Stargate Horizons


The next day, Daniel wasn't in the mood to eat in the cafeteria and chat with all his friends, so he and Sam went to their "secret" lunch place, the baseball dugout.

"I have to talk to a psychologist next week," the boy told his best friend.

"You mean a head doctor?"

Daniel frowned.  "Head doctor?"

"That's what I heard one called on TV."

"I don't know.  I guess.  I have to talk to one because of the flashbacks, and the nightmares, and everything else.  I really don't want to.  One talked to me after my parents died, and I hated it."

"I don't think they should make you go see one if you don't want to.  That's mean."

Daniel shrugged.  "I'm glad it's not the same one this time."

"Maybe I could come with you."

"I don't think they'd let you."  Daniel didn't add that he'd really rather not have her there anyway.  He knew that it was going to be upsetting, and he didn't want Sam to be there if he cried.

In the afternoon session, Mister Greer gave everyone some special projects for their homework.  As usual, Daniel's was more advanced than everyone else's.  It was going to be quite challenging, and he was looking forward to working on it over the weekend.

He was halfway to the bus when he realized that he'd left his homework assignment on his desk.  Hoping that he wouldn't miss his bus, Daniel ran back to the classroom.  He was puzzled to see that the door was closed.  The only time it was ever closed was during class.

Wondering if he should knock, Daniel opened the door a crack.  He heard the voice of the principal, Mister Parker.

"Quentin, I'm just concerned that you're getting too personally involved with Daniel.  From what I understand, you spent a great deal of time with him before and during Halloween."

"Because he was involved in the haunted house we did.  He was helping us with everything.  We had Samantha Carter there a great deal of the time, too, yet you're not objecting to that."

"That's because Samantha Carter isn't one of your students.  We discourage our teachers from becoming personally involved with any of their students for a reason, Quentin.  There could be questions about your objectivity."

"Oh, get off it, Ted.  Considering the fact that Daniel is already being given different work than my other students, there aren't any parents who will accuse me of favoritism.  Besides, pretty soon he'll no longer be one of my students, so what difference does it make?"

Daniel stood frozen in place.  He wasn't going to be in Mister Greer's class anymore?  Why?  Why was he going to be taken out of the class?  Didn't Mister Greer want to be his teacher anymore?

Tears filling his eyes, Daniel turned and fled, dashing away down the mostly empty corridor.  When he made it outside, he saw that his bus was gone, but he didn't care.  With tears flowing down his face, Daniel ran across the playground.  It was cold and raining, so the place was completely empty.  He headed straight to the dugout and sat on the bench, pulling his knees up to his chest.

Yet again, Daniel was losing something he loved, and he didn't even know why.  He thought that Mister Greer liked him and liked being his teacher.  Mister Greer had been so nice, and had played with him and Sam, and had done the haunted house just so that Daniel would have a fun Halloween.  But, now, he wasn't going to be Daniel's teacher anymore.  Why did everything always have to change?  Why did all the good stuff in his life have to be taken away?

Quentin had been stewing at his desk for the past half-hour, too angry to grade the pile of tests before him.  The last thing he had expected was to be lectured by the principal about the time he'd been spending with Daniel.  There had been a good reason for spending all those hours with the boy.  He bet that if the same number of hours had been spent here in the classroom doing extracurricular activities with Daniel, not a single complaint would have been spoken, but because Daniel had spent most of that time in Quentin's house, it was a big issue.

There was a knock on the door, and one of the girls from the administration office poked her head in.  She glanced about and frowned.

"He's not here," she said.

"Who's not here?"

"Daniel Jackson."

Quentin's face darkened.  "If Ted sent you in here to check up on me, you can tell him to. . . .  Never mind, I'll tell him myself."

The woman gave him a blank look.  "What?  I don't know what you're talking about.  Daniel's foster mother called.  Daniel wasn't on his bus, and she's worried.  She wanted to see if he stayed over after class, and someone forgot to call and let her know."

Quentin's ire instantly transformed into deep concern.  He got to his feet.  "Have you talked to the bus driver?"

"Yes.  He doesn't recall seeing Daniel get on the bus."

Quentin left the room with her.  "I'll call Mrs. Underwood."

They went to the office, and Quentin made the call.  Diane sounded pretty frantic when she answered.

"Oh, please tell me that Daniel is with you," she said.

"I wish I could.  He left when all the other students did."

"Oh, I just don't know where he could be.  I know he was upset that he was going to have to see that psychologist, but I just can't see him running away because of it."

"Daniel has an appointment with a psychologist?"

"Yes, because of the flashbacks and everything else.  I told him about it yesterday, and I know that he was really unhappy about it."  There was a long pause, then, "You don't think he'd actually run away, do you?"

"No, I really don't think he would," Quentin assured her.

"But where could he be, then?  You don't think that. . . .  You hear on the news about children being taken, but. . . ."

Quentin's gut clenched painfully.  No, he was not going to think about that.  "I'll check around the school grounds.  I hope that's not the case, but maybe Daniel had an accident and was injured."

"Oh, I hope you find him and that he's all right.  Please, please call me and let me know whether or not you find him."

"I will."  Quentin hung up and turned to the woman who'd brought him the news about Daniel.  "I'm going to see if he might be here somewhere.  Is there anyone else around who can help me look?"

"I don't know.  Mister Parker is already gone, and so is the vice principal.  Some of us girls are still here.  I suppose we could help look around."  She studied his face.  "Do you really think he's still here?  There was that story in the papers a few months ago about that little boy who was taken by somebody.  They found his body in a ditch.  The case is still unsolved."

A sick feeling welled up inside Quentin.  The thought of someone taking Daniel and. . . .  God, he wasn't going to think about that.

"I'm not going to jump to any conclusions yet," he said.  "First, we search the school.  If he's not here, then we'll consider other things.  You and the other girls search inside the main building.  I'll check outside.  And be sure you look everywhere.  Look in the bathrooms first."

Grabbing his coat, Quentin went outside.  He first checked around the area where the buses were loaded, but saw no sign of the boy.  He then headed into the playground.  At first glance, the place looked utterly deserted, cold, grey and empty in the pouring rain, but a small bit of color caught Quentin's eye.  He hurried toward it, hoping that it was Daniel.

Quentin was still a few yards from the baseball diamond when the lone figure in the dugout was fully revealed.  An overwhelming wave of relief hit him as he recognized Daniel, and his first instinct was to run over there and pull the boy into his arms, followed by a scolding for scaring everyone half to death.  But then he got a good look at the child's posture.  Daniel was huddled on the bench, legs pulled in tight to his chest, face hidden against his knees.  Something was wrong.

Quentin approached the dugout, waiting until he was there before speaking.

"Daniel?" he inquired softly.

The boy started violently, his head shooting up.  The tracks of dried tears were on his face.  Seeing his teacher, Daniel looked away and wiped his face.

Quentin sat on the bench.  "Daniel, what's wrong?"  The boy didn't answer and refused to look at him.  Quentin reached out and touched his arm.  "Hey.  Whatever it is, you can tell me."

Daniel's chin dropped.  "I forgot my homework, and I went back to get it, but you were talking with Mister Parker.  He was mad at you because of all the time you spent with me, and . . . and. . . ."  Daniel finally looked at him.  "Why aren't I going to be in your class anymore?  Don't you want to be my teacher?"

Quentin cursed silently.  Of all the lousy ways for the kid to find out, this had to be the worst.

"Of course I want to be your teacher, Daniel.  I'd love it if I could always be your teacher."

"They why aren't I going to be in your class anymore?"

The teacher sighed.  "You remember those special tests you took a few days before you got sick?"


"Well, those tests proved what we already knew, that you are very, very smart, too smart to be in the second grade.  It was decided that it would be better for you to be put in a higher grade."

"But you're already giving me schoolwork for higher grades."

"I know, but they decided that wasn't enough.  After the holidays, you're going to be put in the fourth grade.  You'll still be given some special lessons like you are in my class."

"But I don't want to be in the fourth grade.  I don't want to be in another class.  I want to stay in your class."

"Oh, Daniel.  I wish you could, but it's not up to me."

Daniel's head dropped.  "I wish I wasn't smart," he whispered.  "I wish I was like all the other kids."

"Hey.  Don't you ever say that, Daniel.  You have a gift, a wonderful, precious gift for which you should be thankful.  Don't ever wish that you didn't have it.  I know that it seems like it's a bad thing right now, but your intelligence will take you far.  Years from now, when all of this is in the past, I'm certain that you'll be glad that you're smart, and I'm betting that a lot of other people will be glad of it, too."

Daniel didn't respond to his words.  The boy looked so sad that Quentin wanted to pull him into a big hug.  Instead, he said, "Come on.  We need to call your foster mother.  She's worried sick about you.  You weren't on the bus, and she thought something had happened to you."

"I'm sorry.  I didn't know it was that late.  I missed my bus, and I just wanted to be alone."

"I know.  Let's go.  We'll call Mrs. Underwood, then I'll take you home."

Diane was relieved beyond words when Quentin called her and told her that Daniel was safe.

"I'll be bringing him home," he said.  "I'll explain when I get there."

Daniel was silent on the trip to his house, hunched low in his seat.  Diane embraced him tightly when they arrived.  He apologized for scaring her.

"I'm just so glad that you're all right," she said.  "You mustn't do things like that, Daniel.  I was afraid that something terrible had happened to you."

Daniel's head dropped low.  "I'm sorry," he mumbled again.  "Please, may I be excused?"

"Yes, go on to your room.  We'll talk later."

Once the boy was gone, Quentin told Diane that Daniel had overheard a conversation about his removal from the second grade, omitting what the conversation was really about.

"He didn't hear anything about the reason why," he explained, "just that he was no longer going to be my student, and it really upset him."

"Oh, what terribly bad luck," Diane said.  "I was intending to wait until shortly before the holiday break to tell him.  I was tempted to wait until after Christmas so that the holiday wouldn't be spoiled for him, but I figured that he might, well . . . want to say goodbye to you on that last day."

"You should know that he didn't miss the bus on purpose.  He'd forgotten his homework and came back to get it.  It was just a really bad case of timing that the principal had come to speak with me about Daniel.  The bus was already gone by the time Daniel got back outside.  He was upset and went off to be alone, and he lost track of the time."

Diane let out a sad sigh.  "It's just one thing after another, isn't it.  That poor little boy just can't seem to catch a break.  I honestly don't know what to say to him about this."

"I've already explained the reasons why he's being bumped up to the fourth grade, but children seldom care about what's logical or practical.  All Daniel cares about is that he's being taken out of a class that he loves.  You know, there is someone who might be able to make him feel better.  You should call the Carters and see if they can bring their daughter over.  Sam might be just the ticket to cheer Daniel up."

There was no answer at the Carter residence when Diane called.  She told Quentin that she'd try again later.

Though Quentin hated to leave, there was a pile of ungraded papers in his briefcase that had to be taken care of.

"If you think I need to come talk to Daniel, don't hesitate to call," he told the boy's foster mother.

"I will."

Jacob uttered a few silent curses.  Diane Underwood had just called and told him what happened with Daniel, asking if they could bring Sam over to see if she could cheer the boy up.  The captain had told the woman that they'd bring her as soon as possible.

"What's wrong?" Laura asked when she saw her husband's expression.  He told her the news.  "Oh, no.  What a way to find out."

"Yeah.  Quentin and Diane think that Sam might be able to cheer Daniel up.  I'm going to take her over there."

"Good idea."

Jacob went into his daughter's room and told her about Daniel.

"He could really use some cheering up, Sammie," he said, "and we can't think of anyone better for that than you."

"Can we go there now?" Sam asked, anxious to be there for her best friend.

Jacob smiled.  "We sure can.  Go get your coat."

Several minutes later, Jacob and Sam were at the Underwoods.

"Thank you for coming," Diane said.  "Daniel's been in his room since he came home."

Jacob looked down at his daughter.  "Go on in there, Sam.  We'll stay out here.  Oh, and Sam?  I think it would be best if you didn't tell Daniel that you already knew he was going to be transferred out of Mister Greer's class.  It might hurt his feelings if he was aware that you kept that knowledge from him."

Sam went to Daniel's room.  She knocked on the door.  Receiving a quiet call to enter, she went in.  Daniel was sitting on his bed, holding the book on ancient Egypt.  He wasn't crying, but he looked very sad.

"Hi," Sam said.  She walked up to the bed.  "I heard about you being taken out of Mister Greer's class.  Daddy told me that you found out by accident."

"Mister Parker was talking to Mister Greer," Daniel told her in a low voice.  "Mister Parker was mad at Mister Greer for spending all that time with me."

"He was?  But why?"

"Because I'm Mister Greer's student, and it's against the rules."

"Well, that's a really stupid rule."  Sam sat on the bed.  "I'm sorry that you aren't going to be in Mister Greer's class anymore.  Are you really sad?"

Not looking at her, Daniel nodded slightly.  "It's because I'm too smart.  They're going to put me in the fourth grade.  I don't want to be in the fourth grade.  I want to stay in Mister Greer's class."

Sam fell silent, not knowing what to say.  A moment later, though, words came blurting out of her mouth.  "What if we could be in the fourth grade together?"

Daniel's head lifted, and he gazed at her.  "In the same class?"

Sam nodded.  She started to get excited.  "Then we could study together sometimes.  You could help me with history, and I could help you with math and science, like we talked about before.  And it wouldn't matter that all the other kids are older than us because we'd be together."

Daniel's eyes brightened a bit.  "It wouldn't be so bad if you were there, too.  That would be nice."  The brightness dimmed.  "But you're in the third grade.  What if they won't let you go into fourth?"

"Sure they will!  Third grade is too easy for me.  Fourth grade will be much better."  Sam grabbed Daniel's hand and pulled him off the bed.  "Come on!  Let's talk to my dad."

The two children went into the living room, where Jacob and Diane were sitting.  Sam pulled Daniel over to her father.

"We got it all fixed."

Jacob blinked in surprise.  "You do?"

"Uh huh.  I'm going into fourth grade with Daniel, like we—" Sam stopped herself before saying, "like we talked about before," knowing that would lead to questions from Daniel.  "Then Daniel won't feel so bad about leaving Mister Greer's class, and I won't be bored in school anymore.  It'll be perfect!"

"Oh, Sam.  You should have talked to me and your mother first before you made that suggestion to Daniel.  Having you transferred into fourth grade isn't that simple.  There's no guarantee that the school will allow it."

Jacob watched Daniel's shoulders slump and head bow, and it made him feel like a first class jerk.  He'd just dashed the little bit of happiness that Sam had brought back to the boy.  So, what was he going to do about it?

"Okay, I can't make any promises, Sam, but your mother and I will talk about this tonight.  If it's what you really want, we'll discuss it with the school."

Sam threw her arms around her father's neck.  "Thank you, Daddy."

That evening, Jacob and Laura talked for a solid hour about the pros and cons of having their daughter go into the fourth grade a full semester earlier than planned.  Then they sat Sam down and talked to her about it, trying to make her understand all the ramifications of such a decision.

"If you go into fourth grade now, it means that you'll be in fifth grade the following semester," Laura pointed out.  "Are you prepared for that?  That's only a single semester in fourth grade.  If you don't do well in some of the subjects, it's going to be pretty hard for you once you go onto fifth.  If you don't do well this coming semester in fourth, it's possible that the school will hold you back, keep you from advancing to fifth after summer vacation, but there's no guarantee on that."

"I get really good grades on math and science," Sam responded, "and I do pretty good in spelling and English.  I'm not really good in history, but Daniel is going to help me."

Jacob looked straight at his daughter.  "And what if I get transferred again, Sam?  We all hope that doesn't happen, but it could.  If that happens, you're not going to have Daniel with you in class or helping you with history."

Sam's gaze dropped to her lap.  She didn't like thinking about having to move and never seeing Daniel again.  It made her want to cry.

Jacob noted his daughter's expression.  "You need to decide if you're willing to take that chance, Sam, because, once this is done, there's no going back.  You can't be sent back a grade even if we move."

Jacob and Laura watched as their daughter sat in silent thought, waiting to see what she'd decide.  At last, she lifted her head and looked at them.

"I still want to do it," she declared firmly.

Her parents exchanged a glance.

Jacob nodded.  "All right, then.  We'll talk to the school on Monday."

Monday was slow in coming for both Sam and Daniel.  Sam had called her friend and told him that her mom and dad were going to be talking to the school about moving her to fourth grade.  Throughout the weekend, the boy tried not to get his hopes up in case the school said no, but he couldn't help but think about what it would be like if he was in the same class as Sam.  It would be really nice.

Even though Daniel was excited about being in the same class as his best friend, he was still sad about leaving Mister Greer's class.  He liked his teacher a lot and was really going to miss him.  Did this mean that he'd never get to read the books in Mister Greer's library?  He'd probably never see Mrs. Greer again.  That thought made him even sadder.  He really liked her, too.

It was late Sunday afternoon when Daniel received a surprise visit from Quentin and Kathleen.

"Hey, there," the teacher greeted with a gentle smile.  "How are you doing today?"

"Okay," Daniel mumbled.

"That didn't sound very convincing to me," Kathleen said.  She turned to her husband.  "Did it to you?"

"No, I can't say that it did."  Quentin sat on one side of Daniel as Kathleen settled on the other side.  "Your foster mother told us that Sam might be joining you in the fourth grade.  I bet you're excited about that."

Daniel simply nodded, not looking all that excited.  Quentin and Kathleen shared a look over his head.  The man then lifted Daniel's chin.  "So, why are you still sad?"

Daniel's eyes refused to meet his.  "Because I'm going to miss you, and I'll probably never get to read the books in your library, and I'll never see Mrs. Greer again."

Identical lumps formed in Quentin's and Kathleen's throats.

"Who said that you'd never get to read my library or see Kathleen again?" Quentin asked.

"I-I thought that because I wasn't going to be your student anymore that I wouldn't ever go back to your house."

"Well, you can get that thought right out of your head, Daniel.  Just because you'll no longer be my student doesn't mean that I'll be taking back the invitation to read my books.  I promised that you could, and I always do my very best to keep my promises.  And as for missing me, you'll still be seeing me at school.  I'll make a special point of coming to say hi to you from time to time."

Daniel gazed up at him, surprised.  "You will?"

"You bet I will."  Quentin grinned.  "Remember?  I'm your number one fan."

Slowly, Daniel leaned into Quentin, his little head coming to rest on the man's chest.  Quentin pulled him close.

"Everything is going to be all right, Daniel," the teacher said.  "You'll see."

It was no surprise to Jacob and Laura that, upon approaching the principal about transferring Sam to the fourth grade, they were told that she would have to undergo the same tests that Daniel did several weeks ago.  An appointment was set up for Wednesday.

The next day was Tuesday, and Daniel had a hard time concentrating at school.  At four o'clock he'd be taken to the psychologist, and he was filled with dread every time he thought about it, which was just about all he could do from the moment he awoke that morning.

Knowing what today was, Quentin completely understood Daniel's distracted state.  He'd probably feel the same way if he was in the boy's shoes.

As class ended and the kids began herding out of the room, the teacher called Daniel over.

"So, your appointment is today."

Daniel's head ducked.  "Yeah."

"I understand why you're nervous about it.  I would be, too, if I was you."  Quentin caught the child's gaze.  "But you are a very brave boy, Daniel, and I know that you're going to be all right.  I know that it doesn't seem like it to you, but this appointment is a good thing.  The doctor will be able to help you with things, maybe get rid of those nightmares of yours.  You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

Daniel nodded.

"Then think of the positives, not the negatives.  That's my philosophy."  Quentin patted Daniel's shoulder.  "So, you go on and see that doctor and let him help you.  Okay?"

"Okay," Daniel said, though he still wasn't completely convinced that this really was a good thing.

"Can I give you a little advice?"

Daniel nodded.

"He's probably going to ask some pretty tough questions, things you really don't want to talk about, maybe even things you'd rather he not know.  But you need to be honest, Daniel, and not hide things from him, because doing so will just make it harder for him to help you.  So, just tell the truth and don't hide things that he needs to know.  All right?"

Daniel nodded again, more slowly this time.

Time passed far too quickly for Daniel, and, before he knew it, he was sitting with his foster mother in the waiting room of Doctor Joseph Pine.  Irrationally, Daniel was hoping that there would be a fire or some other catastrophe that would delay his appointment for many weeks or even months.  Unfortunately, no flames appeared, and, after a wait of only fifteen minutes, he and Diane were called into the office.

Doctor Pine was a sixty-something man with thinning grey hair and pale blue eyes, eyes that immediately went to Daniel as he and his foster mother entered the room.

The man stood and came around his desk to shake Diane's hand.  "Mrs. Underwood."  He looked down at Daniel.  "And this must be Daniel.  It's a pleasure to meet you, my boy.  Let's all go over to the couch."

As Daniel and Diane settled on the sofa, the psychologist took a seat in the chair across from it.  He smiled at Daniel kindly.

"I should imagine that you're pretty nervous, Daniel.  I also understand that talking about your parents and what happened to them would be very hard.  So, I want you to know right off that, if at any point, you feel that you can't say any more, we'll stop and continue another day.  All right?"

Surprised by the statement, Daniel nodded.

"Okay.  Are you ready to begin?"

"I guess so."

"I understand that you're having a lot of nightmares.  Can you describe them to me?"

Daniel's gaze instantly dropped to his lap.  "They're . . . they're about the coverstone falling."

"About when your parents died."

The boy nodded.

"When you have them, do you know that you're dreaming or is it like it's really happening?"

"It's like it's really happening."

"And those flashbacks you had.  Are they like it's really happening, too?"

Daniel gave another nod.  "Except it's a lot worse."

"How many flashbacks have you had, Daniel?"


"None since that one you had in the park?"

The child's head shook.

Doctor Pine jotted something in his notes.  "That's good.  I'm glad to hear it.  Are you having fewer nightmares now?"


"That's good, too.  I'm sure that, in time, they'll go away completely."  The doctor studied his patient, who hadn't looked at him since the session began.  "Daniel, I do understand how you must feel about what happened.  Losing both your parents is a terrible thing."  He watched as the child began hugging himself, a pose of insecurity and emotional distress.  Recognizing the need to tread carefully, the doctor continued.  "I know how much you wish it never happened, how very much you miss them.  Perhaps you even sometimes wish that you died with them.  Do you ever wish that, Daniel?"

Daniel didn't want to answer the question.  He didn't want anyone to know about the thoughts he'd had.  But he remembered what Mister Greer had said, that he needed to be honest and not hide things.

Quite a few seconds had passed before Daniel gave the therapist the tiniest of nods.  Sighing internally, Doctor Pine made note of it.  It certainly was not the first time he'd treated a child who had the desire to join a dead parent, and it wouldn't be the last.  It was the next question that was the most important one.  Normally, he might wait for another session to ask it, but he needed to get an accurate picture today of how much therapy this boy would need.

"Daniel, I want you to be honest with me.  Have you ever thought about hurting yourself?"


"Not even a little bit?"


"That's good.  You got quite sick with pneumonia a while ago.  When you were so sick, did you wish that you'd die so that you could be with your parents?"

The long pause that followed concerned the doctor.

"I . . . I didn't really wish it, but. . . ." the boy began hesitantly.

"But what?" Joseph probed gently.

"But I thought that, if I did die, it would be okay if it meant that I'd be with them."

The doctor saw an expression of horror and dismay fill the face of the boy's foster mother.

"The thought of dying didn't frighten you?" Doctor Pine asked.

The boy shook his head.

"Daniel, do you think that your parents would want you to die so that you could be with them?"

This time, Daniel didn't answer at all.

"Can you answer me?" the doctor asked gently.

After another long moment, the child finally spoke.  "I don't know," he whispered.

"You do know that they loved you, don't you?"

Daniel began crying.  He nodded and tucked his head closer to his chest, his arms tightening about himself.

"They always tried to protect you from harm, didn't they.  Whenever you got hurt or sick, they worried about you.  Don't you think that, if they could talk to you right now, they'd tell you that they'd never want to see something terrible happen to you?"

Daniel was crying in earnest now.  He abruptly turned away, hiding his face against Diane.  She drew him close, making comforting sounds.

Seeing that the boy had reached his limit for the day, Joseph made another note in Daniel's file.

"Okay, I think that's enough for today," he said.  "We'll talk again in a few days, all right?"  He turned his attention to Diane.  "I believe that I have a spot available Friday afternoon.  Would that work?"

"Yes.  I'll make sure I can arrange things." Diane looked down at Daniel.  "Come on, honey.  We're going home now."

Wiping his face and keeping his head very low, Daniel left the office with his foster mother.  She stopped at the desk of the receptionist and got a card with the time and day of the appointment written on it.

In his office, Doctor Pine called Lucy Merrick and briefed her on the session.

"Though I don't think that Daniel is suicidal or self-destructive, I am concerned about his attitude about death and his admittance that he has occasionally wished that he'd died with his parents."

"So, you're recommending that he continue the therapy?" Lucy asked.

"Yes, absolutely.  I've already scheduled his next session for Friday.  Is there going to be a problem?"

"No, not at all.  The state will cover all your expenses.  All that matters is that Daniel gets the help he needs."

Daniel didn't want to come to dinner that evening, and Diane didn't push.  When she brought a tray in later with a little something for him to eat, she found him asleep on the top of the bedcovers, the book that had belonged to his parents clutched in his arms, the wetness of tears still on his face.  The sight nearly broke Diane's heart.

Carefully, she withdrew the book and set it on the desk.  She took Daniel's shoes off and managed to get him under the covers, placing a soft kiss on his brow.

In the kitchen, she placed a call to the Carters.  Jacob answered.

"How did it go?" he asked.

"All right at first, but Daniel got very upset, and the doctor halted the session early.  I . . . I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you what Daniel said, but . . . but it was just so upsetting hearing some of the things he said.  No child should ever feel that way.  It's just so horribly wrong."

Worried, Jacob wanted to ask what Diane was talking about, but he knew that Daniel's therapy sessions were confidential, and he didn't have the right to ask.

"Is he going to continue with the therapy?" he asked.

"Yes, I believe so.  He has another appointment on Friday."

"So soon?"  Jacob's concern went up another notch.

"I think the doctor was pretty concerned."

"How's Daniel doing now?"

"He cried himself to sleep."

Jacob's heart ached for the boy.  He wished that there was something he could do.

"He'll be in our prayers," he said.  "If he needs anything, anything at all, please call."

"Thank you, Captain Carter.  I'm so glad that Daniel has people like you and your family to give him love.  He really does need it."

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