RATED R - Explicit sex scene. Adult themes (rape). Angst. H/C of the emotional kind. Missing scenes for Hathor.
"DNA." Realization cleared some of the fog from Daniel's brain. He stared at Hathor. She stood inches in front of him, the warmth of her body soaking into his. He swallowed, pushing his thoughts past his attraction to her. "You mean you need DNA to prevent rejection?"
"The code of life." Her lips turned upward in a subtle smile. "We do so enjoy the method of procuring the code in your species." Her arms drifted upward, taking his glasses from his face. Her eyes stared into his, and he felt himself losing himself to her beauty. Her smile widened, and she raised one hand higher, her fingers brushing through his hair. "It is much more pleasurable than most."
Daniel stared at her, the desire in her eyes sending a chill down his spine. A warm tingle spread through his gut. "I bet."
Her hands gripped his jacket and slid it off his shoulders. "Since you are to be our first Pharaoh, you will honor us by being the one to contribute the code." Her right arm snaked behind his neck, her fingers playing with the wisps of hair at the base of his skull, sending jolts of anticipation into his groin.
He stopped breathing, trying to tear his gaze away from her, but he couldn't. What was wrong with him? This...This...Hathor was a Goa'uld. She wanted him to help her create more like her. More like those who had taken Sha're.
"You want me to help you create more Goa'ulds?" No.
Her smile widened, and she gave an imperceptible nod. He felt himself being pulled toward her.
No. He couldn't. He wouldn't.
His brain told him to step away from her, but his body refused to move. What had she done to him? Why couldn't he control himself? Anger swelled in his chest, and, finally, his body obeyed his commands, going rigid against her tug. He pulled back, his hand grabbing her arm. No.
She held him there, her eyes crinkling with amusement. He felt her warm breath on his lips. Then, suddenly, the room swayed. His head felt light, and he thought for a moment he was floating. The tension drained from his body, and his hand went limp on her arm.
Her smile grew, her eyes steady as she put her arms around him, caressing his neck. "Now that Ra is gone, we are finally free to rule this planet," her hands found the waistband of his pants, "with you, our Beloved, at our side for all eternity."
Her arms slid back up to his neck, and she pulled him toward her, her lips closing over his, her warm breath filling his mouth and sliding down his throat. He felt himself returning the kiss, his groin stirring. A faint voice in his head told him to stop... just stop... pull away... move... do something besides what he was doing, but he couldn't. He couldn't think clearly. Her presence consumed him. He felt the heat from her body, the soft touch of her hands on the back of his neck, and that faint voice in his head faded to silence.
Her hands slid to his shoulders, and she steered him to the bed. He felt numb inside, his body limp and yielding as she pushed him backward. He hit the mattress, bouncing softly, then she was on top of him. Her hands unzipped his pants and she lifted her body as she gently tugged them downward. Her eyes held his, and the tiny smile never left her face.
Her fingers plucked the waistband of his boxers, and they, too, came down, falling to his ankles and leaving him exposed. That faint voice in his head returned, banishing some of the fog that muddled his thoughts, and he tried once again to move his arms, but still he remained limp beneath her, his body betraying him. Heat touched his cheeks, and he summoned enough will to close his eyes.
He felt her warm hands on his stomach. Her palms slid beneath his shirt, caressing his chest and brushing over his nipples. His insides trembled.
He hadn't had such feelings since...since....
Suddenly he felt closer to his wife than he had since she'd been taken by Apophis. He could almost imagine it was Sha're on top of him, touching him. But he knew it wasn't. His wife was a prisoner. He spent every day trying not to think about what was happening to her. He knew she'd likely been violated in body as well as mind.
Like Hathor was violating him.
God... Sha're... I'm sorry. Had she screamed inside while Apophis laid his hands on her? Had she cried when he...
No. No. Tears budded beneath his eyelids, and one escaped, carving a hot path along the side of his face and plopping to the blanket beneath him.
Her lips touched his, and her tongue forced itself into his mouth, sliding over his. Her hot breath once again filled him, banishing the small voice of resistance to oblivion.
"Look at me, my Beloved."
Her smooth, rich voice filled his thoughts, and his eyes opened, locking with hers.
"Do you pledge yourself to me?"
His throat tightened, the fire in his groin consuming him. God, she was beautiful. So beautiful.... "I do."
Her eyes glowed, and her smile widened. When she spoke, her voice echoed with the deep, unnatural timber of the Goa'uld. "You will sire a new generation of Goa'uld, my Beloved. Now, we become one, and together we will rule this planet."
Her pelvis thrust forward, and he was inside of her, trapped by her hazel eyes as his body responded. He found himself moving to her rhythm, pushing harder and harder, quivering with exertion until, finally, he found release and collapsed, spent, against the mattress.
She sighed and fell forward, pinning him more completely to the bed. She rested her cheek on his shoulder, and her hair tickled his chin. "You have honored us, My Beloved, by providing the code. Was it not pleasurable?"
He closed his eyes, feeling her heart drumming above his chest, and that faint voice that had plagued him earlier returned, bringing the heat of shame to his cheeks.
My God, what have I done?
Daniel felt the warm body pressed on top of him shift, then the weight lifted, and he could breathe easier.
Hathor's soft voice filled the room. "Get dressed, My Beloved, then come to me."
She turned as he sat up, perched on the edge of the mattress, and smiled over her shoulder at him before walking out of the room. His pants and boxers rested in a puddle at his ankles, and he leaned forward, grabbing the waists of both and pulling them to his knees.
He sat there a moment, half naked, his cheeks burning, and tried to think past the fog that clouded his thoughts. The room looked slightly blurry to him, and he blinked a few times, remembering suddenly that Hathor had removed his glasses.
"Get dressed, My Beloved, then come to me." Her voice seemed to echo in his skull, and it compelled him to obey.
His legs felt like Jell-O, but he closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and forced himself to stand, then finished pulling up his pants and boxers. He fastened the button and closed the zipper, wincing at the disruption of the silence. The sound made what had happened real all of a sudden, dispelling the dream-like fog he'd taken refuge in while Hathor had used him to propagate a new generation of Goa'uld.
He shook his head, glancing at the door.
"Get dressed, My Beloved...."
The fog descended again, bringing with it sanctuary, and his eyes drifted lazily over the room until they found his jacket laying crumpled on the floor. Slowly, he shuffled forward and picked up the jacket, staring at the slightly blurry SGC insignia on the arm.
He slid into the jacket, his gaze drifting back over to the bed. His legs moved him to the mattress, and he sank onto the edge, losing himself to the fog and hoping for oblivion.
Sam entered the room, the large weapon clutched in her hands. Janet hovered near the entrance, standing guard.
The room was so quiet, Sam didn't realize anybody was in it until she turned toward the bed. She froze, her hand tightening on the gun before she realized who it was sitting on the mattress.
Daniel. Her grip on the weapon eased, and she hurried toward him. He just sat there, his shoulders hunched, his jacket rumpled and his hair disheveled. His eyes stared blankly at the floor, unblinking.
Something was terribly wrong. "Daniel?" She stooped closer to him. "You okay?" She lowered the gun and glanced quickly around the room. "Where is she, Daniel?"
He didn't respond. In fact he didn't even seem to know she was there. Something in Sam's chest twisted as she stared at his vacant eyes. What had Hathor done to him?
Heavy footsteps pounded in the hall outside, and Sam looked up as one of the woman soldiers appeared in the doorway, slightly out of breath. "Captain, we found her. She was spotted going into the locker room."
"All right, let's go." Sam made a move toward the door, then hesitated, her eyes going back to Daniel. He looked so...so...empty. She swallowed hard and leaned close to him, lowering her voice. "Daniel? You okay." She hated to leave him alone in his condition.
"Captain," the soldier prompted, her voice urgent.
I'm sorry, Daniel. Please be okay. She pulled herself away from him, adjusted her weapon, and hurried out the door.
The fog lifted suddenly, slamming him back to reality, and he found himself standing in the control room. Sam and Jack were there, talking about going after someone.
Daniel found his voice. "Hey."
Their eyes snapped to him, surprise flashing over their faces.
"What's going on?" Daniel studied their expressions. Why were they looking at him so strangely? "I must have blacked out."
Sam ignored his question and turned back to Jack. "I guess she needs to stay in proximity to keep control."
"Control what?" Jack asked, his brow furrowing.
"What?" Daniel looked back and forth between them. "What are you talking about?"
Sam looked at him, a hint of relief in her eyes. "Hathor. She, uh, had a strong influence on the men here."
What? Daniel's forehead crinkled with bewilderment. "I don't understand. What was I doing before now?"
"Not much, Daniel." A small smile touched her lips. "How are you feeling?"
"Uh, okay, I guess. A bit confused."
"That makes two of us." Jack glanced at the stargate, then back at Carter. "C'mon, Captain, you can fill us in on what exactly happened here while we head to the infirmary. I wanna check up on Fraiser and Teal'c."
"Huh?" Daniel stiffened. "What happened to Fraiser and Teal'c?"
"Nothing serious," Jack said, heading toward the door and giving Daniel a small pat on the shoulder. "C'mon."
Frustration gnawed at Daniel. Why wouldn't either of them give him straight answers? He followed Sam and Jack into the hallway, hoping Sam would indeed explain on the way what exactly had happened.
"Huh?" His attention snapped to Sam, and he realized she and Jack were both stopped in the middle of the corridor staring at him. "What is it?"
She bowed her head in sympathy. "You stopped walking. You okay? You were really out of it earlier."
"I...I'm fine, I guess."
"You really don't remember a thing?" She placed a hand on his shoulder, her fingers touching his neck. "Maybe--"
Her words were overridden abruptly by a silky voice that resonated in his skull. "You will honor us by being the one to contribute the code."
His insides twisted unexpectedly, and he stumbled back a step, jerking away from Sam's touch.
"Daniel?" Jack took a step forward. "What is it?"
He shook his head, driving the voice out of his mind. "Nothing. I'm fine. Let's go see how Teal'c and Fraiser are doing."
Daniel fidgeted on the exam table, feeling uncomfortably exposed with his shirt off. Things had settled down at the base after Hathor's disappearance through the gate. He had been getting some of his 'lost time' back in flashes of memory, and Dr. Fraiser and her team had given the destroyed sarcophagus and the gate room a thorough scientific going over. Now the doctor stood inches in front of him, stethoscope in hand, and placed the cold end of the instrument flat against his chest. She cocked her head, listening, and Daniel held his breath, going rigid as he tried to ignore her proximity.
"Sounds good." She removed the stethoscope and hung it over her shoulders, taking a step back. She stared at him in silence for a moment, her gaze critical. Finally, she asked, "So, you want to tell me why you thought we'd find some of your DNA near the sarcophagus?"
He dropped his gaze to the floor, releasing the breath he'd been holding. "Uh, well..." He wished he'd never mentioned they might find some of his DNA in the remains of the explosion, especially now that he knew they hadn't found any. He should have realized the blast would likely destroy all recoverable traces of the genetic material.
"Dr. Jackson?" Janet's tone softened. "Are you all right?"
He forced himself to meet her gaze. "Yes, I'm fine."
"You haven't answered my question."
His eyes remained steady, and he squared his shoulders. "I'd really rather not."
"Oh?" Her eyebrows climbed an inch. "I see." She paused, pursing her lips as she studied him. "Daniel," she dropped her voice to a near-whisper, "as your doctor, I need to know if there are, uh, other things I should look for."
His cheeks flushed, and he looked away. He didn't want to think about it, much less talk about it. Although he hadn't initially remembered much of Hathor's visit, flashes of memory gradually returned, brutal in their vividness, and he wished those flashes would stop. Ignorance really was bliss.
He took a deep breath and looked back up at her. "Hathor..." He felt suddenly light-headed and took another slow, deep breath.
"Yes?" Janet prompted, her face neutral.
"She needed DNA to make the Goa'uld infants compatible with the host species."
"Okay." Janet's brow furrowed. "Your DNA?"
"Y-Yes." He shifted on the table. Just say it. It's just a THING, just a physical thing. It doesn't mean anything. He swallowed, his hands clenching into fists on his lap. "She got my DNA by having sex with me."
She raped me.
He looked away suddenly. God, she really had raped him. He hadn't thought about it that way...had tried NOT to think of it that way. How many guys admitted to being raped by a woman?
Hell, most of the military jocks on the base would probably be lining up to slap him on the back and congratulate him on landing a voluptuous alien chick. The other half would likely mock him for being victimized by a woman, never mind that she was a Goa'uld and they had all fallen to her seductions. Perhaps a few would do neither, offering something much worse -- their pity.
"Okay, Dr. Jackson." Janet's voice penetrated his thoughts. "I'll run some more tests, make sure you haven't contracted any sexually transmitted diseases. You will, of course, have to be tested a few months down the road, as well."
He nodded. Get a grip. It's over. Nothing really happened. It was just sex. Just sex. Just a natural body function. All I did was lay there. It wasn't like I could help it. "Okay." His voice was remarkably steady.
"And I'll have to put this in my report."
His fingernails dug into his palms. "Okay."
"I also recommend you get, uh, counseling. I'll contact Mental Health, and..."
"No!" The vehemence in his voice surprised him, and Janet, too, apparently, because she stiffened, her eyebrows shooting upward. He swallowed and made an effort to speak slowly and deliberately. "I appreciate your concern, Doctor, but I'm okay." He forced a shallow smile on his face. "A little embarrassed, but okay. It's all kind of fuzzy, anyway."
Her expression softened. "There's nothing to be embarrassed about, Dr. Jackson. You and the rest of the men aren't responsible for your actions while under her influence. You really didn't have any choice in the matter."
"Yeah, I know."
"Now, I'm going to need you to strip."
He stiffened. "Huh?"
"I, uh, I'm sorry to have to put you through this, but there are some examinations I'm going to have to..."
"I get it," he said quickly. His fingers fumbled with the button on his pants, and he looked down to realize his hands were shaking.
Damn. He unfastened the button quickly, then pulled the zipper down. The soft sound of the metal teeth tearing apart sent his heart into a frenzy, and he froze.
He stared at his trembling hands. "I, uh...The bathroom."
"Sure. You know where--"
He bolted from the table and hurried to the restroom at the rear of the infirmary. It was a small one, with only two stalls, and he ducked into the closest one and collapsed in front of the toilet as his stomach bucked and twisted. He couldn't remember when he'd last eaten, but he realized he didn't have anything to throw up, so he just let the dry heaves work themselves out, clutching the sides of the toilet as his muscles coiled with each spasm.
Finally, his stomach settled, and he folded forward, resting his forehead on the cool porcelain.
The outer door creaked, and Janet's soft voice resonated through the room. "Dr. Jackson, are you all right?"
"I'm fine," he croaked, closing his eyes. "Please...Can, I uh, come back tomorrow for the tests?"
There was a brief pause, then. "I suppose that'll be okay. First thing in the morning, okay?"
"Dr. Jackson, about that counseling..."
"I'm fine!" He winced inwardly at the harshness of his tone and consciously lowered his voice. "Thank you, but I'll be okay. My stomach just got a little upset. I think it's from whatever chemical Hathor used."
"Uh-huh." She didn't sound convinced. "Well, I'll get an airman to drop you off at your place and pick you up. No driving until I see how you are tomorrow. Okay? And if you notice any other symptoms tonight--"
"I'll call in."
"All right." The door creaked again, and he heard her soft footsteps tap a retreat on the tile.
His hands released their hold on the toilet, and his arms fell limp to his sides. Why was he reacting so badly? He was stronger than this. Hathor hadn't tortured him or even really hurt him. All she'd done was...
He clenched his eyes tighter and swallowed. God, he'd been so helpless. So vulnerable. So shamed. He couldn't get it out of his mind...laying there exposed on the bed, powerless, while she brought him to an erection and then to climax...
His stomach lurched again, and his hands shot back to the toilet. He hung on while he heaved air and strings of bile into the basin, tears stinging his eyes as he rode it out again.
The spasms ended seconds later, and he collapsed again, dropping his head back to the cool seat. God, he wished he could just forget again, but he couldn't. He wouldn't ever be able to forget.
Dr. Fraiser shifted the folders in her arm and glanced at her watch as she hurried to the briefing room. It was late, and Dr. Jackson had gone home over two hours ago. The general and Colonel O'Neill, however, were still on base and waiting for her report.
She walked through the open doorway to the briefing room and spotted the two men already seated at the table, with Hammond in his usual place at the head and O'Neill seated to his right.
"General. Colonel." She nodded a greeting and took the empty chair to Hammond's left, placing the small stack of folders on the polished wood surface.
"How's the arm, Doc?" Jack asked, jerking his chin toward her.
"Okay, as you can see. It was little more than a flesh wound. Nothing serious." She smiled brightly. "Don't even need a sling."
"Glad to hear it," Hammond interjected. "Now, about your findings...."
"Ah, yes. Well, as you know, we found no DNA at the blast site. We've tested many of the men on the base -- it'll take a few days to go through them all -- but so far we've found no traces of the chemical Hathor used. Whatever it is, it either has a short half-life or it's something so foreign we don't have a test for it, and gas chromatography hasn't revealed anything unusual."
"Any reason we should be concerned?" Hammond asked.
"Side effects we should worry about?" Jack added.
"Not that I can detect. Hathor's had significant exposure to our environment outside of the base before she got here, so I see no reason to be concerned about contagion, but even if there was something to be concerned about, the genie would already be out of the bottle, so to speak."
Jack looked relieved. "So no quarantine? We can go home?"
"Yep, in fact, I already let Dr. Jackson go home." Her professional mask slipped, and she dropped her gaze to the smooth tabletop. "About Dr. Jackson," she looked back up, meeting the general's gaze, "I have some information."
O'Neill straightened. "Oh? And from your tone I take it it isn't good news?"
She shook her head. "No, Colonel, it's not." She rose from her seat and walked to the door, closing it and then returning to her chair.
"Uh-oh." O'Neill fidgeted. "That bad, huh?"
Fraiser took a deep breath. "There's no particular way to say something like this, so I'll just come out and say it. However, I want you both to know that this is a very private matter for Dr. Jackson -- as you'll realize in a moment -- and you are the only people I've told. I don't think he's told anybody, so it's only us three."
Hammond nodded. "Go on, Doctor. We'll keep this confidential if possible."
She hesitated a moment, holding the general's gaze. Sometimes she really hated being a military doctor. Managing the tension between her duty to the government and her duty to her patients wasn't always easy, but in this case, the general and the colonel had to know.
"Hathor raped Dr. Jackson."
"What?" O'Neill's voice was a whisper, his face slack with shock. "Is that what he meant, uh, when he said..."
"We might find some of his DNA?" She swallowed and nodded. "Yes. He told me she forced him to have sex with her because she needed his DNA to ensure that the larval Goa'uld she'd propagate would be compatible with the host species."
"I see." Hammond paused, his gaze growing distant for a moment, than snapping back to Fraiser. "Could she use that DNA only once, or does she now have that genetic information permanently? Can she use it to make more larva?"
"I don't know," Fraiser replied. "Her host appears human, and she's been on this planet for a very long time. I'd imagine she had access to human DNA before now, so it could be she needs the DNA immediately before each, uh, breeding."
"And Daniel?" O'Neill leaned forward. "How's he taking this?"
"Hard to say, Colonel." She sighed heavily. "He seemed disturbed, but that's to be expected. He became ill, but he claimed he was feeling queasy from whatever chemical Hathor'd used. Since none of the other men have reported feeling nauseated, I doubt that's what caused it, though it could be. Each person has different sensitivities. However, given his behavior, I'm pretty sure he was experiencing some unpleasant memories that affected him badly. I recommended counseling, but he refused. I also instructed him to come back tomorrow for more tests, so he won't be available for the first half of the morning."
O'Neill's eyes narrowed. "What kind of tests?"
Fraiser threw him an annoyed look. Surely he could figure it out. "Tests for sexually transmitted diseases, primarily."
"Oh come on," O'Neill slapped the table. "She's a Goa'uld! She's been in that box for thousands of years, right? I doubt she's carrying."
"Probably not, but I still need to do the tests just to make sure. Why does that upset you, Colonel?"
"It doesn't upset me!" He seemed to realize he was yelling, and his face became instantly contrite. "Sorry. I don't know." He shook his head. "I guess I'm just on edge. Of course you have to do the tests."
"It's okay, Colonel. It's been a very long couple of days."
"Yes, it has," Hammond agreed, turning to O'Neill. "And I'd say it's time you went home and got some sleep, Colonel. Report to my office at 0800 hours tomorrow morning and we'll discuss things further after I listen to the rest of the doctor's report."
"That's an order."
O'Neill nodded. "Yes, sir." With a final glance at Fraiser, he rose from his chair and walked stiffly to the door. He paused a moment, his back rigid, then turned the knob and slipped into the hallway.
"Hathor raped Dr. Jackson."
Jack's hands clenched the steering wheel as he pressed the brake pedal, bringing his jeep to a stop at the intersection. The red light glowed angrily in the night, reflecting his mood. Fraiser's words played over and over again in his mind. What should he do about it? What could he do about it? Daniel seemed to be handling it, at least he looked all right when Jack last saw him. Okay, there'd been that incident in the corridor with Sam, and he'd had a certain look in his eyes when he mentioned that Fraiser might find some of his DNA around the sarcophagus, but those were normal reactions...he supposed...considering...
Maybe he should stop by and check on Daniel. Or maybe not. Maybe Daniel wanted to be alone, and if he showed up he might just be crowding the kid. Hell, he had his own problems trying not to remember the things he'd done while under Hathor's control, though he was getting flashes of memory. He remembered standing in the locker room facing the end of Carter's gun and asking her if that was any way to treat a guest. Damn, he should've been stronger than that. He was trained to resist mind control, but he'd fallen hard and fast, and if it hadn't been for Carter, Fraiser, Teal'c, and the others, Earth would be swimming with baby Goa'ulds right about now.
He found out -- finally -- that Hathor had turned him into a Jaffa. Well, almost. A shiver bolted through him, and he was incredibly grateful he didn't remember that. It was bad enough having to listen to Carter describe him sitting in that bath with all those larva Goa'uld swimming around, looking for a home. He definitely didn't want the live-action memory playing in living color in his head.
He shivered again. A car horn behind him jolted him from his thoughts, and he looked up to see that the light had turned green. He shifted his foot to the accelerator and took off a bit too fast, causing the car to lurch violently and the tires to squeal against the blacktop.
He cursed the driver behind him. He would've seen the light...eventually. No need to be goddamned rude about it. He threw a glare into his rear view mirror at the car behind him. And I just had a really bad couple of days trying to save your butt from a snakehead and her baby snakeheads, you're very welcome.
He took a deep breath. Calm down. No need to take your frustrations out on the whole world.
Maybe he should go talk to Daniel. He was only about a mile away from Jackson's apartment. It would take him no time at all to get there. He didn't have to really talk, either. He could just drop by and, uh...uh... Well, he was out of beer at his place, anyway. Daniel usually kept one or two in the fridge just for him.
Daniel flipped through the channels, slouched on the couch in a pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt. His body screamed with fatigue. His shoulders and neck ached, and a faint headache threatened to erupt into something more painful behind his eyes. He'd tried to sleep -- for about twenty minutes -- but it was no good. His mind just wouldn't wind down, even though he desperately wanted sleep.
Television offered the next best alternative. Only there was nothing on. It was all crap. Infomercials and old TV shows or movies he'd either already seen or had no desire to see.
He glanced at the clock on the VCR below the small television. 10:28 p.m. Not too late. He still had many hours of quality sleep time left before he had to get up and head back to the base for Fraiser's tests.
He jerked the remote angrily as he flipped the channel. He didn't want any more of Fraiser's tests. God, he really hated the military. His privacy was nil now that he'd signed on with the SGC. They seemed to think they owned every aspect of him, that they had some innate right to know every gory detail of his life and psyche.
And now there was some official report floating around describing him as a rape victim. Great. Well, maybe Janet had phrased it a bit differently. If she was any kind of a friend, maybe she'd have worded it so that he didn't look like a complete weakling. Perhaps something like, "Hathor acquired genetic material from Dr. Jackson in the form of germ cells to ensure the larvae's compatibility with the host species."
Yeah, that wouldn't sound too bad. Hell, Jack probably wouldn't even know what that meant. A small smile touched his face. Okay, he really was being hard on Jack. The man was a hell of a lot smarter than he let on.
But, no matter how Fraiser worded it, it couldn't change what he'd done. He'd been an idiot. At least Jack and Hammond had had the good sense to be skeptical of her when she'd first arrived, but he'd considered her harmless, even asking that her cuffs be removed. God, he was so gullible. No wonder she'd picked him as her "Beloved." He'd asked for it. He should have seen her coming, but he hadn't. He knew the Goa'uld were dangerous, deceitful, and could inhabit either male or female host bodies, but he'd still discounted the threat.
It was his fault she'd taken over the base. His fault Earth had almost been populated with a new generation of Goa'uld. He'd screwed up. So what right did he have to feel sorry for himself? If he was a victim, he had no one to blame but himself. He had at least enough self-respect to take responsibility for his mistakes and move on.
He'd put what Hathor did to him out of his mind. It was over, and there was nothing he could do to change what had happened. When he found Sha're, he'd tell her he'd unwillingly shared a bed with another woman. She'd understand. She'd likely have suffered similarly at the hands of Apophis. He closed his eyes and tried to shove that image out of his mind.
A knock on the door startled him, and he glanced again at the clock, figuring only one person would likely have the nerve to bother him at such a late hour.
Jack stopped in front of the closed door to Daniel's apartment and listened. He heard faint voices overlaid with light music inside, which told him that Daniel was up and watching television. Either that, or Jackson had fallen asleep on the couch. He could just picture the kid slouched over the arm of the sofa, his glasses hanging crooked on his face and his hair rumpled, drooling on his arm.
He smiled and knocked three times, keeping his ear close to the door. The voices stopped suddenly, and he heard the soft shuffle of feet, then the floorboards behind the door creaked.
"Jack," Daniel's tired, muffled voice filtered into the hall, "it's late." Despite the feeble protest, the chain rattled and the knob turned, then the door swung slowly inward. Daniel leaned into the edge of the door, dressed in baggy sweat pants and a T-shirt, his glasses resting high on the bridge of his nose. "What are you doing here?"
Jack brushed past the younger man and headed straight for the kitchen. "Hello to you, too. I'm outta beer at my place. Got any?" Behind him, he heard Daniel sigh and push the door closed.
"In the fridge." Daniel's sock-clad feet shuffled again on the floor. "Help yourself."
"Thanks." He opened the refrigerator door and spotted two beers on the second shelf. "You want one?"
"No, I was about to head to bed."
Subtle hint, Danny-boy. Jack smiled as he grabbed the beverage, relishing the cold feel of the bottle in his hand, and closed the door. "Oh." He tried to look contrite as he unscrewed the beer cap and tossed it in the garbage under the sink. "You want me to leave?"
Daniel's shoulders slumped, and he sighed again. "No, no. It's okay." He gestured to the living room. "Have a seat."
"Thanks." Jack followed Daniel, plopping into the armchair while Daniel dropped onto the far end of the couch and leaned against the arm.
"So, what's up?"
"Nothing." Jack took a sip of the beer and shrugged. "Just in the mood for company, I guess."
Daniel studied him intensely for several seconds, his deep blue eyes unwavering. "Did you speak with Dr. Fraiser?"
Damn. Was he really that transparent? He dropped his gaze to the bottle clutched in his hand. "Yeah, I did." Taking a breath, he looked back up. "She told Hammond and me what Hathor did to you."
"Oh." Daniel pushed himself to his feet. "Actually, I think I will have that beer."
Jack pursed his lips. The bottle rested on his right knee, and he bounced that leg, watching as the glass bobbed up and down in response. "You okay?" His voice was so casual, he could have been asking about the weather.
"Yes, Jack, I'm fine." Daniel opened the refrigerator and grabbed the last beer bottle. "Is that why you came over here? To check up on me?"
Jack raised his bottle. "Beer. I came for beer."
"Not buying it, huh?"
"Look, Daniel," Jack placed his bottle on the coffee table and rose to his feet. He turned to face his friend. "I don't remember much about what happened with Hathor, though bits and pieces are starting to come back, but the parts I'm remembering aren't particularly pleasant."
"Oh?" Daniel's face remained neutral. He stood in the kitchen, his back to the refrigerator and the unopened bottle in his left hand. "You okay?"
Jack waved off the concern. "Yeah, yeah. It's just.... Well, you know, she made us all do stuff. We had no control. You get what I'm trying to say here?"
A small smile touched Daniel's lips. "Yeah. You're being your usual eloquent self." He set his bottle next to the sink. "Thanks, but really, I'm okay." He wrapped his arms around himself and slouched against the edge of the counter. "You can tell Hammond I'm fit for duty, if that's what you're getting at."
"No, Daniel, that's not what I'm getting at." Sarcasm touched Jack's voice, but he clamped down on it quickly. "I just wanted to stop by and see if you were okay."
Oh, hell, this wasn't going well. Maybe he shouldn't have come, after all. Daniel had a right to his privacy, and if he didn't want to talk about it right now, that was his business. Fraiser would be the one to decide how much information about what happened between Hathor and Daniel was relevant to Earth's security, and Jack was content to keep his nose out of it and let the doctor do her job.
"Look," Jack continued, "I'm sorry I bothered you. You say you're okay, so you're okay. I'll just go now. I'm about ready for bed myself."
Daniel didn't move from his position at the counter, and his arms stayed firmly wrapped around his torso. His expression remained flat, his eyes dull with neutrality. "Yeah, okay. You want me to dump your beer?" He jerked his chin to the bottle on the coffee table.
"Yeah. Sorry 'bout that." Jack cocked his head slightly, studying Daniel's defensive posture. Maybe the kid wasn't 100% okay, after all.
But, hell, it was Daniel. Jack knew the archeologist well enough, he liked to think, to realize that Daniel Jackson was tougher than he looked. He'd survived a hell of a lot of shit in his life, including losing his wife to the Goa'uld. Even that first night, after he'd returned to Earth from Abydos, alone and penniless, Jackson had dealt with it, just like he'd deal with this latest thing, too.
So probably the best thing for Jack to do was just to let Daniel deal with this Hathor thing on his own. Any overt hovering or constant "are you okay" inquiries would likely do more harm than good. Hell, if he were in Daniel's shoes, he'd just want to forget about it. He sure as hell wouldn't want to talk about it, especially not with someone who could count as his boss. Not that Jackson was all that bossable. Never had been, and that stubborn resolve had tended to do more good than harm, so Jack had to count his blessings.
"Huh?" He realized he'd been standing at the edge of the kitchen just staring into space. "Oh, sorry. I'm going now. Right." He turned toward the door, taking a few steps and bouncing off the edge of the counter. Damn. He was more tired than he thought. No way half a beer should have affected him so noticeably. When was the last time he'd gotten sleep, anyway?
"Yeah?" He turned back around, rubbing absently at his hip.
Daniel fidgeted, still perched against the counter with his arms wrapped around himself. "You, uh... Look, you seem pretty tired. Maybe you should just stay here tonight."
Jack pursed his lips. Daniel was offering, but his expression said he'd really rather not have Jack spend the night.
"No, no. It's okay. I can drive."
"Goodnight." Jack turned back to the door, suddenly feeling the ache of fatigue in his muscles. He couldn't help the yawn that escaped as he reached for the doorknob.
"Oh, come on, Jack. Take the couch. I couldn't live with myself if a telephone pole jumped out in front of you."
Jack hesitated by the door. He didn't have his toothbrush here, or pajamas, or a change of underwear...
"You can borrow some sweats from me, and since I need a ride to the base tomorrow, I can go with you. We'll stop by your place to let you change and brush your teeth. Okay?"
Jack's eyebrows rose, and a surprised smile lifted his lips. "You read minds?"
"Yes, it's a secret talent of mine." Daniel finally unwrapped his arms and gestured to the couch. "Go on, I'll get you a pillow and some blankets."
"Thanks." He gave into another yawn and shuffled back to the living room.
"Don't mention it, but if you watch television, keep it down or I'll have to do you bodily harm."
Jack mocked a salute. "Aye-aye, Danny-boy." He shooed him away. "Now, go round me up some blankets so I can get my ass to bed. It's been a very looong couple of days."
Hands on his ribs, sliding up, a body pressing against his, arms holding him.
A sweet voice whispered into his ear. "Do not worry yourself. You will enjoy the rituals that come with what we are giving you. You will cherish the good health and long life that goes with being..."
Fire exploded in his gut, hot shards of agony tearing though him. He choked back a scream and pulled away from the source of the pain.
The silky voice turned deep and rough. "...Hathor's first new Jaffa."
He looked down at his bare stomach, his hands trembling, and saw the gruesome "X" carved into his flesh...
Daniel lay on top of the covers and stared up into the darkness. He'd tried just keeping his eyes closed, but that tactic had brought him no closer to sleep. He'd tried reciting the alphabet of a dozen languages, but that hadn't helped his insomnia, either. He'd even tried counting sheep. By the two-hundred and fiftieth sheep, he'd stopped, still wide awake.
He glanced at the clock on the nightstand next to his bed. 2:01 a.m. If, by some miracle, he got to sleep right then, he'd get a little over 4 hours of sleep before his alarm would go off. That would make a total of five hours sleep in two days.
But he was kidding himself if he thought there was a chance in hell he'd get to sleep anytime before dawn.
A broken cry followed by a crash and a thud had him springing off the mattress and running for the door before his brain even registered what he was doing.
He flung open his bedroom door and flew toward the living room, sliding to a stop near the armchair. There was Jack, on the floor, his legs tangled in the blanket, holding his borrowed T-shirt up with one hand while running his other shaking hand over his stomach.
"Jack? You okay?"
Jack's head snapped toward him, and he deflated suddenly, closing his eyes and dropping flat on his back. A violent sigh escaped him, and he gave into a harsh chuckle. "Well, I guess my days of blissful ignorance are over. I now have the full technicolor version."
Daniel's brow crinkled. "Huh? What are you talking about?"
Jack opened one eye to look at Daniel. "I was always curious how they made Jaffa. Now I know."
"Ohhh." Daniel moved closer to Jack, dropping onto the sofa and leaning down to work the blanket away from Jack's legs. "Pretty bad dream?"
Jack rose to a sitting position and gently kicked the rest of the blanket away from his legs. "Oh yeah." He shifted to his knees, then put one hand on the coffee table and pushed himself up to slide on the sofa.
Daniel studied his friend. Jack looked much older all of a sudden, the lines in his forehead and around his eyes more pronounced, highlighted by an overall air of fatigue. "You okay?"
"Yeah." Jack's voice was weary, and he leaned back. "I've had worse dreams." He went silent for a moment, his face somber, then he looked over at Daniel and narrowed his eyes . "You look remarkably alert for a man who should have been rudely awakened from a peaceful slumber."
Daniel shrugged and slouched further on the couch, tilting his head back. "You didn't wake me. I was already up."
"Oh, don't tell me you were working? Daniel, you can't keep pulling these all-nighters."
Daniel closed his eyes, too tired to bother forming a response. Maybe if he just sat there, he'd fall asleep....
Or maybe not. "I'm tired, Jack." He lifted his head wearily. "If you're okay, I'm going back to bed." He pushed himself off the cushion and headed toward his bedroom.
Jack's voice stopped him. "Insomnia?"
He didn't bother looking back. "Yeah, for the past two days now."
"Ever since Hathor," Jack commented, his voice low. "Fraiser could give you something..."
Daniel turned to face him. "No. I don't need any more mind-numbing drugs in my system. I'd think you'd understand that after--"
Jack raised his hands in surrender. "I do, believe me. It was just a suggestion. No need to get all defensive."
"I wasn't defensive."
Daniel sighed and turned back around, waving a dismissive hand in the air. "Goodnight, Jack."
"Are you actually gonna go to sleep, or are you just gonna lie awake counting rocks in your head?"
Daniel turned again, his shoulders slouched with resignation. "I take it you mean 'artifacts.'"
"Yeah, whatever. So, you wanna watch a late night movie and order some pizza?"
Daniel's face twisted. "At this time of the morning?"
Jack shrugged. "Hey, pizza is good any time of the day or night. It's a very versatile food choice. I've been thinking next time we go to Abydos, we should bring a few extra large pepperoni and sausage pizzas for Kasuf and the gang."
Daniel looked heavenward, holding back a smile that threatened to escape. "I'm sure they'd appreciate the cholesterol."
"Better than that moonshine you taught them to make."
"I initially meant it to be a cleaning agent."
Jack's jaw went slack. "You're kidding."
The smile tugged at his lips. "Maybe." He glanced at the VCR clock. "And I don't think there's any place open that'll deliver."
Jack raised a finger. "Let me handle that. Formica's is always open for delivery!"
"Let me guess, you have their number memorized."
"You know me so well, Danny." Jack said, moving to the phone on the table near the kitchen.
Shaking his head, Daniel shuffled back to the couch and sank onto the cushions, smiling softly as he listened to Jack place the call. Maybe insomnia wasn't so bad, after all.
"You doing okay?"
Daniel lay still, dressed only in a thin, cotton medical gown, and stared at the bright red sharps disposable bin resting on the counter against the far wall of the infirmary, his face turned away from the woman standing over him. "Uh-huh."
"Easy for you to say." He felt almost claustrophobic, as though the flimsy curtain surrounding him and the doctor were pressing inward, threatening to suffocate him.
"You sure you don't want me to give you a mild sedative?" Dr. Fraiser asked.
He closed his eyes, his fingers digging against the hard surface of the table beneath him. "I'm sure."
"All right. I'll try to get through this as quickly as possible. I'm going to start by taking a look."
He swallowed hard as he felt her hands brush the top of his thighs and lift the delicate material covering his genitals. Warm latex-covered fingers gently grabbed his penis and lifted it, probing. He felt the organ starting to harden beneath her touch, and his cheeks grew hot.
"How you doing?" she asked.
"Fine," he croaked, his throat tight.
Her fingers moved to his testicles, his penis hardening further, and bile touched the back of his throat.
Hathor's familiar, stifling voice echoed from the recesses of his memory. "We do so enjoy the method of procuring the code in your species."
"I'm going to do a skin scraping. It shouldn't hurt."
He nodded, his throat so tight that he couldn't even swallow.
"Look at me, my Beloved.... Do you pledge yourself to me?"
Warm hands held his penis. The sound of metal scraping against metal screeched in the small confines of the curtained cubicle.
He flinched, his eyes springing open. "I can't," he choked, slapping at the hand holding his genitals and bolting off the table, keeping his head turned away from the doctor.
"Daniel, it's okay."
He grabbed his clothes off the chair next to the exam table.
"Get dressed, my Beloved, then come to me."
The bile at the back of his throat rose higher, and he dropped the clothes and flung the curtain aside. He knew he wouldn't make it to the bathroom, so he lunged for the sink and threw up what was left of the pizza he'd had earlier that morning.
"Here, let me get you some water."
He shook his head, turning on the faucet and grabbing one of the plastic cups sticking out of the wall dispenser. Quickly, he washed out his mouth and spun around, brushing past Dr. Fraiser without looking at her. There was a VIP room just around the corner...
"Dr. Jackson, hold on a moment."
He snatched up his pants and hopped into them, then picked up the small pile that constituted the rest of his clothes and lurched for the exit.
"Dr. Jackson, look... wait...."
"Is there a problem? Should I go after him?" Daniel heard a male voice ask from behind him.
"No, I'll go after him."
Daniel broke into a run, his bare feet slapping against the hard floor of the corridor. He turned the corner and spotted the VIP room to his right. He heard Fraiser still calling after him as he barreled into the room and tossed his clothes away, then locked the door.
His legs buckled. He slid down the door to the floor and dropped his head to his knees.
"Dr. Jackson." The door rattled with hard knocking. "Are you okay?"
Daniel swallowed, taking a deep breath, and hoped he'd be able to form a somewhat steady reply. "I just need a moment... please."
The knocking stopped. A long pause followed, then, "Okay. Will you come back to the infirmary when you're... well, whenever you're ready?"
He closed his eyes, on the verge of hyperventilating. "Yes."
"Okay.... I'll, uh, leave you alone right now."
"Thank you," his whispered, even though he knew she wouldn't be able to hear him. He laced his fingers behind his head and struggled to control his breathing as he listened to her retreating footsteps.
"The technicians are still going over the security footage for the past forty-eight hours for anything that might indicate Hathor compromised this facility or otherwise took off with sensitive information." Hammond leaned forward in his chair and folded his hands on the desk, his face somber. "As you can imagine, that's taking quite a long time."
"Right." O'Neill nodded, the fingers of his right hand drumming against the arm of the chair. "I can imagine. And, uh, not that I mind these little chats of ours, sir, but I take it you wouldn't have called me in here to discuss security footage unless they found something."
"Yes, they did."
O'Neill's back went rigid as he watched the general's face pale. "Uh-oh."
"It's nothing we don't already know, however."
Jack swallowed. "Daniel?"
Hammond nodded. "Yes. The security camera in the VIP room caught it all."
"Those things really stay on?"
"Yes, all the time, unless we specifically turn them off."
Jack fidgeted, his stomach doing a flip-flop. "Uh, I'm not going to have to watch that, am I?"
Hammond shook his head. "No, not if you don't want to. I'm alerting Fraiser to its existence, however. I think she should have it to evaluate Dr. Jackson's emotional and mental state. I just wanted to get your input."
"Sir, begging your pardon, but don't you consider that a little... you know?"
"No, I don't, Colonel."
"Come on, General. Does national security really depend on us watching Hathor do the horizontal mambo with Daniel? Don't you think that's invading his privacy just a bit much?"
"I understand your position, Colonel, but --"
"You watched it already, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did. The technicians were forwarding me all relevant footage with only brief explanatory labels. It, uh, took me by surprise, to say the least."
"I see. Well, if you want my input, sir, I say we just erase it and forget anybody ever saw it... Aww, hell, how many technicians saw it?"
"I instructed them to use the utmost discretion."
"C'mon, sir, you really expect that won't get around after being plastered on a monitor for who-knows-who to see?"
"Colonel--" Hammond was cut-off when his phone rang. His face flashed with momentary relief as he snatched up the receiver. "Hammond." As he listened to the caller, his expression darkened, and he focused concerned eyes on O'Neill. "I see, Doctor. Thank you. SG1 has nothing scheduled for today besides follow-up work to Hathor's visit, so that shouldn't be a problem.... Yes, I suppose I can do that. I can authorize two days until I review the schedule. Yes, he's right here. I'll tell him. Goodbye, Doctor"
Jack's eyebrows went up as Hammond returned the receiver to its cradle. "Sir?"
The general sighed heavily. "That was Dr. Fraiser informing me that Dr. Jackson will most likely be unavailable for the rest of today."
Jack blinked. No. "Don't tell me she found something...."
"No, she didn't quite get that far. Dr. Jackson took off in the middle of the exam. He's holed up in VIP room three near the infirmary."
Daniel had no idea how long he'd been sitting there with his forehead on his knees as he flirted with sleep, but even though he was exhausted, his mind still refused to shut down. At least he felt better. Maybe he could actually make it through Fraiser's exam next time.
He took a deep, calming breath and raised his head, eyeing the bed longfully. The dark blue covers looked...
He blinked. Dark blue covers. His gaze slid around the room, and he stopped breathing for a moment. This wasn't the room. It couldn't be. It looked a little different, he was pretty sure. Almost the same, but not quite. The military just had a thing for uniformity.
His forehead crinkled as he pushed at the hazy memory teasing his brain. What level had he been on when....?
His stomach lurched, and he swallowed hard. Damn. Damn. Damn. Get a grip. Just get over it, already. It's nothing. Nothing. Nothing. NOTHING! Just a THING. It doesn't mean anything if I don't let it. And I won't let it. I won't let it get to me.
But he couldn't pull his eyes away from the blue covers. He could almost smell her...feel her warm breath in his mouth her tongue sliding over his...her hands touching him...making him respond to her...his body rocking with hers...
Jack walked into the infirmary and immediately spotted Fraiser standing hunched near a computer monitor that was perched on a small desk in the far corner. Hey, Doc.
She turned, her face grim, and nodded a greeting. Colonel.
He looked around, but saw no one besides himself and Fraiser. Is Daniel still in the VIP room?
As far as I know.
He became agitated during the examination and ran out. I checked on him, and he asked to have some time to himself. That was almost an hour ago.
"Just how agitated?"
She sighed and leaned back against the desk. "At the moment, Colonel, I'd prefer to protect as much of Dr. Jackson's privacy as possible."
"All right," he nodded approvingly. Fraiser was okay for a Doc. "Is he, uh..." His voice trailed off when a familiar pair of boots on the floor caught his eye. "Those Daniel's?"
"Yeah. He forgot them when he ran out, but he said he'd be back when he was ready."
Jack walked over to the shoes and picked them up. "Look, Doc," he turned to her, the boots hanging in his right hand, "is it really necessary to do this today?"
"Yeah. I mean, you said it yourself. The odds that he got anything like that from Hathor are pretty low, and you already examined him, anyway."
"I did a general physical screening, but I didn't specifically test for STD's."
"Can't it wait?"
"I wanted to do it yesterday, but I postponed it until this morning. You want me to postpone it again?"
Jack nodded. "Hammond gave SG1 two days of down-time. I was thinking Daniel and I could hit the lake. Relax. Get away from this place." He gave a sweeping gesture with one arm and threw her a pleading look.
"If he does have something, the earlier we catch it, the better." She paused, pursing her lips as she took in his expression. "Look, if I can just get a skin scraping from him, that'd suffice for now, and I can let him go and you two can do whatever you want."
A skin scraping? A shiver tingled Jack's spine. Ouch. He fidgeted, unconsciously bringing his legs closer together. "Uh, you know, Doc, I can see why Daniel bolted."
"It's not that bad, Colonel, and there's very little pain."
"Maybe so, but, well... I mean, c'mon, after the Hathor thing I doubt very much Jackson wants his goods put on display for anybody."
Fraiser gave a long sigh. "Tactfully put, Colonel, and thank you, but I'm already well aware of that. I suggested he seek counseling. He refused. I offered a sedative. He refused."
"He just wants to forget it and put it behind him, right? So let him. He doesn't need a shrink."
Fraiser's expression remained eerily flat. "Thank you for that opinion, Colonel, but the fact is, Daniel was raped. I've done some research on what men who are raped by women generally experience emotionally and psychologically. There's not a lot of data, however, because most men don't report it, but what little data there is indicates that rape has just as severe psychological effects on men as it does on women, though the two genders tend to handle their emotions differently. Both, however, often experience depression and delayed trauma symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder."
"Yeah, but, Doc, we're not talking about Daniel being strapped to the bed and--"
"Colonel!" Fraiser's cool mask dropped, her eyes flashing with anger, and she took two steps toward him. She glanced briefly around and lowered her voice. "Dr. Jackson was drugged and forced to engage in sexual relations with Hathor against his will. That's rape, and if you don't think it's all that bad, well... You didn't see his face when Carter and I found him sitting on the bed in the VIP room in a catatonic state. We found him just after Hathor had finished with him."
Jack dropped his gaze quickly to the floor, studying his own boots as he played that image in his head. It made his stomach churn. "Look, Doctor," he swallowed and raised his eyes to meet hers, "I'm sorry. That's not what I meant, okay. I didn't mean to sound like I was downplaying what happened. I just mean that... Well, Daniel's been through a lot already. He's a tough guy. I think he'd handle all this a lot easier if we just gave him some breathing room."
"Breathing room?" She tilted her head and looked up at him. "Is that why you spent the night at his place? Is that why you're holding his boots getting ready to check on him? Is that why you laid into Hammond about the security tape--"
He opened his mouth at that last comment, but she talked right over him. "Yes, Colonel, Hammond called me right after you left his office to head here. He told me about the tape and that you were concerned about protecting Dr. Jackson's privacy. I told him I wouldn't need to see it if he could tell me whether the tape showed Daniel sitting unresponsive on the bed when Carter and I found him. I just wanted to know if that was before or after Hathor sexually assaulted him. If it was before, then I would assume it was a reaction to whatever chemical she used. If it was after, I'd assume it had more to do with the rape since none of the other men exposed to the chemical had such severe reactions. You all were dopey, but pretty damn responsive. If you hadn't been, Hathor wouldn't have had much control over the base, now would she?"
Jack looked away again. Damn, she had to bring that up again. Hathor had played him way too easily, drugs or no drugs. He should've been stronger than that. Hell, he was trained to resist mind control drugs.
"Oh, don't look like that, Colonel," Fraiser's voice softened. "It wasn't your fault. All of the men succumbed to Hathor's influence except for Teal'c, and that's only because his symbiote protected him from the effects."
"You gotta love Junior." He glanced down at the boots in his hand, lifting them slightly. "Well, I'm going to reunite Daniel with his boots. So, I can tell him his exam is nixed until after vacation?"
She raised an eyebrow. "That's not exactly what I said, but..." She pursed her lips, studying him. "Okay. I'm going to prescribe him some mild sedatives, though, which I know he probably won't touch, but just in case he needs them. Tell me honestly, Colonel, did Jackson sleep last night at all?"
Jack shifted on his feet and shrugged. "Uh... No. Guess not."
"Right. That's what I figured. He looks about ready to drop. So go get him, take the pills, and go have a couple of relaxing days. Got it, Colonel?"
"Aye-aye, Doc." He smiled and gave a sloppy salute before turning and hurrying to the exit. "Thanks!"
Jack stopped in front of the door to VIP room three and listened. It was quiet inside. Maybe, if luck was shining on the kid, Jackson had finally managed to fall asleep.
He raised a fist and knocked lightly on the door, then waited. Daniels boots hung casually in his left hand. No answer. If Daniel was sleeping, Jack didn't want to wake him, so he slid his card into the security lock and turned the knob, pushing slowly until he could just peek his head inside.
It took his eyes a moment to adjust to the dimness of the room, but as details emerged from the shadows, his stomach dropped. The room was a mess. The blankets and sheets had been taken from the bed and tossed into a tangled heap on the floor. A lamp lay overturned next to the bureau.
Jack walked cautiously into the room, closing the door behind him. Daniel?
He looked around further, spotting Jackson's shirt and jacket laying on the floor immediately to his left. He stooped slightly and set the boots next to the pile of clothes, then straightened.
Where are you, Daniel?
His eyes snapped to the closed door set in the wall to his right, and the thin sliver of light framing the bottom told him someone was likely on the other side. Jack figured that was probably the bathroom. He stood still for a moment, listening, but he couldn't penetrate the silence. If Daniel was in there, he was being very still and very quiet.
Jack went rigid, his eyes locked on the closed bathroom door. Danny?
He waited several seconds, listening to the shallow sound of his own breathing, but no answer came forth. Damn. He took a deep breath and glanced again at the pile of clothes on the floor. If Daniel was barefoot and wearing only pants, he very likely hadn't left the room, so odds were he was on the other side of the bathroom door.
Then why wasn't he answering?
Jack forced his legs to move and stopped inches from the door. He took a deep breath and knocked. Daniel? You in there?
Again, no answer.
Come on, Daniel, I know you're in there. Open the damn door. He waited a few seconds, but received no response. I'm coming in. Okay? If you're not decent, you've got three seconds to get decent.
He waited two more seconds before turning the knob and pushing the door carefully inward. He spotted Daniel immediately and released a sigh. His relief, however, turned again to concern. Daniel was sitting in the shower stall, wedged in the corner, his legs pulled up and his arms wrapped around his knees. His head hung forward, his face hidden by his arms. He was soaked, sitting in a puddle on the tile. His pants, the only clothing he had on, were just as wet, clinging to his legs and dripping more water into the slowly-expanding puddle.
Not good. Jack swallowed and pushed the door open further, stepping inside. "Daniel?"
He didn't get an immediate response and wondered if Daniel had fallen asleep. He was just about to move closer when Daniel answered in a low, hoarse voice.
"Are you here as my friend or boss?"
Jack took a few steps forward and sat on the closed toilet lid. "I'm here as your friend, Daniel."
Daniel didn't move, his face remaining hidden in his arms, muffling his voice. "Good," his voice trembled slightly, "because I could really use one right now."
Jack leaned forward. That was an unusual admission coming from Daniel. "What can I do?"
"Leave me alone."
He flinched back. "That's what you want?"
Jack was tempted to change his answer and say, 'Then I'm here as your CO,' but he held back. Daniel needed something right now. No one was sure what exactly -- not even Daniel -- but how long could he leave the kid alone with his demons?
"Daniel," he began, his voice soft, "I'm here to tell you that you don't have to go back for the exam today...or tomorrow...or the next day. Hammond's given us two days of downtime. I'm heading up to the lake, and I was hoping you'd come with me."
Jack sighed and rose to his feet. "I'll leave you alone, but I'm gonna be right outside in the room. When you're ready, come on out. We'll split."
Finally, Daniel raised his head to look at Jack. His eyes were bloodshot. "Really? Two days? I don't have to go back to the infirmary?"
Jack smiled, pleased to see some interest from the young man. "Eventually, but not for a while."
"Good." He looked around, his brow furrowing as if he just realized where he was. "I'm going to go home, try to get some sleep. You have fun at the lake, Jack, but I'm not going with you." He rose to his feet, swaying a little, his eyes heavy with fatigue. He looked down at himself, and the crease in his brow deepened. "Pants. I'm wet."
"Yeah." Jack shook his head. The lights are on, but... "I'll get you some dry ones. Come on, why don't you lay down on the bed and try to sleep?" He gently grabbed Daniel's elbow and steered him out of the bathroom, then guided him toward the bed.
He'd gotten only a few feet when Daniel suddenly jerked away from him, shaking his head. "No."
Jack turned to face him. "What is it?"
Daniel's face darkened, and he shook his head, tilting to the right, then moved his legs as he veered toward a small chair pushed in the corner. He sank onto the thin cushion and leaned his head back against the wall, his eyes closed. "Just go, Jack. I'm really not good to be around right now."
Dropping to the edge of the mattress, Jack asked, "Why not?" He jerked his chin toward the bathroom and lowered his voice. "You wanna tell me what that was all about?"
Daniel didn't bother opening his eyes, and when he spoke, his voice was slightly slurred with exhaustion. "I don't even know what it was about. I just keep getting these flashes. I don't know why I can't get passed it, but it keeps coming right back to front of my mind, and I think, 'Is this what Sha're's going through right now?'" The question caught in his throat, and he clenched his eyes more tightly closed. "While I'm sitting here, is she being--" This time his voice broke completely, and he tripped over his next words. "Over and over... and I can't just sit here and not think about it, or think about Hathor, or smell her, or hear her voice, and...and..." He leaned forward suddenly and buried his face in his hands. "GOD!" His tone turned caustic. "Why did I fall for her act?! Why was I so stupid?"
"Hey!" Jack leaned forward. "We all fell for her--"
"No," Daniel shook his head, taking his hands from his face and lacing them behind his neck. "No, I was the one she got to first. I brought the rest of you down with me...convinced Hammond to let her give him that kiss...I remember that. She got to me first because I was the most gullible, and then she used me to get to you. And now I've got these things in my head that I can't get out, and I know I brought them on myself--"
"Hey!" Jack was on his feet. "Are you serious? You think you deserved what she did do you? No way, Daniel. You know what this is, don't you? What you're feeling? This guilt? Thinking you're responsible? Believe me, I know what that feels like. You gotta take a step back and look at it for what it is. It's just a symptom."
Daniel shook his head. "Sometimes people do screw up and they are to blame, Jack."
"Yeah, sometimes they do, but I was there, remember? We all discounted her. I thought she was a lunatic even though she knew about the Stargate and called it the Chappai and knew waaay too much just to be your ordinary fruitcake. So if you're laying blame, spread it around, Danny. Don't go hogging it all yourself."
Daniel finally lifted his head, but his eyes didn't quite meet Jack's. "Those are just words, Jack. I've already told myself most of that over and over again, but it just doesn't change anything." His gaze drifted restlessly around the room. "I don't want to talk..." His voice faded when his eyes focused on something near the ceiling. His brow furrowed as he stared at it, and his face paled.
"What?" Jack swallowed, afraid he'd see a huge alien spider behind him, or something, but he turned anyway and followed Daniel's gaze.
Shit. There, hanging in the corner just below the ceiling, was a small, unobtrusive security camera.
"All the VIP rooms have those, don't they?" Daniel asked, his voice uncannily flat.
Jack didn't have a clue what to say. It had been pretty much a rhetorical question, anyway. He could tell by Daniel's face that the young man already knew the answer.
Daniel's eyes locked with Jack's. "So, who's seen it?"
Damn. Jack fidgeted on the mattress. "Uh, Hammond...and a few tech guys." Jack studied a boring point on the wall to the right of Daniel's head. "The general said that he was, uh, going to inform Fraiser of its existence."
"So you haven't seen it?" Daniel's voice was devoid of emotion, flat and alarmingly calm given the subject matter.
"No." Jack forced himself to meet the younger man's eyes. "I haven't seen it. I have no interest in seeing it."
Daniel rose slowly from the chair, his pants still dripping sporadically. The cushion beneath him was darkened with wetness.
"Daniel?" Jack stood quickly. "Where ya going?"
"To my office."
"How 'bout putting on your shirt and boots at least?"
Daniel shrugged one shoulder and shuffled to the pile of clothes on the floor. His movements were slow and careful as he picked up his shirt and slid it on, then did the same with his jacket. He eyed the boots for a moment, then grabbed them and moved back to the chair.
"So, what are you going to do in your office?"
"Get dry pants," he replied flatly, leaning over and pulling his boots over his bare feet, then tying the laces.
"I see. Then what?"
Daniel sighed heavily, his head falling forward, his hands still hanging by his boots. "Go to the lake, Jack."
"I'm really not in the mood to go by myself."
Daniel gave another lifeless shrug and pushed himself out of the chair. "Then, I'll see you in two days, I guess." He turned and walked to the door.
He stopped, but didn't turn around. "What is it, Jack?"
"Why don't we stop by the infirmary before you head off? Fraiser's got some prescriptions--"
"Daniel, I hate to break the news to you, but you look like hell. You need sleep."
"What I need," Daniel began, his voice very low, "is for everyone to stop telling me what I need."
"Okay," Jack replied carefully. "Fair enough, but sleep is one of those pesky things that everyone needs, and it looks like you haven't gotten any in days. I know for a fact you got very little, if any, last night." He moved forward, stopping just behind Daniel. "Come on," he placed a hand on Daniel's arm, "let's--"
Daniel spun around, slapping Jack's hand away, his eyes flashing with anger.
"Whoa!" Jack took a surprised step back, his hands coming up placatingly. "Sorry. Take it easy."
Daniel's anger faded, and he looked away, "I told you I'm not a very good person to be around right now, Jack. Go. Please. I don't want to get into anything with you right now."
"Good, because I'm not interested in getting into anything. I just want you to come to the lake with me. We could both use a little downtime."
"I already told you--"
"Yeah, I know." He glanced away, a thought occurring to him, bringing with it a twinge of guilt. "Uh, Fraiser said she'd only give you a reprieve on the exam if I made sure you spent the next couple of days catching up on sleep." He pushed the guilt aside. He was lying for Daniel's own good.
Daniel's eyes narrowed. "Really? Well, then I guess I should go have a chat with Fraiser and tell her I don't need a babysitter." He turned back to the door, stepping forward and grabbing the knob.
"Okay, I lied." Jack took two quick steps forward. "She never said that."
"There's a surprise." Daniel pushed the door open, but hesitated at the threshold. "If you really want to do me a favor, Jack, just leave me be. I don't feel like having company right now." He slipped into the hall, not giving Jack a chance to respond.
Okay. Jack stood in the room, not moving. He was tempted to follow Daniel, but he figured he'd pushed hard enough. Perhaps it was best just to leave the kid alone for a couple of days.
A familiar voice from the hallway, however, changed his mind.
"Uh, Doctor Jackson." General Hammond's surprised voice drifted into the VIP room. "I was just on my way to speak with Fraiser. How are you, uh, feeling?"
Jack ran a hand over his face, imagining what a sight Daniel, wearing a rumpled shirt and wet pants, must present to the general. He hurried into the hallway, spotting Daniel stopped at the corner, facing Hammond.
"Fine, sir. Thank you." Daniel spoke low, his head turned slightly to the right. It was obvious even from Jack's rear vantage-point, that Daniel was avoiding eye-contact. "If you'll excuse me, I'm on my way to my office."
"Ah. Well, I'm sure you probably already know, but just in case... I gave SG1 two days of downtime. You look like you could use it."
Jack winced when he saw Daniel stiffen. The poor general had no idea he'd just stepped into dangerous territory.
"I suggest you go get some sleep, Doctor." A kind smile touched Hammond's lips, but his eyes betrayed his discomfort.
Daniel nodded slowly. "I'll take that under advisement, sir, since you're so concerned. Can I ask you a question?"
"Did you enjoy the show?" He didn't give the general a chance to respond, pushing past the larger man and disappearing around the corner.
Hammond's face went slack with surprise, and he turned his head to watch Daniel's retreat, his cheeks slightly flushed.
"Sir," Jack stepped forward, "don't take it personally. He's on edge right now, running on fumes. He just needs a couple of days to recuperate."
Hammond nodded, taking a breath. "So I see." He swallowed. "It's obvious he knows about the tape. You or Fraiser?"
"Neither. He saw the camera in the VIP room he was hiding out in. Put two and two together."
"Oh. Well, I guess that spares me the unpleasantness of having to tell him. If you see him though, please make sure he knows that tape remains confidential. No one who saw it will discuss it. I'll make sure of that."
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."
Hammond nodded. "Have a good time, Colonel. You deserve it after these past few days."
"Yes, sir." Jack's eyes drifted to the now empty hallway where Daniel had made his retreat. "I'll try."
Daniel knew he was about to hit a brick wall. He hadnt slept in days, and hed barely eaten in that time. He was tired, his arms and legs felt like they were chained to twenty-pound weights, but he couldnt sleep. Every time hed turn off the lights and let his head hit the pillow, all he would do was lie awake in the suffocating darkness and try various mental techniques to fall asleep while, at the same time, doing his very best to not think about Hathor or what Apophis was doing to Share.
He stifled a yawn as he opened the door to the armoire. He always kept a few pants, shirts, and other personals in his office. Hell, he practically lived in his office. Sometimes he wondered why he even bothered paying rent for an apartment.
He chose a pair of tan Dockers from the finite selection of clothes and moved to the small bed against the wall. He practically fell onto the edge, bouncing a little as the mattress reacted to the sudden weight. Quickly, he untied his boots and pushed them off, then unbuttoned his pants. This time, he gave into the yawn, inhaling so deeply that his chest hurt and his eyes stung with tears.
God, he really needed sleep.
He thought back to the brief conversation hed had with General Hammond a few moments ago and winced inwardly. His fatigue was letting his anger get the best of him, else hed never have even skirted the issue of the security tape. It was humiliating enough just thinking about it. Why mention it? If hed just kept his mouth shut, maybe everyone would just pretend the tape didnt exist and no one saw anything.
What had they seen? He didnt remember every detail himself, but Hammond and a couple of strangers in the tech department had seen it all. Theyd watched every minute of his encounter with Hathor. Like a bad porno movie, it had probably even entertained some of them. Theyd watched as shed kissed him pushed him on the bed pulled down his pants made him respond to her
Forget it! He shook his head and banished the graphic images from his mind, then unzipped his pants and pushed himself to his feet, letting his trousers fall to his ankles. He stepped out of the wet material and grabbed his dry Dockers from the bed, pulling them up quickly and yanking the zipper with a little more force than necessary.
Who had seen that tape? Which of the tech guys? He had to know or else every time he passed a security or tech person in the corridor or saw one in the mess hall, hed wonder if they knew. Would they be looking at him with those images running through their heads?
He closed his eyes. He could handle humiliation. He'd done it often enough. Eventually, people would forget, and he might even stop feeling like like how he was feeling. He wasn't sure what he was feeling. It was a strange, hollow, empty, cold, sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. A dark fluttering in his chest. A heaviness all through him.
The images of his encounter with Hathor blossomed in his mind again, and again he shook his head and pushed them back. Thinking about it would accomplish nothing. He certainly couldnt change the past, so he just had to deal with it and move on.
Hed start by moving to his armoire, grabbing a pair of dry socks, putting his boots back on, and getting the hell off the base.
Jack waited in the corridor outside of Daniels office, leaning against the bulkhead with his arms crossed in front of him. He figured Daniel would change into dry clothes and then head home. The base was probably the last place Jackson wanted to spend the next couple of days, hours, or even minutes.
So, sooner or later, Daniel would step through that door and Jack would
Well, he wasnt exactly sure what hed do, but hed figure it out when the time came. He wasnt even certain why he was hanging around. Daniel had a right to be left alone, and God knew if he were in Daniels shoes, hed want just as much not to talk. Privacy was a good thing.
But there was a whispering, persistent voice in his head that told him to watch out. Daniel was heading for a fall, and hed need someone nearby to catch him.
As he predicted, the door opened and Daniel hurried out, stopping suddenly when he spotted Jack. His expression went from tired resignation to suspicious anger in half a second.
"What are you doing here, Jack? I thought I was clear before."
Jack didn't move. He didn't smile. When he spoke, he kept his voice low and calm, hoping his tone would make him seem like less of a threat. Maybe Daniel would relax his defenses enough to let someone talk to him.
"You were very clear, Daniel. I was just hanging out here remembering something."
Daniel's face grew heavy with fatigue again, the anger fading. "What is it this time?"
"Charlie." He let the word hang in the air for a moment, trying not to let the tug of anguish that word evoked show on his face.
Daniel dropped his head, his eyes growing softer instantly, a hint of surprise in them. He didn't speak, though. Just waited.
Jack took a breath and continued. "I can look back at how I was then and see how dark I'd become inside. I wish I had talked..." His voice caught and he swallowed, taking another deep breath. "Look, Daniel, what I'm trying to say here is that you called me on it when I was burying myself in a horrible memory. You kept an eye on me. I didn't ask you to, and I sure as hell didn't want you to. I hardly even knew you, but still you were there. So, I thought we'd established something vaguely resembling a friendship after that."
Daniel turned away slightly, his gaze still low. "I'd like to think so."
"So, as your buddy, I'm telling you, Daniel, you need sleep. This act you're putting on isn't convincing anyone, and with the way you're going, the walls are gonna come crumbling down. You want everyone to think you're A-Okay, but you're not. Are you?"
Daniel swallowed hard. "No, I'm not." He looked up finally, his eyes very, very tired. "But it's not an act. I just...I just don't have the energy to be around anyone right now. I want to go home, try to sleep, and figure out a way to put this behind me. Is that too much to ask?"
"No," his voice grew even softer, "it's not too much to ask, but something tells me if you go home and lay in bed, you're not going to get to sleep." He ducked his head a notch. "Come on, let me take you to the doc and get you something to help you sleep."
"No." That eerie calm had returned to Daniel's voice, but a faint, shallow smile touched his lips. His eyes, however, looked strained with the effort. "I'm so tired right now, I think maybe I'll actually get to sleep this time. If I don't, tomorrow I'll come in and get something from Fraiser, okay?"
Jack nodded slowly. "Okay. One more night, and since tired people shouldn't drive, how about you let me drive you home?"
"Just home? You'll drive me home and then return to yours." His strained smile remained. "No offense."
Jack looked heavenward. "Yes, Daniel. I promise I'll leave you alone. Scout's honor and all that. Okay?"
"All right." Daniel took a deep, sluggish breath. "Thanks."
Daniel still couldn't get to sleep. He rolled on to his right side and eyed the clock. The bright numbers proclaimed it to be twelve minutes past three.
In the morning.
Great. He sighed and closed his eyes, fidgeting on the mattress in an attempt to get marginally more comfortable.
How the hell could he be so tired and yet be unable to sleep?
He rolled to his left side, the sheets twisting around his body with the motion. He opened his eyes again and stared into the darkness. How many days now had he gone without sleep? Three? Four?
At least he had the luxury of suffering in wakefulness within the privacy of his apartment. Neither Jack nor Fraiser were around to harass him. Within the walls of his home, he was safe from well-meaners, at least.
He let his eyes drift closed and sighed heavily. A hint of a headache throbbed at the base of his skull. Outside his window, the faint roar of traffic drifted upward from the street below.
He suddenly felt heavier, as though he were sinking into the mattress. The traffic noise faded to silence. His headache dissipated like puffs off a dandelion.
He furrowed his brow. A hand touched his arm, pulling him, rolling him onto his back. Warm breath touched his face.
"Look at me, My Beloved."
He opened his eyes.
Hathor was above him, a soft smile on her lips. Her red hair hung loosely around her face, brushing his cheeks. "Do you pledge yourself to me?"
Her lips curved further upward. One hand came up to caress his cheek. "You will, My Beloved."
He tried to move, but his arms and legs stayed pinned to the mattress. Her hands moved to the waistband of his boxers and pulled the thin material to his knees.
He swallowed. "No."
She leaned close to him. Her lips covered his. Her warm, sweet breath slid down his throat. Then she pulled back, placed her mouth to his ear, and whispered, "Is this not pleasurable?"
Her head came up, and she looked down at him, her eyes glowing, revealing the monster within. "You will provide the code, and I will rule your world."
Her hand slid to his groin, fondling him, forcing him to respond.
He closed his eyes.
His heart fluttered. Sha're?
"Look at me, My Dan-yel."
He opened his eyes. She was there, on top of him. Dark hair framed her face, and her ebony eyes held his.
She smiled. Her eyes glowed. "Yes, My Dan-yel."
"Make love to me," she commanded, her voice deep and unnatural.
Sha're. Tears stung his eyes. God. It was her. Part of her. She looked like his wife and smelled like his wife. And somewhere inside of that body, Sha're was there. Her mind. Her spirit.
God, it had been so long. He missed her.
His groin throbbed. His arms felt suddenly light, and he lifted them, wrapping them around her and rolling her onto the mattress. He needed her.
His lips found hers, and his tongue probed her mouth as he joined with her, thrusting hard.
Her hands wrapped around him, and she pulled her head back enough to break the kiss. He looked at her, and his breath shot out of him when he saw Hathor's face instead of Sha're's.
"Is this not pleasurable, My Beloved?"
Daniel sat up with a gasp, the covers twisted around him. His thighs were wet and sticky, and bile touched the back of his throat.
He leapt from the mattress, getting tangled in the blankets and crashing to the floor, his right shoulder taking the brunt of the impact. Pain exploded in the joint, radiating to his back, and he kicked and twisted until he freed himself from the covers, then ran madly for the bathroom.
He had nothing to throw up, so he only gagged bile into the toilet. The scent of his semen twisted his stomach further, and he found himself retching violently but unable to bring anything up.
His spasms finally died, and he reached one hand into the shower, fumbling for the knob. He found it and turned, bringing the showerhead to life. The roar of water filled his ears, and he stumbled over the lip of the bathtub and flung the curtain closed.
His legs wobbled, threatening to buckle, and he folded in on himself, hugging his knees to his chest and letting the water wash everything away.
Jack pressed his ear to the door. He couldn't hear any sounds coming from within Daniel's apartment, and he didn't want to ring the bell and risk waking the kid.
He opted to knock lightly. If Daniel were sleeping, hopefully the soft rapping wouldn't wake him. He tapped his knuckles lightly on the door and waited. No answer.
Well, at least that was a good sign. Maybe Daniel really had managed some sleep. Reaching into his jacket pocket, he withdrew his keys and selected the one that fit Daniel's lock. He'd gotten a spare key soon after Daniel had moved in, both for practical and security reasons.
He thought back to the time he'd had to clean out Daniel's apartment after he, Sam, and Teal'c had returned from Nem's planet with the memory that Daniel had died horribly in flames. His throat tightened, and he swallowed hard. Hopefully, he wouldn't ever have to repeat that painful ritual.
Pushing the morbid thoughts aside, he slid the key into the lock and turned the knob, pushing the door open slowly as he peeked his head inside. "Hello?" He asked softly. "Daniel?"
No answer. He tilted his head. Was that the shower he heard?
Walking inside, he closed the door behind him and moved further into the apartment. Yes, that definitely was the shower. So Daniel was up. Had the kid gotten any sleep at all?
Shuffling into the kitchen, he headed straight for the refrigerator and looked inside. He could get breakfast going while Daniel finished his shower. He knew for a fact the young man hadn't had much to eat or drink since Hathor's little romp around the base. Thanks to Janet, he knew that whatever pizza had remained in Daniel's stomach from Jack's previous visit had made a reappearance in the infirmary.
Jack sighed and shook his head. No sleep. No food. Little if any water. It was a wonder Daniel was still functioning.
Scanning the refrigerator's contents, he eyed half a dozen eggs perched in the door, but he didn't really feel like cooking especially if that meant having to clean a greasy pan. Maybe Dr. Daniel Jackson had some decent cereal in his cupboards.
Closing the refrigerator door, he moved to the cabinets and began his search. He found victory in the cabinet above the toaster. One box of Raisin Bran and one box of Cocoa Puffs. A dichotomy of opposites. He smiled and grabbed the Cocoa Puffs.
Three minutes later, he had two bowls filled with the chocolaty kernels, but he only poured the milk into his own bowl, waiting until Daniel emerged from the bathroom to fill the other one.
He carried his breakfast into the living room and sank onto the couch, grabbing the remote as he balanced his bowl on his thigh. He flicked through the channels until he found a Daffy Duck cartoon, then placed the remote next to him and dug into his Cocoa Puffs as he watched the animated antics on the screen.
Fifteen minutes later, he'd finished his cereal, and the cartoon ended. Glancing at the clock. He frowned. Daniel was taking an awfully long shower for someone who barely had any hair to wash. What was the guy doing? Shaving his legs?
A Bugs Bunny cartoon started, and he set his empty bowl on the coffee table and leaned back, content to watch the morning cartoons while Daniel emptied the hot water heater.
When that cartoon ended, Jack knitted his brow and rose from the couch. How long had Daniel been in the shower before Jack had arrived? He had to be a human prune by now.
Grabbing his bowl, he walked quickly to the kitchen and stopped at the sink, turning the hot water knob. Placing the bowl under the stream, he winced at the ice-cold water, but rinsed out the milk and cereal as he waited for the water to heat up.
When the bowl looked clean and the water still hadn't notched up even a degree, he frowned and set the bowl in the sink as he turned off the water, then turned to look at the closed bathroom door.
His stomach sank, twisting with a vague sense of apprehension. Was Daniel taking a shower in freezing water? His stomach sank further. Was Daniel even in the shower?
His feet propelled him across the room and he stopped in front of the bathroom door. "Daniel?" He knocked loudly. "Daniel, you in there?"
He waited, listening, but all he heard was the roar of the water. His hand went to the knob, and he turned it, relieved to find it unlocked. He'd hate to have to break down the door only to find Daniel asleep on the toilet.
He pushed the door inward and stuck his head inside. The toilet was unoccupied. His eyes went to the closed shower curtain. The spray was on full-force, but he didn't see a human silhouette behind the curtain.
Still no answer. He walked inside and stopped at the tub, his hand reaching to the curtain. Slowly, he pulled it aside, taking a deep breath. Maybe Daniel had -
Shit. "Awww, Danny." He looked away briefly, a grimace twisting his face, then looked back at the shivering form huddled at the rear of the tub.
Daniel sat curled with his legs pulled up and his forehead on his knees, shivering violently. He was dressed only in a thin pair of boxers, which were now completely soaked like the rest of him.
Jack couldn't tell whether Daniel was awake, but he couldn't imagine anyone sleeping under a spray of ice-cold water. He moved quickly to turn off the water, then crouched near Daniel, placing one hand on the young man's arm.
Christ, he was cold!
Jack gave Daniel a firm shake. "Daniel? Come on, look at me. You awake?"
No response. Frowning, Jack placed a palm on top of Daniel's skull and lifted his head back. Daniel's eyelids hung low, with only a sliver of blue showing.
This was the second time he'd found Daniel sitting half-catatonic in a shower. He didn't need to be a shrink to figure out that some very dark things were going round-and-round in Daniel's head, and he didn't even need to guess what those very dark things were.
Hathor. The Goa'uld. Sha're. Ammuonet.
"Come on, Daniel," he whispered, reaching in and prying his hands beneath Daniel's arms.
He made sure he had a secure hold on the young man, then lifted, grunting as he dragged Daniel out of the tub. Daniel didn't even stir, which meant he very likely wasn't even aware of Jack's presence. Once he got Daniel to the couch, Jack would try to determine whether Daniel was simply asleep or outright unconscious.
But first he had to get Daniel dry. Gently, he laid him on the cool tile and grabbed the two bath towels from the rack. He ran first one then the other over Daniel's body, soaking up as much of the water as he could. When he finished, Daniel was dry enough not to drench the couch cushions.
Once again, he slid his hands beneath Daniel's arms and dragged him toward the living room. When he got to the couch, he moved in front of Daniel, then wrapped his arms around his friend and lifted him to the sofa.
"There you go," he panted as he settled Daniel horizontally on the couch. "That's gotta be better than the tub."
Taking a moment to catch his breath, he dropped to his knees and just breathed for a few seconds. Then he placed his fingers on the side of Daniel's neck and gauged his pulse. It was slow, consistent with someone who was asleep or unconscious.
"Daniel?" He tapped his friend's cheek but received no response.
Jack lifted each of Daniel's eyelids, studying the pupils' responses to light. Each one constricted appropriately. That was one good sign.
But Daniel was still freezing. Jack hurried to the small storage closet near Daniel's room and opened the door, spotting a large green blanket on the top shelf. He pulled it out, then trotted back to the couch and draped it over Daniel, tucking it beneath the cushions so it would trap as much of Daniel's body heat as possible.
He was almost positive that Daniel had simply hit that brick wall. His body had finally shut down, determined to get the sleep it so desperately needed, and obviously nothing was going to jar it from that sleep until it had gotten its fill.
But he wasn't absolutely certain of his diagnosis. Hell, he may have had some military medic training, but he wasn't even close to being a doctor. So, he moved to the phone and dialed the SGC. Maybe Fraiser would be willing to make a house call.
"Doctor Fraiser? Colonel O'Neill's on the
Janet nodded at her nurse and hurried to her office, taking the phone off the hook and hitting the HOLD button to put the caller through. "Fraiser here. What can I do for you, Colonel?"
Jack's voice, tight with concern, filtered from the receiver. "I'm at Daniel's apartment. I, uh, found him in the shower. Asleep, I think. He's out cold. I can't wake him up. I think he's just asleep, but I'm not sure."
"You want me to send an EMT transport team
"Uh, no, actually. I don't think Daniel would appreciate another trip to the infirmary right now if it can be avoided. No offense, Doc. Can you come over here, or send a medic? I'd just like someone to take a look at him and make sure he's not dying, or anything."
Janet glanced at her watch. "Yes, I can get over there now. Did you check his pulse and breathing?"
"No. Gee, I completely forgot. Of course, I checked his pulse and breathing."
Fraiser ignored the sarcasm. "His temperature?"
"Uh, I didn't take it, but I found him beneath a spray of ice cold water. I've wrapped him in a blanket and...hold on...." she heard a small thump as he put the receiver down, followed by several long seconds of silence. Then he returned. "Ah, sorry, Doc. I just turned up the heat. No telling how long he was under that spray."
"Any sign of head trauma? Could he have slipped in the tub?"
"Any apparent injuries whatsoever?"
"No! I'm telling you, Doc. He looks fine. He's wrapped up like a mummy dead to the world."
"Okay, Colonel. I'll be there in about half an hour."
Jack gave an exasperated sigh. "Thank you, Doctor."
Jack hung up the phone and returned to the couch, placing his palm on Daniel's forehead. Still cold, but getting warmer. He slipped out of his own jacket and laid it over the blanket covering Daniel's chest, knowing the thick leather was already warmed from his own body heat.
Having nothing better to do while he waited for Janet to arrive, he shuffled into the kitchen and grabbed the untouched bowl of Cocoa Puffs. Daniel wouldn't be eating anytime soon. He dumped the cereal in the trash and washed out the bowl, placing it in the strainer next to the sink.
That finished, he sauntered back to the living room and grabbed the remote, then turned on the television. He surfed through the channels, bypassing the cartoons this time, and finally settled on the morning news. He was so busy all the time trying to keep up with what was happening on other planets that he'd fallen way behind on what was happening on his Earth outside of the SGC.... Well, besides what he read on the tabloids, but he was pretty sure Jamie Lee Curtis wasn't really a man and Elvis hadn't been reincarnated as a butt-waggling dog in Memphis.
Harry Connick, Jr. could be an alien though. Jack couldn't be sure about that one.
A knock at the door jarred him from his thoughts. Damn! He shot to his feet. Those had been the fastest thirty minutes ever. Hurrying to the door, he opened it to reveal the petite doctor, her brow already furrowed with concern as she stared up at him, a classic black doctor's bag hanging from her right hand.
"Hey, Doc." He stepped aside to let her in. "That was fast."
"I made good time. Traffic was light." She brushed past him and headed straight for the living room. "How long ago did you find him?"
"About fifteen minutes before I called you."
She crouched next to Daniel and slid the jacket off, then yanked the blanket from beneath the cushions and folded it away from Daniel's chest. Reaching into her bag, she withdrew a stethoscope and placed the flat disk against his chest.
Jack waited patiently at the edge of the living room, watching as Janet moved the stethoscope around, positioning it over various points on Daniel's chest and ribs and sliding it beneath his back.
"Pulse and respiration sound normal," she said, placing the instrument back in her bag and snapping on a pair of latex gloves. She turned to Daniel and tapped his cheek lightly. "Doctor Jackson, wake up, please. Doctor Jackson."
Daniel didn't respond.
Jack moved closer to the doctor. "I tried waking him up. No luck. He didn't even stir when I dragged him from the bathroom to the couch."
"Just checking." She flashed a weak smile at him and pulled a penlight from her bag, turning back to her patient. She pulled one of Daniel's eyelids up and shone the light in his eye, then repeated the brief procedure with the other eye. "Looks okay. Pupils are responsive."
Reaching again into her bag, she pulled out one of those blood pressure cuffs. Jack frowned. He'd always hated those things. They seemed to do their best to crush his arm, and every time he had one of them wrapped around his bicep, squeezing, he was sure that was going to the be the time the nurse or doctor pumped a little too much.
Janet placed the band around Daniel's arm and put the stethoscope back on, sliding it between Daniel's arm and the black wrap. She pumped several times, then released the air, listening and watching the small, round indicator.
"Blood pressure's a bit low, but okay."
She unwrapped Daniel's arm and placed the instrument on the floor, then returned to her bag and withdrew a small, black box. She opened the cover to reveal a compact, square machine and a cylindrical, plastic object. She pressed a button on the machine and it beeped to life. Taking the cylinder, she pressed a tiny knob on the side, and a small needle shot out of the end.
Jack winced. "What's that?"
"Something for me to check his blood glucose level with." She raised the instrument and retracted the needle. "Since I don't have the luxury of the lab, I had to bring a few cheap portables."
She grabbed Daniel's hand and held the end of the cylinder against the tip of his index finger, then pressed the trigger again. A small click indicated the release of a spring, and Janet immediately pulled the instrument away and set it carefully on the coffee table. She retrieved a small strip of paper from the black box, wet the end with the pinprick of blood oozing from Daniel's finger, and inserted it into the machine.
She waited a few moments, studying the read-out, then looked up at him, her brow creased. "Uh, his blood glucose level's pretty low, but not dangerously so at this point. Still, I'm concerned, especially if he's going to be sleeping for a few hours. I'd like to put him on a glucose drip. I brought one from the infirmary, but it's in my car. I'll have to run down and get it. In the meantime, try to find something I can hook it to." She glanced quickly around the apartment, her eyes settling on a tall lamp. "Maybe that halogen over there. Can you get a hanger and secure the hook to that somehow?"
Jack nodded. "Sure thing." He headed for Daniel's room as Janet pushed herself to her feet and hurried out of the apartment.
Jack went immediately to Daniel's closet and pushed the sliding door aside. A collection of shirts and suits dangled from various hangers, and he rifled through them until he found a plain, wire hanger. It hung empty, so he grabbed it and trotted to the living room.
Yanking the lamp's plug from the wall, he carried the halogen to the couch and set it just behind the sofa back. Then he bent the hook a bit out of shape and wrapped it tightly around the cylindrical pole of the lamp, just beneath the disk-like head of the halogen. The power knob protruded below, keeping the hanger from sliding down.
Hurried footsteps entered the apartment. "Perfect, Colonel. Thanks."
Jack nodded and turned to the Doctor. "So, Daniel's okay other than needing that?" He jerked his chin toward the IV bag in her hands.
"I haven't completed my examination yet, but I'm concerned that he's still unconscious."
Fraiser hurried to the couch and set the IV bag on the coffee table, then reached into her bag. Jack left her to finish the examination while he went into the bathroom. The towels he'd used to dry Daniel off were in a pile on the wet floor. He used one foot to sweep them over the water, soaking up the mess, then reached down, grabbed the
towels, and hung them over the lip of the bathtub.
That accomplished, he closed the door and used the facilities himself, emptying his bladder. When finished, he moved to the sink, washed his hands, and splashed the still-cold water on his face. He looked up at his reflection in the mirror.
God, what a morning.
He shook his head, grabbed the hand towel hanging on the hook next to the sink, and quickly dried his face. A surprised yelp from the living room snapped his head around to the door. Tossing the towel in the sink, he ran to see what was happening.
Hathor grabbed his arm, squeezing until he thought she'd crush the bone. He tried to pull away, but she held him tightly with a strength born of the Goa'uld.
"You will honor us with the code."
A pinprick of pain flared in his fingertip, and he looked down as she grabbed his wrist and raised his arm, revealing a blossoming point of blood on his index finger. She smiled, and brought his finger to her mouth, sucking gently on the small wound.
"No." He pulled back, but she moved forward with him, releasing his wrist. Her hands slid beneath his shirt, probing, caressing.
"Enough." His voice was hard. He grabbed her wrists, pushing her away.
"You cannot resist us, My Beloved."
She stepped closer to him, her body pressing against his. He stumbled backward, but something unyielding behind him stopped his retreat. Her hands slid around to the back of his neck, fondling his hair.
Her lips parted. "Dr. Jackson?"
He frowned. Her voice was suddenly different.
"Are you awake?"
He sucked in a deep breath, suddenly the world became dark. He couldn't see Hathor, but he could feel her delicate hand on his shoulder.
What happened? He blinked, or thought he did, and light returned suddenly, hurting his eyes and making everything blurred with a too-bright glow. He realized he was lying flat on his back. She stood over him, her features obscured by the glow as he blinked against the light, but he could see her red hair dangling around her face.
No! He pushed her away.
She gave a sharp yell, and he heard her crash into something, then utter a sharp, "Damnit!"
Damnit? That didn't sound like very Goa'uld-like.
He pushed himself up, sitting against a hard, long mass behind him, and blinked, trying to clear his vision. The retina-searing light faded to something more normal, and the details of the figure in front of him took shape. She had hair that was more brown than red, and she was wearing a white laboratory jacket.
He swallowed, his brow furrowing. "Doctor Fraiser?" Where was he? He looked around. His living room. What had happened? How did he get into his living room, and what was Janet doing there?
Frantic footsteps pounded on the floor, and Daniel could feel the vibrations in his bones.
"What happened? What's going on?" a familiar, clipped voice asked.
Daniel turned to face he newcomer. "Jack?" He blinked, confused, and looked around one more time. No one else was there. Just Janet and Jack. But why were they in his apartment?
He focused again on Janet as she pushed herself away from the coffee table. Jack hurried to help, crouching next to her and wrapping a hand around her arm.
"You okay, Doc?" Jack asked.
She nodded, slightly breathless. "Yeah, thanks."
"I..." Daniel knitted his brow, studying the petite doctor. "I pushed you?" He swallowed hard. "S-Sorry. I...What...What are you two doing here?"
He moved to sit up further, feeling a bit light-headed, and realized he was on the couch. He felt something slide away from his lap and looked down to see that he was naked except for a pair of damp boxers. Quickly, he grabbed the blanket and covered his lower body, his eyes snapping back to Janet, a blush touching his cheeks.
"Jack?" Daniel's voice was steadier. "What happened? Why are you two here, and how did I get on the couch?"
Janet rubbed her shoulder, remaining seated on the floor next to her bag. "You apparently passed out in the shower from exhaustion. Your blood glucose level is pretty low, and I was just about to put you on a drip, but now that you're awake, do you feel like eating something?"
Daniel frowned. Passed out? He struggled to remember what had happened. Flashes of a dream came to him. Hathor. Sha're. He remembered staggering to the bathroom and retching over the toilet. That had been at -- his brow furrowed -- three? or was it four a.m.?
He glanced at the clock. It was now a little past 8 a.m. Four hours. Had he actually managed four hours of sleep?
"Daniel?" Jack's hesitant voice pulled Daniel from his thoughts. "Did you hear the Doc? Food?"
Daniel blinked and looked up at Jack. "Huh?"
"Foood, Daniel. Eat." He gestured to the kitchen.
Daniel leaned back against the arm of the couch and closed his eyes. He was still very, very tired. Four hours just wasn't enough sleep to make up for three or four days worth of insomnia, and now that he had gotten that little bit of sleep, he felt even more tired than he had yesterday.
"What are you doing here?" Daniel asked again, his voice low. He really didn't have the energy to hold a conversation, much less get up from the couch and walk to the kitchen.
"I came to see how you were doing," Jack answered. "Found you making like a bump on the rock in the shower...beneath a spray of ice-cold water, I might add. You're lucky I came when I did or you could have found yourself in the infirmary missing some very important parts."
Daniel's face flushed hot. Jack had found him in the shower and carried -- dragged? -- him to the couch? Then called Janet? His embarrassment turned to anger. He couldn't even find solitude in his home. What kinds of tests had Janet been performing on him while he'd been asleep on his couch?
"Remind me to change my locks."
"Ha. Ha. And you're welcome. Now. Food."
Daniel opened his eyes to see both Fraiser and Jack staring at him. He focused on the doctor, his eyes going to her shoulder. "You okay?"
She smiled and nodded. "Yes, I'm fine. Must have been some dream."
His stomach twisted suddenly, and he dropped his gaze to the floor. "I really don't remember. Now, not to be rude, but I was kind of hoping to spend my two days off resting...alone."
"And you were doing a mighty fine job of that, Dannyboy," Jack countered in his best Irish accent.
Anger again flared in Daniel's chest, and he looked up sharply at Jack. "If you came here to make fun of me, you can leave now."
Jack's face flickered with regret. "Sorry. I didn't mean it like that."
Daniel closed his eyes again. "Whatever."
"Look, Doc," Jack began, "thanks for coming here. Uh, if you think Daniel's okay, how 'bout..."
"All right, Colonel, I'm leaving." She paused briefly, and Daniel listened to the clinks and clatters as she packed her tools back in her bag. "You two boys have fun." He listened to her retreating footsteps, then heard a thud as she closed the door .
"All clear, Daniel," Jack said. "Now, how 'bout I bring you something to eat and drink?"
"Not to be rude, but will you go away afterwards?"
A moment of silence followed his question. Finally, Jack answered, "If that's what you want."
"Then okay." Daniel nodded, lifting an arm and waving toward the kitchen. "Knock yourself out."
"You're so very welcome," Jack bit back, then turned and headed to the kitchen.
Daniel kept his eyes closed, sighing heavily as he listened to Jack stomp toward the kitchen. So what if he's pissed. I didn't invite him here. He just barged in. Serves him right. Still he couldn't ignore the small twinge of guilt in his chest. Part of him recognized that he was acting like an ass, but a much larger part of him was just too damn tired to care.
Jack retrieved the Cocoa Puffs from the cabinet and filled another bowl with the chocolaty kernels. All that sugar was bound to get the kid's blood sugar up. Okay, so maybe it wasn't the healthiest thing, but it was in the cabinet and it required zero cooking and only minimal cleanup.
He poured a generous amount of milk over the cereal, and then returned the milk and the box back to their respective places. Grabbing a spoon from the drawer, he hurried back into the living room. Daniel was still lying against the arm of the sofa, his eyes closed. Had he fallen back asleep? He needed food probably more than he needed sleep, especially with what the Doc had said, so he was going to get a rude awakening.
Jack stopped inches from the couch. "Daniel?"
Okay, awake. "I've brought your food, your lordship."
Daniel cracked an eye open and squinted up at Jack. "Wow. A bowl of cereal. You really went all out."
Jack took a deep breath. "Would you like to eat it, or wear it?"
With a sigh, Daniel sat up and scrubbed his hands over his face. "I'm sorry. Look, I told you last night that I wasn't going to be very good company."
"Yeah, you did, didn't you?" Jack sat on the edge of the coffee table and held out the bowl. The spoon was already embedded in the brown-milky mush, its handle propped on the rim of the bowl. "And you're always right, too, so I guess I walked into this, huh?"
Finally, a shadow of a smile touched Daniel's lips, and he looked up sheepishly at Jack. "I guess so." He reached out both hands and took the bowl from Jack, balancing it on his lap. "Thank you, Jack." He said it slowly and deliberately.
Jack smiled. At last. A hint of light in the storm. He bowed his head. "It is my honor to serve, your lordship."
Daniel's lips twitched ever-so slightly upward. "If you could say that on future missions, my life would be so much easier."
"If you ever said that, my life would be so much easier."
Daniel simply raised his eyebrows and looked down at his food. Cautiously, he lifted the spoon and studied the small, round kernels.
"It's Cocoa Puffs, Daniel. The box is in your cabinet, for crying out loud."
"So it is."
"You like chocolate."
"So I do." He smiled and brought the spoon to his mouth, swallowing the cereal. His eyes closed briefly, and he dug back into the cereal, bringing the spoon up faster.
Soon, Daniel was shoveling the cereal into his mouth, barely stopping to breathe. Jack leaned back, his eyebrows climbing faster as he watched the spectacle. Wow. To look at the way Daniel was eating, you'd think he'd been starving for days.
Jack's eyes narrowed. Other than the pizza, some of which had come back up, how much had Daniel eaten in the last few days?
Probably nothing while Hathor was on the base. Probably nothing during the clean-up.
Daniel finished his cereal and tipped the bowl to his lips, draining the brown milk.
Hungry AND thirsty.
Jack frowned, grabbed the empty bowl from Daniel's hands and, without a word, stormed back to the kitchen. He tossed the bowl in the sink, opened the fridge, rummaged in the bottom bin, and pulled out the bread, lunchmeat, and cheese.
"Jack, what're you doing?" Daniel asked, still seated on the couch beneath the blanket.
Jack kept quiet as he slapped together a sandwich. That accomplished, he placed everything back into the refrigerator, took out the jug of water, filled a glass, returned the jug, and carried the sandwich and drink to the living room.
"Here." He sat back down on the table in front of the couch.
Jack opened his mouth to order Daniel to take the offerings and ingest every last morsel of food and every last drop of water, but before he could, Daniel took both the sandwich and the glass from him and downed the water in four large gulps. He placed the empty glass on the floor and then started on the sandwich with the same zeal, finishing the small meal in what must have been record time.
Jack sat silently, his jaw tight.
Finally, empty-handed, Daniel looked up and gave a shaky smile. "Didn't realize how hungry I was until I took the first bite."
Jack raised an eyebrow. "Thirsty, too?"
"Yeah." Daniel leaned back and tilted his head against the rear of the sofa. "Thanks." His brow furrowed. "I didn't realize the last things I ate were those two slices of pizza."
Jack nodded. He wasn't going to say anything because anything he'd be inclined to say would likely just start another argument. Daniel wasn't in the frame of mind to listen.
Jack rose from the table. "Well, I promised you I'd leave after you ate. You still want me to go? Because I've got the day off, and you've got the day off, and we could go do something fun besides hanging around our houses watching television."
Daniel shook his head, his eyelids sliding closed. "Not today, Jack. Maybe tomorrow. I only managed about three or four hours of sleep last night."
"So that makes three or four hours of sleep in - what? - three or four days?"
"Something like that."
Jack sighed and plopped down next to Daniel. "You ready to take something from Fraiser?"
Daniel swallowed audibly, shaking his head again. "It won't help."
"Why not?" he asked softly.
Daniel hesitated several seconds before answering. "Because I really don't like my dreams."
Jack took a deep breath, his insides twisting. Bad dreams were something he knew too much about. "What are they?"
Daniel leaned forward suddenly, dropping his face into his hands. "Hathor. Sha're. It just reminds me that Sha're isn't here, and wherever she is isn't pleasant. Every night Apophis could be doing to her what Hathor did to me." His voice dropped lower. "And I miss her." He rubbed a hand over his face and turned his head away from Jack. "I'm so damn helpless about everything. I couldn't stop the Goa'uld from taking Sha're. I couldn't resist Hathor. I let her...use me." He swallowed hard again and shook his head. "And it's all on tape."
Jack gave a long sigh. He had no idea what to say. What could he say? What could anyone say in response to something like that? He sure as hell wouldn't deal well with knowing his wife was being raped on a regular basis, not to mention experiencing first-hand what it was like to have some SOB Goa'uld rape you...and be lucky enough to get it all be preserved on film for posterity. His face twisted in a grimace.
He looked carefully at Daniel, studying him. Daniel's face was still turned away, so Jack couldn't see his expression, but he could read the body language loud and clear. Slouched shoulders. Hands on his lap, trembling slightly.
He placed a hand on Daniel's shoulder. "We will get her back, and as for that tape, Hammond said..."
"Hammond already saw it. That's one person too many. And the tech guys." He barked a hollow chuckle. "It doesn't matter, anymore."
"You have nothing to be embarrassed about."
His head snapped up, his eyes locking with Jack's. "Don't I? I was the one who insisted she wasn't a threat. I was the one she manipulated so completely. I was the one she got the damn code from - to put it eloquently. She made me want her. Worship her. Have sex with her. A Goa'uld. That thing was inside of her making me do things. Taking pleasure from it. Controlling me. And I couldn't do anything to stop her. I can never do anything to stop them." He buried his face in his hands again. "It doesn't matter, anymore. I try and I try, and they just keep winning. They keep taking what isn't theirs...and destroying the rest."
"Hey." Jack slid his hand to the back of Daniel's neck and gave him a gentle shake. "We make a difference. We defeated Ra. We drove Hathor away."
Daniel snorted. "Yeah. We saved the Abydonians, didn't we? We did such a real good job. So good they came back and took Sha're and Skaara. And Hathor got away. Walked right through the stargate. She played us all and got what she wanted. We destroyed Ra for her, right? Point one. We gave her the code. Point two."
"We destroyed all the larvae. We saved Earth."
"Earth wouldn't need saving if we'd never opened the gate to begin with."
"Point three," Jack muttered. "Look, Daniel, things aren't perfect. Okay, they're far from perfect, but we opened that gate, and we can't go back. All we can do is fight them and keep fighting them, and so far, we're holding our own."
Daniel pulled away, falling on his side on the arm of the couch and closing his eyes. "I'm tired of fighting. I just want my wife back. I just wanted to grow old with her. Is that too much too ask?"
"No, that's not too much to ask," Jack said softly.
"And I want to sleep without dreaming of the Goa'uld."
Jack pursed his lips, his chest tight. He knew what Daniel was feeling. He'd been there himself a few times.
Grabbing the blanket, he brought it up to cover Daniel, and then rose from the couch. Daniel already looked half asleep. Gently, Jack stooped and grabbed Daniel's legs, sliding them slowly onto the couch. Then he sank into the armchair.
"You remember when you found out you were married to Sha're?"
His lips inched upward. "Yeah."
"Why did you stay?"
"I loved her."
"You only just met her."
"I knew enough about her..." His voice trailed off.
"Tell me about that first night...after we left. You and Sha're?"
His mouth quirked further upwards, but he didn't answer.
"You had a good time, I take it?"
"Yeah, after the party, we talked."
"You talked. You're not serious?"
His smile grew. "Well, we did a little more than talk." His voice faded again. "It was the first time I was really happy."
Something twisted inside of Jack. He closed his eyes and put his head back. "Daniel?"
No answer. He raised his head and looked at the young man. Daniel was spread on the couch, his head resting on the arm, covered to his chin by the blanket. And he was sound asleep.
Maybe now Daniel would dream of that night with Sha're. Maybe now, for once, the Goa'uld would leave him alone.
Daniel woke to a black world. He blinked several times, but the darkness remained. A bright green glow pulled his eyes toward fuzzy numbers that seemed to hang in mid-air against the blackness. He squinted. 12:04.
His brow furrowed, and he lay there a few moments more, trying to summon the energy to sit up. The pressure in his bladder became insistent, and, finally, he pushed himself off the couch, letting the blanket fall to the floor, and made his way slowly to the bathroom, navigating the obstacles of his living room by memory.
Twelve a.m. He yawned as he peed into the toilet. He'd been sleeping for over -- he did the math quickly in his head -- fifteen hours?
And he was still tired. Having gone how long with sleep? Three or four days? He couldn't quite remember. Anyway, he supposed he still had catching up to do. Seven times three was twenty-one. Twenty-one hours of sleep. Or twenty-eight, depending on whether it had been four days instead of three days.
And why the hell was he even bothering to calculate his sleep deficit at midnight standing over a toilet? He finished emptying his bladder and shuffled out of the bathroom. What did it matter how long he had slept or how many days he'd gone without sleep? He had another day off and nothing to do. He could sleep his entire mini-vacation away, if he wanted.
And that sounded like an excellent idea, especially if he could avoid the bad dreams. He didn't remember having any this time. In fact, he could remember nothing at all about whatever he'd dreamt over the past fifteen hours.
The sleep offered a form of oblivion...finally. Nobody breathing down his neck. No conversations to hold. No thinking. Just nothingness interspersed with dreams that he hoped he wouldn't remember...unless they were good, of course. But he rarely had good dreams, even on normal days. Even before Hathor. He'd usually dream of various artifacts he'd found in the field, or replay snippets of the days events in his head -- all neutral dreams. Sometimes he'd dream about Sha're, but those were rarely good images. In them, she had glowing eyes and spoke in a deep, echoing voice.
Or sometimes he dreamed of her screaming as the Goa'uld entered her, and he'd wake up screaming himself, tears on his face, and be unable to return to sleep as he wondered whether she had, in fact, been conscious when the Goa'uld burrowed its way into her.
He shook his head, banishing the too-painful thoughts, and turned sharply away from the living room, heading instead for his bedroom. The couch was okay, but it didn't compare to his very expensive mattress. Though, with the amount of time he actually spent sleeping in his apartment, he wondered why he'd ever spent the money on a good bed.
Opening the door, he yawned again as he shuffled toward the bed. His eyes had adjusted marginally to the darkness, but without his glasses, he wasn't able to see the shadowy outlines of his furniture clearly. He did, however, see the big, rectangular thing that was his bed.
His knees bumped the edge of the mattress, and he let himself fall forward, aiming his head for where he knew the pillow would be.
Instead of the welcoming softness he expected, his skull banged into something hard, and he felt a warm, unyielding mass beneath him jerk suddenly. His heart jackhammered in his chest as he sprang off the bed, landing hard on the floor, and heard the thing on his mattress yelp and then curse.
Light flooded the room, and Daniel squinted against the painful brightness.
"What the hell...?" a familiar voice exclaimed. "Daniel?"
Daniel blinked at the figure towering over him. "Jack?" Slowly, his heart calmed, but he was breathing heavily from the aftereffects of the unexpected adrenaline rush. "What are you doing in my bed?"
Jack reached a hand down, and Daniel grasped it. A sudden yank brought Daniel to his feet, and he stood facing his friend.
"I didn't feel like driving home," Jack explained, "so since you were conked out on the couch, I decided to crash in your bed. Hope that's okay."
Daniel nodded. "Yeah, yeah." His fatigue gone, he turned away from Jack and headed for the door. "Now that I'm really awake, I'm gonna make some coffee. Want some?"
"At...what time is it, anyway?"
"Just past midnight."
"Don't think so or I'll never get back to sleep, but I tell you what.... You make the coffee and I'll make you something to eat."
Daniel stopped just outside the doorway and turned to look at Jack. "So the real reason you stayed was to keep an eye on me."
Jack scowled and pushed past Daniel. "You're not gonna start this crap again, are you?"
"Oh, I don't know," Daniel replied, following Jack into the kitchen and turning on the light, "what crap would that be?"
"This 'I'm a big boy who can take care of myself...'" his voice trailed off as he turned his back to Daniel and opened the refrigerator.
Daniel stood at the edge of the kitchen, his arms crossed. "You were saying?"
Jack sighed and turned to face him. "I was putting my foot in my mouth." A smile danced on his lips. "I'm sorry, okay? Yes, you're a grown man, and yes, you can take care of yourself. I didn't mean it like that."
"What did you mean, exactly?" Daniel asked, sarcasm touching his voice.
"Daniel," Jack sighed again, turning back to the refrigerator. "Can we please not get into another argument? It's too damn late for that."
"I don't want to argue, Jack," Daniel replied wearily. "I just don't appreciate everyone barging into my apartment."
"It's just me barging in." Jack closed the refrigerator and turned to Daniel, a carton of eggs and a package of bacon in his hands. He placed them carefully on the counter, and then rummaged through the cabinets.
"Bottom one to the right." Daniel walked onto the kitchen tile and veered toward strainer next to the sink, stopping next to Jack and grabbing a couple of mug.
"Thanks," Jack flashed a small smile and retrieved a pan from the cabinet.
"I don't suppose you've considered that bacon and eggs probably isn't the healthiest thing to eat at twelve a.m.?"
"It is when you've gone fifteen hours without food or water."
"I was sleeping."
"Before that, you were practically in a coma from low blood sugar."
"You're exaggerating, Jack."
"Janet was going to put you on an IV."
"She's a doctor. She lives for sticking catheters in people."
Jack's lips twitched upward. "Yeah, you've got a point there."
Daniel smiled, his shoulders relaxing even as he hugged himself against the early morning chill. "I'm gonna turn the heater up."
Jack smirked as he turned on the stovetop flame. "It would probably be a bit warmer if you put some clothes on."
Daniel looked down at himself, his face flickering with sudden realization. "Oh, right." He rubbed his hands on his arms and turned away. "Be right back."
Jack's smirk turned into a grin as he listened to Daniel trot back to the bedroom. Despite the brief tenseness earlier, Daniel seemed like he was feeling much better. Of course, after fifteen hours of sleep, he damn well should be.
A yawn rose suddenly in Jack's chest as he flipped the bacon. Midnight. Great. Daniel had caught up on his sleep and Jack was losing out on his.
Pinpricks of sudden pain sizzled on his hand, and he flinched. "Ouch, damnit!"
The grease in the pan sizzled and spat again, and he jerked back and lowered the flame, then searched the cabinets for a cover. He found one that looked to be about the right size, and dropped it over the bacon.
Moments later, Daniel emerged from the bedroom, dressed in a pair of gray sweats and a T-shirt as he padded to the kitchen in slipper-clad feet. Jack looked down at the fuzzy white flip-flop footwear and smirked again.
"Nice. Very posh."
Daniel shrugged. "Present from Sam last Christmas, remember?"
"Oh, yeah. Same year I got that nifty pencil-holder."
"It's actually pottery from the Middle East, Jack."
"Whatever. Still makes a good pencil holder."
Daniel looked heavenward and moved to the coffee maker, reaching to the top cabinet to retrieve the coffee grinds. He threw a sideways look at Jack. "Thanks for making breakfast, by the way."
Jack's brow furrowed, and he threw a surprised look at Daniel. "No need to thank me. You didn't seem too thrilled earlier when I mentioned making you breakfast, so this is for me. You can make your own damn breakfast."
Daniel's lips pressed into a tight line, and it was obvious he was suppressing a smile. He took a step forward and nudged Jack away from the stove. "In that case, you can go buy your own damn bacon and eggs."
"Daniel. Daaaaaniel. Wakey, wakey."
"Huh?" Daniel woke with a jerk, slapping automatically at the hand batting his cheek. "What?" He blinked at the lean figure towering over him. "Jack?"
"Yep?" The colonel grinned down at him, a cup of coffee held in his right hand. "Our two-days are up. It's time to head back to the base."
"What?" Daniel's brow furrowed as he sat up. "That can't be right...."
"You slept right through yesterday and last night." Jack held the mug out. "Here. It's strong and hot, should do the trick, and there's some cereal for you in the kitchen. After you eat, shower, get dressed, we'll head back to the SGC."
Daniel grabbed the mug absently, his hands closing around the warm ceramic. The pungent scent of the coffee helped clear the fog from his brain, and the furrow in his brow deepened. "I slept all through yesterday and last night?"
"I never do that. I've never slept that long."
"Yeah, well, going several days without sleep can do that to you."
Daniel shook his head. "But I was just about caught up on sleep after those fifteen hours."
Jack shrugged. "Yeah, well, it's been a rough week. Don't knock it. You got to play sleeping beauty for a couple of days, now it's time to head back to work." He plopped down in the armchair and leaned forward to grab the remote from the coffee table. "Go on. Hurry." He pushed a button on the remote and the television screen flickered to life.
Daniel's brow remained furrowed as he took a hesitant sip of his coffee. He rose to his feet, but his expression indicated he was lost in thought. He walked toward the kitchen as though he were in a trance, and leaned against the counter, continuing to sip absently at his coffee.
He'd slept longer than he could ever remember sleeping in his life, not counting the times he'd remained in a drug-induced slumber in the infirmary. So why did he still feel tired? Maybe because he'd overslept?
And now he had to go back to the base. He closed his eyes and stifled a groan.
God, after what he'd said to Hammond, Daniel didn't want to show his face at the SGC for at least a week. Now Hammond knew that Daniel was upset about that damn security tape, and, heaven forbid, the general might actually want to say something to him about the situation, maybe try to clear the air, so to speak. Make him feel better. Play it down. Tell him it would remain confidential.
All of which Daniel didn't care to hear, because hearing the words would mean talking about the tape and therefore thinking about the tape, neither of which he wanted to do.
"Yeah, Jack?" He opened his eyes and saw Jack twisted in the armchair to look at him.
"Breakfast." Jack pointed to a spot just to the right of Daniel.
Daniel looked at the countertop next to him and spotted the bowl of Raisin Bran with the spoon already immersed in the milk. "Oh, right. Thanks."
He turned and set his mug on the counter and grabbed the bowl, taking several large bites. His stomach growled appreciatively, and he realized that he had once again gone too long without food, even after eating three eggs and two strips of bacons... when was it? The other night?
Wow. And Jack hadn't woken him earlier to force more food and fluids down his throat?
Daniel swallowed his current mouthful and looked up at Jack, who was now facing the television, watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon. "Ah, Jack, were you here yesterday?"
"Just for the morning." Jack didn't bother turning around. "Then I went home and did some laundry."
"So you came back, uh, when?"
"Checked in on you yesterday evening. You were still out. I went back home, slept in my bed, got up this morning, read the paper, and came back here figuring you're lazy butt would still be on the couch. And I knew you needed a ride to work, anyway."
"Ah. Thanks." He frowned as he finished the last of his cereal.
"So are you gonna be taking a shower anytime this century?"
Daniel sighed and set the bowl in the sink, then padded to the bathroom. "I'm going, I'm going."
"And this time try not to use up the building's hot water."
Daniel winced and threw a glare at the back of Jack's head, then closed the bathroom door. His cheeks flushed at the memory of waking up half-naked with Fraiser leaning over him. He didn't even want to try to imagine what he must have looked like when Jack had found him shivering beneath the cold spray.
And, Jack, as usual, had to make one of his smartass comments. The guy oftentimes displayed the sensitivity of a hockey coach. Maybe somewhere in Jack's military-warped mind his smart-mouthed comment was intended to let Daniel know that he wasn't freaked out about the shower thing and wasn't walking on eggshells as though Daniel would crack at any moment.
Still, all things considered, Daniel didn't appreciate the reminder of his less-than-stellar moment.
Daniel hurried into his office and turned on the light. Hammond had called a briefing for 0900 hours, which gave him only 15 minutes to go over the notes he'd accumulated on Hathor, both as a Goa'uld and an Earth myth, before Hammond had granted SG1 a two-day leave.
He stopped when he noticed a brown paper-wrapped package on his cluttered table. A plastic, gold-toned replica of an Oscar award sat on top of the package.
He frowned, his chest tight. The wrapped item looked about the size and shape of a standard, VHS video cassette. Slowly, he moved forward and grabbed the cheap Oscar imitation, setting it on one of the few clear spaces on the tabletop.
He reached for the package, noticing with a flush of irritated shame that his hands were trembling. Grabbing the package, he tore off the wrapping. It was, indeed, a VHS tape, and it had a typewritten label on the front.
He stopped breathing when he read the title. 'Close Encounters of the Alien Sex Goddess Kind, starring Hathor and Dr. Daniel Jackson.'
His stomach rolled, and his fingers went numb. The tape dropped from his hands, landing with a hard clatter. His eyes settled on the small, black tape laying silent and motionless on his table.
Daniel's anger rose, his face flushing hot. Who would do such a thing? One of the tech guys? Pretty damn stupid of them. It wasn't like there were a lot of suspects. According to O'Neill, Hammond had made sure the tape stayed within only a small circle of people. Or maybe they thought he'd be too ashamed to report it.
Bile touched the back of his throat, and he swallowed it quickly. Maybe he was too ashamed to report it.
His reached for the tape again, his hands closing around it, and lifted it again to read the label. The title wasn't even creative. But what was actually on the tape? Taking a deep breath, he walked stiffly to the television-VCR set-up against the wall and popped the tape into the machine, then hit the PLAY button.
Jack fidgeted in his seat as Hammond glanced at his watch.
"I'm sorry, sir. Would you like me to check his office?"
Hammond shook his head. "No need. Let's begin the briefing. We'll get to the material of Doctor Jackson's expertise later, hopefully after he's arrived."
"Yes, sir." Jack frowned, his gaze drifting to the closed door of the briefing room. What the hell was keeping Jackson? The briefing was supposed to have started over five minutes ago.
"Why don't we start with the medical findings?" Hammond suggested, looking to Doctor Fraiser.
"Yes, sir." Fraiser opened a file folder in front of her. "As you know, we found no DNA in the gateroom. As for the substance Hathor used to control the men, the nearest we've been able to tell is it's a pheromone-like substance, but it is does not appear to be a human pheromone. However, it does activate the same nonolfactory receptor that human pheromones act upon. We haven't been able to isolate the substance, though."
"Any way to combat it?"
"Unfortunately, we'd have to have something to experiment with, and right now we've got nothing. Its effects dissipated immediately after Hathor left the base. So, no."
Jack unconsciously tuned the doctor out, his gaze remaining tethered to the door. It wasn't like Daniel to be late for a briefing, and whenever he was late, it was never more than a minute or two.
Something was wrong.
He fidgeted again in his seat. The briefing could easily last over an hour, and if Jackson didn't show up in the next couple of minutes....
"Huh?" Jack snapped his attention back to Hammond. "Oh, sorry, General. What?"
With a sigh, Hammond gestured to the door. "Go on, Colonel, but make it fast."
Jack sprang from his seat. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir." Without even a glance back, he marched briskly out of the briefing room.
His boots tapped hard on the corridor floor, and he resisted the temptation to run. Maybe he was overreacting. Maybe Daniel had fallen asleep. The kid seemed to be doing that a lot lately, and maybe his gazilion hours of sleep still hadn't been enough...or maybe they had been too much, making it him unusually drowsy.
A short time later, he stopped in front of Jackson's office door. It was closed, but he didn't bother knocking. If Daniel were in there -- whatever he was doing -- Jack wanted to find out, and if he announced his presence, he'd lose the element of surprise.
Hoping the door was unlocked, he tried the knob, grateful when it turned, and pushed, storming into the office. He opened his mouth to speak, but the words caught in his throat when he saw Daniel standing in front of the television, his face as pale as a cadaver, watching nothing but fuzzy, hissing snow.
Daniel jumped, spinning toward Jack. "Jack? Uh... What?" He blinked, then glanced at the clock on the wall. "Oh God, the briefing!" He stumbled forward toward his table, his hands flying over scattered notes, trying to put them in some semblance of order.
Jack noticed the Oscar statue on the table, and he knitted his brow. "Daniel?"
"Yeah, yeah, sorry, Jack. I know."
"What's with the statue?"
Daniel froze, standing hunched over the table with his face turned down. Slowly, he lifted his head and looked at the statue, then at Jack. "Uh...Nothing."
"I didn't know you were into trinkets." Jack took a step forward, his eyes narrowing. Everything about Daniel's demeanor was telling him something was very, very wrong. "So what were you watching?"
"Huh?" Daniel suddenly had the classic and cliche deer-caught-in-headlights look.
Jack waved a hand at the screen. "What were you watching?" he asked slowly, as though speaking to a child.
Daniel dropped his gaze back to the pile of notes on the table. "Nothing."
"There's a lot of nothing in here, it seems." Jack's patience was running out. He strode toward the television, but in a flurry of movement, Daniel scurried in front of him, blocking his progress.
Jack raised his eyebrows. Oh, real subtle, Dannyboy.
"Don't." Daniel just stared at him, his eyes flat. "Please."
Jack took a step back, surprised at the strength of the plea. Even though Daniel's eyes were expressionless, his voice almost shook with emotion.
"Daniel," Jack began gently, "What is it? You can tell me. You know that, right?"
Daniel swallowed and looked back to his notes. "It's something personal. Please, just let it go."
Jack pursed his lips, his eyes going back to the Oscar, then to the gray-speckled television screen. A slow rage began to simmer within him as he came to his own conclusion.
"It's the security tape, isn't it?"
Daniel's jaw flinched, and he looked back at Jack but didn't quite meet his eyes. "Yeah." He moved away and sank into the chair by the table. "It's just a joke. No big deal."
Jack's eyes dropped to Daniel's hands. They rested on his lap, trembling. "No big deal, huh?" He clenched his fists and stomped to the VCR, ejecting the tape. Snatching it from the machine, he read the label, and his rage boiled over. "Goddamnit!" He waved the tape at Daniel. "Hammond gave everyone who saw the tape very specific orders...Sons of a bitches! Don't worry, Daniel, when Hammond gets wind of this...."
"NO!" Daniel shot out of his chair. "No, please, Jack. Don't. Forget about it. It's just a stupid joke."
"Daniel, whoever did this broke a direct order!"
"So what? It's a JOKE! God!" His arms whipped out, and in one fluid motion, he swept the notes off his table. His momentum spun him around, and he slammed one palm into the wall to stop his motion, his back to Jack. "Just leave it be! How the hell am I supposed to put this behind me if everyone keeps throwing it in my face?!"
"Daniel, that's exactly why these sick practical jokers --"
"NO!" Daniel spun to face him again. "If you make a huge deal out of this, it'll only make things worse! Fuel the fire! I'm the one who has to be here every day dealing with this. Just let it go! It'll go away if you all just let it go!"
Jack raised his free hand placatingly. "Take it easy, Daniel. Stop shouting..."
"I'm not shouting!" He flung his arm out again and sent the Oscar flying across the room. It hit the edge of a bookcase and ricocheted before bouncing to the floor.
"Real nice. Feel better now? Got anything else you want to throw?"
Daniel suddenly became very still, his eyes locked on Jack. "Let it go. Please."
Jack held Daniel's gaze for several seconds, then broke the contact to look at the fallen Oscar. It's head lay tilted at an odd angle, bent from the impact. His eyes slid back to the videocassette in his hand, then returned to Daniel.
"Okay. Hammond won't hear it from me."
Daniel's shoulders slumped. "Thank you, Jack."
Jack nodded, his chest tight with lingering anger. He wouldn't tell Hammond about the tape, but he would find out which assholes were responsible for the sick joke.
Continue to Part 2 of Violations.