Fade To Black
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AUTHOR'S WEBSITE: http://brothersinarms.tvheaven.com
DISCLAIMER: The characters of Stargate SG-1 are the property of MGM and others. This fanfic was written for my own and others' enjoyment. No money has been paid and no copyright infringement is intended.
CATEGORY: Missing scene and epilogue to 'The Light.'
RATING: PG for some minor language.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This story was written for a friend, Becky Anne as a thank you for taking pity on a Stargate-starved Aussie. Thanks, Becky, your generosity won't be forgotten, and I have 'passed it forward' as you requested.
Many thanks to Annie, as always, for the beta, and to everyone who supplied the pesky planet designation.
Daniel Jackson had always been single-minded in his pursuit of knowledge of new worlds, probably more so since Sha'ure had been captured by the Gou'ald. Each new destination they traveled through the Stargate renewed Daniel's hope, and the rest of the team's as well, that they'd find something that might help them in erasing the Gou'ald from the galaxy. Daniel Jackson was also the moral voice of the team, their voice of reason, Jack liked to think, but the man he'd seen in Hammond's office the night before displayed none of those qualities.
Hell-bent on returning to the planet he'd been researching with SG-5, Daniel showed no compassion for the young airman who'd apparently suicided earlier that day. Nor had he displayed any respect or concern for the quandary their commanding officer now found himself in - having to explain to grieving parents that their son was dead, and not able to tell them why or how.
Even more disconcerting though was Daniel's behavior this morning. Finally receiving the go ahead he'd so strenuously sought, Daniel had not returned to the base. The archeologist's exhaustion had been evident on his return from P4X347. His face was pale, reddened eyes and dark shadows were almost, but not quite obscured behind his wire-rimmed glasses, and his clothes looked and smelled like he'd been sleeping in them for a week. Jack hoped Daniel had simply fallen asleep and slept through his alarm and the numerous phone calls Carter had made to his apartment. It seemed that whatever the hell had been so damn urgent about the planet, suddenly wasn't.
Offering to go wake up their errant linguist, mentally promising himself that Daniel would be offering Hammond a sincere apology before he went back through the gate, Jack had arrived to find Daniel's front door ajar and his phone off the hook. Tension curled in his gut, his finely honed military reactions coming to the fore, though nothing yet looked out of place. The apartment was as neat and tidy as it always was. Daniel's predilection for clutter did not extend to his home. Jack made a quick recon of the other rooms in the apartment, calling Daniel's name as he went.
Movement on the balcony outside caught his eye and he swiftly crossed the floor, only to stop abruptly at the balcony doorway.
Daniel stood on the outer edge of the balcony, his arms looped around the balustrade behind him, his head and chest bent forward as though he was about to jump. Stunned for a moment to silence, Jack decided not to approach immediately for fear of startling the obviously disoriented young man. After rambling incoherently, refuting all of Jack's admittedly lame replies, Daniel had snapped out of his confusion. Jack crossed to his friend's side with two quick steps. With one arm wrapped around Daniel's shoulders in a gesture of mutual reassurance as well as a safeguard against Daniel falling or jumping, Jack could feel the tremors that assailed Daniel's body. He seemed thinner too, his collarbones stood out and Jack could feel the bony protrusions of his vertebrae beneath his shirt.
As tense as Daniel's body had been a moment ago, it now became a boneless weight that Jack had to drag back over the railing. Propping the limp archeologist against his side, Jack managed to manhandle him back into the living room.
"You're heavier than you look, Daniel," Jack puffed as he settled his friend on the couch. "You're really giving these old knees of mine a work-out." He paused a moment to catch his breath and settle his racing heart. Adrenaline still pumped through his veins from the thought that he might have been a few minutes too late.
Daniel listed to the side, his head flopping onto the sofa cushions, his eyes closing. Standing, Jack watched him a moment longer then hurried into the bedroom for a jacket and shoes.
"Crap!" Jack stared at the slumped figure on the couch from the doorway of Daniel's bedroom, the archeologist's sneakers dangling from one hand.
He hadn't seen this coming.
Jack shook himself from his worrying thoughts and rushed back to Daniel's side. He touched the other man on the shoulder. "You want to sit up and put your shoes on?"
Daniel shrugged apathetically but made no move to take his sneakers. Sighing, Jack knelt down and slipped first socks, then shoes onto Daniel's icy feet.
"Okay, you're set." Getting a hand under Daniel's arm, Jack levered him into a sitting position. Daniel obliged with the maneuver, then folded in on himself, cradling his head in his hands. "Come on, buddy. Let's get you back to base."
Daniel's eyes opened at that, and he looked up, a small spark of interest flaring. "Back to the planet?"
Jack shrugged noncommittally. "Let's see what Doc Frasier has to say about that."
"I have to go back," Daniel said. The words sparked a vague memory, but Daniel's tone was flat and Jack shelved the thought for later, deciding action was needed sooner rather than later. Daniel needed medical help, that much was obvious and Jack was not equipped in the slightest to give it. He pulled Daniel to his feet, steadying the shaking body against his own. Draping a jacket about Daniel's shoulders, he walked them out to the elevator. Daniel said nothing on the ride down, just seemed to hunch further into himself. Jack bided his time, racking his brains, trying to figure out what the hell was going on.
There was a moment when Daniel stiffened when Jack helped him into the car and the colonel wondered briefly if the archeologist was going to put up a fight. As quickly as it happened though, Daniel relaxed and folded his lanky body into the passenger seat. Jack hurried around to the driver's side and started the engine, giving Daniel a sideways glance. The other man slumped against the window, his eyes flitting from the view out the front window to Jack and back again.
Jack restrained himself from planting his foot on the accelerator. Getting picked up for speeding now would only delay their arrival back at the mountain. They were over halfway there when Daniel sat up straighter in his seat, his breath beginning to come in labored gasps. Jack studied him for a moment. Daniel's face was white and sheened with sweat. His hands were fisting convulsively in the material of his pants. "Daniel? You okay?"
Daniel gave him a pleading look. "I have to get out," he whispered.
"We'll be there any minute. Just hang in there." Jack reached across and gave Daniel's nearest leg a comforting pat, but the archeologist was shaking his head vehemently.
"You don't understand," he gasped. "I can't "
Jack checked his rear view mirror and looked for a place to pull over. Daniel looked like he was about to have a massive panic attack and there was no way Jack was risking an accident this close to help. "Okay, okay. Just hang on a minute."
Jack slowed the car and pulled onto the shoulder of the road. Before he could react, Daniel had unclicked his seatbelt, lifted the door latch and jumped from the still moving vehicle.
"Shit!" Jack exclaimed. He slammed on the brakes, not noticing whether anyone behind him realized what he was doing. Leaving the engine running, he climbed out and raced around to the other side of the car.
Daniel was on his hands and knees, scrabbling to get away from the car, a large bump already coming up high on his forehead, presumably from where he'd hit the ground. Jack groaned. He really didn't need to take back a dazed archeologist with concussion as well as God knew what else was happening in that confused brain.
Hurrying to Daniel's side, Jack grabbed an arm and halted the frantic movements. "Daniel? Easy. Let me take a look at you."
Daniel struggled to escape his grasp and Jack cursed, then sat down and dragged the distraught man against him. He wrapped his free arm around Daniel's shaking shoulders and rocked him rhythmically. After a few moments, the action seemed to calm Daniel, and he collapsed onto Jack's chest, his head still shaking.
"Have to go back," he whispered again. "It's all gone."
Jack stroked a hand over Daniel's sweaty forehead. "It's okay. We'll fix everything."
It was several minutes more before Jack could get Daniel up and into the car. He paused a moment, wondering if he should phone Frasier and tell her to send an ambulance, but then Daniel suddenly canted to one side, limp and unresponsive to Jack's calls.
Feeling panic beginning to overwhelm him as well now, Jack scrambled into the driver's seat and lifted Daniel's head, resting it on his lap. Gunning the engine, not caring now about speeding, he headed for the mountain as fast as he could.
A brief word to the airman on duty at the gate had the doctor and a gurney waiting at the entrance to Cheyenne Mountain. Jack helped the orderly lift Daniel's inert body and settle it onto the bed, then hurried to keep up as the stretcher was wheeled at a rapid pace into the complex, attempting to answer Janet's rapid-fire questions while his eyes stayed locked on Daniel's unmoving form.
Three weeks in a palace by the sea. Should have been pretty doable, Jack thought, except it wasn't. They'd only been here three days and he was bored out of his skull already. Carter seemed to be having a fine time of it, examining the powered down light device in minute detail. Loren appeared to have developed a crush on her, following her around like a love-struck puppy, which the major was tolerating with amusement and not a little smug satisfaction, Jack thought. Daniel had sat Loren down for an in-depth chat about his home planet, and had spent the last day, prowling the palace, looking for artifacts and clues about the Gou'ald who'd built the place, Jack supposed. Jack sat and watched them, offered to help both at various times and had just gotten in the way. He'd read the one book Hammond had thought to send and now lay on his fold-up bed, watching the others sleep.
Jack sat up. At least Carter and Loren were sleeping. Daniel's bed was rumpled, but there was no sign of the archeologist. Probably just taking a leak, Jack decided, but a frisson of concern stirred his gut. Since watching Daniel arrest just as they were about to go through the stargate back to the planet, then having to resuscitate him, Jack had found himself keeping a closer than usual eye on his friend.
He realized he must have drifted off to sleep briefly and missed Daniel getting up. Tamping down his worry, Jack stood and wandered out into the vast hallway of the palace. He had no idea why, but he headed straight for the Light Room.
Sure enough, Daniel was there, his eyes staring somewhat vacantly at the device, one hand wrapped around his stomach, his body hunched over as though he was in pain.
"Daniel?" Jack rested a hand on his shoulder, feeling the minute tremors that racked the other man's body. "You okay?"
Daniel shook his head, then looked at Jack, his eyes suddenly tearing up; lines of pain creasing his brow.
"Turn it on, Jack, please."
Jack recoiled at the request. "Are you nuts, Daniel? What the hell are you talking about?"
Daniel sank to his knees, and Jack went with him, pulling the other man to him, into a gentle embrace. "You don't want me to do that," Jack said, his voice rough with impatience and lack of sleep.
"It hurts too much. I can't do it again."
It all came crashing back then. Daniel had been subjected to the Light for as long as SG-5, the addiction taking him to the point of death, and suddenly Daniel's heartfelt plea, "I have to go back," fired Jack's memory. Jesus, how could he have forgotten? The sarcophagus, Daniel aiming a gun at him, the despair on his face as he'd finally crumpled into Jack's arms.
"Fuck!" Jack collapsed onto his butt and pulled Daniel closer, wrapping his arms more tightly about him, burying his face in Daniel's sweat-dampened hair. He began to rock again, as he had beside the car a few days before, as he remembered doing in the storeroom two years ago. "Yes, you can," he whispered. "I'll help you. We'll help you."
He felt Daniel's head nod against his chest as hot tears soaked his shirt. Three weeks in a palace by the sea. He could do that. If it meant getting Daniel through this, he could do it forever.
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