Love Is All
by Marc Anthony
When you hold me like this
so many memories fill my eyes
the first time we kissed
the times we nearly said good-bye
but still here we are
tested and tried and still true
and stronger than we ever knew
Love is all
the laughter and the tears that fall
the mundane and the magical
love is all
all is love
the careless word, the healing touch
the getting and the giving of
all is love
there's a me you've always known
the me that's a stranger still
the you that feels like home
and the you that never will
but still here we lie
tender and trusting and true
with everything that we've been through
All the glory
all the pain
all the passion
that turns to ashes
only to rise again
In another universe, a tenth chevron was being activated. Security Forces double timed it into the Gateroom armed with M-16s and armor piercing bullets. Major General George Hammond strode to the observation area outside his office briefing room. Major Samantha Carter and Teal'c were right behind him.
Master Sergeant Walter Davis had been monitoring the aberration in the dialing sequence and had closed the iris as per SOP. He glanced up at his commanding officer. "It's SG-1's code, Sir with two incoming travelers."
Hammond looked down at the computer technician and gave the order. "It's about damn time! Well, Sergeant, open the iris."
A brief heart beat later; two figures emerged from the wormhole. One was practically carrying the other down the ramp. As soon as he saw them, Hammond relaxed, recognizing the familiar shape of this second in command and their premier civilian consultant.
"Welcome, home men...and where the hell have you two been?" Then George Hammond stopped. He reached for the microphone by his right hand and shouted into the device. "Medical Team to the Gateroom....ASAP!"
The Stargate thunked and ground its chevron gyrations to completion. The familiar kawhoosh vomited itself into the embarkation chamber. After the matter flux wave settled itself, two figures emerged from the optical pool.
Daniel Jackson stepped closer to Jack O'Neill as the two travelers cleared the event horizon. The chamber was in darkness; there was no one in sight. "Jack?"
"Yeah, Danny, I know what you mean." The special ops trained Colonel flicked the safety catch off his P-90. "Stay behind me."
"But where is everyone?" Jackson had also drawn his 9-Millimeter pistol and made sure it was ready.
"I don't know, Toto, but I'm willing to bet that we're not in Kansas anymore." Jack quickly led his companion off the bare metal ramp and onto the concrete floor. From there, they headed to the questionable cover of some upright military lockers that were bolted along the wall. Once safely in the shadows, Daniel started examining the engraved labels that identified their contents.
"Yeah," O'Neill replied absentmindedly. He was trying to determine a risk assessment of their immediate circumstances.
"What?" He said impatiently.
"These labels...they're written in Goa'uld."
They're written in Goa'uld, Jack."
"Oh, that can't be good."
Daniel looked at him. "Ya think?"
The heavy blast door began to open, the pneumatics squealing in protest as if they hadn't been properly serviced in a long while. Jack and Daniel huddled behind the locker trying to squeeze in behind it out of sight.
The familiar clanking of Jaffa armor preceded the column into the room. As the squad of familiar looking masks marched in, they got their initial look at the Goa'uld. Jack felt his heart twist in his chest. The host was a very familiar tall, slender, blond woman. She had shoulder length hair and was dressed in an ornate, metallic costume of a familiar blue that reminded him of a mission over four years ago. His first instinct was to jump out and mow her captors down. But, he held himself and Daniel tightly against the wall instead.
Perhaps she heard them, or perhaps it was a Goa'uldish sixth sense, but as Samantha Carter turned to peer in their direction...her eyes flashed.
When medical help arrived in the Gateroom, Doctor Fraiser was in the forefront. She knew that Colonel O'Neill and Doctor Jackson were long overdue and presumed in trouble; but she had no idea what waited for her.
As she ran into the room, Janet could see the two men still on the metal grid ramp, surrounded by the fully armed Security Forces and Teal'c. Jackson was down, O'Neill bending solicitously over him. They were both out of uniform. The Colonel appeared to be wearing a suit of Jaffa armor. Daniel was naked from the waist up, wearing an Egyptian-style kilt. As she approached them, O'Neill raised his head to look at her. Her breath caught in her throat. He had a gold brand on his forehead.
Seeing her hesitance, O'Neill stood up and backed away. "Doctor Fraiser, thank God! You've got to help him...help Daniel. I'm afraid he's dying!"
Teal'c had his staff weapon trained on the doppelganger. As O'Neill backed away from the unconscious man, the big warrior nodded for her to go on.
As she knelt beside her patient, Janet noted the heavy kohl eyeliner, the ornate golden necklace and the shoulder-length, blond hair. These were quite obviously not the O'Neill and Jackson that they knew. She looked up at the familiar stranger. "What's wrong with him?"
O'Neill shook his head sadly. "Physical abuse, sexual abuse, drugs and sarcophagus addiction." He started to take a step towards his Daniel and the doctor.
Teal'c stepped forward interposing himself between O'Neill and Fraiser, placing his staff weapon against the older man's chest. "What false god do you serve?" He asked knowingly.
The man looked up at him sadly. "We serve the false Goddess Hathor. I am her First Prime,' he pointed to Daniel. "And he is her Beloved."
Jack and Daniel scrunched farther back into the shadows hoping that this Sam, the Goa'uld, couldn't see them in the shadows.
She continued to peer suspiciously in their direction but finally turned and continued to the DHD that was centered in the room. A Jaffa stepped forward and entered the seven symbols. The Stargate reactivated and the wormhole formed. The Goa'uld that had been Samantha Carter, and her entourage entered the slipstream and were gone.
Jack and Daniel relaxed back against the wall. "What the hell is going on?"
"I don't know, Jack, but I'd say that we're in another alternate universe...again."
Jack looked at his friend in amazement. "Jeez Daniel, do ya think?"
"Well, Jack, I certainly hope so, I'd hate to think that this was ours."
"So what happened to the glowy Daniel fixing the Stargate?"
Daniel shook his head. "I don't know." He admitted. "Of course, if he is me, he can only do what he was told. I wouldn't have the first idea of how to fix the gate if it was malfunctioning. Even their Sam didn't know how."
O'Neill nodded. "Well, one of us better learn how, or we're screwed, big time."
At the SGC, while Fraiser was testing and treating the Beloved Daniel, General Hammond was interrogating the First Prime of Hathor in his briefing room. Teal'c was in the room providing security and watching this Jack O'Neill with profound pity.
"So what you're saying is that Hathor came to your SGC and successfully took it over?"
"Yes, Sir," O'Neill replied steadily. "The women tried to fight back, but she won in the end. We men were all helpless against her. She made me and the rest of the men Jaffa, and put a larva in me as soon as she hatched her first clutch from her mating with Daniel. When it reached maturity, she implanted Carter and some of the other women...the ones who survived anyhow."
"And Doctor Jackson?"
"Well, the effect of her pheromones wore off after a year or so. Now, she's been keeping him drugged up. When he gets too out of control, she kills him then puts him into the sarcophagus." At Hammond's curious look, he explained further. "Whenever he gets a chance he tries to overthrow her or kill her. She's killed him four or five times now, puts him in that thing, and then he's pretty pliable for a while. He's addicted to it, but he keeps trying. Daniel can be pretty stubborn."
Hammond glanced at Teal'c for confirmation, the big man nodded knowingly. "She will keep him until he is no longer able to perform his function."
"I don't understand; why don't you lead a rebellion?" Hammond asked.
Jack looked over at Teal'c. "He understands. As long as I behave, I have some power. I've managed to save a few lives: Cassie, your granddaughters."
Jack nodded. "I couldn't stop Davis though. He's in charge of NID now. I think he killed Maybourne, but he brought Kinsey in, and blended him with a symbiote. He'll win the presidency next time. Then, we'll have a Goa'uld in the White House."
There was a tapping on the door. Doctor Fraiser entered at the General's call. "Sir, Daniel's awake. He's asking for the Colonel, well, for his Jack."
"How is he, Doctor?" Hammond looked at her questioningly.
She shook her head. "He's in pretty bad shape, Sir. He's acutely addicted to several drugs, not to mention the Sarcophagus. I'm keeping him sedated but he keeps fighting the tranquilizers."
"Sir, General Hammond, I've got to go to him." O'Neill looked pleadingly at him. "He doesn't know where he is. I pulled him out of that damned machine a little early so we could make our escape before Hathor knew what was going on. It was part of my duties as First Prime, to care for him. He...he trusts me to help him."
After the group cleared out of the gate room, Jack and Daniel relaxed momentarily, looking at each other in the gloom of the unlit area.
Jack shook his head; "I don't get it...how could this have happened?"
"It almost happened to us, remember?" Daniel commented softly, "We've had several foothold incidents."
"Yeah, but we didn't lose the base to any of them..."
"Exactly, we didn't...but this SGC obviously did." Daniel spoke softly.
"So, what happened? Is this a new threat that we didn't face, or is it one we did, but lost in this reality?" Jack wondered aloud.
"Well, there was only one Goa'uld that actually got the upper hand in our SGC...and it wasn't by force of arms."
Jack nodded, "Hathor. She came very close even in our SGC."
"Yes, if it hadn't been for the women..." Daniel let the thought trail out.
"And the leader of our rescuers was..."
"Sam." He nodded his head towards the now quiescent Stargate. "Sam, who is now a Goa'uld."
"So, if Hathor won the war and took over the SGC, where is she now?"
"Jack, I really don't care." The blue eyes turned to him. "My question is where are we? The us that belongs in this universe?"
"Please, you've got to let me go to him." Jack looked pleadingly at General Hammond. "I'm the one that did this to him. I can't let him die alone."
Hammond looked over at the petite doctor. "Doctor Fraiser?"
"He is having a hard time, General." She nodded. "As I said, I've got him sedated but he keeps fighting through the meds. It certainly wouldn't hurt to have him there."
Hammond looked at Teal'c. "Please escort Colonel, er... Mister O'Neill to the infirmary, and stay with him."
The big man nodded solemnly, and motioned for Jack to lead the way. Doctor Fraiser fell in behind the two of them. As they passed through the hallways, Jack was very aware of the looks he was getting from this SGC's personnel. Some were seeing their worst nightmares in his very presence, others grimly remembering their past experience, and the new people looking only confused. He led the way unerringly into the clinic, passing by the nurse's station and on into the isolation ward.
Teal's stopped at the doorway and put a hand out to halt Fraiser. "Let them be, Doctor. He will do him no harm."
"How do you know?" she asked looking up at his somber visage.
"It is O'Neill and Danieljackson after all Doctor Fraiser. That much did not change."
Jack quickly went to the bed where his friend lay, struggling against his addictions and the drugs. He was restrained by padded nylon straps to keep him from injuring himself. The older man came forward and grasped the younger man's hand in his own. "Danny, Danny, it's me Jack. I'm here, buddy. You're safe."
Daniel turned his head, seeking his friend. He was red faced and sweating profusely. "Jack? Jack, you're here?"
"Sure, Danny, I'm here, you're safe." O'Neil gently lay his other hand on his companion's forehead.
"Never safe, not from her, you know that! Jack...please, do it now. I can't..."
O'Neill bent close over the younger man, so that he could be seen clearly. "Danny, we're safe. She's not here; she can't get to you now." He stroked the younger man's feverish face gently. "We're safe for now."
"Where? Jack, where can we be safe? She'll know, she'll find us." Daniel struggled against the restraints and tried to sit up in the bed, O'Neill held him down gently.
"Daniel, you've got to trust me. I can't explain now, but I will, I promise."
Daniel allowed himself to be pushed back down. "Please, Jack. Please, you promised that you'd end it. I can't take anymore. I can't live like this and she won't let me die." The younger man was almost sobbing in his hysterics.
"I know, love, I know." Jack shook his head and slid his hands down the younger man's arms so that he held the two hands in his own. "I tried to get us away before. I remember, but she found us. But not this time, we're safe here now, for a little while at least. Rest, and grow strong for me, for us."
"Well," Jack began, "we really need a better place to hide than here in plain sight."
"Where should we go?"
"Level twenty-six, that's all storage rooms. It should be the safest place to lay low." He glanced at Daniel, "unless you know of a better place."
"No," the younger man chewed on his bottom lip in thought. "though, I would like to try to get to my office sometime soon. There might be something there to explain all of this."
"Daniel, if it is Hathor, I can't see you having any time to keep a journal."
The younger man glared at him over his glasses. "But maybe from before -- something to tell us what happened here to change the outcome of it."
"Well, maybe later tonight...if they even care about night and day." Jack replied. "Come on, let's get undercover for now."
The halls of the SGC were dark and deserted at the lower levels and the two men made it safely to the twenty-sixth floor. Exploration showed that there were several storage units that were still in use as such and were unlocked. Jack selected the one furthest back from the main hall. They borrowed some linen from another of the rooms and decided to lay low until the skeleton evening shift came on duty, if there was such a thing in this nightmare they had stumbled into.
Finally, the lights appeared to dim throughout the halls of the SGC. Even here, it seemed, they were responsive to the call of night and day on the human body. They decided to hit Daniel's office first, to determine what they could about the present circumstances of this command and its personnel.
The trip was relatively easy; they only saw one group of Jaffa on the way and they easily avoided them. After the squad had passed by their hiding place, Jack and Daniel exchanged glances. They had recognized Master Sergeant Davis and several of his technicians. It seemed that whoever had taken over the SGC had used its personnel to build their army. Unable to discuss it, O'Neill wondered how much control over his people that the usurper had. And what of General Hammond? Had his commanding officer also been Jaffa-ed or was he dead. He shook his head and brought his thoughts back to the present. Daniel and he were in a bad situation, and if he didn't keep his wits about him they would be finding out just what the phrase a fate worse than death really meant.
The young archaeologist was a few steps ahead of him when Jack heard the footsteps coming down the intersecting hall. He hurried his speed and managed to grab on to Daniel's collar. He snatched him back into the shadows and up against the wall, pressing them both flat with his body and slapping his hand across the other man's mouth to silence any surprise noises.
As they desperately tried to be one with the shadows, a large cadre of Jaffa led by Makepeace, the Marine Colonel, marched by. The Officer was wearing the armor that denoted him as First Prime. His squad was also made up of familiar faces, mostly those of other Marines. But in the center, in the position of power, was a small red haired woman. Jack looked over at Daniel. In the dimness of the light, he could see his friend's face go completely white as if someone had just punched him in the gut.
After the squad had passed, and he was able to risk it, Jack removed his hand from his friend's mouth. "Daniel?" he murmured softly in the younger man's ear, "Daniel, are you all right?"
At first Daniel didn't react. Finally he spoke in a low flat voice. "Hathor, The Mistress of Heaven, The Lady of the Stars, The gold that is Hathor and The Golden One", the younger man murmured to himself, then he looked at Jack. "Hathor...Queen of the Gods. Jack, we are so fucked."
Jack looked at Daniel steadily, trying to impart confidence that he himself didn't feel. "Calm down, Danny-boy. We beat her the first time; we'll do it again."
The younger man looked at him as if he had forgotten what color blue was. "No, Jack. We didn't beat her, Sam, and Janet and Teal'c beat her. We barely made it out alive." He shook his head. "I don't remember a lot, but what I do has colored my nightmares for years."
Jack remained pressed intimately alongside Daniel where they were against the wall. He cocked his head to one side and commented softly. "So, let's find out what happened to our heroes, shall we."
Jackson took a deep steadying breath, and nodded. "Okay," he tried a game grin and got a sorry smile. "On with the plan then..."
"Well, lets say at least, on to your office." Jack did manage the smirk successfully. "Only, this time, I'll lead. You stay right behind me."
For once Daniel didn't argue.
Doctor Fraiser finally agreed to the presence of O'Neill in the clinic. It was the only way that Daniel seemed to rest quietly. The Doctor was trying to wean him off drug dependence and the results of being in a Goa'uld sarcophagus too many times. Luckily, the device had healed him of his primary drug addiction and his physical injuries. However, the mental stress was clearly visible in his night terrors and his extreme emotional dependence on the older man.
Teal'c remained with the two men as guard. This Jack O'Neill would not leave his Daniel and the younger man desperately needed the older man's support. Doctor Fraiser, while not enamored with the idea of the extra people cluttering up her clinic, was grateful of the security. Though in her heart she wasn't worried about the strange Jack O'Neill, her head told her to err to the side of caution with the man. He was not, after all, the same person that she knew. This man had seen things that she couldn't even begin to imagine.
After several hours an evening shift Security Forces Sergeant came to replace Teal'c. By then, Jack had changed into a utility jumpsuit and was sound asleep on the neighboring bed. He too had needed some respite from his suffering, and though he refused a sedative; the man had gratefully accepted the offer of a place just to lie down.
The next morning, Sam Carter arrived and relieved the Security Forces Sergeant. She settled into the chair next to Daniel's bed and watched him sleep with concern. She could tell that he was Daniel Jackson but she could also see that this man was much different from her own Daniel. He looked much older, much more careworn and frail. She could only imagine what had been done to him in the clutches of Hathor. Sam had a need to touch, to comfort. It was nearly her undoing. As she leaned over the bed, hand extended, Daniel woke up.
The blue eyes opened slowly at first, then he recognized her. His entire demeanor changed immediately to one of obvious fear. He violently moved to the far side of the bed, struggling against the restraints and the safety bars. If he had not been tied to the bed, she knew that he would have toppled out onto the floor.
She spoke softly to him, trying to reassure him. "Daniel, it's okay. It's only me, Sam."
Suddenly, Carter felt herself being lifted, spun around, and slammed up against the hard wall. Sam found herself looking up into the enraged eyes of Jack O'Neill, her arms pinned above her head and his knee jammed between her legs. "Don't you ever touch him!" A voice rasped in her ear,
She fought to keep the tremor out of her voice. "Please, Sir, let me go." She said steadily, her voice belying her fear. "Colonel, you know I would never hurt him."
The anger slowly cleared from the brown eyes and as he released her, they both heard the metallic sound of the bolt being released on an M-16 rifle. A male voice spoke in a loud clear command voice. "Stand down!"
O'Neill let her go carefully and turned slowly around to face a very large SF Sergeant holding the rifle. Its muzzle was only a few inches from his face.
"Step back over here, Colonel." The man indicated the direction with a jerk of his head. "Now, and no quick moves either."
"Sergeant, it's all right." Carter spoke softly. "It was my fault. You can put your weapon down."
"No, Ma'am. Begging your pardon, but I can't." The man guided O'Neill backward with the barrel of his rifle. "He may not be our O'Neill, but he is an O'Neill, and that makes him a very dangerous man."
Jack had backed into Daniel's bed; he could feel the frame jerking against him as the younger man still tried to free himself from his restraints. He knew he had to calm the younger man down or he'd lose him to madness again. "Sergeant, I don't know you, but you obviously know me. I'm going to turn around to help my friend. I'm sorry about scaring the Major, but I had to get her away from Daniel."
"What the hell is going on in here, Sergeant?" General Hammond's voice demanded from behind the soldier. He, Teal'c and Doctor Fraiser were standing in the rooms doorway. They had come to check on their guests and found the drama being played out before them.
The man didn't waiver with his gaze or his rifle, but he did answer his Commanding Officer. "Sir, I'd been sent down here to relieve the previous shift. When I arrived, the airman was gone and this man had Major Carter up against the wall with hostile intent. I took what action I deemed necessary."
"Very well, Sergeant. You may disengage now, but stand ready."
The SF lowered his weapon and stepped back. As he did so, O'Neill turned and leaned over the bed, talking softly to Daniel trying to calm his panic. He slowly placed his hand on Daniel's arm that was closest to him. In a few moments, the younger man had recognized his companion and slid closer to him. O'Neill put his hands on the frightened man, working around the bindings and murmuring calmingly to him. Daniel lay back on the bed and finally relaxed. Teal'c moved in and stood next to the pair. General Hammond motioned Carter to his side, out of immediate danger of being attacked again.
Doctor Fraiser went to the other side of the bed and tried to calm Daniel as he tried to get closer to his protector. As she reached to touch him, Daniel shifted again, moving farther away from her hands. "Daniel, it's me, Janet. I'm not going to hurt you."
But Daniel only had eyes for Jack. He watched fearfully as Teal'c reached for his friend to move the older man away from him and against the wall where he had slammed Carter. Daniel pulled against the bed's restraints. "No, don't hurt him." Daniel managed to moan out. "Please, don't hurt him. It was my fault;" he looked over at Hammond. "Don't hurt him..."
The General moved smoothly over to the frightened man and slowly gently grasped his hand. "I won't let anyone hurt him, son, just calm down. But I can't let him hurt anyone else. Do you understand?"
Jackson nodded, taking a quavering breath. "He was protecting me. I woke up and I saw her bending over me. I was afraid. He was just.... after the last time, he..."
As he was talking, Fraiser touched him on the arm and Daniel jumped again. He stared at her small strong hand as it encircled his wrist to check his pulse. She continued on with a deft, gentle exam, noting the abrasions on his wrists from the restraints. "What happened last time, Daniel?" She asked him softly, as a way to keep his attention.
"Hathor was displeased with me, so she sent her to punish me."
"She sent Major Carter?"
"No, not Major Carter, Sam's gone. She's only the host." He shook his head, as if trying to clear it. " Hathor sent her daughter, Harsomtus, to punish me." He looked fearfully at Carter as she stood beside Hammond. The General prevented her from getting closer to Daniel. "She...she used the ribbon device on me, Jack tried to stop her...so she killed him instead." He turned to gaze at the man standing against the wall. "But, she knew then, and she...she told Hathor..."
Hammond made no move to come closer, but his voice carried concern and caring. "What did she tell Hathor, Son?"
"That I care about Jack...more than we're supposed to, more than we should," Daniel looked down to the bed. "She started using us against each other, so that we would do what she said." He sighed, then lay back on the pillow. "I love him...and I'm the reason he stays."
Jack and Daniel had finally made it safely to Daniel's office. It had obviously not been used in quite a while. Dust lay heavily on the desk and the shelves filled with the valuable books and artifacts. Daniel grimaced as he pulled down several leather bound journals. "Well, it looks like you're right, Jack. Nobody has been doing anything here for some time."
O'Neill nodded unhappily as he picked up a ceramic bowl and blew the dust off of it. He'd been afraid of this. If Daniel, any Daniel, let his collection get this neglected, it could only mean that he'd been prevented from caring for it. He looked at his friend, watching him as he moved around the desk and sat down on the stool.
Daniel leafed through one of the books then paused. "This seems to be the last entry here, Jack." The agile fingers traced down the lined page. He began to read. "Hathor is very jealous of my time. She doesn't want me to come here anymore. She says she can tell me everything I need to know about the Goa'uld dynasties of ancient Egypt. How Ra and she conquered and then ruled the Taur'i and made them great." He made a face at the thought. "She doesn't understand that I want to know more about them, not to worship them, but to find a weakness to use against them."
"Jeez, Daniel. Why didn't he just announce this to her. Hey, Hathor, how do we kick your ass?"
"Well..." the scholar smiled up at him. "It's written in old English. It's a fair bet to think that she couldn't read it."
Jack made an Ahh face and nodded. Daniel lay the journal down and picked up a green military issue ledger. "Jack, look at this. What do you think?"
"Hum," He took the volume and thumbed it open. "It's my writing, but it's in code. I guess I didn't trust it to not get found either."
"Wonder why it's in here?" Daniel murmured absentmindedly as he looked over Jack's shoulder.
"Probably cause no one came here...after...she found out about Daniel."
"Yeah, about his plotting to overthrow her." Jack continued to scan the pages. There was a lot more here than he wanted to read aloud.
"Does it say if she ever found out about them?"
"Them? Them who?" He looked up at the other man.
Daniel looked at him almost shyly. "About their relationship?"
Well, so much for that little secret. "Yeah, she found out. She was pretty upset."
"According to his log here, it was several weeks before he got back to the journal entries. It says... "I was called into the queen's chamber. There she had Daniel under her hand device. She was killing him again, and I couldn't stand it. I could smell his flesh burning. I tried to talk her out of it, but she only turned the damned thing on me. It hurt like a son of a bitch, but there wasn't anything I could do. The last thing I saw was Daniel trying to grab her hand." Jack glanced up at Daniel, then continued reading. "I woke up in the sarcophagus. I guess she killed me instead this time. I was surprised that she didn't leave me dead, but later I found out why. I am now her key to Daniel. She threatens me; he does what she wants. I don't think she even really cares about us anymore. We're just tools to be used against each other now. She threatens Daniel, I do her dirty work; she threatens me..." Jack paused and took a deep breath, " he mates with her. When we don't serve her well enough or long enough she punishes or kills one of us. After we perform to her standards, she puts us in that damned, fucking box." Jack closed the book but recited the rest. "I'm damned and Daniel, Daniel is just fucked." He shook his head and looked at the younger man.
Daniel averted his eyes, but Jack caught the gleam of moisture on his cheek. He put down the book and wrapped the younger man in his arms in a hug.
Daniel murmured into Jack's neck. "What are we going to do?"
"We'll think of something, Danny." He felt the other man's arms wrap around his waist, "We've got to."
After much discussion, General Hammond, Doctor Fraiser, and Teal'c agreed that O'Neill and Jackson should not be separated after all. The younger man needed him as a lifeline in his struggle to successfully fight off his malady. They were moved to the isolation/observation ward where they could be secured and guarded. It was not a perfect solution, but after O'Neill's performance in the clinic, they could not be left in such an open area.
O'Neill knew that what privacy they had been allowed earlier was now forfeit, but it was made up for by more freedom of movement and lack of direct supervision. In other words, they would be left free but watched. When Doctor Fraiser entered to treat or check on Daniel, Jack had to clear the immediate area. More often than not he was herded to a corner by Teal'c. The SGC's resident Jaffa was the only one who could possibly stop him from doing whatever he wanted to anyone who entered their room.
It also meant that Jack was also left to do most of the support work for Daniel. But as he'd been responsible for the man's care for several years, it didn't bother him in the least. Two hospital beds were brought in and pushed close together. Daniel was dozing fitfully, and Jack settled himself cross-legged on the other. He hadn't been able to Kel-nor-reem successfully since their arrival in this new universe and he needed to. His symbiote was demanding his attention.
He wondered if the larva Goa'uld could sense how much he hated it. That he hated the very idea that his continued existence depended upon the snake in his pouch. Jack kept trying to tell himself that there was a little of Daniel in it...that it couldn't be all bad. He had heard rumors of a group of Goa'uld that were against the typical system lord behavior. They called themselves the Tok'ra, or Against Ra. Maybe they could find them when they got back to their own universe...if they got back.
After several hours of meditation, Daniel's movements disturbed him. The younger man was struggling in his sleep, fighting against someone. Jack was sure it was Hathor, no mystery there. Though she had managed to beat the man into submission, Daniel was far from broken. He hated her with a single-minded fury. She had not only destroyed the SGC and the lives of everyone there, but the bitch goddess had also flaunted her power to Apophis and Ammonet, displaying Daniel as her personal plaything. The fact that Daniel's wife was privy to his degradation was no small issue to him. Hathor had to kill him that night, to keep him from murdering her in their bed. It had been the first time she'd gone that far and had shown her a way to keep Daniel weak and compliant.
It had also been the first time that Jack had realized how much he cared about his friend, how important Daniel's survival was to him. After she had killed him, Hathor had commanded her First Prime to see to his friend. When he had to carry the younger man's broken, bloodied body to the sarcophagus, it had nearly destroyed him. And when Daniel had awakened, dazed and disoriented, Jack had cared for him, helping him to recover mentally and emotionally. Their feelings of friendship had begun to deepen into affection, and then later, into the intense emotions of love and intimacy.
He got down from his bed and crossed over to where the younger man lay, struggling with his nightmares. He gently put a hand on the feverish brow, and spoke softly. "Daniel...Danny, wake up, love." He stroked the overheated face, trying to wake him from his torment. "Danny, we're safe. Remember? We went through the Stargate."
A disembodied voice came through the loudspeaker. It was Doctor Fraiser. "Good morning, Mister O'Neill. How are you two doing?"
Jack turned and looked up at the viewing window. She and Teal'c were looking down at them. "He's getting worse, Doctor. I can't wake him up."
"Actually, Mister O'Neill, I expected this. His body has to readjust itself. There's nothing I can do to help him."
Jack looked up at her in frustration. "Are you sure?"
Janet felt for the man. "Yes, Sir. I am. We went through this with our own Daniel. He was addicted to a sarcophagus also. It changes the body at the cellular structure. Either his body can adjust back to normal or not. All I could do is give him more drugs, and that's contraindicated." She thought for a moment, turned spoke to Teal'c then keyed the mike again. "I'll come down and do a quick exam. I do want to take every precaution."
O'Neill had to nod. He understood, he just didn't like it. "Thank you, Doctor. He's just suffered so much...it's hard to see any more."
Teal'c and the Doctor entered the room; the big man then escorted O'Neill to the far corner of the room away from the Doctor and her patient.
As the two Jaffa watched Doctor Fraiser perform her tests, Teal'c spoke softly to Jack. "Danieljackson is strong, O'Neill. He will persevere."
"I hope you're right, Teal'c." Jack shook his head sadly. "Hathor's really done a number on him."
Daniel was back in their hidey-hole looking through the journals, trying to find something to key on that would assist them in getting back to their own universe. The problem was the Daniel Jackson who belonged here wasn't making a whole lot of sense in these last entries. He was sure that it was the result of the abuse, addiction. Finally, it appeared the man had simply lost touch with reality for periods of time. Taking into account his own trips into nutzo-land, as Jack had once referred to it, it wasn't a total surprise to him. Part of the reason he stayed as grounded as he did was due to the close relationship he shared with his teammates; Jack the realist, Sam the pragmatist, and Teal'c the steadfast. Without their support and thrown into this world of nightmares come to life, he couldn't blame his alter ego for losing his mind and his grasp on what was happening around him. What he mainly discovered was that this Daniel was used mercilessly as a breeding animal. Whatever had attracted Hathor originally had maintained its appeal apparently even after he had started his lapses. Luckily, Daniel wasn't sure of the mating habits of a Goa'uld Queen anymore. His own memories of his experience with Hathor were thankfully long buried in that part of his subconscious that allowed him to forget the entire horrible incident.
Then he heard a noise outside the supply room door. Daniel ducked behind some boxes that they'd left in place to serve as cover. As he crouched in the small space, he could hear several voices as they moved containers to get to the items they required. Daniel held his breath, hoping that he hadn't left anything suspicious out.
It appeared as if he would pass unnoticed until a worker spotted something out of place and a comment was made to a senior guard. He heard more voices, then an exclamation. Their makeshift camp had been discovered.
Daniel looked around, seeking an escaper route, but the room had only the one doorway. He was effectively as trapped as any rat could be.
As the Jaffa began to search the area, Daniel grabbed his notes and folded them into a flat rectangle. He pulled off his left boot, slid the paper under the innersole and then pulled the footwear back on. He hurriedly laced it up again to be finished just in time for the large box he was hiding behind to get tossed sideways revealing him. Two Jaffas grabbed him unceremoniously and drug him forward towards their leader. Daniel looked up into the face of Lou Ferretti.
"Hello, Daniel." The officer said to him sadly. "I had hoped you'd been smart enough to get out of here by now."
"Lou?" He said, surprised by the unhappiness evident in the man who stood sadly looking at him.
"I thought for sure that O'Neill had taken you and run for it." Lou frowned, shaking his head. "When Hathor found out about you two and then killed you again...."
"Lou," Daniel protested. "I'm not who you think I am."
"Sure, Daniel, I don't blame you. I wouldn't want to be who you are either, but our Queen wants you...and O'Neill. Now, because I've found you, Hammond, Fraiser and Teal'c will live a little longer."
"Well, I guess that's a good thing," he commented cautiously.
"It's good for them." The Jaffa officer shook his head sadly. "But not too good for you." Ferretti looked around, "Where is O'Neill?"
"I don't know," he admitted. It was the truth. "He left me here. He never came back."
"How long ago?"
"Now, Daniel, you're either confused again or you're lying," Lou said in a calm cajoling voice. "You've only been missing for two days. You were in the sarcophagus until last Tuesday, then O'Neill took you out too early, and the two of you disappeared. Hathor was furious." He looked at the younger man sadly. "Are you sure you don't know where he is? It would go a lot easier on you if you told me. That way I could use it to help your position."
"How's that?" Daniel asked suspiciously.
"I could tell her that your lover betrayed you, and you've learned how good your position is as her Beloved." Lou looked at him hopefully. "We both know it's a lie, but it might keep you alive a little longer this time."
"Lou, listen carefully to me." Daniel decided to try the truth. "I'm not your Daniel Jackson. I'm from an alternate universe. I'm here accidentally. I'm just trying to get home. I'm not her Beloved. She'll know, she'll think you're trying to trick her." He looked pleadingly at Ferretti. "Lou, you've go to believe me...please."
Ferretti only shook his head. "Sorry, Daniel...nice try, but it just won't work."
As Ferretti turned his back on him to lead the squad out of the supply closet, Daniel jerked away from the two men who held him. Once free, he made a dash past the ex-Major and tried to slip through the open door. He knew that even if they shot him in the back and killed him, it would be a better alternative to being taken before Hathor.
Daniel had almost made it to the opening, but the zat blast hit him and he fell, striking his head on the doorframe. His last conscious thought was that Jack was going to be very pissed.
O'Neill was headed back to their hiding place on the twenty-sixth floor when he once again heard the sounds of marching through the halls of the SGC. He had left his Daniel studying this Daniel's Journals, looking for some hint of how this happened, how to fix it, but most importantly how to get back home. He had gone scrounging, looking for some things that his friend had said he needed. The list had included a laptop, floppy discs, a notebook, or journal, a pen or pencil and anything caffeinated or chocolate. He'd been only partially successful this time: no laptop, coffee, or chocolate. Just some pads, pencils and energy bars. He knew this would not do for long.
Upon hearing the tread of marching feet, Jack ducked back into a niche that was surrounded by equipment lockers. He couldn't afford to get caught; besides his own fate and that of Daniel, they had the future of this universe hanging in the balance.
As he watched the Jaffa phalanx march by, O'Neill tried to determine who was making up the opposition and serving as Hathor's goons. When he saw Lou Ferretti at the head of the column, he cringed. The one man who knew what he was capable of was Lou. Anyone else he had a chance of surprising and getting the upper hand on, but not his old team member. The man knew him too well from their working together for all these years.
Jack recognized most of the other men as part of the Security Forces and Marine detachment assigned to the SGC. He also noted that the squad's ranks were slightly out of alignment and that puzzled him until he saw the reason. Several of the Jaffa were dragging a limp body along between them. The man was being supported by his upper arms, head lolling forward limply and bleeding from a vicious gash on the scalp. It was Daniel.
He was on a picnic with Sara and Charlie. It was a bright warm, sunny summer day and they had settled under a large shade tree. He and his son were playing catch with a baseball. His wife was setting out the paper plates when she suddenly started to scream.
O'Neill snapped up to a sitting position in his hospital bed. He had dreamt of screaming because someone was screaming. Daniel was in the throes of a nightmare and was fighting to get out of it. Jack slipped out of his bed and managed to wrap his arms around the other man. He started crooning comfortingly to Daniel; nonsense words and phrases, it didn't matter. Just the sound of his voice did it sometimes. The words didn't have to make any sense, just let Daniel know he was here. As the younger man began to settle, Jack eased into the bed with him, holding him up against his chest and rocking him like he had done for Charlie so many years before. Daniel tucked his head under Jack's chin and finally rested there, feeling safe in the arms of his lover.
After Daniel had quieted, O'Neill looked up at the viewing window. Teal'c was standing there watching them.
Satisfied the crisis had passed; the big man keyed the microphone. "Do you need any assistance, O'Neill?"
Jack shook his head, stroking the younger man's long hair. "No, thanks, Teal'c. We've just got to ride this out, I guess. Your Doctor Fraiser says she can't do much for him now." He kissed Daniel on the forehead, trying to keep him calm in his dreams.
"Yes, his addiction is very bad but the drugs could cause more complications." Teal'c agreed. "But, it is difficult to witness so much suffering in one that you care about."
"Yeah, especially now." Jack looked up at him questioningly. "You understand, about us?"
"Indeed, O'Neill, I do. There is no reason for you to restrain yourself in front of me. You should do what is necessary to keep him comfortable."
"I don't want to cause any problems for your Jack and Daniel...when they return." Jack looked down at the man sleeping in his arms. "I didn't realize that I'd put anyone else at risk by using the device on the Stargate, but I had to get him out of there. She was getting more and more vicious with him." He looked grim. "Our goddess," he spate the name out, " enjoys watching his suffering."
"What occurred with Major Carter in your reality to make him respond so violently to her in ours?"
"Carter was snaked about a year ago, and Hathor has used her to punish Daniel several times now. It makes it that much worse for him. He really cared for Carter, like the sister he never had." O'Neill shook his head, "It hurts him so much, like when she uses him in front of Apophis and Ammonet...and now me."
"The false goddess was always known to be cruel." Teal'c acknowledged.
Daniel shifted in Jack's arms. "Easy, Danny. I've got you, we're safe." Jack cuddled him close to his chest. "Sleep now."
Teal'c bowed his head. "You should rest with him if you can. I will disturb you no more."
Jack nodded back. "Thank you, my friend." He lay down on the single bed, pulling his Daniel closer, then tilted the relaxed face up to him and kissed him chastely on the lips. "I love you, Danny. Don't worry, you're safe with me." The younger man sighed in his sleep. Jack kissed him gently again and then he relaxed and closed his own eyes for some much needed rest.
Jack was following the group of Jaffa as closely as he dared. He wasn't sure where there were taking Daniel, but he didn't want to lose track of him. If he lost his friend, he wasn't sure that he could find him again.
The Jaffa, led by Ferretti, were headed towards the SGC's brig. O'Neill couldn't quite figure out why. It didn't seem to be a place to take one's Queen's Beloved. He had expected it to be the VIP quarters or the Command Section. This wasn't a good thing; it would be harder for him to get to Daniel there.
Finally, the Jaffa reached their destination, the security block. Jack ducked into the shadows and tried to become one with the wall. The group entered the cell area, and he lost sight of them and Daniel. He heard some voices but couldn't make out any words. Then he heard the metallic clang of metal doors hitting metal frames. As he peeked around a corner, he had to pull back quickly to avoid being seen by the squad as they marched out again, sans Daniel and Jaffa Ferretti.
After the group had left the area, Jack pulled his boot knife out of its sheath and carefully left the darkened corner he had taken shelter in. Moving silently to the doorway, he looked into the cellblock. There were four security cells at the SGC, which were normally used only during times of crisis such as when Carter had been snaked by Jolinar. Now, however there seemed to be several people incarcerated.
Ferretti stood outside one of the locked cells, watching the people inside. He saw Daniel, still unconscious, and Janet Fraiser who was bending over him, examining his injury.
"Well, Doc, what do you think?"
The brunette doctor turned to glare at the Jaffa. "I think that this man has been abused...again! Ferretti, how long do you think he can stand this? He's already addicted to the sarcophagus. If your Goddess keeps this up, all she's going to have left to service her is a broken shell!"
"Look, Doc, begging your pardon...but you haven't answered my question yet. Is that our Daniel Jackson?" He questioned insistently.
"Well, of course it is!" She replied in a furious tone. "Who else could it be?"
"I don't know, Doc." Ferretti replied sadly. "He said he was with someone else. I was just hoping..."
"As many times as he's been murdered then reanimated, I'm surprised that he even knows he IS Daniel Jackson." She shook her head in disgust. "And you claim to be his friend! You disgust me, Louis Ferretti." She spat out the name. "You and Jack O'Neill both."
"Well, we haven't found O'Neill yet, so I guess I'll be disgusting all by myself." He sighed and turned to go. "Just take care of him, okay Doc?"
The petite physician just glowered at him.
As Lou walked out the door, a strong arm wrapped itself around his throat and the point of a very sharp knife dug into the tender skin under his jaw. A familiar voice rasped out into his ear. "Don't make a sound, Ferretti. Or I swear I'll gut you like a fish! Do you understand?"
Lou nodded. He knew that voice and had no doubt of its veracity. "Jack?"
O'Neill relieved him of his Zat gun and guided him back into the cell area. He took Ferretti back to the cubicle that held Doctor Fraiser and Daniel. His friend was still unconscious on the cot in the back of the barred room; the woman was bending over him with a cloth, cleaning Daniel's head wound.
Jack shoved Ferretti up against the bars and spoke to her. "Doc, Janet...."
She turned around from her patient, and glared at him. "Oh, I was wondering when you would show up." She said coldly. "What have you done to this poor man now?"
Jack was confused, "What have I...You don't think I hurt him do you?" At her hostile look, he could tell that was exactly what she thought had happened.
"Look, Doc, I'm not your Jack O'Neill! I'm from another universe!" The woman continued to look at him coldly. "Look at me, damn it! I'm not a Jaffa! And I don't know what your Jack O'Neill is like, but I would never hurt my Daniel."
Fraiser left the bedside and crossed over to the cell door to look more closely at him. "You're from a what?"
"An alternate universe. I...we don't belong here. See...no tattoo." He gestured towards the unconscious man lying on the bunk. "I'm not a Jaffa, and he sure as hell isn't her Beloved."
O'Neill started to search the helpless Ferretti, threatening him with his own zat gun, and finally producing the security key card. He swiped it through the electronic pad and opened the door to the cell.
The doctor was frankly staring at O'Neill. "Where did you come from?"
"I told you, Doc. We're from an alternate reality, a different universe entirely. Somehow we came through the wrong Stargate and wound up here." He glanced around, "who else is in here with you?"
"Well," she replied, still astounded at his revelation. "There's General Hammond and Teal'c of course."
"Teal'c is here?"
"I am here, O'Neill," a deep familiar voice spoke from the darkened cell next to the doctor's. The big man came to the metal door and gripped the bars.
"Teal'c, buddy." Jack glanced over in his direction. "Glad to see you're still around. Are you okay?"
"I am intact, O'Neill. I had grown concerned for you when Ferretti brought in Danieljackson. I feared you dead."
"Well, I can't answer for my double, but I'm still going strong."
The Jaffa looked at him curiously. "You say you are not our O'Neill. I do not understand what has happened."
"Look, I'm not totally sure I do either." O'Neill swiped the card through the sensor pad and opened the door to Teal'c's cell, letting the big man out. "All I know is that we keep going through the Stargate, and we keep winding up in the wrong damned place...and I gotta tell you, T, this is the wrongest one we've been in so far." He shoved Ferretti into the cell and slammed the door shut. "We need your help."
"So it would seem, O'Neill." Teal'c examined the man in front of him carefully. There was no gold filled tattoo on his forehead. Unconsciously his gaze drifted to the man's abdomen.
"Oh, for crying out loud!" Jack looked at him in frustration. "Here!" He pulled his BDU shirt and black t-shirt out of his pants revealing a flat, unmarked stomach. "There! Is this proof enough? I do not have a snake in my belly. And how is Junior anyway?"
The Jaffa gave him a small sad smile. "My symbiote is fine, O'Neill. And I am happy to see that your account is fact. The implantation of your prim'ta was always a great annoyance to you."
"It was when it happened to me five years ago too, but thank goodness our women beat the snake and put me in a sarcophagus right away. I never carried one of the little bastards." He looked up at Teal'c. "No offense." He dropped his shirt.
"None taken." He looked at his old commander curiously. "But if you are not our O'Neill, what has happened to Danieljackson?"
Jack gestured at Ferretti who had turned around and was looking at them through the bars. "He did."
Daniel slowly came awake. He was lying on a comfortable bed secure and safe in Jack's arms. As he moved slightly, his protector opened his eyes to gaze fondly down at him.
"Hi there, you're awake."
He nodded, confused at his surroundings. "Jack?"
"Where are we?" He lifted his head to look around the strange room.
"We're safe, Danny. Just relax. You've been really sick. Scared me pretty good."
He could only nod sleepily. "What happened?"
"Just a minute," Jack loosened his hold on the other man for a moment to reach for something on the side of the bed. "Okay...look you're gonna be a little surprised, I think. Just bear with me here." At Daniel's nod the older man continued. "You're gonna see some things that might scare you, but I promise, nobody is gonna hurt you ever again. You've just got to trust me...okay?"
Mystified, he nodded. What did Jack have to say? Then he heard the sound of a door opening and closing. Jack shushed him again, and he lay back, relying on Jack to know what was going on and to keep him safe.
Doctor Fraiser came to the side of the bed that contained them both. Teal'c was right beside her in a protective stance. "Good morning, Jack, Daniel." Daniel jerked in surprise, almost dislodging himself from his partner's hold.
The calm voice spoke quietly in his ear, "Easy, I told you that you'd be surprised." He turned to look at his partner. Jack was smiling. "We're in a different reality, Danny. Carter's little device did it. It worked."
Daniel felt as if he were dreaming. "A different what?"
"We're in a different reality, an alternate universe, through the looking glass...like Alice." He stroked the younger man's face. "This last time, she made me take you to the sarcophagus; I couldn't take it anymore, Danny. Seeing her hurt you, over and over, making you suffer, making me watch...I had an idea. I went to Harsomtus's workroom and took the device. Siler agreed to help me, so we went to the Stargate and plugged it in. While he was finishing it, I went back, took you out of the sarcophagus early, and carried you to the Gateroom. Then, he and I managed to activate the thing, and I took us through it." Jack smiled down at the man in his arms. "I didn't know whether it would work or kill us, but I knew we had to get away...before she destroyed you."
"And we came here?"
"Yeah, we wound up in another SGC, but here, Danny, here they beat Hathor. She's dead and everything is the way it's supposed to be."
"No, love, no Hathor, no Jaffa, no torture, and no pain." Jack turned so that they faced each other. "Only us, and safety, for now."
The blue eyes looked up trustingly at him and smiled. Jack thought his heart would explode in his chest. "God, Danny, I love you so much."
"Colonel, ah...Jack." Doctor Fraiser was waiting with medical business on her mind.
He nodded and slipped out of the bed. Daniel never took his eyes off of him.
Daniel slowly came awake. He was lying on an uncomfortable bed, and his head hurt abominably. He stared up at the ceiling, trying to place his location, and then he heard Jack's voice talking to some one. He tried to sit up but couldn't manage it quite yet. He grunted and put his hand to his forehead. It came away sticky with his own blood.
Jack appeared by his side, offering a supportive hand to him. "Danny? Are you okay?"
"Head hurts, Jack. What happened?"
"Jaffa Ferretti and his goons found you in our hide out." Jack grimaced, "Thumped you and brought you here. I guess the good news is that we found Teal'c and Fraiser, and they're still good guys, though they're not too sure about me."
"Yes, Daniel, I'm here. How do you feel?" Suddenly the Doctor was there, pushing Jack back out of her way.
"Head hurts." He replied as she tilted his head up to look at him.
"I'm not surprised." The Doctor replied dryly. "You probably have a concussion, and you need stitches but...well, I don't have much here to work with."
"That's okay. Look, Janet, Jack's telling the truth, we are from another reality."
"Yes, I saw that he's not a Jaffa." She said quietly. "But we have to get you two to someplace safe. There's no telling what Hathor would do to you two if she found you."
"Doc, I have some Tylenol." Jack's voice came from behind her. "Can he have it?"
She nodded, her eyes never leaving Daniel's pale face. "Certainly, it can't hurt him, but what he really needs is rest."
"Yeah, well, I don't see that happening in the near future." Jack appeared next to Janet. "Here ya go, buddy." Two pair of eyes watched Daniel swallow the tablets dry.
"He could rest here." The Doctor said, looking at O'Neill. "No one comes here except to feed us, or if they need us for something."
"Need you for something?"
"Yes, I am the only Doctor here. Occasionally a Jaffa gets hurt and I treat him."
Something seemed to occur to O'Neill. "Did you say Hammond is here?"
"Yes, but..." she glanced to one of the other cells, "he was taken out and questioned yesterday...probably because our O'Neill and Daniel had disappeared. He was brought back unconscious, and I haven't been allowed to see him." She was obviously upset over this, "He could be dead and I wouldn't even know it."
Jack held up the card, "well, let's go check on George." He put his hand on Daniel's knee, "You gonna be okay here, Danny?"
"Yes, go check on General Hammond. I'll lay down a little bit longer."
Fraiser nodded her approval, and Jack helped him back down. "Wait for me, Daniel, I'll be right back." He flashed a smile at the younger man. Daniel nodded and winced at the motion.
The two exited the cell and were joined by Teal'c. Crossing to the other room, Jack slid his keycard through the sensors and the door snicked open.
Hammond was lying flat on his back on his bunk. Fraiser went quickly to the General's side. She looked up at the other two men and shook her head. "He's barely alive...if I could have helped him it's too late now."
Jack exhaled a nervous breath he hadn't known he was holding. "Damn it, I'm sorry, George." He knelt next to the bunk and looked at his Commanding Officer. Hammond's pale face was marked with the telltale burn of a ribbon device. He'd been bleeding from the nose and ears, a sure sign of trauma to the brain. Then it occurred to him. "Wait just a damned minute. She has a sarcophagus!" He looked at Teal'c who had remained by the door. "That could fix him couldn't it?"
"Indeed, O'Neill, it could...if we could get him to it, it would heal him. General Hammond has not been exposed to it before. He would not suffer any ill effects from it."
"But how are we going to get him to it? Fraiser asked, doubtfully. "Hathor has it guarded by her most loyal Jaffa."
"Ferretti," O'Neill turned and walked to the still locked cell. "Ferretti, will you help us, and the General?"
"That's what I've been trying to say, Colonel. I want to help... you and the General." The ex Major replied quickly.
"Then why did you do that to Daniel?" Jack asked stubbornly.
"Colonel, I thought he was the Beloved. I was trying to save my men." He looked up at his old CO. "Since you two disappeared, she's been killing my men one a day until you two are found."
Jack frowned at the news. "Did I know this would happen?"
Ferretti shook his head. "No, Jack didn't know. But I have to ask one thing from you."
"Don't leave us here like this, Colonel. Before you go back to wherever it is you belong, kill Hathor!"
"Okay, Lou. I think I can handle that request." O'Neill nodded. "In fact, I'll probably enjoy doing it. The question is...how?"
"If you let me out of here, I can get you in." Ferretti promised eagerly.
"How do I know I can trust you?" Jack countered.
Ferretti nodded at Teal'c. "Ask him, he'll tell you. That's why I brought Daniel here to the Doc instead of to the Queen."
"You said yourself that you were going to turn him over to her." Jack said grimly.
"Well, I'd have to sooner or later, but if the Doc could help him, it would be one less time in that damned box for him." Lou looked at him. "And honestly, I thought he was our Daniel."
"Ferretti speaks the truth, O'Neill. He has done much to help those of us who depend on the good will of the guards. He has often brought medicines to assist Doctor Fraiser, and he is in no small part responsible for Danieljackson's survival."
"Well, he didn't do much to help this Daniel's survival if he was going to take him to Hathor." O'Neill groused.
"As you know, being a Jaffa does not automatically make you loyal to the false god. You continue to serve to live." Teal's put in. "I served Apophis unwillingly for many years before I met you."
"Yeah, and it did you a lot of good...you wound up here."
"Jack?' O'Neill heard Daniel calling for him. He left Ferretti and crossed back over and into the cell where he'd left his friend.
"Daniel, are you all right?" He sat down on the edge of the narrow bunk, perching on his hip. He gently stroked the younger man's forehead.
"Yeah, the headache is clearing a bit." He struggled to sit up. "What's going on?"
Jack reached over and helped him to sit up. "Well, actually, I'm trying to decide if I should trust Ferretti to help us kill Hathor. Do you have an opinion?" Jack looked frowningly at the deep cut on Daniel's forehead.
"About killing Hathor or trusting Lou?"
"Uh, either or...whatever."
"Yes, for one and maybe for the other."
"How about Fraiser and Teal'c?" Jack asked in a soft voice.
Daniel leaned on him a moment, letting the dizziness pass. "Do we have a choice?"
Jack frowned at the question. He didn't like his answer. "No, not really. All I can do is base my decision on our versions."
Daniel nodded, "I trust your intuition, Jack."
Jack smiled at him, "Okay, then I guess it'll be a go."
"Did you see the General?"
Jack's smile faded. "Yeah, he's been ribboned. Looks pretty bad. Doc Fraiser says he's probably dying."
Daniel looked sadly at his friend. "There's nothing...?"
"Probably, if we could get him to the sarcophagus...but..." He left the rest unsaid.
"Well what? " Jack looked at him in amazement. "Daniel, there's only one way we're gonna get to that box, and you know it."
"Yes, but Jack...its..."
"Yeah, I know, but...first we have to kill Hathor before we can do anything," he looked over at Daniel's expression. It was one of tightly controlled fear. "And we have to figure out how to do that safely...'cause I really do want us to go home, Daniel, both of us." Jack helped him lay back down on the narrow bunk. "You get some more sleep. I'll wake you before anything happens."
Daniel nodded. His head still hurt and he knew that Jack would think of something.
Doctor Fraiser pulled off her sterile gloves and put them back into her medical bag. Teal'c was standing just a few feet away, watching them both. He was here at the General insistence that no one be left alone with the other Daniel and Jack. She smiled at the sick man lying in front of her on the bed.
"Well, Daniel, all things considered, you're doing very well."
He weakly smiled his appreciation. "You sound like you know what you're talking about."
"Oh, yes. Our Daniel suffered from sarcophagus addiction several years ago." She patted him on the shoulder. "I'm quite familiar with your physiology under these circumstances. You'll have some residual weakness and some emotional swings, but you're over the worst of it."
"That's good. How did...."
"The same way you did, our Colonel O'Neill helped him through the withdrawal."
"So we're...close...in both universes."
"Yes, you are, they are, very close...best friends." She looked down at him. "Not quite so close as you are to your O'Neill."
"Well, this didn't just happen," Daniel said, wanting to be honest but unsure of her reception of their true relationship.
"You're in very special circumstances from what I understand." She replied easily. "Your Mister O'Neill has filled us in. He and General Hammond are trying to figure out how to help you and your own reality."
"So, we can't stay here." He acknowledged, sadly. This reality seemed like such a paradise without the threat of Hathor hanging over their heads.
The Doctor looked at him regretfully. "Well, we do hope that our own Colonel O'Neill and Doctor Jackson make it home. And if they do, you'll be subject to a problem that we've encountered before. When two duplicate people occupy the same reality the newcomer suffers a physical effect we call Entropic Cascade Failure. So, when they do come back, it will be in your best interest for you to return to your reality."
"So, sooner or later, we'll have to return to Hathor." He said glumly.
The door opened into the observation room and both of them turned to see General Hammond, Major Carter, and Jack O'Neill. The two officers stopped by the Doctor and Teal'c; Jack went straight to Daniel's bedside and took his hand.
"Hi there, how are you feeling?" He smiled down at the younger man.
"Pretty good, tired but good."
"He's doing very well, Mister O'Neill." The Doctor nodded at him. "I'd say he's over the worst of it. Now he just needs to recover his strength." She glanced over at the General and the Major. "I'd say that he could be released to one of the VIP rooms. It would give him more privacy than this fish bowl."
General Hammond nodded. "That's good news, Doctor." He looked at the two men. "Of course, you understand, I'll still have to have a guard in place at your door...but not inside."
O'Neill spoke for both of them, "Thank you General, we do appreciate your consideration and your hospitality."
"Just make sure it's not misplaced, young man." Hammond was looking at Daniel. "The Doctor says you still need plenty of rest." He glanced up a Jack. "I don't know if your Daniel Jackson has the same attitude as ours, but you'll have to watch him carefully."
"From what I've heard, General, your Daniel is a bit more dynamic than mine is. Danny's had a pretty rough time of it the last couple of years." He stroked the long, light brown hair off of his forehead.
"Well," Carter spoke up as if in his defense. "I've seen his test results and there's no indication of any permanent damage. Evidently the sarcophagus kept him physically intact, if addicted." She smiled at the two men. "Once he's recovered completely, he should be as capable as our Daniel is."
"That would be wonderful, Sam." Daniel managed a shy smile. "I was afraid that I was developing some brain damage." He shook his head negatively. "I haven't been much good for anything these last couple of years."
Jack gripped his hand firmly. "That's not true, Danny. Sure, you haven't been thinking as clearly, but you had plenty of reasons to be a little confused."
"You should be find, Daniel. As I said, all you need right now is lots of rest, and you can do that in a quiet room just as well as here."
"Thank you, Doctor...Janet, I really appreciate it."
Several hours later, Daniel woke from his sleep into a nightmare. He could hear Jack talking with Teal's and Ferretti, weighing options and making decisions. He lay quietly on Janet's bunk listening.
"Okay, so who here can we trust," Jack was asking, "And it would be better if they had some clearance to move around freely."
"I'd trust Siler," Lou answered him. "He's Harsomtus's First Prime, but he's primarily loyal to Major Carter. I just wish we could get rid of the Gould."
"There are ways, Lou. Not a hundred percent safe, but ways." Jack hesitated. The problem is that you haven't made contact with a lot of our allies. They can help you. If we could hook you up with the Tok'ra, they can remove a snake and free the host.."
"But, Hathor says that nothing of the host survives."
"That's a lie, the host is still there, still fighting, and I'm willing to bet that Gould who's got Carter is having a hell of a fight on it's hands keeping control."
"But how do we get hold of these allies of yours?" Fraiser asked, "We can't use the Stargate. Hathor has control."
"Look, the first thing we have to do is kill Hathor. That'll free you to act here. Then we'll heal Hammond and get him back in charge. From then on, you can start eliminating the Gould's that she's planted here; Carter, Davis and whomever else you know."
"But how do we get to Hathor?" Lou asked worriedly. "Since Makepeace has become her First Prime...well, I'd trust him about as far as I can throw him."
"I can throw him a considerable distance, and you may trust that he will not interfere." Teal'c put in dryly.
Daniel had gotten to his feet and joined the group. "I have an idea how to get in to see Hathor."
Jack looked at him suspiciously. "Why do I think that I am so not gonna like this?"
The small group of Jaffa marched down the hallway that led to Hathor's throne room. In front was a medium sized Jaffa with a receding hairline in full armor but with his helmet retracted. Directly behind him were two others, taller and broader with the hawk visors fully formed and in place. Between them was a dazed looked young man, stripped to the waist, with a gash in his forehead being dragged at a fast pace.
Ferretti pushed the huge steel bombproof, double doors that guarded the throne room. At one time, it had been the Command Section of the SGC housing the office of Major General Hammond, the briefing room, and his administrative support personnel. Now it was the abode of the Goddess on Earth, Hathor. A large leather executive armchair served as the royal seat of power. Hathor was ensconced upon the chair, her royal robes of green velvet with jewels glimmering in her hair, on her arms, and around her throat. Next to her was her new First Prime. Robert Makepeace stood at attention, his new gold-filled tattoo gleaming in the florescent lighting of the office.
The three Jaffa and their captive approached the dais where Hathor was seated. Ferretti knelt down in front of her, head bowed in a gesture of obeisance. "My Lady."
Hathor looked down on him, then back behind him to where Daniel was barely standing, slumped over in the grip of the two guardian Jaffas. "I see that you have brought me a present, Louis." She purred.
"Yes, my Lady." Lou looked up at her with awe and worship on his face. "We found him in a storage closet. He was alone."
She got up from the chair and stepped down on the floor level. She went to where Daniel was standing. "Ah, my Beloved. We have missed you." She ran her hands across his naked chest. "We do not understand why you chose to leave us, my love."
"I went with Jack." He replied in an embarrassed tone.
"Ah, our ex-First Prime." She smiled kittenishly at him. "Do you find him more attractive than me?" She pressed her nails into his tender flesh.
"No...no...my Lady." Daniel replied, dropping his eyes.
"Did he have his way with you?" She took hold of him on the shoulder with her nails.
"What?" He raised his eyes to hers for a moment, then dropped them again. "My Lady?"
Hathor raked her nails across his chest, bringing up welts and small drops of blood oozed from the scraped skin. Daniel cringed back from the attack. He was taken hold of and held up by the two Jaffa guards. She advanced on him again. "Did he take you?" Hathor reached out and grasped his face in a hard hand. "Did he use you? Are you despoiled by him?"
"No, no, my Queen...he didn't...."
She then pulled her hand back and slapped him full on the face, snapping his head around and dropping him to the floor. "You lie! I know that he is your paramour and you, you are his catamite." She turned and went back to the chair. As she was turning around to sit, she snapped to the guards. "Take him to our quarters, and prepare him for my pleasure." Hathor directed with an imperious sweep of her hand.
Ferretti looked from her to Makepeace, trying to gauge his reaction. "No, my Lady."
"What?" Hathor repeated, unable to believe what he had heard.
The Horus guard to the right of her Beloved took a step forward over Daniel. "He said, no."
Makepeace stepped forward in front of Hathor, pounding the end of his staff weapon on the floor, "Jaffa, Kree!"
The second Horus Guard pulled his zatniketel and fired it once. "Kree this, you sorry son of a bitch!". Makepeace fell down the stairs in front of the throne, catching Jack in the nimbus of a blast from his own weapon. Jack collapsed on to the floor, but didn't lose consciousness. Hathor turned and fled to the safety of their quarters.
The other four Jaffa guards in the throne room started firing at the traitors. Ferretti went down first. Teal'c's grabbed Jack and the two made it to the shelter of the throne. In the ensuing firefight, as the two traded shots with them, Daniel staggered to his feet and followed her into her quarters behind the throne room.
There he saw her in an alcove, fumbling with a staff weapon. Even though she possessed the Goa'uld strength, the sheer size of the eight-foot staff was difficult for her to manage. As he ran forward to stop her, she saw him. As he got close, he saw too late she was wearing a ribbon device on her hand. Hathor turned the weapon on him and the jewel began to glow.
Jack and Teal'c had won, zatting the four guards unconscious. But the big Jaffa had taken a full zat blast and was uncoonscious. O'Neill immediately staggered to his feet and scanned the room for Daniel.
He didn't see him. "Daniel? Daniel? Oh crap!"
Jack suddenly knew where Daniel had gone. He picked up his zat and headed into Hathor's quarters at a determined run.
As he entered the quarters of the Goa'uld goddess, the first thing he saw was Daniel held in the grip of her ribbon device. Then, the younger man fell, and he saw Hathor turn the device towards him.
His limbs seemingly became frozen, unable to move or control them. As Jack fell to the carpeted floor, he landed so that his face was turned towards Daniel who was lying facing him with his eyes wide; conscious, frantic with fear for what was happening to them.
With her two attackers helpless, Hathor turned her back on them, ignoring her victims. She continued in her search for a weapon in the closet, obviously looking for something in particular.
Jack watched helplessly as he lay paralyzed from the ribbon device. Daniel somehow managed to get to his hands and knees and crawled over to where Jack lay helpless. He felt the younger man pulling on his boot, and find the hilt of his combat knife, pulling the knife free from its sheath. He then lurched to his feet, and stumbled towards her.
As he got within striking range, the enraged Goa'uld turned on him. "You deceitful little beast! Do you think you can betray your goddess with impunity?"
"You're nothing but a parasite..." Making a last ditch effort, Daniel lunged forward with the razor sharp knife, taking her by surprise.
She threw up her hand and activates the ribbon device. Daniel could feel it boring into his brain, but his forward momentum drove the knife deep into her right breast. Hathor screamed in pain and fury as the two of them went down in a heap.
O'Neill lay helpless, watching the scenario with horror. He watched Daniel attack the false goddess and the two of them go down in a tangle. Then, moments later, he saw Hathor push Daniel off of her. She turned the ribbon device on the unconscious man again. As Jack was trying to move, to do something to help his friend, he saw his zat gun lying unnoticed on the floor against the wall.
Hathor was saying something, whispering to Daniel as the ribbon device burned into him. He writhed in agony under her onslaught, trapped like a fly in a web, powerless extricate himself. Jack unable to even crawl, drug himself across the floor to where the weapon was lying. He had to pick it up or Daniel didn't stand a chance.
Finally Jack's fingertips reach the handle of the weapon and he pulled it to him. Wrapping his numb fingers around the grip, he rolled over. Hathor was standing over Daniel. He was contorted in agony as the ribbon device burns into his forehead. Jack could smell the burned flesh and see the blood running from his nose and ears.
He managed to turn over, pointing the weapon at the woman. O'Neill wanted to yell, scream imprecations and call curses down from heaven, but in the end, he only had time to pull the trigger mechanism, once then twice.
Hathor turned at the last moment to see him shoot her. Her face was a paroxysm of rage as her whole body glowed in a aura of light. Then she fell across Daniel Jackson's body to lie still and dead.
Jack lay his head down on the carpeted floor. He hurt, and hurt badly. How had Daniel managed to get up after being ribboned? It must have been the rage, the sheer adrenaline rush that had given the younger man the strength. Or maybe it was just hate.
He heard a noise behind him and his survival instincts took over. Jack rolled over, bringing the gun to bear on the doorway.
It was Ferretti, on his feet and leaning heavily on the door. "Jack?"
O'Neill dropped his hand back to the floor, the zatniketel suddenly very heavy.
Ferretti looked beyond him to the body of Hathor. "Is she dead?"
He nodded, instantly regretting the action. Then a thought hit him like a blow. "Daniel?" Jack rolled back over on his belly and managed to get to his hands and knees. He crawled over to the dead body of Hathor and tried to push her off Daniel. Lou staggered over and helped him to uncover the unconscious man. As Lou pulled the body away, Jack felt for a pulse on his friend. He finally found one, but it was very faint.
Ferretti came back and knelt beside the injured, lifeless man. He looked at Jack. "We need to get him to the sarcophagus."
Jack looked at him, "Do you know where it is?"
Ferretti shook his head.
"I do." An unsteady voice spoke from the doorway. It was Makepeace.
O'Neill pointed the Zat at the Marine Colonel. "Why should I trust you?"
"I know where the sarcophagus is. And if you were our O'Neill, you'd know too." Makepeace took a step into the room. "Who the hell are you, anyway?"
"I'm, Danny and me, we're from a different reality." He looked down at his unconscious friend. "In ours, we beat Hathor before she took over the SGC. Somehow, we got sent here through the Stargate." He shook his head. "I don't know how or why, but believe me, I never was a Jaffa and he, well, she basically raped him. Then she escaped through our Stargate."
Makepeace nodded. "Okay. Say I believe you." He gestured to the body several feet away. "Is she really dead?"
"Unless someone is stupid enough to put her in a damned sarcophagus she is. I zatted her twice."
The marine stepped over to where Hathor lay. He looked down at her, dropped to one knee, then pulled the knife out of her chest. He grasped her red hair, pulled her head back and slit her throat; the blood poured out onto the blue carpeted floor. Makepeace continued to put pressure on the hilt and, with a crunching sound, severed the vertebrae and the spinal cord. Once he had the head separated, the man threw it over in the corner. He stood up, stared down at the decapitated corpse for a moment, wiped the blade off on the corpse's clothes and turned away. He walked back to where Jack was crouched over Daniel and handed it back to him, hilt first. "She's dead now."
O'Neill took the knife from Makepeace with a nod. "Where's the sarcophagus?"
"In your old office." The big man knelt down by Daniel's unmoving form and started to pick him up. Jack moved the zat until it pointed at him.
"If you shoot me with that thing now, it will kill him." Makepeace said quietly, watching his shaking hand with the weapon. "Come on, let's take him and get him whole again."
O'Neill sighed and nodded. The Marine picked up Daniel and Lou helped Jack get to his feet.
Makepeace led the way carrying the comatose Jackson. Ferretti supported O'Neill as they followed him to the next office down the hallway.
When they reached the office door, Lou opened it with his security card and pushed it open. Inside in the middle of what Jack knew to be his office in his own reality, was the royal sarcophagus. All the other furniture had been removed except one armchair and one desk chair. Makepeace indicated a knob in the shape of a jackal's head with the nod of his head. "Push that button."
Lou deposited Jack in the large armchair and pushed the icon. Slowly the heavy lid divided and ground open to reveal a lighted interior. Makepeace slowly and carefully lowered the limp body into the machine. Once he had Daniel in the apparatus, he hit the icon once again and the lid closed over Daniel.
Jack looked at Makepeace, "He hates that thing."
The other man nodded. "I know, but there was no choice. He was dead."
"But he was breathing..."
"I know O'Neill; he died on the way here. I felt him go." Makepeace put his hand on the older man's shoulder. "The sarcophagus will revive him. I've seen it work before."
Jack put his head in his hands for a second then pushed them back through his hair. He took a shaky breath. And looked up at the two men. "How long until..."
Makepeace looked at him and shrugged. "Depends, I'd say an hour or so. Don't worry, he's been in it lots of time." He shook his head. "Hathor used to get her jollies out of torturing him to death on a regular basis. He was pretty badly addicted to it, well, our Daniel was anyway."
O'Neill sighed. "Mine had a run in with it too; Doc Fraiser got him straightened out. I hope this works." He looked worriedly.
"It will, don't worry." Ferretti put his hand on Jack's shoulder. "These things work miracles."
Jack looked up at him. "Yeah, right."
"Look," the smaller man said. "I want to bring the General up here."
Makepeace looked at him in amazement. "General Hammond's here?"
"Sure, he's been in security all this time." Lou nodded. "Hathor's been pumping him for information. But, he's in pretty bad shape."
O'Neill looked over at the two men. "He was dying, Lou. Doc didn't think he'd live much longer."
"I didn't even know he was still alive." Makepeace shook his head. "We need him, Ferretti. We need a leader, one that hasn't been screwed with."
"Then, he's next in the sarcophagus." The Marine Colonel stated with finality. "Where is he?"
"He's down in the cell area, with Doc Fraiser." Ferretti said, looking at O'Neill.
"You two go on," Jack waved them on. "I'll stay here. It'll take two of you to get him here anyway." He glanced at the sarcophagus. "I'm not leaving him alone."
The two men looked at him, then glanced at each other. Ferretti shrugged, "Okay, Jack, we'll be back. O'Neill didn't look away from the ornate machine that held his friend.
Teal'c escorted Jack and Daniel to the VIP room assigned to them. Once he was sure they were comfortable, he assured them that he or someone else would bring them a meal from the dining hall. Then he closed the door behind himself and they heard it lock.
Jack and Daniel looked at each other for a moment, and then Jack reached for the younger man. As they kissed, Daniel leaned into him and wrapped his arms around Jack's waist and pulled their bodies closer together. When they needed to come up for air, Daniel leaned into Jack, resting his head on the familiar shoulder.
"Our first time, with no worry about being found out, no fear of consequences, and no concerns about where she is."
"Yeah, Danny, and the first time you're normal, not strung out from that damned machine."
He looked at the Jaffa. "What difference does that make?"
"It's the first time I'm really sure you know what you're doing and with whom."
"I always knew that. I always knew you were my lifeline, my only reason for going on in the nightmare." Daniel kissed him again, softly. "That if anyone could get us out of that hellhole, it was you."
"I didn't want you to love me because you were grateful. I wanted you to love me because I was me and you were you."
"No problem there, Jack." He sighed and laid his head back on the supporting shoulder. "I've known you were you for a long time." He indicated the double bed against the wall. "Come on and I'll prove it to you."
"No?" Daniel looked at him in confusion. "NO? Why no? Why not?"
"Because." Jack answered gently. "Because you were dead...again, and you were sick because I pulled you out too early." He stroked the smooth, unmarked throat, remembering the torn, bloody flesh from before. "And because it's too soon. You need to rest. You heard Doctor Fraiser. She only just released us because they couldn't guard us, well me, properly in the infirmary, and she knew you wouldn't like the observation room. It was too public." He kissed his lover again. "Evidently, she really likes our counterparts and didn't want us to embarrass them."
"Why did they have to guard you so...well?" The younger man asked him curiously.
"See! My point exactly. You don't know why, you can't remember." He shook his head, then paused before explaining. "I did something really dumb. Their Major Carter and your counterpart must be really close here..."
"Like Sam and I were before..."
"Yeah, like that." Jack agreed, stroking his lover's face with the back of his hand. "Well, she was worried about you and came to visit. I guess I was dozing, or I would have, should have warned her." He sighed. "She touched you, you yelled, I jumped her, I suddenly had an M-16 in my face. It could have gotten really ugly."
"But they knew..."
"I don't think they had us figured out yet, Danny. If it hadn't been for Teal'c, well, I would have been in the brig, and you would have been alone." He shrugged. "But they didn't, I wasn't and you weren't."
"They know now?"
"Yeah, they know now...so Doctor Fraiser let us come here." Jack pushed back and released Daniel. "But if we do what we want to do now, that would get you back in the clinic and me, well, either way I wouldn't be happy."
A knock on the door broke them up, and after a moment Teal'c came in carrying a tray. "I am going to go and perform my kel-no-reem. You may give the empty tray to the guard outside. I am sorry that you must be secured."
"That's all right, my friend." Jack replied gratefully, "I understand completely, and so does Daniel."
"Then, I wish you a peaceful night." Teal'c nodded to them and left them alone with hot food and their privacy.
Jack had lost track of time. He might have even just drifted off, when he heard the grinding of the heavy mechanical lid as it rumbled open. Slowly, stiffly, he got up from the chair and crossed to the box. As he looked down into the interior, Daniel opened his eyes and gazed up.
O'Neill reached in and offered him his hand. "Come on, Daniel. Seeing you lying in there gives me the willies."
Daniel took his hand and clambered out. "What happened? Why was I in there? You know..."
Jack wrapped his arm around his friend and helped him out of the sarcophagus. "Not much choice..." He looked the younger man over, inspecting him. The forehead and broad chest was unmarked and there were no apparent signs of injury. "You died...again."
Daniel looked at him with wide eyes. "Oh." Still in close contact with Jack, as he got out he reached over and gave the other man a hug. "I'm okay, Jack. I feel fine."
Jack smiled at him and returned the embrace, "Yeah, yeah you do."
A noise came from the door into the hallway. Makepeace, and Teal'c came in, carrying General Hammond on a make shift litter. Ferretti and Fraiser followed closely. Lowering the stretcher, the two big men picked up the General and laid him carefully in the now empty sarcophagus. The heavy lid closed again.
Fraiser stared at the large box shaped mechanism. "I've heard of this thing, but I've never seen it."
Jack glanced from it to Daniel then to the petite physician. "It can be a miracle or a curse."
"What will he remember when he wakes up?"
Daniel answered. "He should remember everything he's seen, but nothing that occurred while he was unconscious."
"Will it cure us?" Ferretti asked hopefully.
"Yeah, it should." O'Neill answered. "Take out your symbiote and use it. It closed my pouch, so I've been told." He grimaced. "I don't remember much from when she took control of me; I seem to have blanked it out."
Ferretti looked at him. "I wish I could blank out the last four years of my life."
"Well, I can't promise that, but it will definitely get better."
Several hours later, Jack and Daniel had both been checked over by Doctor Fraiser and pronounced as good as could be expected. For someone who hadn't had the proper tools of her trade she did a creditable job of poking and prodding.
They had finally been released to rest in one of the VIP suites. Jack collapsed on the bed.
Daniel headed into the bathroom and turned on the shower. He looked out the doorway. "You don't mind if I shower first do you?"
Jack waved a hand at him. He wanted a nice long soak anyway. He could wait. But after thirty minutes were up, and he could still hear the shower running, he thought he'd better check on his friend.
Going over to the bathroom door, he tapped on the wood. There was no answer, so he pushed the door open carefully. He could see Daniel was still standing in the tub with the showerhead pointed at shoulder level. But the man was standing at the back of the bathtub with his forehead pressed up against the tile and his arms wrapped around his torso. "Daniel? Danny?"
There was no answer. Jack entered the small room approaching the steaming shower. He could see by the red color of Daniel's skin that he had the water up too hot, and that he had been in there far too long. Jack pulled the clear shower curtain back slowly, making enough noise that it wouldn't startle him, but there was no reaction. O'Neill reached in slowly and put his hand on the younger man's shoulder. "Daniel, it's time to come out, buddy."
"No," the answer was muffled and hoarse. "I have to get the blood off."
O'Neill immediately knew what was wrong, and to his way of figuring, it was overdue. "Danny, it's gone now. You're clean."
"No, I can't get it off me." Daniel complained, rubbing his hands together in the steaming water running off his hair.
Jack grasped his shoulder, and turned his friend around to face him. "Let me see," he demanded. He pulled the hands towards him and took them one in each of his. He made a great show of looking at the tops and bottoms of the water-wrinkled hands, even examining the nails and cuticles. "Hum. Yeah, I see it." Jack got in the shower with Daniel still wearing his t-shirt and trousers. He turned the water to a cooler temperature. Then he picked up the bar soap from the floor of the tub and lathered his own hands. Taking one of the other man's hands in his, he soaped it carefully getting between the fingers, under the nails and scrubbing the knuckles. He continued the scrubbing motions up Daniel's arms, across his chest, and turned the young man around. Jack proceeded to wash his shoulders, down the back, the ass, and down the long legs careful to not miss an inch. He turned the young man around and went to work on the feet, careful to lift them up and soap the soles and toes also. Then back up the front of the legs, to the groin area. Jack took a deep breath and lightly soaped the shriveled genitals. Moving quickly, he went on to the flat belly, and the broad chest. Going up Daniel's throat to his face he used only soft touches careful of the reddened skin. Finally, Jack lathered the short brown hair. He turned Daniel back under the water and sprayed him down rinsing off all his carefully applied soap.
Jack moved his friend back to the back of the tub. He pulled his own sopping clothes off and did a quick cleaning job on himself. Finishing his shower, he turned off the water and grabbed a towel. After a speedy drying of his own body, he wrapped the towel around his waist. Jack then turned to Daniel again and led him out of the shower grabbing another towel on the way out. A quick wipe down and then he piloted his friend to the double bed, pulled back the covers and parked him there.
"Danny," Jack tilted his face until the blue eyes met his. "I'm gonna get us some food. I know there's some around here somewhere. So stay put, okay? Go to sleep if you want to. I'll be right back."
Daniel nodded, amazingly appearing to understand his direct order. Jack pushed him down into the bed and pulled the sheet up over his nude body.
Rummaging in the cabinets, he found a robe to cover himself until he could find some dry clothes. Then he headed to the dining hall. There were some cooks on duty and he ordered two bowls of what appeared to be a casserole, some bread, and some juice in bottles. Well, even Jaffa have to eat, he supposed.
On the way back to their room, O'Neill ran into Ferretti who was carrying their packs and clothing that had been left behind. "Great, Lou. You are a lifesaver!"
"Hey, got to keep the heroes happy. When General Hammond gets out of the box, we'll start going in ourselves and see if the de-jaffaing works. If it does, there's gonna be a party to end all parties...then the real work starts."
Jack nodded. "Hopefully, you can recall the goulded personnel and either kill them or...maybe even save them."
"Save them? That would be great, but...how?"
Jack grimaced. "That's a little complicated. Right now, I've got to get back to Danny. He's having a hard time with this; I don't want to leave him alone too long."
Lou nodded. "I understand...go on back to him. He needs you right now."
"How do you know that?" Jack looked at his quizzically.
"I don't know how it is in your world, but our Jack kept this Daniel alive and sane these last few years. If they hadn't...well, you know been so close, he would have been dead a long time ago."
"Lou, are you saying...that they were uh-are lovers?"
"Look, Jack, I don't know if they ever actually consummated it, 'cause of her. But, they're in love, yeah." Ferretti looked at him knowingly. "I'd say that's why they ran, to get Daniel away from her." He shook his head. "She'd killed him again, ripped his throat out in front of a bunch of us. Then she made Jack carry him back to the sarcophagus. It was horrible."
O'Neill could only close his eyes and exhale. He could imagine how he would feel doing the same thing, and he and Daniel weren't even lovers. "Thanks for telling me, Lou. Look I've got to get back..."
"Yeah, listen, take good care of him. We'll figure something out. Siler, and Harsomtus, they're due back tomorrow. Maybe he'll have some ideas."
Jack nodded. "Oh... you should probably burn the body."
"I think Makepeace has some plans. Don't worry about that."
"Oh no. Thank you." Lou saluted and left O'Neill to his thoughts.
After their evening meal was finished, Jack opted for a shower. After he had finished, Daniel went into the bathroom and ran water into the tub. It had been a long time since he had felt comfortable enough in his surroundings to let down his guard. It had always been a quick shower and out. He marveled at how good this simple pleasure was. He found some shampoo sitting on the shelf in the tub area, and felt appreciative of the thoughtful person who had brought it. Dampening his long hair, he applied the scented soap and scrubbed his scalp.
There was a quick tap on the door and Jack stuck his head in. "Here," he showed Daniel a plastic bottle. "Major Carter brought it, said she thought you would need it. She apologized for forgetting it earlier." He shrugged, "evidently their Daniel has short hair."
"She did this?" He looked around and saw more of the little touches that spoke of a kind and thoughtful person.
"Yeah, I guess Doctor Fraiser told her we were being released and before we got here, she brought in some stuff." He pointed to the sink area. "She got new toothbrushes and everything."
"That's so nice," Daniel said with a thoughtful smile.
Jack looked at him seriously. "She said to say she was sorry for scaring you half to death in the clinic. I got to apologize for throwing her up against the wall."
The other man leaned back in the tub and relaxed with a sigh. "This place seems like paradise compared to ours. I wish we could stay."
O'Neill had ambled in and was leaning against the wall. "I know, but from what I'm figuring out, we may have actually switched places with our alternate selves. The Jack and Daniel who belong here are in our nightmare right now." He shook his head. "We can't do that to them, Danny."
"How did we get here anyway?"
"Well, I got Siler to help me steal that thingamajig from Harsomtus. We turned it on and I carried you through. Honestly I didn't know if we'd come out the other end or not." He looked at the other man, "you'd better get out of there. You're getting all pruney."
"Okay," he ducked his head under the water and rinsed out the soap. He stood up, pulled the plug and Jack reached over and handed him the conditioner. He stood a moment and admired the slim body standing nude in front of him. "You're making this very hard on me, you know."
Daniel poured some conditioner in his hand and looked at it for a second. "You know, I've heard that you can do a lot of different things with this."
"Danny, stop it. You're torturing me."
"Well you said it was getting very hard on you." He looked over at the other man. "I just thought that this might...stimulate...some ideas."
"Jack...come on...." Daniel began to rub his hands together. Then he reached down and took his own partially erect organ in his hand. "You know you want to. You remember how wonderful it was. It seems like such a long time ago...before it all changed for us."
"Yeah, I do. But I can't have you. Fraiser will have a fit."
"But did she say anything about you?"
Daniel reached over to the shower controls and turned on the fine spray. It washed down through the fine blond hair that reached half way down his back. Jack itched to take it in his hands. "Then come on in, the water is just fine."
When Jack arrived back at the VIP room, Daniel had already fallen asleep on the double bed. Looking at him, he decided that the sleep would do his friend more good than the food. Jack placed the other bowl in the rooms small refrigerator.
After he finished his casserole and coffee, he reached into his pack and found his t-shirt and boxers. He definitely didn't want two naked men in the same bed. Daniel did not need the trauma.
He turned out the light and climbed in bed with the younger man. He had no doubt that soon Daniel would be curled up against him seeking warmth and security. It always happened after a hard scary day. He didn't mind really, in fact he kind of liked it himself. Jack had always known himself to be a tactile sort of guy. He had always found it interesting that the daytime touch-me-not Daniel Jackson turned into a coddler at night.
He rolled over and leaned up on his elbow, watching Daniel in the dim light of the room. The perfect profile was available because the younger man was now on his back, and getting closer to his heat source. Jack had to wonder; they had been to two different universes now where they were lovers. How weird was that? Would he, could he ever feel that way about his best friend? In the first alternate place, they were both on Abydos and married to cousins Sha'uri and Seja. They both had children and seemed very much in love with their wives. The last reality had put them back in the SGC but the wrong one. Daniel had gone, died, ascended, or whatever, and that Jack had missed him very much. It had turned out they had been lovers, and the two things that his alternate self had told him was not to let the same fate happen to his Danny, and to not be afraid of loving him. Now, in this nightmarish SGC, they were partners again. But here, it had been Daniel who was the needy one, depending on his Jack to support and protect him from the bitch, Hathor.
It was a thought indeed. Oh, here comes the roll, Daniel was now facing him only inches away from direct contact. The brow scrunched in a dream, the eyes closed but now they were doing the REM dance, and the lips slightly parted. It was an attractive face, not feminine at all, but very masculine in a youthful, or was it an innocent, way? Then a moan and another half turn. Jack suddenly had an armful of sleeping linguist. He smiled to himself and stroked the soft hair, tucking his Danny safely under his chin. What was a little hug between friends, anyway?
The next morning after a night of love, Jack and Daniel were awakened by a knock on their door. Jack pulled his jumpsuit on and opened the door. It was Teal'c with their breakfast and some news.
"General Hammond would like you to come to his office. He wishes a conference to determine how you arrived here and the possibility of returning our O'Neill and Danieljackson to us."
"And what to do about us." Daniel commented wryly, sitting up in bed with the sheet pulled up around his waist.
"This is so. While we do not wish harm to come to you, we do want the safe return of our personnel." Teal'c bowed his head respectfully to the two men. "I will return to escort you to him in one hour."
Jack glanced back at the other man. "Come on, let's eat, Danny."
"I think I've lost my appetite." He lay back down on the pillow. "Jack, I won't go back there again. I'll stay here or go somewhere else, but not there."
"Look," Jack came back over to the bed and grasped his lover by the arms pulling him to a sitting position. He pushed the long hair back away from Danny's face "W e may have to go back to get their men, but we don't have to stay there. There are other planets, you know. Other places we can go."
"I want to live near a volcano." Daniel looked down, his hands twisting the sheet in a knot.
"A volcano?" Jack looked at Daniel in surprise, "Why a volcano?"
The younger man took a deep breath and looked directly at his partner. "Because if I see Hathor coming, I'm going to jump in. It's the only way that I can think of to really finally escape her."
Jack leaned over and kissed the younger man's forehead. "That's not gonna happen, Daniel. I promise."
"Don't lie to me." The blue eyes fixed steadily on him. "You can't stop her. You've tried."
"These people aren't like that, Danny. They won't sacrifice us; it'll be okay."
"Are you sure this is going to work, O'Neill?" Makepeace asked worriedly.
"Well, I'm sure we can zat her into unconsciousness." O'Neill glanced over at Makepeace. "If you're worried, you might want to take your decoration down off that stick. He motioned to the second floor landing from the observation room. Hathor's head was displayed there, impaled upon the long pike of a Jaffa Staff Weapon.
"No," Makepeace shook his head resolutely. "It'll be a good distraction when she comes out of the Stargate...and I like the looks of it up there."
O'Neill nodded, "I understand...Robert, I really do."
They were waiting for Harsomtus to return to the SGC. O'Neill and Makepeace had their men stationed at intervals around the Gateroom all armed with zats and all ready to take down their old comrades and the Goa'uld who had been Captain Carter. Jack looked over at Daniel and smiled reassuringly at his friend.
"And you have a plan for Captain Carter?" Makepeace asked curiously.
"The next thing is a little trickier. Daniel knows the co-ordinates to a planet in our universe where they had a device, a kind of force field that would destroy the symbiote in the host safely. It doesn't exist in ours anymore, but we're thinking it might still be here in yours." He looked over at Daniel, who nodded. "The key is the ones that take her can't be Jaffa either, or they'll be taken as well."
The Stargate began to rotate, the symbols counted out, then on schedule the wormhole formed and the portal activated. The armed men readied themselves.
After the matter flux cleared, a MALP trundled itself down the ramp. O'Neill and Makepeace stood up and cautiously approached the machine. The camera scanned both men and a familiar voice emanated from its speaker. "Colonel O'Neill, it's good to see you again. We've been very worried about you."
O'Neill smiled and relaxed. "General Hammond, it's good to hear your voice again."
"Is Doctor Jackson with you and what is your status?"
"Yes, Sir, he is." Jack waved Daniel over to the MALP's camera. "Presently we're safe and in fairly good condition. We've had an interesting time here though."
"I bet you have, Colonel." The General's voice answered dryly. "We have your counterparts here. It's been a little interesting on this side too."
"Oh, there was a transfer? We weren't sure."
"Yes, uh, Mister O'Neill has briefed us on the situation in his universe. How is it that you're in the Gateroom?" A pause as Daniel arrived at O'Neill's side. "Oh, there you are, Doctor Jackson. I'm pleased to see you're all right."
"Thank you, General. Yes Sir, I'm pretty much okay."
"Well, Sir. We've staged a military coup. Our forces have successfully assassinated Hathor and captured Harsumtus. We located your counterpart, and that of Doctor Fraiser, and have insured their safety. We are presently awaiting Carter and hopefully she can be freed of the Gould's influence."
"Very good, Colonel. Do you have a plan to do that?"
"Right now, we're looking at sending her through to Cimmeria and hope there's a Thor's Hammer there."
"And the other personnel who've been turned into Jaffa?"
"They have a working sarcophagus, Sir. They're going to try that and see if it works on them." He looked back over his shoulder. "This Teal'c thinks it may work as they haven't been Jaffas for a real long time. He doesn't think it'll work for him. Makepeace here has volunteered to try it first."
"Understood, Colonel." There was some background discussion, and then Hammond turned back to the microphone. "Teal'c has volunteered to come over to help you. Do you need his assistance?"
"No, Sir. Not now." Jack looked over at Daniel. "His counterpart is here and I don't want to put him at risk."
"Understood, and concur. We'll leave the MALP so that we can communicate with you further.
It had been very strange to hear General Hammond's voice coming from the MALP's speakers, but comforting to know that their SGC was there and waiting for them to return. He smiled at Daniel who was standing next to him. "We're getting closer, Daniel."
"I wonder what they're doing right now?" The younger man commented thoughtfully.
"Hopefully getting the other Jack and Daniel ready to switch places with us." Jack glanced around. "I want to get this over with and out of here back to our own reality."
Several hours later, Hammond had called a meeting of the minds in his briefing room. General Hammond looked at the people seated in front of him. Jack O'Neill was there dressed in an SGC jumpsuit, playing with his coffee cup; Daniel Jackson, his long blond hair braided in a queue staring intensely at a notebook and playing with a pencil; Sam Carter with a set of complex blueprints; Teal'c in his usual position with his inscrutable expression; and Doctor Fraiser going over her notes getting ready for her presentation.
"All right people, what do we have?" He looked at the physician who put her pencil down and began. She glanced at the two men seated across from her. "Sir, both Mister O'Neill and Mister Jackson are now in relatively good health. Mister O'Neill is healthy due to his symbiote's healing abilities. His physiology is very similar to what I see with Teal'c and he will probably live an extended lifespan because of its presence. Mister Jackson..."
"Doctor...doctor." O'Neill interrupted her. "He's Doctor Jackson. I may not be a Colonel here, but he is still a Doctor."
Janet appeared surprised at the interruption and revelation and it disrupted her train of thought for a moment. She began again. "Yes, of course, I'm sorry...Doctor Jackson has recovered from his sarcophagus addiction. A few of his readings are still a little off from those of our Doctor Jackson, but he is relatively healthy now. Ordinarily, if he were my patient, I would recommend a period of therapy and monitoring." She shrugged and looked at the General. "But I don't know what the future plans are." She glanced back at Jack. "He does need to have a quiet period of adjustment to regain his mental and physical stability."
Hammond nodded at her report. "Major Carter?"
"Well, General, as you know, using these blueprints from Colonel O'Neill's power enhancer that he built while under the influence of the Ancient's machine, we...it gave the gate enough power to shift the wormhole through to the alternate reality and allow the MALP to go through. It should be able to send them home."
"Wait just a minute, Carter." O'Neill interrupted her. "We don't want to go home. We don't want to go back to Hathor!" He looked at Hammond. "Sir, is that your plan? To send us back?"
"Yes, it is Mister O'Neill, but...." Hammond looked at Daniel who had snapped his pencil in half at the pronouncement.
Jack glanced at Daniel. The younger man had blanched very pale at his words. "Sir, while I appreciate...."
"No! I'm not going back there. You've got to understand...I can't." Daniel said softly to the table's surface.
"Please, Doctor Jackson, let me explain." Hammond tried again.
"There's nothing to explain," Daniel intoned softly, staring at the table's surface. "I won't go back.
"He can't go back!" Jack said loudly. "Didn't I tell you what would happen! What she would do to us!"
"Mister O'Neill, Doctor Jackson, please settle down." Hammond looked at them kindly, calmly. "I told you I would not return you to a hostile situation. We have been in contact with our O'Neill and Jackson. Hathor is dead! They have successfully established control and are in the process of turning it over to the proper personnel." He spoke gently to Daniel. "Son, I'm not going to sacrifice you, I'm just sending you back to your own world. It will be safe for you to go back. Doctor Jackson, I assure you that you will be in no danger. If the situation there has not improved, you will be brought back and relocated."
"What about Harsumtus?" O'Neill asked.
"They were making preparations for her reception. Once they capture her, she'll be taken to a planet known as Cimmeria. There is a device there that we believe will free your Captain Carter from the Gould."
"But you've already said that we can't stay here when your people return...isn't that right, Major Carter?" Daniel asked harshly.
"No! I won't go back!" Daniel stood up from the briefing table. "Just kill me now. At least here I can stay dead!" He turned and stalked out of the room, the SF assigned to them following.
Everyone sat around the table silently for a few moments. Finally, Jack stood up. "I'm sorry, General, but you have to understand Danny. He's been through a lot."
"We can only imagine the horror that young man has had to endure, Mister O'Neill. I do understand, but I cannot abandon my own people in your world."
"Yes, Sir." Jack nodded sadly. "I understand that. Let me go talk to him, General."
"Of course, Mister O'Neill."
The Stargate started to engage again. Makepeace's men scattered back to their original hiding places. The Stargate began to rotate, the symbols counted out, then on schedule the wormhole formed and the portal activated. Once the kawoosh cleared, the armed men readied themselves. The ex-Master Sergeant Siler, First Prime of Harsumtus, led the way out of the wormhole, followed by two other Jaffa and finally, the Goa'uld herself.
The first thing she saw was the severed head of Hathor. Surprised, she stood there a moment then pointed at it. She screamed in rage. "Find out who has done this!" Suddenly, she was hit by zatfire and fell from the ramp of the Stargate. A volley of blasts from the attackers felled a few of the surrounding Jaffa guards then O'Neill came out from behind his barricade. "Hold your fire! Don't hit them a second time. Stand down!"
At his actions and as all of her guard scattered, Makepeace stood up also and shouted at the fleeing men. "Stand down, stand down, all SGC personnel stand down." Slowly men began to reassemble in the Gateroom.
The two Colonels, O'Neill and Makepeace, went down onto the floor itself. O'Neill waved the men in. "Hathor is dead! You are safe from her retribution." As Makepeace gathered the men around him, O'Neill went to check on Harsumtus/Carter. Daniel went to Siler, who had also been caught in the zatfire.
Jack found that Carter had apparently only suffered the one full frontal hit and was unconscious, as he had hoped. He picked up her limp body and placed her on the waiting gurney. Some of Makepeace's men put chains and cuffs on the unconscious woman's body, then headed to the security cell area. Harsumtus needed to be secured before she regained consciousness. He turned back to Daniel who was helping Siler to a sitting position. The man hadn't taken a direct hit, but had been caught in the nimbus of the blast. While stunned he had not completely lost consciousness.
Jack knelt down and put his hand on the NCO's shoulder. "How are you doing, Sergeant?" Siler was rubbing his head and looking at them in confusion. "I thought you said that you weren't coming back?"
Jack looked from him to Daniel. "They didn't, we did."
"I don't understand?" Siler looked still dazed, whether from the near miss of the zatblast or Daniel's cryptic comment, he couldn't say.
They helped the NCO to his feet. Daniel patted him on the shoulder. "I'll tell you in a bit. But don't worry, we don't want to hurt Sam."
The older man nodded, then looked at him in concern. "How are you, Doctor Jackson?"
"I'm okay now." Daniel assured the dazed man, "Come on. Let's get you down to Doctor Fraiser."
Jack went looking for Daniel, Teal'c following behind. His first stop was their shared VIP guest quarters, and after having no luck there he went to the other Daniel's office. Again the man was not to be found. A quick trip through the dining facility, Teal'c's quarters, the infirmary, and Carter's lab yielded no success. Finally, the two Jaffas stopped and looked at each other. "I don't know Teal'c." Jack admitted finally. "There aren't very many other places that he could go. The SFs wouldn't let him out of the mountain would they?"
"No, O'Neill, they would not." The big man answered him. "Though you were their main concern."
"That's not good, Teal'c." O'Neill looked pensive. "Just because he looks sweet and innocent doesn't mean he can't be devious in his own way. I'm afraid I've been a bad influence on him."
"It is so with our O'Neill and Danieljackson as well. Occasionally we have learned this through experience much to our chagrin." Teal'c nodded somberly. "But in our universe, Danieljackson has also sometimes been overwhelmed by circumstances beyond his control. He has been known to go to ground in places that are often overlooked."
"Hum, that's true." Jack leaned back against the wall. "Someplace private...someplace dark...." He glanced at Teal'c. "Someplace we would never think of looking...someplace like...a supply closet, one of the big ones down on the lower levels."
"It is so." The big man nodded. "He goes there occasionally to retrieve accumulated objects before they are sent to Area 51. Once while recovering from his own sarcophagus addiction, O'Neill found our own Danieljackson there. It is usually sought as his last place of safety."
Jack looked at him and nodded. "Let's go."
They started checking the closets, as the two men opened the door on the third room down, a dim light shown in the rear of the small cubical. Jack nodded to the other man and entered alone. Behind them, Teal'c pulled the door shut and assumed guard position.
Daniel was standing in the semi-darkness; the only light in the room was from the flashlight he had found there. His own reality had places like this, but they were mostly forgotten after Hathor arrived and took control of his SGC, he had loved to come down here where all the wonderful things that the SG teams located on the different worlds were packed away after they were examined. Many of the objects belonged in museums, but they would have to stay safely stored here in the darkness until such a day as it was deemed prudent to let the rest of this world know about the Stargate project.
He was holding such an artifact in his hand now. It was an obsidian knife from a world occupied by the descendants of the Mayans. It had been originally used as a sacrificial blade by the priests of that culture. It was very sharp and would cut deep. He heard the door open softly behind him.
"Daniel." Jack saw the man turn to face him. He was holding something in his hands. It glittered blackly in the muted shine of the flashlight.
"I'm not going back there. I can't."
"Daniel, what's that?" Jack asked conversationally.
Equally calm, Daniel answered him. "It's a sacrificial knife. It was used by the Mayan Priests to cut out the hearts of captured warriors to honor Kukulcan, Chac, Quatzequatel and Yumil Kaxob." He sounded like he was teaching a class in ancient history. "The Priests would cut just here." He moved the blade to his chest where he had partially unzipped the top of his jumpsuit to reveal his bare skin. "Then, they would pull the still beating heart out to offer up to the god." Daniel smiled easily. "I'm no warrior, but maybe they won't mind a geek."
Jack took a step towards him. "Daniel, don't. You don't have to do this. Hathor's dead."
"Yeah, well, so? She's been dead before, Jack. So have I. So have you. So what?"
"No, Danny. She's really dead. O'Neill said so. I believe him."
"Well, Jack." Daniel shook his head. "I don't."
O'Neill took a few steps towards his friend. "Danny, she's really dead. Hammond's back in charge. They're gonna take Harsumtus and free Carter." He searched his mind for something to hold Daniel with. "Danny, they need us."
"No, Jack. They need you...the Colonel, the hero, the fighter. They don't want me." He took a deep breath. "All I am is Hathor's whore."
"That's not true," this was bad and getting worse. "They all know you tried over and over...and you died! A lot more times than I want to remember."
"Yes, and how many time do I have to lose to prove to you that I am useless."
Jack knew he had to do something now. "Daniel, I love you. I'm not going anywhere without you. You die here, and I do too." He took another step. "Remember last night? That was us, Danny. Not the Archaeologist, not the Colonel, but Daniel and Jack. One body, one heart, one soul. I can't leave half of myself here to die." Another step. "If you don't go, then I don't either. But I don't want to die yet. I want to win, to live and to love some more." He took the final step and gently took the knife out of the other man's hand. Jack laid it down on the shelf behind him. "And to do that, I need you." Jack took Daniel in his arms and pulled him close so that the other man could rest his head on his shoulder. "I've seen you fight against Hathor. Come with me. Give me that reason to keep on. Be by my side."
"I'm just tired, Jack. I'm so tired." The younger man slumped into his love's arms. "I just want to rest somewhere."
"I know, Danny." He held his lover close and rocked back and forth, gently running his hand from Daniel's nape to hip. "But, look, you're well, and she's dead, Daniel, gone. It'll be different, I promise. We'll be building something again. Come with me. Don't run from me...'cause I'll follow...wherever you go."
Daniel wrapped his arms around Jack and sighed. Finally, he spoke into other man's shoulder "Okay...I'll try."
"That's all I can ask. Together we can't fail."
O'Neill approached the table where Daniel, Siler and several other technicians were bent over examining an awkward boxlike mechanism. "So, this is it?"
Siler nodded. "Yes, Sir. Captain Carter had started working on this naquadah generator to assist in powering the Stargate when we had power fluctuations. Then, after... well, Harsumtus took an interest in it. She had some insights into its potential that the Captain and I hadn't been aware of. With Captain Carter as her host, the Gould had been able to complete the generator and get it operational." He looked over at the two men. "O'Neill came to me and explained what he wanted to do, so I agreed to help him with his plan."
"I don't understand. Why would you risk so much to help them?" Daniel asked the older man.
Siler looked embarrassed. "Look, Doctor Jackson. I like you...him... and quite frankly I couldn't stand to see the way Hathor treated him. Somebody had to do something...and when the Colonel wanted to take him and go...well, I agreed to help." He looked back down at the machine. "I knew Harsumtus would protect me if she ever found out. I believe that there's a lot of the Captain still in there, and she pushes until she gets her way." He looked back up at them. "And she's never treated us the way Hathor treated her Jaffa." He glanced at his men. "We were really lucky...but we want Sam Carter back."
Daniel nodded. "We do too, Sergeant, for all of our sakes."
Jack looked over at Jackson. "So, will it work?"
Daniel looked to the ex-NCO. "So, will it work?"
Siler smiled at them. "Oh, yeah. It'll work. Captain Carter built it. We tweaked it. You can bet your life on it."
O'Neill cocked his head and smiled sweetly. "We just did."
The following day, O'Neill, Jackson, Makepeace, Fraiser, Teal'c and Hammond were gathered in the dining hall. Hammond's office was being refurnished back to its Spartan military decor. Captain Carter was confined to the very cell that Hammond had lived in for the past five years. She would stay there until her planned trip to Cimmeria.
Hammond looked fairly good. He had lost weight during his years of incarceration, but the sarcophagus had cured his injuries and illnesses. Fraiser was pleased with his recovery.
Makepeace had also been returned to normal. He had volunteered to be the test case to see if the machine could return him to a human state. It had worked remarkably well. With the symbiote removed, the sarcophagus had treated his pouch as an open wound, successfully closing and healing the artificially created pocket in his abdomen. He bore an unusual scar but that seemed to be the only reminder of his alteration.
Fraiser herself had refused treatment by the machine. As a doctor, she had been too dangerous to implant with a possible competitor, and she was too small to be a successful Jaffa. She had been left alone and allowed to treat the wounds of the other captives and Jaffa if they weren't injured enough to warrant the use of the sarcophagus.
Hammond began. "Gentlemen and Doctor Fraiser, I cannot begin to thank you for all that you've done for me in the past several years. I know it was accomplished at great personal risk. And we must thank our visitors here for their efforts in our behalf"
O'Neill and Jackson looked uncomfortable at the praise. Jack spoke up. "General, really, all we want to do is to get back home. To do that, we had to do this. It was in our own best interest."
Hammond smiled at them. "Be that as it may, gentlemen, in helping yourself, you've also liberated this base from alien incursion, not to mention ultimately saving all our lives. With Hathor dead and Harsumtus imprisoned, we have rejoined the world. Once Siler and his technicians get the power accelerator back on line we will be more than happy to see you get home safely."
Jack continued with Daniel's encouraging nod. "Since they figure it will take a day or two to get the generator running again after the overload that our counterparts caused by their escape, we'd like to try to do one more thing before we leave."
"Oh, and that would be?"
This time Daniel spoke up. "We want to take Sam to Cimmeria and see if the Thor's Hammer exists here in this reality." He continued "There is one in ours, and hopefully it has a counterpart here in yours." At the look of confusion, he explained. "It's a device that can kill the Goa'uld inside her and return her to her old self."
"How do you plan to get her there without the generator?" Hammond questioned.
"Oh, you don't need the generator, General," Daniel assured him. "It should be just a normal power requirement. It was one of the first planets we visited."
"How do you know there's even such a place as Cimmeria here?" Makepeace interjected. "Or that one of these devices exists there?"
"Well, if the dialing address works, we'll go through taking Carter with us." Jack said. "If the device is there and functioning, it will transport her to the cave where the hammer exists. Then, if it's successful we'll go get her and bring her back."
"And if it works?" Fraiser asked curiously.
"Well, that's why we have to go with her," Jack replied. "to be sure that it does work, and to bring Captain Carter back here to you."
Hammond asked the next question. "And if it doesn't work?"
Jack and Daniel glanced at each other then looked directly at the General. O'Neill spoke the words that had to be said. "Then I'll kill her myself and bury her there. I won't allow Samantha Carter's suffering to continue."
Jack and Daniel were standing in the Gateroom together. Wearing the BDU uniforms of the SGC and bullet proof vests, they were both armed with zatniketels, and nine millimeter pistols. They also carried assorted other survival items. Even though the other Jack O'Neill had assured them of Hathor's demise, they were taking no chances.
The two had spent the night lying in each others' arms planning their actions. Jack had sworn to Daniel that at the first hint of Hathor's presence he would discharge the zat into his lover three times, not only killing Daniel, but destroying his body. Jack would then turn the automatic pistol into his pouch killing himself, destroying the Goa'uld larva and his capability of sustaining another of its kind. He wouldn't survive Daniel only for seconds. He figured that Hathor would use him as a warning to other Jaffa and leave him dead as useless goods.
The Stargate began its activation, and as they went past the first seven chevrons and began dialing the extra three, Jack looked around the Gateroom. General Hammond, Major Carter and various technicians were up in the command observation deck. In the room itself stood Teal'c and a few S.F.s. He decided that his counterpart could handle the fallout from his next actions. Jack took his Daniel's arm and pulled him close, gently kissing him sweetly on the mouth. "I love you, Daniel Jackson. No matter what happens on the other side. You are the bravest man I know."
Daniel closed his eyes and returned the demure kiss shyly, unused to the public display of affection. "And I love you, Jack. Wherever you lead, I'll follow."
As the wormhole formed and the backwash dissipated, the two travelers turned, waved and stepped through the Stargate.
As the planning briefing was coming to an end, someone knocked emphatically on the closed door. One of the technicians entered, managing to look both flustered and concerned. "Sirs, the Stargate is activating and the iris is still non-functioning. We have no way to lock out any invaders."
Hammond got to his feet immediately, his chair falling behind him. "Are the Security troops in place?"
"Yes, sir. Just like they're supposed to be."
"Good, good." He looked around the table, his calm voice cutting through the tension. "Well, folks, lets go see who's coming to visit."
As the Command Group arrived at the observation deck, Daniel pointed to the Stargate itself. "General, it's dialing ten chevrons."
Hammond nodded. "I see that, son. We may just be getting another transmission from your-uh- reality." At his nod Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c headed for the floor and started towards the MALP still standing in its original position by the ramp. They were startled, however, when two armed, BDU clad figures emerged from the wormhole. Recognizing them from his better viewing position, Hammond immediately called out the stand down order.
Hammond activated the loudspeaker system. "Welcome home, boys. Welcome home."
The two people stopped at the top of the ramp and surveyed their surroundings. One was standing slightly behind the other. The leader nodded his relief to his companion and pointed up at Makepeace's macabre trophy. The second man saw the mounted head of Hathor still displayed on its staff above the Gateroom floor. He staggered slightly and grasped the other's arm. The first turned and caught his companion around the shoulders.
"Daniel! Danny?" Jack supported him with strong arms, wrapping them around the younger man. "Danny, It's okay." He helped his lover to sit down on the ramp before he fell.
"Is it...is it really...her?" Daniel managed to say.
Jack crouched down and looked at him with concern. At Daniel's question, he glanced back over his shoulder to confirm his earlier observation. "Oh, yeah, I'd say it's her all right." He returned his attention to the younger man. "You okay?"
"I guess it was just a...shock." He leaned his forehead against Jack's chest for a moment then raised it to look again. "It's not everyday your prayers are answered."
Jack kissed him on the top of his head and hugged him tightly. "Danny, if ever anyone deserved to have a prayer answered its you..." He helped Daniel back to his feet and the two turned around to look again. "and if there was ever a wish to be granted...baby, this is it!"
Daniel breathed a soul deep sigh and leaned heavily on Jack.
Jack O'Neill strode up the ramp from the floor. "It's about damn time you showed up. You've got a hell of a lot of explaining to do, mister!
Jack O'Neill looked down at him with a grin and a headshake. "Yeah, well, I guess I do at that."
"Honestly, I had no idea that our leaving would cause anything like this." The Jaffa O'Neill was speaking to his alternate twin. They were back in Hammond's makeshift briefing room in the dining facility. Looking at the two men sitting side by side they were still almost identical with only a few noticeable differences. The Jaffa looked slightly younger, his hair still mostly brown and a bit heavier of build than his still totally human counterpart. Scars were fewer and less noticeable than on the other Jack who was presently glaring across the table at him.
It was the two Daniels who showed the most shocking differences, though they were closer in physiology. The Daniel that had just returned to this, his own reality, appeared a decade older. His hair, long and pulled back in a braid, had some strands of gray showing. His face was still relatively unlined but his eyes appeared ancient, haunted as if he had seen things that no mortal man should. The years of abuse and addiction had marked him irrevocably even as the sarcophagus had revived him.
The other Daniel smiled over at him. "It's all turned out for the best, Jack." This younger looking man give the impression of being more vital in both body and spirit. He was more muscular and his short-cropped hair was still its original golden brown color.
"For the best hell, Daniel. You fucking died again! Remember!" Jack was not so easily appeased as his friend.
"Oh, God. I'm sorry!" Appalled, the other O'Neill apologized profusely. "I had no idea that you were in transit. I wasn't even sure it would work with Carter's machine."
"Then why did you risk going through the damn wormhole if you weren't sure?" Jack demanded.
"It was because of me." The older looking Daniel said quietly drawing the attention to himself. "He was trying to get me away from her." He looked over at his partner. "The last thing I remember, she had me by the throat, then Jack was carrying me to the Stargate." He shook his head, "I must have passed out again during the transition because I woke up in your Gateroom."
"Damned bitch had ripped his throat out, literally." Jack scrubbed his face with his hands and ran them through already tousled hair. "I couldn't take anymore, watching her torture him. I had talked to Siler already and he agreed to help me get him away. He warned me that we could maybe not even rematerialize," he reached over and took his Daniel's hand in his, "but at least then we'd really be dead, and it would be over."
Daniel looked around the table. "That was all I really wanted. Just to really die, and not be reanimated again." He shook his head. "You have no idea...I feel like some sort of Frankenstein's monster."
"Daniel, stop it." His O'Neill shook their joined hands. "That won't happen again. She's dead...gone...really gone."
The longhaired Daniel looked up from the table to his Jack. "It seems like a dream, the end of a long horrible nightmare."
"Well, it is over now." The younger looking Daniel smiled easily at his doppelganger. "And now we have to get Sam out of her nightmare."
The silver haired Jack looked at his twin. "And you...you have an appointment with the sarcophagus. That is unless you want to stay a Jaffa."
The other Jack O'Neill looked over at him. "Show me the way, brother, just show me the way."
O'Neill did not look happy as he climbed into the sarcophagus. Lou Ferretti smiled down at him and his discomfiture. "Don't worry, Colonel. It doesn't hurt a bit. Just a nap, then voila, no more pouch."
Jack glanced over at the larva that he had carried that was now squirming in a jar of liquid. "Good, and the quicker the better." He glanced over at Daniel. His lover had come with him in to the room. "Don't go away, okay."
"I'll be here waiting for you, Jack. You can't get rid of me this easily." Daniel smiled encouragingly at O'Neill.
"I sure hope not, Buddy." Jack nervously smiled up at him from within the mechanism. "I need you to be here when I get out of this box."
Daniel reached in and squeezed his hand. "Piece of cake, just take a little nap. Tomorrow is going to be a much better day...you wait and see."
"Don't you worry about a thing, Colonel," Lou said positively. "You'll feel much better after it's all over. Like a new man."
"Good. I didn't like the old one much." Jack groused.
As the heavy divided lid began to close over O'Neill, Daniel removed his hand from Jack's grasp. Their eyes met a last time as the sarcophagus swallowed the older man and Jack mouthed the words, I love you. Daniel nodded, their eyes keeping their connection until his view was blocked.
Ferretti put his hand on the younger man's shoulder. "He'll be fine, Daniel. You'll see."
"I know, Lou. He'll be fine." But his thoughts ran on. //He'll be fine. He'll be well. He'll be different. He'll be changed. He won't want me anymore. //
Ferretti smiled gently at his friend. "You gonna wait here?"
At the nod from the other man, Lou patted him on the shoulder. "I figured you would. I'll be back to check on you in a couple of hours or so. That's how long it's been taking. Not long at all."
"No, not long at all." Daniel returned the smile. //No, not long, I don't have long at all. //
He leaned over and looked closely at the sarcophagus. The inscription on it was in ancient hieroglyphs from the Book Of The Dead. He translated it and read it aloud softly to Jack as if his love could hear him.
"The Company of the Gods rejoice at thy rising, the earth is glad when it beholdeth thy rays; the people who have been long dead come forth with cries of joy to behold thy beauties every day. Thou goest forth each day over heaven and earth, and thou art made strong each day be thy mother Nut. Thou passest over the heights of heaven, thy heart swelleth with joy; and the Lake of Testes is content thereat. The Serpent-fiend hath fallen, his arms are hewn off, the Knife hath severed his joints. Ra liveth by Maat, the beautiful! The Sektet Boat advanceth and cometh into port. The South and the North, and the West and East, turn to praise thee."
He thought it suited Jack perfectly.
He had lost a lot of his personal life because of his servitude to Hathor. Once she had claimed him, he hadn't been allowed to leave the mountain complex. He already had automatic arrangements in place to pay his rent so his apartment should still be leased to him. But he hadn't been there in at least three years. There was no telling what he'd find when he went back. His car sat outside the mountain, probably with it's motor seized up from neglect.
Would he lose even more with the coming of his freedom? Jack had been the one thing he had learned that he could always rely on. The man had been like the pyramids for him, always in his sight, constant, eternal, timeless, and everlasting.
O'Neill had been his bulwark during his life as Hathor's Beloved. He'd always been there for him. When the Goa'uld had beaten him senseless, or used him and left him shattered, it had been Jack who would come for him to take him to a place of relative safety. When she had killed him, it was O'Neill who carried him to the sarcophagus and waited for him to revive. When she made him hate himself for being a pawn, it had been Jack who soothed and comforted him, and when he doubted his very existence, it had been O'Neill who had valued him and ultimately loved him. He knew that he still needed Jack, would always need him; but would Jack need or want him any more?
Jack and Daniel went down to the holding cell area. Harsumtus was conscious and furious. "You murdered my Mother!" She spat at them in a deep caricature of Carter's voice
Jack looked at her in amusement. "That's a good one. From what I understand, it's traditional for you all to commit parricide to get ahead in the world. If you weren't worried about your own future, you probably wouldn't even care."
"My future is secure!" She smiled at him, her expression a parody of Carter's. "My Jaffa are faithful to me, they love me."
"Uh huh, sure they are." O'Neill stepped closer. "That's why they're all rushing to your defense right now."
"Your Jaffa are faithful to their friend, Sam Carter." Daniel calmly told her. "Not you, the false goddess. We don't want you. We want Sam back."
She looked at him with distain."I protected them from Hathor." Harsumtus replied. "They love me!"
"Yachuryabettcha," O'Neill replied as Fraiser and Teal'c arrived with the anesthetic. "That's why they're letting us do this to you, Haircuts." Jack eased forward, apparently carelessly coming too close to the cell door. Harsumtus struck out at him. He ducked out of her reach, then reached out with his own hand and grabbed her wrist. He twisted it to keep hold. Teal'c moved in quickly, grasped her extended forearm, and pulled her up against the bars. Jack held on grimly. Daniel came in to stand behind him and fend off the vicious blows the Goa'uld was landing on his back and head.
Janet Fraiser quickly approached the struggling group and wrapped a rubber strap around the woman's imprisoned arm. She then deftly slid a syringe into the vein, pushing a combination of 10 mg versed and 25 mcg fentanyl into Harsumtus's bloodstream. . When the Doctor was through, the men released Harsumtus and she quickly went to the back of the cell. "What have you done to me?" The Goa'uld screeched at her captors. "You have poisoned me!"
"No," Janet replied easily. "I've just given you something to make you a little easier to deal with." She smiled easily at the captive. "You know I wouldn't hurt Sam."
The Goa'uld slumped to the cot, snarling. "There is no Sam Carter; nothing of the host survives!"
"Liar! Wouldn't you love for us to believe that?" Daniel came over to the bars and watched her as she staggered to the bunk, cursing at them all.
Within a few minutes, the Goa'uld collapsed onto the cot against the wall. As she began to lose consciousness, her facial expression changed as another personality began to emerge. "Daniel?"
He grasped the bars and called out to his friend. "Hold on Sam; just hold on a little longer."
After Harsumtus lost consciousness from the drug injection, two of the med techs brought a hospital gurney into the cell area. Jack unlocked the cell door and he and Teal'c entered it cautiously. Jack reached out and shook the supine form of the woman who lay asleep. He straightened up and looked at Fraiser who nodded her approval. O'Neill turned and looked at Teal'c and made a sweeping gesture with his hand. The big Jaffa slipped his arms under Carter's body, lifted her up gently and carried her to the waiting stretcher. There he fastened the nylon straps from the gurney around her body, securing her for her trip to the Gateroom. They then pushed the stretcher out of the cell and started down the hallway.
Daniel followed, coming up beside the sleeping woman as they wheeled the gurney along. He hesitated a second, then reached down to stroke her blonde hair. "Don't worry Sam, soon this will all be over." He said softly. He then glanced up at Jack. The older man returned his look, then nodded grimly. "One way or another," he replied harshly.
The trip to the Stargate was quiet. In due course they arrived at the Gateroom. Hammond and Fraiser had gone up to the observation deck. Siler and a few of the other techs who had been Harsumtus's Jaffa, were allowed to watch from the staircase, the only other area that the gate was clearly visible from. They were all waiting their turn at the sarcophagus. Hammond had allowed them to be here, a show of trust. They had been Captain Carter's friends before they were Jaffa. They wanted to see her off safely, hopefully to return to them all as herself.
Daniel went to the DHD that was sitting in the middle of the room. As he punched in the coordinates for Cimmeria he wondered idly where it had come from. As the wormhole formed, he decided it just really didn't matter.
After the watery image had stabilized, they loosed the bonds that held Carter's unconscious body and Daniel lifted her up into his arms. O'Neill glanced back at Hammond. The General waved at the two men. "God speed, SG-1. Come back safe." O'Neill returned the wave and they stepped through the Stargate.
Coming out the other side of the wormhole was a bit anticlimactic. As they stepped down off the pedestal, both men could see the tall stele with its glass eye of the sentinel. As the blue beam appeared and focused on the newcomers to its world, Jack quickly stepped over and put his arms around Daniel's shoulders. The shaft of light played over the three of them and recognized Carter as a Goa'uld. Just as expected, the transporter fulfilled it function and in the blink of an eye they were whisked away to the mountain cave of Thor's Hammer.
O'Neill surveyed their surroundings and grimaced. "This place hasn't changed a bit."
Daniel looked at him and smiled at his grousing. "I sure hope not. Which way now?"
Suddenly, a light flashed and the holographic image of Thor appeared before them. He began to speak, repeating the spiel that O'Neill and Teal'c had listened to several years earlier.
They listened to it briefly. "We're in luck." Jack commented with a grin. "It's the same speech as the one on Cimmeria in our Universe. I so love it when a plan comes together."
Daniel looked at him curiously. "How do you know it's the same speech?"
" 'Cause I heard it. Why?"
"But, Jack, it's in Egyptian."
"What?" Jack looked at him perplexed. "It's in English."
'Hum, that's interesting. It must sound like the primary language of whoever is listening. I hear it in Egyptian; you hear it in English." He looked down at the woman he held in his arms then back at his leader. "Which way, Jack?"
Jack pointed down a corridor, "This way. There are several twists and turns, kinda like a maze, and then we come to a doorway." He started off down a corridor. "Come on, I'd like to get this over with. Last time we did this there was an Unas trapped in here. I don't want to take any chances."
"You don't think..."
"No, but then this is a different Hammer, and I really don't know what's in here." He hefted his P-90 and started walking, Daniel following with his precious burden. Jack glanced over his shoulder. "Egyptian. I'm not surprised."
About two hours and several miles later, an uneventful journey came to an end. The trail finished at a wall, and in that wall was an ornately carved portal.
Daniel lay Sam down on the cold ground as Jack inspected the doorway. "Look, you can see the openings in the rock edge. They must be where the beams come from."
As the two men examined the doorway, Harsumtus's eyes came open. She lay still for several seconds, trying to recognize her surroundings. Unable to do so, she climbed to her feet. "What have you done? Where have you brought me?
Jack grasped Daniel by the arm and pulled him through the doorway. "Come on, Danny-boy." They went through easily without incident. They turned and looked back at the Goa'uld.
"Jack?" He looked concerned.
"It's okay, just watch."
Harsumtus got easily to her feet. "Where are we?"
"Oh, these are your new digs." Jack grinned at her. "What? Don't you like them?"
"What do you mean?" She snarled at them.
Jack pushed Daniel behind him. "Well, they didn't want you at the SGC anymore, so General Hammond and I decided that this would be the perfect place for you to spend the rest of your life."
She stalked towards them and the portal. "And what do you think will keep me here?"
O'Neill looked at her, "Well, there's supposed to be some really strong ray thingies here to keep you locked in. You won't be able to get out." He taunted.
"Do you think that you can imprison me with some mere beams?" Harsumtus came up to the opening.
"That's the general idea." Jack pushed back against the apparent wall. The hidden rock faced door swinging open out into the fresh air and freedom. He held it open to tempt her, then turned and waved at the Goa'uld. "Bye now." He then made as if to step through.
She screamed and threw herself into the open arch. The beams automatically burst from the doors facings, pinning her in their green radiance. Harsumtus began to shriek in earnest.
Daniel had been sitting by the sarcophagus waiting for the process to be completed for slightly over two hours. Jack would soon be whole and human again. Would it change anything between them? Would the other man want to continue their relationship after he was returned to normal? How would their lives change now?
The machinery began to slowly come to life, the great lid began to move, and the two panels separated with a grinding noise. The inner light activated, and Daniel could see into the glowing interior.
He stood up anxiously, watching and waiting for the process to be completed. Finally the lid had opened completely. Jack opened his eyes and looked up at Daniel in confusion.
"Jack?" Daniel reached down to help him sit up. "Jack, how do you feel?"
"Daniel? Where am I? What happened?" The older man was bewildered, a normal side effect. "Why am I in here?"
"Come on, can you get out by yourself?" Jack took his hand and used it as an anchor.
Jack took his hand and used it as an anchor to sit up and climb out of the sarcophagus.
"Do you remember what just happened, Jack?"
As O'Neill looked at him in confusion, Ferretti came into the room. "Colonel, how do you feel? Are you all right? Doc Fraiser says to come see her when you get out of the box."
O'Neill glanced at him uncomprehendingly, then looked at Daniel.
"I'll take him, Lou. He looks a bit disoriented."
"Yeah, Daniel." Ferretti nodded. "Several of us took a little while to put everything back together again. It seems to be the longer you were a Jaffa, the longer it takes our metabolism to recover. That's why Teal'c says it won't work on him." Lou nodded. "It took me about an hour, but I'm okay now." He smiled crookedly and shrugged. "At least I think so."
"I'll make sure he gets to Janet's office."
"Good, See ya later, Daniel."
Entering the infirmary was like returning to a familiar location after a long absence. Janet Fraiser had walked in like a whirlwind. Her nursing staff had been decimated. The civilians had been fired, the male nurses jaffa'd, and the women either killed or imprisoned. But the need for personnel had been immediate and the skeleton staff, with a few volunteers, was coping as best as they could.
When Daniel had led Jack into the section, the doctor had brushed the hair out of her eyes, paperwork off the exam table, and started on him quickly. Jack stared down at his stomach in amazement to see the pouch's mouth had been completely closed. There remained only a large X shaped scar where the alien organ had been. Doctor Fraiser looked at him with a smile. "Well, Colonel, I'm happy to say you're healed. The Sarcophagus has repaired the damage and the cavity has been restructured into a normal abdominal wall. You'll carry the scar, but you're completely intact again."
"I am?" He said disbelievingly, rubbing his flat belly with his hand.
"Yes Sir, you are." She pulled off her sterile gloves and smiled at both men. "And the other Doctor Jackson and Colonel O'Neill just took Sam to some place to get her cured too. In a week or so, we should be pretty much back in business."
Jack nodded, still a little unsure of what happened. "Daniel?" He looked at the younger man.
Daniel took the older man's hand in his. "It's all right, Jack." He looked at Fraiser. "He's still confused."
She nodded. "It takes awhile. Why don't you take him someplace the two of you can find some peace and quiet. Let him rest, then you can explain it to him. He's been through a lot." Janet stopped, looking at the younger man critically. "Daniel, are you all right? I know it hasn't been easy for you either. From what I've overheard from some of the other men, it sounds pretty horrific."
"I'm fine, Janet." He shook his head as he helped Jack off the exam table. "I can help him a little...but I think we need some peace and quiet."
She nodded sympathically. "I know sweetie; it's going to be hard at first. There's so much work to be done, and we really need both of you now." She put a gentle hand on his shoulder, noting his slight flinch from the contact. " If you need anything, call me, okay?"
He nodded. "Okay, Janet thanks. I think I'll try my old office, it should be quiet there."
She watched them as Daniel led Jack from her office, then turned to her other work.
Sam Carter's body writhed in torture as the searing light burned in and through the Goa'uld parasite in it. The young woman jerked and flailed like a marionette as the agony of the invader telegraphed its agony through her.
The two friends had to stand watching as their friend's body twisted in a contortion of agony. It seemed to continue forever until, finally the slender body dropped bonelessly to the hard earth. Both men immediately ran to Carter's limp form, Jack picking up her head and shoulders and supporting them on his lap. Daniel knelt in front of her, quickly searching for a pulse and checking her breathing.
He looked up into O'Neill's worried face. "She's okay, just unconscious. I think probably from the shock of separation. You know we never did actually see the thing work. We blew it up to save Teal'c."
"Yeah, I know." The other man nodded, putting his hand on Carter's cheek. "So, we don't even know if this is normal."
"It would make sense that it is." Daniel noted. "It must be a traumatic experience."
"She feels cold. Could she be going into shock?" Jack asked worriedly.
The other man nodded, and picked up his friend's hands and began to rub them. "I'd say yes."
O'Neill looked around the small cave opening that led from the hammer chamber. "It's almost sunset. Lets build a fire and set up camp. We don't need the tents under here.
Daniel looked at him in surprise. "Do you think that's wise?"
"No, not really," he replied, "but we can't climb down this mountain carrying Carter. She's a big girl, and I sure don't want one of us to fall or drop her." Jack looked around the forested area. "I think we'll be safe enough here. This way we can keep her warm and comfortable. In the morning we'll go back to the Stargate."
Daniel nodded, remembering his earlier trek to the Hammer with Sam and Garwyn. "We only have the two sleeping bags with us."
"No problem, you get the fire going."
As Daniel got the fire and the food prepared, Jack unloaded the two sleeping bags and began zipping them together. Then from Daniel's pack he pulled out the extra jumpsuit. Daniel finished his camp chores and announced that the MREs were ready to eat.
Jack looked at him, "Okay, give me a hand here." He indicated the still unconscious Carter. "Lets get her out of that costume and into this."
"Oookay." Daniel looked at him curiously. "Why?"
Jack smiled at him. "Well, for one thing they're a lot warmer and two, when she does wake up she'll be a lot more comfortable sleeping with us in that bag if she's wearing something substantial."
Daniel nodded. The dress that Harsumtus had put on was made of a small amount of shiny material and a mass of diaphanous stuff. Since they were going to be sharing the sleeping bags that night, he was certain that she'd wake up happier with some decent clothing. Now, the next question...
"Come on, Daniel. It's not like we've never seen each other naked before." Jack groused at him. "Remember that time on P34267?"
"Yes, of course." Jack was right. It really didn't matter and it did have to be done.
Sam Carter woke up with the feeling of not knowing where she was. It was annoying and a little frightening. But she was lying on something warm and firm...and snoring softly. She opened her eyes and was shocked to find that she was sleeping with her head on Colonel O'Neill's chest. And he had his arm curled protectively around her as well. She rolled over carefully, trying not to disturb her CO and came face to face with Daniel watching her from the other side of the large doubled sleeping bag.
"Good morning, Sam." He said carefully, leaning up on an elbow to look at her.
His smile was almost blinding in his delight. "How do you feel?"
She thought a moment. "Fine, I guess. A little headache."
"I'm not surprised." He nodded knowingly
"Hey, you two," said a familiar voice in her ear. "Howyadoin?"
"Uh, okay, Sir." She replied, determined not to blush at their intimate position together in one sleeping bag. "Sir, Daniel, don't take this wrong, but...how did I get...here?"
"You were unconscious and going into shock." Jack shrugged. "It seemed like the best thing to do at the time."
She thought about that for a moment. "Where are we?"
"On Cimmeria," Daniel replied cautiously, watching her carefully for a reaction.
"Where's that?" She looked around. "Where's Teal'c?"
"Teal'c is back at the base," Daniel said carefully. "Don't you remember?"
"No," she replied, her confusion obvious. "I don't."
Jack slipped out of the bag, "I'm gonna get the fire started, then get the coffee on." He looked down at the two younger people. "Then we'll talk."
Sam watched him walk away, noting his gray hair. "Daniel, he looks different somehow...older." Then she looked at her friend. "And you...you do to."
Daniel watched her carefully. "How do you mean?"
"You have short hair," she looked down at her jumpsuit, "and why am I...wearing this?"
Carter had a very intense expression on her face as she climbed out of the sleeping bag. She looked at O'Neill as he was putting the coffee on and then back at Daniel as he pushed the top part of the bag off. Her brows were knitted in confusion.
"Daniel, what aren't you telling me?"
"Sam...we need to talk, okay?" Daniel looked down at her. "But let's wait until we're all awake.
Carter looked into his concerned face, then before her eyes he appeared to change. She saw him with long hair and he was kneeling at her feet...and she was laughing at him. Sam turned and looked at O'Neill and saw him in a Jaffa's armor. She glanced back down at Daniel and saw a double image of him. When she tried to focus on him, one Daniel was here looking at her with concern; the other was lying dead at her feet, face white and blood oozing from his mouth. She backed away from her friend, shaking her head. She put her hands to her face, rubbing her temples and shaking her head in denial.
Daniel reached a hand up to her. "Sam? What's wrong?"
She looked at him in horror, then screamed. Turning away, she saw O'Neill stand up from the fire. As he took a step towards her, she screamed, and then bolted from the camp.
"SAM!!" Daniel shouted her name, stumbled out his sleeping bag and ran after her.
Jack watched from where he stood. He had started to follow them, but the two younger people had too much of a lead for him to catch them. He could only look down the trail and murmur to himself. "Crap!"
Daniel led Jack out of the infirmary and down to the elevator. When they reached the proper level, he took the acquiescent man's hand and piloted him into his old office. The room remained pretty much as he remembered it. There was a bit more dust, and a few cobwebs in the corners but it evidently had not been disturbed until recently. Daniel guessed it was his counterpart's doing in his search for information on this, their universe. One of his journals was lying open to his last entry, the one where he had written about his captivity by Hathor.
The vinyl couch was still there, dusty but otherwise undisturbed. Daniel picked up an old t-shirt that was crumpled in a corner and brushed it off. He and Jack sat down together.
"How do you feel, Jack?"
The other man looked at him in a distracted manner. "I'm not sure, I feel a little strange."
"It's the sarcophagus." He replied firmly. "It does things to your brain chemistry. You'll feel better in a few hours."
Jack nodded and leaned against Daniel, laying his head on the younger man's shoulder. "I love you, Danny."
Daniel put his arms around Jack and hugged him closer. "I love you too, Jack." He smiled down at his friend and kissed him on the forehead. "I love you so much."
"I'm a little...scared."
"You? You're never scared, Jack. You're the bravest man I know." Daniel brought his hand up and ran his fingers through the short brown hair. It had a few strands of silver in it, but not nearly so much gray as the other Jack.
"Everything is going to change again." O'Neill raised his head and looked into the blue eyes. "You won't need me anymore."
"What?" Daniel couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Jack, I love you, I'll always need you. I thought...."
"I thought that you wouldn't want me anymore...that you'd be free to..."
Jack sat up on the couch and looked at him strangely. "What? Wouldn't want you? I'm a little confused, Daniel, and a bit paranoid...but I'm not stupid." He managed a smile. "You're the best thing that ever happened to me, Danny." He slipped his hand behind the other's head and pulled him into a kiss. Daniel returned it eagerly.
Daniel was running down the side of the mountain after Sam. She was headed for the valley he hoped, but was more afraid that she'd find a cliff. The trail was rocky and uneven. He'd catch sight of her then lose her in the brushy hillocks. Suddenly, she was right in front of him, and he tackled her like a football player. They tumbled down the path a ways, knocking the breath out of both of them. Finally, they stopped and Daniel was able to grasp his quarry.
"Sam! Stop it! Sam!" He yelled at her. She was sobbing uncontrollably.
"I killed you! I saw you dead!" She screamed at him in a hoarse voice.
"No, Sam. I'm here; it's all right!"
"No!" She sobbed through her tears. "They put you in a sarcophagus...and you were alive again...but I killed you!"
"No, Sam, the Goa'uld did it. You were a prisoner; you couldn't help it." He pulled her into his arms, holding her tightly. "Stop it now, calm down. It's all right."
She buried her face in his shoulder. "God, Daniel, I killed you...I'm so sorry. I'm sorry."
He held her close, letting her ride out the storm. They sat there for a long time. Finally, she stopped and looked at him through swollen eyes. "What happened to us? Why..."
"Listen to me, Sam." He held her face in his hands, their foreheads nearly touching . "Listen to me, it wasn't your fault. You were possessed by a Goa'uld. You couldn't help it."
"I killed the Colonel too."
"I don't know, Sam." He pulled her to him again. "I really don't, but you have to come back with me, with us."
"Why?" She pulled back to look at him again. "Why?"
"Because they need you, Sam." He spoke calmly to her. "They need you to help repair what Hathor destroyed. And you're important, Sam, really really important. They need you."
She only shook her head, pulling against his grip. Daniel pulled her against him again and she buried her face in his shoulder.
A short while later the two returned to their makeshift camp on the mountain. Daniel looked scuffed but flashed a grin in his friend's direction. Carter appeared subdued, her eyes swollen and red. O'Neill had breakfast waiting for them, and he was sitting cross-legged on one of the rolled up sleeping bags with a cup of coffee.
"Daniel, Carter, coffee's hot." He got up from his seat and calmly poured each of them a cup.
"Good, I need one." Daniel reached for the one Jack held out to him, then sat down on a convenient patch of ground nest to the fire.
O'Neill handed the other to Carter. She took it without a word. He patted the other sleeping bag. Sam sat down on it. The Colonel dished out some of the bacon and cheese scrambled eggs into a plate for her, then prepared one for Daniel who took it gratefully.
After he had sat down next to Carter, Jack asked. "So, what did you tell her?"
"Nothing yet, I thought we'd do it together." Daniel replied over his coffee.
Carter looked up from her plate. She dashed a few remaining tears from her face. "Tell me what?"
At Jack's nod, Daniel started. "Sam, what do you know about alternate realities?"
O'Neill was asleep on the couch in Daniel's office. Daniel was sitting on the floor leaning against the couch, writing in a journal. His lover's hand was lying comfortingly on his shoulder. There was a knock on the door.
It was Ferretti. "Oh, good. The doc said you might be here."
Jack moved on the couch and looked up at his old friend. "What's going on?"
"We have an off world activation. We hope it's them."
Daniel closed his book and got to his feet. Jack sat up, disturbed by his lover's movements. "We hope?"
"Yeah, the iris is still fubared," he shrugged. "Not much is working...except us of course."
O'Neill nodded at his friend. "We'll be there in a minute, Lou."
"Okay, Colonel." He smiled at the two men. "Take your time. Hammond's back at the helm and all's well with the SGC, or will be soon enough." Lou pulled the door closed behind him.
Daniel laid his book down on the table and sat down next to Jack. "Are you okay?"
Jack studied him for a moment, then gently kissed him. "I'm gonna be fine. How about you?"
Daniel dropped his gaze to the floor. "I'm a little nervous. I don't want to freak out on Sam."
"We'll just take it slow, let things work themselves out." He took Daniel's right hand in both of his and examined it carefully.
"What?" Daniel watched him curiously.
Jack lay the hand on his own knee, then he reached over and stroked the other man's smooth throat. He leaned over and kissed the unmarred skin. The other man sighed, his breath gusting across O'Neill's cheek. Daniel closed his eyes. Jack moved up the jaw to the full lips and chastely kissed them.
"I'm loving you, Danny. Just loving you." He stroked the stubborn jaw then caressed the cheek. "I want you to remember this, right now."
Daniel opened his eyes and looked at him. "Why?'
"Because we're free...and of all the gods I've served in the last three years, you are the most worthy of worship."
Daniel pulled Jack's hand down to his lips and kissed the calloused palm. "I'm only a man, Jack."
"Daniel, that's enough for me."
Major General George Hammond was on pins and needles from waiting. As soon as he had regained his senses, he'd called the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to report their new status. A meeting had been called and they had, quite rightly, regarded his communication with suspicion. An inspection team was being dispatched to investigate fully. Cheyenne Mountain had been reported destroyed by an accidental naquadah generator explosion and sealed off, with all personnel counted as lost. It would take some fancy footwork and hard efforts to explain that it had, in fact, become a Prisoner of War Camp; and it had been liberated by the efforts of the captives themselves. There was also the not so small matter of the infiltrators that Hathor had set upon the Government of the United States. They would have to be located and dealt with.
When Hammond had heard this O'Neill's plan of rescuing their Captain from her possession by Harsmutus or ending her suffering, he had been afraid that it would be the latter not the former. But once again this pair of alternate O'Neill and Jackson were attempting the impossible.
Not to say his own personnel hadn't performed miracles in their own right. Though he had been out of the loop most of the time, all of the reports from the last three years had reflected that it had been his own O'Neill, Jackson, Ferretti, Makepeace, Siler and others, that, had not only fought Hathor at every twist and turn, but had kept the SGC alive. He also knew that it was in no small way because of them that he, Doctor Fraiser and several others were still alive also. His intelligence related many acts of extreme self sacrifice by O'Neill and Jackson in particular. They had tried escapes, overt coups, assassination attempts and the destruction of the SGC. Nothing had worked. The Gould had found out and they had died, horribly and brutally, only to be revived and tortured again. His people had done all that was humanly possible...truly above and beyond the call. As he watched his people resume their normal duties at his command he had a warm feeling of pride wash over him. He knew his days of service were now numbered in the double digits because of what had happened but for right now, the SGC was still his to command. And he was going to get them Medals of Honor if he had to mint them himself.
But for now, Major General George Hammond was up on the observation deck nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Finally, the wormhole formed with its normal enthusiasm and settled into its visual representation of water. As expected, the three figures that emerged from the Stargate were their comrades returning from Cimmeria. He sighed in relief. Captain Carter was back and walking under her own power. Another one of his prayers had been answered.
The alternate O'Neill looked up at him and waved. He returned the gesture. As he turned to go down to the Gateroom floor, he saw his own O'Neill, Jackson, and Teal'c entering the area behind him. "Hello, boys." He gestured down at the floor below them. "Looks like their mission was a success."
The three men approached the viewing glass. Their expressions were varied: O'Neill was smiling, Teal'c appeared satisfied, and Jackson looked very nervous. Hammond nodded in emphasis. "He said he'd either bring her back as Captain Carter, or not at all. He appears to be a man of his word."
"Indeed." The Jaffa intoned with approval evident in his voice. "I was concerned for all of their safety."
"Well, I'm going down to get my second in command." Jack remarked with forced cheerfulness. He looked at Daniel. "Wait for us in...uh," He looked stymied for a moment.
General Hammond took up the slack, "Colonel, use briefing room two."
"Thank you, General." Jack replied gratefully. "Daniel, will you wait for us there?"
The younger man looked at him mutely and nodded. Teal'c came and stood by his friend. "I will remain with Daniel Jackson."
"Thanks T;" He met Daniel's eyes. "We'll be up there in a little bit, okay?" Another nod.
General Hammond and his Colonel O'Neill came down into the Gateroom to greet the returning threesome. O'Neill looked very pleased with himself . Jackson was also, though he was limping slightly and sporting a scraped cheekbone. Captain Carter - and he could tell it was his Captain - seemed subdued and self-conscious.
O'Neill stepped forward. "Sir and er, Jack, I'm pleased to report the mission was a complete success."
"So, I see, Colonel, so I see. Congratulations and thank you." Hammond held out his hand to Carter smiling broadly. "And welcome back, Captain Carter."
Sam Carter smiled shyly at her Commander. "Thank you, Sir. I'm very pleased to be back." She looked around. "I only hope I can make up for...."
"Captain Carter, you didn't do anything except be a victim of the same alien entity that held us all hostage." Hammond looked around at the other personnel who were busily finding things to do to remain in the Gateroom. "And I believe everyone else here knows that also. Now, there's a certain Air Force Doctor that is waiting to get her hands on you." He glanced at Jack and Daniel, "All of you, but you in particular young lady." He smiled paternally at Carter. "Now, scoot. You can debrief me later."
O'Neill smiled over at his Daniel, then saluted the General with a flourish. "Scooting, Sir, as ordered."
Captain Carter's physical was finally over, and Janet had released her to her CO with a hug, a kiss on the cheek and a promise to get together for a long talk. The other Jack and Daniel were already gone, having only a regular check after returning through the gate. But hers had been long and very arduous. Every test known to man or woman had been performed as completely as possible. Finally, Janet was convinced that she was indeed herself and released her from the infirmary. And Carter's Jack O'Neill had been there to collect her.
Jack gave her a quick hug. "It's good to see you again, Carter, and I do mean you."
Sam flushed at his words. "Sir, you know...."
"Yeah, Carter, I know...and I understand." He nodded and guided her out the door by her arm. "Now, here's the big question...." Jack took a deep breath. "Are you ready to see Daniel...our Daniel?"
"Sir, is he ready to see me?" She looked down at the floor in nervousness. "I remember what she did to him. I don't know if he, if we can ever get past that."
"He's willing to try, Carter. He wants to be your friend again, but you have to understand that it's going to be hard for him." O'Neill paused. "He loves you, but he's scared to death of her. He'll have to have some time."
"I understand, Sir." She looked him in the eye. "And yes, I want to do this, even if we can't ever be friends again. I still want to try."
Jack smiled at her. "That's my Captain. Just go slow. Okay?"
Sam smiled. "Yes, Sir, whatever it takes."
Jack led the way into the room where the other two members of SG-1 were waiting. Teal'c immediately came forward to give and receive a homecoming embrace. Then she turned and faced Daniel.
They both started speak at the same time. Then finally, shyly, Daniel started again. "Welcome home, Sam. I'm really glad you're back." He forced himself to look up and meet her anxious eyes.
She took an awkward step towards him. "Oh, Daniel, I'm so sorry...sorry for everything. I...."
Daniel took a step forward and reached out tentatively to put two fingers over her moving lips. "No, Sam." He murmured, dredging up a small, tremulous smile. "It wasn't you...it was Harsumtus. I know that. You would never hurt me."
"But, Daniel, I did hurt you. This body, these hands, me...I couldn't help it, but...I understand what your perceptions were." She paused, took his hand in hers, then continued. "Your head is telling you it wasn't me, but your heart is saying it was." Sam dropped her gaze to the floor, and the tears started to come again. "All I can say is...I'm so sorry."
Daniel took another half a step forward and started, then paused, and finally managed to slip his other arm around her waist and pull her close. Sam tentatively returned the hug and finally laid her head on his chest. After a moment, she started to sob in earnest. Daniel kissed her on the forehead, and looked at Jack who nodded. He was smiling at the two teammates. He looked over at Teal'c. He was smiling too.
After a several hour debrief from General Hammond, Jack and Daniel were released to the area of the base. They had been issued a VIP room, and they found the SGC cafeteria where they were greeted enthusiastically by just about everyone. The military rumor mill was in full operation, and they were easily distinguished from the 'other' Jack and Daniel by their hair and faces. These two men had obviously never been subjugated by false gods and made to bend to them. You could tell by the lack of dark shadows in their faces.
Hammond had already assured them that information had been dispatched to the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding the foothold situation that had occurred and the repercussions that were in the making. He knew that there had been some infiltration already. The decision of what to do at this point would have to be made at a higher level.
But now they had finally made it to their quarters for the night. Hopefully, Siler and his band of merry men could get the generator up and running by tomorrow. The two alternates were more than ready to go home. They just really hoped they got there this time.
Some clean uniforms had been left in the room for them, complete with underwear, t-shirts and toiletry items. On top of the clothes, they had located a brief note from this O'Neill. The Carter/Jackson issue was working out as well as could be expected, and he hoped the clothes helped. It was a nice gesture that both of them greatly appreciated.
Jack got the first shower, and he had to wake Daniel up for his own. When his friend finally emerged clean, dripping, and pink, the older man produced some pastries that he'd gotten earlier from the chow hall. The two men sat on the double bed and enjoyed their dessert together.
Even though it was still an early hour, their day had been an exhausting one, and by tacit agreement they climbed in the shared bed and rapidly fell asleep. But early the next morning, around 0500 by Jack's estimation, his military training kicked in. Either that, or Daniel had done something to disturb his sleep. The younger man had acquired his normal position, curled up in the small of O'Neill's back.
Knowing that he wouldn't get anymore sleep this morning, Jack rolled over and started Daniel watching. This habit had started in their relationship, after his friend had been kidnapped by Nem, the fish guy. Daniel had just rented his own apartment and moved out of Jack's home when he had been kidnapped and used as a human computer to try and get information about some ancient story. Because of the mental trauma he had suffered, the younger man had returned to his old room for a week or so. Jack had been awakened several times by Daniel's screaming night terrors. On these nights, Jack would wake him up and then sit quietly in the armchair in Daniel's room until he was sure his friend would sleep out the rest of the night. He'd done it for Charlie, and it had just seemed natural to do it for Daniel.
Then, it was necessary again after Sha'uri's death and for a while after Shi'fu's visit. He'd also done it when they camped off world and shared a tent. Daniel watching, it was a habit, and rapidly becoming a tradition.
But now, there was a new added edge to the enjoyment. They had visited two other alternate realities in this mess of the wild wormholes. In one, they had both remained on Abydos and gone native. They had lives, wives, and children. It had seemed the best of all possible worlds. Then in the next one, that Jack O'Neill had lost out big time. Not only was Sha'uri dead, but Daniel was gone to some great beyond and only existed in the form of glowing energy. That Jack had appeared to be hanging on by his fingernails. There the two of them had been lovers, but separated by fate. Now, here, the two were lovers, thrown together by fate. They had relied on each other, needing the emotional and physical support to survive their horrific circumstances. And it appeared to him that the relationship would continue even after the reasons for their dependence on it were solved.
Jack watched in amusement as the younger man stretched and rolled over, once again invading his personal space. Then, unexpectedly, Daniel opened his eyes and grimaced at him.
"What are you doing?" He mumbled at Jack as he blinked sleepily.
"Why? Did I have another nightmare?" Daniel shifted to his side to look at his observer more closely.
"No, no reason."
"Yes, reason," Daniel commented. "What is it, Jack?"
"Ooh, I'm scared."
O'Neill smiled and replied in a suitable, deep voice. "Be afraid, be very afraid."
"So, what are you thinking about?"
Uh oh, he'd rubbed Daniel's curiosity bump. "You, me, life, and the universe."
"Forty-two." Daniel replied in all seriousness.
"What? That's the answer?" Jack looked at him in disbelief. "That sucks."
"It's not my answer." The younger man dropped his eyes and started curling the sheet over his fingers.
"Oh, what's your answer, Danny?"
"Friendship, love, trust, faithfulness, without those, it's not worth anything." He rolled over on his back and looked up at the ceiling. "I've studied hundreds of kings, pharaohs, potentates, and generals. All of them were rich, famous, and mostly unhappy. Why? They had it all: gold, women, power, known throughout the world and the ages." Daniel rolled over, mere inches between him and Jack. "But only a few had that special someone who knew them well, someone they could trust implicitly. Alexander had Ptolemy, Achilles had Patrocles...."
"Hercules had Iolaus." Jack put in.
Daniel laughed. "Yes, he did."
"And Jack had Daniel."
"And Daniel had Jack." The two men looked at each other for a moment, then Daniel leaned forward and Jack met him halfway. The kiss was long, sweet and tender.
They pulled apart, and looked into each other's eyes.
"Now what?" Jack asked.
Daniel shrugged. "I guess whatever we want...except for your career...we're both free."
"Remember all those kings and generals you were talking about?" At Daniel's nod, he continued. "They all had careers."
"Ah, yes they did." The younger man leaned in again and nuzzled his friend on the shoulder. A strong calloused hand came up to cup his chin and pull him up for another kiss.
"Too sudden for ya?" Jack asked with concern, pulling back to look at the man he loved.
"Nope, we've been dating for two years." Daniel looked up at him through his eyelashes. Jack realized he was being flirted with.
"Oh, is that what it's been?" Jack chuckled.
"Since..." Daniel took a deep breath. "Since Sha'uri."
"Now, wait...I would never..."
"Shush. You didn't, you were just there for me. Do you think that I didn't know you were watching me, to be sure I was all right?" The younger man shook his head. "You scared my neighbor lady to death more than once." He laughed. "She thought you were a cat burglar, casing the joint." They both laughed at the vision that put in their heads.
"Well, so much for my 'sneaking up on people' skills."
Daniel put his hand to Jack's face and stroked the stubble cheek. "You should know you couldn't fool a Jewish grandmother."
"So you're saying I should never do Special Ops in Israel?"
"Wouldn't stand a chance."
Jack caught the errant hand and pulled it to his mouth. He kissed the palm, then sucked a finger into his mouth. Then he looked at his love. "I want to wait, 'til we get home. We're not prepared here, too many unknowns, and I want to do this right."
"Then we wait until tomorrow."
Jack reached and smoothed the short hair. "It's not that I don't want...."
"I know, Jack. I just know you." Daniel smiled at him. "I think I agree with your logic."
Jack rolled to lie on his back. "Damned logic."
"I never question your instincts, Jack. You shouldn't either. They've kept us alive too long."
Jack smiled at him and pulled Daniel over until the younger man was tucked up under his chin. "Get some more sleep, Daniel. It's gonna be a long day."
When the alternate universe's Jack and Daniel arrived at the Gateroom the next morning, there was a lot of activity going on in and around the Stargate itself.
Carter, Siler, and the mechanical elves of the SGC were just finishing the installation of the naquadah generator to help supply the extra power needed for the inter-dimensional jump. Carter wasn't really doing anything but observing; however Siler was in heaven explaining everything to her. She was evidently asking the right questions, and they seemed quite comfortable together.
More technicians were performing maintenance on the various systems in the Gateroom itself including the Iris mechanism. This realities' Daniel, his long braid looking incongruous with his fatigues, was on a rather high ladder doing something at the pinnacle of the great shield. Teal'c was standing directly below, holding the ladder firmly, to prevent any slipping. O'Neill was over at the far wall doing something to the power panel under the direction of a technician. Jack noticed that his counterpart kept looking surreptitiously over his shoulder to check on his Daniel's continued welfare.
General Hammond was up in the Control room with this universe's version of Walter Davis working at the console. But when he saw the two men enter, he stopped his work and came over to them. "It's taking a bit longer than we had hoped, but I'm sure it will be up and running soon. I know you want to get home to your rightful place."
Jack nodded. "Yes, Sir, we've been gone at least a week by our calculations. Our own General Hammond is probably getting a bit worried."
Hammond waved them back into his office. As he rounded the desk, he had a smile on his face. "Would it help if I wrote you a note?"
O'Neill grinned back at him. "It couldn't hurt."
Daniel looked in amazement at the two senior officers. "What are you going to say? Please excuse Jack and Daniel for missing the correct wormhole home?"
Hammond sat down behind his desk, "No, I was thinking of something like...Thank you for the loan of your two best men. They were needed to save the SGC in our universe quite literally from a fate worse than death. We gratefully return them to their own reality with thanks from this one." He looked up at the two men, "I'd reward you, but I can't think of anything quite suitable."
"Just getting us home will be reward enough, General." Jack replied. "That all I really want at this point.
There was knock at the door, and the other O'Neill stuck his head in the doorway. "General, a progress report."
Hammond waved him in, and he and Daniel entered the room. It was obvious that they were sticking close together since their return from their inter-universal trip. "We're about ready to give it a trial run, Sir.
"Very well, Colonel." He looked toward his guests, "Gentlemen, shall we?"
O'Neill nodded, "Lets." He glanced at his alternate self. "Do you remember the symbols that you used?"
Jack looked at the group in surprise, which quickly faded to chagrin. "No, I really don't. I have to say I was using one I saw in one of Daniel's journals. I picked it off the shelf and thumbed through until I found one I liked." He frowned in concentration. "I think the first part of it was Earth's or very similar, but then I just punched in three more that I thought up." Then he looked hopefully at the door. "Siler helped me; maybe he recorded it or something."
The shorthaired Daniel glanced at his Jack, then to the other. "If you got it from your Daniel's library, could we find it again?"
The long-haired Daniel nodded then looked to his Jack. "Which book was it in?"
"The big brown one, leather cover, on the top shelf." Jack said positively.
The Daniels looked at each other and sighed. Then, they turned and headed for the door together.
"We'll be right back." The shorthaired version said as he opened the door.
The long-haired Daniel frowned back at his Colonel. "Maybe you ought to come too, Jack."
"That way you can show us which big, brown leather-covered book on the top shelf you mean." The other Daniel added with a smirk.
"There's more than one?"
"Yes," they chorused.
"Oh," the brown-haired Colonel looked at the silver-haired Colonel and the General and shrugged his shoulders.
The other Colonel smiled and nodded at his look-alike. "I'll come too." The two officers glanced at the amused General Hammond.
He waved them out the door. "Go on." He managed to keep a straight face until they left the office after which he sat down in his chair and laughed.
As the two Jacks descended the steel staircase to the Gateroom floor, they could see the two Daniels already over talking to Siler and Carter. The man was moving his head back and forth rapidly as the two young men spoke rapidly to him, sometimes together and sometimes in turn. The Sergeant answered their questions and pointed to a control box that was connected to the generator. Then the four went over to it and proceeded to turn some controls watching the dials intently.
Jack of the silver-hair leaned closer to his doppelganger. "So, uh, you and your Daniel are a, uh, a couple?"
The brown-haired man turned and looked at him in surprise. "Yeah. Is that a problem?"
"No, no, not a problem...just, well, uh, how is it...between you two, I mean."
"It's fine, great actually." He looked at the other, "you?"
"Not...yet. Not quite." He blushed furiously. "We're...uh, working on it."
"Keep working...the results are, well, they're damned incredible." This Jack nodded at his twin then remarked casually. "You know how hard he concentrates on his rocks?"
"Well, he concentrates on my rocks the same way."
The other man looked at him, eyes widening. "Oh?"
Brown-haired Jack nodded sagely. "Oh."
Finally, Siler said something and gestured to the machine. The three watching scientists nodded and the two identical ones came back over to the O'Neill pair, leaving Siler and Carter deep in conversation.
The two Daniels stopped in front of their O'Neills, looked at each other, looked at them and shrugged simultaneously.
The short-haired Daniel started speaking. "Siler thinks he might have accidentally recorded the coordinates, but he didn't keep an official record so that Hathor couldn't trace you."
"And I didn't remember the trip at all, so...." Danny put in with a shrug.
"Well, there was this little matter of you being half-dead at the time." O'Neill added. He glanced at his duplicate. "He wasn't conscious yet when I took him from the sarcophagus."
The other O'Neill nodded, comprehending the first man's reasoning. "I understand completely.
Daniel and Daniel shared a glance between them. "Lets go find this book, Jack."
"Come on, I have an idea which one it is." The long-haired Daniel started off with the short-haired one in hot pursuit.
The two Jack's shook their heads and followed several feet behind them. If nothing else the view was worth the trip.
"Oh, yeah. Rocks."
Upon reaching the office cum library, the four men began searching for the correct book. The Daniels had been right; there were quite a few books that matched Jack's description. Soon a score of them were spread around on the table and floor. And Jack was still looking diligently amongst the clutter. Finally, at the top far right corner of the back bookcase, he pulled down a large black, leather-bound book. 'Here, it's this one, I'm sure."
The short-haired Daniel gazed at him balefully. "That," he pointed an accusatory finger at the brown-haired Jack, "that is black."
"Dark brown," was the absent-minded response. He lay the book down and opened it to a certain page; Jack pointed to a group of cartouches. "There it is." He announced.
His Daniel squeezed in next to him. "Where did you get this book? I've never seen it before?"
"It's in your office, how the hell do I know where it came from?" Then he picked out a particular set of symbols. "And there it is."
Short-haired Daniel came to their other side. "Those are the symbols for Earth, only in reverse." He looked at the other pair. "What did you use for the other three?"
Jack flipped the pages and found what he was looking for. "These, here. These are the other three 'cause these are already in use in the original address."
"Do you know what they are, where they go?" The other Jack asked curiously.
Long-haired Daniel studied the cartouche, "No, I don't believe I've ever seen this before."
The Daniel with short hair looked at the markings with concentration. "Jack, this is the correct address for our Earth. He's combined the two cartouches, and when we tried to get home, he and Siler must have hit the corresponding symbols and we got misdirected here and they went to our Earth."
The other Daniel looked at his Jack, "Basically you dialed Earth and then Earth again, like inputting 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 and then 3-4-5. With the extra power being fed into the gate, you forced an inter-dimensional doorway to open. That's what their Sam Carter figured out, and her naquadah generator was powerful enough to do it again.
The Daniels looked at each other and exclaimed at the same time. "Eureka!"
"Will it work again?" The silver-haired Jack asked.
"I don't know, I think so; at least I hope so." His Daniel replied. "It has worked before."
Later that evening, after all the repairs and installation of the generator had been finished, it came down to the six most involved people having to come to an ending and to a new beginning. Their experiences had marked them all.
For Teal'c, it meant a new beginning with the SGC. He had spent the last three years a virtual prisoner in the dungeons of the base. Some people had expected him to return to Chulak. Instead the big man had chosen to stay here to continue the fight against his sworn enemies, the Goa'uld.
Captain Samantha Carter would be fighting to win her life and career back. The onus of her possession by Hathor's offspring, Harsumtus, would forever keep her separate from her peers. She was now invaluable to the SGC as having the memories of her captor buried in her psyche, but her overall career as an Air Force Officer was now bottlenecked. She knew she would be disqualified for most career fields. She would stay in the SGC, or she would have to leave the service.
Doctor Daniel Jackson was the most and the least affected by the experience. His career had not suffered. Indeed, a very few outside of the SGC knew of it. As the premier archaeologist, linguist, and historian of the command, he was guaranteed a position in the mountain, if he wanted it. And that was now a big if. In the last five years he had lost his wife, gained a lover, and seen his best friend possessed by a monster. Then all of them had been used against him to force him to perform for the pleasure of the alien who wanted to dominate his world. His enslavement by the false goddess had nearly driven him to madness. He would have to heal, mentally and physically, before he could even begin to know what he wanted. But he knew all ready that he had what he needed. Jack O'Neill.
Colonel Jack O'Neill counted himself as the biggest winner, though some would argue that point. He knew that his career was over. His enslavement by the alien had been both forced and consensual. Though turned into a Jaffa against his will, he hadn't been restrained in the same manner as his teammates. Arguably, he could have run, but in doing so, it would have cost his friends their lives. He had performed acts that betrayed his country, his duty, and his oath. He had done it for love. And that love and loyalty for his friends and his lover would not be accepted by the world he'd dedicated his life to for so long. . He had given his life and his freedom for these people and for one very special man. And he counted himself lucky.
The two men who stood ready to leave were as alien to this planet as the invader that had tried to conquer it. Their unintentional journey through the dimensions had given this alternate earth back its freedom. They had both lost and found one another. It had shown them what horror could be and given them the sweetest prize of all...each other. At the end of the adventure they had found themselves again...tested and tried and still true.
The Stargate was being activated. They were packed and ready to go, hopefully, to return to their home universe. Everything humanly possible had been done to insure this success. However, this Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson had learned, even before this experience had shown them, that nothing in life was guaranteed and the only real advantage they had was the profound and enduring relationship that existed between them. First, teammates, then friends, becoming brothers, now lovers. Their life's journey had only just begun.
At the DHD stood the two members of this universe that they had freed directly from the Goa'uld, Doctor Daniel Jackson and his teammate Captain Samantha Carter. The other personnel there had also been rescued, though not so directly, from the actions of the Goa'uld. These two men were their saviors and everyone there knew it.
Thanks had been expressed, appreciations conveyed, and things were beginning to get back to what passed as normal for the Stargate Command. The only exception was the sarcophagus that now resided in Colonel O'Neill's old office. The device would be studied intensively by any medical personnel with the proper clearance. But Doctor Fraiser had requested that it remain in place at the SGC due to the extremely hazardous nature of their duties. That was in the process of being approved.
The time had come and gone for the final farewells. All goodbyes had been said earlier in private. Now, all that remained was the leaving. As the great Stargate began its gyrations that would open the wormhole, the last fleeting gestures of handshakes, hugs, kisses, and tears were taking place.
As the two pair of practically identical men came together for one last time before the ramp, the O'Neills faced each other. They had almost identical concerns. The silver-haired man spoke softly to his almost identical twin. "In the last universe, that Jack had lost his Daniel. He begged me to take care of mine. Now, I'm telling you; don't ever lose him, you'll never find a replacement."
"Don't worry, Jack." The other man replied just as quietly. "The only way we're going anywhere is together." He glanced over his shoulder at the other pair. "There's this cabin in Minnesota...."
"I know it well, just keep the heat turned up." O'Neill agreed with the line of thought.
"Oh, that's my plan exactly. Keeping warm won't be a problem, believe me." The two men smiled, the same thoughts occurring simultaneously.
A few feet away, another hurried conversation was taking place. "You'll have to put up with his over-protectiveness..." The long-haired man was speaking.
"Yeah, I've noticed that about him." A curious look passed across the other man's face. "What are you going to do now?"
"Jack's talking about retiring... to some cabin...."
"...In Minnesota." The other finished his thought. "I've heard of it. Keep yourself warm."
"I don't believe that will be a problem." Daniel answered with a rare smile. "And how about you two?"
His look-alike blushed slightly. "We're still new at this. Jack wants to wait until we get someplace safe...maybe the twin of that cabin you were talking about. But, I am a little nervous."
"Don't be, just go slow. It's worth the effort."
"The sex...or the relationship?"
"Both." He reached over and hugged his doppelganger. "Take care of him, I know he can be a real ass."
"But, he's mine now. And, I think I'm going to learn to appreciate his...assets."
"That I can guarantee...be careful. Don't let him get away."
"I won't." The other Daniel assured him.
The wormhole kawooshed into existence, exploding with its backwash of noise, sound and light. The two pair of men separated for the last time. The visitors took their final leave and walked up to pool of matter, grasped each other's hands, smiled and stepped through, gone forever from this reality.
The remaining personnel began to scatter. There was a huge amount of work to be done. The SGC had a lot to do to rebuild its place in this their world. Finally, the floor had cleared except for O'Neill and Jackson.
Daniel looked at his lover, "What now?"
"Well," Jack started. "First order of business is to find me a new office." He looked thoughtfully at Daniel. "I think there's an unused storage room on the same floor as yours. I'll go put dibs on it."
"For an office, Jack. That's awfully small."
"I don't think that will be a problem." He turned and pulled the younger man to him in a loose hug. "I won't be here very long...and I would have a friendly neighbor right next door...with a big couch in his office."
Daniel ran his hands up Jack's upper arms. "A friendly neighbor, hum. Should I be jealous?"
"Babe, there's nothing that you ever have to worry about." He kissed the younger man gently on the lips.
"Colonel O'Neill! My office please." General Hammond's voice rang out in the large room.
"How about you?" Daniel chuckled as they both watched their Commander walk back into his office.
"Who? George?" Jack shook his head. "Nah, he's an old romantic at heart. I may come back a civilian, but believe me...I'll come back." A quick hug and O'Neill headed for the stairs. As he reached the bottom step, he turned back to see Daniel headed for his own office. "Daniel! Wait for me."
The young man looked back at his Jack. "Forever, Jack. I'll wait forever...just don't be very long. I have plans to go fishing with a friend...in a cabin in Minnesota."
"You can't go fishing in a cabin, Danny." O'Neill teased back.
"The kind of fishing I'm talking about, you can. I'm only after the big fish."
the happy ending...or is it?
|Category:||AU Jack/AU Daniel, Jack/Daniel|
|Genres:||Action/Adventure, Alternate Universe, Established Relationship, Hurt/Comfort, Missing Scene/Episode-Related, Pre-Relationship (het), Smarm|
|Warnings:||Adult Themes, Non-Consensual Sex Acts, Sexual Situations, Violence|
|Summary:||SLASH Because of a problem with the Stargate systems, our two heroes keep winding up in different realities. And this one is a doozy! Does the name Hathor ring a bell?
Author's Chapter Notes:
Some bad language. Intense situations, Violence, some off screen non-consensual sex and abuse. The boys are in deep dodo in this one, folks.