Missing Scene to The Serpent�s Lair

Jack�s POV

His friend was dead, burned up high in the heavens when the two ships blew. No, that wasn�t right. Daniel had died the moment Jack had left him in the corridor, his body and clothes still smoking from the staff blast. Jack clenched his fists tightly as he recalled the look of pain and determination in his friend�s face as he begged Jack to leave him, to finish their mission without him. Daniel had been right, of course. He would only have slowed them down. He might have been the one small factor that would have prevented them from successfully stopping Apophis� attack on Earth.

Jack hitched the blanket higher onto his shoulder, trying to get comfortable on the rigid seat. The rumble of the plane�s motors acted as white noise; it should have been enough to lull him into sleep. He was exhausted. This mission had been difficult, both physically and mentally. He cracked open an eye, checking on his surviving team. Carter was curled up on the seats across the aisle, her hand hanging limply off the seat testament to the fact that she was sound asleep.

Jack envied Carter her escape, but then again, she wasn�t the one who had left Daniel lying in agony surrounded by the enemy. �He�s staying behind.� Three words, but full of meaning. Carter had been too good a soldier to question Jack�s comment to her unasked query, but he�d seen the change in her body language. She had known something had happened. Jack still had to give her the details, but he couldn�t bring himself to talk about it just yet. Jack could still smell the phantom odors of Daniel�s charred flesh and burned fabric; even after the shower and change of clothes they�d indulged in while waiting for this plane to be readied.

Jack stared ahead, seeing the back of Teal�c�s bare head peeking above the top of the seat before him. Teal�c hadn�t moved a muscle since the moment the plane took off. He had immersed himself into a state of kel-no-reem, which Jack presumed was his way of dealing with his loss of a friend today. Bra�tac sat opposite Teal�c. But unlike Teal�c, he was curiously examining everything. He had spent the whole time looking out the window.

Daniel had died. Daniel was dead. Daniel wasn�t coming back. Jack�s breathing quickened, his whole body tensed. He wanted to hit something, someone� anything. His friend had been dying, in agony, and Jack had just left him there to die alone. Damn. He�d left Daniel behind. He�d promised himself no one got left behind. He hadn�t had a choice, but that didn�t make him feel any better.

Jack roughly massaged the side of his face. His teeth were so tightly clenched that it felt like his jaw would snap. His neck was tight, his body ached. He took a deep breath and concentrated on trying to relax.

Jack suddenly wished fervently that the plane would suddenly depressurize and suck him out of the hole. Or crash in an impressive fireball. He wished that the vehicle assigned to convey them from the airport to the SGC had a fatal accident. Hell, he wished that a flyaway piece of Apophis ship fell on his head! He should have felt guilty at these morbid thoughts, but at this point in time, he really didn�t care. He didn�t deserve to live. He had left on this mission more than prepared to die. Even after having pulled it off successfully, and having managed to escape the detonation of the C4 explosives, he had expected that they would all die in the midst of cold space. He had been at peace, drifting in the gliders. Knowing that he�d be soon meeting up with Daniel and Charlie once again.

Hearing the change in the pitch of the motors, Jack threw off the blankets and made his way towards the cockpit. The pilot looked up at Jack, then shook his head. Communications were still unreliable due to some kind of interference. Carter suspected it had something to do with the naquada fragments falling to earth from the blast. Glancing at the instruments, Jack figured they were about twenty minutes away from landing.

He made his way back to his seat and was surprised when Teal�c came to sit beside him.
Staring straight ahead, Teal�c spoke softly. �We shall all miss him, O�Neill. He was a good friend, and a brave fighter. But DanielJackson died a hero. It was through his vision that we were able to save your planet. Do not let his death be in vain.� Teal�c turned to look at Jack, staring at him intently. �Do not let his death be the undoing of you. This world needs you still. The Tau�ri homeworld is no longer insignificant, and will soon be under the scrutiny of the System Lords. Although Apophis is no more; they will fight among themselves until the strongest prevails. And then the victor will turn his attention towards Earth.

DanielJackson would not wish you to blame yourself for his death. We all knew there was little chance that we would be returning from this mission alive. Take this gift that our friend has given you, and cherish it. Live your life well. DanielJackson�s friendship this past year has made the changes in my new life quite bearable. I know that he has done the same for you.�

Jack swallowed, feeling a lump in his throat. Teal�c spoke the truth. Jack had become a better person since Daniel had come into his life. But damn, he missed him already. He looked out the window, ignoring Teal�c. He�d think about what Teal�c had said. But not right now. All he wanted to do was to go home and get good and stinking drunk. That is, if he wasn�t thrown into a holding cell first for having disobeyed orders.

But going home and getting drunk wasn�t going to happen for a long while yet when he thought about what was waiting for him back at the SGC. Hammond would probably want a debrief. And a nice, long explanation as to why he�d left Daniel behind.

With a soft sigh, Teal�c rose and made his way to sit beside Bra�tac. Jack was happy for the solitude once more.

The pilot announced that they were on final approach. Jack reached over and shook Carter. She woke up with a start, and Jack could see that she was still tired. She sat up and looked around, checking to make sure that her team was fine. Jack saw her frown and turn and look behind her. Her face crumpled slightly when she realized that Daniel wasn�t there. God, but he felt guilty.

The plane landed safely, much to Jack�s disgust. The car ride to the SGC was uneventful. He looked up at the sky hopefully, looking for falling pieces of spaceship. No luck. With a sigh, Jack made his way inside the base. Maybe one of the elevators�

To his surprise, he and his team were waived past the security checkpoints. They were escorted, not to the General�s briefing room, but to the gateroom. The hero�s welcome angered him for a moment, which surprised him. He realized that it was Daniel who deserved this tribute, and not him nor Carter nor Teal�c. Daniel was the one who had been adamant about the threat. He�d spoken to Kinsey, to Hammond, to Jack� none of whom had taken him seriously. Well, Jack had, but he hadn�t felt the urgency that Daniel proclaimed.

As Jack looked at the glowing faces of all who had assembled around him, he decided he�d acknowledge the praise on Daniel�s behalf. He smiled as he turned to face the crowd, thinking that Daniel would have been embarrassed at the attention. He listened with half an ear as Bra�tac greeted Hammond.

�Not bad at all,� Jack pronounced as Bra�tac was escorted out of the room. His team *had* done a good job, after all. They had saved all of these people from death or a life of imprisonment and slavery. Maybe Teal�c was right, the fight had just begun. He needed to grieve for Daniel first, but maybe, just maybe, he�d be able to get over this. Daniel wouldn�t want him to give up. Daniel would want him to keep on doing what he did best. He�d try his best, maybe after the pain in his heart had healed a bit.

He saw an airman signal General Hammond from the control room. He looked up in confusion at General Hammond�s beaming face when he heard him say the words, �SG1, there�s someone who�d like to see you�.

Daniel�s POV

They were dead, his friends, his team mates� all of them� dead. Daniel pulled his knees up to his chest, hugging his arms around his knees, rocking himself gently to and fro in the dark room. He�d been holding back his grief from the moment General Hammond asked him, �Where�s the rest of SG1�? He managed to keep it together throughout the general�s interminable debriefing on their escapade into Apophis� mothership, and the subsequent physical he�d succumbed to when the General was finally satisfied with his answers.

He had seen the videotapes of the explosions, enormous fireballs falling into earth�s atmosphere. There was no way in heaven that anybody could have survived that kind of destruction. Jack, Sam, Teal�c, Skaara � all gone. And in fate�s own twisted mockery of Daniel�s life, Daniel had survived. Survived the suicide mission that they�d all embarked upon when they sneaked out through the Stargate; lived through Klorel�s excruciating ribbon device; recovered from the Goa�uld shock grenade and had even escaped their prison. The most ironic of all, though, was that he had survived a fatal staff blast. So why was it that he was the one who was back here on Earth, alive and in relatively good health, when everyone he cared for was dead? Dead and gone, buried in cold space, burned up in earth�s atmosphere. Gone, forever.

A sob made its way up through his emotion-swollen throat, and he choked it back. It wasn�t fair. He should have been the one to die. He had been more than ready to give his life to save his world. He was the one who had talked the rest of his team into going on this suicide mission; he had been the one adamant that the Goa�uld were planning an attack on Earth. He knew now that none of his new-found family would be coming back. Somehow the knowledge that they�d all given their lives for something they loved should have been easy to accept. The thing was he had never expected to be the sole survivor. He had expected to die along with them.

Even when he�d lain there helplessly in the corridor, dead Jaffa fallen before him and his chest half blasted away, he knew that Jack and the others were likely to be goners. But Daniel knew Jack, and knew what his team was capable of. There had been that very small chance that they would succeed in their mission without him. They had been so close to reaching their goal. Daniel had been so certain that they had escaped.

Daniel attempted to clear his throat, but the effort simply caused him to choke. He coughed, painfully swallowing past the lump that had taken residence there.

He remembered the agony of that staff blast. Even though his skin and muscles had been healed by the sarcophagus, the memory of the pain remained. Daniel had wanted nothing more than have Jack sit there with him in his last moments, soothing away the pain and telling him that everything was going to be all right. Instead Daniel had forced Jack away, had made Jack leave him behind. The look of sorrow and regret in Jack�s eyes when he left was something Daniel would have to carry to his grave.

Jack hadn�t been about to give up on their mission, and so then neither was Daniel. If Jack could stand the emotional pain of leaving Daniel behind, then Daniel decided that he could withstand the physical pain and try to survive. For Jack.

But not this way, not alone. Not abandoned to the fates once again. How could Daniel go on now? Earth was saved, but there was nothing to live for. His family hadn�t made it. They had left him. Again.

A tear seeped through his tightly clenched eyes, tickling its way down his cheek. He brushed it aside angrily with the back of his hand. There was no reason to cry. He was a hero. He was part of the team that had saved his planet. Everyone had congratulated him, thanked him for his efforts. Everyone forgetting momentarily that Daniel had lost his team while getting caught up in their own personal relief, celebrating that they all weren�t going to be blasted to kingdom come. He�d accepted the praise numbly, his mind barely registering beyond the fact that they were dead. When Daniel hadn�t been able to endure the partying any longer, he had retreated to his office at the first possible opportunity, searching for a bit of peace and a place to think.

The sounds of revelry followed him to what was usually his sanctuary. After hurling his coffee cup at the wall in a fit of rage, he�d stormed out of his office and made for the elevators. He brushed by everyone who tried to stop him� remembering hands reaching out for him, voices calling to him. He continued onwards and ignored them all. As he stood alone in the elevator, he pretended that the shimmering was simply a malfunction of the lights, and not a product of held-back tears. Daniel went looking for solitude, finally finding it here in a dark, unused storage room deep in the bowels of the mountain.

And here he sat, alone, abandoned, grieving and exhausted. The adrenaline rush from his mad dash to escape the soon-to-explode mothership had left him long ago, leaving him shaky and worn out. The food that Janet had forced on him had quickly made a reappearance. The headache that now engulfed him he blamed on emotions. Sure, the sarcophagus had healed his life-threatening injuries, but the residual shock from loss of blood, ribboning and effects of the stun bomb had finally caught up with him.

As his grief overwhelmed him and the sobs and tears came uncontrollably, Daniel wished that his friends were here to comfort him. Absurdly, he realized that he was grieving for the ones he wanted to be comforted by. A sharp laugh turned into a moan, and he buried his head on his knees, gasping to catch his breath as he finally let himself succumb to his emotions.

- - - - - -

The faint sound of the elevator door opening roused Daniel from a half-doze. He opened his swollen and gritty eyelids and sniffed loudly, trying to clear his stuffy nose. He carefully pushed himself away from the cold, cement wall, his body stiff and complaining. He stood up more quickly than he had planned to at the sound of footsteps coming his way and he swayed slightly.

The light in the storage room came on unexpectedly, and Daniel blinked as his eyes attempted to adjust to the intrusion, feeling slightly dizzy and disoriented. An airman stood in the doorway, a look of disbelief on his face.

�Doctor Jackson, thank god. Quick, you have to come to the gateroom. Now.�

�What�s happened,� Daniel asked, his throat feeling raw and dry as he unobtrusively brushed the dirt from the seat of his pants. He removed his glasses and held them up to the light, surprised at seeing white, salty specks on the lenses. He wiped them off carefully with his shirttail.

�They�re here! General Hammond is getting ready to greet them.� The airman was bouncing excitedly on the tip of his toes, his face red with excitement.

Daniel groaned inwardly at the thought of having to deal with Governmental bureaucrats. He should have gone home instead of hiding out here. He swore under his breath as he replaced his glasses while shuffling his way to the door. The airman moved aside as Daniel entered the hallway. He disregarded the roiling of his stomach and the pounding in his head as he stopped in the bathroom near the elevator, ignoring the airman�s unusual fidgeting. He splashed cold water on his face, trying to get the swelling around his eyes down a bit. As he dried himself off with paper towels, he met the airman�s impatient gaze through the mirror.

�Um... look, maybe you could tell the General that you didn�t find me. I�m kind of tired, I think I�ll just go on home. I really don�t feel like��

�You don�t understand,� the man interrupted, taking a step forward. �General Hammond has had half the base looking for you for the past hour.� At Daniel�s frown, the man continued. �It�s SG1. They�re alive!�
�Wha�What?� Daniel stuttered, not sure if he misunderstood.

�You didn�t hear the news? Communications were down for a few hours due to fallout from the explosions! The space shuttle found them. They escaped! They�ve been flown in. They�re here!�

�Alive? They�re alive?� Daniel grabbed the man by the arms. The airman simply nodded, a grin on his face.

�Where? Where are they?� Daniel asked, already rushing out the door.

�They�re being brought to the embarkation room,� the man called after Daniel�s retreating form.

- - - - - -

Running down the hall breathlessly, Daniel skidded to a stop several feet away from the door leading to the Stargate. He tried to compose himself, catch his breath. He was terrified to go inside, what if he�d understood wrong? What if they weren�t alive? What if they had simply recovered his friends� bodies?

Daniel could hear voices, so he took a few more steps forward. He listened attentively and heard General Hammond speaking. Bra�tac. That was Bra�tac speaking now! Could it be true? If Bra�tac was alive� then the others? Oh God, that was Jack�s voice. Daniel leaned wearily against the wall, the edges of his vision beginning to grow dim. Jack was alive! Sam? Teal�c? Were they there also?

Someone took his arm in concern, and Daniel shook his head, motioning that he was all right. He took a deep breath and pushed off the wall, anxious now to see his friends. An airman signaled someone behind him. As Daniel made his way to the door, he heard General Hammond�s voice announce, �SG1, there�s someone who�d like to see you�.




Author's Comments:
Devra and Deb, what would I do without you two?


to contact me




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.