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Sam scrambled to her feet and rushed to Daniel's side.  Just as she reached him, he slowly rolled over and sat up.

"Are you hurt?" she asked anxiously.

"No, I'm okay."

Their gaze when to the archeologist's house.

"My God, Daniel.  If you had been in there. . . ."

"Yeah, I know."

As he got to his feet, Daniel stared at the fire that was consuming his house.  The thought of all the things that it was destroying kindled a flame of anger within him.  Not stopping to consider the lack of wisdom in the act, he turned his abilities upon the blaze, willing it to go out.  A few moments later, the fire was gone.  It wasn't until then that he realized there was an audience.  Quite a few of his neighbors had come running at the sound of the explosion.  One of them came up to him and Sam.

"I've, uh . . . called 911."  The man looked back at the house.  "What made the fire go out?"

"Good question," Daniel replied.

"I need to call the colonel," Sam said.  For the sake of privacy, she placed the call inside her car, dialing the SGC since she figured that Jack might still be there.  Sure enough, he was.

"Sir, there's been an explosion at Daniel's house," she told him.

"What?!  Is Daniel all right?  Was he hurt?"  The rapid questions were full of deep concern.

"He's okay, sir, though Janet might want to take a look at him since he was thrown several feet by the blast."

"What the hell happened?"

"I don't know, but. . . .  Colonel, Daniel's house is gone, destroyed."

There was silence for several seconds on the other end, then, "I'm on my way."

Sam hung up and got out of her car.  She looked over at Daniel, who was still staring at the wreckage of his home.  All of his neighbors had moved away several yards, and, at that moment, Sam thought that her friend looked so lost and alone.  She came up to him and laid her hand on his arm.

"Daniel, I'm so sorry.  All your things.  God, your journals."

"The journals are safe, Sam.  When Jack told me about how he was worried that some nosy cop would start looking through them when I was on my little unscheduled trip with Osiris, I realized that it wasn't safe to have them here.  I took them to my office a few weeks ago."

"Thank God for that.  But all your other stuff."

Daniel sighed.  "Most of it can be replaced.  None of the furniture meant anything to me.  It was all bought after I descended since you guys sold or gave away all of my old furniture.  It's the photos, and the artifacts, and some of the other personal things.  A lot of the artifacts were just reproductions, but some were real."  He suddenly remembered something.  "Oh, God.  The cup."

"Cup?  What cup?"

"Mine and Sha're's wedding cup.  After Sha're died, Kasuf sent it to me with some other things of hers.  I brought the cup home.  It was one of the things that Jack kept at his house after I ascended.  He knew how important it was to me."

Sam moved closer to him and took hold of his hand.  She felt him grab on tightly.  "I'm so sorry, Daniel."

The fire department arrived a short while later.  One of the firemen came up to them.  "Are you the owners?"

"I am," Daniel replied.

"Can you tell me what happened and what put the fire out?"

"No, I can't.  I have no idea what caused the explosion.  I just got home.  I haven't been here since yesterday morning."

"Do you have natural gas heating or appliances?"

"Yes, both.  You think that it was a gas leak?"

"It's possible.  It happens."  He looked Daniel over.  "You might want to have one of the EMTs check you out, sir."

"I'm all right," Daniel insisted.

"Then why are you bleeding?"

Daniel looked down at where the fireman was pointing and saw that there was blood on his pants.  "Oh.  I didn't even feel it."

The man smiled very slightly.  "That happens, too."

One of the EMTs had just finished treating the scrape on Daniel's knee when Jack and Teal'c arrived.  The colonel and the Jaffa hurried over to the ambulance.  The fact that they were still in their fatigues was an indication of how quickly they'd rushed over.

"Daniel, are you all right?" Jack asked.

"Yeah, just a little bruised and scraped up."

Jack turned to Sam.  "Carter?"

"I'm okay, sir."

The colonel looked at the wreckage of Daniel's home.  "Damn," he muttered.  "Do you know what caused this?"

"The firemen think it might have been a gas leak," Daniel replied.  "I guess that's the most logical answer.  It's just that. . . ."

Jack looked at him closely.  "It's just that what?"

Daniel thanked the EMTs and walked away from the ambulance with his teammates.  "Something happened yesterday morning."

"And what, pray tell, might that be?" Jack asked, just knowing that he wasn't going to like this.

"I was almost hit by a car right here in front of my house."

"Why didn't you tell us?" Sam immediately demanded to know.

"Because I thought it was just a drunk driver.  He was driving like one.  There was some glass from broken beer bottles in the street, and I was picking it up, when, suddenly, there was this car heading straight toward me.  I didn't hear it because of the lawnmower and hedge trimmer being used down the street.  If it hadn't been for my sixth sense warning me just in the nick of time, it would have run me over."

"Dammit, Daniel.  You should have told us," Jack said, not at all happy.  "This really stinks to high heaven."

"Sir, you think that someone's trying to kill him?" Sam asked, stunned by the possibility.

"Two near misses in the space of two days?  Daniel may attract trouble like a picnic attracts ants, but that's way too much of a coincidence even for him."

"But who would want to kill me?" Daniel asked.  "Who on Earth, that is?  All of the enemies who want me dead are a bit too far away to arrange this."

"Well, you must have ticked someone off right here on Earth, Daniel."

Sam had a thought.  "Sir, do you think it might be this rogue NID group?  Chances are that they know about Daniel's abilities, and they must know that we're aware of their existence now.  They might consider Daniel a threat to their plans."

"Good thought, Carter.  That's definitely a possibility."

The same fireman who talked to Daniel before came up to him.  "It seems that there is nothing for us to do here.  We checked the house, and the fire's completely out, though how that's possible is a mystery to us.  Once the place cools down enough, there will be an investigator here to check things out.  It's standard procedure.  In the meantime, the house will be taped off.  No one is allowed inside."

Daniel nodded.  "Okay."

"Is there a phone number where you can be reached?"

"You can get me on my cell phone."  Daniel gave the man the number.

"What did he mean by it being a mystery that the fire was out?" Jack asked after the fireman had left.  Then the answer came to him.  "Oh, don't tell me.  You didn't."

"I wasn't thinking, Jack," Daniel said apologetically.  "I just reacted.  I was watching it burn and thinking about all the stuff inside that was being destroyed, stuff I could never replace, and. . . ."  He shrugged helplessly.

Jack laid a hand on his shoulder.  "It's okay, Daniel.  I can understand why you did it."

A short while later, the fire truck and ambulance were gone.  Gradually, all of Daniel's neighbors returned to their homes, some of them giving their condolences to the archeologist.

Daniel looked at the burned remains of his house.  "I . . . don't know what to do now," he confessed.

"You're coming home with me," Jack told him without hesitation.

Daniel looked at him.  "I have no clothes, Jack, nothing except the ones I'm wearing and the dirty stuff at your house."

"Then we'll go shopping.  Carter and Teal'c will help."  Jack looked at the other two.  "Right?"

"Of course, sir," Sam immediately answered.

"Indeed," said Teal'c.

"Come on, then.  Let's go find Daniel some clothes and other things he'll need."

They were all turning away when Daniel suddenly remembered something.  He spun back around and started searching the yard.

"Daniel, what are you looking for?" Sam asked.

"Something I'd just gotten.  I had it in my hand when the house blew up."

"Well, it can't be all that important," Jack said, wanting to leave that place as soon as possible.

"It's very important, Jack."  Just then, Daniel spotted the bag.  He hurried over and grabbed it up, thankful to see that it hadn't gotten burned or trampled.  He took a peek inside and saw that both the DVD and the card were fine, the card's protective laminate probably having kept it from getting damaged.

"So, what was so important?" Jack inquired, coming up to him.

Daniel quickly stuffed the bag in his jacket so that his friend wouldn't see the logo on it.  "Your birthday present."

Jack expression brightened.  "My birthday present?"


"You really didn't have to get me something, you know."

Daniel shrugged.  "I missed your last birthday."

That instantly sobered Jack.  His last birthday had been a very sad day for him.

"Come on.  Let's get out of here," he said.

SG-1 headed straight over to the mall.  While Jack and Teal'c went to get some personal items for Daniel, like underwear, T-shirts and socks, Sam went with the archeologist to where the men's clothing was.

After returning to human form, Daniel did all of his clothes shopping with Jack or by himself, so this was his first experience shopping for clothes with Sam.  He had to admit that it wasn't at all unpleasant having her there helping him.  If it hadn't been for the circumstances behind it, he'd have quite enjoyed it.  There was no doubt that Sam was enjoying it.  She was having lots of fun picking things out that she thought would look good on him, wrinkling her nose at the things she didn't like.

In the end, Daniel came away with two pullover sweaters, half a dozen shirts, three pairs of trousers, a pair of jeans . . . and the knowledge that Sam liked him in blue.  He knew that he'd have to go shopping again for more things, but that would be enough to tide him over for now.

The realization of what happened had fully set in, and Daniel had gone from the shocked stage to the numb stage.  He knew it was only a matter of time before he got to the angry stage, especially if it turned out that someone was trying to kill him.  If that turned out to be true, whoever it was would find out how pissed off a pyrokinetic archeologist could get.

Once Daniel had changed out of his slightly worse for wear clothing, Jack insisted that they all go get something to eat, though the archeologist wasn't at all hungry.  Over dinner, his teammates tried to be cheerful and keep the conversation away from what happened.  He really appreciated what they were doing for him, grateful that he had friends like them.

After dinner, they all went over to Jack's house.  It was there that they finally turned their attention to what happened.

"I called Hammond while we were on our way to the mall," Jack said.  "He's concerned that we might be right about the murder attempts.  He's going to make a few phone calls and see what he can dig up."

"If it's the people who were behind that whole thing in L.A., chances are that he won't be able to find out anything," Sam stated.

"It's worth a try."

"So, what now?" Daniel asked.

"You stay here or at the base until we catch whoever is behind this," Jack answered.  "Once we catch them, I won't say no to turning my back while you demonstrate what you can do to a person with those abilities of yours."

"And what if we never find out who did this?  I can't live with you or stay on the base forever.  Sooner or later, I'm going to have to get back to my life.  These people have already taken away my house and virtually all of my possessions, I won't let them take away my freedom, too."

"They almost took away your life, Daniel, or don't you get that?"

"Yes, Jack, I get that.  If Sam hadn't come over, I'd have been in the house when it blew.  I am very aware of how lucky I was today."  He shook his head.  "I should have listened to my instincts."

"What do you mean?" Sam asked.

"They were warning me like crazy that something was wrong.  They've been warning me for a week that something was up."

Jack frowned at him severely.  "A week?  And you chose not to tell anyone?"

Daniel rubbed his forehead and temples, trying to ease the ache there.  "Don't start with me, Jack.  I'm really not in the mood."

Sam's eyes softened.  "Do you have a headache?"

"A bit."

"Is it because you put out the fire?"

"That did cause a little bit of a headache, but it went away.  This one is probably just stress, and, well . . ." he gave her a weak smile, "it really hasn't been a very good day."

Jack instantly felt contrite for getting on the archeologist's case.  "I'm sorry for coming down on you like that, Daniel."

Daniel sighed.  "It's okay, Jack.  I understand.  But, if you guys don't mind, I'm going to go on to bed.  It's going to be a very, very long day tomorrow."

"Okay," Sam said.  "Sleep well."  She got to her feet along with the others.  Just before Daniel was going to turn away, she suddenly threw her arms around him, hugging him fiercely.  "I'm so glad you're all right, Daniel," she whispered, keeping her voice steady with an effort.

Daniel hugged her back, not saying anything.  When she finally released him, he smiled down at her and touched her cheek.  Then he went off to bed.

As Jack watched Daniel leave, he vowed that, if they ever found out who tried to kill his best friend, he was going to make sure that everyone involved regretted the day they were born.

Daniel and his teammates were a little surprised when the inspector found no evidence of arson.  He had determined that it was, indeed, a gas leak explosion, the source of the leak being a faulty gas valve.  The stove was the point of ignition.

Now that the house was no longer off limits, SG-1 decided to do some investigating of their own.  It wasn't easy for Daniel to walk through the remains of his house and look upon what was left of all his things.  He managed to find a few items that survived the blast, though not many – not until he reached the bedroom, that is.  Getting down on his knees before the half-burnt bed, Daniel reached underneath and pulled out a large plastic storage container.  He was amazed to see that it was only slightly warped from the heat.  Almost afraid to look inside, he opened the lid.  A smile came to his face upon seeing that the contents were whole and undamaged.

"What did you find?" Jack asked, coming into the room.  He looked down at what Daniel was looking at and smiled.  "Hey.  That's great, Daniel."

The archeologist picked up the wedding cup and stroked it with loving fingers, blinking back sudden tears.  He set it aside and pulled out one of the other items, the photo album that he had filled with cherished photos only a couple of months ago.

Daniel laid down the album and looked through the rest of the stuff in the box, precious items collected over a lifetime, things that had been Sha're's, a few items that belonged to his parents, all of them spared from destruction.

"I didn't dare hope that these had survived," Daniel murmured, once again holding the cup.  "I put them in the plastic container because I figured they'd be more protected than in a cardboard box.  The plastic was heat-resistant."

Sam, who'd just walked in with Teal'c, knelt beside him and gave him a one-armed hug.  "I'm so glad that they're okay, Daniel."

"Yeah.  I'm sorry about those artifacts of yours, though," Jack said, surprised that he'd ever be sad that an artifact had been destroyed.

"These things are more important to me," Daniel told him.

That statement surprised Jack.  He had to wonder if Daniel would have said the same thing five or six years ago.

"Besides, the most valuable artifacts are in my office," the archeologist explained, "the ones I found off-world and the ones that were way too rare to take the chance of them being stolen.  I did have some really nice pieces here, but nothing that I couldn't find something similar to if I went looking.  At least the swords managed to survive."

"Yes, I was glad to see that.  Those are cool."

"And Teal'c has the Hounds and Jackals game, so it's safe."

The Jaffa's head nodded.  "And it shall remain safe in my keeping."

"There are the few pieces that Sam kept from before."

"You can have them back, if you want them, Daniel," Sam told him.

"No, I said you could keep them.  That hasn't changed."  He looked back down at the box.  "So, what's most important is right here."

Sam took his hand, giving it a squeeze.  "This is what's most important, Daniel, that you're all right."

"Damn straight," Jack agreed.

Daniel put everything back in the box and set it out on the porch along with the other things they had salvaged.

"Sir, do you really think this was just an accident?" Sam asked her C.O.

"I find that hard to believe considering the incident with the car," he replied.  "Daniel, why don't you go over with us everything that happened Thursday morning and yesterday when you got home."

"I was leaving for work when I suddenly got the feeling that something was wrong.  I looked around as I was walking to my car but didn't see anything.  When I got to the street, I saw that there was a bunch of broken beer bottle glass all over the street, and some of it was in front of my car.  I got an empty bag from my car and started picking the glass up.  All of a sudden, my 'spidey sense', as you like to call it, started going off like an alarm bell.  I looked up, and there's the car coming straight at me."

"It didn't swerve or slow down?" Jack asked.

"No, I don't think so, but, at that point, I was a little too busy getting out of the way to really pay attention to what the car was doing.  It went past me way too close for comfort, then continued down the block, weaving slightly, and screeched around the corner, almost jumping the curb and hitting the fire hydrant."

"You know, I find it awfully coincidental that somebody just happens to break a beer bottle on the street right in front of your house on the same morning that someone decides to use the street as a drag strip."

"You think it was planted so that I'd be out in the street and not paying attention to cars coming," Daniel said, not phrasing it as a question.

"The thought crossed my mind."

"But if it hadn't been for the lawnmower and that hedge trimmer, I'd have heard it coming.  It's a quiet area, not a lot of traffic."

"Who was doing their yard?"

"The guy two houses down.  It was a lawn service doing it.  Actually, now that I think about it, that's kind of strange."

"Why?" Sam asked.

"Because the man who owns that house is very tight with his money and is a do-it-yourself kind of guy.  It's strange that he'd hire a lawn service."

Jack frowned deeply.  "I think that we should go have a chat with your neighbor."

"Let me do it, Jack," Daniel said.  "If we all go traipsing over there, he's going to get suspicious and know that something's going on."  Jack started to open his mouth, but Daniel, anticipating his response, halted the colonel's words before they were uttered.  "And don't say that it's too dangerous for me to go there alone, Jack.  It's just two houses down, and you'll have me in sight the entire time.  I'll stay well off the street."

"You know, sometimes, you really make me wonder, Daniel," Jack stated.  "Are you sure that you can't read minds?"

"Jack, I don't have to be a mind reader when it comes to you."  With a little smirk on his face, Daniel headed down the street.

"What did he mean by that?" Jack asked, addressing the other two.  "Was he saying that I'm predictable?"  He looked back at Daniel's retreating form.  "Hey!  I'm not predictable!"  Again he looked at Sam and Teal'c.  "Am I?"

"Well, sir, you have to admit that your reactions to things do fall into a certain pattern," Sam replied carefully.

"Which is just a wordy way of saying that I'm predictable," Jack grumbled.

"Um . . . sometimes you surprise us, sir."

Daniel returned a short while later, a deep frown on his face.  "The whole thing was a setup," he told them.  "Mister Dorchester said that those two guys approached him the previous day, saying that they were a new lawn service trying to drum up business.  They said that they were selecting people at random and giving them free lawn mowing and hedge trimming to show how good they are."

"And the guy would be nuts to turn down free lawn service," Jack said.

Daniel nodded.  "The thing is that the two men 'forgot' to give him a business card, and there was only a generic logo on the truck saying 'Lawn Service'."

"So it would be impossible for anyone to call this lawn service and, much to their surprise, discover that it didn't exist."

"Yeah.  It's obvious that those men were there to cover the sound of the car.  They were counting on me being too distracted with picking up the glass to see the car."  Daniel remembered something and shook his head, a humorless smile on his face.  "One of them talked to me."

That surprised Sam.  "He did?  That doesn't seem like a smart thing to do, drawing your attention to them like that."

"Oh, it was very smart, Sam.  It was after the car failed to hit me.  The guy asked if I was okay, then cursed out the driver of the car as a drunk, saying that the car was weaving all over the place."

"Thus allaying any suspicions you might have that it was not an accident," Teal'c surmised.

"Yes, and it worked.  If he hadn't said that, it is possible that I wouldn't have been quite as sure that it was a drunk driver."

Jack's bad feeling was getting a whole lot worse.  "This was a professional hit.  They had it all planned out ahead of time.  They probably watched you for a few days to see what your schedule was."

Daniel let out a little groan.  "Just great."  As if the Goa'uld weren't enough, he now had professional hit men after him.

"It's obvious that they want to make it look like an accident, probably to avoid a big investigation."  Jack looked at Daniel's house.  "Come on.  Let's go back inside."

SG-1 went into the house.

"Okay, Daniel, tell me about what happened yesterday when you got home," Jack requested.

"I got the feeling again as I was walking up to the house.  I looked around and still didn't see anything.  The feeling got very intense when I reached the door and went to unlock it.  I'd just unlocked it and was pushing it open when Sam pulled up.  I headed back down the walkway toward her, and, all of a sudden, the house just blew up."

"So, what triggered it?" Sam wondered.

"Couldn't have been by remote," Jack concluded.  "They'd have waited for Daniel to go inside."

The archeologist looked at the open doorway.  "The door was slightly ajar when I went back down to greet Sam, and there was a breeze yesterday."

Jack realized where Daniel was going with this.  "Which could have pushed the door open further.  So, it was triggered by the door opening."

The colonel began scanning the blackened ceiling very carefully.  After a few moments, he spotted something.  Reaching up, he pulled it down.

"What is it, sir?" Sam asked.

"It's an eye, the kind you use with a gate hook, except that this one is made out of clear plastic."  Jack's gaze returned to the ceiling.  "Okay, here's a thought.  What if they had a string running along the ceiling and attached to the door in such a way that, when the door opened, it would pull the string?  The other end of the string was attached to something that would create a spark, something that would burn up in the fire, like the string would."  He held up the eye.  "If the fire had burned longer instead of being put out by Daniel right away, this would have been destroyed.  No trace would have been left of anything that showed that this was arson."

Sam nodded.  "They rigged the gas valve so that it would start to leak, doing it in such a way that it would appear to be a faulty valve."

"Daniel comes home, opens the door, and, boom!"

"Oh my God," Daniel whispered.

"What is it, Daniel?" Sam asked.

The archeologist met her eyes.  "If you had come up to me instead of me going down to meet you or if you had arrived just a few seconds earlier and we both went to the house, you'd have been caught in the blast along with me.  It's bad enough that they almost killed me, but they almost killed you, too."

Daniel's teammates all watched as something cold, hard and dangerous came into his eyes.  It reminded Sam of the look he had when he first confronted Pete, except that this was far more intense.  It made a chill skitter up Sam's spine.  She definitely wouldn't want to be the people who did this if Daniel ever got his hands on them.

"Okay, let's go on back to my place," Jack said, not at all liking the look on the archeologist's face.

"No, we can't go back there," Daniel said.  "I can't take the chance that these people will try again, and one of you will get caught in the crossfire.  They've failed twice already.  They might not bother trying to make the next attempt look like an accident, which means that they could take a crack at me at any time.  The only place that I'll be safe is at the SGC."

Jack nodded sharply, knowing that Daniel was right.  "Okay, let's go."

Loading up Jack's jeep with Daniel's salvaged possessions, SG-1 headed to the safety of Cheyenne Mountain.

Next Chapter

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