Family and Friends
Jack bit back a curse as the guards shoved him into the dark and dank cell. It was too dim in the small room to make out many details, but he could hear as Carter was forced into the cell opposite his. He turned and quickly scanned their prison as a guard slammed his cell door shut. He noted a body lying on the floor in the cubicle next to his as he walked up to the now padlocked door. As Jack turned his gaze towards Carter, he heard Teal'c's familiar voice call out his name. As the large man stepped out of the shadows in the cell beside Sam's, Jack felt both relief and frustration. He was glad to finally know that Teal'c was safe, but he could have howled with disappointment knowing that the warrior wasn't going to be breaking them out of jail soon.
"Shit, they caught you too?" he said.
He couldn't believe that both he and Carter had been so easily captured by a society whose weapons were inferior to theirs. They had been knocked out by some kind of smoke bomb, and both he and Carter been in the process of being dragged into this building when they'd woken up.
Not really expecting an impending rescue by their missing fourth, he asked, "What about Dan…?"
As he said the words, he remembered the form lying on the ground several feet from him. Turning towards the cell, he heard Teal'c confirm his suspicions. "DanielJackson has been injured, O'Neill. He is in the compartment next to yours."
"Damnit," he cursed, as he reached the edge of the cell. "Daniel, can you hear me," he called softly. As his eyes finally adjusted to the dim light in the room, he could make out his teammate lying on his back, facing away from him. He lay sprawled at the far end of the cell, just out of reach.
"He has been wounded, O'Neill," Teal'c repeated. "He has not awoken from the gases that were used to render him unconscious."
"How long has he been out?" Jack asked worriedly. He and Carter hadn't been under from the effects of that gas for more than a few minutes. Jack could make out something dark pooling on the floor beside Daniel's legs. He thought uneasily that it looked like blood.
"Approximately fifteen minutes, perhaps more." Jack looked over at Teal'c. The man was standing nearly at attention, his face impassive. Jack didn't know Teal'c very well, but he thought he heard an undertone of worry in his voice. "Daniel, wake up!" Jack called, more loudly this time.
"How was he hurt?" Jack heard Sam ask as he squatted down and reached a hand through the bars. He strained to touch Daniel, but his reach was just an inch too short.
He sat down on the floor in frustration as Teal'c answered, "He was stabbed in the thigh. I fear he may have suffered significant blood loss."
"Sir, can you see anything?" Sam asked Jack.
Yup, that was definitely blood pooling around Daniel's leg, coming from a wound on his upper left thigh.
"Yeah, he's bleeding."
Jack looked around for something to use to try and reach Daniel. Each cell contained a flimsy blanket and pillow, a thin pallet, and a dirty and foul-smelling bucket in the corner. There was nothing he could use. Unless… He sat down and untied his boot. Forcing it between the bars, he used its tip to prod Daniel's hip. Nudging him gently, he added, "Daniel, come on, wake up." Another nudge. "Daniel, don't do this. Wake up." As he nudged him a third time, he heard Daniel sigh softly and turn his head towards Jack. As he watched, he saw Daniel frown slightly as his eyelids fluttered once.
"Come on, Jackson, wake up," he repeated, nudging him once again. He inhaled deeply in relief as he saw Daniel's eyes open. "Come on, that's it," he encouraged.
"Jack?" he heard Daniel ask weakly, as the younger man tried to focus on his face.
Daniel had obviously lost his glasses somewhere, and Jack could make out a bruise on his temple and cheek. Coughing weakly, Daniel tried to raise his head.
"Yeah, it's me. Can you move closer?" He brought the boot back into his side of the cell, and reached a now empty hand towards his teammate. "Come on, scoot over here." He saw Daniel attempt to turn over, and then hiss in pain as he jarred his injured leg. "Daniel, you have to help me here. Just a couple of inches…" Daniel tried again, and this time managed to move over a few inches, bringing his arm and hip into Jack's reach.
Grabbing hold of Daniel's belt, Jack began pulling until he was able to get both hands on Daniel, and hauled him right up to the side of the cell. Daniel moaned slightly as his leg was jostled. Jack quickly tore Daniel's pants and examined the wound. He noted that although it was still bleeding somewhat, judging from the amount of blood on the floor, the bleeding must have started to slow on its own. He noticed that Daniel was perspiring, his skin damp and clammy, his pulse racing. He could feel Daniel's body shaking slightly beneath his hands.
"I'm cccold, Jack," he heard Daniel say.
As Jack looked up, he saw that Daniel was staring up trustingly at him.
Leaving Daniel for a moment, Jack grabbed the blanket off of his pallet and reached over to also take the blanket in Daniel's cell. As he was wrapping the thin material over Daniel's torso, he heard Carter call to him. She was holding both hers and Teal'c's blankets. At his nod, she tossed them to him. He added one of their blankets to the pile covering Daniel, and then placed the thin pillow under his head to cushion it from the stone floor. The last blanket he tore into several pieces. Folding one section into a thick pad, he used it to apply pressure to Daniel's wound.
At the touch, Daniel shouted in pain, and then simply lay there beside Jack, gasping.
"I know it hurts, Daniel, but I've got to stop the bleeding."
With one hand pressing down on his leg, Jack reached over and took Daniel's pulse again. "Shit," Jack exclaimed softly, as he noted the still racing pulse. He saw Daniel's hands tighten into fists at the necessary pain he was inflicting on his friend.
"Teal'c, what happened? I thought you two were going to examine that shrine?" He needed to know what had happened, but he also wanted to try and distract himself from what he was doing to Daniel.
"Indeed, we were at the temple when we were challenged by angry villagers. I had no choice, O'Neill. They would have killed DanielJackson."
- - - - - -
Two hours earlier:
Daniel stomped angrily away from the village and away from his other two teammates. He knew that he was acting like a spoiled child at the moment, but he was too upset to care. Jack knew how he felt about Teal'c, and he had gone ahead and ordered the Jaffa to baby sit Daniel anyway. Damn him. First off, he didn't need a babysitter, and secondly, he didn't want Teal'c. Didn't want him as part of the team, or as a member of the SGC. As a matter of fact, he didn't want Teal'c to come anywhere near him. Daniel knew that the knowledge the Jaffa possessed about the Goa'uld was invaluable, but Daniel never expected to have to deal with the man on a daily basis.
He'd been thrilled at first when Jack had suggested that Teal'c become part of SG1. Daniel had even fought alongside Jack in preventing Colonel Kennedy from transporting Teal'c to Langly. That was, up until he'd discovered that Teal'c was the one responsible for Shau're's kidnapping and her becoming a host to Ammonet. Daniel vividly remembered that debriefing several days ago when Teal'c confessed. He'd stormed out of the room and had refused to return. In the end, it was Jack's ultimatum that forced Daniel to work alongside Teal'c. Jack had made it clear that it was either that, or leave SG1. Daniel acknowledged that the current members of the team were his best hope at the moment for finding his wife. So he made his decision, and forced himself to at least appear to be civil to Teal'c.
He heard Teal'c walking quietly behind him, but Daniel refused to acknowledge him. He continued his fast paced march towards the building in the far distance, while Sam and Jack stayed and continued to try to communicate with the group of villagers they'd met early this morning. That was another thing that was bothering Daniel: he was the linguist. He should be the one chosen to deal with first contact, not Jack. Hell, Jack shouldn't even have separated the team. What the hell was he trying to prove? Or was he just shoving Teal'c down Daniel's throat on purpose?
Their conversation coursed through his mind as he climbed up a particularly steep hill. The people in the village were obvious descendants of an ancient Greek civilization, but their language had changed so much over the centuries that Daniel had difficulty in understanding what they were saying. Although he was catching a few words here and there, it would take him some time to be able to fully communicate with them.
Daniel's current predicament had begun when he had spied the symbol of a staff and serpent painted over the door of the healer's home. He explained to Jack that the healer was obviously a worshipper of the Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.
For some reason, Daniel hadn't thought that Jack was actually listening to him. He went on to say that the staff and snake symbol was still used today, the caduceus being the symbol representing modern physicians. It was only when Daniel mentioned that Asclepius was known to bring the dead back to life, did Jack show an interest in Daniel's monologue and make the connection that the god may have been a Goa'uld.
Curse the man. Daniel hadn't wanted to leave, but Jack had ordered him to the temple because 'Daniel was the archeologist.' Jack figured that Daniel might be able to discover some proof that there was, or might have been, a snakehead on this planet. Daniel hadn't wanted to go; he would have preferred to stay and learn more about these people. He had first argued, and then had suggested that they send Sam instead. Daniel flushed at the memory of that conversation. He had been acting selfish and had known it. It was just that things never seemed to go his way lately.
Sam had been very popular with the women of the village. When Daniel had last seen Sam, she had been surrounded by a group of female warriors, who were happily attempting to show her how to shoot a bow. Daniel had argued that he should be the one trying to talk with them, not Sam. Jack had pointed out that she was doing a pretty good job of communicating without words. Jack had then decreed that the subject was moot, and Daniel was to get his ass out to that temple straight away. Daniel didn't know whom he was angrier at: himself for letting Jack get to him, or Jack for not being as understanding as Daniel had thought he would be. Jack was certainly a complicated man. He had generously offered Daniel the use of his home when Daniel had come back from Abydos a short time ago, but now here he was, not even listening to Daniel's arguments. Jack the friend was certainly different from Jack the colonel.
Daniel kicked at a small stick lying on the trail, sending it flying into the trees. The sudden movement caused the gun strapped to his leg to flop around uncomfortably, and he slapped a hand to it to hold it steady. That was another thing…Jack had ordered him to carry a gun before leaving for this mission on P3575. They had had a huge argument over this, and Daniel had finally conceded and allowed Jack to show him how to shoot and handle the weapon. So far, Daniel had refused to attend any of the practice sessions Jack had set up for him. It was one thing to fire upon a false god, but to kill another fellow human being?
He shuddered slightly as he thought of Ra and of Apophis. Then his thoughts came full circle and he remembered his beautiful wife. Shau're, with the mischievous sparkle in her eyes the last time she'd kissed him. He frowned slightly as he recalled the last time he'd seen her. The look of contempt on her face as she'd stared down at the captives in the dungeons on Chulak, her eyes glowing with sinister intent.
His rage was gone now, only to be replaced with depression. He was getting used to this emotion, this constant hollow feeling inside of him. Accompanied by the fear that he'd not be able to succeed in finding her, it was the only reason now that he was putting up with Teal'c. He was going to use the Jaffa's knowledge to find his wife, and damn it, he'd smile prettily at him if he had to as a last resort in order to keep Jack off his back.
As he neared the stone building, Teal’c quickly outpaced Daniel and held out a hand in warning. "Remain here, DanielJackson, I will ascertain whether it is safe for you to explore".
"Yes, you do that, Teal’c," Daniel replied sarcastically, as he squatted down by the trail to wait. He had been warned by Jack before leaving on this mission that Teal’c had authority over Daniel’s safety. Daniel didn’t like the idea, but he himself had said to Jack earlier in a fit of anger that ‘it was their job to look over Daniel’.
He watched Teal’c carefully walk the building’s perimeter, and then enter the building to look inside. A moment later, he came out and waved Daniel in. Daniel made his way inside, brushing by Teal’c without even looking at him. Two steps inside the door, and he stopped and looked around the temple in wonder.
Daniel recognized the temple as being dedicated to the Artemis, the virgin goddess of the hunt. Somehow he had expected it to be that of Asclepius, god of medicine and healing. There probably wouldn't be any sign of a Goa'uld here, since it was Asclepius who was known to raise the dead, not Artemis. He entered the cool chamber with reverence, his footsteps echoing on the tiled floor. The room was filled with paintings, statues and busts portraying the goddess. There were fresh fruits and flowers all over the place, which appeared to be placed as offerings. Hunting weapons of various sorts and sizes were displayed on the walls, tables, and pedestals.
Daniel walked around the room, happily exploring every minute detail. He was holding a large bow in his hands when Teal’c spoke up. "I will go and check the surrounding area. Please do not leave this building until I return."
"Yeah, right. Whatever." He turned back to his examination of the weapon, when he realized that Teal’c hadn’t moved. Looking up, he saw the Jaffa staring at him. He raised an eyebrow, daring the man to speak.
"DanielJackson, I understand that you blame me for your wife’s abduction. But this attitude towards me will eventually endanger our safety. You must realize that…"
"Damnit, we’ve gone through this before, so just drop it!"
And discuss this they had. Not that there was anything more to discuss. Teal’c had chosen Shau're out of several dozen women, and Daniel wasn’t able to forgive him for that. He didn’t trust Teal’c, and he didn’t have faith in Jack’s decision to put Teal’c on the team. He told himself that the man had turned traitor once already, so what was to stop him from doing it again? Daniel tried to convince himself that as soon as the opportunity presented itself, Teal'c would return to Apophis with vital information in an attempt to defeat the Tau’ri. He refused to listen to the little nagging voice that said he hadn't believed all of this before he had learned of Teal'c's involvement in his wife's abduction.
He watched as Teal’c’s near expressionless face showed the signs of distress that Daniel was looking for. Yep, jaws clenching together, eyes squinting slightly. Daniel tried to hide a smile, knowing that he’d deliberately hurt the man. He watched with satisfaction as Teal’c turned abruptly and left the room.
Teal’c was in and out of the building over the course of the next hour and a half. Daniel was vaguely aware of him, but he tried to ignore him and kept his attention on his exploration. He was thinking that there should also be a shrine or temple somewhere in the area in honour of the god Ares as the Amazons also worshiped the god of War.
Something had been niggling at the back of his mind throughout the time he was in the temple, but it wasn’t until he heard a commotion outside that he realized that he had made a serious mistake. As he looked up, Daniel realized Teal’c wasn’t with him inside the building. Angry voices yelled out, and the sudden sound of staff fire brought Daniel running to the doorway. He saw more than a half dozen men approaching from the woods before them, with Teal’c standing between Daniel and the men, firing his staff weapon at the ground before the men in warning.
The men were standing their ground, although Daniel could see that they were armed with nothing more than knives. He tried to make out what they were saying. It was definitely Greek, but the accent they spoke was hard to understand. As he stepped out of the building, he called out to them in the dialect that he was familiar with.
"Yasou", he said. // Hello // "We don’t mean any harm. We’re explorers, we’ve come here to learn about your people."
The men mostly ignored Daniel, they were gesticulating at Teal’c. Daniel was afraid that they’d recognized Apophis’ brand on Teal’c’s forehead. Forgetting his anger at his teammate, he stepped away from the building and made his way towards the Jaffa to lend his support. He'd try and make the men understand that they weren’t dangerous. He’d barely taken three steps when he heard the sound of breaking glass beside him. He turned and saw white noxious fumes coming from several small broken glass containers by his feet.
An overpowering smell of almonds suddenly assailed him, and before he could even step away from the gas, he started coughing uncontrollably. Belatedly, he fumbled for his gun. Before he could even get it out of its holster, he found himself on his hands and knees, unable to take a breath. Several Amazons came from behind the building and surrounded him. Painfully grabbing his hair, they forced him up to his feet. He was coughing and gasping so badly that he couldn’t stand up on his own, they had to support his weight to keep him from keeling over again. His vision was swimming, and he was on the verge of passing out.
Through tearing eyes, he saw Teal’c attempting to hold the men off. Teal'c was also coughing as the fumes they’d attacked him with billowed around him. Daniel made another try for his gun, but was violently backhanded in the face. He must have greyed out for a moment, because the next thing he was aware of was a cold pressure on his throat. He saw the blur of a slim hand near his face, and the glint of metal from the blade reflected off the sun near his jaw.
He clearly understood the next words spoken. "Put down your weapon, or this man dies."
Daniel froze as he felt the blade's tip cut into his neck. He tried to breathe shallowly, not wanting a cough to send the knife plunging through his throat. He flicked his eyes towards Teal'c, and saw that the men were now crowded together, leaving an escape route for the Jaffa. All that Teal'c needed to do was blast his way free and make a run for the forest. But as he saw Teal’c’s response to the ultimatum, with a sickening heart, he suddenly realized that he may have been wrong about the Jaffa warrior all along.
- - - - - -
Teal’c could only stand and watch helplessly as Jack attempted to stem the bleeding from the wound inflicted on Daniel. He felt responsible for the injury because he had not been able to protect his teammate or prevent them from being captured. He had yet to learn how O’Neill and Carter had also been captured.
He looked over at the young captain, she was watching the colonel’s ministrations as avidly as he had been. Daniel was conscious, finally. Teal’c had been concerned as he had not moved in the quarter hour that they had been imprisoned together before his other teammates arrived. Hopefully it wasn’t more serious than the combination of the fumes, the blow to the face and the shock of the blood loss from his wound. He had called out repeatedly to the injured man, but there had been no response.
"Sir, how’s he doing?" Carter asked. Teal’c could hear the shakiness in her voice, she was obviously also worried about their teammate.
"I think the bleeding’s almost stopped. He’s still shocky, but he’s awake." Teal’c heard Daniel say something softly to O'Neill, and his answer, "Teal’c’s fine, Daniel. He’s just worried about you."
Teal'c could make out the form of his teammate moving restlessly on the ground, trying to cope with the pain of his injury. He did not have the advantage of a symbiote to aid in healing his wounds, as did Teal’c. In fact, he wondered at times what he had seen in these men, these fabled Tau’ri, to have moved him so that he had abandoned all that had been familiar to him in the past century, all that he had worked so hard to become.
They were an emotional people, these Tau'ri. Although the Jaffa themselves were not necessarily emotionally repressed, years of discipline had been so ingrained in Teal'c that he found it difficult to relax in their presence. The only times he truly showed his feelings were with his family and close friends. Not that there would be much of an occasion to do so in the future, not since he had made his decision; he would never see his loved ones again now that he had allied himself with the Tau'ri.
O’Neill had offered him a home, a new way of life. He had offered a chance to finally be free of the false gods that had claimed his existence, an opportunity to possibly influence more Jaffa from under the rule of these beasts. He had accepted O’Neill’s offer, expecting at best a lifetime of imprisonment. To his surprise, he not only had his freedom, but a chance to actively play a role in bringing down the rule of the Goa’uld. That O'Neill, Carter and Daniel had fought for Teal'c's freedom on Earth had assured him that he had made the right decision.
The one thing he was extremely sorry for was the loss of Daniel's wife. He had believed that Daniel had been aware of the role Teal'c had played in choosing Ammonet's host from the very beginning. It sorely hurt him to see the look of shock on his face when Teal'c had dispassionately spoken about it in the briefing with General Hammond. Had he known…he would have approached the man privately, made it known to him in a gentler manner. He understood why Daniel was angry at Teal'c, he just wished he could make the man understand that he had had no choice.
As soon as he had laid eyes upon Shau're, he had known that she would be chosen by Ammonet. He had attempted to offer the false god some of the other women first, but their needless deaths soon convinced him that he had no option but to succumb to the inevitable. Now, he wished that he had waited; it was ironic how such a short delay could have made an indelible difference upon Daniel.
As he watched the man writhing in pain, he vowed to himself that he would do his utmost to return Shau're to him.
- - - - - -
Two hours earlier:
Sam was trying not to stare. The women surrounding them were incredible. Sam wasn’t exactly a small woman, but she appeared frail and delicate compared to these Amazons. Lean, svelte and muscular, they wore knives and swords with an ease that showed they knew how to use them. Most also had immense bows slung over their shoulders. Their clothes were cut in a fashion that bared each scar on their body, which they seemed to show off with pride.
Although they didn’t speak English, the women appeared to be accommodating and as curious about Sam as she was about them. They had been invited into a nearby building, and had been offered fruit, cheese and bread.
The women were effectively ignoring the colonel, which seemed to suit him fine. He sat back and watched the women interacting with Sam. He'd give her suggestions occasionally, but didn't even attempt to try and communicate with them after they had ignored his first attempts. Daniel had been starting to make progress on the language when the colonel had sent both him and Teal'c off to investigate a temple in the not too far distance. The women had shown more interest in Daniel than in the colonel, but that was probably because Daniel had been making an effort to communicate.
Sam was worried about the relationship between Daniel and Teal’c. Or rather, the lack of one. Daniel had been against Teal’c’s joining their team from nearly the very beginning. He had argued with the colonel, and had gone as far as moving out of the colonel’s home and remaining on base in what appeared to be a show of spite. She knew that Daniel wasn’t sleeping well. To top everything off with the problem they’d recently had with Kawalsky being infected by a Goa’uld, it was sheer luck that they had managed to get to go on this, their first mission.
Dionissia, a young, freckled, curly haired woman about Sam's age, appeared to be the leader of this group of women. She permitted Sam to handle her bow. Indeed, she seemed to be taking great pleasure in showing Sam her weapon, and Sam had to admit, she had always wanted to learn how to shoot with a bow. As she was demonstrating to Sam the finer points of archery, another of the women came running into the room and breathlessly reported something to the leader. The women suddenly became quite agitated, and before she knew it, they had their knives and swords out, motioning the two to move outside.
Sam exchanged a bewildered glance with her commanding officer. He obviously had no idea what was going on either. They had no choice but be forced out of the building and into the courtyard. As more women arrived, Sam began to feel uneasy. She glanced at her commanding officer and noticed that he was watching the goings on very intently. With a jerk of his head, he motioned for her to precede him. He didn't seem to like what was happening. She had taken several steps towards the edge of the village, when the sound of breaking glass and the smell of almonds caught her attention. In seconds she was engulfed in white smoke, and before she knew it, she found herself lying on the ground, coughing helplessly. The last thing she saw was the colonel's face as he also succumbed to the gas.
- - - - - -
Daniel tried not to cry out in pain as Jack continued to press down on the wound in his thigh. Between the fire in his leg, the pounding in his head, his burning lungs, and the ache in his cheek, he was surprised that he wasn't screaming in agony. He squeezed his eyes shut, grinding his teeth together. He bent his uninjured leg and pressed his foot into the ground, trying to focus his distress on those straining muscles. He felt Jack ease up on his leg, and after a moment, Jack's hand gently gripped his shoulder. The pain in his leg receded slightly, and as he opened his eyes, he saw Jack's concerned face staring at him through the bars.
"Take it easy, Daniel. The bleeding's stopped. I'm just going to bandage it up, okay? Try to relax."
He nodded his understanding, and took a deep breath, which promptly caused him to start coughing again. That, in turn, caused his head to start pounding more fiercely. "Shit," he mumbled as soon as he caught his breath, wiping at the sweat and involuntary tears streaming down his face.
He had never experienced this kind of pain before. When Ra had killed him on his ship, he hadn't felt a thing. When Apophis had knocked him out with the ribbon device, he'd woken up with a headache and some bruises. The pain of those injuries had been nowhere near what he was feeling now. The fire in his leg was making it hard for him to focus on anything. He licked his lips; he couldn't understand why he was so thirsty when he hurt so much.
He heard rustling and ripping sounds, and he turned his head slightly to see Jack tearing pieces of material into thin strips. He gritted his teeth as Jack began reached through the metal bars of the cell to bandage his thigh. Small grunts of pain escaped despite his best efforts to remain quiet. After what felt like an eternity, Jack finally had his leg wrapped to his satisfaction. Daniel felt him adjust the blankets around him, pulling them down over his legs. He was still shivering; the cold was leeching into him from the stone floor.
He heard Jack fumbling about with something, but he felt too weak and miserable to try and turn to see what it was. After a moment, Jack returned and told Daniel to try and turn on his side, facing him. With Jack pulling Daniel, he was able to turn without too much effort and discomfort. He felt Jack push something under him, and as he rolled onto his back once again, he felt it with his hands and saw that it was a very thin mattress. It wasn't much, but it did lessen the cold coming off the ground.
"Jack, is there any water?" he asked. His mouth was so dry; he hoped that his stomach would keep the liquid down.
"I'm sorry, Daniel. They took everything."
He saw Jack looking at him through the bars. He was still shivering, and he had to clench his jaw slightly to prevent his teeth from chattering. The mattress and blankets felt damp, and they weren't providing much in the way of warmth.
Daniel suddenly realized that with his injury, there would be no way that he could manage to escape if the opportunity presented itself. He had become a liability to the team; he wouldn't be able to pull his own weight. That realization, plus the cumulative exhaustion and shock of everything that had happened in the past several days since Jack had returned to Abydos, suddenly hit him with a force that nearly knocked the breath out of him. Shau're's abduction, the death of his friends on Abydos, their confrontation with Ammonet and Apohphis, Kawalsky's possession and subsequent death, learning that Teal'c was responsible for all that had happened to his wife. All of these suddenly all became too much to bear.
Jack must have seen his panic, because suddenly he was gripping Daniel's shoulder in sympathy. Daniel reached out to his friend as if Jack were offering him a lifeline. He let go of Daniel's shoulder and took his wavering hand, squeezing it tight.
"It's going to be all right. We're going to get out of here, and you're going to be fine. Do you understand me, Daniel?"
Daniel didn't trust himself to speak at the moment, so he nodded his understanding. He trusted Jack. He told himself that they'd manage to beat Ra. Hell, if you could kill a god, you could do anything. Jack wouldn't leave him here alone, injured. He told himself that he was now part of a team, he could depend on them to help him, as they would depend on him if they needed his help.
He closed his eyes a moment, trying to rest. His eyes flew open at a gentle but painful touch on his battered face.
"Looks like you're gonna have quite a bruise there," Jack said. As Daniel's began closing once again, Jack cautioned him, "Try to stay awake, Daniel."
"Okay. It's just that I'm so tired. And cold." His eyes closed involuntarily, and he forced them open again.
"I know." A moment later he felt a heavier weight over him and realized he'd dozed off for a second or two. He looked down and saw Jack's jacket lying over him. He turned to Jack, and said, "No, don't. You need to stay warm too."
"It's okay, you need it more than I do." Jack smiled down at Daniel, their hands still clasped together. "It's just a matter of time. Someone will come and speak to us, and we'll tell them it was all a misunderstanding. I just wish I knew what happened."
Daniel felt his stomach lurch at Jack's words. "It's my fault, Jack. We're prisoners because of me." He shut his eyes, wishing he could turn back time. "I'm sorry. I should have known better."
Daniel's words were interrupted by the echoing sound of footsteps heralding the approach of several individuals. He grew quiet as the door to their cell block opened.
- - - - - -
An hour earlier:
The female warriors had captured Daniel and were holding a knife to his throat. The one threatening the archeologist barked out a command. Although Teal'c didn't understand the words, he understood the tone. They wished him to give up his weapon and permit himself to be taken as well. He saw the younger man looking at him with dread. Teal'c knew that he could easily escape, but he would not allow his teammate to be taken under these circumstances. He powered down his staff weapon, and bending slowly, placed it on the ground before him. He stood up once again, his hands held carefully away from his body.
The women quickly swarmed around him, searching his clothes, making sure he had no other hidden weapons. Once they were satisfied that he was unarmed, they permitted the men to approach. The female warrior holding Daniel forced him to move towards Teal'c, the knife no longer held threateningly to his throat.
The men roughly grabbed Teal'c's hands and forced them behind him, preparing to bind them together. As the women approached with Daniel in tow, Teal'c saw a sudden look of terror on his teammate's face. He heard him yell "Oxi!" // No! // as he broke free from the women and threw himself at Teal'c. For a moment Teal'c thought that Daniel had suddenly gone crazy and was attacking him. It was only until he saw the glint of metal arc beside him that he realized one of the men had tried to stab him in the back.
The force of Daniel's weight threw Teal'c onto the ground, away from the knife. He quickly rolled and went after his attacker. It took all of the women to separate them. It was only as they forced Teal'c onto his knees, binding his hands together, that he noticed Daniel was still lying on the ground. The assassin's knife was protruding from Daniel's thigh, and Daniel's face was mere inches away from one of the still smoking bombs. He appeared to be unconscious.
One of the women noticed his predicament, and quickly left Teal'c to drag Daniel away from the smoldering chemicals. As she ruthlessly pulled the knife out, Teal'c was alarmed to see that Daniel didn't react to the pain. He couldn't tell from his vantage point whether the man was even breathing. The woman looked at his teammate's face carefully, and then ordered the men to drag Daniel off with them. Teal'c was roughly urged to follow.
After a minute, Teal'c was relieved to hear Daniel begin to cough. He surmised that the effect of the gas and possibly the shock of his wound had rendered him unconscious. He continued to cough until they were dumped unceremoniously into separate cells. Teal'c called out, trying to wake his companion. Daniel remained unresponsive until O'Neill and Carter were brought in and imprisoned alongside Daniel and Teal'c some fifteen minutes later.
- - - - - -
Stamatia entered the small room containing the prisoners, waving her escort of guards back so that they remained by the door. Word had come of the strange visitors, and she had been on her way to greet them when the news came of their defilement of the temple of Artemis. She had had a hard time calming some of her sisters, so outraged were they. Hence she had been delayed in her attempt to come and see what manner of beings would do such a thing.
On her left was the female that Dionissia had told her of. A pale, thin beauty, who Stamatia knew would have made an extraordinary Amazon had she come to them as a child. As an adult, she was now too old to learn all the skills required to successfully achieve the level of warrior. The best she could hope for would be an acolyte, or a breeder. That she looked Stamatia in the eye was a sign of her courage. She regretted the fact that this woman was not one of hers.
Beside her was the one who retained the mark of those demon-carriers of ancient tales. He was a dark man, never before had she beheld such a one. She walked up to his cell, looking admiringly at the warrior. Never had any of their men achieved such magnificent proportions.
"Beautiful," she said aloud.
He stood there proudly at attention, staring back at her without fear. Now this was a man Stamatia would be proud to take for her own.
Turning her back on the two, she searched for the remaining prisoners. She saw one man lying on the floor, near the edge of the cell, a pallet placed beneath him. Obviously he had been too weak to have made it to the pallet on his own, the other prisoner had brought it to him. She dismissed him immediately, she had no use for weaklings. She turned her attention to the fourth captive, saw that he was a slightly older man. He appeared healthy, and in as good physical shape as most of the younger men of her village. She was surprised to see him sitting beside the injured man, reaching over and comforting him in her presence. Where had this man come into his teachings? One of the first rules was to never show compassion in the face of an enemy. But there he remained, looking at her defiantly, his hand entwined in the hand of the other.
She thought perhaps that they were lovers; it happened at times, no matter how hard she and her sisters attempted to prevent it. Which was a pity, considering the beauty that accompanied these three men. She obviously had no control over her males. Well, maybe Stamatia could help teach her how to gain that control…and maybe spend some time with the dark warrior as recompense. She smiled to herself at the thought of the pleasure they would enjoy.
Stamatia turned to the woman and demanded to know why she had permitted her men to defile their temple. To her surprise, the pale woman met Stamatia's eyes in defiance. She didn't answer, and realization coursed through Stamatia. Of course, she hadn't understood the question. She had been informed that they hadn't been able to communicate through verbal means. Impatient, she thought to herself that there must be a way to communicate, when she heard a faint voice behind her say, "Parakalo, fteo ego." // Please, it was my fault //.
As she turned in surprise to face the injured man who had spoken, she heard the older man chastise him and say what sounded like, "Daniel." The injured man replied something, and attempted to raise his head and look at Stamatia. He spoke to her in her tongue, but with a very definite accent and strange twist of words.
"I'm sorry, I realized too late that I was offending the goddess Artemis by my presence."
He had to stop as a fit of coughing shook his body. She waited patiently as he regained his breath.
"By then, your people had arrived, and there was no way that I could atone for my sins. Please, do not punish my friends for my error. I will gladly serve whatever punishment you deem necessary."
The older man spoke to him quickly, but Stamatia was unable to understand him. By the tone of his voice, she guessed that he had asked him what he had just said to her. The younger man answered him hesitantly, she could tell that he was weakening. She thought that his words seemed sincere and were spoken honestly. She had to admit that even though the two men had had the opportunity to seriously injure her sisters and their men, they had restrained themselves from doing so. Especially the dark one. And this one had been injured in attempting to save the same dark one from an overwrought priest.
She considered his words, and decided to be generous. The only one of her tribe that had been injured had been Yiorgos, the priest, and he probably would not have been had he kept his temper. Once Yiorgos recovered sufficiently from his injuries, he would be punished for that loss of control.
"You speak eloquently for such a frail example of your sex. I have decided that I will spare you, we shall discuss your punishment later."
She turned to leave, and while indulging herself with a last glance at the dark warrior, she said magnanimously, "I shall send the healer." She turned and nodded to Dionissia, who ran off to fetch the healer. Stamatia gave them all one last look, before leaving the room.
- - - - - -
As the Amazon Queen left the cell block Jack turned to Daniel and snapped, "What exactly did you tell her?" He regretted his words instantly when he saw that Daniel's eyes had closed in exhaustion. He could still feel tremors coursing through the younger man's body, either from shock or from the persistent cold of the cell. With his own jacket lying over Daniel, Jack's short sleeved T-shirt wasn't much protection from the dampness of the room.
Daniel's hand was still clutching Jack's, and he hadn't had the heart to disentangle them when the women had entered the cell. It went against the grain of his training. Never show any caring or affection towards a teammate, it displayed weakness on the part of the soldier. Looking down at Daniel, Jack thought 'training be damned.' The man was hurting and scared, and he was definitely not a soldier. If he could keep him calm and reassured by physical contact, so be it.
"My fault, Jack. I told her it was my fault, and asked that she not punish you. I should have known when I saw that the Temple was dedicated to Artemis, but I was too busy being angry at Teal'c." Daniel spoke to Jack in a low voice, his eyes closed as if he were too tired to bother opening them.
"Daniel, for crying out loud! What? What did you do that got these people so riled at us?"
He was trying very hard not to get upset at his friend. But he was getting fed up of being fed bits and pieces of the story. He saw Daniel finally open his eyes, and look through the bars at Jack.
"They're Amazons, Jack. The temple of Artemis is dedicated to the goddess of the hunt. Female hunters. Men here may be considered as second class citizens. Teal'c and I are men, and so we desecrated the temple when we entered it. I think they were a little angry at us," he said with a wry smile.
"DanielJackson is right, O'Neill. The men appeared upset when they saw me exit the temple."
"You mean you pissed them off because you walked into a woman's only club? Don't you think that they're a little prejudiced here?"
"No, it's their way, Jack. We had no right to infringe on their beliefs."
Jack noted that Daniel's voice was getting weaker. He opened his eyes and looked up at Jack.
"I want to talk to Teal'c, Jack," he said, his voice sounding close to a whisper. Jack passed a hand tiredly over his face, and thought that this wasn't the time for Daniel to start in on the Jaffa once again.
"Later, Daniel. You're tired. Try to get some rest now, okay." He watched as Daniel's eyes closed. He fought to open them, but soon lost the battle and he succumbed to his exhaustion.
- - - - - -
Sam hadn't liked the way the previous woman had come in and looked them over. She was obviously the leader of this village. Even Dionissia, who had befriended Sam and Jack earlier, had deferred to this woman. She had looked them over with disdain, except for Teal'c. Sam had seen the predatory look in her face as she stared at Teal'c. She had heard the woman mutter something that sounded like "omorfos" when she had looked at Teal'c. She had to remember to ask Daniel what that meant.
She was surprised at the colonel's reaction to Daniel's injury. He had remained sitting by Daniel's side throughout their interrogation, offering comfort and encouragement. She had heard through the military grapevine the O'Neill was a tough cookie to work with. But contrarily, she had seen glimpses of a caring and conscientious man in the short week that they had been working together. He had obviously liked Major Kawalsky and had taken it hard when his friend had died.
With his behavior towards Daniel just now, the colonel had proven to her that he was much more than he seemed. She knew that he was an excellent tactician and had been anxious to work under him. Add to the pot the chance of working with the famed Daniel Jackson that she had heard so much about while working on the Stargate project, and she thought that she was in heaven. The only problem now was the hostility that Daniel was showing Teal'c. She hoped that the two could smooth things out, because it was definitely causing friction between them all, especially between Daniel and the colonel.
She rubbed her hands over her arms, trying to keep warm. She didn't know how the colonel could just sit there in this damp room in short sleeves. He had given his jacket to Daniel, and he must be feeling the cold, especially as he was sitting still. She glanced at Teal'c, who had remained standing by the door to his cell ever since they had been imprisoned. He kept his attention on Daniel most of the time. Sam figured that he felt guilty that Daniel had been injured because Teal'c's job had been to protect Daniel.
Footsteps dragged her attention from Daniel's still form, and she watched as several Amazons entered the cell again, this time obviously protecting an elderly woman. Dionissia came and stood by Sam's cell, but the Amazon seemed unable to meet Sam's eyes. The older woman looked Sam and Teal'c over quickly, and then motioned to Dionissia to unlock the door to Daniel's cell. At her gesture, Sam came to attention. Worry for Daniel raced through her, and she glanced quickly at the colonel to see what his orders were. She saw him straighten up slightly, his attention following the old woman as she entered the cell and slowly approached Daniel.
The old woman made shooing motions to Jack, obviously intending him to move away from Daniel. Sam heard Jack mutter, "Ain't gonna happen, lady," and she smiled to herself at his bravado. When three Amazons made to go to Jack's cell with the obvious intent of dragging him away from Daniel, Sam yelled out, "Dionissia, no!" The younger Amazon turned to look at Sam, and Sam's heart fell as the old woman soon ordered the Amazons to unlock Jack's cell.
- - - - - -
Jack felt Daniel stir as the older Amazon entered his cell. He squeezed his hand slightly, letting him know that he wasn't alone. He saw Daniel's eyes open in surprise when he saw the visitor standing near him, and quickly glance at Jack to see what Jack would do. Not that he could do anything to help his friend, they were separated by strong iron bars. Jack stared at the woman, noting that although she was obviously in her seventies, she was still strong and moved with a grace that many women half her age would never attain.
The woman wanted Jack to move away from Daniel, and when Jack refused, he realized that she was sending in the female goons to encourage Jack to do so. He heard Carter call out, but knew she could do nothing to help him. Just as he decided that putting up a fight was not going to help Daniel and that he would accede to their wishes, he saw their faces suddenly change to confusion as the old woman jabbered something to them.
She had entered Daniel's cell and ignoring Jack, got down on her knees and started to examine Daniel. Jack was aware the whole time of the Amazons glaring at him while he sat there and held onto Daniel, their hands still entwined. He heard the woman talking softly to Daniel, and heard Daniel repeat the words "Eleni" and "yiatro". When she finished talking, Daniel turned to Jack and said simply, "Her name's Eleni, Jack. She's a healer."
Finished with her examination, the old lady called out to Dionissia. To his surprise, Dionissia unlocked his cell door and stepped back, taking her warriors with her. Jack turned to look at the older woman, he saw her beckon Jack to join her. Jack frowned, unsure of her intentions. She beckoned again, making motions with her hand that he was to leave his cell and come into Daniel's.
Jack pointed to himself, and then at her. She nodded. Getting up onto his knees, he put Daniel's hand down on the pallet, and told him, "Stay right there, Daniel, I'm coming over." He stood slowly, and walked out of his cell, eyeing the Amazons carefully. Dionissia and another followed him inside, probably to ensure that he didn't harm the other woman. As he walked up to Daniel, Eleni pointed down at the pallet. He looked up at her, unsure of her request. To his surprise, another of the Amazons came into the compartment, carrying the pallet from his own cell. She placed it overlapping Daniel's, and then Eleni bent down and patted the mat. He sat down where she had indicated, and she pushed him down so that he was lying beside Daniel. She pulled the blankets up off Daniel and carefully pushed and pulled them both so that Daniel was lying up against Jack. She laid the blankets back down over them both. Jack could feel Daniel shivering, and he brought his arms over and pulled him securely against his chest.
"You know, Jack. This is a little embarrassing," Daniel said as Jack tried to make himself comfortable on the thin pallet, trying not to jar Daniel's leg.
"Shut up, Jackson. At least I'm warm again." Jack felt Daniel chuckle slightly at his words. "But you mention this to anyone at the SGC, and I'm gonna have to shoot you."
He settled quickly as Eleni approached them once again. Jack raised himself slightly on his forearm and looked at her as she squatted beside them.
"Yiatro?" he said. She nodded. "Daniel, Yiatro?" he asked, hoping she understood that he wanted her to help Daniel. She nodded again. She saw her take some powder out of a bag he hadn't noticed before, and noted the sign of the staff and serpent painted onto the side of the bag. She took the powder and mixed it with a bit of water. She brought it to Daniel and raised his head so he would drink it.
"Jack?" Daniel questioned, unsure of what to do.
Jack himself didn't know what he should do, they had no medication to speak of as their packs had been taken away, and Daniel needed help. Did he take a chance that the local healer could help his friend? He had seen that most of the Amazons had scars, they had apparently been well taken care of when they'd been injured.
His decision made, he said to Daniel, "Drink it, I think she knows what she's doing."
He sat up himself and helped raise Daniel's torso so he could drink the brew. She motioned that he drink it down quickly, and as soon as Daniel had done so, he began gagging and choking. The woman took no notice of Daniel as Jack rubbed his friend's back as he tried to catch his breath.
As he lay back down, he gasped, "Oh God, that's horrible."
Jack noticed from the corner of his eye that Eleni had rinsed the cup out and had poured fresh water into it. She returned and offered it to Daniel. As he tried to sit up again to drink the water, Daniel said to Eleni, "evxaristo - thank you." Jack took the cup and helped his friend drink the water, making sure he sipped and didn't gulp it down. As he took the cup away from Daniel, Eleni motioned that Jack drink also. While they shared the cup of water, Jack watched as more Amazons entered the room, bringing blankets and water for Carter and Teal'c.
After making sure that Daniel got to drink most of the water, he handed Eleni the empty cup. She returned with what looked like an eyedropper. She gently pried Daniel's mouth open and placed three drops of oily liquid into his mouth. Jack heard him make smacking sounds before licking his lips, tasting the viscous fluid. Several seconds later, Daniel's head fell heavily against Jack's shoulder. Jack raised himself up to look at his friend, and found him unconscious.
"Daniel," he cried, bringing his hand up to Daniel's neck to take his pulse. He heard Carter demanding to know what was going on, but he ignored her as he attempted to find out what Eleni had done to Daniel. He was relieved to find Daniel's heart beating strongly and somewhat more slowly than it had since he'd been injured. He looked up accusingly at Eleni, and saw her looking at him with gentle eyes. She reached over and patted his hand softly where it lay against Daniel's neck, and took it and placed it back under the covers. She then lifted the blanket from Daniel's injured leg, exposing his bandaged thigh.
With a sharp knife, she cut the makeshift bandage and his pant leg. Placing a basin beneath his leg, she began gently cleaning out the wound. Jack realized that she had put Daniel to sleep so that he wouldn't feel the pain of her ministrations. He lay back down, realizing that she meant no harm. Daniel was still shivering in his sleep, so he concentrated on keeping his body in contact with Daniel's, trying to keep him warm. Their combined body heat and the blankets had already warmed Jack up, and he was finally feeling comfortable.
When Eleni took away the basin, he looked up and saw her removing pieces of thread from a solution that smelled faintly of alcohol. As he watched, she began stitching Daniel's wound. Grimacing, Jack looked away. When she had finally finished that grisly task, she lathered a thick cream onto the wound and placed what appeared to be a sterile bandage over it. Once finished, she placed the blanket over his leg, and patted Jack's shoulder. She got up a little stiffly, and left the cell. As she was leaving the room, Jack called out, trying to pronounce the word that Daniel had said a short while ago.
"Eleni, evxaristo." She stopped a moment, looking at Jack. Then she nodded and smiled at him before speaking to one of the guards, and left.
- - - - - -
Daniel could hear someone breathing in his ear. Shau're, he thought sleepily. She was spooned up behind him, and his head was lying on her shoulder. He tried to turn around, wanting to see her beloved face. But the moment he moved his leg, agony coursed through it, eliciting a cry of pain from him. Arms tightened around his chest, and he realized that the body holding onto him was too hard, too strong to be his wife. He opened his eyes, tried to see where he was. All that he could make out was a dark, grey room. As he shifted restlessly, he realized that there was someone talking to him. He settled down, trying to concentrate on the voice, the words. Sense finally came to him, and he realized that it was Jack telling him to lie still.
"Jack, what happened?" he asked, his tongue feeling thick and unresponsive. As the words left his mouth, memory came charging in. The stargate, the Amazons, the stabbing, the healer.
"Did I faint?" he asked in a low voice, somewhat embarrassed.
He heard the laughter in Jack's voice as he answered, "No, Eleni gave you something that knocked you out." He felt Jack reach for something beside him.
"I have water, you thirsty?"
Daniel nodded, eager to get some of the liquid. His mouth and throat felt dry, he was dying for something to drink. Jack helped him sit up slightly, having him lean against his chest. He permitted Daniel only a few sips, but those small swallows felt like ambrosia as they slid down his parched throat.
"How long was I asleep?" he asked. Although his head felt fuzzy and was still throbbing, the pain in his leg had subsided slightly. Unless he moved it, the pain was bearable.
"Not long, maybe thirty minutes. How are you feeling?"
"Better, I think. Doesn't hurt as much. Not as cold either." He settled himself slightly against Jack, pulling the blankets up to his chin. "Thanks."
"Hey, no thanks needed. I'm just appropriating my share of the blankets, is all."
Daniel smiled slightly to himself as he relaxed against his friend. After a few moments, he felt himself start to drift off. Fighting sleep, he opened his eyes.
"Jack, I'm sorry."
"For what?" Daniel felt Jack stiffen slightly behind him, in anticipation of Daniel's words.
"For getting us into this. I should have seen the signs in the temple, should have gotten out right away. I was acting childish."
Strange, his words sounded slurred to his ears.
"When we get home, will you help me look for an apartment?" Daniel offered Jack a peace offering, hoping that he'd accept.
"Sure, will do. You gonna move back in with me in the meantime?"
Daniel smiled and nodded. He was feeling sleepy.
Daniel felt Jack squeeze his shoulder gently. If Jack had answered Daniel, he didn't hear. He realized he'd dozed off for a second. There was something he remembered suddenly, that he needed to ask.
"…Jack…I wanna…talk…to Teal'c."
He had to fight to make his mouth form the words properly. His eyelids were suddenly heavy, and he couldn't keep his eyes open.
He heard Jack's voice coming from far away telling him to go to sleep, and before he could force his tongue around the word 'okay', he was asleep.
- - - - - -
Teal'c gratefully accepted the bowl of stew that one of the women handed him. He made sure that Carter also received nourishment before starting to eat his meal. He had offered her his blanket earlier, his symbiote enabling him to stand the damp, cold conditions much more easily than she. She had argued fiercely, but O'Neill had finally intervened, ordering her to 'take the damned blanket before she woke up Daniel'.
He glanced over at his commanding officer, lying on his side, trying to eat and at the same time, stay in physical contact with their injured comrade. Teal'c felt relieved that Daniel had finally received some medical aid. He was certain that had he not been angry and upset at Teal'c, circumstances might have played somewhat differently today.
As he put his empty bowl aside, he closed his eyes and relaxed his body. He quickly entered a light state of meditation, feeling the need to remain alert. He could hear the captain settling down on her pallet, trying to make herself comfortable. The colonel had also finished his meal, Teal'c heard the sound of his bowl being placed on the stone floor.
He contemplated these Tau'ri who had befriended him. Such short lives they lived. Teal'c was in the prime of his life, and yet, had lived twice the length of the colonel's own lifetime. But the possibilities that these individuals offered…to Teal'c himself, to the Jaffa as a people, to the universe as a whole. He had never thought to feel that there might ever be the slightest chance to free the galaxies from the rule of the false gods. Until he met O'Neill and his people, his life had been one where he was simply going through the motions of survival.
Ironically, with all the experience which Teal'c had amassed as a Jaffa warrior and as First Prime, he was more than happy to follow O'Neill's lead, rather than take control himself. He was eager to see what they could accomplish as a team, that was, if they could start to accept one another as such. The intelligence that both Carter and Daniel possessed was awe inspiring, Teal'c could only hope that he could make them proud in his devotion to their cause.
- - - - - -
Jack woke up with a start, and he lay on the hard bed, slightly disoriented for a moment. As he took in the stone walls and iron bars, he quickly remembered. He looked at his watch, trying to turn the face of it to reflect the dim light so that he could make out the time. He figured he'd been asleep for about four hours. As he turned his stiff and cold body onto his side, he realized that he had turned away from Daniel while he slept. He reached a hand to his friend, noting that Daniel had kicked off his blankets. Jack sat up in alarm as he felt the heat radiating off of Daniel's body.
He took his pulse, and noted that even though Daniel was still clearly asleep, it was beating far too rapidly for Jack's peace of mind. He realized that it had just been a matter of time before Daniel's wound became infected. He had to try and ask the Amazons to return their packs to them. Daniel needed the antibiotics and analgesics that they carried with them in the packs.
Jack reached for the container of water, and using one of the discarded scraps of blanket, he soaked it with water. He passed the dripping cloth over Daniel's face and neck, hoping that it would help in lowering his temperature. Daniel stirred, trying to bat Jack's hand away. As he opened fever-glazed eyes, Jack encouraged Daniel to take a few sips of water.
"It's hot, Jack. Can you open a window?" Daniel asked, as he turned his face away from the cup Jack held to his lips.
"Sorry, there're no windows in here to open." He passed the cloth over Daniel's face once more. "Hold still, Daniel," he chastised, as Daniel attempted to move away from Jack's ministrations.
"S'cold," he complained.
"I know it feels cold, but it's only because your fever is so high."
Jack heard rustling sounds from the other cells, and soon Carter's head popped up from beneath her blanket. "Sir, is something wrong?" she asked.
"Yeah, Daniel's burning up. Can you see if there's a guard at the door?" He heard Carter get up and walk to the end of her cell.
"No, sir, I can't see anyone." She tried calling out anyway. "Hello, we need help in here! Is anyone out there?"
"Damn. We need that healer, or the meds in our packs."
Jack continued to wet Daniel down, until he suddenly began shivering uncontrollably. He lay down beside Daniel and gathered him in his arms, adding his body heat and wrapping him up in the discarded blankets. Jack felt helpless, there was nothing that he could do to help Daniel except to try and comfort him, and try to make him more comfortable.
The remainder of the night wore on slowly for Jack, as he watched his friend suffer the discomforts of a high fever and writhe in pain from the gash in his leg. He was aware of Carter and Teal'c watching him from their cells. He figured that they must feel even more helpless than he did.
When one of the guards finally entered the cell block hours later, after taking one look at Daniel, she left the room in a rush. Jack hoped it was to go and get some help. His prayers were answered when Eleni showed up about fifteen minutes later, accompanied by Dionissia. As Dionissia unlocked their cell door, Eleni was rapidly barking out orders to Dionissia. She, in turn, reprimanded another Amazon, who Jack suspected was supposed to have been their guard. He suspected that she had been slacking on the job, and should have informed the healer of Daniel's turn for the worse.
Eleni came and knelt beside Jack and Daniel, and Jack was surprised at how gentle she was with Daniel while she looked him over. Reaching for her bag, she mixed several pinches of various powders together, finally adding water to the lot. Motioning for Jack to sit up while supporting Daniel, she urged Daniel to drink the potion one sip at a time. Watching her, Jack didn't think he'd have had half the patience in attempting to get a semi-delirious and pain-wracked archeologist to swallow the whole cupful. Before he had finished half the cup, though, Jack could feel Daniel start to settle slightly, some of the stuff he was swallowing must be a powerful analgesic. By the time he'd finally swallowed the last mouthful, Daniel was lying limp and quiet in Jack's arms, his head resting against Jack's chest.
Jack could see that Daniel's eyes were heavy lidded and unfocused.
"Daniel?" he said softly in Daniel's ear. Jack felt him start slightly at the sound of his voice. He turned his head lethargically towards Jack's face.
"Hmmmm?" he asked sleepily.
"You okay?" Daniel nodded his head slightly, appearing slightly uncoordinated. Jack looked up at the healer, who was busy rinsing out the cup.
'Doesn't hurt so much," he heard Daniel say in a whisper.
"Good. Try to rest." Jack ordered. Jack was watching Eleni pour some water into the now clean cup, and she motioned to Daniel with it.
"Daniel, you think you drink a little water now?" Jack prompted. Daniel's answer was another sleepy "mmmmm." With Eleni's help, they got Daniel to drink most of the water.
"Sleepy," Daniel said, as Jack settled him back onto his chest.
"That's okay, close your eyes and try to sleep," Jack suggested.
"Kay," he said, leaning his head comfortably into Jack's shoulder.
Jack saw Eleni come to Daniel with the eyedropper again, and this time it only took one drop of the oily liquid to put him out completely. Jack tried not to watch as Eleni unwrapped Daniel's bandaged leg and applied a poultice to the wound.
- - - - - -
// The sound of Jack's voice behind him startled Daniel, and he dropped his pencil as he turned to look at his commanding officer. Jack was obviously fuming, his body language projecting loud and clear for all to see. He stood leaning against the door jamb to Daniel's office. "Damnit, this is the third time you don't show up for shooting practice, Daniel. How the hell are you going to learn to defend yourself if you keep canceling the sessions I book for you?"
"Jack, like I told you before, there's no need for me to learn how to shoot a gun. You've shown me how to load it and care for it, isn't that good enough?" Daniel turned back to the document he was reading, having decided that their conversation was over.
"No, damnit, it's not. How do you expect me to have you on the team if you can't even defend yourself?"
"I think I did a pretty good job at defending myself on Abydos when we went after Ra," Daniel countered.
"That was pure luck, and you know it. I need to know that you're going to be safe." Jack stuck his hands into his pant pockets and took two steps into the office.
"Jack, I am not going to go around firing a gun at people. And as for my safety, well, isn't that your job?"
"My job?" Jack grinned evilly at Daniel, and Daniel was suddenly a little nervous.
"My job is to make sure that you can do your job, and get you back home safely. And that means that you learn how to shoot a gun, and how to handle yourself in a fight, because we might have our hands full and need your help."
As Daniel opened his mouth to protest, Jack quickly shot a hand out before Daniel's face, index finger pointing up.
"Ack ack…no argument. Tomorrow we're leaving for our first mission to P3575, so it's too late to do anything about this. But when we come back, you are going to haul your butt to the shooting range and work your way up to being a half decent shot."
Daniel glared at Jack, knowing that there was no way he was going to be able to get out of this now. Jack's next words further angered him.
"I'm also registering you for hand to hand combat and self defense."
"What?" Daniel exclaimed. "Jack, I don't need to…" He stopped talking as Jack put up his index finger again.
"No argument. You either take these lessons, or you take a desk job. Your choice." With these final words, Jack turned on his heel and walked out of Daniel's office. //
Daniel woke up feeling strangely weak and tired. The dream lingered through his mind, reminding him guiltily that Jack had been right. Had he been able to defend himself better, he might not have been injured. He might have been able to help Teal'c, and not have depended on the Jaffa to try and protect him.
His head ached, and although his leg hurt, it wasn't quite a painful as he thought it had been a little while ago. He vaguely remembered Eleni coming back, although he wasn't sure if he'd been dreaming. He had that funny taste in his mouth again, so maybe she had come and given him something for the pain. And fever. He remembered feeling hot, then cold.
He was too comfortable at the moment to move, so he lay there in his warm cocoon. Sounds filtered down to his brain, and he realized he was hearing Jack talking with Sam and Teal'c. He wanted to call out to them, but it felt like too much of an effort at the moment. He stirred slightly, getting more comfortable, and with the movement created a stir of air under the blankets. He was cold suddenly, and shivered slightly.
Hearing Daniel stirring, Jack returned to him. Daniel realized that he was soaking wet, which was why he was feeling cold.
"Jack, did it rain? I'm all wet."
Pulling the blankets off Daniel, Jack passed his hand over Daniel's clothes, then placed it on Daniel's forehead.
"Your fever broke, you must have been sweating for the past little while."
Jack helped Daniel remove his jacket and sodden T-shirt, offering him his own while he put Daniel's out to dry. He didn't attempt to remove Daniel's pants, for which Daniel was grateful. Jack said he thought it would be too painful to try and slide them down over his injury. Jack covered Daniel back up with the blankets, and Daniel felt comforted when Jack sat down beside him. He was glad when Jack put his jacket back on his bare back, he could see Jack's flesh covered with goose bumps from the cold.
"Jack, remind me, when we get home, I need to take up target practice."
"I'll teach you myself, if you want."
Daniel nodded, thinking that Jack would probably be a good instructor.
- - - - - -
"You purposely had the guards removed from the prisoners last night," Dionissia accused. "You are aware that Eleni left explicit instructions that the injured one be given the healing herbs at arranged intervals, and that she be notified immediately if he sickened?"
Stamatia shrugged her shoulders, looking up from her half eaten meal, and threw the woman a scathing glance.
"What difference does it make? He is weak, whether he survives or not does not interest me." She waved Dionissia away.
"That is not our way," argued Dionissia stubbornly.
"I am making it MY way," Stamatia countered sharply, interrupting her.
Eleni watched as Dionissia's face darkened as she argued with her queen.
"We would never permit someone to ail purposely. He required attention, and you admit that you took that service away from him last night. My queen, he was very ill this morning. He…"
"Enough! I will have his punishment, and then these strangers may go on their way. I will say again, to me it makes no difference whether he lives or dies." As she returned her attention to her meal, Eleni saw that the younger woman had already dismissed the man's fate from her mind.
Eleni regarded her ruler, daughter of her daughter, with regret.
"It will make a difference if you wish to gain the trust of the dark warrior", Eleni said. Stamatia looked upon the older lady with surprise. Eleni continued, "I have seen how you have looked upon him, he is quite an Adonis, is he not? Now, if I were a few years younger…"
She watched the blush spread upon Stamatia's face. Knowing that she had the queen's full attention, Eleni forged on. "Should the younger one die, the dark one will not easily forgive you. It is perhaps in your best interest to ensure that the younger one is not harmed, or punished too severely."
Eleni watched the emotions play upon her granddaughter's face, regretting that the young woman was so easily manipulated. They needed a stronger woman as queen, not one who ruled solely by right of caste. Perhaps the time was ripe for change…she looked upon Dionissia shrewdly, thinking that maybe the seeds had already been sown.
"Samantha and the older male, they did nothing wrong. Perhaps we should release them? That may sway the warrior's trust in us?" Eleni knew that Dionissia had befriended this Samantha, and thought that Dionissia's reasoning was sound.
Stamatia looked at Dionissia with a canny look on her face. Eleni thought to herself that Stamatia could never truly hide her feelings. She regretted that she had not acted sooner, before things had gotten this far.
"You are the one who imprisoned those two…are you saying now that it is my decision that is at fault?"
"No, my queen! Please, my apologies. I meant to say that they were restrained as we were uncertain of their intentions when we had learned that the temple of Artemis had been desecrated by the other two. The prisoners no longer trust us, but perhaps by releasing them now, they would look more kindly towards us?"
Eleni almost sighed in relief when Stamatia announced, "Release the woman and the older male. Return all of their belongings, and allow them all rights…with an escort, of course."
Dionissia bowed her head in acquiescence, and as she left the room to do the queen's bidding, Eleni saw her biting back a smile. Eleni had no such trouble, her face remained impassive until she left the room. Then she permitted the smile.
- - - - - -
The sound of approaching footsteps lured Teal'c from the depths of Kel-no-Reem. Opening his eyes, he watched the Amazon who had befriended Carter enter the room with an escort of two. With surprise, he saw them unlock the captain's cell, and then Daniel's. The Amazon spoke quietly to Daniel for a moment, and then Teal'c heard him speak weakly to the colonel. Teal'c was unable to hear the words, so softly were they spoken. He glanced up at the captain, who was standing in the open doorway of her cell, looking as perplexed as Teal'c felt.
"Carter, Daniel says that you and I are both free to go. Teal'c, sorry big guy, you're still a jailbird." Teal'c raised an eyebrow at that, trying to logic out the meaning of the word. He assumed that he was to remain a prisoner, as the women had not attempted to unlock his door.
"Carter, get to the 'gate, tell Hammond what's going on. We're overdue, and we don't want him locking out our codes. See if he can send backup…"
"Sir, what about you?" she asked, as she took two steps across the small space, looking in at the colonel and Daniel.
"I'm not leaving Daniel."
Teal'c heard Daniel's outcry clearly at that point.
"No, Jack! They're letting you go. You have to go and check out Asclepius' temple, the one that might have a Goa'uld. Sam can go to the 'gate, but we have to know…" Daniel's voice faded as his energy ran out. Teal'c could hear them both conversing, but was unable to make out the words.
"Teal'c, you willing to come in here and take care of Daniel?" he finally heard the colonel ask.
"Indeed, O'Neill. If these warriors will permit me to do so, it would give me great pleasure to help DanielJackson."
Teal'c saw the colonel get up stiffly, pulling on a T-shirt, and walk to the cell door. The women pulled out their swords, and after making sure that Carter and ColonelO'Neill were safely out of their way, the leader of the two carefully unlocked Teal'c's cell. He slowly rose and walked the short distance to his teammate's cell. He went to Daniel, where he knelt beside the injured man. He could see the pain and fever reflected in his eyes.
"Teal'c, Carter's heading for the 'gate. I'm going to go with Dionissia here and check out that temple. Carter should be back in a few hours. Hopefully I'll be back before then too. Hold down the fort, okay?"
"We will be fine, O'Neill," Teal'c replied. He heard his teammates' footsteps recede as they exited the building. He could see Daniel shivering, lying bundled on the thin mattress. "You are cold", Teal'c stated.
"Yeah, well, I think that they're trying to save money on the heating down here," Daniel replied, with a slight grin. It surprised Teal'c to hear him joke, even more so to see him smile up at Teal'c.
"I think my fever's coming back," he continued, more seriously. Before Teal'c could reply, they were interrupted by the arrival of Eleni, who made her way straight to Daniel. She looked at Teal'c, and patted the empty space beside Daniel.
"May I?" Teal'c asked Daniel, indicating the pallet and blankets. At Daniel's nod, he slipped in behind the younger man and eased Daniel's body onto his. He was worried at the general weakness of his teammate, knowing that fever and blood loss were impeding his recovery. He watched carefully as the healer mixed a potion and handed the cup to Teal'c. He held it to Daniel's mouth, watching the man grimace at the taste as he downed the medicine. A fresh cup of water was quickly placed into his hands, and he ensured that Daniel managed to drink most of it before his exhaustion claimed him once more.
- - - - - -
Jack and Dionissia finally arrived at the temple of Asclepius after travelling on foot for nearly two hours. Jack cautiously followed the Amazon into the temple, recalling what had happened to Daniel and Teal'c after their inadvertent entry into a "woman's only" holy site. He looked around curiously, seeing many busts and paintings of the same man placed all over the room.
There were also depictions of a variety of plants, which he guessed might be herbs that were used in healing. As he examined a few, Dionissia hissed at him to catch his attention. She motioned Jack towards a huge hanging mural on the wall. As Dionissia twitched it aside, he saw that it had been concealing a low doorway.
"Hello," he exclaimed softly, as he saw what appeared to be a huge stone-like coffin sitting in the center of the almost hidden room. One side appeared to be seriously dented. Dionissia immediately went to her knees before it in obeisance. Jack, instead, walked right up to it and began examining it. After several moments, he realized that Dionissia was watching him in horror.
"It's all right, it's just a Goa'uld sarcophagus."
Smiling at Dionissia, he said, "Let's see if anyone's home." Holding his gun ready, he began poking and prodding at the immense piece of machinery. He was rewarded after a short time when the center doors began to open with a slight whine. After moving apart several inches, they stopped. Removing his flashlight from his pack, his gun aimed towards the dark opening, Jack quickly bent over the opening and peered inside. He could see the glint of bones and material. Pocketing the flashlight and letting go of his weapon, he forced the doors open the rest of the way. By this time, Dionissia had overcome her fear and was curiously watching Jack. Beckoning her forward to take a look, the woman cautiously walked up to the sarcophagus and looked inside.
"Asclepius," she said reverently.
"No…Oxi, oxi." Pushing a piece of cloth away from the neck of the skeleton, Jack revealed the skeletal remains of a Goa'uld.
"Ascelpius," Jack corrected, pointing to the snake-like remains twisted around the spinal column of the human skeleton.
- - - - -
Something squirming against Daniel's body slowly brought him out of a restless sleep. Opening his eyes, he felt a warm body lying against him. Realizing that it was too hard and muscular to be Jack, he suddenly remembered that Teal'c had taken over from his friend. Daniel felt the movement again, and when he finally realized what it was that was stirring against him, he pushed himself away from Teal'c with a cry. As he shifted off the low mattress and landed on the cold floor, Teal'c tried to grab at him belatedly. Trying to still his panic, Daniel pushed himself further away, gritting his teeth as pain flared in his leg.
"DanielJackson, what has happened?" He could see Teal'c looking at him with concern.
He waved a hand towards Teal'c's abdomen, and said with a shudder, "It…it moved!"
Daniel nodded, his panic beginning to recede as he realized that the Goa'uld larva wasn't going to throw itself out of its pouch and come after him.
"DanielJackson, I must apologize. I should have warned you what to expect in near proximity to myself. My symbiote was merely curious. It was not attempting to harm you."
"I would ask whether you're sure about that, but considering you've had one inside of you for a while…" Deciding that Teal'c was right about the larva being only curious, he tried to pull himself back onto the pallet.
As Teal'c helped him, he asked, "It moves around like that all the time?"
"Doesn't it bother you? No, I guess you'd be used to it by now."
As Teal'c settled himself against Daniel once again, Daniel gratefully relaxed against the hard warmth of his teammate.
"How long have you had to…um, you know. The symbiote?"
"I have carried false gods now for over eighty of your earth years."
"Wha…what? Eighty? I guess you're a lot older than we thought," he said as he laid his head back. Now that the adrenaline rush was gone, he was starting to feel sleepy again. As he began to drift off, he remembered something that he'd been wanting to ask of Teal'c.
Pushing his head back so that he could watch Teal'c's face, he asked, "Why did you give yourself up out there? You could easily have escaped."
Teal'c looked Daniel straight in the eye.
"I did not wish you to be at the mercy of these women. I had been instructed to protect you, and I would have been remiss in my duties had I not attempted to remain at your side."
"That's not logical, Teal'c. Wouldn't it have been better for you to escape, and then break me out of here later on?"
"The thought had occurred to me, but I believed it would be easier to break out of this prison together rather than attempt to do so singly under subterfuge."
Lowering his head and taking a deep breath, Daniel dove into the next painful question that he had been putting off for so long. "When you chose Shau're, what made you pick her from the rest of the women?"
When Teal'c didn't answer right away, Daniel was suddenly sorry that he had asked the question. Teal'c's voice was subdued when he finally answered.
"I cannot say why exactly I knew the false god Ammonet would choose her out of all the women. Her defiance, her beauty, her spirit…possibly a combination of all of these."
Daniel silently acknowledged Shau're's attributes as he heard Teal'c speak of them.
"She refused to acknowledge me when I entered the women's harem. That was when I knew, somehow, that she would be the one. I finally brought her to Ammonet in order to save the others."
"So you chose Shau're to save the other women?" Daniel asked. He tried to make sure that his voice didn't sound accusing. He wanted to know, really wanted to know, why Teal'c had done what he did.
"I did. I delayed as long as I could, but the needless slaughter of the women who were rejected by Ammonet left me no choice."
"Slaughter?" Daniel asked with concern, twisting slightly to look up at Teal'c. His face was impassive, but Daniel could see the bunching of his jaw muscles, showing the strain that Teal'c was undergoing at Daniel's questioning. This time Daniel didn't feel elation at the hurt he was causing Teal'c. He felt saddened instead.
"Apophis disposed of the women once they were refused by Ammonet."
"Oh God!" Daniel exclaimed hoarsely. He laid his head back weakly against Teal'c, wishing that he had known all of this earlier. That he hadn't permitted his anger at Teal'c from questioning him when he had first learned of Teal'c's part in Shau're's possession by the Goa'uld.
"DanielJackson, why did you attempt to save my life?"
Teal'c's question surprised Daniel.
"You're asking me this, after you laid down your weapon to remain with me as a prisoner?" He brought a shaking hand up from under the covers, massaging the bridge of his nose where a headache was starting to throb, careful of his bruised cheek.
"I guess when I saw that you were willing to be captured along with me, rather than take the chance to run off to the Stargate, I admitted to myself that I was wrong about you."
He tilted his head up again to look at Teal'c, and said, "I'm sorry, Teal'c. I took my anger out on you. And instead I should have been blaming Apophis for abducting my wife, and for forcing you to have to choose amongst the women. I can't imagine what it must have been like for you, and I didn't make things any easier."
"I must apologize also, DanielJackson. I was not aware that you were not apprised of my role in your wife's capture. Had I known, I would have attempted to speak to you privately, rather than before everyone at the debriefing."
"I'll admit it came as a shock, Teal'c. But I appreciate your telling me this. Thank you." He closed his eyes, wishing his head would stop pounding. "Um, tell me, what happened to the other women after Shau're was…taken…by Ammonet?"
"They were among the prisoners that we freed from the dungeons. They were returned to their homes, through the Stargate."
Daniel thought that although he fervently wished that things had gone differently, at least Teal'c's actions had not been in vain. Lives had been saved after all. He thought that he could live with that.
- - - - - -
The sound of metal against metal dragged Daniel out of a deep sleep. His talk with Teal'c had exhausted him, and he had quickly fallen asleep once more in his teammate's arms. He suspected that the concoctions Eleni was dosing him with also attributed to his constant need for sleep.
He looked around to see Stamatia standing in the opened doorway to his cell, escorted by several Amazons. Her words sent a feeling of doom coursing through his blood.
"We are ready to begin your punishment. You will come with us now."
Daniel forced himself up onto his elbows, trying to sit up under his own power.
"Um, Teal'c, they want me to go with them. Time for me to take my punishment for my little mistake earlier."
"They have chosen their timing well, have they not? With CaptainCarter and ColonelO'Neill out of the way?" As Teal'c assisted Daniel to his feet, he had to grab at Teal'c when the room suddenly began to spin. He held onto him weakly as Teal'c attempted to take the bulk of Daniel's weight.
One of the warriors came up to Daniel and helped Teal'c support him. He tried taking deep breaths, willing the world to right itself and remain level. The warrior tugged at him, forcing him to move before he was ready. Teal'c moved along with her, and Daniel was grateful that they weren't going to be separated.
The walk out of the prison and across the village seemed endless to Daniel. The sun was too bright, and he developed a pounding headache within minutes of stepping outside. His injured leg would barely support his weight, even with Teal'c and the Amazon supporting most of it. His other leg was shaking so much that it wasn't faring any better. His whole body was trembling when they finally sat him on a bench in what appeared to be a common square. Teal'c had to support him by the shoulders to keep him upright.
To his surprise, the man who had attempted to attack Teal'c was escorted into the square, and was seated forcibly across from Daniel. The man appeared to be moving stiffly, and Daniel wondered if Teal'c had gone after him in revenge once Daniel had been stabbed. He didn't remember much of what had happened during that altercation. Just a feeling of fear as he saw the knife, rushing to push Teal'c out of the way, a searing pain in his leg, and that damned overpowering smell of almonds.
To Daniel's surprise, three other women and a young boy and girl were also escorted into the square. They were placed off on the side, all looking desperately at the man seated quietly before Daniel.
The Amazons slowly filtered into the large square, their demeanor strangely quiet and somber. The other man sat looking at his feet, refusing to look up at anyone. When it appeared that everyone had gathered, Stamatia finally made her way through the women and to the center. Once she had everyone's attention, she turned and faced Daniel and Teal'c.
Addressing all those gathered around, Stamatia spoke out loudly and clearly.
"Yiorgos has shamed us all in his attempt to attack the prisoner. His punishment will be prevalent upon this one's choice." She turned to look at Daniel as she said this. "Here stands Yiorgos' family: his mother, his mate, his sibling and his children. You must choose one. The one chosen will be disciplined in place of Yiorgos."
"No," Daniel whispered to himself when he realized what she wanted him to do. He couldn't choose someone to be hurt in his place, or even in the place of another. He heard the Amazons muttering amongst themselves, and he looked around, fearing their anger. To his surprise, they appeared to be upset at Stamatia's judgement.
"Choose! This is your punishment. You offered yourself freely in place of your friends. One of this family will die, and it is up to you to decide which will be offered in place of the priest Yiargos. Then will they be placed before our god to judge their worth."
He tried to sit up straighter, almost falling off the bench with his effort. He felt Teal'c tighten his hold on his shoulders, ensuring his support. He cleared his voice slightly before looking up directly at Stamatia.
"I cannot in good conscience choose someone to die in my place. Therefore, I will take the place of Yiargos. I choose me!"
The mutterings of the Amazons grew louder, and Stamatia screeched loudly to be heard. "No, it is unacceptable! You must choose one of these. The god Asclepius has always decreed that it be so!"
His head pounding, it took a moment for comprehension to finally reach Daniel. He spoke out loudly, trying to be heard over the din. "You kill the individual and bring him to Asclepius? And the god judges his worth? Brings that person back to life?"
The Amazons quieted down at his words, and one near Daniel spoke up quietly.
"It has always been the way, but Asclepius deems us unworthy. For many years has it been since one has been judged to be deserving. My mother's mother's mother used to say that she knew of one who had been judged worthy, when she was but a young girl. None has been returned to us since."
To Daniel's surprise, he heard Dionissia's voice speak out. "None have been judged worthy, because our god Asclepius is dead!"
Daniel searched for Dionissia amongst the crowded square. He was relieved to see Jack standing out amongst the darker haired Amazon. Jack nodded slightly at him while he made her way through the throng. He gave Daniel a worried look as he sat beside him. Daniel would have given anything right now to be able to lie down, he was shaking so badly in his effort to stay upright.
"We found a sarcophagus in the temple, Daniel. It looked like it had been damaged in a rockfall. You were right, there was a Goa'uld inside. Dead."
"Oh God, Jack. The Amazons have been killing people as punishments, and bringing the bodies to the temple for Asclepius to resurrect them. And he's been dead for what, centuries?"
Stamatia and Dionissia were arguing back and forth, neither getting the upper hand. Daniel had to get their attention.
"Listen to me!" His voice came out too weakly to catch their attention. Taking a deep breath, he tried again. "Listen to me!" They finally stopped, and both turned to look at him. "Asclepius was not a god, he was a monster. Dionissia, you saw. There was a thing, wrapped around his spine?" Dionissia nodded at Daniel's words. "That was Asclepius. A demon, a monster."
Stamatia began screaming at Daniel, "Sacrilege! You know not what of what you speak! Asclepius will turn his favours towards us again one day, and I shall be the one to do so!"
"No, he won't. He's dead, Stamatia. You can't continue worshipping a false god."
His voice came out as a whisper, he didn't have the strength to argue with her anymore. He saw that Stamatia wasn't listening, and in frustration, he looked around for someone else to appeal to. He saw Eleni standing near him, realizing that as a healer, she would have worshiped Asclepius also. As she met his eyes, she approached him as he lost his battle with his weakened muscles. As he felt himself slide sideways into Teal'c, he felt his teammate's strong muscles gather him against his muscular chest.
He knew that he was going to pass out, he could hear a roaring in his ears, could barely see anything but the healer's kind, brown eyes. He had to tell her, convince her.
"Eleni, you don't have to give up what you know. Asclepius is dead, but his legacy lives on. All that you know, the herbs, the healing…that was given to you by Asclepius." The last thing he saw was her hand reaching up towards his face, before his eyes rolled back and everything went black.
- - - - - -
The smell of antiseptics assailed his senses as he slowly began to wake up. Which in itself was a relief, Daniel hadn't realized how much he'd come to hate the dank, wet smell of the cell he'd been imprisoned in. He realized that he felt pretty good, not as weak, and his fever was finally gone. He cracked open his eyes, and saw the top of Sam's head pillowed on the mattress near his shoulder. He heard snoring and turned his head slightly. There was Jack, his chair propped back slightly against the wall, his feet up on the foot of Daniel's bed. Searching, Daniel finally spied Teal'c sitting quietly in the opposite side of his bed, watching Daniel. Daniel smiled up at Teal'c, realizing that he was lying in the infirmary at the SGC.
"What happened?" he asked quietly so as not to awaken his slumbering teammates.
"Your fever had returned, and you lost consciousness."
"You mean I fainted?" he asked with a smile. He remembered vaguely the arguments in the square. "How did we get out of there?"
"CaptainCarter's friend challenged the queen, and defeated her. Dionissia is now the Amazon queen."
"Really? I hope she didn't hurt Stamatia too badly."
"There was no bloodshed, the fight was held fairly. The dishonored priest was forgiven, his family released. CaptainCarter returned from the Stargate with a platoon of marines. We met up with them as we were approaching the Stargate. The Amazons had provided us with an honorary escort to the 'gate, and an invitation to return soon."
Daniel thought a moment, processing the information Teal'c had provided. "How long have I been asleep?" he asked, looking at his teammates.
"Nearly 24 hours. They have barely left your side. Doctor Warner has become impatient with them."
Daniel smiled. He was glad to be back home. He stretched carefully, feeling a twinge in his thigh.
"I must inform the doctor that you are awake. I shall return shortly."
"Teal'c, wait. I, um, think I know what you must have gone through when you had to choose Shau're from the other women. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for you. I'm sorry, I should have understood sooner." Daniel offered Teal'c his hand, hoping that the man would consider being his friend.
Without hesitation, Teal'c clasped Daniel's hand. "I am honoured, DanielJackson." He squeezed Daniel's hand for a moment, and then walked off to find the doctor.
Lying back, Daniel watched Teal'c making his way across the infirmary. He looked at his other two teammates, who had stayed with him through thick and thin. He realized that although he had lost his friends and his family on Abydos, just possibly, he had found another here on earth.CENTER>
My thanks to Ynette, who did a wonderful job as beta, as usual. On top of being overworked, underpaid (hmmm, I don't remember mentioning a fee), and sick as a dog at the time. Your efforts are truly appreciated. Any mistakes found here are mine, and mine alone.
And thanks to devra, who has been getting this story in bits and pieces, and always asking for 'more'. Thank goodness for early morning and late evening emails. < G >
Thanks also to Helen and Noelia, for all the Greek stuff. I know you'll probably never read this story, but your encouragement is always appreciated.
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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.