knit with consternation. "But she's been
telling me it's not true. She says I shouldn't trust you.
You're lying to me. All of you have been lying to me.
Fooling me. Telling me you care about me when you really
don't. You don't and you never have. She's the only one
who ever loved me, ever really cared about me. That's
why - that's why you killed her."
Shut up, Jack, shut up, he's not finished, he's still talking,
keep him talking, let him talk. Talk to me, Danny.
were falling freely now, raining twin rivulets coursing
unheeded down Daniel's openly grieving face. "I failed
her. I was so lost when she left me the first time. Then
it got better - I stopped trying as hard to find her -
hoping as hard I would. Stopped wanting - wanting her
as much as I used to. Wanted someone else. My - my fault
she died. I let her go - should have, should have tried
harder - " Daniel's voice broke and his head fell as his
shoulders shook with a huge, despairing sob. "I'm sorry!"
he cried suddenly, vehemently. "I'm sorry! I have to
do this. I have to do what she wants. It's my
fault she's all alone now!"
come any closer!" Daniel snarled warningly, his head snapping
up and his eyes flaring dangerously in response to Jack's
unthinking, overwhelming need to bridge the distance between
them to take Daniel into his arms. He wasn't even aware
he'd started to move toward him until Daniel's angry challenge
brought him up short and back to the fact he was on his
hands and knees and crawling toward him. Jesus. That
was stupid. But he couldn't help it. He couldn't stand
to see Daniel like that, see him in so much pain and not
okay," Jack said quickly, settling himself as rapidly back
down on the uneven, rocky surface beneath him. His butt
was not going to be thanking him for this later. "Sorry.
I'll stay put. Not going to budge from this spot. Honest.
Keep talking. Tell me more, okay? What does she want you
to do?" Jack entreated. "Who knows, maybe I can help."
smiled at that, and shook his head. "Oh, I don't think
she'd like that, Jack. She doesn't like you very much.
Likes you least of all." Daniel licked his lips and wiped
his face with an absent, uncaring hand. "I feel really
bad about doing all that stuff to you back there. It was
her idea. She told me you wanted to play. I think maybe
that wasn’t true." Daniel paused, peering at Jack anxiously.
Jack could almost see the wheels turning, feel the fierce
need in Daniel to push through his manifest mental confusion,
to understand what was happening to him. Jack held his
breath and silently rooted for Daniel's common sense to
bring him on through it and back to him.
would mean she lied to me," Daniel said slowly, carefully,
as if the concept was so completely foreign to him he was
almost unable to grasp it. "All along she's been saying
she's the only one who's ever told me the truth. But if
she was lying to me back there - about you, how - how can
that be? That can't be right, can it, Jack?"
think I've been lying to you, Daniel?" Jack ventured slowly.
He didn't know if it was the right thing to say, didn't
know if saying anything at all was the right thing to do,
but Daniel looked so confused, so desperate, he had to
know what to think anymore," Daniel replied distractedly,
the distress in his voice and expression appreciably escalating.
"I don't know who to trust. You can't both be telling
the truth because you're both saying… I’ve been so confused.
I’ve been hearing her for such a long time. But you see
– I didn’t KNOW it was her." Daniel made a bitter,
wincing face. "I didn't know what was happening to
me. Until today.”
Daniel,” Jack continued, trying to sound calm, fear making
his heart pound against his ribs. “Can we back this up
just a little? Who have you been hearing. Since when?
Can you tell me?”
look sparked in Daniel's eyes. “She doesn’t want me to.
She says this is all a trick. She says there's no point
telling you because you won't listen to me. Like always.
You won't understand. You're just trying to trick me.
You just want to stop me. I can't let you stop me.
I'm not supposed to listen to you anymore - No!"
Daniel suddenly cried. "I don't want to DO that! I WON'T!
Stop SAYING that!"
Jack asked hesitantly. "Who are you talking to?" He was
so not going to like this, but he had to ask, he had to
believe me, Jack, I NEVER meant to hurt you," Daniel continued,
as if he hadn't heard the question. His voice was so desperately
pleading, aching with the need for understanding and forgiveness
Jack felt a huge lump of sorrow clogging his throat. "You
have to believe me. That – wasn’t me. I'd never - never
want to hurt you!”
you, Danny," Jack was so overwhelmed by the need to reassure
Daniel he almost couldn't get the words out. "I know you
wouldn't. But if it wasn't you, then who? Who wanted
to hurt me? Who made you do it?"
looked at him like he was surprised he needed to ask.
Like it should have been immediately obvious to him.
Back to Part One / On to Part Three