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A few hours later, Daniel stood before the door to Teal'c's quarters, still uncertain if he should be doing this.  But wisdom told him that it needed to be done.  Making up his mind, he knocked.

"Enter," said the Jaffa's voice.

Daniel opened the door and saw that Teal'c had been performing Kel'no'reem.  "Oh.  I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to disturb you."

"It is all right, Daniel Jackson.  Please come in."

Daniel entered and shut the door.  As Teal'c got off the floor and sat on the edge of the bed, the archeologist settled in the chair at the desk.

"You wish to speak to me about something?" the Jaffa asked.

"Um . . . yeah.  It's about the man who hired those people to kill me."

"O'Neill is still angered that you will not reveal to him the identity of the man."

"Yeah, I know.  Do you understand why I can't tell him?"

"You fear what he will do to the person in reprisal for their attack against you."

Daniel nodded.  "It's not that I want to protect this man from Jack. . . ."

"It is that you want to protect O'Neill from his own actions."

"Yes.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe Jack wouldn't kill him, but I can't take that chance.  I can't let Jack do something that could destroy his life."

Teal'c's head nodded once.  "I understand."

"I wish Jack did."

"I believe that, in time, O'Neill will come to appreciate that you do this because you care about him."

"I hope so."

"Is this the only matter about which you wished to speak to me?"

"No.  I'm going to be leaving in a little while to go . . . take care of things, and there is a chance that something could go wrong.  I need someone to know where I'm going just in case that happens."

"And you have chosen to tell me?" the Jaffa asked, a little surprised that Daniel was choosing to tell him something that the archeologist refused to tell Jack.

"Only if you can promise me that you won't tell anyone unless something goes wrong and that you won't decide to take any actions against this guy yourself.  I can't tell Sam since, if Jack finds out that she knows, he'll order her to tell him.  He can't make you tell him who it is.  And I trust you to keep your promise if you say that you won't tell anyone and won't do something to the man yourself."

"I am honored by your trust, Daniel Jackson.  I swear that I will not tell anyone what you reveal to me unless there is need and that I will not take actions against this person unless it is to save your life or to avenge you if are injured or killed by him."

Daniel gave a nod.  "Fair enough."  He met Teal'c's eyes.  "It was Senator Kinsey."

The Jaffa's expression darkened.  "For what reason does Senator Kinsey wish you dead?" he growled, making no secret of his emotions.

"That I don't know, at least not yet.  I'm guessing it has something to do with his plans to gain control of the Stargate Program."

"Do you believe that the senator is connected to the individuals responsible for the creation of the Human/Goa'uld hybrid?"

"It's possible.  After all, he was connected to the people in the NID who were behind the theft of alien technology, and he was responsible for the threats to Hammond that forced him to retire.  There has to be something that Kinsey is afraid I'll find out.  Unfortunately, I might have brought this on myself.  I had a little confrontation with him when he was here, and I also revealed to Mister Woolsey that I had knowledge of certain facts about Kinsey.  That might have made me appear to be a threat to him."

"What do you intend to do?"

"Whatever is necessary to convince Kinsey that trying again to have me killed would be a very bad move on his part.  He clearly has no scruples and is not above murder.  I'm going to use that to my advantage."

"How so?"

Daniel explained some of what he was intending to do.  His plan received a nod and a little smile of approval from the Jaffa.  Though the thought that Senator Kinsey had attempted to have Daniel killed deeply angered Teal'c and made him think about various forms of Jaffa revenge, he had promised his friend that he would leave Kinsey alone, and he intended to keep his promise – unless circumstances made it necessary to do otherwise.

Daniel got to his feet.  "Well, I need to get going.  I've got some things to take care of before I leave."

Teal'c had also risen.  "Take great care, Daniel Jackson.  I would ask that I accompany you if I did not know that you feel you must do this alone."

"Thanks, Teal'c, for understanding and for being a friend."

The Jaffa clasped his arm.  "A friend I will always remain."

Daniel left Teal'c's room and went back to his office to pick up a couple of things.  As he was leaving the room, he sensed Sam's presence.  A moment, later, she came into view.

"You're going, aren't you," she said.

Daniel paused, not certain what she meant.  "Going?  You mean to my quarters?"

"No, I mean that you're going after the guy who's behind the murder attempts."

Damn.  He'd been hoping this wouldn't happen.  Daniel headed for the elevator, Sam keeping pace with him.  "I can't talk about it, Sam."

"Why?  I thought you trusted me, Daniel."

The hurt in her voice halted the archeologist in his tracks.  He turned to her.  "Of course I trust you.  There isn't anyone in the galaxy that I trust more.  But I can't tell you about this.  If I do, I'll be putting you in a position where, if Jack finds out that you know, you'll have to tell him or go against the order of a superior officer.  I can't do that to you."

"So, you're just going to go off and not tell anyone where you are?  What if something happens to you?"

"I've made arrangements in case that happens."

Sam searched his eyes.  "I'm just worried, Daniel."

Daniel gave her a gentle smile and brushed his fingers over her cheek.  "I know, Sam.  But I'll be okay.  I'm uniquely qualified to take care of myself."

Sam tried to smile, but didn't have much success.  "Yes, I guess you are.  A whole lot has changed since we first met, hasn't it."

"Yes, it has.  But some things will never change."  He pulled her into a gentle embrace.  "I love you, Sam," he murmured into her ear.

"I love you, too, Daniel," Sam whispered back.

Daniel drew back and looked into her eyes, wishing that she meant those words in the same way that he did.

"I'll see you in a couple of days," he said, then got on the elevator and headed down to his quarters.  After packing some clothes and a few other things in a small duffle bag, he ascended to the ground level and walked to the parking lot.  He was almost to his car when he felt Jack's presence.  He stopped and turned, waiting.  The colonel came into view a moment later.

"I found out from the general that you requested two days off," he said.


"So, you're going to go do it."


"Daniel—" Jack began but was halted by the archeologist.

"Jack, please don't ask me again to tell you where I'm going.  Can't you see that I'm not telling you because I care about you?"

Jack's voice was slightly bitter.  "But, apparently, you don't trust me."

Daniel took a couple of quick steps toward him.  "Then swear to me, Jack, that you won't do anything to this guy if I tell you who he is.  Give me your word as my friend that you won't go off and do something that could put you in jail or worse.  If you can do that, then I'll tell you."

Jack was silent for a very long moment.  "I can't," he finally said.  "I can't make that promise."

Daniel nodded a little sadly, though he wasn't surprised.  "And that's why I can't tell you."

"I'm sorry, Daniel."

"Don't apologize for being yourself, Jack.  I really do understand."

"What time will you be back?"

"Hopefully, Friday evening."

"And if you're not?"

"I've made arrangements so that, if something happens to me, you'll know where I went."

Jack gave a nod, knowing that was the best he could hope for and that he needed to accept it.

"Oh, and in case you get any ideas, Jack, don't bother trying to find out where I've gone.  I've learned how to cover my tracks."  Daniel smiled a little.  "I was taught by the best."

"Yes, you were."  Jack searched his friend's eyes.  "Be careful, Daniel."

"I will."

The colonel walked away a few steps, then stopped.  He turned back around.  "I just want you to know that, though I couldn't say the same thing about what I'd do, I trust that, whatever you're going to do, it would make me proud."

Daniel didn't know how to respond for a moment, surprised and deeply touched by his friend's words.  "Thank you, Jack.  It means a lot that you'd think that."

With a faint smile and a nod, the colonel turned and walked away.

Daniel got in his car, started it up, and left the base, preparing himself for what he would soon be facing.

Through the binoculars, Daniel studied the layout of the estate, deciding what would be the best way to approach.  He had assumed that, now that Kinsey was running for vice president, there would be a lot of security at the man's house.  His assumption had proven correct.  One way or another, he would have to get past those men and into the house without being seen.  The fact that there were no closed circuit cameras was a big plus.  At least he wouldn't have to worry about being spotted by some guy sitting at a monitor.

Daniel wished that his teammates were there beside him.  He knew that Jack could come up with a way to get inside.  The man had successfully commanded missions to penetrate Goa'uld strongholds.  This would probably be a piece of cake for him.  But Jack wasn't here, and neither was Sam or Teal'c.  This was something that Daniel had no choice but to do alone.  He was just going to have to come up with his own plan and hope that it worked.

That thought in mind, Daniel returned to his car and left to take care of the other things he needed to do.  It was two a.m. when he returned.  Looking through the night vision goggles he'd gotten, Daniel could see that there was a lot less activity outside the house.  That would soon change.

Daniel silently got as close to the house as he dared, his all-black clothing helping him blend into the darkness.  He stayed well outside the pool of light coming from the outdoor lighting around the house.  With the help of the blueprints he'd gotten, Daniel had learned the layout of the house and knew where he was going to go once he got in.  Now came the part of his plan where he'd make it possible to get in without being seen.

The archeologist's attention focused on the huge detached garage off to the left.  Closing his eyes, he tried to see what was inside in the same way that he'd seen inside the wall of his cell on Osiris' ship.  After a few moments, an image formed in his mind.  He searched the building until he found something that would suit his purpose.  Seconds later, the wooden workbench burst into flames.  With the power of his mind, Daniel fanned the fire, driving it up the wall and the shelving above.  The heat soon melted through the plastic bottles of some motor oil, causing the oil to spill out and feed the flames even more.

Just then, what Daniel had been waiting for happened.  Someone saw the fire and shouted a warning, sending people running.  Within a few seconds, most of the guards who were outside had rushed to the burning garage.  Several people who had been inside came out as well.  People were shouting orders to call 911 and to get a hose.  But no garden hose was going to put that fire out.  Daniel had made sure of it.

As the archeologist crept toward the house, he saw Senator Kinsey and his wife hurry outside.  Kinsey was screaming more orders at his men, clearly upset about the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of vehicles that were going up with the garage.

Instead of drawing closer to the blaze and attempting to put it out, Kinsey's men began hurrying away, despite the senator's nearly apoplectic rage and screams to put the fire out.  The reason became apparent several seconds later when a tremendous explosion blasted through the garage.  It was followed by another one, then a third as, one by one, the gas tanks of the cars in the garage blew up.

"Oops.  Oh, too bad, Senator," Daniel murmured under his breath.

Knowing that this would be the best time to make his move, Daniel snuck around to the back of the house and slipped inside.  Not a soul was in sight, everyone outside, watching the fire.

As he entered the foyer, Daniel saw that a couple of Kinsey's live-in servants were standing on the porch, the front door wide open.  Hoping that neither of them turned around, he hurried up the stairs and to the study, silently shutting the double doors behind him.  He crouched behind a settee on the left wall and pulled his cell phone out, dialing Kinsey's number.  It took a while for one of the servants to hear the phone over the noise of the fire and the approaching fire engines.  When the call was answered, Daniel asked for Kinsey.  Knowing that only one thing would get the senator to the phone right now, the archeologist told the woman that the president wished to speak with him.

As Daniel had anticipated, Kinsey chose to take the call in his study.  The man walked in, shutting the doors behind him, and picked up the phone, his back to Daniel.

"Mister President, I'm sorry for the delay, but. . . .  Hello?  Hello, is anyone there?"

"Don't you just hate it when you answer the phone and nobody's there?" Daniel said, standing up.

Kinsey spun around, stumbling back a step in shock.  The phone fell from his grasp.  "Jackson!  How did you get in here?"

At that moment, another explosion from the garage rocked the house.

"Hmm.  I wonder if that was the limo," Daniel said.  "Or maybe it was the '56 Bentley Continental.  Nice car that Bentley.  Such a shame."

Kinsey glared at him.  "You!  You're responsible for that fire!  I'll have you up on charges, arson, breaking and entering, and whatever else I can think up."

"Oh, I don't think so, Senator," Daniel said in a low, dangerously quiet voice.  "You see, I know that you're the one who hired those hit men to kill me.  I have no physical evidence, nothing that would hold up in a court of law, but I saw all the proof I need with these abilities of mine, the same abilities that you're clearly afraid are going to find out something else as well.  Why did you do it, Kinsey?  What were you afraid I'd learn?  It obviously has something to do with your plot to take control of the Stargate Program.  I've pretty much come to the conclusion that you're in bed with that rogue group of ex-NID agents, and I'm willing to bet that it's from them that you got a big chunk of those campaign funds.  But that alone wouldn't give you a motive to kill me since we already knew that you were working with the bad element within the NID before they were brought down.  No, this has to be something bigger."

Daniel took a step toward the senator.  "You should have left me alone, Kinsey.  Those men you hired destroyed my house, virtually everything I own.  Do you know how angry that made me?  But far worse than that, worse than the fact that I was nearly killed, is that Sam was there, and she could have been killed, too."  He took another, measured step forward.  "And that makes me a whole lot more than angry."

Daniel looked around the study.  "This is a nice room, Senator, a nice house."  His eyes pierced into the other man's.  "I wonder how it would look engulfed in flames."

"You wouldn't dare," Kinsey said.

"Wouldn't I?  Think about it.  I'd make the perfect arsonist.  I could burn this place to the ground, and no investigator would ever be able to tell how the fire started.  No incendiary device, no accelerant, just one big explosion, the whole house gone in seconds."  Daniel stalked slowly toward the senator.  "I'd also make the perfect assassin.  Do you have any idea how many different ways I could kill you without even touching you?  Tell me, Kinsey.  Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to burn to death from the inside out, to have your internal organs broil right inside your body, your flesh turning to ash from the intense heat?"

Kinsey had backed up into the corner, eyes wide with terror, his body shaking.  Daniel came right up to him and glared into his eyes.

"Listen very carefully, Senator.  If there is one more attempt on my life, if any of the people I care about are harmed through your actions, you'll be getting an up close and personal demonstration of my abilities.  Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes.  Yes," Kinsey whispered in a frightened voice, cowering even deeper into the corner.

"Good.  See that you remember."  Daniel backed away.  "Well, it's been nice chatting with you, but I really need to get going."  He went to the door and concentrated for a moment.  Sensing no one on the other side, he stepped out.  "Enjoy the barbeque," he said just before closing the door.

Not wanting to take the chance of being spotted, Daniel went to the room on the other side of the hallway instead of going back downstairs.  A quick scan told him that it was empty, so he opened the door and slipped inside.  Keeping the light off, he headed to one of the windows, which were on the back wall of the house.  After opening it he looked out and saw that the coast was clear.

Grateful that he'd gotten over his nervousness about heights years ago, Daniel climbed out onto the window sill and jumped, using his abilities to slow his descent.  He landed lightly and looked back up at the window, psychically closing it so as not to leave any trace that he'd been there.  He then quickly yet cautiously headed in the direction of his car, keeping his senses alert for anyone's approach.  He made it off the estate and to his car without incident.

Once he was safe in his car, Daniel removed the black gloves he'd been wearing.  Though the precaution probably hadn't been necessary, he had wanted to make sure that he left behind no evidence of his presence in the house.  He knew, though, that the senator would never tell anyone that he'd been there.

As he drove away, Daniel began to smile, wondering if Kinsey would change his shorts before going back downstairs or after.

Daniel made it back to Colorado Springs as planned.  He tiredly drove to the base and made his way to his quarters, deciding to go straight to bed since he hadn't gotten any sleep at all the previous night and only a brief nap on the flight over the night before.

That night was only the second good night's sleep he'd had since finding out that someone was trying to kill him.  He awoke feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.  Unfortunately, the positive feeling didn't last long.  Daniel was barely out of the shower and dressed when he felt Jack's approach.  The excessively hard rap on the door made him suspect that he wasn't going to like this.  A moment later, as he opened the door, his feeling was confirmed.  Jack strode in, his face like thunder.

"Glad you made it back, Daniel," he said, his voice lacking the warmth it should have had.  "You know, an interesting thing happened this morning.  You see, ever since you left, I've been here on base.  Didn't want to leave in case you called, needing help.  Once I knew that you'd made it back safely last night, I went on home.  Well, I was taking a look at the papers with my breakfast this morning, and, low and behold, lookie what I see in yesterday's edition."  He threw a newspaper down on the bed.  Daniel's heart sank as he saw the headline.

"Fire at Senator Robert Kinsey's Estate, Damage Toll in the Millions."

'Crap,' the archeologist cursed silently.  This was one thing that he hadn't even thought about, though he now realized that he should have.

Jack took a step toward Daniel.  "It was him, wasn't it.  It was that sanctimonious, two-faced, lying little hypocrite.  He's the one who tried to have you killed."

Daniel heaved a deep sigh.  "Yes," he said, knowing that there was no point in lying.  The fact that Senator Kinsey's garage burned to the ground the very same day that Daniel went off to deal with the person who'd hired the hit men was too much of a coincidence.

Jack's expression darkened even more.  "I should have shot him when I had the chance.  I won't make that mistake the second time."  He headed toward the door, but Daniel stopped him, placing himself between the door and the colonel.

"Get out of my way," Jack said through gritted teeth.


"I don't want to fight you, Daniel."

"Then don't, Jack.  Besides, you and I both know that you don't stand a chance against me, not anymore."

Jack stared furiously into Daniel's eyes, the blue gaze meeting his head on, not backing down an iota.  The colonel knew that the younger man was right.  As much as he hated to admit it, he'd have no hope of beating Daniel, not if the archeologist used his abilities.

"You can't stop me forever," he said.

Daniel took a stride toward him, his arms gesticulating.  "Dammit, Jack!  If you go after him, you'll make everything I did, the risks I took, all for nothing!"

"You were almost killed because of him, three times!"

"Yes, I was.  I'm the one whose house is a blackened ruin because of him.  I'm the one who's had nightmares about Sam being in that house when it blew up.  I know what he did and what he almost did.  But that does not mean that I can let you go off and kill him!"  Daniel looked at Jack earnestly.  "If you kill Kinsey, he will have succeeded in doing something worse than killing me.  He will have taken away one of my friends.  Even if you weren't caught and sent to prison or executed for the crime, the fact that you killed him in spite of me begging you not to would always, always be between us.  Do you want that, Jack?  Do you want to destroy our friendship like that?"

Jack turned away, his back stiff.  No, he didn't want that.  He didn't want to lose Daniel's friendship and respect.  They meant far too much to him.  But the thought that Kinsey had tried to have his best friend murdered made Jack so angry that he couldn't see straight, and the knowledge that that man might become the vice president of this country made him even angrier.  Kinsey needed to pay for what he did.

"Jack, please," Daniel pleaded.  "Just let it go."

Jack realized that it had come down to a choice between his revenge on Kinsey and his friendship with Daniel.  Looking at it that way, there really could be only one decision.  He turned around and met Daniel's eyes.

"All right, Daniel.  I won't go after him, not unless he tries something like this again."

The archeologist visibly relaxed.  "I don't think you have to worry about that, Jack, not after that little talk I had with him."

"Then you did more than just torch his garage?  That was great, by the way.  I bet Kinsey just about popped an artery over losing the limo and all those other cars."

"I can safely say that he was not a happy camper.  And, yes, I did more than that."

"Care to share?"

"Well, let's just say that I scared the crap out of him, perhaps not literally in that way, but I do believe that he would have had to change his shorts after I left."

Jack grinned nastily.  "Had him peeing in his pants, did you?"

"I believe so."

"Sweet.  Okay, I want the details."

"Hold on a second.  Sam will probably want to hear this, too."

Not three seconds later, there was a knock on the door.

"Come in, Sam," Daniel called.

The major peeked her head around the door.  "Oh.  Hello, Colonel.  I didn't know you were here.  You . . . want me to come back later?"

"No, come on in," Daniel answered.

She came forward and saw the newspaper on the bed.  "Oh.  Uhhh . . . I take it that the cat's out of the bag, huh."

"You could say that," Jack responded.  He looked at his 2IC more closely.  "Did you know it was Kinsey?"

"No, sir, not until I saw the headline in yesterday's paper, which I didn't read until this morning.  I came here to find out from Daniel if my guess was right that it was Kinsey who ordered the hit on him."


"So, ummm. . . ."  Sam looked back and forth between the two men questioningly.

"Jack and I have come to an agreement," Daniel told her, answering her unspoken question.

"Yeah.  Though I'd dearly love to break that rat bastard's neck, I'll leave him alone as long as he leaves Daniel alone," Jack said.  "Daniel here was just about to tell me how he had Kinsey peeing in his pants."

"Yes, I was," the archeologist responded, "but, since Teal'c's almost here, we might as well wait for him, too."

"You, know, Daniel, that really creeps me out sometimes."

Teal'c's knock on the door halted any reply Daniel might have made to Jack's statement.  The archeologist called for him to enter.

"They know," Daniel told him when the Jaffa entered the room and saw both Jack and Sam.

"I see."

Jack realized what Daniel's announcement meant.  "Wait a minute.  Teal'c already knew?"

"Yes," Daniel replied.  "I told him just before I left.  I had to let someone know where I was going just in case something went wrong.  I picked Teal'c because you wouldn't be able to force him to tell you if you figured out he knew."

Jack looked at the Jaffa.  "And you didn't want to tear Kinsey limb from limb when you found out it was him?"

"Indeed I did, O'Neill, but I swore to Daniel Jackson that I would not do so unless Senator Kinsey harmed him further."

Jack turned to the archeologist.  "Okay, Daniel, now that we're all present and accounted for, let's get on with the story."

Daniel told his teammates all that happened that night.  Jack had a smugly pleased smile on his face upon hearing how his friend had Kinsey cowering in the corner like a scared rabbit.

"Not that I don't love what you did to him, Daniel," Sam said, "but how could you be sure he'd believe that you would actually do something like that to him?  You were taking a big chance that he'd call your bluff."

"I was pretty sure he'd fall for it.  Someone like Kinsey, a person who is that unscrupulous, often tends to see that same trait in others, regardless of whether or not it actually exists in them."

Jack understood what he was saying.  "In other words, because Kinsey has the capacity to commit murder and destroy people's lives, he believes that you're capable of it as well."

"Exactly.  He would judge me by his own standards."

"It is good that Senator Kinsey does not understand that you are a man of integrity who would not do such things," Teal'c stated.

"Yep.  He believes that Daniel will turn him into a charbroiled politician, extra well done, if he ever tries anything like this again," Jack said with a smile.  He patted the archeologist on the back.  "Good job, Daniel.  You've made me proud."

"But this doesn't change the fact that Kinsey tried to have Daniel killed," Sam pointed out.  "And he's getting away with it.  What if he becomes vice president?  What if he becomes president someday?  I couldn't possibly serve a president that I knew did something like that, especially to a friend."

"There is a very good chance that he will be vice president," Daniel responded, "but, one way or another, we'd have to stop him from becoming president.  He is far too dangerous and immoral to be allowed that kind of power."

"I agree," Jack said.  "There's no way in hell that I'm going to let that man become president.  It's bad enough that he might be our next vice president.  If he and Hayes get elected, we'd better hope that Hayes is smart enough and strong enough to stay in control at the White House."

"I wonder why Kinsey did it," Sam said thoughtfully.  "What was his reason for wanting Daniel dead so badly that he'd take the risk of hiring a hit man?"

"That I don't know," the archeologist admitted.  He told them his thoughts and the things that he did know.

"Well, whatever his reasons for thinking that he had to get rid of you, I just hope it's not something that's gonna bite us all in the butt one of these days," Jack stated.

Next Chapter

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