Broken Arrow



Daniel Jackson was clearly in his element. Colonel Jack O'Neill lounged back in his chair, legs stretched under the table, watching SG1�s archeologist slash linguist do his stuff. Jack smiled to himself as he watched Daniel animatedly discuss the merits of bartering with several of the local farmers. At least Jack assumed that that was the subject, because none of the folk around here spoke any language that Jack was familiar with.

The remnants of the last course were being cleared away, and Jack frowned when he realized that Daniel had barely touched his own meal. He had a tendency to do this; Daniel would get so caught up in his discussions that he�d simply forget to eat. Then he�d look up all surprised to see that the meal was over and he�d barely eaten anything beyond the entr�es.

As the next course was brought in, the serving girl nervously placed a brimming cup of clear liquid before both Daniel and Jack. Looking around, Jack met the eyes of Rahim, the man who had opened his home to SG1. Lifting his own cup to Jack, the man encouraged him to drink up.

Jack picked up the drink, sniffing the liquid before cautiously taking a sip. He hid a grimace, he found that it tasted flowery, not quite to his liking. He put the cup down, only to see Rahim looking slightly worried. Not wanting to give offense, Jack took another sip. After all, Rahim had been the perfect host while the team had been on this world. This time he found that the flavour wasn�t quite so bad. A third sip, and the drink became quite pleasurable.

Hearing Daniel laugh, Jack turned towards his friend. As he did so, he found the room spinning dizzily for a moment. �Wow, that stuff packed quite a punch�, he thought. Daniel looked up and caught his eyes. Frowning, his friend looked at the near empty cup held in Jack�s hand. He watched bemusedly as Daniel spotted his own cup sitting beside his untouched dinner plate and lifting it up, sniffed at its contents.

As he put the cup back down, Daniel asked, "Do you think that�s such a good idea?"

"Wha?" Jack questioned, as he sat up straight. Or at least he tried to sit up, in the process he tipped over slightly to the right. Fahet, sitting beside him, laughed as he caught Jack and propped him back up.

"You don't usually drink alcohol on missions, Jack. Remember what happened on P3X 5896, you were drugged and ended up being infected by nanocytes."

"Yeah, but ishn't the shame ting, I wush drugged," Jack slurred. He tipped the last of the liquid into his mouth, and seeing that Daniel wasn't going to imbibe, reached over and grabbed Daniel's share. As Jack looked at Daniel over the rim of the cup, he could see Daniel's blue eyes staring back at him, anchoring him in a room that was slowly undulating around him.

- - - - - -

Daniel watched Jack get very drunk very quickly on two cups of some kind of alcoholic beverage. As his friend soon became unable to sit up by himself, he excused himself and managed to manhandle Jack out of the room. As he nearly dragged the inebriated man the short distance to their host's home, Daniel wondered why the drink had affected Jack so quickly. Nobody else seemed to be drunk, and everyone had had at least one cup's worth of the stuff. Jack had felt its effects even before finishing his first cup.

As they approached Rahim's house with Jack singing at the top of his voice, Daniel began to get suspicious. Everyone had seemed on edge during the meal, as if they had been expecting something to happen. It was just his luck that Jack decided to do this stupid thing now, when Sam and Teal'c were on their way back to Earth. They had left earlier that morning, loaded up with samples of various types of plants, seeds, and minerals that were going to keep the scientists back on Earth very happy for several months to come.

SG1's current mission had proven more fruitful than expected. They had met with the local citizens, who after getting over some initial misgivings, had seemed more than happy to consider trading with Earth. Daniel was beginning to think that maybe these folk hadn't quite gotten over their fear of travellers coming through the stargate. Rahim had mentioned something about stories of ancient demons which his grandfather's father used to recount, and which Daniel had assumed were about the Goa'uld. But no matter how much he prompted him, Rahim wouldn't expand on these tales.

SG1 wasn�t due to return to Earth for another seven days, but Sam had wanted to have an early start on a variety of tests on some very promising samples. Daniel didn�t think he�d seen her this excited since the time she�d seen the DHD on her first trip through the stargate to Abydos.

Daniel had also been enjoying himself here. The townsfolk were a simple people, with little technology. It was a quiet, peaceful life, and it had been a nice change of pace from the stressful, difficult missions that SG-1 had just been through. Rahim and his friends had shown him some ancient ruins a mile out of town, and Daniel had devoted his time between trying to decipher the texts he had discovered there, and studying the culture of these people.

Daniel had been surprised to see Jack enjoying himself also. This should have been a very boring time for Jack, but strangely, he had been content to sit back and relax for a change. Jack had been inordinately pleased to spend time with the children of the village. For some reason, they had all been attracted to Jack, and he had spent some of his spare time showing them how to play floor hockey.

- - - - - -

Somewhere in the back of his mind, Jack knew that he was royally smashed, but at the moment he didn�t give a shit. He felt really good, and he had finally remembered the words to that dirty little ditty that he and his fellow AF comrades had made up during one drunken party years ago. He�d been trying to remember that song for ages.

Feeling fresh air on his face made him realize all of a sudden that he was outside, and that Daniel had his arm wrapped around him, dragging him along a dirt road. Jack dug his feet in, trying to stop their forward motion. He had this intense need to tell his friend something. He was surprised to find that his legs didn�t quite obey him and he nearly succeeded in tripping Daniel. He himself landed on his butt, and he found this to be incredibly funny.

Jack began laughing hysterically and managed to fall over onto his side. He had to tell Daniel, and trying to swallow his laughter, he slurred, "Danny, gotta tellya shumting." He saw a blurred figure kneel beside him, and he knew it was Daniel just from the bright blue eyes staring at him. He reached out and grabbed the material of his jacket, pulling the man closer. As the blue eyes neared, Jack said, "Danny, need ta pee really really bad."

He felt himself being hauled up onto his feet, and suddenly he was facing a tree. He fumbled at his pants, finally managing to empty his bladder. As he was being hauled away from the tree, the world suddenly began to spin dizzily. He didn�t feel quite so good anymore. Before he could warn Daniel, he felt the younger man let go of him and he hit the ground hard. A heavy weight fell on top of him, and the world suddenly went dark.

- - - - - -

Damn, but Jack was a handful. He had never seen his friend in this bad a state. The man rarely permitted himself to lose control, and Daniel had a sinking feeling that this had been done deliberately. He winced as Jack continued to sing loudly right into his ear.

When Jack suddenly lost his footing and landed ass first on the ground, it was all Daniel could do to not drop on top of his friend. As the drunken man lay there laughing, Daniel noticed that Rahim and several of his cohorts were leaving the communal dining house. Daniel concentrated on trying to get Jack back onto his feet, and damn, now he had to find him�ahhh, that nearby tree would do nicely. As Jack was busy watering the local flora, Daniel saw that Rahim was approaching them warily. He was not going to apologize for Jack�s inebriated state. He was more than ready to start demanding answers. He thought it highly questionable that everyone else had partaken of that particular drink and nobody else had felt its effects as keenly as Jack had.

As he waited for Jack to rearrange his clothes, Daniel saw with dismay that the five men approaching him were armed with either knives or bows and arrows. Daniel realized that he had been right after all, Jack had been deliberately intoxicated. He wondered what would have happened had he drunk his share? For there had to have been something slipped into whatever Jack had ingested; he was too much the soldier to permit himself to get carried away like this, especially during a mission.

As they approached him cautiously, Daniel cursed himself for being unarmed. Had he kept his gun with him, he might have been able to shoot one or two, effectively scaring the others away. But these people had shown themselves to be peaceful and friendly, even Jack had gone around unarmed for the past week. The people here had obviously never discovered gunpowder, and although they knew that Jack�s P-90 was a weapon, they had no idea what it was capable of.

As Daniel opened his mouth to attempt to reason with Rahim, he felt a sudden stab of fire in his side. The pain was so overwhelming that he wasn�t able to take a breath. His legs began to fold, and he felt himself land on something soft. As consciousness fled, the last thing he was aware of was the distinct twang of a bow loosing an arrow echoing in his head.

- - - - - -

Jack woke up when his head came into sudden painful contact with something hard. Wincing, he shifted away from whatever was persistently knocking against his skull. As he opened his eyes, he looked around with wonder. He had never seen such vivid colours before, the sky was an incredible shade of blue, and the clouds dotting the sky here and there were contrasting in a way he had never seen before. A leaf-laden branch came into view as he was moved along beneath a tree, and he craned his head to try and keep the emerald leaves in his sight for as long as possible.

When he could no longer see the branch, he lay back with a sigh, and belatedly realized that someone was lying beside him. He raised himself on his arms slightly to see, and grinned when he saw that it was Daniel. Opening his mouth to speak to his friend, he was suddenly entranced by the vibrant colour of red that had leaked onto the floor of the wooden wagon in which they were lying. His eyes followed the trail of liquid red to its source, and he was fascinated by the way it was dripping out of his friend�s side. He lay there watching the blood run down his friend�s body, darkening the colour of his shirt and pants, flowing around the piece of wood sticking from between his ribs. It ran onto the floor, and if he looked carefully, he could see it drip between the spaces of the wooden slats of the wagon�s floor.

Turning onto his stomach, Jack's attention was drawn to the bits of ground that he could make out between the wooden slats. Closing one eye, he peered at the tufts of grass, stones and dirt that came and went beneath him as he traveled along. A bright spot of red splashing on a stone caught his attention, and his mind dully grasped that it had come from the pool of red liquid slowly leaking from his friend. He smiled, and watched for more drops. He was quickly rewarded.

One of the wheels hit a large pothole, and Jack smacked his cheek and forehead onto the bottom of the wagon. He pushed himself away from the floor, rubbing his bruised skin. A moan came from Daniel, and Jack smiled, looking toward his friend again. The sun shone through the leaves of the trees, and hit upon the feathers sticking out of the top of the arrow. Jack�s attention was divided between the bright red liquid pooling from the end of the arrow stuck into his friend�s body, and the top of the arrow, which turned to incredible shades of blue when the sun hit upon the dyed fletching. The colour was almost the same as Daniel's eyes.

Jack didn�t realize that the wagon had come to a stop until he was rudely pulled away from his entertainment. He was made to stand beside the cart, but he needed to lean against it weakly in order to stay upright. Too many colours vied for his attention, and the effect was totally disorienting and nauseating. He was dragged towards what his befuddled mind finally made out to be a cave, and was left to sag against a damp wall. He allowed himself to slide down the rough wall until he was sitting amongst a pile of sand and rocks, leaning back against the wall.

The interior of the cave was fairly well lit by the sun streaming in through the entrance. A large golden box glinted brightly in the sunshine as it sat at the other end of the large cave. Jack had to look away, his eyes tearing from the dazzling reflection.

A few minutes later, two men dragged Daniel in, dropping him at Jack�s feet. One of them took hold of the arrow and yanked it out of the unconscious man, snapping it in two before throwing it carelessly against the wall. The pieces clattered on stones as they landed a few feet away from Jack. He dragged himself over and picked them up, trying to hold them in the sunshine to see the colours in the feathers.

He felt something wet, and turning his hand, realized it was covered with blood, which had dripped off the arrowhead. He knew that it was Daniel�s blood, but the colour was mesmerizing, and he took the arrowhead and began to wipe it onto his hand, painting it red.

He watched the blood until it dried dark on his hand. Looking for something more interesting, he realized that Daniel was gone, a pool of blood marking the spot where he had lain. Jack dragged the arrow through the blood, making patterns with it, until dizziness and nausea assailed him. That was when Jack curled up against the wall in misery.

- - - - - -

Daniel woke up in a very confined space. Slightly disoriented, he realized that he had experienced this before. He heard a grating sound from right above him, and as he looked up in the dim light and saw the very low ceiling spreading open, he realized where he was. Inside a sarcophagus! He sat up quickly, wanting nothing more than to get out of that cursed apparatus. He knew that something bad had happened to him, otherwise he wouldn�t have been placed inside of one. As he twisted to bring a leg up and over the edge of the sarcophagus, he felt a sharp stabbing pain in his ribs.

Bringing a hand to the aching spot, Daniel realized that his clothes were crusted with what must be dried blood. He stopped, looking curiously at the small holes in his jacket and T-shirt. That was when he remembered being shot by an arrow. He had vague memories of intense pain, and being constantly jarred in a moving vehicle of some sort. Great, he thought. He had just had a hole in his side patched up by a sarcophagus, and here he went and pulled a muscle along his ribs trying to climb down out of it. As he finished his interrupted climb out of the sarcophagus, he spotted someone lying before him, curled up against the wall.

As he approached the person, Daniel recognized it to be Jack. He appeared to be unconscious, and had obviously been sick. He had attempted to crawl away from the mess, and had collapsed a few feet from the entrance. Daniel swiftly felt for a pulse, relieved to find it strong, but beating rapidly. A glance around the cave showed him their packs and weapons thrown haphazardly nearby. He rummaged through the pile, quickly strapping on his own weapon before picking up his pack.

Returning to Jack, he soaked one of his bandannas with water from his canteen, and used it to try and revive his friend. He passed the wet cloth over the older man�s face and neck, and was relieved to hear him moan slightly. Jack made a weak attempt to bat the cloth away, but Daniel gently caught his hand, continuing his ministrations. As he held Jack�s hand, Daniel noticed that it was streaked with blood. He examined his body carefully, looking for injuries, and was relieved to find that the blood wasn't Jack's.

Finally, after a few minutes, Jack opened his eyes, looking up blearily at Daniel. As he bent over to help Jack sit up, he felt the pinching pain in his ribs once again.

"How are you feeling?" Daniel asked Jack. His friend was looking quite hung over. His eyes were bloodshot, his face pale and sweating. He held the canteen to Jack�s mouth, offering him a drink. He permitted Jack to take a couple of sips, not wanting to upset his already sensitive stomach.

As Daniel poured some water on Jack�s hand to clean the dried blood that was smeared all over it, he noticed how they were shaking. Jack didn�t answer, he just kept looking at Daniel, as if he wasn�t quite sure who he was.

"Jack, are you okay?" Daniel asked. His friend�s silence was beginning to unnerve him. Jack blinked, and finally looked away. Daniel was about to reach out to Jack, when he heard the distinct sound of a horse whinnying. Realizing belatedly that they might not be alone, Daniel got up and walked carefully to the entrance of the cave.

The first thing Daniel noticed as he stepped outside was a horse harnessed to a wooden cart standing a ways off to the side. He checked his watch; he'd been unconscious since lunchtime, no more than three hours had elapsed. Glancing back inside at Jack, Daniel pulled his gun out and stepped out of the cave, looking for the people who had brought them here.

A noise behind him alerted him to the fact that Jack was following him. He glanced back quickly, noting that Jack was leaning heavily against the cave entrance, but at least he was moving under his own steam. Looking around cautiously, Daniel started to make his way towards the horse. As he came up to the cart, he used it as cover while he peeked inside. To his horror, he saw that the bottom of the cart was covered with blood.

Unconsciously rubbing his aching side with his free hand, Daniel made his way towards the horse�s head. A loud thump caused him to turn quickly, gun at the ready. Jack had followed Daniel and had collapsed against the side of the cart. Daniel quickly went to his friend, grabbing his arm, urging him to sit down.

"Leggo," Jack growled loudly, looking up at Daniel with an angry stare. Confused, Daniel let go of Jack�s arm, letting the man stand there, wavering unsteadily. He saw Jack�s head come up and his eyes widen in surprise as he saw something or someone behind him. Whirling, Daniel turned, his gun up and ready. Rahim stood there, eyes wide in fear, with a large knife in his hand.

"Rahim, what�s going on?" Daniel asked.

"The ancient stories were true," the man said with awe. "The great box does bring demons back to life."

"What?" Daniel asked, confused. He took a moment to consider the man�s words. "No, Rahim, I�m not a Goa�uld. I mean, I�m not a demon. The sarcophagus heals people, and not just demons." Daniel looked quickly at Jack, and asked in a soft voice, "I was dead, wasn�t I?"

Jack continued to stare at Rahim, ignoring Daniel�s question.

"No! You are a demon, returned to enslave my people once again.� The man waved his knife in Jack�s direction. �Your friend partook of the potion my forefathers spoke of, and yet you did not. You knew!� The knife was pointed once again in Daniel�s direction, the wickedly sharp edge glinting in the sunlight. �Somehow you knew the brew would destroy you. And so we killed you with the sacred stone, and yet you still live. Look at you, you are whole again!� he screamed. �I must ensure that your tyranny does not reign here. Had you taken the potion, you would not have survived so easily." The red faced man was almost panting in his zeal to get the words out.

"Daniel, just shoot the bastard," Jack drawled as he stepped up beside Daniel, clearly unimpressed by the knife Rahim was waving around during his tirade.

"Jack, I can�t. He doesn�t understand. He thinks that we're Goa'uld!" He chanced a quick look at his friend, seeing that he appeared to be slightly steadier on his feet now.

Rahim took a step forward, and Daniel turned towards him, keeping him at bay with his gun. The man may not have known what the weapon might do, but he did recognize Daniel's stance as being one of a fighter.

"Daniel, for Crissakes, he drugged me, shot you with an arrow�and now he wants to cut you up with that hunting knife. Shoot the bastard, so we can just get the hell out of here!"

Daniel turned towards Jack, shocked at his words. Rahim took the opportunity to rush Daniel, but Daniel leaped back, trying to keep some distance between himself and the knife.

"Daniel, will you just shoot already!"

"Jack, shut up, just�shut up!" Daniel yelled, exasperated. He was trying to keep his gun on the slowly advancing Rahim and at the same time make sure that he stayed between Rahim and Jack. He figured that Jack must still be under the influence of the drug, because no way would Jack order Daniel to shoot someone if there wasn't another way out of a situation. Hell, they had lived in this man's home for the past three nights. Had eaten at his table, played with his children.

"Oh, for crying out loud!" Jack exclaimed as he took two steps past Daniel, towards Rahim. Taking advantage of Jack's unarmed status, the angry man raised the knife, intending to plunge it into Jack. Daniel had no choice, he fired several rounds into the man, seeing him crumple at Jack's feet. The gunshots startled the horse which took off at a fast clip, the wagon almost knocking Daniel over.

Feeling like he was going to vomit, Daniel walked up to Rahim, and felt for a pulse. The man's eyes were open, staring up at nothing. Even before he touched the man's skin, he knew that he was dead. He glared at Jack, knowing that his friend had forced his hand. He grabbed Rahim by the arms, wincing as his side protested. Staggering under the man's weight, he half carried him, half dragged him into the cave, where he dumped him into the sarcophagus with some difficulty.

Sensing a body inside, the portals of the sarcophagus closed automatically. Daniel walked back to their gear, intending on making camp while the Goa'uld machinery revived the dead man. To his surprise, he heard the portals of the sarcophagus cycle open seconds later. He walked back to it and peered inside. Rahim lay there, still dead. No pulse. Daniel pressed the "on" button, watching the portals close once again, only to open up seconds later.

After several tries, Daniel realized that the sarcophagus was not going to work. He leaned against its side, one hand to his forehead, squeezing his temples. He had killed this man needlessly; he had been sure that with time, he would have been able to get through to him. Jack had deliberately walked into the man's reach, knowing that the Rahim would go after him. Jack had also known that Daniel wouldn't allow Rahim to hurt him, so he had left Daniel no choice but to shoot.

Jack! He was still outside. Daniel rushed out, looking for his friend. Jack had remained where Daniel had left him. He found the older man sitting on the ground, knees bent, head pillowed on folded arms. He was fingering something in one hand, and as Daniel came up to him, he put it into his pocket. As Jack looked up at Daniel, he noted that his friend looked exhausted, physically ill, and totally non-repentant.

"Damnit, Jack! Why�d you do that?" Daniel asked angrily, as he knelt beside Jack. His friend continued to look at Daniel, his face expressionless.

"The sarcophagus isn�t working. Rahim�s not going to be revived. He's dead! You forced me to kill him. Why, Jack?"

Daniel could still envisage this morning�s meal; Rahim and his wife sitting across from him, their children chattering away. The youngest child had climbed onto Jack�s lap, stealing bits of fruit from his plate. Daniel wondered how Rahim and his family could have duped them so well.

"He wasn't the enemy, Jack. Rahim was an innocent man, terrified that we were going to hurt his family, his people. What the hell did they do to you?"

What had Rahim given Jack to make him so unfeeling? Something Rahim had mentioned � whatever the drug was, it was supposed to kill a Goa�uld. Maybe Jack�s actions right now were due to something similar to Machello�s Goa�uld killing device. God, he hoped not. Having to go through that hell with medical help was bad enough, but if Jack began losing it out here�

He saw that Jack was in pain, his face was pale and pinched. Daniel placed a hand on Jack�s neck, feeling for his pulse. Reassured that Jack was okay in that regard, he brought his hand up to Jack�s cheek to check for fever, before running it slightly through his friend�s damp hair.

Jerking his head to the side, Jack ducked Daniel�s attempt at soothing him. Hurt at his friend�s rejection at the contact, Daniel sat back on his knees. He tried to keep his emotions in check while dealing with Jack. He knew that Jack wasn�t responsible for what he was saying or doing.

"Jack, I want you to try getting into the sarcophagus," Daniel bit off his words as Jack�s eyes hardened as he glared up at him.

Speaking quickly before Jack could interrupt, Daniel said, "At the least, it�ll get rid of the hangover you�re experiencing. We don�t know what that drug is doing to you. It could be poison, for all we know. The sarcophagus would get it out of your system, and we still have a two day walk to get to the stargate."

"No way, Dannyboy. I�m not getting into that piece of Goa�uld shit technology." Jack shifted away from Daniel as he attempted to stand up with difficulty. As Daniel took his arm to help him up, Jack brushed him away.

"Anyway, you just said that it wasn�t working."

"I said it didn�t work on Rahim, but that doesn�t mean it won�t work on you. It just healed me, so there�s no reason not to�"

"NO! What part of 'no' don�t you understand? I�m not dying, I�m just hung over. Which is a mite better than you seem to be able to do these days, huh?"

Biting his lip before he could say something he�d regret later, Daniel walked away from Jack and returned to the cave to pick up their supplies. He knew that the sun wouldn't be setting quite yet, but figured that they had to get away from this area. Rahim�s associates probably knew where he�d brought them, and when that horse eventually reached home without its master, there would most likely be a lynch mob on the way.

Fingering his radio, he wondered whether Sam and Teal�c were too far away for him to get a message through. He tried anyway, but only got static. He hoped that his teammates were able to make their way to the stargate without being harmed. Or even worse, ambushed on their return to the village in a few days' time. Daniel knew that he and Jack now had to make their way home quickly and warn them. Getting Jack to the infirmary was also uppermost in Daniel's mind. He hoped that the worst was over, and that Jack could simply sleep off the effects of the drug.

"Do you think you can travel?" Daniel asked Jack. Without a word, Jack returned to the cave and reached for his gun and backpack. Daniel was a little wary of letting Jack walk around armed while in this mood, but figured that he�d keep an eye on him. He wished he could have convinced Jack to at least try the sarcophagus. But upon further reflection, he didn't know whether the drug inside of Jack might not react adversely to its effects. Who knew, the way Rahim had spoken, it was meant to kill, or at least incapacitate a Goa'uld. Maybe it worked in tandem with the sarcophagus.

"Which way to the stargate?" Daniel asked as he arranged his pack over his shoulder.

"Jesus, Daniel! You�d think after all these years, you�d pay a little more attention to your surroundings." Jack began walking at a tangent from the dirt road that the horse had galloped away on.

It happened so quickly, Daniel thought for a second that he was going to die once again, but this time by Jack's hand. Jack whirled, gun up and aimed directly at him. When Jack pulled the trigger, the bullet flew inches from his head. At the sound of a thud, he turned, seeing a body lying crumpled by the edge of the woods. Confused, Daniel looked at Jack, who had a cold, calculating look on his face. Daniel drew his gun, and rushed to the fallen figure.

It was Rahim's friend Fahet, dead with a bullet through the heart. Daniel saw the bow and arrow lying beside the man, and presumed that he had been on the verge of letting it fly.

"Did you have to kill him?" Daniel demanded angrily as he walked back to his friend.

"What? You want me to shoot him in the leg so he could tell his friends which direction we went?"

"Damnit, Jack�" He punched the air in futility. "Never mind."

They walked in silence for a few minutes, before Daniel asked, "Jack, don�t you think we should, maybe, follow the road?"

"And meet up with Rahim�s friends, who might just come at us with more arrows, or some nastier surprise? Daniel, you better start using your brain, or you�re gonna end up dead again, this time without a sarcophagus to miraculously revive you."

Daniel blushed at Jack�s words, ducking his head out of habit. Jack was right, he always seemed to have a problem with directions. He had always relied on Jack or the others to point him the right way. He saw that they were walking in a southwestern direction.

He allowed Jack to take the lead, noting that his friend was somewhat unsteady on his feet. Daniel decided that they�d walk until they found half-decent shelter. He didn�t think that anyone would come out looking for them in the dark. They�d leave at first light, getting a head start towards home.

- - - - - -

Jack ignored the pounding in his head and the double vision that would occasionally creep up and cause him to stumble. He couldn�t believe Daniel. How could the man have hesitated to defend himself just now? Jack had had to put himself in danger in order to force Daniel to shoot the idiot. Damned stupid hicks. Didn�t have any technology worthwhile trading for, just a bunch of stupid farms. Not even intelligent enough to learn English, for crying out loud.

Then there was the sarcophagus; he was going to recommend to Hammond that a team come out and haul it back to Earth asap. At least one good thing had come about from this stupid, boring mission. But Daniel had said that it wasn�t working�ah hell, nothing to worry about. He was sure that Carter and her team of scientists could fix it, no prob.

Another thing. He was gonna have to talk to Carter about getting all excited about plants and stuff like that. It wasn�t like growing a bunch of new grass was gonna help getting rid of the snake problem. He was gonna make sure that she stopped encouraging these types so he and his team could just get the hell out of Dodge before something like this happened again.

Jack knew that Daniel was going to insist they stop for the night as soon as a suitable campsite came up. When the subject did come up, Jack insisted on forging ahead, leaving Daniel no choice but to follow. They travelled by the light of the two moons, stopping only when the night was halfway over. Jack would have insisted on walking the night through, but the pain in his head seemed to be getting worse, and he was definitely beginning to feel tired and weak.

When they came upon running water and an easily defended spot, Jack decided it was a good enough campsite. They were now a good distance from the cave, and had a good head start on anyone coming after them. He accepted some water from Daniel, forcing himself to swallow it, before curling up under an emergency blanket.

- - - - - -

Daniel watched as Jack slept fitfully beside him. Torn between the need to comfort Jack and the need to maintain a watch, Daniel lowered his head in frustration. Jack's attitude while walking back to the Stargate had stretched Daniel's already taut nerves. Jack's comments on everything from the weather to questioning Daniel's ability to find their way back to the Stargate were tireless. His remarks had begun as simple comments and had progressed to snide and hurtful remarks as they continued walking.

He was feeling the chill of the night now that they had stopped moving. Once Jack had fallen asleep, Daniel had added his own blanket to the one covering the slumbering man. He had first watch, but he didn't plan on waking him until it was time to move on. He had seen how exhausted his friend was, and during their journey, Daniel had tried to stop several times for Jack's sake. His friend had simply continued walking, leaving Daniel no choice but to keep up.

Daniel got up occasionally and walked around, both in order to remain awake, and in an attempt to keep warm. He rubbed at his side, trying to pinpoint where the ache came from. It felt worse when he twisted his torso, more like needles poking him from inside.

He was worried about Jack, not only was he acting out of character, but Daniel suspected that he was running a fever. He hoped that Jack recovered come morning, maybe these few hours of sleep would help.

Daniel heard Jack singing softly, and he realized that he was singing bits of that dirty song he'd been so fond of while inebriated earlier. Daniel thought that he had never heard such foul language come out of his friend�s mouth. Jack may be the hardened soldier, but he was also a gentleman�most of the time. He stopped singing after a couple of lines, and Daniel saw him begin to stir restlessly. He cried out suddenly, and Daniel was over by his side in a flash. He shook his shoulder, trying to wake him from his nightmare. Jack opened his eyes momentarily, then closed them after looking at Daniel. Daniel stayed by his side for a couple of minutes, rubbing Jack's shoulder, waiting until he was sure that Jack wasn't going to return to the dream.

He walked around the perimeter of their camp once more, rubbing his hands over his arms to keep warm. He could see that the sky in the east was much brighter, the sun would be up very soon. He chanced a small fire, making coffee. When it was ready, he got up slowly to pour himself a cup. He would have liked nothing better than to shut his eyes for a few minutes, but the inhabitants of this world had removed that luxury. Jack's current condition meant that Daniel had to remain alert, keeping an eye out for both the enemy and his friend. With a stab of fear, Daniel realized that he didn't know how much longer he would be able to protect his friend without being able to rest.

He walked over to Jack, placing a hand on his forehead, checking for fever. Daniel's hands were cold, so it was hard to be sure, but he thought that Jack felt warmer than he should. He jumped suddenly when Jack grumbled, "Jesus, your hands are freezing. What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"I think you have a fever, Jack. Here, take some Tylenol," he suggested, pulling a blister pack from his backpack and putting both the pills and a fresh cup of coffee into Jack's hands.

"We better get moving," Jack said shortly, swallowing the pills dry and pouring the coffee on the ground without tasting it.

- - - - - -

They had made good time during the next several hours. They stopped to rest when the sun was high, and when Daniel offered Jack something to eat, Jack told Daniel that he wasn't hungry.

"Come on, Jack. You have to eat something," Daniel coaxed, knowing that Jack hadn't wanted to eat any breakfast.

"Daniel, I'm not like you. I know how to take care of myself, and I'll damn well eat when I feel like it, and not before."

Closing his eyes a moment, Daniel took a deep breath. Jack had been unapproachable all morning long, and no matter what Daniel said, Jack responded with cutting sarcasm or down and out insults.

"How are you feeling? Do you still have a headache?" he asked tentatively.

"Stop asking how I feel. You're beginning to get on my nerves."

Slipping two Tylenol out of his vest pocket where he�d placed them earlier, he silently offered them to his friend. He had had enough of Jack's attitude. He kept reminding himself that Jack wasn't well. The pain in his side wasn't helping Daniel's patience either. It had escalated from an occasional twinge whenever he moved to a constant dull ache.

Jack removed his hand from whatever object he was toying with in his pocket to accept the medication. Jack had taken up that particular habit not long after he'd woken up yesterday afternoon. Occasionally he'd take it out and fiddle with it whenever he thought that Daniel couldn't see, but he'd pop it right back into his pocket whenever Daniel approached. Daniel hadn't been able to catch a glimpse of whatever it was, and there was no way he was even going to ask with Jack being in this particular mood.

An hour or so later, the sky filled with clouds. The wind started up shortly before the rain began to fall. They were soaked to the skin within minutes. Daniel soon had trouble putting one foot in front of the other. The cold seemed to aggravate his aching side, and he was chilled to the bone and tired from not having slept the previous night. Strangely enough, Jack did better than Daniel. The cool rain was keeping his fever down, and seemed to help keep him alert. Daniel was also relieved to see him chewing on a power bar at one point, whereas he himself had no appetite.

- - - - - -

When Major Carter called for a rest, Teal'c took the opportunity to survey the land behind them while she took advantage to partake nourishment. The people following them had been very careful to remain unseen, but Teal'c had been aware of them for several hours now. He was relieved to see that the Stargate was less than an hour's journey. He and the Major suspected that something must have happened to the Colonel and DanielJackson. After some discussion, they had both agreed that their best option was to go through the stargate and return with backup.

Teal'c and MajorCarter had continually attempted to contact ColonelO'Neill. They were going to try and boost their signal through the MALP that had remained by the stargate. The fact that O'Neill was not responding to their hails did not bode well for him and DanielJackson.

He knew that MajorCarter was tired, cold and wet, but yet she continued on without complaint. He was proud to be her teammate, he knew also that she was worried. He watched her scan the surrounding area, trying to catch a glimpse of their unknown pursuers. She quickly finished her meal, and they set off at a slightly faster pace.

The ones following did nothing that appeared hostile until MajorCarter attempted to dial the stargate. Once the cycle began, the ten men who had been following them attempted to rush them. They managed to loose several arrows before Teal'c fired his staff weapon, injuring at least four of the men while MajorCarter sent through their codes. The men scattered, allowing the two SG1 members to run through the event horizon.

Teal'c took one step onto the metal ramp as he materialized in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, and the next thing he knew, he was flying through the air. He landed hard several feet away, while the Stargate blew all of its circuits in an impressive array of fireworks. MajorCarter miraculously came through untouched, it was almost as if the catastrophe emanated from around her and worked its way out from there. The marines and technical personnel in the room were not so lucky. No one had been seriously hurt, but most had been shaken up, several with minor burns.

Teal'c raised his head and looked up at the stargate, which was still emitting occasional sparks. He feared that it would be a while before it could be repaired. He hoped that O'Neill and DanielJackson were able to hold out until the 'gate was mended and a search and rescue party dispatched.

- - - - - -

The rain had stopped after a while, but the wind had continued to blow most of the day. By the time Jack decided that they were stopping for the night, their clothes had mostly dried off. They were walking through a wooded area, and Jack had discovered shelter underneath two partly fallen trees. They crawled in underneath, sitting side by side. Both were suffering from the cold, but neither wished to admit it to the other.

Daniel reached over and tested Jack for fever, ignoring the glare sent his way. Dismayed at finding his friend feverish again, Daniel took out the Tylenol, offering two to Jack, and himself downing two to try and alleviate his aching ribs. Daniel pulled his T-shirt aside, looking at the offending area. It felt slightly warmer than the rest of his body, and possibly looked to be slightly redder. He sighed as he pulled his clothes back down.

Jack was nodding off and had eventually fallen asleep, his head leaning against Daniel's shoulder. Jack's body heat felt good, Daniel still hadn't managed to get warm. He maneuvered himself so that Jack was lying between his legs, up against his chest, spreading their blankets over the both of them. Daniel welcomed Jack's warmth, even if it was due to his rising fever. The sleeping man shifted slightly, making himself more comfortable against Daniel.

The night seemed interminably long to Daniel, who did everything in his power to remain awake and alert. At first it wasn't difficult, he was too cold and uncomfortable to sleep. But slowly, Jack's body heat began to insinuate itself into his, and the Tylenol relieved his pain. He found himself nodding off a couple of times, so he crept out from under Jack and got up from beneath their shelter. He kept moving for the next several hours, constantly checking on Jack's progress.

Daniel had woken him up twice to take more Tylenol. He was beginning to worry, they were running low on the stuff. He had decided to forego taking some for his pain; if it got worse, he'd jump to the stronger drugs. Janet usually ensured that they had some Darvocet in one of their first aid kits. He suddenly feared that it might be with Sam, so he went through both his and Jack's packs, relieved to find the drug amongst his friend's supplies.

Daniel estimated that sunrise would be in about one more hour. The damp cold night finally forced him back under the shelter, where he sat beside Jack, trying to warm up again.

The next thing Daniel was aware of was Jack smacking him hard on the shoulder, yelling that Daniel was sleeping.

"You should have woken me up to keep watch if you couldn't manage it by yourself," Jack bellowed.

Daniel checked his watch, noting that he'd been asleep for no more than twenty minutes. He felt groggy and nauseous. Just those few minutes of rest had ended up making him feel physically worse than before.

"Sorry, Jack," Daniel mumbled, rubbing his mistreated shoulder.

"Sorry? You'll know what sorry is if those sons of bitches get their hands on you again. You broke the sarcophagus, how do you think you'll get healed this time, huh?"

"Jack, if you don't stop yelling, you're going to lead them right to us," Daniel said, trying to remain patient. "And I did NOT break the sarcophagus."

"Considering that you were the last person to use it, I'd think that it's pretty obvious that you broke it."

Daniel rolled his eyes, and said, "Jack, that wasn't my fault."

"Ach, no, that's not true. If you had been paying attention to underlying factors while you were shooting the breeze with Rahim and his goons, then maybe we wouldn't be in this situation. You can't put the blame on me, considering I don't even speak the language."

Daniel decided it wasn't even worth the breath to try and argue with him. He reached a hand to see if Jack's fever was better. To his dismay, his fever seemed to be worse.

Jack viciously batted Daniel's hand away.

"Will you stop doing that," he snarled.

"Jack, you're running a temperature and I'll be damned if I'm going to let you get any sicker." Daniel threw the near empty blister pack of Tylenol at him in frustration, glaring at him until Jack picked it up and downed two with some water.

Needing to get away from Jack a moment and try to calm down, Daniel made to get up. A sharp, stabbing in his side made him gasp, and he carefully sat back down a moment, taking short breaths, waiting for the pain to abate. It did after a moment, leaving an ache even worse than before. He tried to get up again, this time making sure to not twist his torso. He walked around the area a bit, trying to calm down, a hand under his t-shirt massaging his ribs.

- - - - - -

The constant rage that Jack had been experiencing since he'd woken up with Daniel crouching beside him nearly two days ago hadn't diminished in the least. To make matters worse, he was feeling like shit. Never mind that his head never stopped pounding, his stomach could barely tolerate water, and his whole body ached. On top of everything, Daniel's constant yapping was beginning to wear on his already frayed nerved.

Jack had woken up feeling even worse than when he had gone to sleep last night, and what did he find? His teammate, who should have been standing watch, stretched out beside him, fast asleep! That was it, Jack decided that when they got back to Earth, Daniel was off the team. If Jack couldn't trust his own teammates to watch out for him, then they had no business being ON the team.

He thought of Teal'c and Carter, who had nearly a day's head start ahead of Daniel and him. They didn't know that the inhabitants of this planet had duped them. He belatedly remembered his radio, and clumsily fingering the controls, Jack attempted to contact them. They should be able to hear him, shouldn't they? He had to warn them, they were part of his team. They didn't fall asleep when they should be on watch, not like Dannyboy over there. Dweeb. He had known that he was going to be trouble from the first. Always talking back, never listening. Why had he put up with him all these years?

Damn, why wasn't Carter answering his hails? Damned piece of crap. In a fit of rage, Jack tore the radio from his jacket pocket, throwing it into the brush. He lay down on his side, his head pounding, his body wracked in shivers.

Jack reached into his pocket, reverently removing the piece of stained wood with blue feathers attached to it. The feathers were crushed from sitting in his pocket, and Jack carefully smoothed them out with his thumb and index finger. He held the broken piece up to the early morning daylight, trying to see if he could get some sunlight to shine on the feathers so they could reflect that particular shade of blue. The colour reminded him of something�something he knew was important to him, something just out of reach. He lowered the arrow, holding it in his hand almost like a lifeline. Finally calming, Jack succumbed once again to sleep.

- - - - - -

The sound of something being thrown into the bushes caught Daniel's attention. He walked over to the spot, searching for whatever had made the noise. He quickly spotted the radio, and bending over carefully with a hand on his ribs, he picked up the discarded piece of equipment. When he returned to the shelter, he saw that Jack had curled up again on the ground, fast asleep. Daniel prayed that Jack's fever broke soon. He sat down beside his friend, stroking his hair. It seemed that the only time he was able to comfort him was when he was asleep. But at this point he didn't know if he was comforting Jack, or himself. Daniel saw the pack of Tylenol on the ground where Jack had left it. He picked it up, noting that only two were left; only one more dose remained.

He knew that they should move on, but he really didn't think that Jack should be travelling. It looked like it was going to rain again, and Jack was probably better off lying in this dry spot than walking around in the rain. Jack mumbled slightly to himself as he shifted in his sleep. Daniel shushed him, telling him everything was going to be all right.

As he feared, the rain began to fall heavily. As Daniel sat in their cramped little shelter, he began to shiver slightly. Although it was dry inside, up until now, their combined body heat had made it fairly comfortable to be in. The pain was getting worse, and Daniel eyed Jack's pack. He figured maybe now was the time to take something stronger. Reaching over Jack for the pack, Daniel froze as the pain dug into his ribs. Damn, this had to be worse than just a pulled muscle�it felt like something was cutting into him from inside his body.

He finally managed to grab the pack, found the Darvocet and swallowed them down with a swallow of water. He heated and then opened up an MRE, not feeling hungry but realizing that he needed to keep his strength up. He forced himself to eat it; MREs weren't exactly his favourite food even when he was feeling well. When he'd finished, he laid his head back against the rear of the shelter, waiting for the medication to kick in. The sound of the falling rain was soothing, and as his pain began to dissipate, his head slowly fell forward onto his chest.

- - - - - -

// A bright red bead slowly formed, grew, and elongated till it broke off and dropped to the ground. His eyes followed its descent, watching as it splattered among its brethren amidst the colorful flowers and grass. The crimson splashes shone more brightly amongst the other hues, surpassing them in their brilliance. Tiny blue feathers gently floated to the ground, each one coming to rest in a small puddle of red. With a shaking hand, he picked up a feather, seeing the crimson mar the deep blue shade of the feather. He held it up to the light, hoping he could still see the original color behind the red stain.

Tears ran down his face unheeded, and he knew that he would never get back the right shade of blue. He wanted to scream, run, sob�the pain he felt was so familiar. Imagines of a young body held in his arms, superimposed with those of a man. He had cared so much for both of them - his son, his friend - had loved each in their own individual way. Both were gone, forever.

He saw his revolver sitting on the ground before him, surrounded by the blood stained, blue feathers. He stared at the gun, thinking he'd been in these circumstances before. He reached for it, and� //

A hand was clasped over his mouth, another one held his arms solidly against his chest. He heard someone breathing in his ear; a well muscled, familiar warmth pressed against his back. A voice whispered oh so quietly, nearly mouthing the words.

"Don't move, we've got visitors."

"Danny?" Jack asked, whispering into his friend's hand, trying to shake the remnants of his dream.

He tried to look around, saw only branches and leaves surrounding him. The little that he could manage to see through the foliage showed only more trees and shrubs, almost indiscernible through pouring rain. He tensed suddenly as he heard guttural speech nearby. He couldn't make out the words, but Daniel quietly translated in his ear as the men walked away.

"They have no clue that we're in here, Jack. The rain's washed away all traces of our camp. They're still searching for us�I think it's okay, they're leaving."

Jack lay on the ground, feeling extremely weak, disoriented, and somewhat hungry. He had vague memories of feeling feverish, headache�and something else. He couldn't quite pinpoint what it was, but it left a vague feeling of uneasiness when he thought about it.

After hearing nothing but the rain for several minutes, Daniel removed his hand from Jack's mouth and chest.

"Sorry," Daniel said to Jack, as Jack sat up shakily to look at his friend. Although Daniel looked haggard; his pale, stubbled face, and bloodshot eyes never looked more welcoming to Jack.

As Daniel shifted forward to the entrance of their shelter to check the area outside, Jack lifted a hand to rub over his own face. He was surprised to find a thin, round piece of wood with blue feathers clasped in his hands. It looked vaguely familiar for some reason. As Daniel sat back, Jack pocketed the item.

"Daniel, what happened?" he asked as Daniel put a hand to Jack's forehead. Jack presumed that he was testing for fever. He saw Daniel smile at him before offering him some water. Jack took the canteen and greedily drained it.

"Sorry, I fell asleep," Daniel answered contritely. Jack looked at his friend's exhausted face and wondered why he was apologizing. Jack thought that Daniel probably needed sleep more than he did at the moment. Jack realized that he must have been ill, and Daniel had been taking care of him.

"Hungry?" Daniel asked, as he took back the now empty canteen, putting it just beyond the entrance of their hideyhole to gather rainwater. Jack noted the tentative quality to Daniel's voice, and wondered what he might have done to cause such apprehension.

"Starving," Jack answered. Daniel dug out an MRE, using the rainwater to heat it up. As Jack tore into it hungrily, he asked Daniel, "Where are we?"

With a slight smile, Daniel answered, "P2R 087."

"Like that's supposed to mean something to me?" Jack joked, talking with his mouth full. He wondered at Daniel�s tentative smile. His friend was acting a little skittish, and he wondered if his lapses in memory might be hiding something that Daniel wasn�t telling.

As Daniel began to fill in the gaps in Jack's memory, he finished his MRE, then polished off a partially eaten power bar that he'd found in his vest pocket. He drank more water, and then sat back feeling sated. He didn't feel quite as shaky as he had when he'd woken up, making him wonder how long he'd gone without eating.

"So, what you're saying is that we have to get to the stargate and warn Carter and Teal'c that they may be coming back into an ambush. At the same time, these people are out looking for us, thinking that we're snakeheads." Daniel nodded at Jack's words.

"So how far are we from the gate?"

"About a day�we stopped here for shelter last night, but you were so sick, I thought it best you not go out in that rain."

Jack looked out into the deluge. "I think rain or not, we should get moving." He checked his watch, making the calculations. "If we start now, we should reach the gate before tomorrow night if we push ourselves."

�You�re feeling okay?� Daniel asked, nervously biting his lip as he watched Jack carefully.

�Yeah, Danny, I am. I guess I wasn�t great company over the past twenty four hours, huh?� Jack answered, seeing Daniel duck his head. Jack wondered what he had done to make Daniel so wary of him.

He helped Daniel pack up the few items that were strewn about their campsite�empty MRE wrappers, canteen, empty Tylenol packs. Jack wondered if he had actually taken all of those pills�he must have really been out of it to not even remember that, including the events of the past two days.

Gritting his teeth, he got up and stepped warily out into the rain. He was soaked within seconds. He turned to see Daniel step out, and freeze suddenly as if in pain, his hand clutching his side.

Jack gripped Daniel's arm, steadying him as he straightened up slowly. The look of pain on his face rivaled the one Jack had seen a few years ago when Daniel had been afflicted with appendicitis.

"What's wrong?" Jack asked worriedly, as Daniel removed his rain-swept glasses with one hand and tucked the useless item into his vest pocket.

"I don't know. I think I pulled something a few days ago."

"Let me see," Jack said, trying to pull up the wet cloth from Daniel's skin. Jack fingered the holes in Daniel's clothes, realizing that this was where Daniel had been shot with the arrow. Daniel removed his hand, permitting Jack to take a look.

"There's nothing there, except a slight patch of red skin," Jack said, pressing on the spot. "Does this hurt?"

"Not really, it hurts mostly when I twist around. I probably pulled the muscles between my ribs�" Daniel pulled his jacket down, forcing Jack to stop his prodding. He looked up and said, "I'm fine, Jack. We'd better go."

Jack hefted his backpack and started off after Daniel pointed him in the right direction. Jack's legs were shaky for the first mile, but he soon got his second wind. They walked in the rain for a couple of hours. Shortly before sunset, the rain finally slacked off, and they were subjected to a beautiful sunset as the sky began to clear up.

Jack decided that they should continue on for as long as they were able to, their way being illuminated by moonlight from one of the rising moons. Some time later, as he was threading his way through a series of bushes, he heard Daniel call his name. Realizing that the younger man wasn't following behind him, he looked back to see him leaning wearily against a tree.

Making his way back to his friend, he saw that Daniel was shivering slightly. He watched as Jack stepped up to him, utter fatigue reflecting in both face and body.

"Sorry, Jack. I need to rest for a minute."

"Damn it, Danny. You should have told me sooner." Jack led Daniel down to a small nearby clearing, helping his friend sit on a large rock. Seeing him wince in pain, Jack opened his pack, searching for some painkillers.

"Did we use up all the Tylenol?" Jack asked.

"Almost. I took some Darvocet earlier today. It helped a bit."

Jack found the said pills, offering two to Daniel. He accepted them, swallowing them with a bit of water. Daniel shivered once again, and Jack reached over to test for fever, finding that his friend had a temperature.

"Okay, we've gone far enough for today. We're finding a place to camp and you're getting some sleep." "I'm okay, Jack. I can keep going for a bit longer." "I'm sure you can, but I don't look forward to carrying you on my back tomorrow when you collapse from exhaustion. Look, we've gone farther today than I expected to, so let's just stop and rest up, okay."

Daniel's simple nod at Jack's words told him exactly how bad Daniel was feeling at the moment. Helping his friend up, they continued on until they found a decent campsite some 30 minutes later.

Both were soaked through, and they couldn't risk a fire now that they knew they were being hunted. Jack ate another MRE, but Daniel just shook his head when offered one. Jack spread one of the blankets on the wet ground, urging Daniel to lay down on it. He pulled the second blanket over his friend.

"Jack, just a couple of hours, okay? We have to keep going."

Jack put on hand on Daniel's shoulder, agreeing to his terms. "Four hours, then I'll wake you."

Daniel closed his eyes, and was asleep within seconds.

Jack reckoned that Carter and Teal'c had made it through the stargate last night, and had spent today on Earth. He calculated the time difference between here and Earth, and figured that they'd return sometime late today or early tomorrow. Best scenario would be that Jack and Daniel made it to the stargate before Carter and Teal'c came back. The more probable scenario would be that Jack and Daniel would meet up with Carter and Teal'c on the road back to the village. That meant that he and Daniel would soon have to leave their current cross country terrain and make their way to the main road, hoping that they didn't come across any of the inhabitants.

The long walk on top of Jack's weakened condition had taken its toll, and he soon had difficulty in keeping his eyes open. He began pacing, trying to stay awake. He alternated between sitting and pacing, wishing the time would pass more quickly.

Jack pulled out the piece of broken wood from his pants� pocket, and was surprised to find an arrowhead also. He sat staring at them for several seconds before his brain realized that he was holding two parts of an arrow. Both had been liberally stained with blood, and he realized belatedly that this had been the arrow that had severely injured, or possibly killed, Daniel. He went to throw the pieces away when the blue fletching caught his eye.

The blue feathers continued to tickle his memory, and he became frustrated trying to remember what they reminded him of. He began to realize it had something to do with the time that he had been drugged. Blue�interspersed with red�he would almost remember, and then feelings of sadness and guilt would come over him.

He woke Daniel up after four hours, feeling terrible at having to wake his exhausted friend. Daniel sat up, groaning softly, holding his side. Jack offered him an MRE and some more pills. Jack insisted that Daniel eat, and he watched as his friend forced the food down.

They made their way to the main road, walking adjacently to it through fields and woods, keeping it in sight. They had only seen one person using the road so far, and had been able to get out of sight in plenty of time. They were forced to stop to rest three hours later when Daniel's legs suddenly folded beneath him.

- - - - - -

Daniel had been fighting bouts of dizziness and nausea ever since Jack had woken him up in the very early morning. The food that he had forced himself to eat had been threatening to make a re-appearance. His side no longer simply ached, the least little movement had become excruciating. Walking was now an agony, and Daniel wanted nothing more than to lie down and sleep.

He barely managed to keep up with Jack. He was so tired that he couldn't remember how much farther the stargate was. He kept on hoping that he'd see it around the next bend, over the next hill, but knowing that they still had several more hours' walking to do. He was shivering with cold at the moment, whereas fifteen minutes ago he had felt overly warm.

He had been walking beside Jack when the next thing he knew, the pain in his side became nearly unbearable. He found himself on his knees, with Jack supporting his weight.

"J'ck?"

"It's okay, Daniel. We're taking a little rest stop."

Jack helped him sit down, and gave Daniel some more medicine for the pain. He felt Jack position himself behind him, pulling him back into his arms. They rested for a while, Daniel with his head against Jack's chest, listening to his heart beat. The sound was soothing, and when the painkillers began to kick in, Daniel gave in and let himself doze.

Jack had been trying to contact Carter and Teal�c on the radio every 20 minutes. Each time that he did, Daniel would force himself from his near sleep and listen for his friends' response. So far Jack had had no luck in reaching them. He could tell that Jack was worried, the guys were overdue. Unless something had come up at the SGC keeping them from returning to the planet, chances were that their teammates had either been captured, or worse.

They resumed walking after an hour's rest. Daniel was having a hard time keeping up with Jack�s pace, and he knew that his friend had already slowed it down to try and accommodate Daniel�s growing weakness. He was relieved to see Jack recovered from the drug�s effects. He thought ironically that yesterday, it had been Jack who hadn�t been up to travelling.

Daniel was glad when Jack finally led him onto the dirt road, and out of the woods and fields. It was easier going now that they didn�t have to fight tree roots, shrubs and overgrown grass. Except that now they were out in the open, and were more vulnerable to being spotted. Jack had one hand on his P-90, and Daniel could see that he was very alert, constantly checking for any threats. Daniel thought that he could at least help and watch their backs, but when he turned to look behind, he had gotten so dizzy that he nearly fell flat on his face.

That was when his stomach had finally decided that enough was enough, and had expelled the remains of the meal that he had so forcibly swallowed earlier. The spasms coursing through his body caused waves of pain to flow into his side. He felt himself close to passing out, and only managed to hang onto consciousness by concentrating on Jack�s voice and the touch of his hands on his face.

When his stomach eventually decided that there was nothing more to evict, Daniel tried to concentrate on simply trying to breathe in order to get past the throbbing in his ribs. Because each breath he took now became agony, every movement of his diaphragm felt like it there was sharp glass grinding into it.

When he had recovered enough to open his eyes and look around, he found himself lying in Jacks arms, head pillowed on his chest. He was so tired, he just wanted to stay there and sleep. He felt himself close to drifting, just another couple of seconds�

"Daniel, we�re only about a mile away from the �gate," Jack said, startling him awake.

Daniel guessed that Jack was trying to encourage him on but at the moment, either one mile or one hundred felt about the same unachievable distance to him. He thought that he shouldn�t let his friend down, Jack had managed to travel while being sick. Daniel had made it this far, and San and Teal�c were counting on them, although they didn�t know it yet. He also knew that Janet would be waiting for him at the end of this journey with a big fat needle full of happy juice. That was the thought that finally got him motivated enough to drag his feet under him, and with Jack�s help, on their way again.

- - - - - -

Jack had seen Daniel collapse and tried to both support Daniel while his body heaved, and keep watch for any approaching enemy. He knew that the younger man was nearing the end of his strength and endurance, and was experiencing a lot of pain. He found it strange that the pain appeared to be concentrated where the sarcophagus had healed his injury. Daniel had mentioned that it had stopped working after healing him�maybe it hadn�t been working properly to begin with and hadn�t performed a thorough job on him.

He hated to force Daniel on, but he was weakening quickly and there was nothing that Jack could do to help him. He needed to get him to Fraiser as quickly as he could. If Carter and Teal'c weren't at the SGC, then Jack would have General Hammond mount a rescue force and they would return and attempt to find them. He wasn't even going to try and imagine what had been done to his remaining team members if they had been captured.

- - - - - -

Sam stood at the edge of the metal ramp, waiting impatiently for the last of the circuits on the stargate to be tested. Everything had blown when she and Teal�c had come through more than 24 hours previously. It had taken the technicians this long to try and determine the cause and eventually test everything out.

They had concluded that one of the mineral samples that she had returned with caused the equivalent of an allergic reaction to the naquada in the stargate. The resulting "hiccup" had blown the circuits. Another property of this mineral was its ability to block radio waves. She suspected that this was the reason she hadn't been able to reach anyone by radio while on her way to the 'gate yesterday and the day before.

General Hammond had decided to err on the side of caution and had waited till all tests had proven that there was no danger in operating the �gate again. Carter herself had deemed it safe, so long as larger quantities of that particular mineral didn't come through. In that case, if the 'gate should �sneeze�, she estimated that the damage would be more intensive than several blown circuits.

The technicians gave the all clear, and she and Teal�c went to get kitted out once the General gave them his approval. They were back within 10 minutes, anxious to return to their teammates. A platoon of marines stood by, waiting for orders. She didn�t like the idea of having been separated from them for this long, especially after having been attacked at the stargate. She presumed that the colonel�s mother hen propensity was rubbing off on her.

The General had requested that she try and find a way of getting more of that mineral home�the prospects of using it as a weapon against their enemy was enormous. She couldn�t figure out yet how to get it through the �gate without blowing it up to kingdom come if such tiny amounts had caused this much damage. The only other solution she could think of at the moment was to bring it back in a ship. She�d broached the subject to the General, and he had understood. Still, she kept the problem simmering in the back of her brain while worrying about her teammates.

Finally the �gate was dialing out, and she stood ready to go through. Just as the general was giving his approval, one of the technicians advised that the MALP feedback was showing hostiles surrounding the �gate. She and Teal�c rushed out of the �gateroom and up the stairs to the control room to see for themselves.

There were close to two dozen men standing around, all of them looking at the active �gate. Sam recognized several from her stay at the village, all of them were armed with bows and arrows, pointed at the wormhole. She could also make out knives strapped to their belts. This was definitely an ambush ready to happen. Getting the upper hand was no problem with the lack of technology of the planet�s inhabitants. The problem now was, what had happened to the Colonel and to Daniel?

General Hammond activated the remote radio on the MALP, and Sam smiled to herself when all of the men jumped.

"This is General Hammond, who is in charge here?"

Several arrows flew at the MALP, bouncing harmlessly off the machinery.

"What is the meaning of this? Why are you attacking us? I believe that we had reached a peaceful trade agreement?"

One man cautiously approached, his arrow knocked, ready to fly. He spoke towards the machine, but his eyes remained fixed on the wormhole.

The general glanced at Sam, who raised her shoulders in confusion. None of them understood what the man was saying. When he finished speaking, General Hammond spoke out once again.

"What has happened to Colonel O�Neill and Doctor Jackson?"

This elicited a response from all of the men, who began yelling at gesticulating at the same time. One or two unleashed several more arrows towards the MALP, but they bounced off harmlessly.

Before Carter could request permission to go through the stargate and search for her missing teammates, a familiar voice came through the speakers, barely discernible through the static.

- - - - - -

Hearing a gasp off to his side, Jack whirled, gun reflexively aiming towards the sound. A young teenage boy stood hiding behind a tree, armed with a bow. Jack surmised that he was probably a lookout, and he had caught the youngster by surprise. The kid fumbled for an arrow, and Jack took several steps towards him.

"Jack, don�t. Please don�t hurt him," Daniel pleaded while grabbing the tip of Jack�s gun and pointing it away from the teenager. Daniel�s words suddenly seemed very familiar, and Jack had a flash of memory where Daniel was accusing him of needlessly forcing him to kill someone. Why was he feeling such pangs of remorse at the memory?

Speaking to the boy, Daniel said, "Put your weapon down. Please, don�t force us to hurt you."

Jack noted that Daniel seemed to be having trouble breathing. He was standing beside Jack, with his arm wrapped around his middle. The boy looked up at Daniel, then at Jack, obviously undecided. Jack gestured to the bow, and the boy slowly let it drop. He took the boy gently by the shoulder and drew him out of the trees. Pointing him towards his village, Jack pushed him gently, trying to get him on his way.

"Go on, go home," Jack said.

"Go home," Daniel repeated, so that the boy would understand. Staring at them unbelievingly, he stood there for a moment, then turned tail and bolted down the road.

"Think that means there�s company waiting for us at the �gate?" Jack said to Daniel, watching the kid run. When he didn�t answer him, Jack looked over at his friend, who was swaying on his feet. He swiftly closed the few feet between them, and realized that Daniel was in difficulty.

"Daniel, what�s happening?" Jack asked, as the panicked man clutched at Jack�s jacket.

"Can�t breathe. Oh God, Jack," Daniel gasped, as his legs gave out on him.

"Danny, hang on. The stargate is just beyond those trees. We�re almost home." Jack ignored the thought of the welcoming committee that was probably waiting for them there.

Jack attempted to lift him to his feet but his friend wasn�t able to hold his own weight. Jack realized that he was in extreme pain, holding one hand to his side. As he gasped for breath, Jack could see the veins on the side of Daniel�s neck begin to stand out.

He debated whether he should throw him over his shoulder, and attempt to carry him to the stargate. He was undecided, if Daniel was having such a hard problem breathing now, Jack was afraid that he�d only worsen the situation by moving him. But when Daniel�s lips began to turn blue, Jack decided he had no time to waste. Hefting his friend over his shoulders, he began a walk/run towards the �gate.

He still couldn�t see the stargate from his position, but the sound of Hammond�s voice crackling through static from his radio was something he hadn�t expected to hear. Balancing Daniel carefully as he gently lowered him behind the cover of bushes, Jack thumbed his radio.

"General Hammond, this is O�Neill. Over." He figured that the wormhole was now activated, and the general was communicating through the MALP. They had left the MALP in place especially for this type of communication, instead of returning it to Earth.

"Colonel O'Neill! Thank goodness. What�s your situation?" Jack heard the relief in the General�s voice even through the static that was coming through the radio.

"We�re about 800 feet from the �gate. I don�t have a visual yet, but I�m assuming there are hostiles. Daniel's down�sir, it�s bad. And�Carter and Teal�c�?" As Jack cushioned the sweat-ridden head onto his chest, he realized that his friend had passed out. He placed one arm around his shoulders, cradling him to him in a seated position to try and ease his breathing. Daniel was still having problems breathing, and Jack was worried because he didn�t seem to be trying as hard to breathe now that he wasn�t conscious.

Jack heard silence for a few seconds, and visualized everyone looking at each other worriedly. "Major Carter and Teal�c are still here, Colonel. We had a slight hitch with the stargate. We�re about ready to mount an offensive against the hostiles. They�ll be heading out in about 5 minutes."

"Understood, General."

Doctor Fraiser�s voice came through when the General had finished speaking.

"Colonel, what�s Daniel�s condition?"

"He�s unconscious, doc. He's having trouble breathing. His lips are turning blue."

"Does he have any visible injuries?"

"Negative. He�s been complaining about a pain in his side, but the sarcophagus should have healed that. He just keeled over a few minutes ago."

"Sarcophagus�? Colonel, if Daniel's cyanotic, it�s imperative that you get him here as soon as possible. He may not have much time."

"Colonel O�Neill," General Hammond said, "we are ready to go. We will contact you the moment the stargate is clear."

"Understood, Sir."

Even from his hiding place, Jack could hear the sound of zats as his team took out the people who had threatened them. He couldn't believe how quickly it was over, it always seemed to take forever when you were in the midst of battle. He heard Carter signal the all clear, and once again he hefted Daniel onto his shoulders.

Teal'c and Carter ran up to him as soon as they spotted him coming towards them, bringing the acrid scent of teargas along with them. Jack assumed that they had thrown several canisters of the stuff to confuse the enemy before stepping through the gate themselves. The wind had dispersed the gas by now, and Jack could see that the canisters were no longer smoking.

Jack circumvented the bodies of the unconscious inhabitants, making his way towards the stargate. Carter followed close by, trying to assess Daniel's condition without impeding Jack's progress. Teal'c had gone to the DHD and had begun dialing Earth. He pressed the last symbol and the wormhole shot out before stabilizing into a liquid blue puddle.

As Jack made his way up the stairs towards the wormhole, he saw that several of the men had begun to stir. One was reaching for his bow, and he saw another put out his hand to stop him before the marines took aim and shot him. He recognized the man as being the one in charge of the farming community. He yelled something to Jack, then sat there watching them leave. The marines had all filed through the 'gate as Jack got there, leaving Sam and Teal'c to come through with him.

Jack emerged in the embarkation room to the sound of thunder and the brilliance of lightening. He ducked instinctively, and in the process felt Daniel slide off his back onto the metal ramp. Jack thought that he had been blinded and deafened, until he realized that he could still hear Daniel gasping for breath beside him. Jack was certain that his eyes were open, but he couldn't see a thing. He began hearing moans of pain from all around him. He fumbled in his pack, found his flashlight. Spraying the light over the pitch black embarkation room, he saw that all personnel had been knocked back from the ramp, and everyone in the room appeared to be unconscious. Except for himself.

As he was wondering why the backup generator hadn't kicked in yet, the emergency lights finally came on. They glowed dimly, as if the current was having trouble reaching the bulbs. Looking around, Jack saw that Carter was lying at the bottom of the metal ramp, bleeding from a blow to the head. Teal'c was down also, but he was stirring. Jack looked up towards the control room, but the lighting was too weak to illuminate much. There didn't appear to be any movement, he thought that maybe the people there were unconscious too.

Jack was wondering how far the damage had spread throughout the base when he heard the sound of approaching voices and footsteps. To his dismay, he saw a gurney lying off to the side, so he assumed that the medical staff had also been knocked out. Personnel began filing in, going to the aid of the injured. To his relief, he saw General Hammond enter the embarkation room. He stopped to assist Doctor Fraiser. As she got up, slightly unsteadily, Jack saw her search the room. Her eyes meeting his, she made her way towards him, stopping twice to quickly assess two injured soldiers. It appeared that those farthest from the stargate had suffered the least damage.

Fraiser took one look at Daniel and said, "Colonel, get Daniel to the infirmary, stat!" General Hammond met Jack's eyes as he bent over an injured marine, and with a quick nod, dismissed Jack from the room. Teal'c by this time was on his feet, and he carried Daniel to the gurney. Jack helped Fraiser wheel the gurney in a mad dash to the infirmary.

All non-essential medical staff had been ordered to the embarkation room, leaving only one nurse and a medic to assist Fraiser with Daniel. Jack stepped aside as they converged on the gurney. He could see Daniel moving restlessly, struggling to breathe.

"Type and cross him for 6 units of blood, and have the blood bank send over a couple of units of O negative for immediate transfusion. Also, call the radiology tech., I need a stat portable chest x-ray," Fraiser ordered gruffly in her haste to get Daniel treated. As the medic raced to call the blood bank, Fraiser and her nurse started oxygen, took Daniel's vital signs, placed two IVs, and cross matched him for a blood transfusion.

"Debbie, get me a chest tube tray and a size 28 tube, stat!"

As the nurse opened the chest tube tray, Fraiser looked up at Jack. Pulling on her sterile gloves, she asked, "Colonel, you said something about Daniel being healed by a sarcophagus? Where was the injury?"

"Right here," Jack answered, pointing to Daniel's side. "Ya think he's got some broken ribs? I checked, but I couldn't find anything."

"I don't think he has any broken ribs," she said as she palpitated Daniel's chest, "but I won't know until we can get an x-ray. But he does have a hemothorax."

Jack frowned in puzzlement at the doctor's words.

"Colonel, I don't have time to explain. I need your help. He's bleeding internally; I have to place a chest tube to relieve the pressure on his lungs."

Jack nodded, moving in closer to the bed. "What do you want me to do, doc.?" He felt helpless as he watched Daniel trying to breathe.

"Hold Daniel's arm above his head and try and keep him still. This is going to hurt like hell, but he's not stable enough to sedate."

Turning to the nurse, Fraiser said quietly, "Debbie, prep the operating room." Nodding, the nurse left, leaving Fraiser alone with Jack. By this time, although peripherally aware that the infirmary was slowly filling up with injured people, Jack was totally concentrated on Daniel and Doctor Fraiser.

Fraiser raised Daniel's arm up above his head. Jack took hold of Daniel's arm and placed his other hand on Daniel's shoulder, squeezing slightly. While wiping Daniel's exposed skin with antiseptic, she spoke gently to Daniel.

"Daniel, I�m injecting a local right now," Janet murmured as she inserted the needle in his chest wall.

"It won't be long now, Danny? You'll be feeling better soon." Jack kept talking to him steadily, hoping that Daniel could hear his voice. Daniel's eyes were open, but he wasn't focusing on anyone. Once Fraiser finished injecting the contents of the syringe, she picked up a scalpel.

"Daniel, I�m making an incision. Don't worry, you won't feel it," she said as quickly made a small incision near Daniel's bottom rib beneath his arm. She then picked up a clear plastic tube.

"I'm going to insert the tube now, so brace yourself, Daniel." Capturing Jack's eyes with her gaze, Janet said quietly, "Hold him."

Jack tightened his hold, getting ready to hold Daniel down. When Jack saw where the tube was going, he swallowed several times to ensure that he wouldn't lose the contents of his stomach.

Fraiser placed the end of the tube into the incision, and with forceps, began forcing the tube into Daniel's chest cavity. Even with the local, Daniel jerked in response to the pain, crying out involuntarily, the sound muffled through the oxygen mask. Dropping his hand from Daniel's shoulder, he quickly cupped it around Daniel's cheek.

Blood came pouring out through the tube, and the stain of red flowing from Daniel's side suddenly seemed too vivid, surreal. Jack became mesmerized with the colour, and recalling its companion, he let go of Daniel's arm to begin reaching into his pocket for the blue-feathered stick.

"Colonel!" Janet's sharp voice startled him from his trance. He looked down and saw that Daniel had passed out.
"Daniel," he whispered.

"It's okay. It's to be expected. The relief was too much for him." Jack tried not to look as Janet sutured the tube into place. "Are you all right?"

As he nodded, Jack noted suddenly that Daniel was breathing more normally, no longer gasping.

"He's breathing better," Jack commented.

As Janet took Daniel's blood pressure, she told him that she had relieved the pressure on his heart and lungs.

"His pressure is dropping! Let's move him," she yelled as she caught the eye of a nearby nurse. "Corporal, you can hang the blood on the way," she said to the medic who had returned with the O negative blood in order to begin the transfusion.

Jack slowly became aware of his surroundings, exhaustion suddenly making the room begin to loop around crazily. He grabbed onto the side of a bed in an attempt to stay upright. A nurse rushed over and helped Jack onto an empty bed. He looked around, and was glad to see that most of the patients appeared to be doing well.

"Rest here, Colonel. Doctor Warner will be with you soon."

"I'm not going anywhere," he answered tiredly. He took a deep breath, trying to force himself to relax until Doctor Warner finally found the time to have a look at him.

By the time that Warner finally finished with him, most of the patients had been released from the infirmary. Jack was ordered to remain for observation, being diagnosed with exhaustion and possible unknown reactions from the drug he had been given. He looked over towards where he knew the operating room to be. Jack resigned himself to a long wait.

Jack was dozing when Doctor Fraiser finally came to see him. He was surprised to see Carter sitting in the chair beside him. Her head was bandaged and she looked pale, but her eyes were bright and alert as she looked at him. Doctor Fraiser was smiling, and Jack knew that Daniel was going to be all right.

"We've stopped the bleeding. He's going to be fine." She brought her hand up, displaying a small, sharp piece of rock. "This is what caused the damage. It had lodged between his ribs, causing an abscess with resulting infection, and finally it tore open an artery. I've repaired the artery, and drained the infection. Although how it got inside him�" She shook her head in confusion.

Jack took the small sharp sliver, realizing that it looked familiar. Digging into his pocket, he withdrew the arrowhead. As he turned it around, he saw that the sliver fit perfectly into a corner edge of the arrowhead.

"Daniel had been shot with this arrow. Rahim pulled it out of him before putting Daniel into the sarcophagus. That piece must have broken off�"
"That's possible, it might have caught on a rib."

"Sir, may I see that," Carter asked, holding a hand out for the arrowhead. She examined it carefully before exclaiming, "Oh my God! Sir! That's what caused the stargate and all of our systems to overload." At Jack's confused look, she continued. "I'm sure that's the same mineral that we brought back as samples from the planet. It caused the 'gate to overload when Teal'c and I came through the first time, but we were carrying smaller samples than this. It's still affecting some of the systems, I need to get it shielded."

Jack let her have both pieces, and she rushed off at a run. Both Fraiser and Jack watched her go, bemused looks on their faces.

Several minutes later, the lights suddenly brightened up. They were still under the emergency generators, but everything seemed to be up and running more efficiently.

When Daniel was finally wheeled in from recovery, Jack left his bed and took the chair beside Daniel's bed. He looked at his friend, sleeping peacefully. Although he was pale, his breathing was normal, and he no longer had a blue cast. He put a hand against Daniel's face, careful of the oxygen cannula. He was still feverish, but Janet had said that he had an infection, so that was expected. Jack grimaced slightly when he saw that the chest tube was still in place.

He picked up Daniel's slack hand, and settled back to wait. He closed his eyes, listening to the sounds of the infirmary. Slowly the sounds began to recede, and his head inched down towards his chest.

// He saw his gun lying on the ground amidst blood stained, blue feathers. He began sobbing, overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and remorse. Eyes blurred with tears, he could make out a tiny blue feather stuck to the gun. He brought the gun up towards him, his finger tightening on the trigger, when he heard his name. //

Eyes snapping open, he looked around, totally disoriented. He was in the infirmary; on one level he knew where he was, and on another, nothing looked familiar. A pressure on his hand brought his attention to it, and he saw a pair of bright blue eyes looking up at him worriedly.

Daniel!

Everything fell into place, and he remembered.

"You okay?" Daniel asked, his voice weak but unmistakably worried.

"Yeah, just dreaming. Weird dream. How are you feeling?" Jack motioned to one of the nurses, who came over to check Daniel over.

"Dunno. Hurts, but different from before. What happened?"

"You know that arrow you got shot with?" Daniel nodded. "Seems like a piece broke off, got stuck between your ribs. It caused an infection, collapsed a lung." Daniel arched his eyebrows in surprise. "That doesn't make sense. I thought that the sarcophagus removed foreign matter from your body when it healed." He winced in pain as he attempted to move.

"Yeah, but the stuff the arrow was made of affects Goa'uld technology�I guess you could say, in a good way. And hey, you DID so break the sarcophagus."

"Did not," Daniel replied, his voice growing sleepy.

"Did too," Jack said with a smile, watching Daniel's eyes begin to close. Daniel attempted to reply to Jack's teasing, but was asleep before his mouth finished forming the words. Jack smiled, and relieved to see that Daniel was doing better, climbed onto his own bed for much some needed rest.

- - - - - -

When Jack woke again, he found Teal'c sitting by his side.

"Daniel?" Jack asked, his friend's condition foremost in his mind.

"DoctorFraiser is pleased at his recovery. He is resting comfortably at the moment, and will make a full recovery."

Relieved that Daniel was going to be okay, Jack forced his mind on to other matters.

"What about the explosion in the gateroom?"

"The damage is extensive, but repairs are well under way. There were no serious injuries, and all the wounded have been released from the infirmary."

Jack looked around, and realized that he and Daniel appeared to be the only patients left. He looked at Teal'c, realized that there was more that the Jaffa wanted to say.

"CaptainCarter believes that the arrow used to injure DanielJackson was a weapon created to destroy the Goa'uld. It appears that it was deliberately constructed to break when removed from the victim's body. The composition of the stone is such that it would react with the naquada in the symbiote's body, thus effectively destroying the Goa'uld. Unfortunately, it is too volatile to carry through the stargate."

"Can't they break it up into smaller pieces?"

"Even minute quantities adversely affects the stargate. CaptainCarter is still attempting to see whether the arrowhead can be effectively used as a weapon."

"DoctorFraiser also believes the drug you were given to be a weapon created against the Goa'uld. As you are not blended, it simply poisoned you for a time, until your body eliminated the toxin. Both DoctorFraiser and CaptainCarter expressed a wish to have procured a sample of this drug."

"Simply poisoned, huh? Teal'c, that stuff did such a number on me, I just lay there and watched Daniel bleed to death. I wouldn't wish the stuff on anyone, believe me."

"O'Neill, you did not deliberately hurt DanielJackson. You must not carry the guilt of his injury. You were both victims of a people who, although mistaken, attempted to protect their own from the evils of the false gods. DanielJackson does not blame you, therefore you should not blame yourself."

"Well, yeah, easy for you to say," he mumbled.

Doctor Warner soon released Jack, on the condition that he ate a proper meal before returning to the infirmary to sit with Daniel. Teal'c accompanied him to the commissary, Jack thinking that Warner had probably enlisted the big man's help in ensuring that Jack ate a well balanced meal.

- - - - -

Daniel woke up to the familiar sounds of the infirmary. He lay there quietly, trying to remember what had happened this time. He was aware of discomfort in his ribs, and as his brain slowly fought off the drugs, he began to remember his trip to the stargate with Jack. Jack! He opened his eyes, and was relieved to see his friend sitting beside him. Daniel thought at first that Jack was asleep, until he realized that he was deep in thought, looking down at something in his hands. Daniel turned his head, trying to see what Jack was holding. He glimpsed something blue, and as he tried to raise his head for a better look, he gasped in sudden pain as the movement kindled the fire in his side.

The sound must have reached Jack, because he was there in a flash, hovering over Daniel. He thought that Jack had hit the call button because Doctor Fraiser was suddenly there. The pain began to recede and Daniel realized that someone must have slipped some medication into his IV. As the pain eased, Daniel began to relax. He saw Jack's worried face, and Daniel suddenly had flashes of Jack standing over him while he fought to breathe. There had been a sudden, intense pain in his side, and then�he remembered vaguely Jack telling him something about an arrowhead.

Daniel smiled at Jack, and was relieved to see the worried look ease a bit from his friend's face. Jack smiled back, but Daniel saw that it was an automatic gesture, not heartfelt. Jack lifted a hand to play a nervous tattoo on the side of the mattress. Daniel, realizing that the other man was still holding that mysterious object, caught his hand, stilling the movement. He plucked the piece of wood from him, and with unsteady hands, brought it up towards his face so he could finally see what it was.

"Why did you keep this?" Daniel asked, realizing that it must be part of the arrow that he had been struck with.

Jack shrugged his shoulders, not meeting Daniel's eyes.

"Don't tell me you're feeling guilty over what happened?" Daniel demanded.

Jack glared at Daniel, startling him. He blinked up at Jack in confusion, remembering how his friend had been constantly infuriated with him when he'd been drugged. Jack must have realized the same thing, because his expression softened immediately.

"Sorry," Jack muttered, as he sat down. Daniel could see how tired his friend was.

"Are you all right?" Daniel asked.

"Yes. No�I don't know." He looked at Daniel, an expression of grief on his face. "Danny, I'm sorry, I�remember doing and�saying things�I didn't mean to�I�"

Daniel dropped the arrow and grabbed Jack's arm, wincing slightly as he aggravated his injury.

"Jack, I know that you didn't mean what you said when�"

"Damnit, no you don't know! I just let you lie there and bleed. I could at least have tried to stop the bleeding, but no�I was having one helluva trip that I didn't want to plug up my entertainment."

"Jack," Daniel started.

"Don't you understand? I let you die!" Jack yelled.

"No matter what you would have tried, I think I was too badly injured. I would have died anyway." Daniel's spoke softly. He could feel his friend shaking, and he tugged slightly on his arm, trying to pull Jack towards him. Jack relented, and as he neared Daniel, he reached up with his good arm and pulled Jack into a hug. Jack resisted a bit, then let himself be held, his head lying lightly on Daniel's shoulder.

Daniel could feel Jack breathing shakily, holding back tears. He rubbed his friend's back lightly with his hand, wishing Jack would just let go. They stayed like that for a few minutes, until Daniel felt Jack begin to relax.

"I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if you had died," Jack said into Daniel's neck. He raised up slightly, his now bloodshot eyes inches away from Daniel's. He saw Jack swallow, and Jack reached up to lightly caress Daniel's cheek.

"You going to be all right?" Daniel asked. He fought to not close his eyes, knowing that if he let go, the medication would ensure instant slumber.

Jack nodded, smiling, this time the smile reaching his eyes. "Yeah, I think so." Straightening, Jack picked up the discarded piece of wood lying on Daniel's bed, and threw it into the garbage. "You look tired, get some sleep, huh?"

"I will if you will," Daniel countered. Jack nodded, and smiling once again at Daniel, turned and made his way out of the infirmary. Daniel closed his eyes, asleep before Jack had gone through the door.

- - - - -

// Jack reached for the gun, his blood-stained fingers brushing against a blue feather which was stuck to the barrel. Sobbing, he pointed the gun towards himself, when a hand reached out and gently grabbed his arm. He looked up, and saw bright blue eyes peering at him. He stared for a moment, then relinquished the weapon to the man's outstretched hand. The hand tightened on his arm, and he was pulled into a hug. His arms came up and reached around the man's torso. "I'm sorry," he mumbled against the man's shoulder.

A hand gently rubbed his back, silently offering comfort. He tried to pull away, but the arms tightened their hold. His grief continued to pour out of him, until exhaustion claimed him, and his breathing began to calm. A hand gently swept through his hair, and he finally let himself relax. //

He felt clean once again, as if his tears had washed the blood away from his hands. His breathing slowed, and he fell into a deep, untroubled sleep.

- - - - - -

Daniel envied Jack's energy as his friend stood beside his beside, literally bouncing with cheerfulness and life. Jack had obviously gotten a good night's rest. Daniel was happy to see his friend acting more like himself. The haunted look had left his eyes, and he couldn't seem to stop smiling. Which was a good thing, except that Daniel really wanted to sleep right now. His side still pained him, and would continue to do so until the chest tube was removed. Janet had said she would remove the tube this afternoon, and Daniel couldn't wait to be rid of it.

Jack had been closeted with Hammond most of the morning, and Daniel had toughed out the pain as long as he could. He didn't want any painkillers because he knew that the stuff would quickly put him to sleep, and he wanted to be awake for when Jack came to see him.

Jack had been gone a long time, and Daniel had been getting worried that maybe his friend was still upset with him. Daniel had thought that a broken arrow had nearly succeeded in killing him, and then had almost destroyed Jack with misplaced guilt.

Unfortunately, Daniel had become so restless from worry and pain that Fraiser had taken pity on him. The nurse had just finished injecting the med. into his IV line when Daniel saw Jack walk into the infirmary. The medication was making him sleepy, and a sleepy Daniel always had a hard time concentrating on an energetic Jack

His eyes flew open as a feather touch tickled his cheek. Jack was standing over him, a finger stroking the side of his face, a slight smile on his face. Daniel thought that he must have dozed off, he didn't remember closing his eyes.

"Hey, stay with me for a minute, okay?" Daniel nodded, feeling that talking was too great an effort for his tongue at the moment.

"Hammond's sending us off world this afternoon. We'll be away maybe 36�48 hours. You think you'll be okay with us gone?"

Daniel forced his brain to try and process what Jack had just told him. "Two days?" he asked, blinking furiously in an effort to stay focused.

"Yeah. Fraiser said that she'll probably be springing you by the time we get back. My place, okay?"

Daniel nodded again, smiling slightly. He didn't mind recuperating at Jack's. Actually, that was usually the only time that Jack let Daniel have control of the remote. He sighed softly in contentment, as he shifted in the bed to make himself more comfortable.

"Okay, get some sleep. I'll see you before we leave, when you're a little more alert."

Jack's voice came from far away, and Daniel let himself drift off. Daniel was safe now, Jack had recovered and was obviously looking forward to returning to work. Daniel's last thought as he fell into the void of sleep was that the broken arrow had finally been mended.  

FINIS!


Author's Comments:

 Thanks to DebiC for the beta, and DebA for the medical advice

If you enjoyed this fic, then half the credit should go to devra, as we spent many an email discussing what would happen should a sarcophagus not work properly.

 

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DISCLAIMER:The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.