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.
|| 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 ened up in it's 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 assustance on the slash version, the
suggestions, catching my boo-boos and ceaselessly nagging me to get Daniel
here we go. Careful, Jack, we are officially in the deep
end of the shit pool.
Sha’uri is dead. No one knows that better than you.”
nodded his head vigorously in agreement. “I know, I know,
I know. That’s what we all thought. That’s the way it
looked. Well, she did change, but she didn’t leave me.
"She’s been here all along. Here." Daniel tapped his chest.
"Talking to me. I just didn’t understand it was her I
was hearing. I thought I was hearing things. Like I was
before, when you all thought I was - was going…"
Jack finished grimly.
flashed him a crooked grin. “Yeah. That. I’ve been a
little confused. Worried. I know I'm not crazy but I didn’t
know what was happening to me. I couldn't find any logical
explanation for - for everything I was experiencing. I
knew there had to be one, but I couldn't - couldn't find
it. I tried so hard, Jack. I really did. But I was right.
There was a reason. I'm not - not crazy. There's nothing
wrong with me; it was HER the whole time.
causing all of it. The dreams, the feelings, sometimes
– thoughts, thoughts in my head - didn’t make sense. Weren't
my thoughts. Sometimes I'd want to – to do things. Strange
things. I - I didn't understand any of it. And sometimes
I'd look around, find myself somewhere - I didn't know
how I got there. I remembered what happened with Kawalsky,
but we're always checked for Goa'ulds, so I knew that couldn't
be it. I wasn't seeing things; it didn't feel the same
as - as when you locked me up. But the voices, the thoughts
- missing time - scared me.
kid, that'd scare the crap out of me, too! Jesus, Danny,
you've been dealing with this - alone? Why? Why didn't
you say something, why didn't you come to me?
know what to do. There was no one to talk to. No one I
could tell. No one I could trust. To believe me - just
- just LISTEN to me and help me figure it out.” Daniel
shrugged and opened his hands in a ‘well, do you blame
me’ gesture at Jack's loud grunt of protest. “Don't even
say it!" he admonished Jack sternly. " I could have come
to you? Oh yeah," Daniel flushed angrily, "that worked
SO well the last time. After all, I'm 'flaky', even on
a good, day, right, Jack? I'd started telling you any
of this, what would your first reaction have been?"
Danny, don't say it.
nuts!' That's what you would have thought! You wouldn't
have listened - none of you would have listened, you would
have just locked me up again. I couldn't let you do that
to me, I couldn't go back to that place. No way I was
letting anyone put me back in that place. That's what
you did the last time I heard things and it wasn’t my fault.
I wasn’t crazy then either, but you didn’t believe me.
Why would you have believed me about this?” Daniel's face
abruptly brightened and he beamed brilliant satisfaction
and relief at the shamed man watching him. “But, it’s
okay now. I know what’s going on. I don’t need to worry
about it anymore.”
me up. You didn't believe me. You did that to me. Daniel's
pained words hit Jack like thunderous accusations. True.
All of it true. Every single damning word. He'd ignored
his gut and bowed to 'medical wisdom'. He'd let them tell
him his friend was insane and lock him away like an animal.
He'd turned his back on Daniel and walked away. Left him
alone in that terrible place with Ma'chello's demons tormenting
him, abandoned him to fight his way back to sanity on his
that whole, sordid episode Jack had never once questioned
his implicit faith in those who 'knew better' and really
didn't. He'd never given one particle of that same trust
to the one who always knew best and was never believed.
No matter how many times Daniel proved himself, no matter
how often he showed he was almost always 'righter' than
everyone else always telling him he was wrong, Jack hadn't
believed in him. He'd even made Daniel beg for his trust in
that cold, white room, right up to the bitter end when he
finally, grudgingly, bestowed it.
after the way he'd treated him it was a wonder Daniel could
even bear to look at him now, never mind still trusted
him. That was the real hell of it. Even after everything
he'd not said to him and done for him, something in Daniel
was still reaching out to him, still trusting him.
him with his life. His life.
Jack knew what Boogie had been wanting him to do. What
was really at stake here, what Daniel needed from him,
and needed him to do for him. Daniel's life was literally
in his hands. His hands, no one else's. Maybe he'd let
Daniel down before, but that was then. And this was now.
Major 'make it all up to him' opportunity, his for the
taking. No frigging way he was dropping THIS ball.
was counting on him.
fight me for him, bitch? Bring it on!
started to stand up. “I’m sorry, Jack. It’s been nice
talking to you, but I have to go now. She’s waiting for
me to keep my promise.”
wait!" Jack called out sharply, bringing a slight edge
of the 'Colonel' into his voice. "What are you talking
about - what promise? What does Sha'uri want you to do?"
what's going on. You owe me an explanation. Whatever
you think you have to do for her, you're part of us as
well. You can't just leave me, leave the team like this
without telling me why.
say the words, but he could see Daniel was getting it.
You've got ties. Ties to the living. A new life now that
needs you more than the old one. It has to count for something.
We should count for something. You can't just turn your
back on us and walk away. No matter who's in there lying
to you, telling you to.
was hovering, hesitating, what Jack was telling him without
saying a word obviously making him stop and consider.
Question whatever he was hearing in his head. The utter
anguish of indecision grew in his eyes, as did his agitation.
me," he muttered unhappily, shaking his head, his entire
body twanging with tension. "You're confusing me. I can't
do it. I can't please both of you. You can't both be
right." Daniel made a tentative move toward him and then
stopped and stood shaking and staring helplessly at him.
"I don't know what to do, Jack!" he cried, his voice
and body shuddering with distress.
over to me, Daniel," Jack said quietly, opening his arms
to him. "Come on and sit down, and we'll talk about it."
Daniel cried out, leaping hastily backwards. "You're lying!
You don't want to help me, don't want to listen to me!
You're just trying to trick me!"
I want to do that, Daniel?" Jack asked him, trying to
keep his voice calm and to not react to the rising feeling
of foreboding swelling within him as he realised what lay
behind Daniel in the direction he was retreating.
of the cliff.
want to help me, you want to take me back," Daniel retorted
with an accusing glare. "You're not going to listen, you're
just going to lock me up! I don't need your 'help', Jack.
She's telling me what I have to do."
sighed, waved a distracted hand at him and wavered slightly,
as if he was meaning to turn and walk away. Only one place
he was going to end up if he walked in that direction and
the first step was the last one he would ever take if he
got there. Not good.
careful, be careful what you say. He's still too far away.
You don't want him heading in that direction but if you
spook him, if he panics and runs he's likely to run blindly
right over the edge.
give me a chance!" Jack said quickly. "You think I won't
listen? I don't want to help? Is that what Sha'uri is
telling you? If it is, she's….mistaken. I do want to
help you, Daniel. I want to help both of you. But you
have to help me understand, so I'll know how I can. Tell
me what she wants you to do."
swayed slightly, his eyes narrowing as he tried to decide
whether or not to respond. "She wants me to make it right,"
Daniel said finally. "She's been with me, but now she's
fading. She tried - she wanted - wanted to live again,
but she wasn't strong enough. Tried, but couldn't - couldn't
change places with me. She can't live again like she wanted
to, and she can't stay much longer."
FUCK is he talking about? This - whatever it is in Daniel
wanted to take him over somehow - like - like a Goa'uld?
have to go soon. She hasn't got the strength to stay with
me much longer," Daniel continued sorrowfully. "Then she'll
be alone. She doesn't want to be alone. Doesn't want
to be without me. Doesn't want me to live - without her."
here it comes!
me to go with her, Jack," Daniel looked at Jack imploringly,
begging him to understand. "I have to. I - I - it's my
- it's my fault she's this way. I owe her a life to replace
the one she lost because of me. It's only fair. What I
want - well, I can't have what I want, so I might as well…
What does it matter what happens to me?" Daniel's voice
fell to almost a whisper as he looked away, his blue eyes
bleak with grief. "I might as well go with her. Not like
there's anything else. Anyone…"
you moron! Tell him!
Tell him what? That his best friend was waiting here with
open arms to take him home? That he had nothing to fear,
he'd be listened to, believed, taken seriously? Cared about.
Cared - for. Yeah, all of that. Why should Daniel believe
a single word he said? After all, he had such a stellar
track record of being someone Daniel could turn to and
trust. Why shouldn't Daniel think some weird voice in
his head saying it was his dead wife telling him he was
loved and wanted was more credible to him than his 'laugh
at him and leave him', so-called best friend, Jack O'Neill.
was up with this 'Sha'uri' anyway? Exactly who or what
had Daniel been listening to? A little 'know thy enemy'
might go a long way to helping Jack figure out how to talk
Daniel out of trusting - whatever it was - over him. 'Cause
he didn't care who it said it was, all this talk of 'going
away', 'changing places' and 'owing her a life' didn't
add up to anything sounding like it had Daniel's best interests
or continued good health at heart. Which meant, whatever
it was, it wasn't anything good.
was probably why the Boogie Man had gone after it in the
Jack prodded gently, "I really want to help you make the
right choice. Do your believe that?"
a moment, but eventually Daniel faintly nodded. As much
as Jack wished he would, Daniel didn't make eye contact
so Jack couldn't tell if he was listening. But he couldn't
afford to stop, had to keep trying, had to keep talking,
hoping what he was saying was sinking through somehow.
then, help me out. I don't understand how this has happened.
We all saw Sha'uri die. We know she's dead. But you're
saying she didn’t die, she changed? And she came to you?
What does that mean? I don't understand how that could
be possible. Do you know, can you explain it to me?”
looked calmer. He'd stopped shaking and his stance was
less wary. His expression was profoundly contemplative,
brow furrowed with concentration as he searched his thoughts
for his answer. “I’m not sure how it happened. Maybe
it was the ribbon device. We were connected. She was communicating
with me, sending her thoughts to me through it. Maybe
somehow she was able to do more, able to - come into me
- at the same time. Through the device. Send more than
her thoughts. I don't know." He frowned, obviously deeply
considering what he had just said. "I haven't had too
much time to think about it."
translation of Boogie’s words flashed through Jack’s mind.
Vengeful spirits. One who feeds and needs release. And
one who must chose between the worlds. Given what Daniel
had just told him, those words were making a lot more sense.
Way too much sense.
device. Could it have caused all this? Was what Daniel
was saying actually possible? Jack knew what Carter's answer
would be, she'd be having trouble with the basic concept
there'd be anything to 'transfer', but could the device
somehow have allowed Sha’uri's - consciousness, soul, spirit,
life energy, whatever you wanted to call it - to attach
itself to Daniel, enabling something of her to survive
the death of her body?
wasn't as far-fetched as it sounded. Ma'chello had managed
to arrange for a few 'transfers' with that damned machine
of his. Jack shuddered. He had fond memories of that particular
experience. Not! After hanging out in Teal'c and having
to live with feeling Junior squirming around inside him
Jack still had moments when a gas bubble gave him the creeps.
But that little inter-body bait and switch had involved
bodies all still warm and breathing before and after. Still,
consciousness was consciousness, what was the difference?
Ma'chello had proven it was possible, and had found a way
to do it. If one piece of alien technology could do it,
why not another?
was he really saying here? The 'she' inside Daniel, it
really WAS Sha'uri? She'd used the ribbon device to send
part of herself into Daniel moments before Teal'c shot
her and she'd been lurking inside Daniel ever since? Feeding
on him, using his life essence to stay alive, trying to
take over his body, but hadn't been able to, and now that
she was about to - go poof - or whatever - she wanted to
take him out with her? If she couldn't continue to exist,
than neither could he?
That didn't sound like Sha'uri! Granted he hadn't had much
time to get to know her, but from what he did know, from
what he'd seen, this whole scenario just didn't track.
Sha'uri wouldn't want to hurt Daniel. No way! Sha’uri
had loved Daniel. Crazy, nutso, bonzo about the kid.
Hell, who could blame her, who wasn't? She would never want to
hurt him. Not like that Goa'uld bitch who would have
melted his brain if Teal'c hadn't -
he have been so STUPID! Sha'uri wasn't the only one in
her body, she'd had a passenger, a very slimy, nasty passenger,
one who'd want nothing better than to see Daniel dead if
she couldn't continue to prey on him to maintain her slimy
non-existence. The she-snake hadn't had the most winning
personality when she was alive, no reason to believe she'd
be any more loving or considerate now that she was dead.
Or - whatever. Oh God, it hadn't been Sha'uri whispering
in Daniel's ear all this time, it was Amonet!
time the full truth hit Jack Daniel's head snapped around
and he was smiling, his eyes blazing with a terrible light
of serene determination. He'd made up his mind.
right. There's no reason to stay. Talking is pointless;
I'm just wasting time. She doesn't have much left. I have
to keep my promise. I have to go with her. Now." Daniel
smiled and pointed behind him, at the yawning void beyond
the outer rim of the cliff. “I have to go, now, Jack.
Out there. She’s telling me it's time. I hope you understand.
I hope you forgive me. I - I…never mind." A mist of
regret shimmered in Daniel's longing eyes. "It
doesn’t matter now. Good-bye, Jack.”
– wait!” Jack cried desperately. "You don't have to do
this! Don't listen to her. You don't understand! She's
not - " Jack's voice faltered. Crap! What could he say?
Daniel was convinced he'd been listening to Sha'uri all
this time, trying to tell him his little voice was really
Amonet - Daniel was so paranoid, so utterly confused by
everything the snake had been whispering in his ear, why
would Daniel believe him? What else could he say? What
else could he say to Daniel to try and reach him?
isn't the way," Jack stammered. You don't have to - you're
not - don’t - don't go yet. You can’t go. I – I don’t
want you to go.”
want you to go, can't lose you, not now, I know what it
all means, what I haven't been able to say to you, admit to
myself, now I'm so close to losing you I know I can't. I
- I know…
tilted his head and peered at him, eyes narrowing with
you fricking YUTZ don't choke, just open your goddamn mouth
and SAY it.
do you mean – why? I just…don’t.”
that was courageous!
smirked and took a step back. “I knew it,” he snorted
derisively. “I knew you couldn’t say it. Good-bye Jack.”
His lips twisting with a bitter smile, Daniel dismissed
him with a disgusted wave, turned and began to walk toward
do you want me to say?” Jack blurted out desperately.
what he wants to hear, you fricking, gutless wonder. I
can't believe you're standing here watching him walk away -
walk to his death and you still - still won't say it. Guess
when you said you'd fight her for him you meant only as long
as it didn't mean you had to tell him the truth.
plea stopped Daniel cold. He swung back around, his eyes
flashing with indignation and ire.
Jack,” he shouted. “I don’t know! After three years of
putting up with your stupid nicknames and your jokes –
usually at my expense, - your condescending pats on the
head and your constant denigration of my judgement, my
abilities, my SANITY even, maybe an ‘I’m sorry?’ Possibly
an ‘oh by the way, good job, Daniel.’ And since I’m shooting
for the moon here, dare I hope for a ‘by the way, I give
a shit about you?’ What do you say, Jack? Could you manage
one of those? Don’t bother answering, I wouldn’t want
to make you strain something thinking about it.”
started to back away again. His words had been angry, but
his eyes were anything but. Daniel didn't want to go,
he didn't want to leave him. The plea in those huge, desperate
eyes cried out to him, their message unmistakable.
she's wrong. This isn't all there is.
didn't say something now, Daniel was lost to him. Forever.
No matter which way it went from this moment on. Even if
he saved Daniel, if he stayed silent, he'd still lose him.
'Moment of truth' wasn't just a cliché. This was fricking
IT. The Moment, with a capital 'M'. He choked now, he
might as well follow Daniel over the side 'cause it was
well and truly - over.
you," Jack said quietly. "It might not seem like much,
but it's all I've got to give you. I hope it's a good
enough reason for you to stay."
He'd said it. He'd actually said it. I love you. He
did. He really, really did. He loved Danny. Not just,
'best buds, best pals, friends for life' love, but - Love.
With a capital 'L' Love. As in 'there's no one else for
me but you, babe, 'til the day I die', kind of Love. Hadn't
just said it - meant it.
you know about that?
at Daniel. Who was doing a fair imitation of a stunned
mullet himself. Daniel's mouth hung open, his eyes got
wider; he stared speechless at Jack looking for the world
like a guy who'd just heard his best friend tell him he
couldn't tell from Daniel's white, blank face was whether
or not this was good news or bad. Hoping for the former
but getting more and more apprehensive about the latter
the longer Daniel stood there, gulping and staring.
of explosive laughter brayed out of Daniel's mouth. "You?"
he choked, wagging a hand at him. "You? Love me? You?
YOU?" He snorted again, his face working desperately as
if he was struggling to hold something back. And losing.
"God, Jack, you're too much!" he gasped, his body
beginning to shake with the effort of containing his outburst.
"You're so funny. This is the best. The best!
You'll say ANYTHING to try and fool me! I can't stand it
- you're just so FUNNY!"
clamped a hand to his mouth, hung on for a few more valiant
seconds, but it was like trying to hold back a tidal wave.
He continued to wave his other hand weakly at the stunned
man before him while he giggled and chortled in near hysterical
abandon. "You LOVE me?" he howled, hugging his sides
while spasms of uncontrollable mirth continued to rock
him. "Oh - oh - oh - God - this is too much - too much
- Jack, you're KILLING me!"
chortling, ungrateful - LAUGHING? You sniggering little
I'm playing games with you?" Jack roared at him, hurt,
affronted anger igniting dangerously within him. "You
think I'd mess with you about something like this? Especially
now? I tell you I love you and you think it's funny?
Well, fuck you, too!"
dimly aware Daniel's laughter was swiftly trailing away
and his expression was growing confused and distressed
again, but he wasn't thinking much past the force of his
frustrated fury. "I don't care whether you believe me
or not!" he raged at Daniel, anger becoming sorrow and
grief and threatening to further transmute into something he
wasn't going to be able to hold back any more than Danny'd
been able to can the laughter. "I love you, you
stubborn son of a bitch. I said it. I meant it.
And what's more, you can just SHOVE it for all I care! !
No - you know what?" Jack growled, jumping up to his
feet. "Fuck this talking. It never gets me anywhere except
into more fucking shit. You don't think I love you? Telling
you doesn't do it for you? Don't move, I'm coming over
there and I'll SHOW you!"
actually let Jack get several feet closer to him before
something within him abruptly roused. The last failing
wisps of laughter were strangled; cold, implacable warning
flashed in Daniel's eyes as he savagely hissed and took
several quick steps back, his arm whipping up in a warning,
defensive movement, straight out, palm stiffly extended.
A very familiar gesture, one Jack had seen many times.
Employed by the Goa'uld of the week about to use a ribbon
device on him.
“Don't!" Daniel spat at him. "Don’t come
any closer. I'm sorry," he gulped, blinking furiously.
"I didn't mean to laugh at you. I really didn't know.
You've never - and then when I - and you…wouldn't… I thought
I knew for sure you didn't, and now you're saying you do
and I believe you. You do," he finished softly, his eyes
gentle with wonder. "You really do. You do. Oh, Jack…"
hung his head and wrapped his arms consolingly around his
body as a sudden, harsh stream of words spewed out of him.
"It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It's too late.
Promised her, promised her, can't break my promise -
Dammit, Jack!" Daniel scolded angrily, jerking his head
up and glaring accusingly at the man he was berating.
"Why are you doing this to me, why are you telling me
this, NOW? Maybe if I'd known sooner, before - before I
promised - NO!" Daniel cried out, his voice wringing
with anguish. "I can't listen to you any more. You’re
trying to trick me, trying to confuse me, make me forget
I promised her I was going with her. I have to go, you
have to understand, it's the only way to make it up to
her. Please, Jack!"
eyes were huge and overflowing with bitter regret, his
retreating steps slow and shambling as he began to back
away. Toward the edge. Jack took a step forward, his
mind working furiously. Seeing where he was. Seeing where
Daniel was. Running the odds. Coming to an inescapable
a hope in hell of stopping Daniel if he started to run.
No way he could reach him before Daniel got to the edge.
The only way to save Daniel was to persuade him to come to
him. No other way.
about me?" Jack asked him plaintively.
work, this has to work, please let me get through to him!
Daniel asked him blankly, pausing in mid-shamble.
going with her because she loves you and she doesn't want
to be alone, but what about me? I love you too. If you
go with her, I'll be alone. Is that fair?"
me, Daniel, fighting dirty now. I'll make it up to you
later, I promise but right now, anything goes.
didn't answer him for a minute. His face was an agony
of indecision. "Nooo…but, I- I have to go."
then," Jack said quietly. "You have to go. Okay, fair
enough. You made a promise. I can respect that. I wouldn't
want you to break a promise. You're going. That's settled.
Well, then, I'll go with you. We'll die together. Problem
Daniel said weakly, licking his lips.
Daniel," Jack returned, a little louder. "Die. That's
what she's asking you to do for her. Die. If you walk
off that edge like she's telling you to, you'll die. We'll
both die, 'cause I'm going to walk off it with you. I don't
want to live without you either, so I'm going to die with
you. That's how much I love you."
Daniel, hear what I just told you. Somewhere in there you
know it's not right, what I just said. You KNOW! Work
you'd die - for me?" Daniel whispered, the notion clearly
disturbing him. "No. No. That's not right. I don't
want you to. I don't want - don’t want you to do that.
I don't want you to die, Jack."
Jack pressed gently.
my boy, that's my Danny. Stay with me, Danny, stay with
me. Just a little longer. You're close, so close; you're
lip was starting to tremble, the distress in his eyes growing
as they pooled and shimmered. "I - I don't want - I don't
want you to be hurt, don't want anything bad to happen
to you. I - I love you."
want me to die because you love me?"
Daniel cried. "Don't want you to die!"
you to die, Daniel." Jack continued, starting to take
a few, experimental steps toward the trembling man shaking
even harder as he watched Jack's careful advance, but allowing
the approach and not retreating. "She wants you to hurt
yourself - kill yourself - for her. Because she says she
loves you and doesn't want you to live without her. Is
that love, Daniel? Is it?"
Daniel moaned. "Sha'uri…"
think!" Jack urged, taking another step. "This voice
talking to you, telling you to do these things, do you
really think Sha'uri - would Sha'uri want you to kill yourself
for her? Would she?"
locked with his, widening, not in confusion, indecision.
Daniel shook his head. "She'd die first, she did die,
trying to help me, protect me - oh my God, Jack, what have
I been thinking - listening to - OH GOD!"
screamed, clutched his head and doubled over, screaming
God! Not Sha’uri, not Sha'uri - it’s – HER! Amonet! She’s
in my head, Jack! Hurting me! Ahhh! She's trying to -
trying to make me - I can't stop her! Watch out, Jack
it, Danny!” Jack yelled as he broke into a run. “ I’m
head flew up. Something behind Daniel's eyes snarled at
Jack, twisting his friend’s gentle face into a grotesque
mask of hate. “You're too late. He's mine!” it taunted
as it jerked Daniel’s body around and hurtled him toward
the edge of the cliff.
Jack cried out to him as he tried to force his aching legs
to move faster. God, Daniel was so fast. Streaking straight
for the edge of the cliff. Not stopping. He wasn't going
faster, faster! MOVE! The thing's gonna make him run right
over the side!
let this happen, can't let him go over. RUN, dammit -
REACH! Closing the gap, I can do it, I can make it, I
can get to him before he hits the edge. Just a few more
feet - NO!
make it. Oh God, oh GOD he's on the edge, why didn't I
move sooner, just a little faster, so close, not enough
tore from lungs already bursting, shattering the air as
if Jack could use the very sound of his loss to pull Daniel
back to safety. Daniel's teetering body, balanced on the
knife-edge danced dizzily before Jack's streaming eyes,
an ephemeral, momentary phantom teasing him with one last,
precious glimpse of what he would never see again and had no
chance of saving.
was on the edge. Still on the brink. Still - still there.
Not a trick, not a phantom, he was there, waiting, holding,
somehow. Not for long, just an instant, his life hanging,
hovering over the abyss. Buying him time, those few precious
seconds. Time, just a little time. All he needed. He'd
get there in time.
burst of speed, swiftly spanning the last, small gap, arm
straining outward fingers clawing through the air frantic
to grasp, hold, save.
Hang on, kid, I've got you!
was just starting to finally topple forward into the yawning
emptiness as Jack reached him. In the last possible second
his aching, frantic fingers closed triumphantly on Daniel's
belt and he yanked him back, hard, snatching him out of
death's embrace and bringing Daniel shuddering and reeling
firmly into his.
Never letting go! Never.
instantly started to struggle against Jack's efforts to
continue to haul him away from the edge. He snarled and
swung around, his right fist flying toward Jack's head as he
charged him. Jack narrowly avoided the blow as Daniel
crashed into him, knocking him off balance. Jack barely
had time to lock his arms firmly around Daniel and clutch him,
howling and writhing to his chest as the pair of them reeled
over and hit the ground with a force sending shards of
pain screaming through Jack's back and shoulders.
going to be able to move tomorrow, but right now he had
to ignore every ache, moan and protest of his bashed and
battered body and concentrate only on holding onto the man in
his arms and not letting him go.
me, HA'TAKA!" a twisted, inhuman voice swarmed out of Daniel's
throat as the thing in Daniel's body struggled bitterly
against Jack's restraint.
hup yours!" Jack grunted and grimly locked his wrists
across Daniel's chest. "Bite me," he sneered and then
had immediate cause to regret his choice of words as the
thing whipped Daniel's head down and buried his teeth in
the hands desperately clenched together on his chest. "OW!
to disrupt the dental attack threatening his grip Jack
yowled and heaved Daniel over onto his stomach. Slamming
the full weight of his own body into Daniel's back he
momentarily crushed the wind out of him, making the thing
inside Daniel grunt and let go. Before it had a chance
to recover Jack fumbled to renew his former hold and hugging
Daniel with all the stubborn strength he could muster Jack
began to rapidly roll them across the rocky surface beneath
them, moving them farther away from the edge of the cliff.
Daniel's passenger cursed and fought against him every
agonizing inch he managed to shift them, but Jack kept them
moving, ignoring the unforgiving surface beneath him as
he continued to doggedly roll, tussle, and drag Daniel
bodily further and further away from the cliff.
again, cursing as a jagged protrusion bit into his side
and he felt a resultant sharp, searing pain so intense it
almost made him lose his hold. He was bleeding. Just
a scratch. He'd had worse. He'd worry about it later.
He had a hell of a fight on his hands at the moment. The
thing possessing Daniel was not happy with him for keeping
it from making Danny take a swan dive off the cliff. It
could suffer. So, apparently, could he. Crap! Now it was
thing was strong! Jack grimly wrapped his legs around Daniel's
thighs and squeezed desperately, barely managing to thwart
a particularly vicious lunge against his aching, over-taxed
arms. His hands were so tightly clenched on his own wrists
he was bruising them and still it was all he could do to
hold onto the raging, howling, cursing body he was barely
managing to contain.
wad of spittle struck his eyes, momentarily blinding him.
Expectorating immediately followed by a torrent of coarse,
incomprehensible words Jack had a feeling were not meant
to be complimentary. "You curse your mother with that
mouth?" Jack panted mockingly. An answering elbow to
his stomach made him respond with a few choice words of
he had to face the hard truth he wasn't going to be able
to take much more of this. It wasn't helping Daniel was
not only younger, but he'd gone into this little tussle
fresh and no way near as banged up and worked over. Add those
obvious advantages to the fact the thing inside him was
ruthless and determined to escape, and it didn't have any
problems with bashing either him or Daniel about any way it
could in order to get the man holding onto it to let go.
Daniel might not hurt him, but this thing would cheerfully
kill him if he gave it half a chance. Jack didn't want
to hurt Daniel, but it was looking more and more as if
he didn't have a choice. He'd just about had it, where
Cruella, here, seemed to be getting her second wind.
As much as he hated the thought, he was going to have to
knock Daniel out to keep him from killing BOTH of them.
of the man in his arms were getting more frenzied, desperate.
Jack lay on his side, his arms and legs still implacable
wound around Daniel while he tried to fight past the pain
shooting through him from practically every cell in his
body. He couldn't give into it. Couldn't let go. Daniel's
body was starting to shake, as if something was happening,
as if somewhere inside him another battle was raging, one
as bitter as the one being waged on the outside. Jack
hoped the desperate trembling of Daniel's thrashing body
was an indication he was fighting against what was controlling
him. He hoped Daniel was winning, because even though
he knew he didn't dare let go, Jack wasn't sure how much
longer he could hold on.
bit him again, making Jack howl. The new, unexpected sharpness
of the pain distracted him for just an instant and the
thing in Daniel's body surged abruptly against his arms,
breaking his grip. A savage, stinging kick to Jack's kneecap
brought tears to his eyes while the thing rolled free.
It clawed away rapidly from Jack, scrambling along the
rock face, springing up getting ready to run again. Roaring,
Jack leapt up and tackled Daniel from behind, locking his
arms around Daniel's chest and pulling him back into him
before it had a chance to bolt.
and snarling the thing strained against Jack's hold, snapping
Daniel's head back, crashing it into Jack's forehead.
Jack reeled drunkenly backward with the force of the blow,
feeling his vision swim alarmingly. That wasn't good,
had to get past it, couldn't break, couldn't let go.
on, Danny" he hissed desperately into his struggling friend's
ear. "Fight her. You've got to help me. Can't - can't
hold on much longer. DANNY! FIGHT!"
wildly thrashing body abruptly spasmed in his arms. "Jack!"
Daniel cried as he suddenly fell back limply against the
man struggling to support the burden of his unexpected
weight. "Something - something's happening," Daniel gasped,
his head lolling into the hollow of Jack's neck as his
legs folded. "It's working. It's working. What Kosha
breath gurgled in his throat, his eyes fluttered closed
and he slumped, inert, lifeless.
Dammit! Daniel!" Jack raged,
terror ripping through him as he quickly threw Daniel on
his back on the ground. Breathing, had to get him breathing
again. Worry about why he'd gone out like this later,
just get him breathing -
heart nearly seized up with shock as the eyes of the man
he was leaning over suddenly snapped open. They were feral
and blazing. Evil, soulless. Laughing at him.
Amonet sneered at him as Daniel's hands whipped up, faster
than he could think to react to block them, fastening around
his neck, inhumanly strong, tightening. "You may have
saved his life, but I will not die alone."
Suckered again. This really wasn't his day. And as last
ones went, he'd rather be fishing.
Daniel's wrists in a futile attempt to break the death-grip
and save himself. He knew it was pointless, knew he'd
never shake off those impossibly strong hands before the
snake used them - used Daniel - to choke the life out of
him. He was utterly screwed, check, checkmate and about
to check out, but he'd be damned he was leaving this life
whining or looking like a loser. He'd die first. Ah,
that was droll.
defiance down at the cold, triumphant alien eyes staring
back at him.
worst, bitch, you won't see me go out screaming or begging.
And when we're both in hell together you'd better find
a good place to hide because I'm coming for you.
around his neck were holding, but not tightening. Trembling
with the urgent need to kill, but not squeezing. Holding,
holding. Being held back.
somewhere inside there Daniel was still fighting. Holding
her back. Not letting her use him to complete her last,
desperate act of evil. Way to go, Dannyboy!.
was her last act. Jack could see fear shrieking in the
eyes beneath him. The utter, consuming terror of impending
extinction. Time running out, nowhere left to run, no
more tricks up the sleeve, can't finesse your way out of
this one, nowhere to hide from unavoidable oblivion.
notice, end of the line. Pack your bags, bitch, you've
hands jerked open, releasing him. Jack gripped Daniel's
limp wrists to stop his hands from flopping to the ground
as the thing within him keened wildly, throwing one last,
hideous scream of denial into the witnessing twilight.
to bad rubbish.
groaned, abruptly rolled over and struggled to push himself
up to his hands and knees. His body was bucking with great,
retching spasms as if he was trying to spew his guts out,
or cough something up. It was one hell of a hairball,
the way his body was working to get rid of it.
Danny, easy," Jack soothed as he wrapped his arms around
Daniel's convulsing body. "I've got you. Lean on me."
gave his hanging head one short nod and then groaned as
another convulsive wave ripped through him. Oh, here we
go, here it comes. Jack tightened his supporting grip
and grimaced, looking away as what looked like steaming, black
sludge suddenly started oozing out of Daniel's mouth in a
thick, disgusting viscous ribbon. Goo. Ooh. Gross.
he'd painfully disgorged a rather alarming quantity Daniel
gave a final, emphatic heave and went limp and still in
his arms. Jack quickly dragged him a short distance away
from the mass of whatever he'd hacked up and then swiftly,
gently laid his unmoving friend on his back on the ground.
face was so slack and pale it looked like he was dead,
but a quick check of his pulse, faint, but there, breathing,
but barely, eased Jack's anxiety quotient down a notch.
Now he was only slightly out of him mind with worry, not
completely. Much better! Daniel was still with him.
Barely, barely, but still hanging on. But now what? Now
what should he do? Freaking was not an option but it was
starting to sound like more fun than sanity.
Jack said urgently, leaning over Daniel and taking his
face in his hands. "Geez, Danny, come on. Don't do this
to me, buddy." He slapped Daniel's face gently. "Wake
up now, Danny. It's all over. She's gone. You've
over. That last dying scream had more than convinced him
Amonet had given up the ghost. Jack bit back the hysterical
burst of laughter the absurd analogy evoked. She was gone.
It should be over. But Daniel wasn't moving. Still breathing,
but not moving. He'd won, but what had having her in him
and fighting her out of him done to him? It wasn't a victory
if somehow she'd still managed, in the end, to take him
with her after all.
violently as he felt a large, firm hand falling heavily
on his shoulder. "Boogie!" he crowed, nearly sick with
relief as the witch doctor's craggy, concerned face moved
into view. He'd never been happier to see such an ugly
mug in his life. Here was the guy who'd started this whole
thing. He'd seen the problem, he'd tried to help, Jack
could only hope desperately Boogie knew what to do to help
Daniel come back. He had to know, he had to be able to
help. Fix it, fix it. Fix Daniel. Make it all better.
wrong with him?" Jack asked helplessly. He wasn't going
to panic. Was not going to panic. They were safe now,
it was over. Daniel was going to be fine. He just had
to calm down, stop his head from spinning, oh, eyes going
funny now, this wasn't good. Boogie looked weird, Daniel
was creeping him out he was so pale and still, his own
voice was sounding whacked out and far away. It was all
starting to catch up with him, the pain, the worry, the
weirdness, danger, the fear, all starting to crowd in on
him ready to take him away somewhere where he didn't need
to worry about it for a while, but Jack fought it. He
couldn't let reaction get him. Not yet. He couldn't let
go, not while Danny was like this, not while he still needed
his eye shut, then opened them again. Trying to clear
his head, get his thoughts together so he could say something
to make Boogie help Daniel, but when he was able to focus
again he saw the witch doctor was way ahead of him, already
kneeling beside Daniel, bending over him, his large, gnarled,
ochre-coloured hand on Daniel's forehead. Okay. That
was okay. Boogie was getting to it. He'd make Daniel
looked a little longer, frowned, started chanting and made
a few passes in front of Daniel's face with his hands.
to kneel at Daniel's side and watch, feeling strangely
disconnected, as of all of a sudden he was looking at things
through the wrong end of a set of binoculars. Everything
was so far away and moving far too slowly. He looked down
at Daniel lying unmoving beside him, knew there was something
wrong about him being that way, knew he should be concerned,
but somehow couldn't rouse the necessary effort. He didn't
need to; it was okay, Boogie was there, he was handling
it. Jack didn't need to be concerned. Boogie knew what
to do. He'd look after Daniel. He wouldn't let anything
bad happen to him.
lulling, sonorous voice continued, rising and falling in
a soothing sing-song as he moved his hands in the air over
Daniel's unmoving body. He was making large sweeping
motions, long, steady, rhythmic, starting at Daniel's head,
and moving along the entire length of his body. Jack
squinted, sure he was seeing things. There was something
wrong with the air all around Daniel. It looked cloudy,
blurry, kinda mucky. Nasty. Ew. Didn't like it.
Boogie didn't either, from the way he was frowning and maybe
that's what he was doing with the waving and the singing.
Clearing the air. It seemed to be working. Daniel
was looking better. Not quite as pale. Breathing was a
little stronger. But he wasn't moving. Still
wasn't moving. Why wasn't he moving?
stopped with the waving and the singing and was using the
x-ray vision on Daniel again. Frowning. Big, big frown.
Not a happy face. Not what Jack wanted to be seeing. He
wanted smiling, lots and lots of smiling, not just from
the guy with the feathers but from the man lying so quietly
between them. Jack wanted to see Daniel smiling. Up, awake,
looking at him, smiling. Himself again. Okay. As soon
as he could see Daniel smiling then he'd know it was okay
to lie down and rest for a while. He really wanted to
see Daniel smiling again. Almost as much as he wanted
to lie down.
turned dark, questioning eyes on Jack, making him wince
beneath the scrutiny. Oh no, now it was his turn for the
radar eyes. Not again. He'd had just about enough
of being turned inside out. The witch doctor pointed at
Daniel, and then grabbed Jack's hand. Jack watched him
through a wondering haze as Boogie opened his hand and placed
it, palm flat, on Jack's chest. Jack looked down at his
own hand on his heart and then up at the man holding it there.
Boogie's wise eyes were heavy with meaning. Asking him
something - Boogie was asking him something. Boogie
didn't lose the eye contact between them and was still asking
his question as he moved Jack's hand and made him reach
across until it was pressed firmly to Daniel's chest.
skin was cool, but he was warm. So warm beneath Jack's
hand. Chest slightly rising and falling, his heart beating
slowly, sluggishly, as if it was fighting. Fighting for
every precious stroke. The feel of its tenacious, struggling
rhythm seemed to move up his arm, resonating inside him,
calling, needing him. Daniel, Daniel needed him. Needed
his help. A bit of strength, a bit of help. He could
do that. After everything they'd been through to get this
far, he could give a little more of himself if Daniel needed
it. No problem
eyes boring into him. Boogie was waiting. Whatever he
had to do for Daniel, he needed Jack's help to do it.
He had to give him the word, let him know whatever would
help Daniel, he was in.
Danny needs," he said fervently. "Whatever it takes.
nodded slowly and - oh, smile. He was smiling. Big, big
smile. That was good, right? He'd said the right thing?
Daniel was going to be okay?
his eyes irresistibly drawn to the man beneath him. Daniel
looked serene. Quiet, still, but his pale, grimy face
had a peaceful expression on it. That was good, nice to
see. Daniel could use a little peace after the day he'd
had today. Daniel needed a bath, though. He looked like
someone who'd spent the afternoon crawling through a jungle.
He was quite a sight. Not just filthy, but cut up and scratched.
Oh, that wasn't good. All banged up like that and sweaty,
dirty, not with open cuts and abrasions. Not good at all.
was his head? He needed to get Daniel home, get all those
cuts seen too. Daniel had some bad scrapes, bad cuts,
some of them bleeding, some from his stroll through the
jungle but the bleeding ones probably from the tussle they'd
just taken on the rocks. Bad cuts and scrapes; they shouldn't
be open, dirty like that. They might get infected. He
had to get Daniel home, had to get him looked after. Had
to get his head to stop pounding, make the world stop spinning
so he could focus.
dizzily as he stared stupidly around him. Boogie was chanting,
Headache. Bad headache. What - what was going on? Boogie
was still holding his hand. Jack tried to make a joke
about being taken, but his mouth wouldn't work. Boogie
turned his hand over, exposing the palm, then before Jack
had a chance to protest the witch doctor brought his knife
up and cut the palm of his hand, just a small slit, just
enough to draw blood. Jack watched bemused as Boogie did
the same thing to one of Daniel's hands, then took a bit
of blood from each of them on his finger and drew a squiggly
mark on Daniel’s forehead and on his chest over his heart.
but why not?
a minute, they were back to holding hands again. Only
this time, not him and Boogie, but him and Daniel. Jack
didn't mind holding hands with Daniel. Boogie placed their
palms together, the ones that he'd cut, interlacing their
fingers, locking them in place. Jack's other hand got
pressed down on Daniel's chest overtop of the mark Boogie
had made there. Then the witch doctor made a sandwich of
the hands still joined together, enveloping them firmly
with his in an emphatic clasp.
closed his eyes. Jack looked down at Daniel. Daniel still
looked pretty out of it. Just as he was starting to wonder
what all the hand-holding was about Boogie gave a loud
cry jolting through Jack like he'd just been goosed by
a cattle prod.
hands were searing, like burning coals they were so hot.
Jack cried out as enervating fire shot up his arm, seeming
to fill his chest with a wild, rejuvenating vitality before
arcing on through him and racing down his other arm, through
his hand and into the chest of the man lying on the ground.
Daniel's body arched off the ground as if someone had just
used a defib unit on him . He gasped and gulped in a huge
draught of air, then fell back to the ground, breathing
deeply and steadily, his eyelids flickering as a precursor
to returning awareness. Jack felt Daniel’s hand clench
around his with triumphant acknowledgement. Daniel's hand
was hot, alive, returning what had been given to bring
him back. The burning had come full circle.
removed his hands. The fire was gone. Jack’s head was
clear again; he was back. Daniel opened his eyes and looked
up at him.
Daniel said softly as he smiled up at him. Beautiful smile.
Wonderful smile. So good to be able to see it. So good
to see Daniel, alive and smiling at him.
alive,” Jack returned fervently.
like shit,” Daniel bit his lip, trying not to laugh. At
least, that was what Jack thought he was trying to hold
back, but he could have been wrong.
to you, Plant Boy,” Jack chided him, roughly rubbing his
knuckles across Daniel's cheek in an awkward caress.
know if he was going to laugh or cry, but he was definitely
going to break down in one of those directions if somebody
didn’t do something. Daniel looked as if he was experiencing
a similar inclination to succumb to hysterics.
it worked out they met in the middle. As Jack reached
down for him Daniel came up to meet him. As he tightened
his arms around Daniel and buried his head in Daniel’s
shoulder, Jack could feel his friend’s arms lock resolutely
about him in the same urgent need for firm, physical reassurance
of his reality.
they were both here. Both in one piece. Sort of. God
only knew how. Thanking heaven for more than small favours.
No wait, no small favour, this. Not this. He owed somebody
somewhere out there big time for this one. He wouldn’t
breathe a word of complaint when pay-back time came.
was shaking. Was it him? Was it the man in his arms?
Jack didn’t know and he didn’t care. He just grabbed on
tighter to the only thing he was really sure of as he started
to feel his head filling up with cotton balls again. Daniel
was saying something to him, but he couldn’t make it out.
It seemed as if there were a lot of people around them
now. Was that Carter’s voice? Jack wondered where she'd
come from so fast. He could have sworn - oh she'd brought
Teal’c with her. That was good, handy, saved him having
to go out looking for them which was just as well 'cause
he really didn’t think he had the energy, just now, to
go after them. His head was really, really hurting…
voice – close to his ear and yet a million miles away…
“I’ve got you, Jack…”
do, Danny, so you do...
to Part Two
/ On to Part Four