Making It Home
BY: Lyn and Annie
Email address: Lyn
Email address: Annie
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This story was originally written for a zine that, unfortunately, did not come out. Annie helped me out a lot with this one, suggesting changes and betaing it meticulously. It was also the story that prompted her own obsession with fanfic. I felt it only right that she be listed as the co-author of this piece.
DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters do not belong to me. This story was written for my own and others' enjoyment. No money has been paid and no copyright infringement is intended.
SUMMARY: A different ending to Need. A what-if of sorts. The team returns to Shyla's planet, only to discover a trap has been set, and Shyla's not herself.
Jack O'Neill looked away from the stargate as the wormhole burst into life and carefully studied the man standing beside him. Daniel still looked pale. He stood hunched over slightly, as though defending himself against attack, and slight tremors still shook his clenched hands. It had only been four days since he'd surfaced from the awful effects of sarcophagus addiction. Jack had assured General Hammond the team could back Daniel up. He just hoped Daniel was physically up to the task.
When Daniel had recovered sufficiently from his withdrawal symptoms and had been discharged by Doctor Fraiser, the archeologist suggested that they return to Shyla's planet. His reasons were two-fold, he claimed; to free the people still working as slaves in the mines and to retrieve some of the precious naquada for their own use.
Jack knew there was more to it. Daniel needed to redeem himself to his friends. He needed to prove himself worthy once more of their trust. Jack had agreed, knowing that Daniel would never be able to forgive himself until they'd gone back and done what they could to free the remaining slaves and destroy the sarcophagus.
"We can back him up, sir. I'd like Daniel back on the team." Jack was castigating himself even as the words passed his lips. He'd just spent four of the worst days of his life, watching his best friend go through chills, fever, delirium, tremors. He had wrestled Daniel to the ground when the other man threatened him at gunpoint in his overwhelming need. He'd seen himself in Daniel four nights ago and had held him while he cried in his fear and shame, then carried him back to the infirmary when the exhaustion caught up and Daniel collapsed into his arms. There, he'd bathed the stinking sweat from Daniel's body, soothed the nightmares with soft words, and cleaned up the vomit as Daniel curled around the agonizing cramps in his stomach and begged for relief.
And now he was allowing him to go back. Jack had turned away from Daniel's hopeful eyes and regarded the general's thoughtful ones instead. Finally Hammond nodded and Daniel smiled.
"Are you sure about this?"
Daniel offered Jack a weak smile, but the nod of his head was emphatic. "I'm sure." He lowered his voice and leaned slightly toward the colonel, his gaze never leaving the rippling event horizon. "Trust me, Jack, please."
"I do," Jack assured him. "It's her I don't trust." His features tensed. "You leave my side, Daniel, and so help me "
"I won't." The archeologist looked at him then. "Can we go, please?"
Jack glanced at Carter and Teal'c, then waved his hand in front of him, a silent command for Daniel to lead the way. If he needed to prove to Daniel that he trusted him, best start now.
Jack steadied a wavering Daniel when they stepped through the gate on P3R 636. The colonel hefted his weapon in one hand and looked around slowly. "Did I ever tell you that I had a bad feeling about this?"
"Yes, Jack, you did." Daniel smiled easily enough, but Jack could see the exhaustion tugging at the archeologist's still weakened body.
"All right. Carter, you and Tealc, wait here at the gate. Scout around a little bit. If were not back in two hours, you hightail it back and send reinforcements. You got me?" He waited as Carter opened her mouth to offer her expected protest, surprised when she backed off and nodded.
"Yes, sir. Be careful."
Jack led the way down the path toward the pyramid and mines. He kept a close watch on their surroundings as they walked. The hair at the back of his neck was prickling uncomfortably as alarm bells rang loudly in his head, jarring every nerve. There was something wrong with this picture but he couldnt figure out what it was. It was too quiet, and the planet appeared deserted. Of course, the majority of the inhabitants were probably still cooped up in the naquada mines, but still, it didn't hurt to stay alert.
"It'll be all right, Jack."
Daniel's quiet words pulled his attention back and he glanced at the other man. The archeologist had lost a dramatic amount of weight in the past few days, his face now angled and shadowed by pain and exhaustion, and also by guilt. While Daniel had been spoiled by Shyla's attentions, his teammates had labored in the naquada mines below, growing weaker each day.
The palace loomed in the distance and Jack could see a few slaves going about their daily routine, loading rocks onto large sleds which were then pulled away by well-built young men toward a holding site. The fake serpent guards still stood at the entrance to the palace. Then from the corner of his eye, Jack glimpsed a flash of flame. The reality hit him at the same time as the Jaffa stepped from the cover of the trees. Knowing they were too far away to help, he yelled a warning to Carter and Tealc. "Its a trap! Get out of here!"
Sam stood flat-footed at first, then quickly stepped over to the DHD, punching in the coordinates rapidly. A burst from a staff weapon had her diving away from the DHD to the ground and then Tealc was in front of her, shielding her with his body as he primed his own weapon and fired on the advancing soldiers.
Jack was unable to drag his eyes away from the distant scene even as he felt his weapon pulled from his hands. A crushing blow to the side of his head sent him to his knees and he watched through blurred eyesight as the gate surged to life and Tealc dragged Carter to her feet and pushed her into the cover of trees at the side of the path. He heard a grunt of pain and saw Daniel collapse in a heap beside him, blood flowing freely from a gash on his forehead. As Jack reached out an arm toward the stricken man, a second blow to his head sent him falling into darkness.
Carter felt something punch at her arm, knocking her off her feet as Teal'c pushed her ahead of him. By the time she managed to stagger up, her arm was engulfed in a fiery sensation and she could smell the nauseating odor of burnt flesh.
Dropping back to her knees, her head hanging, she fought not to throw up from the pain and the smell. She was only vaguely aware of Teal'c's strong arm beneath hers as he helped her back to her feet. Behind them, she could hear shouted voices and the sounds of people rushing through the brush toward them. Wordlessly she waved away Teal'c's urgent inquiry about her injury and steadied herself, allowing the Jaffa to drag her along until they were deep within the forest and the voices behind them were far away.
Carter crouched down and tried to catch her breath as she clutched at her injured arm. She looked up to see Teal'c studying her carefully.
"Are you badly injured, Captain Carter?"
"No, I don't think so. It's just a superficial burn." She stood, startled as faint voices drifted toward them.
//Find them. Search for as long as it takes to bring them to Anat.//
"What do you think is going on, Teal'c?"
"It would appear that Shyla has been overthrown by a Gou'ald."
"Anat? Do you know who that is?"
Teal'c nodded. "I have heard of her. She is a somewhat minor Gou'ald, but a cruel mistress."
"So we go back, break the colonel and Daniel out of wherever she's keeping them and get the hell out of here."
"It seems a good plan."
Sam pushed down the pain and turned to follow Teal'c through the trees. Ten minutes later, they crouched and watched the gate from the crest of a hill. There were two guards standing beside it, indicating hopefully that the rest of Anat's Jaffa were still out searching for them. Making their way along the ridge, they were able to see the pyramid in the distance, the naquada mines nestled just beyond it. Sam's heart sank as she saw several Jaffa at the entrance to the palace. A further half dozen paced the perimeter and more still guarded the entrance to the mine. "Now what?"
"We should go back through the stargate," Teal'c said.
"And leave them behind? No way!"
"It is their best chance," Teal'c hissed at her. "If we can get back and return with a strike team while Anat still believes we are in the forest, we can take them by surprise."
"No. There's got to be some way "
"We are of no use to them dead, Captain Carter."
Sam allowed her head to droop, accepting Teal'c's words and hating them. Finally she nodded and led the way back to the stargate. Teal'c stepped out of the trees in front of the guards, their shock at his appearance allowing Sam to get in several blasts with her zat gun before they knew what had hit them. Firing the third shot to eliminate any sign of the bodies, Sam moved quickly to the DHD and dialed Earth.
Stepping up to the wormhole, she took a final look back toward the palace, silently asking her friends to hang on until they could return.
"Teal'c? Captain Carter? What the hell happened? Where's Colonel O'Neill and Doctor Jackson?" Hammond demanded the moment they hit the ramp.
"It appears we walked into a trap, General Hammond."
Sam sidestepped nimbly as Doctor Fraiser rushed toward her. "Daniel and the colonel were captured, sir. Looks like the Gou'ald got there ahead of us." She allowed Teal'c to lead her down the ramp, waving away Janet's concerns. "It's fine. Just a little burn. General, request permission to mount a rescue operation, sir?"
Hammond frowned, then nodded. "Get patched up, Captain, then we'll debrief."
Pain battered at Jack's skull as he fought his way back to consciousness. The ground beneath him was cold and hard and he shifted gingerly, rolling from his side to his back. He cracked open crusted eyelids and thought for a brief, heart-stopping moment that he was blind, until his slitted gaze took in the muted glow of a lamp by the barred door.
Bars. So, he was a prisoner. But why, and where the hell was Daniel? A scratching sound from the corner seized his attention and he rolled carefully, pushing himself up into a crouch as his eyes squinted into the gloom. He didn't bother checking for his sidearm or the knife he carried in his boot, knowing full well they would have already been removed.
A vague shape shifted in front of him, the pale beam from the light briefly illuminating a human body before the person moved back under cover of the darkness again with a soft moan.
"Daniel?" Jack hissed the name, uncertain if they were being observed and not ready to let their captors know yet they were awake.
"Jack? 'Zat you?"
Jack felt his shoulders slump in relief at the familiar though rather confused voice. "Yeah, it's me, Daniel."
Holding one hand out to detect any obstacles, Jack managed to get his legs beneath him and stagger over to kneel at Daniel's side. "Let's get you out into what light there is so I can check you out."
"I'm okay," Daniel protested weakly as Jack slid his hands beneath his shoulders and lifted him into a semi-upright position. "Oh, wow." Pushing himself upright with Jack's help, the archeologist hunched forward and held his head in shaking hands. "What hit me?"
"The butt of a staff weapon, I'm guessing." Jack brushed Daniel's hair back from his forehead and winced at the deep gash that still bled sullenly. "Ouch! That's gotta hurt."
"How about you? You okay?" Daniel scooted on his butt with Jack pulling on his arms until he was seated under the corner lamp. He peered shortsightedly up at Jack's face.
"You don't look fine. You look all scrunched up. You got a headache?"
"No. I'm " Jack closed his eyes briefly. "A little." He flopped down to sit at Daniel's side and rested his head wearily against the damp wall at his back. "So, you had the run of this place last time we were here. Any idea where we are?"
Daniel's gaze traveled around the small cell then he pulled himself shakily upright, keeping one hand flat against the wall for support. Walking slowly around the perimeter of the tiny room, he stopped at the barred door and peered into the inky darkness. "Well, we're in a cell "
Daniel flashed him an impatient glare and continued. "There were cells at the rear of the mines. Shyla said they were used for the slaves who tried to escape." His head whipped around suddenly to stare at Jack in horror. "Oh, God! Shyla!"
The voice that rang out from the area beyond the cell was unmistakably Gou'ald in nature and Daniel took a step back toward Jack. The colonel stood and moved closer to Daniel, deliberately placing himself just in front of the other man. Blinding light suddenly bathed the entire area and Jack held up a hand to shade his eyes as his headache flared with renewed agony.
The startled gasp from Daniel had him lowering his hands and he stared at the elegantly dressed young woman who stood in front of them, flanked on either side by Jaffa.
"Shyla?" Daniel cried out as Shyla's hand shot out, a piercing beam shooting from the device on her palm, spearing the archeologist in the chest and sending him slamming into the wall behind him.
Jack spun and rushed to his side, relieved to see Daniel was still conscious though clearly in some distress. "Daniel! Easy. Take it easy."
He helped Daniel sit up and lean against the wall, watching in concern as the other man's chest heaved with the effort to breathe. Turning his head, Jack glared at the woman on the other side of the bars. "What the hell was that for?"
"Jack." He glanced back at Daniel as the archeologist rasped out his name and laid a hand on his arm. "We're in deep trouble here."
"What's going on here, Daniel?"
Daniel's eyes had closed, but his breathing appeared to be easing. "Looks like the Gou'ald got here before us."
"It gets worse."
Jack cocked an eyebrow. "There's something worse than this?"
Daniel managed a nod. "The markings of her Jaffa indicate that this is Anat. In Egyptian mythology, Anat was the daughter of Ra."
Sam picked absently at the bandage on her arm as she waited for the general to finish reading the report in front of him. Finally he looked up and nodded at her. "The doctor tells me the wound isn't serious, Captain. I'm pleased to hear it." His gaze traveled to the silent Jaffa seated at Sam's side. "How about you, Teal'c?"
Teal'c inclined his head respectfully. "I am uninjured, General Hammond, however I fear for the safety of Colonel O'Neill and Daniel Jackson."
Hammond clasped his hands on the tabletop. "Any idea what the hell happened? Was it an uprising of some kind?"
"Colonel O'Neill shouted that it was a trap, sir. There were several men who came out of the trees and surrounded Daniel and the colonel. I can't imagine that Shyla would have ordered such a thing " Carter began.
"They were true Jaffa," Teal'c interrupted. "They bore the insignia of Anat, the daughter of Ra. I have heard of her, but have never seen her. I believe the Gou'ald returned to the planet in our absence and discovered that Shyla's father had destroyed the Gou'ald who ruled there before. With most of Shyla's people imprisoned in the caves and Shyla's father dead, it would have been an easy coup."
"Why set a trap for Daniel and the colonel?" Sam asked. "They can't have known we were coming."
"Perhaps they did. If Shyla has been taken over by Anat, she would know Shyla's thoughts," Teal'c mused.
"Wait a minute." The general held up his hands. "I don't pretend to understand the Gou'ald nearly as well as either of you but wouldn't Anat already have a host?"
Teal'c shrugged. "That may well be, but her host may have been mortally wounded. If she could not gain access to a sarcophagus in time, she may have decided to take another host, as Jolinar did with Captain Carter. If she was aware that the previous Gou'ald of Shyla's planet had slaves here, she may have hoped to find another host among them. Or she may simply have decided to attempt to take the planet for herself. It is rich in naquada, something which the Gou'ald value as highly as good hosts. Shyla may be imprisoned along with O'Neill and Daniel Jackson."
Sam shivered a little at Teal'c's words. "So what do you think they want with the colonel and Daniel?"
"I am unsure," Teal'c admitted. "I only know that if the Gou'ald have taken this planet then we must return there with reinforcements as quickly as possible."
"What do you propose, Teal'c? You can't just go waltzing back in there."
"I suggest an approach of stealth, General Hammond. If we go in at night and I go through first, it is likely that I can trick them into believing that I am one of Anat's Jaffa, then hold them off for long enough for Captain Carter and the others to come through."
"It doesn't sound like a foolproof plan," Hammond said uncertainly.
"With respect, sir, it's the only chance we've got, and if there's a Gou'ald on that planet, Daniel and the colonel are already on borrowed time if they're still alive," Carter put in.
The general stood and wandered to the large window that overlooked the gateroom. After a long moment he turned and nodded. "All right, Captain, Teal'c, you have a go."
Sam stood and saluted the general, flashing Teal'c a relieved smile. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."
Jack kept one eye on Shyla as he helped Daniel find a comfortable position against the wall of the cell. Daniel's breathing was easing now and Jack hoped that the archeologist had merely been winded, though his face was gray with pain and his muscles seemed to seize into cramps now and then.
Shyla looked different than she had before. Jack had disliked the haughty young woman from the time she'd condemned them to die in the naquada mines, his hate for her increasing ten-fold when she'd gotten Daniel addicted to the sarcophagus in order to keep him with her. The eyes that glowed now with an ominous golden light were set in a hard, cruel face that Jack could scarcely believe was the same spoiled almost-child, who had caused them so much suffering. She observed Daniel and Jack for a moment, a sardonic smile curving her blood-red lips.
"Move away from him," she finally said, glaring at Jack. When he did not move, she spoke rapidly to her guard and before either Jack or Daniel could react, the Jaffa had his staff weapon up and firing.
The red-hot agony that flared through Jack's leg tore a scream from his throat and he collapsed to the ground, curling around the smoking, oozing gash in his leg, vaguely aware of the sound of the cell doors opening and Daniel's feeble shouts.
Pulling himself back from the abyss of darkness that threatened to engulf him, Jack managed to stagger up onto his good leg and flail outward until his hand grabbed hold of the guard now dragging Daniel out of the cell. The Jaffa did not even spare Jack a glance as he lashed out with his staff, smashing it brutally into the side of Jack's face. Red and black fire erupted simultaneously in Jack's sight and he collapsed soundlessly to the ground.
Though startled and terrified out of his wits, Daniel knew it would be futile to struggle as he was dragged out of the cell and down the stone-hewn passageway. He was led through the arched doorway that led to the palace and pushed into the throne room. In one corner, a large wooden cross was set up and Daniel swallowed dryly when he was dragged over to it. He was thrown against the large beams, then turned to face the front. His arms were grabbed roughly and tethered to the crossbeam.
He craned his neck to see Shyla/Anat past the broad shoulders of the Jaffa. She watched the proceedings from the throne with a satisfied smile on her once pretty face. The Jaffa stood to one side once Daniel was secured, and Anat approached. Daniel's fear increased when he saw the hand device adorning her right hand.
"Shyla? Fight her. I know you can do it," he pleaded.
Uncertainty flitted across Anat's face. "D Daniel?"
Daniel breathed a sigh of relief. Perhaps he still had a chance. "Shyla, please let us go. We came here to help you."
Shyla smiled evilly, but Daniel could see no telltale glow of Anat taking over. She leaned in close until he could feel her breath on his face. "You deceived me," she hissed. "Even if I did not want this, I want my revenge more."
"Revenge? What for?" Daniel's head snapped back in reaction to the hard slap to his cheek.
"You deserted me," Shyla said. "You said you loved me, that you would return. You come back now, only for the naquada."
"No," Daniel protested. "I was sick. Your sarcophagus made me sick. I needed time to recover."
Shyla's dark eyes glowed. "Fear not," Anat whispered. "This time there will be no sarcophagus to heal you."
Daniel closed his eyes as Anat raised her hand, the beam from the hand device centering squarely on his forehead. Incomprehensible pain streaked through his skull, swelling to an unbearable crescendo. Far away, he heard someone screaming, but the agony was so intense, so absolute, he had no idea the inhuman sound was coming from his own throat. Darkness descended at the same time as the pain abated.
Jack scooted painfully over to the bars and sat, pressing his head against the cool metal, straining to see along the darkened corridor. Fire shredded up his leg and he grasped the ragged wound in his thigh with both hands, gritting his teeth against the pain.
A horrifying raw-sounding scream echoed from the end of the passageway and Jack felt a lump of dread settle in his stomach. "Daniel!"
After long, terrifying minutes, the scream changed to an agonized wail then faded completely, and Jack sagged limply against the bars, shaking with shock. He drifted in and out of consciousness, startling when the screams began anew, finally clamping his hands over his ears to drown out Daniel's torturous cries.
Despair and helplessness overwhelmed him and he dragged his body upright, ignoring the pain that lanced through his leg at the movement. He gripped the bars, rattling them in impotent rage. "Anat, you filthy snakehead. You want to take someone on, try me!"
He tensed as he heard footsteps pounding down the passageway toward him, accompanied by the unmistakable sound of something being dragged. He stepped back as Anat appeared, her lips set into a thin line.
She favored Jack with a dark glare. "Your friend appears stronger than I would have believed. If it were not for my pleasure in using this body," her hands smoothed over Shyla's breasts and hips, "I would take him for my own." She nodded brusquely to the guards at her side.
Jack sucked in a breath as Daniel's limp body was pulled forward and tossed into the cell. The archeologist hit the floor with a bone-jarring thump, and lay unmoving.
Anat's head snapped up at the abrupt interruption from a running guard. "What is it?"
"An attack, my Queen, by the Ta'uri."
Anat nodded and turned to go then looked back at Jack. "I shall remove your would-be rescuers from my planet and then I will return to exact my revenge on you."
Jack's hopes soared at the Jaffa's news, but he couldn't resist asking the question. "Revenge for what?"
"For killing my father, Ra, and to fulfil my host's wish that this one dies for betraying her." Issuing deep-throated orders, Anat hurried back toward the palace.
Jack wasted no time in getting to Daniel's side. The archeologist appeared to be semi-conscious, though his gaze was vacant. His breath puffed roughly from his lungs, interspersed with small grunts of pain. In the glow from the torch, Jack winced at the deep, painful-looking burn on Daniel's forehead. Gently, he patted at Daniel's cheek. "Daniel? Are you with me, buddy?"
Daniel's stare shifted to Jack and he blinked lazily. Then he rolled to one side with a surprising show of strength and threw up violently. Jack rubbed his back as he vomited, continuing to soothe his friend while he retched dryly, then lay panting rapidly.
"Head hurts." The voice was almost soundless, but Jack breathed a sigh of relief.
"I know. You hang on, okay? The cavalry's here."
Daniel managed a miniscule nod before sinking back to the ground. Jack made him as comfortable as possible, then hopped back over to the bars and listened intently. He jerked back in surprise as the barred door swung outward with a soft creak. Poking his head out of the cell, Jack sent up a silent thanks that this Gou'ald seemed as full of confidence as the rest.
"Think we might have a way out, Danny." When there was no reply from his friend, Jack glanced back over his shoulder. Daniel had shifted to slump back against the far wall again, his head resting on his pulled-up knees. Wincing a little at the pain in his leg, Jack stood and limped back to Daniel's side. "Daniel?" When he was greeted with silence, Jack cupped Daniel's chin in one hand, lifting it to meet his gaze and then tapped gently at a pale cheek. "Come on, buddy. I don't want to take the chance of Anat coming back to finish us off before Carter and Teal'c break us out. Maybe we can get out the back way, like we tried last time, and we can circle around."
He hauled on Daniel's arm as he spoke and was ready to support the extra weight when the archeologist's knees buckled. Wrapping a strong arm around his friend's waist, and pulling Daniel's limp arm over his shoulder, the colonel led Daniel out of the cell. Concern churned his gut when Daniel remained mostly unresponsive, only grunting occasionally in pain when Jack's half-run, half-stagger jarred his injuries.
Some forty feet along, the corridor forked into two. Jack cursed as he tried to decide which one to take. "Daniel?" He shook the silent man's arm and slapped his cheek when Daniel didn't answer.
Finally Daniel opened his eyes and looked dazedly at him.
"That's it," Jack encouraged. "Which way do we go to get out of this place?"
It seemed to take Daniel a moment to process the question, then he slowly looked around him. "I don't " He swallowed and gagged. "I don't know," he whispered.
Jack groaned. Behind them, the sound of staff weapons and gunfire came closer. His leg was beginning to give out under his and Daniel's combined weight. A shout from Anat decided him, and he dragged Daniel into the right hand passage, and tried to increase their speed.
The corridor veered off further to the right, and acutely aware of the footsteps pounding rapidly behind them, Jack looked around frantically. With both of them injured, they were hardly up to unarmed combat against well-armed Gou'ald and Jaffa. A part of the rock face had collapsed; Jack pushed away the unwanted memory of Daniel's broken body lying beneath the rocks when they'd tried to escape before. There was a sizeable hiding place behind the pile, and Jack shoved Daniel down behind the stones, then pressed himself up against the archeologist's trembling body. Poising for a surprise attack, and feeling like he was about to pass out at any moment, Jack groped for and found a decent-sized rock to use as a weapon. He prayed that Teal'c and Sam would arrive before he had to put his weakened body to the test.
The ease with which they were able to fool the guards at the gate convinced Tealc further that most soldier Jaffa were not known for their intelligence. What they lacked in mental aptitude however, they made up in fighting skill and determination to protect their queen. There were losses on both sides before Teal'c, Carter and their support force were able to overpower the Jaffa and advance to the palace. Above the pyramid, a huge spaceship hovered, as though ready to swoop down on them.
The throne room appeared empty, but Teal'c entered with caution just the same, motioning for Carter to take the opposite side of the doorway. At Teal'c's nod, Carter stepped into the room, her weapon up, sweeping the area.
A movement, then a flash of light from a darkened corner caught Teal'c's eye. Before they had time to react, the entire room shook so violently that it was difficult to keep their feet. A muted roar from above echoed through the darkened chamber and then was gone.
Carter looked at Teal'c. "Anat?"
"I believe she has escaped." Teal'c pre-empted Carter's next question. "I do not know if she would take O'Neill and Daniel Jackson with her."
Carter nodded tensely. She turned to Lieutenant Morris. "Get your men to spread out, Lieutenant. Search the entire area. Teal'c and I will check the mines. If you find any sign of Colonel O'Neill or Doctor Jackson, notify me immediately."
Morris nodded and led his men into the rear of the palace. Quickly, Sam followed Teal'c out of the palace and around to the mines. There were subdued, frightened mutterings coming from the freed slaves as more members of the stargate assault team led them out. Carter carefully studied the faces, in case Shyla was among them, but saw no sign of the young woman. Making their way through the passageway to the rear of the mines, Teal'c stopped when they came to several small cells. They gave the first one a cursory glance. It was empty, but a large smear of blood on the ground inside increased Sam's concern. Not wasting any more time on the remaining unoccupied cells, she led the way through the narrow passage until they came to a fork in the path. Looking at Teal'c, she waved a hand in front of her. "Which way?"
Teal'c stood silently for several minutes, then unerringly headed to the right. "I believe this is the direction we took when we attempted the first escape."
Rounding a bend, Teal'c picked up a faint scuffling sound and slowed his pace. He looked over his shoulder at Carter, who nodded and raised her weapon. Teal'c skirted around a tumble of rocks that spilled out onto the path, recognizing the area as where Daniel had been injured earlier. He turned back to Carter, about to mention it when a solid weight descended on him, sending him to his knees.
Teal'c arched his back and threw out his arms, his substantial strength causing his intruder to be tossed away with a cry. Teal'c turned, his hands coming up to defend himself when Carter's shout stopped him.
"It's us, Colonel!"
Jack O'Neill struggled slowly to his knees and dropped the rock he was wielding to the ground. "It's about time," he said gruffly, though relief was evident on his dirty, bloodied face. "Good to see you two. You okay?"
Teal'c nodded and crossed quickly to the colonel's side. "We are unharmed, O'Neill? What of you and Daniel Jackson?"
Jack used Teal'c's broad shoulder for support as he pulled himself to his feet, grimacing with pain. "I got in the way of a staff weapon. Daniel " He looked at Carter. "Where's Anat?"
Carter pointed upwards with a finger. "Gone. What about Shyla?"
"One and the same, I'm afraid," Jack replied. He turned to look at his hiding place. "Daniel took a couple of hits to the head, and Anat used the hand device on him. He needs to be checked out soon."
"As soon as you're ready, sir."
Jack limped around the rocks that shielded Daniel, concerned that the archeologist hadn't shown himself once it was safe. "Daniel? Teal'c and Carter are here. Let's go."
Daniel looked up at him through slitted eyes and pressed his shaking body more closely against the wall, reminding Jack of a frightened child. "Don't hurt me," he whispered.
"You're safe now, Daniel." Jack moved closer, startled when Daniel gave a small gasp and scuttled sideways away from him. Dropping to a crouch with a groan as pain knifed through his leg, Jack held out a hand to his dazed friend. "Daniel? It's Jack. Come on, buddy, let's go home."
"Home?" Daniel's forehead creased into a frown, and his hand drifted up to touch the vivid burn there. "I don't " Tears brimmed in his eyes. "I don't remember." His eyes rolled up, and he pitched forward abruptly, falling safely into Jack's waiting arms.
Easing the limp form to the ground, Jack pressed his fingers to Daniel's neck, relieved to feel a steady, though bounding pulse.
Carter crouched at his side. "I'll radio for a stretcher."
Jack shook his head, already lifting Daniel's upper body to cradle it against him. "Teal'c and I can carry him. Go dial home, Carter."
"Sir, you're injured yourself," Carter protested.
"I'm fine. Teal'c, give me a hand here, buddy."
Teal'c bent and grabbed Daniel's legs. Jack grunted as he hoisted Daniel up. Together the two carried the unconscious man from the mines.
Medical personnel swarmed over them the moment they hit the ramp Earth-side. Jack felt his leg giving out, but managed to hang onto Daniel until the strong arms of an orderly took over, then slumped to his knees, before toppling gracelessly onto his side with a grunt of pain.
Janet Fraiser crouched next to him, the scissors held in one small hand already cutting away his pants leg, the torn edges charred and stiff with dried blood. Jack pushed at her hands, his gaze on Daniel as the archeologist's limp form was hoisted onto a gurney, and an oxygen mask secured over his face. "I'm fine," Jack insisted. "See to Daniel."
The doctor fixed him with a gimlet glare. "If you'd stop fighting me for a minute, Colonel, I'll do just that." She stood and waved over a nurse. "Get the colonel to X-ray. I want scans of the right leg as well as the standard MRI's."
Jack had struggled up to lean on his elbows. "Doc, Daniel took a couple of hits to the head, and some prolonged exposure to Anat's hand device. He was acting pretty spacey before he passed out."
Fraiser nodded. Leaning over Daniel's inert form, she shone a penlight into his eyes. "Let's move, people." She strode alongside the gurney as it was pushed from the gateroom.
Turning back to Jack, Janet gave him a nod. "As soon as I have any news, you'll be the first to know."
Satisfied, Jack lay back and allowed the medical staff to fuss over him.
Jack prodded in irritation at the IV in his forearm. His leg throbbed painfully beneath the heavy bandages that wrapped around the raw wound in his thigh, but he'd refused pain relief, wanting to be wide awake when he got news of Daniel's condition. Teal'c and Carter had gone straight to a debrief with Hammond after their own MRI's. Jack glanced at his watch. That had been over three hours ago, and there was still no word.
He glared impatiently at the curtains surrounding his bed, and, as if in reply, they were pushed back. Janet stepped into the cubicle, closely followed by Hammond, Carter and Teal'c. At the worried frown on each face, Jack's heart sunk. It didn't bode well for good news. "How is he?" he asked without preamble.
Janet shuffled the notes in her hands, then placed them on the rollaway table and quickly checked Jack's leg before replying.
"He's drifting in and out of consciousness, but he's not fully lucid," she said finally. "He has a severe concussion and a second degree burn to his forehead. His MRI showed some intracranialswelling, but no bleeding, so there's no need for surgery just yet. I'm hoping with strict bed rest and IV Mannitol, the swelling will dissipate on its own."
"If it doesn't?" Jack pulled himself further up onto his pillows.
"We'll put in a shunt to try and drain the excess fluid," Janet replied.
Jack gave a ghost of a smile. "So he's gonna be fine. Why do you all look like someone just shot your dog, then?"
Hammond stepped forward. "Doctor Jackson appears to be suffering from amnesia, Colonel. The doctor can explain it better than I can, but he seems to have no memory of SG-1 or any of us."
Jack ignored the lump of dread that settled into his stomach. "It'll come back though, right? I mean that can happen sometimes when you get hit on the head." He threw off the bed covers and swung his legs over the side, grimacing when the movement incited pain to flare. "I'll go see him. He just needs to see someone familiar and it'll all come back."
"Teal'c and I already saw him, Colonel," Carter said. "He didn't know who we were."
Jack stared at her, then swung his gaze to Fraiser. "So how do you fix it?"
"We wait, sir.Daniel was already weakened by the sarcophagus addiction before this mission, he's been beaten and tortured with a hand device. It's going to take a few days for the intracranial swelling to subside. There's nothing more we can do until then. Do you know long the hand device was focused on him?"
Jack closed his eyes. "I'm not sure. He was screaming " His voice rasped, and he cleared his throat; reached up to rub the bridge of his nose. "I passed out for a bit, but it seemed like a long time." He opened his eyes and stared at Janet. "You think it was the hand device?"
Janet shrugged. "It's possible. From what we've seen before, we know it causes massive intracranialhemorrhage leading to death, if used for long enough. But there's the blows to his head to consider, his weakened state prior to the mission "
"You said he was okay to go!" Jack glared at the doctor.
"As far as I could tell, he had recovered, Colonel," Janet replied, her face flushing at Jack's heated accusation.
"The doctor did what she thought best, Colonel," Hammond interjected. "As I recall, you were in agreement with her."
Jack had the grace to look abashed. He sighed and sat up. "You're right. Sorry."
Janet smiled and nodded, accepting the apology.
Jack focused again on Daniel. "But he'll regain his memory?" His voice suddenly wavered at the thought of Daniel's sharp intelligence gone forever.
Janet shook her head. "I honestly can't say, Colonel."
"I want to see him." Jack was already reaching for his clothes but Janet halted him with a hand on his arm.
"He's confused and frightened, sir. You're going to have to take it slowly. Don't push him to remember."
"Hey, this is me you're talking about," Jack protested, falling back on glib humor to steady his own nerves. "Jack 'Tact' O'Neill." He sobered immediately. "Let me go talk to him. At least I can try to keep him calm."
Janet nodded and quickly removed the IV from his arm. "You go in a wheelchair, Colonel. No putting any weight on that leg just yet, and let me clean up your face first. I don't want you scaring Doctor Jackson any more than he already is."
Jack probed gingerly at his cheek, feeling swelling over his cheek and jaw. "Not a good look, huh?"
Carter gave a weak smile and shook her head. "No, sir."
"Colonel O'Neill, Doctor Fraiser, keep me apprised of Doctor Jackson's condition," Hammond said before turning to leave.
"You got it, sir." Jack hoisted himself into the wheelchairas Teal'c stepped forward and waited while the doctor ran several swabs over Jack's face. "You two coming?"
"We'll wait outside," Carter said as she fell into step beside Teal'c. "Doctor Fraiser wants to keep visitors to one at a time."
Jack stopped in the doorway of the darkened isolation room. A green glow shone rhythmically from the monitors connected to the man in the bed. The lights had been dimmed in deference to Daniel's headache and photophobia, further symptoms of his head injury. Daniel shifted, his head turning toward the door.
"Jack?" The whispered sound of his name had Jack smiling in relief, but his hopes were dashed almost immediately when Daniel continued, "I remember you from before; somewhere else. What happened? Where am I?"
Jack pushed the wheelchair closer to the bed. Daniel's face was pale and the burn on his forehead an angry red. An IV was inserted into each arm, leads from the monitors trailed from his skull and chest. Slowly, Daniel opened his eyes and squinted at Jack.
"How are you feeling?" Jack frowned at the trite question, but this all felt so foreign, as though he was talking to a stranger. "This is Daniel,' he reminded himself. 'Your best friend, your teammate.' He tried a smile on for size.
Daniel looked as though he was processing the question. "Not good," he said finally in a voice scarcely louder than a whisper. "My head hurts -- a lot. The doctor who was here when I woke up said I have a concussion, but I don't remember how I got it, and she didn't seem very keen to discuss it with me." His hand crept over the covers toward Jack. The colonel reached out automatically, grasping it carefully, mindful of the IV.
"You're gonna be fine, Daniel. Some rest you'll be fine."
"I figured that must be my name," the archeologist said. "Everyone keeps calling me Daniel." His other hand strayed up to rub carefully around the burn. "I can't remember " His voice trembled and tears brimmed in his eyes. "Will you please tell me what happened, where I am *who* I am?"
Jack's heart clenched at the plaintive request. "It'll come back. You just need a little time." The hand in his squeezed tighter and he took a deep breath and leaned forward so he could see Daniel clearly. He gently brushed a stray lock of hair away from the burn. "Your name is Daniel Jackson, and you're an archeologist and linguist. I'm Jack O'Neill, your friend, one of them, anyway. There's a couple more waiting out in the corridor."
Daniel's eyes widened and he tensed suddenly. "I don't know them. He there's something weird with that big guy." He looked away. "He scares me," he whispered.
"Teal'c?" Jack tried to assure the younger man. "Teal'c's a little strange until you get to know him." He swallowed around the lump in his throat. "Look, the doctor wants you to get some rest "
"Why can't I remember?"
"You got a knock on the head. Doc says that brain of yours is a little swollen. In a couple of days, you'll be as good as new." He straightened in the chair. "I'm gonna let you get some sleep."
Daniel nodded but did not look at him. Heart heavy, Jack laboriously turned the wheelchair and headed for the door.
He stopped when Daniel called his name. "Yeah?"
"You're coming back, aren't you?"
Jack smiled over his shoulder. "You bet. I'll be here when you wake up."
Jack hobbled the length of General Hammond's office, ignoring the reproving glare sent his way by Doctor Fraiser. "Come on, Carter, this is Daniel we're talking about!"
Carter shrugged. "I know that, sir, but he's already freaked out by Teal'c " She cast an apologetic look at the silent Jaffa. "If he doesn't get his memory back, where does that leave us, and him, if we tell him all about the stargate?"
"He's going to get his memory back," Jack retorted. "It's just a matter of time. He's already getting flashes, right, doc?"
"Nightmares," Janet clarified. "Dreams and partial memories, but none of it makes sense to him yet."
"That is not surprising," Teal'c said. "What to us on Chulak seemed commonplace, such as the stargate, and the Gou'ald, are foreign and frightening concepts to the Tau'ri."
Jack rubbed his hands together, then limped toward the door. "I'm going to go talk to him, see how he's doing."
"Colonel, I'm going to have to ask you not to divulge any information about the stargate," Hammond put in.
Jack sighed. "Yes, sir."
"May I accompany you, O'Neill?" Teal'c asked.
Jack shrugged and gestured for the Jaffa to follow him. "Sure. Just wait outside, all right? He's still a little nervous around you." He flashed Teal'c a weak smile, but the Jaffa merely nodded in understanding, showing no offence at the remark.
Three days, Jack thought as they made their way to the isolation room. Three days and Daniel seemed no closer to recovering his memory than he had when they returned. It had to be terrifying to have your entire life just wiped away like chalk on a blackboard.
Daniel stared at the plain gray ceiling above his bed. He still had a headache but he felt uncomfortable asking the medical staff for anything, though he'd been treated with nothing but kindness since he'd regained consciousness several days ago. He'd asked the diminutive but authoritative Doctor Fraiser if he could get up, maybe take a look around the facility, but was rebutted with a gentle but firm no.
He felt like a prisoner and tried once more to sift through his thoughts in the hope of discovering just what he might have done to put him in his current predicament. He achieved nothing, except to increase his headache, and he shifted in the bed, turning onto his side, and burrowing beneath the covers in a vain attempt to muffle the pain. He didn't know how to act around anyone because he had nothing in his memory to base his actions on. He smacked the bed in frustration. Who was he? Where was he?
He felt a little better today though. His nausea had pretty much subsided and the light no longer hurt his eyes, though images were still somewhat blurry. He wondered if he wore glasses. Who to ask? Jack, probably. Despite having no memory of the colonel, Daniel could sense that there was some kind of relationship between them. Unlike the others who'd visited, Daniel felt comfortable with Jack, as one would with an old friend. He only wished that he could remember something to erase the perpetual frown on Jack's forehead. He'd suffered a few strange dreams, nightmares actually, but by the time he woke, they frittered away like quicksilver.
He knew he was in some sort of military establishment. Soldiers patrolled the hallways around the clock, and the man in charge had introduced himself as General Hammond. He seemed a nice man, Daniel thought, more suited to sitting by a fire with pipe and slippers than leading a bunch of soldiers.
The blonde woman he thought a moment Sam, that was it, was sweet and kind, but Daniel couldn't bear to see her any more. She sat by his bedside for hours, and just held his hand, her pretty blue eyes filled with tears. Daniel felt guilty, knowing it was his situation that made her cry.
The large black man bothered Daniel for reasons he couldn't begin to fathom. He had a strange emblem on his forehead, rather like a gold raised tattoo. Despite his misgivings about the man, Daniel was fascinated by it. There was something about Teal'c niggling at Daniel's mind but try as he might it would not be shaken free from the cobwebs of his brain.
There was a tap at the door and he looked up, a smile upturning his mouth when he saw Jack standing in the doorway.
"Daniel? How are you today?" Jack asked laconically. He limped over to the bedside and sank down into the chair placed there.
"Better, I think," Daniel replied. "Not so sick, and the doctor took one of the IV's out. She said maybe tomorrow I can get out of bed and walk around. Once I take a look around this place, I'm sure it will all come back to me."
"Maybe." Jack sounded rather vague about it. "Hey, listen." He pulled his chair closer to the bed. "Teal'c is outside. He'd like to come in and say hello. That okay with you?"
Daniel hesitated, then nodded slowly. He reached out and grasped Jack's arm as the colonel stood up, waiting until Jack turned back to him. "Where's my family?" Daniel asked softly. "Why don't they come to see me?"
Jack's smile disappeared and sat back down with a heavy sigh. "You don't have any family, Daniel. Your parents died when you were small, you don't have any brothers or sisters."
Tears stung Daniel's eyes, and he felt them overflow and dribble down his cheeks. "No one?" he whispered.
Jack reached out with one hand and gently thumbed away the tears. Leaning forward, he took Daniel's hand in his and squeezed it gently. "I'm going to tell you a few things, but you can't let anyone know. At least, not until you get your memory back. You know we're in a military establishment, right?"
Daniel nodded slowly.
"Well, the job you and I, Carter and Teal'c do here is top-secret, very important stuff."
"What?" Daniel asked. His voice croaked and he coughed to clear it. "What do I we do here?"
Jack groaned and scrubbed his face with his free hand. "I can't tell you. I can tell you this though. You're not alone, Daniel. You have me, and Carter and Teal'c. We're your family and you have a wife."
Daniel felt his spirits lift for the first time since he'd regained consciousness surrounded by strangers. "Where is she? Can I see her? Why isn't she here?"
Jack held up a hand to halt the flow of questions. "She's not here right now, Daniel." He stood and turned back toward the door. "Why don't I go get Teal'c?"
Daniel waited until Jack had his hand on the doorknob before he asked his next question. "What's her name?"
"Sha'ure,"Jack replied. He looked over his shoulder, studying Daniel intently and Daniel knew he was waiting to see if the name would spark some reaction.
He shook his head. "Sorry, it means noth-" An image prodded at his brain and he gasped. Just as suddenly, it was gone.
"Daniel?" Jack asked, concern evident in his voice.
"Something I saw her, I think. Does she have dark hair?"
Jack nodded and Daniel continued. "Someone else is there. I couldn't really see him, he's standing beside her though. His eyes there's something about his eyes. Why can't she come to see me?"
The door opened suddenly and Teal'c stepped into the room. A torrent of memories suddenly flooded through Daniel and he shrank back in the bed.
Shau're screaming as something attacked her. Shau're's beautiful face twisted with a grimace of disdain as her eyes glowed an unearthly gold and she brought up her hand to strike out at her beloved husband. This man, Teal'c, watching dispassionately as she was dragged away from her family and friends.
"You!" he whispered. "You took her. You took her from me and let them hurt her!" With a shout of anger, Daniel threw back the covers and charged at the man he knew had somehow hurt his wife. The Jaffa grasped his hands tightly, precluding him for striking a blow and Daniel twisted in his grip, struggling to get away.
"Daniel! Calm down!" Jack's voice was in his ear, the colonel's hands on his shoulders trying to pull him away.
"No!" Daniel shouted. "He hurt her." With a sudden burst of strength, he tore himself away from the two men and staggered back. A strange, high-pitched buzzing sound erupted in his ears and he batted at it frantically. His headache was back in full force, bringing with it nausea that caused bile to surge up his throat. Jack took a step toward him, one hand outstretched. Daniel's vision grayed out and he felt his knees buckle. He collapsed to the floor in a sprawling heap. By the time, Jack and Teal'c reached his side, he was seizing violently.
"I've had to lightly sedate Doctor Jackson to guard against further seizures," Janet told the group assembled around the briefing room table. "He's conscious, and hasn't suffered another seizure since the first one eight hours ago, but I don't want to take any chances."
General Hammond clasped his hands in front of him. "What about the swelling in his brain?"
"It doesn't appear to be any worse, in fact I'm sure it's actually beginning to dissipate."
Jack was determined to find some hope in the doctor's words. "Well, that's good, right?" A troubling thought niggled at him. "Why the seizure then?" He had a sudden idea. "He remembered something; something about Teal'c and Shau're "
Janet nodded. "I'm not sure if the memory itself caused the seizure or the overload ofadrenaline from his fear had something to do with it, or whether it had an ideopathic cause." She looked at Teal'c. "It might be best, Teal'c, if you "
Teal'c inclined his head in agreement. "I shall not approach Daniel Jackson again until his full memory has returned."
Jack winced at the obvious regret in Teal'c's words. He pushed back his chair and stood up. "Is Daniel well enough to move around?"
"With caution and close attention," Janet allowed. "What are you suggesting?"
"I want to take Daniel to his office; see if it triggers anything."
"Colonel," Sam cut in, "we've already agreed it would be best for security reasons not to let him see the rest of the base just yet."
Jack held out a hand. "Hear me out, okay?"
Sam nodded and sat back in her chair.
"All right," Jack continued. "Daniel sees Teal'c, has a pretty big recollection of where he's seen him before. Now, he's not going to remember anything, laying in a bed in a nondescript room that has no real meaning to him. If I take him to his office, maybe let him look at some of the artifacts he's got there - you can screen it first for security - maybe it might jog a good memory for him, though god knows, the kid's got precious few of them." He looked at Hammond. "What do you say?"
The general stared at Jack for a long moment, then slowly nodded his head. "All right, Colonel, give it a shot, but I want the doctor to accompany you both, and Captain Carter to secure the room first."
Jack nodded, a hint of a smile upturning his mouth. "Thank you, sir." He turned to Carter. "You coming?"
"Maybe later," she said, standing up and gathering her notes. "I'll secure Daniel's office, then I've got an idea I want to check out, but I don't want to say too much yet. There might be nothing in it."
Jack raised an eyebrow and waited for her to continue.
Sam sighed and gave a rueful shrug. "SG-2 brought back a hand device a couple of months back. Now Jolinar's memories tell me that you need to have a gou'ald within you in order to use it " She held up a hand when Jack opened his mouth in protest. "No, sir. I'm not planning on using it on Daniel or anyone else. I just want to study it a little more thoroughly, see if I can get some clues about what the hand device might have done to Daniel."
"We don't know for sure it was the hand device that caused the amnesia," Janet cautioned.
"You got any better ideas?" Jack's temper flared briefly, then he held up a hand, staving off a warning from Hammond. "Sorry, I'm a little wound up."
Janet nodded and offered him a tight smile. "We all are, Colonel. Apology accepted."
"What, no blindfold?" Daniel joked weakly as he was helped from his bed into a wheelchair. He wavered a moment as a wave of dizziness assaulted him, closing his eyes and grasping Jack's hand tightly until the disconcerting sensation passed.
Jack frowned and peered closely at him. "Are you sure you feel up to this? We could wait "
"No!" Daniel's reply was emphatic. "I've been waiting, forever, it feels like. If there's any chance that this might work, I want to try."
Jack clapped his shoulder lightly. "Okay. Your chariot awaits. Let's get out of here."
Daniel studied every face; every item they passed as the wheelchair was pushed along the corridor. They entered a large elevator and he felt his stomach churn as it descended rapidly. "Feels like we're going into the bowels of the earth," he muttered.
"Something like that," Jack replied casually.
"Doctor Jackson?" Janet Fraiser leaned over him, lifting his wrist and checking his pulse. "I want you to let me know if you feel the slightest bit unwell," she ordered.
Daniel nodded and gave her a smile. "I will."
The room they entered was rather dark. Jack stepped over to the desk and switched on a light. "This is your place," he announced momentously, sweeping an arm about the untidy, cluttered room.
"Not much of a housekeeper, am I?" Daniel said, gazing at the books lining the shelves and the papers overflowing the desk.
"You're a little single-minded when it comes to your research," Jack told him with a smile.
"But research on what?" He gripped the wheels of the chair and pushed himself over to the bookshelves. Running a finger along the spines of the books, he looked over at Jack. "Egyptology, mostly. You said I was an archeologist and a linguist, what's Egypt got to do with the military?"
Jack looked away briefly, then stared back at Daniel. "Don't worry about that side of it just yet. Just see if any of this stuff jogs anything loose in that mixed-up head of yours."
Daniel nodded and pulled a book from the shelf. The weight of the tome in his splayed hand felt familiar to him, a small comfort and he carefully turned the pages.
Nothing. They'd been here for hours, it seemed, and nothing had jogged the slightest memory. Daniel sighed and dropped the final textbook unopened to his lap, reaching up to massage his forehead. The burn had mostly healed now, leaving roughened, dry skin in its wake. He felt comfortable in this room, knew he belonged here, but there had been no flashes of acuity, no sudden revelations.
"You're tired," Janet observed, lifting the book from his lap and returning it to the shelf. "Let's get you back to the infirmary so you can rest."
Daniel grasped her hand where it rested on the arm of the wheelchair. "No, please. Just just a little longer. I'm sure something's going to come back."
Jack crouched down at his side. "Daniel, the doc's right. You're as white as a sheet, and you're sweating and shaky. Let's get you back to bed." He pressed a finger to Daniel's lips as the other man opened his mouth to protest. "You've seen all there is to see, maybe while you're sleeping, something will come to you."
Daniel nodded, his head dropping to his chest, accepting the sense in Jack's words. "Okay, all right." He looked up and his gaze caught something shiny dangling from the spine of the last book. "Wait, what's this?" Reaching out, he pulled the book out again and opened it to the middle pages. A circular medallion dangled from a silver chain. Daniel picked it up and studied it carefully. He looked at Jack, his eyes haunted, his brow furrowed in concentration. "The eye of Ra? What on earth is this doing here?"
Jack gave him a wide smile. "Yes! It is. It's yours sorta. An old friend gave it to you. Do you remember who it was?"
Daniel stared at the medallion, absently rubbing a finger over its burnished surface. Slowly, he shook his head, feeling tears sting his eyes. "No, I don't. I'm sorry."
Jack's hand squeezed his shoulder. "That's okay. Don't push it. It'll come, Danny. Let's get you back to bed." He touched the medallion and Daniel's hand closed tightly around it.
"Can I keep this? For a while?" he asked hopefully.
"Sure. It's yours after all." The colonel stood and pushed the wheelchair out of the room.
Daniel settled back on his pillows, aware of Jack's troubled gaze upon him. "I'm all right," he assured his friend. "Just a little shaky."
Jack nodded. "You want me to sit with you for a while?"
Daniel shook his head carefully, hoping not to awaken his headache with the movement. "I'm just going to sleep. You don't "
Klaxons sounded suddenly, startling him, and he attempted to calm his pounding heart. A muted voice issued from the intercom on the wall, requesting Doctor Fraiser and other medical personnel. The doctor patted his leg and hurried from the room, calling together a group of orderlies and nurses as she ran. Jack's gaze followed them and Daniel reached out and tapped his arm.
"Go," he said when Jack looked at him. "Sounds like something you should be in on," 'and me,' he added silently.
Jack hesitated for a moment. "You sure?"
Daniel waved him away, rolling onto his side so Jack couldn't see the despair on his face. "Go. I'm fine."
He couldn't ever remember feeling so frustrated. He managed a self-deprecating snort. He couldn't remember anything, so how would he know? The medallion felt cool in his hand and he opened his fist to study it once more. The eye of Ra. How did he know that? Did it really mean that his memory was finally returning?
He couldn't sleep, too many thoughts scurried through his head, too many what-if's and maybe's. What would happen once he was well enough to leave the infirmary? Where would he go? Home? He gave a small groan that came out sounding suspiciously like a sob. He didnt even know where home was.
Sitting up, he pushed off the covers and swung his feet over the side of the bed. Slowly he pushed himself to the floor, waiting until the now familiar dizziness eased before dragging a dressing gown about his shoulders and pushing his feet into battered slippers. He shuffled to the door. A nurse seated at the desk inside the infirmary looked up as he walked past, then stood and hurried over to him.
"Doctor Jackson? I don't think you should be out of bed."
Daniel cocked an eyebrow. "I've already been out of bed."
The nurse looked a little flustered at that, looking quickly around the otherwise deserted infirmary. "I don't think you should go anywhere on your own."
Daniel waved away her concern. "Colonel O'Neill's waiting for me outside."
She nodded and followed him into the corridor, which was equally deserted. Daniel shrugged. "He probably went on ahead." He walked away, stopping only when she snagged his sleeve.
"I don't think " she began uncertainly.
Daniel's patience ran out. "Look, I'm just going to my office. If you're concerned by that, you can get someone to come with me."
She nodded, seemingly appeased and hurried back into the infirmary. Daniel didn't bother to wait. Forcing his shaky legs to hurry, he made his way to the elevator and pressed the button. Stepping inside, his brow furrowed as he tried to remember what floor he should be heading for. Taking a guess, he stabbed at a button on the panel and clung to the handrail as the car descended swiftly.
He felt a little disoriented when he exited the elevator, unsure whether to go right or left. Finally, deciding he could always retrace his steps if he were wrong, he turned right and made his way along the corridor. As he passed a room, movement from inside made him slow then stop in the doorway. Sam Carter stood at a large table; her attention riveted on something in her hand that emitted a soft glow.
Daniel gripped the edge of the doorframe as unexplained fear assaulted him. He felt cold sweat break out on his brow and he gasped at the unpleasant sensation.
Sam looked up distractedly, then her eyes widened in surprise. "Daniel? What are you doing here?" She moved toward him, one hand reaching out to draw him into the room. "Come here, sit down," she urged, her pretty face creased with a frown. "You look as white as a sheet."
Daniel took a step away from her, shaking his head, his eyes fixed on the device on her hand. "Get away from me." He stumbled backward, his back hitting the wall behind him, then he slid down it as vivid memories came crashing back full-force and his legs gave out.
Sam's gaze darted to the device on her hand and, with a muttered oath she tore it off and tossed it onto the desk behind her. She took another step toward her distressed friend and crouched down. "Daniel? It's okay. It's me, Sam. No one's going to hurt you."
Daniel looked at her, his eyes wide and vacant. "She did," he whispered hoarsely. "Shyla used the hand device on me." He slumped to the ground, curling into a ball as he trembled from the onslaught of memories that coursed through his mind. He was only vaguely aware of a gentle touch on his shoulder, then footsteps that moved quickly away, echoing through the pain in his head. Hands touched him, turned him and he found himself looking into Jack's worried eyes.
"Daniel? What's happening?"
Daniel's eyelids felt like lead weights. He succumbed to the exhaustion pulling him under, one hand reaching out to grasp Jack's sleeve before oblivion took him. "I remember," he whispered.
Daniel forced himself not to fidget as Doctor Fraiser performed yet another examination. Clicking off her penlight, she patted Daniel's hand and smiled warmly at him. "Everything looks good, Doctor Jackson. Your scan shows the swelling has pretty much subsided, and you seem to have almost all your memory intact."
"Almost," Daniel echoed a little bleakly.
The doctor clucked sympathetically. "I'm confident the rest will return, given a little time. You'll just have to be patient." She looked up as the curtains parted and Jack, Carter and Teal'c stepped into the cubicle.
Daniel smiled. "Guys, it's good to see you. Teal'c, I'm sorry I went a little crazy on you."
Teal'c waved away the words, smiling gently. "It is a great relief to know you have recovered, Daniel Jackson."
Daniel nodded his appreciation and turned to Carter. "Sam, thanks."
"I didn't do anything, Daniel," Sam replied. "Janet says it might have been the hand device that provided the spark, or the subsidence of the brain swelling. I guess we'll never know for sure."
"If you hadn't thought of studying the device, it might not have happened," Daniel told her. He turned his attention finally to Jack.
Jack grinned back at him, the smile so familiar that Daniel felt a lump in his throat. "So," Jack said, "the doc's going to release you in a day or two. You feel up to some fishing?"
Daniel stared at him. "I may not have recovered my memory completely yet, but I do know that I don't like fishing. Nice try, Jack."
Jack shrugged. "Hockey and a few beers, then?"
Daniel nodded slowly, a smile slowly lighting up his face. "Sounds good. I seem to recall putting a six-pack of a really rare microbrew in my refrigerator."
Jack's face screwed up in obvious distaste, then broke out with another blinding smile. "You're on, soon as we spring you from this joint. We gotta go. Briefing with Hammond. Don't worry," he rushed on at Daniel's frown, "we're not going anywhere till you're back on your feet."
Daniel rested back against his pillows. "Thanks for everything."
"Anytime," Jack replied, giving him a thumbs-up. "Gate travel's not the same without you sneezing at me and going on about your precious rocks "
"Artifacts, Jack," Daniel chided him. "I have a feeling I've corrected you on that before."
"Just checking, Doctor Jackson, just checking."