A Helping Hand by BeeBee
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Category: General
Genres: Hurt/Comfort, Missing Scene/Episode-Related
Rated: All Ages
Warnings: None
Series: None
Summary: After the events of Lockdown Jack has to come to terms with what he has done to Daniel.

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Once Anubis had gone through the wormhole the Base returned to normal operation. It took a while; the three sections had been running independently and some reorganisation was needed in order to bring things back to normal. General O'Neill, as Base Commander, had responsibility for overseeing the work and it kept him busy for a good few hours.

Once everything was back to normal Jack O'Neill breathed a sigh of relief. He contacted the President with the news that the SGC was officially up and running again and then he left his office, hoping to find SG1 and spend some well-earned down time with his friends. They had been assigned to different sections during the lockdown and it would be nice to relax over a beer with them.

After locating Sam and Teal'c Jack went in search of Daniel. He wanted to check how his arm was. He felt bad about shooting his best friend, even if Anubis was controlling that friend at the time. As he searched the SGC for the missing archaeologist Jack tried to come up with a way he could make it up to Daniel for the bullet wound in his arm.

When the commissary and Daniel's office didn't yield anything Jack headed for the infirmary. 'Maybe he's getting his arm checked out' Jack thought as he pushed open the doors to the infirmary, letting his eyes roam the room, looking for his friend.

"General O'Neill, what can I do for you?" Dr Brightman appeared at his side.

Jack jumped; he couldn't get used to not seeing Janet Fraiser when he came into the infirmary. Dr Brightman seemed a nice enough young woman and good at her job but she just wasn't Janet. The pain of her loss was still fresh in Jack's mind.

"Looking for Dr Jackson, is he here?" Jack asked, his eyes still failing to locate the missing man.

"He was here a moment ago," Dr Brightman confirmed. "He wanted a letter that Colonel Vaselov had asked him to send to his sister in Russia if....when anything happened......." Dr Brightman's voice trailed off. It was hard losing a patient, knowing there was nothing you could do to help.

"So, where did he go?"

Dr Brightman pulled herself together and shook her head. "I'm sorry General I have no idea," she said gathering her files together.

Jack turned on his heels and headed back towards Daniel's office. Where the hell was he, he was wounded; he shouldn't be roaming around the SGC? Jack decided that, when he found Daniel, he was going to insist on him coming him with him, having a good meal and a nice long sleep in the spare room, no arguments. Jack smiled to himself as he imagined Daniel's reaction to Jack's plans for him. He turned a corner and his smile faded as he found his missing person, leaning up against a wall, cradling his injured arm and looking decidedly pale.

"Daniel?" Jack approached, taking in the pallor and the pain lines evident on Daniel's face.

Daniel pushed himself upright with effort.

"Jack?"

"What ya doing?"

"Just resting." As soon as he had said it Daniel knew he was in trouble. There was no way Jack was going to let this drop.

"Is your arm hurting?" Jack asked anxiously.

"Why?"

"Because you're holding it, because you're obviously in pain and because you look as if you going to either puke or fall down......or both."

"Oh."

"Come on." Jack gently grabbed Daniel's good arm.

"Where are we going?" Daniel asked as Jack guided him down the corridor.

"Infirmary."

"I'm fine," Daniel insisted stopping in his tracks and refusing to go any further.

"Daniel, I want Dr Brightman to look at you, when she tells me you're fine then I'll believe it, until then you look like crap and you're going to have a full examination."

Daniel sighed. He knew it was useless to argue with Jack, he corrected himself, with General Jack O'Neill, commander of this facility and the only man who could make Dr Daniel Jackson do something he didn't want to.

He allowed himself to be led along the corridor and into the infirmary, wincing as Jack bellowed for Dr Brightman.

Dr Brightman refused to allow Jack to remain in the room while she examined Daniel. General or not, she was in charge of the infirmary and her word was law. Jack left grumbling about one napoleonic powermonger being replaced by another, and hung around in the corridor outside. Once the doctor had given Daniel the once over he was going to take him home and try to make amends for being the cause of his pain.

Jack was whistling tunelessly and beating out a tune on a fire extinguisher when Dr Brightman interrupted him.

"General."

"Doctor?" Jack looked around. "Where is Dr Jackson?" Jack had a sinking feeling in his stomach. This didn't look good he decided as he saw Dr Brightman's expression.

"I'm keeping Daniel in the infirmary. I've arranged for some tests and for a vascular surgeon to be flown in."

Jack O'Neill felt sick.

Dr Brightman continued, unaware of the effect she was having on the Base Commander.

"Daniel has very poor circulation in his arm and hand. I'm concerned that the artery we repaired is blocked in some way."

"But he's going to be okay?" Jack hoped and prayed.

"We need to remove the blockage and restore circulation otherwise Dr Jackson could lose his arm."

That was enough, Jack felt the blood drain from his body, his head started to spin and it was only the fast action of Dr Brightman, pushing him down onto a nearby chair and holding his head between his knees, that stopped him passing out right in front of her.

"I'm sorry General, I know this must be a shock for you." Her voice came to Jack as if from a long way away. He willed his stomach to settle and, taking a deep breath, he pushed himself upright and found himself looking straight into Dr Brightman's worried brown eyes.

She continued to talk to him. "If there is a clot in Dr Jackson's artery then there is the added complication that it could move and cause damage elsewhere," she explained. "We've started him on some anticoagulant medication to try to dissolve it."

Jack swallowed, trying to get some moisture back into his mouth. "Send for whoever you need, I'll authorise it," Jack confirmed.

"We're already on it General; would you like to see Dr Jackson now?"

Jack nodded and stood up slowly, unsure whether his legs would hold him. Dr Brightman smiled sympathetically and took his elbow, guiding him to Daniel's bedside. Once Jack was safely seated she took her leave.

"You look awful," Daniel said noticing Jack's pale face. "Perhaps you should lie down."

"Thanks." Jack scowled at Daniel. "Perhaps you'd like to move over and let me share."

Daniel raised an eyebrow. "On the other hand, perhaps you don't look too bad," he decided, clutching the blanket in case Jack decided to share after all.

"How's the arm?" Jack asked.

"Okay, Dr Brightman hooked me up to some of her happy juice," Daniel said indicating the IV stuck in the back of his hand.

"Look Daniel........" Jack didn't know how to begin to apologise.

Daniel interrupted. "Jack you've already apologised for shooting me, it's not your fault that there's a problem."

"If I hadn't shot you........."

"I would have killed someone; you perhaps," Daniel pointed out.

"Even so I feel responsible."

"Jack you're the Base Commander, you're responsible for everything that goes on in the SGC but you don't have to take it personally."

"Yeah, well I'm beginning to think this promotion wasn't such a good idea." Jack smiled weakly.

"Well it's not every day I get to take a pot shot at an Air Force General," Daniel murmured, his eyelids starting to droop.

Dr Brightman appeared at Jack's side and the two of them watched as Daniel lost his battle against the effects of the medication and drifted off to sleep.

"The scan shows no clot but there is some narrowing of the artery, possibly scar tissue from the original injury," Dr Brightman whispered. "The surgeon's on his way, he should be here in a couple of hours."

Jack nodded, never taking his eyes off his sleeping friend. Dr Brightman knew from the infirmary gossip how close these two men were. She handed the General a spare pillow and he gratefully placed it on the hard infirmary chair as he prepared to wait with Daniel.

Everything seemed to happen so quickly; before Jack had time to assimilate all the information the surgeon had arrived, looked at Daniel's file and ordered him into surgery. Jack was left sitting at the side of an empty bed, wondering how things had come to this. One minute he was worrying about what sort of potatoes to order and the next he had shot his best friend and now that same friend was in surgery yet again with complications. Jack sighed and scrubbed his fingers through his grey hair. 'Hell Daniel no one but you could bring me to this,' he muttered to himself.

"General?" A passing nurse paused, wondering if he wanted something.

Jack made a decision. "Tell Dr Brightman I'll be in my office when there's any news." He got to his feet and stretched out his aching back muscles. 'Might as well be working as worrying in here,' he thought as he headed in the direction of his office.

Piles of paperwork passed through General O'Neill's hands over the next couple of hours but he would have been hard put to tell anyone what he had actually approved or signed off. His mind was totally focussed on what was happening in the operating room. Sam and Teal'c had popped in and expressed their concern before going back to their work, trying to keep their hands and minds occupied until Dr Brightman called.

Just as Jack was despairing of ever hearing anything from the Base Medical Officer the telephone rang. He snatched up the receiver.

"O'Neill!"

"General, just to let you know that Dr Jackson is out of surgery, the operation went well................." Dr Brightman got no further.

"On my way," Jack O'Neill dropped the phone and dashed out of his office.

"I'll be in the infirmary if anyone wants me," he informed the amazed desk sergeant as he whizzed past him.

"Doctor?" Jack forced himself to keep calm as he entered Dr Brightman's office.

"Sit down sir, please." Dr Brightman indicated a chair and Jack sank gratefully into it.

Dr Brightman looked sympathetically at the man sitting across from her. She pulled Daniel's file towards her and flicked it open.

"Dr Jackson's artery was almost completely blocked. Dr Kohut inserted a balloon to force the artery open. Circulation has been restored in Dr Jackson's hand and arm, but........"

There just had to be a but, Jack thought as his heart started thumping.

"Dr Kohut also found some nerve damage," Dr Brightman continued. "He has repaired this but only time will tell if Daniel will regain full use of his hand and arm."

Jack felt the room tilt, bile filled his throat and he swallowed convulsively. He forced himself to keep his eyes focussed on the face opposite.

"Daniel's hand and arm are paralysed and I'm responsible?" Jack stated.

Dr Brightman shook her head. "The injury to the nerves may well be temporary but nerves take a much longer time to regenerate, than other types of tissue. It will be a while before we will know for sure how much permanent damage has been done."

She paused, allowing the news to sink in. She knew that General O'Neill had himself totally responsible for Daniel's injury.

"With therapy and time, Dr Kohut is hopeful that Daniel will regain 75% of the function of the limb.

Jack pulled himself together and stood up. "Can I see him?"

"Certainly General, but he is still very groggy from the anaesthetic."

Jack took his familiar seat at Daniel's bedside and surveyed his friend. Daniel was asleep; whatever was flowing through the IV was obviously doing its job. Daniel looked peaceful, he was pale but the pain lines Jack had noticed earlier were gone. Daniel's left arm was bandaged and resting on a pillow. Jack looked at the long slender fingers and, as he watched them, they blurred and Jack found himself blinking away hot tears. He reached over and took Daniel's 'good' hand in his. He didn't care who saw him as he stroked it gently. He couldn't believe that Daniel wouldn't be able to use his left hand again. Visions of Daniel gesticulating to make a point in a briefing, of him flicking through a book, looking for a reference, of him moving a chess piece. He needed two hands and if he didn't have them then there was no one to blame but himself. General Jack O'Neill, the man who had shot his own best friend. This time the tears came faster and he couldn't hide them. He ducked his head, hoping that no one would see, and allowed them to fall. Crying for what he had done, for the pain he had caused his friend and for the problems that same friend was going to have to face because of him.

"Jack?" Daniel's voice, little more than a whisper, pulled Jack back to the present. He raised his tear stained face as Daniel's blue eyes fluttered for a moment before sliding shut once more.

"I'm here Dannyboy," Jack promised.

Once Daniel had recovered from the effects of the anaesthetic Dr Brightman had no reason to keep him in the infirmary. There was nothing more medically that could be done for his arm, other than changing the dressings and arranging some physiotherapy sessions for him.

Daniel had argued that he was quite well able to manage on his own, stubborn to the last, but Jack had insisted that he move him with him for a couple of weeks at least.

"Jack I'm going to have to manage on my own sometime," Daniel pointed out when Jack issued his invitation.

"And how do you propose to get to work?"

"Okay, that could be a problem," Daniel admitted, realising that he wouldn't be able to drive.

"There are no problems Daniel, you move in with me until you've learned a few coping strategies," Jack said quoting Dr Brightman.

Daniel raised his eyebrows at Jack's words but decided not to comment.

"So you'll come?" Jack wasn't sure exactly where their conversation had led.

Daniel nodded. "Just for a week or so."

Jack smiled. Once he had Dr Daniel Jackson in his home he had no intention of letting him leave. He owed it to his friend to do all he could to help him cope with his disability.

Dr Brightman watched Daniel leave the infirmary in the care of General O'Neill. Jack had insisted on carrying Daniel's holdall. He had been to Daniel's house earlier that day and filled a bag with everything he thought Daniel would need for the first few days. Later, when he had convinced Daniel to stay, he would go and get more stuff.

He led Daniel to his car and held the door open for him. Daniel scowled, "I'm not helpless," he growled, needing to set the boundaries of what he considered necessary help and what bordered on mother hen mode.

'One grumpy archaeologist, and its nothing more than I deserve', Jack O'Neill thought as he shut the car door on his new housemate.

Jack allowed Daniel to struggle with the seat belt for a few seconds before reaching over and pulling it across Daniel's chest. He clicked it into place and risked a glance at his passenger.

"Thanks," Daniel murmured, avoiding making eye contact with Jack. He felt a little emotional at the moment. He was worried about how he would cope with only one arm but he didn't want Jack to feel guilty about what had happened. He took a deep breath; he needed to keep calm, everything would be okay if he could just keep calm and learn to manage. There was no reason for Jack to suffer along with him about this, he decided firmly.

Jack tried but it was hard to watch Daniel struggle. It was a fine line between leaving Daniel to manage alone or stepping in and helping.

Daniel tried but it was hard to keep his frustration in check. He wanted to scream at Jack to leave him alone but he knew he couldn't manage alone and he found himself gritting his teeth as he allowed Jack to fasten his shoelaces for him.

Gradually both men got used to their new routines. Daniel became adept at fastening his shirt one-handed, at putting toothpaste on his toothbrush and making a pot of coffee. Everything took longer and he felt clumsy but he was coping and although he still had no sensation or movement in his arm or hand he began to feel more positive about the situation.

One evening a few months later Sam suggested that Jack and Daniel join her and Teal'c at O'Malley's. She had just finished some work on the Gate diagnostics, allowing the dialling process to be reduced by up to a third if necessary, and was very pleased with herself and ready to celebrate.

Jack and Daniel had been happy to join the group. It seemed ages since the four friends had spent an evening together and they were all happy to sit, with a drink, listening to Sam's excited explanation of the new system. Jack, clutching his beer, tried very hard not to yawn, Teal'c was sipping a mineral water, nodding in all the right places and occasionally adding an 'Indeed'. Only Daniel was giving Sam his full attention, totally in tune with his team-mate, asking intelligent questions and listening intently to her answers.

'How does he do that?' Jack thought as his eyes glazed over during another of Sam's long explanations. Luckily the waitress arrived with their order and the juicy steaks that were placed in front of them distracted Sam.

None of the others noticed that Daniel wasn't eating. He looked at his plate, then at the knife and fork and then at the other members of the group.

"Umm, bit of a problem here guys," he said, stopping them mid mouthful.

Sam flushed with embarrassment, how could they have all forgotten that Daniel wouldn't be able to cut up a steak.

"Daniel I'm sorry, we should have gone for pasta," she stuttered.

Jack's heart was pounding but he managed to keep his voice steady.

"Pass it over, I'll do the honours," he said reaching for Daniel's plate. He forced himself to look directly at Daniel, trying to gauge his friend's reaction. Daniel's piercing blue eyes were dry but Jack wasn't fooled. He knew that Daniel would be upset but maybe if he made no big deal of it, then Daniel would be able to ride out his anger and frustration.

Sam tried valiantly to make small talk while Jack carefully cut up Daniel's steak and handed the plate back to his friend.

"Thanks," Daniel murmured, reaching for his fork and spearing a piece of meat. He looked around the table.

"Well don't let it get cold," he instructed before filling his mouth. Everyone around the table breathed a sigh of relief and started eating as well.

Once they were back home Daniel headed into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee while Jack, still waiting for Daniel to blow, reached for the TV remote and surfed the channels.

Daniel managed to fill the pot with water and to get the cups out of the cupboard. He reached for the coffee canister and, securing it under his arm, he managed to prise the top off. When he realised it was empty he sighed and reached into the cupboard for a new tin. Using the same strategy he opened the top and met the sealed inner lid. He found a knife in the drawer and tried to pierce the top but he wasn't holding the tin firmly enough and, as he dug the knife into the foil lid, the tin slipped, the knife slipped, coffee spilled over the work surface and onto the floor and the knife slashed into Daniel's hand.

Jack heard the commotion and the sharp cry from Daniel as the knife slashed the palm of his hand. He jumped up and dashed into the kitchen. Coffee was scattered all around but more worrying was the blood dripping from Daniel's hand as he tried to hold it under his armpit in an attempt to staunch the flow.

"Let me see," Jack ordered, pulling Daniel's hand free. He pulled Daniel towards the sink and rinsed the wound with clear water before wrapping a clean teacloth around the hand and applying the pressure that Daniel was unable to.

It was the final straw; Daniel pulled away from Jack and kicked out at the coffee tin on the floor sending it spinning.

"Hey," Jack tried to pull Daniel back towards him, wanting to keep some pressure on the wound to ease the flow of blood, but Daniel was in a rage. Without a hand to thump with he had to be content with his feet; he kicked a stool over and then lashed out at the back door. Unfortunately this wasn't as accommodating as the stool and Daniel yelped in pain as his foot impacted the hard wood of the doorframe.

"Come here."

Jack pulled Daniel towards him and held him until his temper was spent. As Daniel's breathing returned to normal and he relaxed into Jack's hold the General helped his friend towards the couch.

"Now sit still and let me have a look," Jack pulled Daniel's injured hand towards him and gently removed the makeshift dressing.

"Looks like you need a few stitches in that," Jack said replacing the blood sodden teacloth with a bandage from the first aid kit. He lifted Daniel's arm so that the injured hand was raised on his shoulder and then fastened a sling around it.

"There, should be okay until we get to the infirmary," he said admiring his handiwork.

As the patient remained silent Jack concentrated on checking Daniel's foot. It was already swelling when Jack removed the shoe and he raised the foot on a cushion and found an ice pack in the fridge, which he placed over the swollen area. A sharp intake of breath was Daniel's only comment as Jack continued to administer first aid.

"Stay put until I get the car out," Jack ordered as he picked up his keys and headed to the front door.

Daniel had no option. His foot was throbbing in time with his hand and he had never felt more stupid in his life.

He waited patiently for Jack to come back and help him into the car. It was slow progress. Thanks to his clumsiness with the coffee tin Daniel now had two useless hands and a bad foot. He was white and sweating before Jack had him strapped in the car and they headed off to the SGC.

Dr Brightman made no comment as she stitched Daniel's hand and dressed it. She ordered an x-ray of his foot and, when this came back clear, she wound a support bandage around his foot, handed Daniel some Tylenol and turned to write on his chart.

"So can I go now?" Daniel broke the silence.

Dr Brightman continued to write on his chart for a few seconds before turning and meeting Daniel's angry blue eyes.

"Can I trust you not to do anymore damage to yourself Dr. Jackson?" she enquired.

Daniel dropped his head. His anger was spent now and he was feeling a little foolish. A few moments loss of control meant he was now in an even worse state. He wasn't able to use either hand and he doubted he was going to be able to walk for a couple of days either.

"Well?" Dr Brightman was determined to have her pound of flesh.

"Yes," Daniel murmured.

When no further comments were forthcoming Dr Brightman pushed open the infirmary door and called for General O'Neill. She knew he would be hovering nearby and she was right.

"Can he go doc?" Jack peered over her shoulder to where Daniel was sitting slumped on the side of a gurney.

"He can General but I want him back here in two weeks time for the stitches removing.

"Will do," Jack confirmed.

"In the meantime Dr Jackson is to rest. I don't want him walking on that foot for at least a week and I have warned him that he needs to take it easy with his hand as well, I don't' want to have to re-stitch, understood?"

Jack nodded, noting that Daniel was studiously ignoring both him and the doctor.

Dr Brightman closed Daniel's file with a flourish and, nodding at the General she left the two men alone.

"Okay, so I'm guessing we need a wheelchair here?" Jack said looking at Daniel's bandaged foot.

When Daniel didn't answer, Jack hailed a passing nurse and, once she had returned with a wheelchair, he pushed it to the side of the gurney.

"Are you getting in or do you want to stay here?" he said as Daniel continued to gaze at the floor.

Daniel sighed; he allowed Jack to help up off the gurney and hopped around until he was able to drop into the chair. Jack grabbed the bag of pills and dropped them on Daniel's lap and then released the brakes and pushed his patient towards the elevator.

Neither Jack nor Daniel spoke on the journey home. Once they were back in the house and Daniel was settled on the couch with his foot resting on a cushion Jack set about clearing up the mess they had left.

"I should be doing that," Daniel finally commented as he watched Jack sweeping the coffee grounds up.

"And how do you propose to do it?" Jack asked, pausing in his work to look across at his friend.

Daniel shook his head and his eyes filled with tears. He sniffed and tried to brush them away with his bandaged hand. Jack propped the broom up against a cupboard and joined Daniel on the couch.

"Feeling a bit of an idiot?" he asked casually as Daniel regained his composure.

"Something like that," Daniel admitted. He sniffed again and looked down at his hands. The left one, flaccid and useless and the right heavily bandaged. "How the hell am I going to manage now?" he asked.

"Well seeing as you are going to be resting on this couch for the next few days it won't be too bad," Jack considered. "You can lie back and relax and I'll pop grapes into your mouth."

Daniel snorted. It was hardly a laughing matter but what else could he do. He had made a prize idiot of himself over opening a can of coffee and look where it had got him.

"Make sure they're seedless," he said smiling across at Jack.

Jack ruffled Daniel's hair. "We'll manage Dannyboy," he promised.

"So you've coped?" Dr Brightman said as she removed the stitches from Daniel's hand and reached for a clean dressing for the healing wound.

"Yes, I've coped." Daniel decided she didn't need to know how embarrassing it had been for him to have Jack dress and undress him, help him shower and, on occasions, feed him.

"You can start using the hand again but nothing too strenuous there's still plenty of healing needed before it's back to normal," Dr Brightman said as she finished re-dressing his hand.

"Thanks." Daniel flexed his hand.

"How's your left hand have you noticed any return to sensation at all?" the doctor asked casually.

"No."

Daniel was beginning to think the nerves were never going to regenerate. Everyone had told him it would take time but it was seven months since the accident and there was no change at all.

Dr Brightman reached for the hand and raised it. She removed the splint Daniel wore to prevent contracture of the muscles and gently massaged the paralysed limb.

"Is physiotherapy helping at all?" she said.

"Does it look like it," Daniel snapped. He hated anyone looking at his hand. He tried to keep it in his pocket or under the desk if anyone was around. Actually, he considered, he didn't even like to look at it himself. Apart from some shoulder movement the limb dangled uselessly and got in his way. He had wondered about asking whether it could be amputated at least then he wouldn't have it hanging there all the time reminding him of what he couldn't do anymore.

Dr Brightman replaced the splint and carefully laid the hand on Daniel's knee. She sighed sadly and patted Daniel's shoulder. She had no words of comfort to offer.

"So no more bath nights together?" Jack teased when Daniel told him the dressing could come off when he showered.

"Certainly not I think you were starting to enjoy them more than is natural," Daniel said, his smile belying his stern voice.

"Pity, I'll miss your cute little butt," Jack said shaking his head and laughing aloud as Daniel blushed.

A few weeks later Daniel's hand had fully healed and his foot was no longer painful. He was, Dr Brightman had informed him, back to normal. They had both looked at one another. 'Normal' wasn't quite the right word under the circumstances but neither of them commented further.

Daniel had tried to raise the subject of moving back to live on his own but Jack had refused to discuss it. Truth be told Daniel didn't really want to leave, he liked living with Jack. Okay they had their disagreements from time to time but on the whole they rubbed along quite well together.

One evening, some weeks later, Jack was watching TV while Daniel sat at the table with his laptop checking some translations.

"Daniel leave that and come and watch TV. There's a good film starting in a few minutes," Jack called over his shoulder.

"Okay just finished anyway," Daniel said closing the documents and dropping the screen of the laptop. He bent down to unplug the machine and his useless hand slipped off his lap and slapped hard into the table leg.

"Ow!" Daniel exclaimed as pain shot up his arm. He paused, hardly daring to breathe.

"What's wrong?" Jack called, never taking his eyes off the TV screen. Daniel didn't trust himself to speak. He lifted his hand onto the table and picked up a sharp pencil. Taking a deep breath he jabbed the point of the pencil into the back of his hand.

"Jack."

"Yeah," on not getting a response to his last question Jack had come over to the table, standing just behind Daniel.

"I think I can feel something," Daniel whispered, staring at his hand.

"Really?" Jack winced as he watched Daniel jab the point of the pencil into his hand once more.

"I felt that!" Daniel turned amazed eyes to meet Jack's equally amazed brown ones. The pair didn't know what to say they just continued to look from one another to Daniel's hand.

"Are you sure?" Jack finally said. Daniel nodded. I hit it on the table leg and it hurt, I've stuck the pencil in a couple of times and I felt it.

"Can you move it?" Jack watched the hand carefully as Daniel concentrated all his efforts on the limb.

"No, but it must be a good sign?" Daniel looked questioningly at Jack. He shrugged, "must be, shall I ring Brightman?"

Daniel shook his head, "No let's wait and see if anything else happens before we say anything, okay?"

"It's our secret Daniel," Jack promised.

It was slow progress. Daniel worked hard on his exercises and after couple of discouraging weeks when there seemed to be no progress he was rewarded with a twitch of his fingers. He couldn't wait to share the news with Jack. He had begun to think there would never be any improvement but now he was beginning to dare to hope for a return to normal function.

As the nerves regenerated the improvement in Daniel's hand was fast. Each evening he would show Jack how much more movement he had, how he could wiggle his fingers, make a fist and, eventually, hold something. Dr. Brightman monitored the progress and arranged nerve conduction studies. When these results showed that Daniel had regained 80% of the function of the limb Dr Brightman pronounced him fit. As it was his left hand, holding a weapon or a pen wasn't a problem and Daniel was thrilled to regain his place on SG1. The night before his first off-world mission he and Jack sat together on the porch, Jack with a beer and Daniel with a coffee.

"So back to normality tomorrow," Jack commented.

Daniel nodded, "Yes, finally signed off by Dr. Brightman and ready to go."

"I'll miss seeing you hanging around the SGC," Jack admitted. Daniel turned to look at his friend.

"I could move out now, there's no reason for me to stay here."

Jack drained his beer bottle. "Do you want to leave?" he asked carefully.

Daniel shook his head, "actually I've enjoyed sharing with you but I'm guessing you've had enough of me by now," Daniel teased.

Jack looked serious. "Daniel let's both be honest here. I don't want you to move out, I enjoy your company, I enjoy having someone to talk to in the evenings, I don't really want to live on my own."

Daniel's eyes widened in surprise. "Actually I don't want to move out either, strange as it may seem I also enjoy your company and, if you really mean it, I'd like to stay."

Jack smiled and, reaching across, pulled Daniel into a hug. "We'll make an odd couple."

Daniel nodded smiling. "But at least you'll have another pair of hands around the place," he said holding up his two good hands as Jack laughed.

"To the odd couple," he said raising his empty beer bottle.

Finis
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