Stargate Horizons


Daniel and Jack returned to the others.  Both Sam and Teal'c were able to tell right off that their C.O. had been crying, but neither one of them would dream of saying anything.  Sam then noticed the blood on the colonel's BDU's.

"Are you all right, sir?" she asked, pointing at the blood.

In surprise, Jack looked down at himself.  He hadn't even felt the injuries.  "Yeah, I'm fine.  Nothing to worry about.  Shall we get back to the base?"

They returned to the SGC and went straight to the infirmary.  Janet was all over Daniel, checking him out to make sure he was okay.

"The results I got back from the blood tests show some unusual chemical anomalies," she told him.  "To be honest, I can't give you an explanation for them or what would cause the anomalies, but my guess is that, whatever it was that cured you, the anomalies are either a byproduct or were a part of the process."

"Are the anomalies something to worry about?" Sam asked.

"I don't think so.  Daniel still appears to be completely healthy.  But I'm going to want to keep an eye on this, run the tests again in a day or two.  Daniel, I'd like you to spend the night in the infirmary, just to be safe."

"Janet, there is no reason for me to stay here.  I feel fine.  In fact, I've never felt better.  You just finished saying that I'm perfectly healthy and that you don't think the anomalies are anything to worry about.  I've already promised you that if I feel sick at all, I'll come see you."

Janet opened her mouth to argue her case.

"Ah, come on, Doc," Jack said.  "He just got resurrected from the dead after spending almost the whole day lying here in the infirmary hooked up to a million pieces of equipment and being poked and prodded endlessly.  Can't you give him a break?"

Janet thought about it for a long moment.  "All right."  She focused her gaze on Daniel.  "But I'm extracting another oath from you.  I want you to relax for the remainder of the day.  No work whatsoever.  Understand?"

Daniel smiled.  "I think I can handle that."

Shooing him, Sam and Teal'c out of the infirmary, Janet cleaned and bandaged the cuts and abrasions on Jack's legs, shaking her head over every one.  After finishing, she looked up into his eyes.

"Are you okay, sir?" she asked softly.

Jack smiled slightly.  "I am now."

Janet nodded in understanding.  "We all love him, Colonel.  He's very special to us.  It was . . . very hard watching him die.  No matter how many times we've lost him, or almost lost him, it never gets easier."

"No, it doesn't.  But Daniel's a survivor.  He always seems to make it back, one way or another."

The doctor smiled.  "Yes, he does."  She looked at him more closely, seeing the lingering redness in his eyes.  "Sir, what happened to Daniel wasn't your fault.  You can't blame yourself for it."

Jack said nothing for so long that Janet thought he wasn't going to reply.  "Yes, I can," he finally responded.  "If I had listened to Daniel in the first place and not made him go into that temple, he wouldn't have gotten sick."

"You couldn't have known that it was dangerous, that that thing was in there."

"But I should have known.  That's the whole point.  I should have known or at least been willing to believe that something was wrong.  Daniel was warning us about that place, but I refused to even consider that he was right.  I should have known better.  Daniel has an annoying tendency of being right ninety-nine percent of the time.  That should have taught me to listen to what he was saying."

"All right.  Do you know why you didn't?" Janet asked gently.

"I have no idea.  Looking back on it now, I can see how stupid and totally unreasonable I was during that whole incident.  I really don't know why I got so angry."

Janet thought about what he was saying.  "Colonel, is it possible that you were being affected by this Bendrak, too?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, Daniel could sense that thing's presence, and it was making him uncharacteristically nervous and jumpy.  It might be possible that Bendrak's presence was affecting you in a different way, causing you to become irrationally angry.  There are all kinds of things that can affect a person's mood.  Certain sounds, smells, even colors can positively or negatively affect us.  Things that we can't see, hear or smell with our senses can cause imbalances in the chemicals within our brains and bodies and result in significant mood swings.  You remember what happened on PJ2-445?"

"Um, is that the planet with those weird little naked guys and the plants that made the sound that made me and Daniel get sick and really irritable?  You think that something like that is the reason for me going ballistic?"

"It's very possible.  I do know that, when Daniel was sick, tests showed that certain chemicals in his brain were highly elevated whereas some others were abnormally low.  Those abnormal levels could have affected his mood.  All of you showed mild imbalances as well, and it's possible that those imbalances were much worse earlier on.  I think you need to discuss this with the others.  You might learn that you were all being affected to a certain extent."

"Yeah, I think I'll do that."  He looked down at the doctor's handiwork on his legs.  "So, you done with me?"

"I sure am."  She handed him a tube of antibacterial ointment.  "You know the drill."

Jack made a face.  "Yeah, I've dealt with it often enough.  I don't need the tube, though.  I've still got stuff left over from the last time . . . and the time before that, and the time before that, etcetera, etcetera."

Janet gave him an amused smile.

Jack left the infirmary and headed to the locker room.  He washed himself as best as he could without getting the bandages on his cuts wet, then donned clean fatigues.  He suddenly realized that he was famished and headed for the commissary.  He was delighted to see the rest of his team at one of the tables.  He paused a moment when he thought about the fact that, officially, Daniel was no longer a member of SG-1.  Something would have to be done about that.

Filling his tray with food, the colonel joined the others.  "This seat taken?" he asked.

"Not that I know of," Daniel replied with a smile, "though we've had a few visitors."

The archeologist's words made Jack look around.  Most of the other personnel in the commissary kept glancing over at Daniel, some in whispered conversations with others.  Obviously, word of his death and miraculous resurrection had spread throughout the base.

"If you're not careful, Daniel, everyone's going to start calling you Lazarus," Jack said with a smirk.

"Oh, some of them already do," Daniel informed him.  "That little nickname made the rounds after I descended."

Sam grinned.  "Well, you do have to admit that you've got quite a track record for dying, then coming back to life."

"Yeah, tell me about it."  Daniel shoved a mouthful of food in.

"Perhaps you are one of the Immortals on that television series who can only die if they are decapitated," Teal'c said in a perfectly serious tone of voice.

Daniel choked on his food.  Coughing and sputtering, he grabbed his water as Sam patted his back.  Jack was trying hard not to laugh.

Finally able to talk, Daniel stared at the Jaffa.  "That was funny, Teal'c."

Getting in on the fun, Sam cocked her head and looked at him.  "I don't know, Daniel.  Maybe he has a point.  I mean, look at all the times you've come back from the dead.  Being an Immortal certainly would explain it."

"We could shoot him to test the theory," Jack added.

"Yeah, well, just don't spread this around, okay?" Daniel requested.  "I don't want homicidal guys with big swords coming after me.  My robot self already lost his head.  I really don't want to lose mine."

They resumed eating their meal.  After a while, Jack decided to bring up the topic he and Janet had discussed.  Glancing at Daniel often, he recounted the conversation.  There was silence at the table for a while after he was finished.

"I think Janet may be right," Sam stated.  "On the planet, after you yelled at Daniel, I, um, got really angry."

"How angry?" Jack asked.

"Really angry, sir.  Angry enough that I might have done something that would have resulted in a court-martial if you had been anywhere I could see you."

"Oh.  That angry, huh?" Jack said, thinking that he might have retained the ability to father children because of his decision to send Carter off alone to check the area.

"I, too, experienced extreme anger after the incident between you and Daniel Jackson," Teal'c admitted.

"Yeah, you already told me about the whole breaking multiple bones thing."

Daniel had been silent throughout the conversation.  Jack now looked at him.  "So, what about you, Daniel?  Did you have the urge to break bones or harm portions of my anatomy that I have a particular fondness for?"

"Actually, I was just thinking of knocking a few teeth out, maybe breaking your nose," the archeologist replied.

"Is that all?  Daniel, you're just too nice a guy.  In your shoes, I'd probably have been considering doing what they did to Mel Gibson in Braveheart."  He looked at his team.  "Okay, so we have established that I'm darn lucky I didn't end up in the infirmary right alongside Daniel.  There has got to be a life lesson in there somewhere."

"I wonder if Bendrak affects the natives in the same way," Daniel murmured, wondering if what Bendrak did to him was the reason why he'd completely lost control of his emotions and said all those things to Jack.  Thinking about what he'd said, he recognized that he definitely had not been acting normally.  Never in a million years would he have said those things if he'd been himself.

Sam shook her head.  "I feel so stupid now.  We should have known right off that something was going on.  When the colonel started acting like he did, I couldn't figure out why, but it never even crossed my mind that some alien force could be the reason, not even when you said that you sensed that something was wrong.  After all the things we've seen, after all we've been through, we should have known that something wasn't right."  She couldn't help but think about what happened when Daniel was infested by Ma'chello's Goa'uld killer, which caused him to suffer hallucinations, yet another time when they should have guessed right off that something alien was to blame.

"Sam, if Janet's right, we were all being affected by Bendrak," Daniel responded.  "Now, I don't know about you guys, but I do know that I wasn't thinking all that clearly and rationally, much less logically.  Besides, even if we'd figured out sooner that some kind of alien force was affecting us, it wouldn't have helped me.  I'd still have gotten sick."

"Not if I'd listened to you and not made you go into that temple," Jack said, regret heavy in his voice.

Daniel stared at him, unsure what to say.  If either Sam or Teal'c had suspected at that time that an alien force was at work and said something to Jack, would he have listened to them and not had his blow up?  Maybe.  The archeologist wasn't going to say that, though.  All it would accomplish was to make his teammates feel even worse.

"The point is that everything turned out okay," he said instead.  "We're all alive and well.  That's what matters."

At that moment, a huge yawn snuck up on him.

"You should get some sleep, Daniel," Sam said.  "It's been quite a day for you."

The linguist gave her a slight smile.  "Yeah, it has, hasn't it.  I really don't feel like staying here, though.  I guess I'll have someone drive me home since I know that Janet would have a cow if I drove myself."

"Are you allowed to go home?" Jack asked.

"Um, Janet didn't say I couldn't, but that might have been an oversight on her part."

"Well, we won't say anything if you don't."  The colonel stood.  "Come on.  I'll take you home.  Better yet, I'll take you to my house, and you can stay in the guest room.  Janet may not fume as much if she knows I was keeping an eye on you."

"Jack, I'm okay.  I don't need babysitting."


Just that one word, spoken in that tone of voice the archeologist knew so well, told him that Jack was not going to take no for an answer.  He heaved a loud sigh.  "All right, you win.  I'll be your houseguest for tonight, but only for tonight."

"Wow, that was easy.  You've never been that easy before.  Be still my heart," Jack murmured.

"Calm down, Jack.  It wasn't a proposition," Daniel retorted.

The look on the colonel's face was absolutely priceless and almost had Sam bursting into laughter.

"Proposition for what, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked, puzzled.

"Never you mind!" Jack snapped, actually looking embarrassed.  "Come on, Daniel, before I decide to test this Immortal theory myself."

Hiding a smirk, Daniel followed Jack out of the commissary.  He felt good.  In fact, he felt great, like some huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders.  He realized that, in the last few hours, he'd had more heart to heart talks than he'd had the better part of his life.  Since childhood, he'd felt a need to keep his deepest feelings to himself, never talking about them with others.  Not even Sha're had been able to get him to fully open up.  He knew, in time, he might to go back to the way he was before, to become that man who kept his deepest fears and pain hidden inside, but, at that moment, he really didn't want to do that.  He felt freer now that he had in nearly thirty years.

But there was more to it than a feeling of emotional freedom.  For the first time since losing Sha're to the Goa'uld, Daniel felt like he was really, truly going to be all right.  He'd made peace with himself, come to terms with his failures and realized that he'd had a lot of successes, too.  More than that, he really knew now that what Oma had told him was right.  She had helped with that, enough that he'd been able to ascend, but it wasn't until now that it had truly sunk in, and he could fully take it to heart.

A few months ago, Daniel had told Teal'c that he finally felt like he was really a part of something, something important.  Though that was true, there had still been a feeling of . . . incompleteness, a feeling that there were still things missing in his life that he needed to truly be happy.  Today, he had found what he needed, and it was all right here, in his work, in his life with the Stargate Program, and, most importantly, in his friends.

The two men changed into their civvies in the locker room.

"Jack, I want to get my journal.  Can we run over to my office?" Daniel asked.

"Hey, you heard the doc.  No working."

"I'm not going to work, Jack.  I want to get my personal journal."

"Oh.  Well, okay, then.  I want to grab something from my office, too, so let's just meet at the elevator."  Jack waved his finger.  "And don't go getting involved with something in your office and make me come get you, Daniel.  You've got five minutes."

Daniel gave him a cocky salute.  "Yes, sir!" he said, somehow making the honorific sound anything but respectful.  Jack chose to ignore the tone of voice.

"Hey, I think I could get used to hearing you call me 'sir'.  Yep, wouldn't mind that at all."

"Well, treasure that memory, Jack.  It's the only one you'll likely get."

Jack smiled as he watched Daniel walk away.  'Definitely a pain in the ass, but I wouldn't give him up for all the Goa'uld killing weapons in the universe.'

He turned toward his own office, but stopped when he heard Sam calling him.

"Hey, sir.  I thought that you and Daniel would be gone by now," she said.

"Daniel wanted to get his journal, and I wanted to pick up something from my office as well."

"Ah.  Um . . . sir, could I walk with you?  There's something I want to tell you."

Jack looked at her closely, then nodded.  They walked in silence for a little while.  Sam appeared to be trying to decide something.  Finally, she looked at him.

"Sir, when I was talking with Daniel that last time in the infirmary, he said some things that I think you should know.  He told me that, before he ascended, he felt like a failure, that all the things he'd done in his life had been for nothing."

Jack came to an abrupt halt, staring at her.  "What?!  You've got to be kidding!"

"No, sir, I'm not.  Daniel didn't believe that he deserved ascension."

"Well, that has got to be the all time stupidest thing I've ever heard."

"I know.  I don't understand how Daniel could feel that way.  He told me that he doesn't feel like that anymore.  He knows that he's not a failure, that he did do some good.  But, sir, what he said makes me think that he still believes he's not all that important, that his contributions to the program haven't been all that big."

Jack's expression firmed into determination.  "Thanks for telling me, Carter.  It looks like I'm going to have to have another chat with Daniel."

"I hope he listens to you, sir.  Daniel needs to know how important he is, not only to us, but to the program."

They parted company, and Jack went onto his office.  When he returned to the elevator, it was to see Daniel already there.  The archeologist pointedly looked at his watch.

"Not one word, Daniel," the colonel warned.

Giving him a smirk, the archeologist pushed the button for the elevator.

Daniel was quiet on the way home, his eyes gazing out into the darkness beyond the passenger side window.  Jack kept glancing at him, finding himself honestly analyzing his feelings for the younger man for the first time.  There was no one word, no single term that could sum up how he felt about Daniel.  Daniel was, without a doubt, his best friend.  There wasn't anyone else in his life who could hold that position.  But that wasn't enough to describe Jack's feelings.  Daniel was like the brother he never had, the annoying baby brother who was always such a royal pain, yet whom Jack would protect to the last breath against anyone who sought to harm him.

No matter how he looked at it, there was no denying that he cared a great deal about Daniel.  How it happened he'd never know.  He and Daniel were nothing alike.  They were polar opposites.  Yet, somehow, the archeologist had wormed his way past all of Jack's defenses and implanted himself in the heart that Jack had closed up tight after the day a shot rang out and shattered his happy life.

And, right now, right at that moment, he was not the least bit sorry about it.

By the time they got to Jack's place, Daniel was asleep, his head resting against the window.  Jack parked the car and turned off the engine.  He sat and stared at the younger man for a long moment, then he gently shook Daniel's shoulder.  The linguist lifted his head and blinked, looking about owlishly.

"Come on," Jack said, opening his door.  "There's a bed with your name on it just waiting for you."

They went into the house and took turns in the bathroom.  Jack loaned Daniel a pair of sweats to use as sleepwear, and the archeologist headed off to the guest room, Jack following him.  He watched his friend climb into the bed.

"Good night, Daniel," he said, moving to the light switch.

"Jack?" came a soft voice.

The colonel turned back.  "Yeah?"

Daniel looked at him for a long, silent moment.  "Thanks . . . for everything."

Jack felt a little twinge in his heart as he remembered the last time Daniel had spoken those words, moments before the younger man disappeared through the blinding white light of a Stargate on another plane of existence.

"No, Daniel.  Thank you," Jack murmured, "for everything."

With a little smile, Daniel closed his eyes and snuggled beneath the covers.  Jack turned out the light, closed the door, and headed off to bed.

Next Chapter

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