Incidents Series Part 5: The Museum Incident
by Maureen Thayer
Categories: Friendship, Angst, Hurt/Comfort
Content Warning: Mild Profanity
Spoilers: Double Jeopardy, Talion
Author's Note: This is the 5th fanfic in the Incidents Series. I would highly recommend that you read the previous parts before this one, if you have not already done so, in order to understand the plot. Please note that this story has a small spoiler for the 10th season episode, Talion.
This story is told from Teal'c's point of view.
I was running in an instant at the sound of Daniel Jackson's scream, knowing immediately what had occurred.
For over a day, we had been watching, we have watched our young friend closely. At no time did we allowed him to be alone for more than a few minutes. We knew that the dreaded moment would be upon us at any time. Now, it had come.
Another scream came to my ears. "Mommy! Daddy!"
I increased my speed, cursing that I had chosen this time to relieve myself. I should have been with Daniel Jackson.
I entered the room to see the eight-year-old child huddled on the floor in the corner of the room we had made into a playroom for him, rocking back and forth, tears flowing down his face. His eyes were wide open and filled with horror and grief.
I lifted him into my arms and ran to the elevator, people I passed asking what was wrong. I did not reply. I was set upon my goal of reaching the infirmary, and nothing would delay me.
The moment I entered the infirmary with Daniel Jackson in my arms, the medical staff knew what had happened. Doctor Fraiser rushed forward.
"Put him on the bed." She called over her shoulder for a sedative, then turned back to her patient. Daniel Jackson appeared to be unaware of what was happening around him. His eyes were fixed upon a sight that only he could see, his chest rising and falling far too rapidly, his small body shaking violently.
"He's going into shock," Doctor Fraiser said. "I need that sedative now!"
A nurse hurried over with a syringe. Doctor Fraiser injected it into Daniel Jackson's arm. She began stroking his face and hair.
"Shh, Daniel. It's all right. It's just a memory from a long time ago. It's not happening now. You're going to be okay."
After a short while, Daniel Jackson's eyelids began to close. Within minutes, he was asleep. Doctor Fraiser straightened and turned to me.
"We'll keep him out for a few hours. As—"
She was interrupted by the abrupt entrance of O'Neill and Major Carter.
"We were on our way to the playroom when we heard what happened," the major said. "Did he remember?"
"Yes," Doctor Fraiser replied. "I've just sedated him."
"Dammit!" O'Neill cursed. "We should have all been there when it happened."
"Is he going to be all right?" Major Carter asked, deep concern in her eyes.
Doctor Fraiser nodded. "I think so, though we're in for a rough day or two. I'm going to keep him under for a few hours. As we've already seen, Daniel regains memories even even while he's asleep. By the time he awakens, it will be like two or three weeks have passed."
"Yeah, probably pretty much the worst weeks of his life," O'Neill said in a harsh tone of voice. "Lovely memories of the funeral, getting rejected by his grandfather, and being thrown into foster care."
Doctor Fraiser sighed. "I'm afraid there's nothing we can do about that. Even if I could safely keep him under for several days, it wouldn't be right to do that. He needs to be able to accept this and move on. We are all going to have to help with that. At least by doing things this way, he won't have to suffer through reliving the memories of those first few weeks as they come back to his conscious mind, which will make things much easier on him."
"We'll be right here for him, Janet," Major Carter declared. She had moved to the bed and was caressing Daniel Jackson's hair, his small hand in hers.
"We won't leave him alone for a second," O'Neill promised.
Though Daniel Jackson slept and was unaware of our presence, O'Neill made sure that his promise was kept. At no time was the child left alone.
After five hours, Doctor Fraiser discontinued the sedative. O'Neill, Major Carter and I remained in the private room in which he had been placed, waiting for him to awaken.
As Daniel Jackson began to stir, we gathered around his bed. His eyes opened, looking up at the ceiling. And then they filled with tears, and he began to sob. O'Neill gathered the boy into his arms and held him tightly.
"It's okay, Danny. I've got you. We've got you," he said, his tone colored with deeper emotion than I have heard in his voice on any previous occasion.
Major Carter sat on the bed and began rubbing the boy's back in a soothing manner. Feeling the need to establish physical contact, I laid my hand upon Daniel Jackson's leg.
It was many minutes before our young teammate ceased crying, though he continued clinging to O'Neill's shirt.
"A coverstone fell on them," he whispered.
"Yeah, we know, Danny. We know," O'Neill gently said.
Two days ago, we told Daniel Jackson that his parents died in an accident when he was eight, but we did not reveal the manner of their death. Perhaps it would have been better if we had done so.
"My grandpa didn't want me."
I saw anger fill O'Neill's face for a moment, anger that I believe he was justified in feeling. I, too, was angered when I learned that Daniel Jackson's grandfather chose to reject his duty to his grandson and leave the boy in the care of strangers. It was an act without honor. No Jaffa would willingly do such a thing.
Daniel Jackson's hands clutched at O'Neill more tightly. "I don't like being in foster care. I want to go back to Egypt."
"Hey." O'Neill lifted the boy's face and looked into his eyes. "You are not in foster care, Danny. That was back then, not now. You are right here with us, and that's where you're going to stay."
Major Carter stroked the child's cheek. "All those things you're remembering happened a long time ago, Daniel. Thirty years ago. It's all in the past."
"You didn't have us back then, but you do now. We're not going to leave you."
Daniel Jackson said nothing more. After several minutes, he fell asleep. Major Carter tucked him into the bed, kissing him softly.
"Crap," O'Neill cursed. "I don't want to even thinking about the memories he's going to be getting back. He spent seven years in foster care. Who knows what he went through during that time?"
Doctor Fraiser came in. "Did he wake up?"
"Yeah. It was pretty rough for a while."
She sighed. "I'm afraid that there might be a few other rough spots. He was abused in one of his foster homes."
Anger coiled in my stomach upon hearing this. Any adult who would harm a child under their care deserved to be tortured with a pain stick. I once did so to a Jaffa under my command when I learned that he struck his young daughter hard enough to bruise and bloody her face. I then stripped him of his rank and sent him to a post dreaded by all Jaffa in Apophis' army. When he finally returned, he never dared hit one of his children again.
"Why didn't you tell us this before," Major Carter asked, clearly upset.
"Since Daniel was turned into a child, we've been concerned with other things, and I certainly had no right say anything before then, when he was an adult. As his doctor, I once talked to Daniel about it. He claimed that it wasn't so bad, not as bad as it could have been."
There was a look in O'Neill's eyes that I recognized, having seen it before. "And how bad was it?" he asked, his voice low and dangerous.
"He was treated in the emergency room once, suffering two cracked ribs, a mild concussion and multiple bruises. The hospital reported it to the authorities, and Daniel was removed from the family. He admitted to me that, before then, his foster father had struck him a single blow on a few occasions, but hadn't beaten him until that day."
O'Neill's hands were curled into fists. He rose to his feet and paced around the room.
"I know he must be in his sixties or seventies now, but I still feel like tracking that bastard down and beating the crap out of him."
"I, too, would derive pleasure from such an act," said I.
"Well, for us, it's in the past," Doctor Fraiser said, "but, for Daniel, that memory will be as fresh as the day it happened. He was ten at the time, so we still have several days before it becomes an issue. In the meantime, we need to keep Daniel occupied as much as possible, fill his mind with good memories. I've spoken to General Hammond, and he's agreed to allow Daniel to go off base again. Take him to the park, to the movies, the arcade, anywhere that he'll have lots of fun and not dwell on the memories that are coming back to him."
O'Neill nodded. "Don't you worry, Doc. We'll make sure Danny has so much fun that he won't have time to feel sad."
Upon awakening, Daniel Jackson was allowed to leave the infirmary. At least one of us was his constant companion for the remainder of the day. That night, O'Neill stayed with Daniel Jackson in his quarters. He revealed to Major Carter and me the next morning that the child suffered a nightmare.
"I hate this, T," he confessed to me later. "Up until now, the memories he's gotten back were mostly good ones. Now, they're all crappy. He hasn't smiled since he woke up in the infirmary. I asked if he wanted to go to the park, and he said no even though he's been dying to get out of this place. There's a movie playing in town that I think he'll like, and we're going to take him regardless of whether or not he wants to go." He sighed. "A month, Teal'c. It's going to be a month before he gets to the point where his memories will no longer be of him in foster care. You know, as much as I hate to admit it, I've sort of been wishing that we could slow down his aging, keep him a little kid for a while longer. He's been so happy, and it was great to see. Now, I just want him to get past this bad stuff and onto the good memories he probably has of college."
"As Doctor Fraiser said, we must endeavor to counter Daniel Jackson's bad memories with pleasant ones. I have decided to teach him how to meditate to help him find peace. He learned quickly when he was an adult, so I have confidence that I will succeed again."
"Meditation, huh? Well, I'm not into that kind of stuff, but if it will help Danny, then I'm all for it."
That afternoon, we took Daniel Jackson to the movie theater, though he expressed a desire not to go. He appeared to enjoy the film. We were pleased by the smile we saw on his face on several occasions. Afterwards, we took him to dinner and allowed him to order anything he desired.
I remained with Daniel Jackson that night. He was clearly hesitant to go to sleep, no doubt fearing that he would have another nightmare. I decided that it would be a good time to begin his meditation training. I retrieved several candles from my quarters, and he watched me as I placed them around the room and lit them.
"Are your mom and dad alive?" he asked me after a few moments.
I paused before replying. "No. They are both dead."
Though I had sought to hide my emotions, I apparently did not fully succeed.
"What's wrong? You look mad."
I gazed into the eyes looking up at me. "They were both murdered. My father was killed before my eyes by Cronus when I was a boy."
Daniel Jackson's eyes widened in horror. "Cronus is one of the Titans in Greek mythology." He paused. "Was he a Goa'uld?"
Daniel Jackson's gaze fell to the floor. "I'm sorry he killed your dad. Did . . . did you cry?"
"Yes. I wept for my father, and I swore to avenge his death someday. It took many years, but I at last succeeded." I did not add that it was my robot double who actually had the pleasure of killing Cronus.
"What about your mom?"
My jaw tightened. "She was murdered by another enemy, but it was many years later, when I was a man."
"Did you get the person who killed her, too?"
"No, but, someday, I will." I lit the final candle. "Let us not speak of these things."
Daniel Jackson did not succeed in reaching a meditative state that evening, but the attempt did relax him enough that he was able to fall asleep.
As I watched him sleep, my thoughts went back to when Rya'c was a young child. On the day he was born, I swore an oath to protect him with my life. This child before me now was a grown man when I made a similar oath, an oath given because of my need to make restitution for the sins I had committed against him and his family. Now that he was a child, I renewed the oath and added a new one, that I would do everything within my power to ease the pain that he would suffer in the coming weeks. He would not travel this path alone. I, O'Neill, Major Carter and others would be at his side to give him shelter, support, and love.
I laid a hand upon his head. "You are loved, my young friend, and you will never be alone. This I swear."
My oath having been given, I retired to my cot, prepared for what tomorrow and the days ahead would bring.
THE END . . . until Part 6.