Sleepless in Chicago

Daniel shifted uncomfortably in the restricted space allotted to him on the plane. He envied Jack, who was sleeping peacefully beside him, his head resting on Daniel's left shoulder. Daniel fidgeted once again, trying not to wake both Jack and the growing pain in his side.

He knew that the only reason that Jack was sleeping so soundly was from the pain pills that he was still taking. Pills that Daniel should also be taking, but was abstaining from because, simply put, he was afraid to sleep. Afraid to dream about their last mission, about what Daniel had been forced to do in order to keep both himself and Jack alive.

Both were still on medical leave, but had been cleared to fly the distance from Colorado Springs to Jack's family home in Chicago. Daniel had been surprised when Jack had invited him to accompany him to visit his parents. He knew that Jack hadn't spoken with his parents since Jack's son had died. Jack hadn't said much about what had happened between them, but Daniel suspected that they had blamed Jack for Charlie's death.

Daniel hadn't really wanted to go, he was having a hard time dealing with the memories of their last mission, and wanted nothing more than to be able to stay home alone and bury himself in his work. He wanted to forget for a while, to avoid dealing with the emotions that his nightmares kept on bringing up. He had only agreed to go because he could tell that Jack wanted him with him for moral support. Jack was vulnerable at the moment, both physically and emotionally. Daniel decided that he'd just do with as little sleep as he could get by on.

Daniel brought his right hand up and gently placed the back of his fingers against Jack's exposed cheek, checking for fever. He was relieved to see that his friend's temperature had remained normal. There wasn't any reason for Jack to get sick now, but after what they'd just gone through, Daniel was still feeling protective of his friend.

He carefully eased his right leg out into the aisle, trying to keep his foot near the seat before him so nobody would trip over it. Although the flight was just over two hours in length, his ankle had begun swelling again and was throbbing painfully. He checked his watch once more, noting that they should be landing in another 30 minutes. He was anxious to get to their hotel, he wanted nothing more at the moment than to have room to stretch out his cramped muscles.

Daniel looked over Jack's head and stared out of the miniscule window. White fluffy clouds hid the earth beneath them, and the monotonous view wasn't able to hold Daniel's attention. His eyelids soon became heavy, and he blinked furiously in an attempt to stay awake. His efforts weren't enough, and soon his chin was resting on top of Jack's head.

// The hot pink blood spurted over Daniel's hands, arms and face as he yanked his knife out of the humanoid's neck. Daniel's face grimaced in a parody of the elation he was feeling, knowing that this creature was dying at his hands. It fell to the ground with a thud, and Daniel's right ankle, buckling under his weight as he tried to stand up, sent him sprawling alongside the grey-fleshed creature.

Daniel's left hand moved to his side, trying to stem the flow of blood. The creature had managed to stab him before Daniel had killed it. Daniel hoped that the wound wasn't very deep. He slid his butt backwards, away from the dead body, pushing with his uninjured foot. He stopped when he felt Jack's legs against his back, still staring at the unmoving creature. "Good job," he heard Jack whisper behind him.

Daniel turned quickly to look at Jack, and saw his friend watching him. Jack had seen Daniel kill the creature, how could he think that what Daniel had just done was "good"? Daniel stared at the knife, still dripping pinkish blood, and suddenly he was aware of the gore on his arms and hands. Red and pink combined on one hand, and he realized that his own blood was mixed with the creature's. Revulsion spread through him, and he lurched to his feet, forcing his injured ankle to carry him the dozen feet to the quick flowing creek. He splashed his hands into the clear water, dropping the knife that he hadn't realized he was still grasping. He scrubbed at his arms and face, trying to rid himself of the sticky substance.

His stomach began to revolt, and the nausea woke the now growing discomfort in his side. He welcomed the pain, using it as punishment for having permitted himself to feel delight in causing a death. Even though the creature hadn't been human, it had been a living, sentient creature. It had only been trying to defend itself from what it thought were invaders. But it hadn't given Daniel a choice; it had been going after Jack, obviously the weaker of the two.

The blood wasn't coming off, he could still feel the sensation of it spurting onto his face, warm, slick…//

Daniel woke as sudden turbulence rocked the plane. His face flushed with sudden heat, and his mouth filled with saliva. He felt Jack lift his head drowsily from his shoulder as he fumbled with the seat belt. Daniel lurched to his feet and limped his way clumsily towards the bathrooms, praying that he'd find one unoccupied. He heard Jack call after him as he made his way forward. Daniel clenched his teeth against the rising nausea, and thanked God when he found the nearest bathroom to be free. He just had time to engage the lock when he began to retch, the chemical odor of the bathroom worsening his nausea. The cubicle was too small for him to kneel in and he had to crouch over the hole for what passed as a toilet. His stomach finally calmed after what felt like an eternity, so he sat on the toilet seat, head in his hands in the cramped space.

When he thought he could stand again, he flushed the toilet and stood over the sink. He palmed some water and rinsed his mouth. He splashed a bit more water on his face. Using tissues to wipe his face and hands, and he stopped a moment to make sure that there was no pink staining his hands. Pink, not red. The creature had died at Daniel's hands, and he had been happy to watch it die.

It wasn't as if Daniel had never killed before. He had been responsible for the deaths of many Jaffa, and he hadn't regretted any of those yet. But shooting a gun at someone was much different than feeling a knife slice through flesh and cartilage…to feel the heat of their blood spilling onto your skin, to….

Daniel pulled himself together when he heard a familiar dinging sound. Glancing up, he saw that the 'seat belt' sign had been lit, and he figured that the plane was probably on final approach. The captain's voice sounding over the intercom seconds later confirmed his suspicions, and Daniel shakily opened the bathroom door and limped his way back to his seat. He could see Jack's worried eyes tracking him, and the silent question on his friend's face.

"Had to go before we landed," Daniel said as an excuse for his rushing towards the bathroom, buckling up his seatbelt. He hadn't mentioned the nightmares to Jack, and he had been thankful that Jack slept so deeply thanks to the medication he was still taking. Daniel's cries over the past three nights hadn't managed to wake Jack on those few occasions where Daniel had actually fallen asleep. Daniel had been staying at Jack's after they'd been released from the infirmary. Both were recuperating from their injuries, each watching out for one another. Sam and Teal'c had been checking in on them regularly, bringing them meals, ensuring that they didn't lack for anything.

The two hour flight should have been easy on Daniel's recovering body, but the lack of sleep, his now near-constant pain in his side and ankle, and his already weakened body was beginning to take its toll. His head ached, his eyes were gritty and his stomach was still sending threats of mutiny. On the other hand, Jack looked relaxed and was in a good mood, despite the fact that he was soon going to be meeting his parents after five years of silence from them.

Jack and Daniel waited for the other passengers to disembark, tacitly agreeing that they wanted to avoid being jostled. Daniel stood up gratefully as the last passenger filed past him. As he began limping heavily towards the luggage retrieval area, he felt Jack's arm on his, steadying him. His ankle hadn't pained him this much in the past few days, but he realized that he'd been walking on it more today than he had since he'd twisted it. Daniel was happy to see that their luggage was already on the carousel. The crowd of passengers had thinned already, and he watched as Jack approached the slowly moving carousel, cautiously stretching out his arm for his bag. Daniel tracked his own bag, which had already gone by and was making its way around the circuit once again.

A tanned and freckled hand grabbed Jack's bag before it reached him, and both Jack and Daniel looked up in surprise. A short, chubby, greying man stood holding the carryall, a grin pasted on his face. Jack's face lit up, and he clasped the man's free hand.

"Eric," Jack exclaimed, "I never expected to see you here."

Daniel glanced at his approaching bag, then back at Jack's companion.

"Jack," the man said with affection. "Welcome back. Your mother asked me to come and pick you up. Oh, and I have instructions to take you up to the house rather than to a hotel. Your parents insist that you and your friend stay with them."

"You mean mom insisted," Jack said quietly, his tone changing to one of disappointment.

Daniel had his eyes on his approaching bag, but had glanced up quickly at the mention of 'friend'. He began to lean over cautiously in preparation for grabbing his bag, trying not to overbalance, when Jack put a hand on his arm, stopping the movement. "Eric, would you mind grabbing Daniel's bag?" As the man eagerly bent and picked up the piece of light luggage, Jack turned to Daniel and said, "Daniel, this is my father's best friend, Eric Preston. Eric, this is Daniel Jackson."

As the two men shook hands, Daniel noticed that Jack's friend seemed to be scrutinizing him, making Daniel feel uncomfortable. Eric picked up both bags, and led the way out of the airport, towards his parked car. He slowed his pace deliberately when he noticed that Daniel was limping. Looking over quickly at Daniel, Eric said to Jack, "Your parents regret what happened, Jack. But things were said in anger, and they weren't sure how to approach you in order to apologize. They're trying … give them a chance, okay?"

Jack remained silent, ignoring Daniel's questioning look.

"Jack, if you'd prefer, I can go stay at a hotel," Daniel offered. He could tell that Jack was a little uneasy, and thought that maybe Jack would prefer being alone with his parents. If there were any chance for them to forgive one another, they'd need to talk. Privately.

"No!" Jack exclaimed, a little loudly. Several people turned their heads towards them. Speaking to Daniel a little more quietly, Jack said, "I'd like you with me. For moral support, if nothing else. If things don't work out, Daniel, at least I'll have a friend around. Stay with me, okay?"

Nodding, Daniel acceded to Jack's request. He'd still rather enjoy the anonymity that a hotel provided, considering how he was feeling, but he'd gladly do this for Jack. Considering how just a few days ago, he had thought that Jack was dying. Jack had been dying, and would have died, had Teal'c and Sam not gone for help. Would have died, had Daniel not killed that alien. Daniel had managed to protect Jack, but at what cost to himself? Daniel stumbled slightly over a speed bump as they crossed the parking lot, not paying attention to his surroundings. Jack grabbed his arm, looking at him with concern.

Watching the men, Eric said, "I heard that you'd both been injured and were convalescing. Let me know if there's anything I can do, Jack."

"Thanks Eric," Jack said to him. Looking over at Daniel, Jack explained. "Eric's a medical doctor, actually he was my family doctor up until I left home."

Grinning at Jack, Daniel said, "I bet he's got quite a few stories to tell," ignoring the gentle swat that Jack gave him on the back of the head.

Eric helped Daniel into his SUV, settling him so that he was able to sit with his injured foot on the seat before him. "We have a good 45 minute drive, just enough time for a nap," Eric told Daniel. Daniel blinked at Eric, realizing that he must look awful. He nodded, knowing that now wasn't the time to ask whether they could stop for coffee on their way.

As Eric maneuvered the vehicle away from the airport, Daniel drowsed, despite his best efforts at remaining awake. He could hear Jack and Eric talking up front, obviously reminiscing. He heard his name come up at one point, heard Jack talk about their fabricated story as to how they'd been injured. A classified mission, irritated natives, a foreign country. It wasn't far from the truth, except that they had been on another planet, attacked by angry aliens. Daniel forced his eyes open, trying to drum up the energy to sit up straighter. His eyes closed despite his best efforts, and the sounds of Jack and Eric talking faded.

// The tall, slim, grey aliens had greeted SG1 about two miles from the Stargate. They hadn't been successful in communicating with them, Sam surmising that the people native to P33 087 were telepathic. They had shown more curiosity than anything else, permitting the team to explore the surrounding territory. Two or three of the gentle aliens followed them around, watching them. One even helped Sam gather soil samples, seeming to recognize what she was trying to do. SG1 had eventually separated, Jack and Daniel going in one direction, hoping to come across the aliens' habitation. Teal'c and Sam had continued gathering the samples, making their way towards a small river about half a mile off in the distance.

The attack had come swiftly; the shorter, stockier aliens catching them all by surprise. Jack had gone down in the first wave when one of the aliens jumped on top of him. Daniel had tripped when he'd run towards Jack, and in the process had badly twisted his ankle. By the time he'd pulled out his gun and emptied it into the oncoming horde of attackers, the two gentle aliens that had accompanied them were dead, killed by their adversaries. Jack was lying unconscious from a blow to the head, and there was a knife sticking out of his abdomen. The remaining enemy had fled in fear at the display of Daniel's more powerful weapon.

Daniel had managed to drag Jack to shelter, ignoring the pain in his foot. Once positive that they were fairly well hidden, he turned his attention to Jack's wound. It was only when he'd finally managed to stop the bleeding did he think of contacting the other two members of his team. They reported that they had also been attacked, but had managed to ward their aggressors off. They were on their way to the Stargate in order to get reinforcements. Sam had ordered Daniel to sit tight and stay put, they'd come find him in a short time.

That short time had turned into hours, unbeknown to him that the SGC had come under Goa'uld attack when SG4 made their escape from a surprise encounter on a supposedly uninhabited planet. Injuries were minimal, but the ensuing damage to circuits and computers needed to be repaired and tested. General Hammond had been prevented in sending a search party for them for nearly 15 hours. It was 8 hours after the attack, when Daniel was limping back painfully from a water run, that he spotted one of the small aliens standing over Jack with a knife in his hand.

Daniel had thrown himself onto the creature, his momentum taking them away from Jack. In the process, the smaller creature managed to stick his knife into Daniel. Daniel's superior strength and weight helped him in restraining his assailant, but it fought madly and finally broke free. As Daniel huddled momentarily over the pain in his side, the creature went after Jack once more. Daniel tackled it again, landing on top of Jack's legs. They rolled on the ground, until the small humanoid nearly freed itself and stood up. Daniel had finally gotten hold of the alien's knife, and with a grin he rose to his knees and slit its throat. The blood spurted… //

"Danny, wake up, we're here." Jack's voice was near his ear, and he opened his eyes in alarm. Disoriented, he found himself sitting inside an SUV, not lying in the midst of a forest. He was breathing quickly, and felt sweat dripping down the small of his back. Jack had opened the door to the back and was peering at Daniel with concern. Raising a hand to rub at his eyes beneath his glasses, he slowly lowered his propped leg. He noted distractedly that the throbbing in his ankle had lessened. The short nap had done nothing for his fatigue though, making him feel dopey and his brain thick and a little slow.

As he exited the vehicle, Daniel looked up at the house before which they were parked. Eric was already at the door, bags in hand; but Jack stood beside Daniel, looking at the house he had grown up in. The house which his parents had recently informed Jack that they were in the process of selling. With a sigh, Jack gave Daniel a sloppy smile, straightened his back, and walked to the now open door. Daniel followed several steps behind Jack, feeling somewhat reluctant to meet Jack's parents.

When he appeared at the door, Daniel saw Jack enveloped in the arms of a diminutive, grey haired woman. Jack had lowered his head so that his chin was resting on top of her head, and was hugging her back enthusiastically. Eric had gone on inside, standing off to the side, watching the reunion with a wide smile. Daniel stood behind Jack, waiting self-consciously. Finally Jack's mom pulled aside, wiping her eyes with her apron. Seeing Daniel standing in the doorway, she extended a hand, saying, "You must be Jack's friend. Welcome, Doctor Jackson."

Daniel looked down into twinkling, chocolate brown eyes. A warm smile graced her wrinkled face, and Daniel had no doubt of her welcome. He shook her hand, and said, "Please, Mrs. O'Neill, call me Daniel."

"So long as you call me Megan," she replied. She tugged on his hand gently, urging him into the house. Daniel limped inside, looking around curiously. Eric had placed both their bags by the staircase leading upstairs, and Jack had joined him in the kitchen. Megan led Daniel to them, and pulled out a chair, inviting him to sit.

"Are you boys hungry? Your father and I ate already, but I kept some stew warming for you." Jack grinned and got out a couple of bowls, and Megan ladled out a portion for each. As Daniel took a careful bite of the hot vegetables, Jack said, "Dad's not here?" Daniel chewed slowly, relishing the wonderful flavour of the stew.

"No, dear, he was called away on business."

Daniel ducked his head, seeing Jack's face harden. His mother obviously saw the same thing because she quickly added, "He's not avoiding you, Jack. He was called away. That's why we asked Eric to go and pick you up." She smiled up at Eric who was leaning against the sink, coffee cup in hand. "He'll be home in an hour or two."

Daniel put his spoon down after a few mouthfuls of stew. His stomach still wasn't feeling 100%, and he hadn't been that hungry to begin with. Megan looked up at Daniel with worry.

"Didn't you like it, Daniel? I can get you something else if you prefer," extending a hand for Daniel's bowl.

"No, Megan, it was wonderful. I just wasn't very hungry." Daniel glanced quickly at Jack, who was obviously enjoying his mother's cooking. As she took the bowl from Daniel, Jack reached over and grabbed it, pouring its contents into his nearly empty bowl. Grinning at them both, he finished off the stew with gusto.

"You haven't changed much in here, from what I can see," Jack commented as he spooned up the last of the gravy. "The place looks almost the same as the last time I was here."

"We've been planning on selling the house for a while now, dear. We didn't feel the need to change anything. As we're moving into a smaller place, we'll be needing to sell some of our stuff."

As Daniel sat at the table listening to Jack and his mother talk, he saw Megan exchange a worried look with Eric. Jack also saw the exchange, and pushing the bowl away, raised his eyebrows in a silent question.

Jack's mom patted his hand, saying, "I just thought that you both look tired. Maybe you'd like to lie down for a while?"

While Daniel was reluctant to go to sleep, his body was clamoring to rest. They'd been at the airport a few hours before the flight, and they'd both been on their feet longer than they should have been. He gratefully followed Jack and his mom upstairs, with Eric coming behind with their bags. She led them both to a bedroom, which held two bureaus and a double bed. Eric dropped the bags on one of the bureaus, and left the two men alone with Megan.

"My old bedroom," Jack told Daniel with a grin. "Of course, I had posters of jets all over the wall. I always wanted to fly." Daniel thought back to the few posters he'd been permitted to keep in his room as a kid. One had been of the great pyramids of Giza, another was of King Tut's burial mask, and the third a picture of the stone facade at Deir el-Bahri. He thought it interesting how their current interests had been evident in their earlier years.

"I hope you two don't mind sharing a bed, we've already cleared the spare room. Otherwise I can easily make up the couch," Megan offered. Daniel glanced at Jack, who was busy pulling down the covers. "No, mom, it's all right. Daniel and I have shared beds and tents, so we're used to each other." Megan gave Jack a peck on the cheek, then bustled out of the room, closing the door behind her.

Daniel sat on the bed and carefully bent down to untie his shoes one handed, his other hand held protectively over his side. He eased under the covers beside Jack. Daniel lay there stiffly, waiting for Jack to fall asleep. As soon as he heard Jack's breathing slow, Daniel got up and rummaged through his bag, finding the bottle and tipping three Tylenol into his hand, swallowing them dry. He got back into bed and propped himself up against the headboard. He was going to take the opportunity to rest, but he would try his damndest not to sleep. He didn't want a repeat of dreams. Not here. Please god, not around Jack's family.

He didn't even dare close his eyes while waiting for the painkillers to take some of the edge from the throbbing of his healing stab wound and the onset of a headache. He continued to hold a hand against the ache, trying to relax. He soon found that he was unable to do so sitting up, his whole body was aching and he finally had to relent and scoot down till he was lying flat. His fidgeting disturbed Jack, who snorted slightly and turned onto his side, facing Daniel. Mimicking his friend's movement, Daniel carefully turned onto his side, looking at Jack.

Jack had a faint blush of color on his cheeks, his face relaxed in repose; so different from several days' back when Daniel had held Jack in his arms. Jack had been in terrible agony, both from the stab wound and concussion. He had been in and out of consciousness, and it was mostly Daniel's voice and touch that had kept Jack from crying out in pain and confusion.

// Daniel ignored Jack's blood staining his hands as he pulled his jacket off, covering his friend's torso with it. He had finally managed to stop the bleeding, but Jack was now going into shock. He was shivering uncontrollably, and Daniel's jacket didn't seem to be helping much in keeping him warm. Finally, Daniel lay down beside Jack and took his friend into his arms, trying to warm him up with his own body heat. Jack's face was pale, his skin cold and clammy. //

The slam of a door somewhere in the house roused Daniel from his half sleep, and as he listened to the muted sounds of Megan's voice, he realized that Jack's father had come home. He raised a hand to Jack's cheek, checking for fever. The dream had woken his worry over Jack, and he needed to check to see that his friend was okay. Heavy footsteps on the stairs warned of someone's approach, and as the door was softly opened, Daniel lay still, unmoving. His back was to the door, but he sensed that Jack's father's attention was on Jack, not himself.

After a moment the door was shut gently, and Daniel relaxed. He turned onto his back, sighing tiredly. He lay there quietly, but when he felt himself drifting towards sleep once more, Daniel finally sat up and debated going downstairs. As he reached for his shoes, he realized that his ankle was still swollen enough that putting the shoe back on would be painful. He opted to remain in his stocking feet, and after visiting the washroom, limped his way down the stairs.

He followed the low voices into the kitchen, standing uncertainly in the entrance. Megan smiled warmly at him when she saw him, and quickly introduced him to her husband. As Daniel extended his hand to Jack's father, he noted that the man was tall and wiry, just like Jack. He still had most of his hair; although Jack's was silver, Hugh O'Neill's was white. The man's handshake was firm and strong, just like Jack's. Intense grey eyes looked Daniel over, his face never revealing his thoughts. Daniel thought that Jack and his father had probably been cast from the same mold.

When Megan saw that Daniel was still limping, she quickly had him seated at the kitchen table. She had him prop his foot onto a chair, placed a cushion beneath his ankle and an ice pack over it. Soon Daniel was sipping hot coffee and nibbling at a piece of apple pie. Jack's father was somewhat taciturn, allowing his wife to do most of the talking. Daniel skirted their questions, explaining that he was an anthropologist. He was surprised at first when they didn't pry, but then realized that because of Jack's type of work, they knew better than to question him about his work.

Daniel enjoyed himself, listening to Jack's mother recount stories about Jack's childhood. When Jack finally stirred himself an hour later, three pairs of laughing faces watched him as he entered the kitchen. Jack's hair was sticking up from where it had lain against the pillow, and he was still rubbing sleep from his eyes. Daniel knew from experience that the painkillers were pretty potent, and tended to hit them hard, especially now that their bodies were still weak and on the mend. Which was exactly why he was avoiding taking them.

"What?" Jack asked, looking around suspiciously.

Daniel grinned into his coffee cup, then looked up at Jack innocently. "Um, nothing. I was thinking that I'll have some interesting stories to tell Sam and….Murray next time we're sitting around a campfire." Daniel snorted at Jack's incredulous look, when he realized that his mother had been regaling Daniel with embarrassing stories about him.

Jack ignored Daniel, and turned to his father. Both men stared at one another, and then Hugh stood up, offering Jack his hand. Jack took a step towards his father, grasping his hand. After a moment, Jack's father grabbed Jack in a hug, which Jack returned eagerly. Daniel stared up at his friend, seeing the emotions play over his face. Daniel swallowed, getting caught up in the moment. He averted his eyes, while clearing his throat. He felt Megan pat his shoulder a moment in understanding, before she got up and poured Jack a cup of coffee.

Jack made to pull the chair on which Daniel's injured foot was resting. Daniel lifted his foot off the chair, but Jack gently laid a hand under his ankle, supporting it in mid air. Jack lifted Daniel's foot, pulled the chair back, and then settled Daniel's foot onto his thigh. Daniel caught Jack's father staring at them, and he ducked his head in embarrassment. Jack placed the ice pack over Daniel's ankle, and kept a hand on Daniel's shin.

Jack looked over at Daniel's mostly uneaten slice of pie. Quirking his eyebrows at his friend, he asked, "You gonna eat that?" At Daniel's quick shake of the head, Jack pulled the plate over to him, and started eating. They spent the rest of the afternoon sitting at the table, relaxing and talking.

When suppertime came around, Jack got up and helped his parents prepare the meal. All insisted that Daniel remain sitting and rest his foot. Daniel felt awkward, watching the family work around him. He insisted that he be allowed to help and was given vegetables to peel to keep him quiet.

Once supper was laid out on the table, Jack sat down beside Daniel and plopped two bottles of pills beside their plates. Jack shook one of each out, and handed them to Daniel. Daniel stared at the painkiller sitting innocently on his shaking palm, beside the antibiotic. He wondered how he could palm off the pill, pretending to take it, when he saw Jack staring at him. As he realized that everyone at the table was staring at him, he knew that there was no hope in his abstaining from ingesting the drug. He swallowed the pills down with a sip of juice, watching as Jack did the same.

Daniel was feeling slightly nauseous, had been actually since the morning. He pushed the food around on his plate, feeling bad for his hosts because it was actually very good. Jack kept watching him over the dinner table, and Daniel had a sneaking suspicion that he wasn't fooling Jack anymore.

He listened to Jack and Hugh discussing the sale of the house. Jack's parents already purchased smaller home, and would be moving in at the end of the month. Jack was here in order to go through his belongings, which were stored up in the attic. He'd be going up there tomorrow to see what he wanted to keep, and what he wanted to sell or discard.

While watching the three interact together, Daniel wondered about his own parents. He had forgotten many details about them as he grew up, as they had died when he was eight. Thanks to the Gamekeeper's antics two years ago, Daniel now had more vivid memories of his own parents. And more vivid memories of their deaths.

While knowing that they had loved him as a child, he couldn't help but wonder what would they have thought of the adult Daniel. He also wondered what his folk would be like now, today, had they lived.

Watching Jack with his father, he could easily envisage his friend 20 years from now. He couldn't picture the young and prankish child that his parents had described, though. They had promised to bring out picture albums later tonight, something that Daniel was very anxious to see, and Jack obviously dreading.

When Jack and his father got up to clear the table, Megan insisted that Daniel come into the living room with her to relax. Daniel stood up and hung onto the table for a moment until the room stopped swaying. He pretended he had needed to regain his balance due to his injured ankle. As he made his way out of the kitchen, he was happy to see that his foot actually felt better.

He was settled on the sofa with a footstool for his ankle, while Megan eased herself into a lazy boy. Jack and Hugh entered soon after, and Jack joined Daniel on the sofa, while Hugh sat in a twin lazy boy beside his wife. They talked together and looked at pictures until Hugh turned on the television. Jack and his father turned to the hockey game with eagerness. While Megan dozed in her chair, Daniel fought off the narcotic effects of the painkiller while he flipped through pictures of Jack's childhood.

- - - - - -

// He tried to stand up, but the pain in his abdomen and head was all consuming. He'd seen the creature standing over him, knife in hand, glinting in the sunlight. Jack watched with horror as his friend fought with the small alien. Daniel was heavier and stronger, but it was quicker, wilier. Daniel finally grabbed the knife and brought it up to the humanlike creature that had attacked them. As Daniel slit its throat, Jack noted with horror the look of glee that momentarily spread over Daniel's face. Daniel tried to stand up, but for some reason collapsed beside the dead alien. He sat up and began to back away from it, moving towards Jack.

As Daniel's back collided with Jack's legs, the movement sent agony flowing through his throbbing head. Jack had to tell Daniel that he had done well, that he had accomplished what had to be done in order to keep them alive. To keep Jack alive. He knew that Daniel had never had to kill up close and personal. Jack recalled the first time he'd killed with his hands…he knew that he needed to tell Daniel that it was going to be all right. Daniel was going to need someone to be there for him.

"Good job," he managed to croak, wanting to say more but being unable to. He saw Daniel's head whip towards him, horror and turmoil reflected in his pain filled eyes. Before Jack could force his arm up to comfort Daniel, his friend cried out and staggered to his feet, running for the creek. He could hear water splashing as he tried to sit up. He managed to lift his head off the ground when the pain exploded behind his eyelids… //

"Jack, Jack, wake up!"

He opened his eyes, staring around wildly. He saw Daniel's concerned face beside his own, and his mother and father standing behind Daniel. He could hear the hockey game droning in the background, and he realized that he'd fallen asleep. He'd been dreaming, and had probably cried out. He straightened up, apologizing.

His parents were aware of the fact that he suffered nightmares, he'd had them a few times when he and Sara had come to visit, or they had come to visit Jack. It wasn't anything new to them, but the concern in their faces showed that this one had been a doozy.

This particular nightmare that he'd just experienced suddenly filled in one of the blanks he'd had about the time he'd been injured on P33 087. He had had fleeting impressions of being in pain, of feeling cold. But mostly he remembered Daniel's voice, his touch. His memories of Daniel had implied safety, comfort. He knew that he'd been badly injured, but Daniel had been there, and Jack knew that Daniel would look out for him.

He had known that Daniel had saved his life, but the details had been very sketchy. With a sinking feeling, he now knew why Daniel looked so awful. Jack himself had spent many of the past days sleeping, which was exactly what the doctor had prescribed. But every time he had woken up, both in the infirmary and at home, it was to see Daniel up and about, doing something, reading something, constantly keeping busy. His excuse had been that he'd just woken up a few minutes ago, but Jack realized now that Daniel been lying to him and hadn't been sleeping at all. He'd probably been suffering from nightmares.

He looked carefully at his friend, saw that Daniel was shaking minutely. His face was pale, his eyes smudged with fatigue. He had his arms wrapped around his torso; and even with the painkiller he had swallowed, Jack could tell that he was still in pain. How had Jack missed all of these signs?

Jack excused himself and Daniel, insisting that they go up to bed now. The hockey game was in the third period, and the Chicago Black Hawks were losing anyway. Jack kissed his mother goodnight, and glanced over at his father. The look in his father's eyes was encouraging, the last time he'd seen him, his father had been furious and hurting. Things had been said between them, and Jack had thought that he'd lost their love and approval forever. He didn't think any of them would be able to talk about that time, but his welcome back into their home was actually their apology to him.

He shepherded Daniel upstairs, pulled Daniel's sweats from his bag and tossed them to him. He grabbed his own and made his way to the bathroom. When he returned to the bedroom, he saw Daniel sitting on the edge of the bed, staring at the nightwear still in his hands. Jack went to his friend and sat on the bed beside him.

"Feel like telling me what's going on?" Jack asked.

Daniel turned blood shot eyes towards Jack. "Nothing's going on, Jack."

"Look, I'm sorry. Things are a little blurry about what happened on P33 087 after I got hit on the head. But I just remembered a small bit of it. I know that you went through a terrible ordeal, and you're bottling it up inside. Daniel, we need to talk. You have to tell me what you're feeling."

"I'm not sure I know what you're talking about. I'm fine. I'm just a little tired," he smiled at Jack, "it's kind of been a long day."

Jack agreed with Daniel on that point. He climbed into bed, watching Daniel make his way to the bathroom. As he lay there waiting for Daniel, his mom came up with extra blankets. As she laid them over the foot of the bed, Daniel finished up in the bathroom and entered the bedroom uncertainly. Jack watched his mom pat the bed, pulling the blankets over Daniel as he slid under them. She tucked them both in, and gave them both a peck on the cheek before turning out the light and shutting the door behind her. Jack had watched in bemusement as Daniel grinned up at her.

As Jack turned onto his side, he heard Daniel sigh and say, "Your parents are great people, Jack."

"Mmm," he answered sleepily. He was happy that he had come to Chicago. Things had turned out better with his parents than he had expected. Now if only he could get Daniel to get some sleep, he'd be content. He watched Daniel covertly, prepared to remain awake until he knew that Daniel was sleeping. He waited, listening to Daniel breathe. Daniel kept fidgeting slightly, seeming unable to get comfortable.

Daniel had his back turned to Jack. "You okay?" he whispered. He raised an arm, pressing it to his friend's shoulder, and was surprised to feel him shaking.

"Hey?" Jack exclaimed. He sat up and Daniel turned onto his back to look at him.

"You're cold! Why didn't you say something?" Jack asked as he reached for the extra blankets. He unfolded one and helped Daniel lay it over the quilt. He checked Daniel for fever, relieved to find that his temperature was normal. The room wasn't cold, so Jack just figured that Daniel was overtired.

Daniel settled down beneath the extra warmth, and soon his breathing became slow and rhythmic. Jack smiled softly, and let himself fall into slumber.

- - - - - -

Daniel waited till he was sure that Jack was asleep, then sat up carefully. He hated tricking Jack like this, but he knew that Jack had been watching him. Daniel turned on the bedside lamp, got up and removed his journal from his bag. He propped himself up against the headboard and began writing.

An hour later, he shut the journal with a sigh. His thoughts were too jumbled; he was having difficulty putting them down on paper. He read over what he had written and shook his head He'd probably have to rewrite the pages tomorrow.

He plucked the extra blanket from the bed, and wrapping it around his shoulders, walked over to the window and stared outside for a time. When he began shivering again, he climbed back into bed, this time with several sheets of glyphs that he had been working on surreptitiously at Jack's. He spent the next several hours working on those, at times having to get up and walk around the small room in order to fight off the waves of exhaustion and dizziness that assailed him. When one such attack had him rushing to the bathroom, swallowing back nausea, Daniel caved in, deciding that maybe he could do with an hour or two of sleep. The sky was beginning to lighten, and Daniel figured that Jack's parents would be rising soon. He would rest until they got up, and then would go down begging for coffee.

He slid down beside Jack, curling up in an attempt to maintain body heat. His feet were freezing, and he'd been shivering on and off all night long. He listened attentively, waiting to hear stirrings from the bedroom next door. He closed his eyes, then opened them immediately. He realized that he was terrified to allow himself to sleep. He looked at Jack lying beside him, snoring loudly, and envied him his ability to deal with his nightmares. He sighed, sat up and picked up his translations once more.

Daniel knew that Jack suffered from nightmares, he had done and seen too many things as a soldier to not be affected by them. Plus Charlie's death was also a recurrent scene in his dreams. Daniel had held Jack on occasion when they shared a tent, waiting for the sobs and tremors to ease. Jack and the rest of his team had done the same for Daniel. Daniel couldn't begin to describe the feeling of safety he had when he saw his friends' faces on those occasions he woke up screaming or sobbing. There had been long lonely years when Daniel had had to deal with his nightmares alone. When Daniel had been with Shau're, the nightmares had begun to fade, but they had reared their ugly heads once again after she had been taken by Apophis.

Why was this particular recurring nightmare worse than any other that he'd experienced? So he'd killed someone. It wasn't the first time; he'd killed Jaffa and gods even. Even though their ghosts occasionally plagued him in dreams, it wasn't quite the same as this. He had done this deed in order to save Jack's life, he should be proud of himself for having had the courage to plunge the knife into the being's neck. So what if he had enjoyed the sensation. It warred with his senses, he could still feel the blood spurting hotly onto his hands, when…

Daniel's screams reverberated in the room as he struggled away from the dying alien. As Daniel fought to sit up, he felt a hand holding him tightly against a hard body, and his face rested along soft jersey. Gentle sounds registered in his ears, replacing the harsh echo of screams. As he gasped into the comforting warmth holding him steady, he realized that Jack was murmuring to him, calming him. He relaxed then, realizing that Jack was alive, that they weren't on the planet anymore. P33 something. He tried to force his brain into remembering where they had been, but the codes remained elusive.

He continued shaking and breathing harshly in Jack's arms, unable to stop himself. He heard other people enter the room, and for a moment he thought that it was Sam and Teal'c, but as the voices sounded, he realized it wasn't them. Something warm covered his body, and he realized belatedly that it must be a blanket. As the memory of the dream faded and reality began to creep in, Daniel remembered where he was. He pulled away from Jack, only to see Megan sitting beside him on the bed, and Hugh standing by her side. All three of them were watching him, Jack keeping a steadying hand on Daniel's arm.

He rubbed a shaky hand across his face, and mustered the words through a dry mouth.

"I'm sorry. I… uh… had a nightmare."

"No, really?" Jack quipped. He squeezed Daniel's arm gently, showing that he understood.

"I'm sorry I woke you." Daniel looked around quickly at Jack's parents, trying to gauge their reaction. He remembered foster parents who hadn't been happy to be woken out of sleep by a screaming child. He was used to his friends' support, but it had been a long while since he'd disturbed other people with his cries.

Megan reached out a hand, patting Daniel's hand comfortingly.

"Don't worry, dear," she said. "I'm used to this. Between Hugh, his brother and Jack, nightmares are part and parcel of the O'Neill clan." She smiled sweetly at Daniel as he looked up at Jack in confusion.

"Dad and uncle David were cops, Danny."

"Oh, I didn't know," Daniel said, looking at Hugh for confirmation.

Jack's dad looked at Daniel, and said, "We've all had to do and see things that we didn't like, Daniel. It comes with the job." Turning to Jack, Hugh continued, "Although it beats me as to what horrible deeds an anthropologist would experience, while working under a mountain studying deep space telemetry, to warrant these kinds of nightmares…"

Jack glared at his father, warning his father to drop the subject.

"Yes, I know, Jack. You can't talk about it…I thought you had dropped the undercover spy stuff."

Daniel, feeling tension mounting in the air, decided to try and dispel it. "Um, we'd gone to a third world country… the people weren't quite as friendly as I'd thought they'd be…"

"Daniel, that's enough," Jack ordered. Daniel ducked his head at Jack's tone, realizing that he probably shouldn't have said anything.

"Jack, he's not a child," Hugh said in a disgusted voice.

"No, he's not. But he knows better than to talk about a mission."

"What? Afraid that he'll tell me about the aliens who built the pyramids? Strange bedfellows you're keeping, son." Hugh said sarcastically.

Daniel ducked his head in embarrassment. Hugh had obviously checked up on Daniel. The ironic thing was that aliens *had* built the pyramids, but they weren't at liberty to confirm Daniel's hypotheses.

"What the hell…you were checking up on Daniel?" Jack roared.

"I was curious about who you were bringing home. You failed to mention that Daniel is also an archeologist. I ask again, what does an anthropologist and archeologist have to do with deep space telemetry? And what the hell is a stargate?"

Daniel blushed and couldn't meet Jack's eyes. He had obviously been yelling something about the 'gate in his sleep. He didn't remember doing so, but where else would Hugh have heard that term?

"Hugh, that's enough. Daniel and Jack are obviously good friends, and it shouldn't matter what they do at work." Meg was obviously trying to stem the mounting anger in the room, but Daniel thought that both men were too far gone to listen to her.

"The stargate is the term we used for our ride home, and as to what Daniel just went through, dad? He had to slice someone's neck open in order to save my life." Jack nodded his head once at his father. "Now you tell me if that's not a horrible enough deed to cause nightmares."

Hugh stared at Jack, before looking over at Daniel's bent head. "I'm sorry, son. Daniel. I didn't mean to…I did look up Daniel's credentials out of curiosity. I wondered who you held in such high esteem as to ask permission to bring home…"

"Dad, Daniel's part of my team. He's saved my life several times. The first time was right after Charlie died. I wouldn't be here….if he hadn't…made me see…that some things were worth fighting for."

Daniel realized that Jack was referring to more than their fight to save Earth from Ra. Jack hadn't wanted to live after his son died, and had gone on their first mission in the express hope of ending his own life. He looked up, saw father and son staring intently at one another. He felt like a third wheel, and fervently wished that he had taken that hotel room.

"Jack, you know how I hate not knowing…these past years have been hard…after Charlie… I'm just glad you had someone to help you through that time, when I wasn't there for you. My own pain blinded me for a while. Forgive me?"

Jack let go of Daniel's arm, which he had been holding onto the whole time he'd argued with his father. He grabbed his father in a rough hug, his father hugging back.

"Boys, I'll have coffee ready in a short bit if you want some. Hugh, you can come and help me." Megan got up briskly, motioning for her husband to precede her down to the kitchen. She turned back at the door and said kindly to Daniel, "Don't worry about Hugh. He just never liked being out of the loop. You know cops, always snooping."

"You okay," Jack asked as Daniel took a deep breath. Daniel nodded, and as he made his way to the door, he said, "You sure?"

"I'm fine, Jack," Daniel answered a little impatiently, flipping the blankets over the scattered pages of his translation lying beside him. Waiting till Jack wandered off to the bathroom to wash up, Daniel gathered his journal and translations, stuffing them in his bag, waiting for his turn at the bathroom. They made the bed and went downstairs for breakfast.

- - - - - -

As Daniel was sipping his third cup of coffee, Jack returned upstairs in order to shower and get dressed. As he was taking out clean clothes, he noticed a piece of paper lying on the floor. He picked it up, and swore when he saw Daniel's handwriting underneath a bunch of alien glyphs. He looked through Daniel's bag, saw more of the same, then spotted his journal. He flipped to the last entry, and noted the date. He realized then that Daniel had spent a good part of the night working. Grinding his teeth together in anger, he started to stomp out of the room, then stopped when he realized that getting angry wasn't the answer.

He had thought that Daniel had slept the night through until this morning's nightmare had woken him up. He had also hoped that Daniel trusted him enough to talk about this, but it seemed that Jack was going to have to force his friend to confess. Now wasn't the time, not in front of his parents. He'd drag Daniel upstairs later to rest, and try and coerce him to sleep, even if Jack had to sit on top of Daniel until he did.

As Daniel went upstairs to shower, Jack and Hugh went to the attic where Jack's belongings had been put aside. Several boxes had been piled together, and Jack, armed with garbage bags, grabbed one and began going down memory lane. Jack's father left him alone and went back down to join his wife.

- - - - - -

When Daniel limped downstairs, feeling slightly refreshed after a shower, he saw that Jack wasn't around. His ankle was still swollen and painful, and he figured having spent so much on his feet during the night hadn't helped it much. He poured himself another coffee, hoping that the caffeine would help alleviate his headache. After asking about Jack, he found the ladder to the attic, where Megan had told him Jack was to be found. His stomach didn't need another coffee, but Daniel needed the stimulant in order to remain functioning. He had only managed to swallow a few pieces of toast and egg, and even those few bites weren't settling well.

He saw Jack sitting on the dusty wooden floor with various boxes open before him. His back was to Daniel, and he appeared to be bent over something. As Daniel approached, he saw Jack place an object into one of the open boxes. Kneeling beside Jack, Daniel placed his coffee cup on the floor. He picked up a few items, curiously examining them, then putting them back down. As he did so, he disturbed some of the long-gathering dust, and sneezed.

He winced as he brought a hand to his side, trying to minimize the jarring to his healing wound. As he sniffed to clear his nose, Daniel saw a couple of plastic toy fighter jets sitting in a box, the type that young boys would piece together, gluing and painting the tiny parts. He had always wanted something like this as a child, but none of his foster parents had cared enough to buy him anything he showed interest in. There were at least a dozen jets and planes piled into one box, but a partially assembled one sat in another. As Daniel picked up the unfinished toy, he sneezed again and his hands clumsily fumbled with the toy. He made a grab for it and missed, and the plastic plane went crashing onto the cement floor. A small piece broke off, and Daniel picked it up. He looked at Jack apologetically, and was startled at the bleak look in Jack's eyes.

"I'm sorry, Jack. I I I…didn't mean to break this," Daniel stammered. "I'll fix it," he offered, holding up the small part with a strangely trembling hand. He looked around, trying to see if there might be glue anywhere close by. He began rummaging through boxes, and grabbed several articles in one, dumping them on the ground.

"What the hell are you doing?" Jack barked, impatiently picking up some of the objects that Daniel had carelessly dropped on the floor.

"Glue?" Daniel said in a small voice. He couldn't figure out why Jack was angry, and he sat back with the plane held against his chest.

"Why'd ya think there'd be glue in there," Jack growled. "Gimme that." As Jack reached for the plane that Daniel was holding, Daniel sneezed again, several times in succession. As he grabbed his side in pain, his foot accidentally knocked the coffee cup over.

"Damnit Daniel," Jack yelled as coffee spilt over everything. Jack picked up a dripping, soggy mess, and Daniel saw that it was a small, beige teddy bear. Daniel saw the rage in Jack's eyes, and sat frozen on the floor. Jack reverently wiped the toy on his sweater, trying to get the coffee off the wet fur. The coffee had stained the beige fur a darker colour.

Daniel still held the plane in his arms, and suddenly fixing it became the most important thing to him. Jack was angry and upset, but Daniel would repair the plane for him. It should be easy, he'd had to piece together thousands of pieces of broken shards of pottery in his work. Gluing a piece of plastic to a wing should be a simple feat. He examined the plane, and fiddling with the broken piece, tried to see where it fit. His hands were shaking so badly that he couldn't get the small piece aligned, and as he applied a bit too much pressure, the wing snapped off in his hands. As he sat there staring at Jack, his friend grabbed the plane and threw it against the wall. Small pieces flew everywhere, scattering all over the room.

As he stared at the broken piece of plastic wing in his hand, Daniel felt his breathing begin to increase as heat flushed throughout his body. His stomach contracted, and as he tried to get to his feet, sweat beginning to pour over his body. He raced for the ladder, limping and staggering, the room beginning to spin. He'd barely made it to the end of the room when his ankle gave out, and he dropped to his knees, his stomach expelling its contents.

He groaned in between spasms, his head and side pounding and throbbing in unison at each convulsion. He was on his hands and knees, trying to stay upright. His arms were shaking terribly, and he didn't dare bring a hand up to his side to try and ease the pain. He felt a pair of hands supporting him, and Daniel batted them away in fear. He had to find Jack. His friend was hurt, lying helplessly nearby. The creatures had attacked, injured them. Their teammates were late; there was nobody but Daniel to look out for them.

"J'ck," he mumbled, needing to find his friend. He felt himself being shifted, pulled off his knees. He found himself half lying, half supported against something. Against someone. He could hear sounds, murmurings in his ear. A hand brushed against his cheek, and he smelled coffee overlaying the odor of vomit.

He was trembling, unable to stop. Daniel tried to sit up, but the hands held him tightly. He didn't have the energy to try and escape, so he lay there quietly a moment, trying to gather his strength. He concentrated on the sounds, realizing that they were saying his name. He tried to open his eyes, then realized that they were already open. He managed to focus on the blur before him, and saw with relief Jack's face a few inches from his own.

- - - - - -

Jack had been shocked when he found a box of Charlie's possessions amongst his own. His parents must have kept some of Charlie's toys once he'd died. Maybe Sara had sent them on to them. He clearly remembered the little teddy bear that had been a gift from his parents. The model plane which Jack and Charlie had started assembling together, but had never finished. Puzzles, books, even a few toys from when he was a baby. A few articles of clothing.

When Daniel came down to find him, Jack had placed Charlie's things back in the box, trying to hide his emotions from Daniel. They were too close to the surface right now and he didn't want to get into a discussion about his dead son with his friend. When Daniel had broken Charlie's plane, Jack had been too irritated to realize that Daniel had been acting a little confused. It was the hurt in Daniel's eyes when Jack had finally lost it and pitched the plane against the wall in a fit of anger did he realize what he had done.

Jack hadn't realized that Daniel had been so close to crashing. He needed to get Daniel into bed now, no questions asked. His parents had heard the ruckus and had come up to see what was happening. They had been alarmed to see Daniel in the state he was in. His mom had rushed to call Eric, while Jack and his father had managed to get Daniel down to the bedroom.

He undressed an unresisting Daniel, seeing him in a stupor that was quite unusual for his friend. He sat there passively, trembling, allowing Jack to pull his sweater and pants off. While his father held Daniel steady, Jack glided Daniel's sweats up over his legs, then pulled his own thicker jersey down over Daniel's head. He pulled at Daniel, getting him into bed. Daniel curled up on his side away from Jack, his arms crossing over his chest.

Jack piled on several blankets, and then sat beside Daniel. He lay there with his eyes open, unseeing.

"Danny," Jack said quietly.

He felt Daniel start suddenly at his name, then turned slightly to look up at him.

"I killed him, Jack," he said pitifully.

"I know, Danny. But you had to do it. He was going to kill me." Jack ignored his parents, his mother having just come into the room.

"I know that," Daniel said exasperatedly, sounding like a small child. "But I enjoyed it, I wanted to do it," he said, almost crying.

"Daniel…" Jack started.

"I slit his throat, I felt his blood all over me, and I was glad he was dead. Jack, I was glad!" Daniel shouted. Jack glanced at his parents, and they realized that Jack needed to be alone with Daniel.

His mother said quietly, "Eric will be here soon." Jack nodded, turning his attention to Daniel. He'd just had a thought, and he hoped that he could convince Daniel of it, whether it was true or not.

Bending over Daniel, speaking softly so that his parents wouldn't hear his words on the stairs, he said, "Daniel, you and Sam thought that those aliens were telepathic, right?" Daniel nodded his head against the pillow, his eyes tightly squeezed shut.

"Well, maybe what you felt wasn't your emotions. Maybe it was the alien's."

Daniel's eyes flew open, and he looked at Jack intently.

"Maybe it was happy that it was going to be killing you and me, and somehow it broadcast those emotions, feelings, words...whatever. Because I know you, Daniel. I know that you don't enjoy killing. There might be a certain satisfaction in having saved a life by taking another, but not the pleasure that you're saying you felt. Even I don't take pleasure in killing."

Jack saw that Daniel was trying to process his words. What he had said made sense to Jack. It was possible, hell, so many weird things had happened to them that he never quite understood.

"Go to sleep, Danny," Jack coaxed. Daniel shook his head, but continued to look at Jack. Jack crossed over Daniel, sitting up against the headboard beside the younger man. Jack kept his hand on Daniel's shoulder, reminding him that he wasn't alone. He waited patiently for Eric to arrive. If Daniel wouldn't sleep, then surely Eric would give him a sedative?

They remained there quietly, one sitting, only lying down. Daniel's shivering shook the bed occasionally. Twenty minutes later, Jack heard the doorbell, and Eric appeared in the doorway a moment later.

He examined Daniel quickly, and while he took his temperature, asked Daniel if he could look at his wound. Daniel complied without a word, answering Eric's questions dully, sometimes the answers not even making sense.

"He's got a fever, I think his wound might be infected. If he's been vomiting, he might have missed out on some of his doses of antibiotics. He needs to sleep. Once he's rested, he'll be able to handle the nightmares better. I'm going to prescribe a stronger type, and give him something to make him sleep."

At his words, Daniel jerked, trying to get out of bed.

Jack reached over and caught him, easily holding on to his weakened friend.

"I don't want to sleep. Jack, please, don't make me…"

"Danny, listen. You were there with me on P33…" Jack's voice trailed when he realized that Eric was still in the room. "You were there for me, you saved my life, kept me safe. Now I'm going to do the same for you. I'll be here while you sleep, and when the nightmares come, I'll be the first thing you see. We'll get over this. You just have to sleep."

Daniel lay still, not saying a word.

"Please, Danny. Trust me to keep you safe."

Daniel nodded, but asked, "Don't give me something to make me sleep. Let me wake up from the dreams?"

Eric suggested the painkillers, they would make Daniel sleepy, but weren't strong enough to keep him under. After a bit of cajoling, they got Daniel to take the painkillers and some Tylenol, while Hugh went to the pharmacy to fill out Daniel's prescription. While they waited for the pill to take effect, Jack lay down beside Daniel, taking the shivering man in his arms, pillowing his head on his shoulder.

"I'm right here, I'll be right here beside you while you sleep, okay?" Daniel nodded. Jack watched as Daniel continued to fight against the call of his exhaustion, his eyelids drooping more fractionally each time they opened. When Hugh returned, they gave Daniel his first dose of antibiotics. By this time, the painkilller was making its effects felt, and Daniel's body began to relax against Jack. Slowly, his eyes closed, his breathing eased and slowed, and his shivering slowly faded.

Daniel slept.

FINIS!

 

Author's Comments:

Devra...once again...thanks...for all the encouragement, ideas, emails < G >

 

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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.