Doctor Daniel Jackson, archaeologist by training, husband to Sha'uri, and Chief Council to the village Headman by position, was rudely awakened by the sound of pounding on his door. He rolled over to look at his wife Sha'uri, but she was still asleep, her belly convex with their unborn child. The racket from downstairs continued on unabated.
He felt around for his robe and shrugged into the loose fitting garment, grabbing his glasses in the process. He could hear one of his children moving around in their room, probably also awakened by the noise. Finally, he made it to the heavy wooden door that opened out into the garden side of the house.
It was O'Neil. The older man was dressed in only a sleeping robe his long hair loose and in disarray. His dark eyes were frightened over his graying beard. "Daniel, I need you to come. Seja's having the baby, and it's all screwed up."
He blinked at his friend in surprise at the late visit. "Jack, I'll be glad to come, but didn't she want a mid-wife?"
"Yeah, but the woman that delivered Jhakell is not here and this bitch is a fucking idiot." Jack looked at him with a panicked expression. "Can you come?"
"Of course, Jack. Just let me get my bag." He did a quick check of his own two little ones the boy was still sleeping soundly, but Claire was awake. He put his finger to his lips and shushed her. She nodded, calmed by her father's assurance and lay back down. Then he went to wake Sha'uri. As Daniel pulled on his aba, he filled her in as to where he was going.
After a few moments, he returned to Jack with his valise made of heavy wool carpet material. He used it to carry his first aid kit of 'medical' supplies of alcohol, sterile dressings etc. that he used occasionally when out in the dig. He knew that his friend's wife wasn't due until after Sha'uri and his wife still had several weeks to go. Since Seja was both early and having problems, he wanted to have everything available to keep his options open.
As he rejoined Jack at the door he threw on his warm burnoose and the two men headed out into the cold night air and down the narrow streets of Nageda.
When they got to the O'Neil house, Daniel could see the lights on in the large master bedroom where Jack and Seja slept. He could now hear the muted cries of pain from the mistress of the house. He glanced at his friend and saw Jack looking as frightened as he'd ever remembered the other man being.
Going quickly through the living area of the house, they found little three-year-old Jhakell sitting forlornly by the door into his parent's bedroom. Jack immediately picked him up in his arms. "Jhakell, son, what are you doing out of bed?"
The boy wrapped his arms around his father's neck and looked at him with tears in his dark brown eyes. "Mama is sick," he said in a frightened voice. I tried to go to her and Balet hit me and told me I was bad and to go away from her." He buried his face in his father's shoulder. "Mama's not gonna die is she?"
Jack kissed the boy's dark curls, "I hope not, son. I went to get Daniel so he could try to help her." He tilted the boy's face up and brushed his tears off his cheeks. "Will you sit here like a good boy while we go to Mama?"
The toddler nodded solemnly at his father.
Jack put him down; "I'll be in our room, okay?" Another shriek came from the bedroom. Jack and Daniel hurriedly entered the doorway.
The room was in total disarray. The covers were torn from the bed and strewn around. Seja was lying there, naked to her waist her gown pushed up, bloodied and sweating. She had her teeth gritted against obvious pain.
The so-called mid-wife was perched between the struggling woman's legs, whispering something in a sing song chant. Somewhere in the mess there was a baby crying piteously.
When the men came into the room, Balet turned angrily on them. "He must get out of here; this is no place for your man friend. It is a woman's right to suffer for the little ones alone."
Daniel strode towards her and grasped the woman by her arm to pull her aside. "Move out of the way. I need to see what is happening."
The woman jerked away from him. "There will be a curse on the child now. No strange man..."
Jack grabbed her and pulled her away from the bed. "Get the fuck away from her, you bitch! I'm not going to let you kill my wife." He jerked her towards the bedroom door and shoved her in the direction of it.
"You are cursed; your wife is cursed. You are the cause of her pain...she will surely die now!" She spat at him venomously. Jack grabbed her by the arms, and drug her out of the room and through the house to the front door. He pushed her bodily out the portal and slammed it on her outraged cries. Then as he hurried back to the bedroom, he saw Jhakell still sitting at the bedroom door crying silently. His father stopped by him and knelt down. "Son, it's gonna be all right, but I've got to go to you mother now, okay?" The boy nodded wordlessly. Jack hugged him quickly and kissed him on the head. "It'll be okay, sweetheart, you'll see."
As Jack reentered the room, Daniel was kneeling by Seja, talking calmly to the woman in Abydonian. Then, surprisingly, he began to look around the scattered bedclothes, tossing them in the air as if searching for something.
"What's wrong?" Jack asked him, seeing his unexplained actions.
"Seja says she's had the baby, I thought I heard it crying but I wasn't sure with that stupid woman's caterwauling."
"What? My God, Daniel!" Jack started looking through the chaos also.
Then, the younger man picked up what appeared to be a bundle of rags. "Here, here you are princess and a strong girl too." He said in relief. The infant stared at him with the wide eyes of the newly born and wailed her unhappiness to him. "Here, Jack, take this little doll so I can concentrate on Seja."
Jack couldn't believe it as he took the baby from Daniel. Here was his daughter, whom the midwife had put aside without care or concern. Then he heard his wife gasp out another cry. He cuddled the little body next to his and went to her side. "It's okay, sweetheart, I've got her. She's fine."
His wife's eyes met his, then another contraction came. Seja moaned as her husband took her hand.
Daniel shifted his location slightly then murmured something to himself. He slid around to get into a better position now that the woman was gone. Gently, he palpated Seja's abdomen, then a look of realization passed across his face. "Uh, Jack..."
"What?" The former military man was now two inches from panic.
"Jack, I need you to get back into your delivery position...we're not through yet."
"What? What do you mean?" He asked in confusion.
"Jack put that baby down and get around behind Seja...she's not through." He looked over at his friend. "You're about to be a father again...so put that baby down and help me with this baby that's coming."
"Another one? But I've already got one." Jack still wasn't getting it obviously.
"Jack, do you have twins in your family?"
"Twins...you know, two at a time." Daniel shook at the expression on his friend's face. "That's what had the mid-wife so confused. They're very rare here." Then he looked at his friend pointedly. "Jack, put the baby down and help your wife."
"Oh, yeah." He carefully lay the first tiny infant down in a nest he quickly made of some clean linen. "I'll be right there."
Jack once again slid in behind his wife, wrapping his arms around her, under her shoulders and over her chest. This was the accepted manner of birth on Abydos; Seja's husband could talk to her, breath with her and support her in hour of creation. Daniel had helped Sha'uri both times with their babies and he embraced it whole-heartedly.
Jack was now murmuring into his wife's hair, telling her how beautiful and strong she was. Daniel smiled up at them and nodded, he just hoped his friend was right.
Sha'uri appeared at his elbow and knelt down on the floor to help him and her cousin. He looked at her questioningly. "How do you feel?"
"Like I should help you, my Dan-yell." She nodded, "Claire is with Jhakell and Jonny. She will watch them while we work." She said, referring to their five-year-old daughter.
"Okay, here," He nodded then pointed to the nest of sheets. "Take care of the little girl baby while I deliver the next one." He pitched the soiled cloth he'd used to clean his patient and picked up another clean cloth to use. "There's another baby."
Sha'uri looked at him, surprised at his words. "Another child, Dan-yell? But can this be so?" She looked at him not understanding. "Women do not have more than one child. This is bad. She is very weak, my Dan-yell. She will die."
"No, Sha'uri. Women can and do have more than one baby. Seja is just a very special woman. But, the birth is tiring her."
"I have never heard of such a thing." She said again, looking down at her cousin in amazement.
He nodded, glancing up at Jack. The older bearded man was looking worriedly down at his wife. "That would explain Balet, Jack. She didn't know...oh, here we go...you need to help her push, okay. These contractions are coming pretty quick."
"What? Already? Is that bad?" Jack was looking shell-shocked himself.
"No, actually, it's good." He glanced up at O'Neil. "You need to talk to her, okay, keep her spirits up. I'm gonna help her here, it'll be all right."
Jack looked down at his wife's frightened face. "Seja, baby, you're okay. You need..."
"Jak!" His wife keened his name and leaned back against him as the contraction hit. "My Jak, What is wrong?"
"There's nothing wrong, baby. Daniel will help you, we'll fix it right...won't you Danny?"
There was no answer; the man was sitting back on his heels, looking very meditative. "What? Oh, sorry. Uh, Jack we need to let her rest a minute to help with the labor. She's got a bit more work to do here, I think."
"Okay, I'm sure. I'm thinking it will make it easier cause she's already dilated" he shrugged. "I've never delivered twins before. It'll be interesting."
Jack looked at him in frustration. "Interesting? This is my wife! It's not interesting!"
Sha'uri had picked up Jack and Seja's first daughter and was cuddling her gently. She brought her up in her arms so her mother could look at her. "She is beautiful, Seja." She cooed. "And soon you will have another. See her."
"But how can I have two babies?" The mother looked at her husband. "Why?"
Jack looked to Daniel. "Yeah, why?"
The younger man shrugged. "I'm no doctor, Jack. But I think I read that more mature women have a better chance of twins, and Seja's started late with you. She's in her early thirties now when most Abydonian women have their babies in their teens and early twenties. But, it could be anything. I just don't know that much about it." He looked up at Jack. "Why, you're not upset are you?"
"No, no, not at all." Jack replied looking anxiously at his wife. "I'm just worried about Seja. That midwife was useless. I didn't know what to do, except to come and get you."
Daniel nodded and bent back to his task. "Its crowning, Jack! She needs to push again."
"Is everything all right?"
"So far everything looks good. It should be only a short while,"
Seja gasped and pushed back on Jack's arms. He tried to help and comfort her. "Oh, here we go, come on baby...come see your parents." Daniel crooned. "There's the baby."
The woman gasped again, and Jack held onto her as she struggled through the birth contraction. "I've gottcha, sweetheart. We're all right now."
"Yes, yes! It's another girl!" Daniel smiled up at the two of them holding a slippery red baby in his hands. Sha'uri watched in amazement. "Jack, I think you owe this woman a big present...or two."
"She's got whatever she wants as far as I'm concerned." Jack agreed happily. He looked down at his exhausted wife as she lay in his arms. "I'm so proud of you, honey."
Saja managed a tremulous smile for him. "You are happy, my Jak?"
"Very happy, my Seja." He bent down and kissed her forehead.
Sha'uri had cleaned the first baby and wrapped it in a swaddling cloth. She handed the infant to her father who took her eagerly. Then she took her twin sister from Daniel to begin the procedure on the second child while the Archaeologist-cum-midwife finished with the mother.
O'Neil held his daughter her gently, showing her to Seja. His wife looked at the child critically as if looking for some blemish. By the time Sha'uri was through with the second girl, Daniel was finished and he arranged some clean linens for the new mother to lie on. Then he covered his patient with another sheet and discarded the soiled materials, putting them out of sight until they could be gotten rid of.
Then Daniel heard a noise from the door and turned to see his own five-year-old daughter peeking into the room. He motioned her to come in and he bent down to her. "What is it, Claire?"
"Poppa, Jhakell, is worried that his Mama is hurt." Claire said shyly, looking up at her father.
Jack had glanced up and over heard her. "Tell Jhakell and Jonny to come in and see the new babies, but they have to be quiet." He looked down at Seja, who smile tiredly at the little girl.
Claire nodded to her poppa and then gravely herded the two toddlers into the room. Jack was sitting next to his wife, holding the first born of the twins as Sha'uri handed the second girl to her mother.
Jonny went to stand by his mother and Daniel guided Jhakell to his parents. Jack leaned over and motioned him in close to see his newborn sisters. "Look, son, we got a bargain here. Two for the price of one."
"They are so...little." He breathed in amazement as he looked down at the baby in his father's arms. "Was I ever so little?"
"Yes, you were once, but they'll grow just like you have."
The boys brown eyes went from the baby's to his father's then to his mother. "Mama, are you okay?"
Seja managed a comforting smile for her worried boy. "Yes, my Jhakell. I am tired but I am happy that my babies have come at last."
"But, Mama, you were crying. Did it hurt?"
"Yes," she said honestly, looking up at her husband as Jack gazed entranced down at his second new daughter. "But to have new life, it is only a little hurt." She said softly, reaching out to stroke his cheek. "Come and see your other sister."
He looked down at the other tiny baby. "Two sisters?" He frowned knowingly at his mother. "Couldn't you have a boy?"
After the night had turned into an early morning sunrise, Jack and Daniel were once again walking the streets of Nageda. They arrived at Kasuf's house, next door to Daniel's own. The two men had allowed Sha'uri to kick them out of the O'Neil residence. Everything was fine, she had said and all that Seja needed now was sleep. The children had been put back to bed at Jack and Seja's house and Sha'uri insisted that she was quite capable of taking care of her cousin until they went and told the rest of the family about the great blessing. Then, they should send Shanaia, Skaara's bride and Seja's younger sister, to them so she could help the new mother with her babies. Before they left, Daniel told his wife in no uncertain terms to be careful of their own unborn child. Sha'uri only shook her head and smiled at him.
Daniel then led the way to his father-in-laws house and in through the kitchen door saying hello to the headman's two old servants. He and Jack made their way into the dining area where Kasuf, his son Skaara and the young man's new wife, Shanaia, were finishing their early morning meal.
"Good father, we bring happy news to you." Daniel began after they were seated at the table. "Seja gave birth this morning."
Kasuf looked happy at the news and he nodded at the two tired men, "That is indeed good tidings. Is it a young warrior or a maiden?"
"It is, in fact, two maidens." The Daniel replied grinning at the surprised reactions at the table, then glancing at the proud and happy father.
"Two maidens?" Kasuf asked disbelievingly. "How is this possible?"
Skarra smiled, "It seems O'Neil is powerful in many ways, not just in battle." Jack caught off guard by the joke, blushed a bright red to the amusement of the rest of the family.
Shanaia looked thoughtful. "It has happened before in our family many years ago." The young woman said thoughtfully. "Some think it is a blessing, some are not so sure and say it to be a curse."
"Well," Jack said proudly, glancing over at Skaara and shaking his head at the teasing. "In MY house, it's a blessing. Two little girls can bring a lot of happiness with them."
"But my sister, she is well?" The young woman asked anxiously.
Daniel nodded, "She's tired, of course, but she is well. I thought we had a problem, but then when I realized it was twins..."
"You?" Kasuf looked even more surprised. "You delivered the babies?"
"Yes, I learned how on a dig in South America." At the old man's confusion, he started again. "I learned how before I came to Abydos, good father, from a midwife on Earth. And of course, I helped Sha'uri with our children."
Shanaia looked at him in amazement. "You know the women's mysteries?"
Before he could answer, Jack spoke for him. "Daniel knows many mysteries. In fact, Kasuf, I...uh, well, the midwife that came. You'll probably get complaints about me from her. She...well, I threw her out." He looked at the old man.
Kasuf could only shake his head again in amazement at the two men. "You two Urthmen, you come and change things...you do things that are very strange." He eyed his son-in-law and his friend. "But I have not seen you do a bad thing, when you change them...they are always better."
After making their announcement and having a cup of the strong Abydonian espresso-type coffee at the headman's house, the two friends headed for Daniel's residence. Kasuf had insisted that since they had gone without sleep neither of them should be attending to any of their civic duties. Arriving at the empty house, Daniel pushed open the door and the two entered its dark cool precincts.
Once inside, Daniel led the way into the kitchen area. By unspoken agreement, he pulled out some home baked bread, butter and honey. Then he put a pot on to boil with the leaves of the tobrok plant to brew his version of Abydonian coffee. Jack had sat down heavily at the table, his head in his hands.
When the simple meal was ready the two men ate in silence. They were both weary, the long full night having taken its toll.
Finally, having eaten, Daniel smiled gently at his still shocked friend. "Come on, Jack, you need to get some rest and we won't be needed at your house for a while. Between Sha'uri and Shanaia, Seja and our kids will be well taken care of."
The older man nodded numbly.
Daniel took him by the arm, insisting he get to his feet. He then led his friend to the back sleeping area of his house. He bent down and pulled Jack's desert boots off and helped him to disrobe. Having done this, he shed his own burnoose and aba.
O'Neil smiled up at his partner gratefully as he lay back exhausted in the comfortable bed. The younger man bent over and stroked his face with a gentle hand. Then he kissed him. Jack reached for his lover and pulled him down to rest comfortably next to him.
"I can't tell you how much it means to me for you to have helped Seja like that." The older man caressed his friend's full lips as they smiled at him.
"I would do anything for you and your family, Jack. You know that." Daniel said softly. "Your family is as precious to me as it is to you."
Jack nodded. "I know, Daniel, and it's the same for me. I'll protect them with my life." He pulled the younger man down to lie on top of and next to him. "I love you, Daniel Jackson."
"And I love you, Jack O'Neil." Daniel curled up next to the other man, his friend and partner in life, love and everything they valued.
Then, together, wearied, they slept.
the end of this one.
### The End ###
|Category:||Jack/Other Female, Jack/Daniel, Daniel/Sha're|
|Genres:||Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama, Established Relationship, Hurt/Comfort, Romance|
|Summary:||In the alternate Abydos, things aren't always as simple as one might think. Sequel to Alternate Realities: A Love Story.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Some Language. Intense situations.