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As Jacob and the three members of SG-1 entered the ICU, they saw that Daniel was sitting up in bed and that all the equipment and IVs had been disconnected from him.

"Jacob?  What are you doing here?" he asked.  "Oh, wait.  Now I think I understand.  Did you use a healing device on me?  That would explain why I'm in the infirmary ICU yet seem to be perfectly all right."

The Tok'ra smiled.  "Guilty as charged.  I'll let your teammates explain everything.  I just wanted to pop my head in and tell you that I'm glad you're all right."  Jacob gave Sam a little hug.  "I'll talk to you later."

After Jacob had left, Daniel turned his attention to the other three people.  "Okay, is anybody going to tell me what happened?  I asked Janet, but she said that you'd explain."

"We were on a mission, and you were badly injured, a head injury," Sam replied, managing to meet his eyes and not show how on edge she was.

Daniel frowned.  "I don't recall a mission being scheduled for Tuesday."

"It was a sudden, emergency situation," Jack told him.

"Well, the fact that you needed to call the Tok'ra and get one of them to come heal me tells me that I must have been in really bad shape."

"Yes, it was bad," Jack admitted.  "You are damn lucky to be alive.  You'd probably be dead now if it wasn't for Jacob."

Daniel fell silent.  So he'd just about shaken hands with the Grim Reaper again.  That was really no surprise, not with his track record.

"So when can I get out of here?" he asked.  "If Jacob healed me, there's no reason for me to stay."

Relieved that the archeologist wasn't pressing for details, Jack said, "No, but you know the doc.  She'll probably insist on poking and prodding you for the next three hours to make absolutely certain that you really are one hundred percent."

"Actually, Colonel, all I'm planning on doing is another CT scan," said a voice from the doorway.  Everyone turned to Janet, who came up to them.  "If it comes out clear, Daniel is free to go."  She pointed her finger at the three people standing beside the bed.  "As for the rest of you, you are to go to your quarters and get some sleep or, in your case, Teal'c, some time in Kel'ro'reem."  As Jack and Sam opened their mouths, the finger shot straight up into the air.  "Ah!  No arguing.  That is my order as your physician.  If I have to, I'll get the general to back me up."

Grumbling under his breath, Jack turned back to Daniel.  "I guess we'll be seeing you later.  Try not to get into any more trouble, all right?"

"I'll try, but I make no promises."

Shaking his head, Jack left the room.  Teal'c bid Daniel goodbye and left as well.  Daniel turned to the remaining member of his team.  She was staring at him intently.

"It is so good to have you back," she murmured.

"Have me back?"

Sam smiled and nodded.  She then took Daniel totally by surprise with a sudden, tight hug.  After a second of hesitation, he hugged her back.  She then told him that she'd see him later and left the ICU.

Daniel's gaze went to the final person in the room.  "How bad was it really, Janet?"

"You suffered severe brain damage, Daniel.  You were in a deep coma.  Your EEG was nearly flat, only minimal activity.  The only thing keeping you alive was a life support system.  The endotracheal tube is the reason for your sore throat."

Daniel's gaze drifted away from Janet.  He had nearly been brain dead.  That was more than a little disturbing.

"We all thought that we had lost you, Daniel.  There was no hope that you could heal on your own.  Your body was weakening, and I knew that you didn't have much time left.  Your teammates. . . .  It was very hard for them."

Daniel stared at the bedcovers, now understanding why his team had acted as they did.

"Come on," Janet said.  "Let's get that scan done so you can get out of here."

The scan came out normal, and Daniel was released from the infirmary with orders to get something to eat and not leave the base.

As he walked down the base corridors, Daniel noticed several people staring at him, some with odd expressions on their faces.  Puzzled by the looks, he got a sandwich, apple and coffee from the commissary, then went to his office, where he got to work finishing a translation he'd started on Monday.  His thoughts, however, kept drifting away from the translation and onto something else.  After an hour, he gave into his curiosity and brought up the directory of files on the base computer, going to the folder that held the copies of the mission reports, which were sorted by SG teams.  Scanning down the list, he found the one holding the reports for SG-1's missions.

As Daniel placed the mouse cursor over it, he hesitated, thinking that it might be better to get the whole story about the mission from his teammates.  He would most likely see them later today and could ask them then.

Decision made, Daniel got back to work, pushing thoughts of the hole in his memory out of his mind.

It was well into the evening when Sam awoke.  She smiled with the joy of knowing that Daniel was all right.  That joy quickly dimmed at the thought of what they would eventually have to tell him.

Forcefully shoving that thought aside, she got up and took a quick shower.  As she dried her hair, her stomach quite loudly reminded her that she hadn't eaten anything all day.  Maybe Daniel could join her for dinner.

When Sam got to the archeologist's office, she found that it was empty.  Then she saw a big note propped up on the desk with her name on it.  She recognized her commanding officer's handwriting.

"We're in the commissary.  Come join us."

Sam did just that.  As she entered the commissary and saw her three teammates sitting at one of the tables, her eyes went to Daniel and stayed there.  It felt so good to see him like that, so alive and healthy.  And that's what was important, that Daniel was alive and well.  Everything else they could get through, no matter how painful.

Sam got her dinner, then walked over to the table and took the seat beside Daniel.

"We were beginning to wonder if you'd wake up in time to join us," Jack said as he lifted a bite of food to his lips.

"I wanted to wait for you," Daniel told her, "but Jack's stomach demanded otherwise."

"Hey.  I hadn't eaten all day," Jack responded.

"It's okay, Daniel," Sam assured her friend.  She then dug into her food.

Daniel took another bite of his dinner.  "Where's your dad?  Did he go back to the Tok'ra base?  I wanted to thank him for saving my life."

"Yes, he needed to get back.  You can thank him the next time we see him."

Daniel nodded.  He looked about at his teammates.  "So, about that mission.  You said that it was an emergency situation."

Knowing that they couldn't put off telling him something any longer, Jack paused, then said, "Yeah.  Putting it all in a nutshell, we were called out on a rescue mission, and you ended up tangling with a Goa'uld.  The Goa'uld got you with one of those ribbon device things, and by the time we reached you, you were almost dead."

"Oh."  Daniel grimaced.  He knew what a ribbon device could do to a person's brain.  Teal'c had once explained the whole thing in graphic detail.  It made him shudder to think about it.  Perhaps not remembering what happened was a blessing.  His memories of the other two times he was ribboned were definitely not pleasant ones.

"So, I understand that you're under orders to stay on base," Jack said.

Daniel nodded.  "I don't know why.  I'm completely healed."

"She's just being cautious, Daniel," Sam responded.  "It was a really close one."

"Yeah, this is as close as you've come to dying without actually dying," Jack said.

Afraid that Daniel would ask for the identity of the Goa'uld who nearly killed him, the colonel decided that a change of subject would be smart and started talking about an amusing mishap that SG-13 had on their last mission.

After finishing their meal, Jack and Teal'c both bid Daniel good night.  Sam, however, was not yet ready to leave his company and accompanied him back to his office.  She took a seat beside his desk as he settled behind it.  Her mind was seeking something to talk about when Daniel spoke.

"Janet told me how bad it was."

Sam's gaze dropped to the desk.  "It was hard, Daniel, knowing that you were going to die if the Tok'ra didn't get here in time.  I considered trying to heal you with the hand device we have, but Janet and I were afraid that I wouldn't have the skill to fix brain damage and might actually make it worse."

"It's all right, Sam."  He rested his hand upon hers.  "I'm okay now.  I'm alive and healed."

The gentle touch and soft voice made Sam's love for Daniel swell like a tide in her chest.  She lifted her eyes and gazed into his earnestly.

"You know that I love you, don't you, that I will always be your friend and will be here for you?"

"Of course I do."  He stared at her closely.  "Sam, is something wrong?"

She shook her head and got to her feet.

"I'm just tired, and my emotions are still a little raw.  I should go off to bed.  I'll see you in the morning, okay?"

"Oh.  Um, okay.  Good night, Sam."

Sam quickly left the room.  She hurried around the corner, then stopped, resting her back against the wall.  She closed her eyes and took a couple of deep breaths.

Back in control of her emotions, Sam pushed away from the wall and walked to the elevator.  She rode it down to Level 25.  A young female marine was approaching the elevator as Sam got off.

"Good evening, ma'am," the woman greeted.

"Good evening."

"I can only imagine how relieved you are that Doctor Jackson is all right."

"Yes, it is a big relief."

The sergeant paused a moment.  "Um, he doesn't know yet, does he?  Word was passed down from the general that we were not to say anything to him about, well, you know."

Startled, Sam stared at her.  "I didn't know the general had done that."

"Yes, ma'am.  From what I understand, Colonel O'Neill went to him and explained that you planned to wait a bit to break the news to Doctor Jackson, so it would be a really bad thing if someone else said something to him about it."

Jack hadn't said a word to Sam about doing that, but she now realized that she should have thought of it herself.  It would have been a disaster if some person there at the base talked to Daniel and revealed what happened.

"Anyway, I just wanted you to know that none of us will say a word about it until you've broken the news to him," the sergeant said.

"Thank you."

Sam continued to her quarters.  Once inside, she sat down on the bed.  There in the privacy of her room, the tears came.  She wished that she could stop time and make tomorrow not come, that they could live forever in today, a day with Daniel alive, well, and ignorant of the whole truth of how he almost died . . . and why he survived.

But that was a power she did not possess.  Tomorrow would come, and with would come the moment when they told Daniel what happened on Abydos.  She did not want to think about what would happen afterwards.

Jack stared down into the contents of the glass in his hand.  Normally, he had a beer or two before going off to bed, but he'd felt in need of something stronger this time.

How could someone be happy and sad all at the same time?  He wouldn't have thought it was possible, yet that's how he felt right now.  The happiness was because Daniel was alive and well.  He hadn't lost his best friend today.  The sorrow was because of what they would have to tell that friend tomorrow.

Jack took the last swallow of alcohol and carried the glass into the kitchen.  He then headed to the bathroom, stripped off his clothes, and turned on the shower.  Instead of washing, though, he simply stood under the hot spray, hands braced against the wall.

The truth was that Daniel's grief was not the emotion Jack dreaded the most.  It was another emotion, one that could be even more destructive than grief.  Was there some way that they could tell Daniel only part of the story?  Could they keep from him the thing that the mere thought of telling him made Jack's gut twist up in a knot?  Probably not.  Daniel would not let them leave such an important part out.

Jack got out of the shower and dressed for bed, but he did not get under the covers.  He sat, unmoving, on the bed as the minutes ticked by, cursing the day Apophis came into their lives.  It was a long time before he got into bed and a much longer time before sleep finally came.

The pain spread through his brain, burning every neuron and cell.

"My host cannot help you," said a cruel, taunting voice.  And the pain got worse, consuming his mind and body until there was nothing in his existence except the pain and the terrible voice. . . .

A cry ripped from Daniel's throat as he sat bolt upright.  Shaking, his chest heaving, he stared with wild eyes into the darkness of the room.  As the realization came to him that it had been a dream, he sagged forward, resting his face in his shaking hands.  Slowly, his body calmed.

Taking a deep breath, Daniel lifted his head and looked at the clock.  Five a.m.  Would it do any good for him to even try to get back to sleep?  He'd be getting up in another hour anyway.

Deciding that there would be no point in laying back down.  Daniel got up.  By the light of the small night light in the bathroom he splashed cold water on his face.  He returned to the other room and turned on the lamp beside the bed, squinting until his eyes grew accustomed to the light.  Sitting on the bed, he stared across the room, thinking about the dream.  Was the memory of the mission returning?  There was no doubt that the pain he felt in that dream was the effects of a ribbon device.  It was the kind of pain he'd never forget.  And then there was the voice.  It had definitely belonged to a Goa'uld, but which one?  He'd have to find out.

"My host cannot help you," the Goa'uld had said.  Had Daniel, out if desperation, tried to get through to the host?  Maybe the Goa'uld never actually said that at all, and it was just a construction of his subconscious.

Needing something to calm him down, Daniel got one of his books and began to read.  The problem was that his mind kept returning to the dream and to the blank spot in his memory.

At the time that he would normally be getting up, Daniel took his shower, shaved and got dressed.  He went off to the commissary for breakfast.  Normally, on the days that Sam stayed on base, she would get her breakfast at right around the same time as him, but there was no sign of her.  Based upon things she'd said, he had believed that she was staying in her quarters last night, but perhaps she'd gone home after all.

After finishing his breakfast, Daniel went to his office.  He'd been working for not quite half an hour when Sam came in.

"Hey," she said.

"Hey yourself.  I didn't see you at breakfast.  Did you go home last night?"

"Um, no.  I overslept."

"Ah.  Well, considering that you got so little sleep the previous two nights, that's not a surprise, even with that nap you took."

Sam nodded.  The truth was that it had taken her hours to fall asleep, finally dozing off at somewhere around three a.m.  She had been unable to stop thinking about what today would bring.  She had tried to compose the words in her mind, but no matter how she worded it, it just felt inadequate.

The major's gaze went to the computer screen.  She studied the photos of what looked like some kind of monolith.  "What are you working on?"

"These are photos SG-12 took on their last mission.  It appears that there was once a pretty sizable city near the Stargate, but it was destroyed, completely leveled.  The only thing left was this one monolith.  There's no damage to it at all, so I'm guessing that it was placed there after the city's destruction."

"Do you recognize the writing?"

"Well, that's the really interesting part.  It looks to be a hybrid of Archaic Etruscan and Old Turkic, but the two cultures are centuries apart, and there are no linguistic or other known connections between the two."

"So what does that mean?"

"I think it can mean only one thing.  That planet was seeded by the Goa'uld twice.  Some of the Etruscan people were put there thousands of years ago, then, centuries later, people from eighth century Mongolia were brought to the planet.  Over the years, the two cultures mixed, and a new written language was created using characters from each of the old ones.  It'll probably take me quite a while to translate the writing, though I have managed to make a good start."

Sam smiled, once again filled with admiration over Daniel's intellect and abilities.

"You have no idea how good it is to hear you say all those things," she remarked.

Daniel's brow furrowed.  "Uhhh . . . it is?"

"After Dad healed you, he told us that there was no guarantee that all your knowledge, memories and other things like that would be intact."

"Oh.  Well, I'm fine.  I seem to be thinking okay, and, as far as I can tell, I have no new gaps in my storehouse of knowledge, although, if I did, I guess I might not realize it."  Daniel smiled.  "Speaking of knowledge, I seem to recall that you wanted to borrow my book on Mayan astronomy.  I brought it from home on Tuesday, but I apparently never got the chance to give it to you."

Daniel got to his feet and headed for one of the bookcases.  He was halfway there when a memory blazed into his mind with blinding violence.  He let out a choked cry and fell to his knees, clutching his head.


Sam dashed to him and went down on her knees beside him, grabbing hold of his shoulders.  After a moment, he straightened up, taking a couple of deep breaths.

"I'm okay.  I'm all right," he said.

"No you're not."  Sam got to her feet and went to the phone.  "I'm calling Janet."

"Sam, this isn't something physical."

She frowned and stared at him as he got to his feet.  "What do you mean?"

Daniel leaned rather heavily against the desk.  "It's a memory.  I'm remembering getting ribboned."

Sam gasped.  "You're remembering?"

"Mostly just the pain of getting ribboned.  The problem is that it hits me so hard that it's like it's really happening."

Sam shook her head.  "I don't like this, Daniel.  I'm taking you to the infirmary so that she can check you out."

Daniel wanted to object but knew that Sam would have none of it.

Janet also didn't like what she was hearing and insisted on doing another CT scan.  While that was being done, Sam called Jack and Teal'c to let them know what happened.  The two men arrived a couple of minutes later.

The three teammates found a place to wait for news of their friend.  None of them spoke, their thoughts occupied with worry.  It seemed like a very long time before Janet came to them.

"So?  What is it?" Jack asked.  "Is he all right?"

"Yes, he's fine, physically.  What Daniel experienced was an extremely vivid recall of being ribboned, so vivid that it felt as if it was actually happening again, just like someone experiencing a flashback of a traumatic event will think that it's real.  He's all right now, but I chose to give him a mild sedative in the hope that it will prevent another occurrence.  He admitted to me that he had a nightmare about the ribboning early this morning."

Jack did not like was he was hearing at all.  "Doc, are you saying that he's remembering what happened?"

Janet shook her head.  "At this point, all that's coming back to him is the ribboning, nothing else, not even the identity of the Goa'uld who did it."

Sam was relieved that Daniel was physically okay, but she worried about what all this would mean.  "So what now?  What can you do for him?"

"I'm afraid that there really isn't any way to treat this medically.  This is a psychological issue."

Jack frowned.  "Are you saying that Daniel needs a shrink?"

"No, Colonel.  What he needs is to know what happened.  I think that his mind is struggling to unearth the entire memory, and this is the result.  As long as we keep him in the dark, there is the danger that this could happen again.  Worse, he could start reliving intense flashbacks of the entire incident.  It'll be a few hours before the effects of the sedative wear off.  After that, I want you to take him home and tell him everything."

Daniel's teammates looked at each other, wondering if everyone's reluctance to tell Daniel the truth had made the situation worse.

"Can we see him?" Sam asked Janet.

"Of course."

Daniel had been placed in the main ward, in his usual bed near the far wall.

"Hey there," Sam said, forcing a smile to her lips.  "You just can't seem to stay out of this place, can you."

"I guess not," Daniel replied, his eyes looking a bit heavy-lidded.

"Well, you rest up here for a while, then the three of us will escort you home." Jack said.

"Can't I go home now?  I'd rather sleep in my own bed."

"I'm thinking that you'd probably be doing some of your sleeping in the car if we took you now."

"I am pretty sleepy," the archeologist admitted, his eyelids drooping even more.  Less than half a minute later, he was fast asleep.

"I suspect that what Fraiser gave him was a bit more than just a mild sedative," Jack remarked.

The three teammates left the infirmary and went to Sam's lab.

"That really scared me," the major admitted.  "For a terrible, crazy moment, I thought that the brain damage was coming back."  Her gaze went to Jack.  "I spent over half the night trying to figure out how we were going to tell him what happened."

"Yeah, me too."

"They will not be easy words to speak," Teal'c said.

"No, but they have to be said.  That's even more apparent now."

Daniel slept for almost four hours.  He awoke feeling fine, though he was worried that another incident would occur.

Figuring that Janet would want to know that he was awake, he attracted the attention of a nurse, who went off to get her.  She arrived a short while later.

"How are you feeling?" she asked.

"Fine.  At least I didn't have another nightmare."

"That's good.  I contacted your teammates, so they should be here in a few minutes."

It was five minutes after that when the three people arrived.

"You know, Daniel," Jack said, "as much time as you've spent in an unconscious state these past three days, you shouldn't need to sleep again for a week."

"Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way, Jack.  It would be nice if it did since I'm really getting behind in my work and could use the extra time."

"Well, go on and get dressed.  It's time to take you home."

"I feel fine now, Jack.  I really need to get some work done."

"Ah ah.  These are doctor's orders.  The work can wait."

Teal'c drove Daniel's car, Jack and Sam traveling in their own.  Daniel was the only one of them who was completely calm as they stepped into his apartment.

"Anybody want something to drink?" he asked as he headed to the kitchen.  Jack was tempted to ask for a beer but decided against it.  The thing would probably sour in his stomach.

Sam asked for a glass of water, needing it for her suddenly dry throat.  Daniel handed it to her, taking a sip of his own.

Knowing that the time they'd all been dreading had arrived, Jack said, "Come take a seat, Daniel.  There are some . . . things we need to tell you."

Daniel stared at him, trying to read the man's expression.  Unable to do so, he turned to Sam, whose gaze was turned to the floor.

"Is this about the mission?" he asked as he sat on the couch.

The others took seats, Sam settling beside Daniel on the sofa.

"Yeah," Jack replied.  "There are some things that Fraiser thought it best to hold off telling you."

"What things?"

Jack paused for a moment.  "It all started with a call for help from Kasuf."

That surprised Daniel.  "Kasuf?"

"Yeah.  The Abydonians were in trouble.  The message was pretty brief, but we were able to work out that there were Jaffa and maybe a Goa'uld involved, which turned out to be the case."

Jack went on to tell Daniel about going to Abydos and finding several Abydonians held captive, including Kasuf.

"It didn't take long to take care of the Jaffa who were guarding them," he said.  "As we were freeing them, Kasuf rushed up to you and told you something.  We didn't find out till later what it was."

"What did he tell me?"

"That Sha're's son had been taken."

Daniel gasped.  "What?!  Is he all right?  Where is he?"

"We don't know, Daniel," Sam replied.  "We never found out, and I don't think you did either."

"We have to find him.  If a Goa'uld has him, there's no telling what will happen to him."

"We'll find him, Daniel," Jack stated.  "Don't you worry about that."

Pushing the concern for his wife's son aside, Daniel asked, "What happened next?"

Jack, Sam and Teal'c all exchanged a long look.  The colonel was the one to reply.

"The, uh, Goa'uld who took Sha're's son was still there, and you . . . went after her."

"Her?"  A terrible feeling began growing in the pit of Daniel's stomach.  "It was Amaunet, wasn't it."

"Yeah, I'm afraid so.  She must have found out that Heru'ur didn't have the kid, that we left him with the Abydonians, and she went to retrieve him."

Realization struck Daniel.  "It was Amaunet who ribboned me."  The dream he had now made sense.  He had tried to get through to Sha're, probably told her to fight Amaunet's control, but it had done no good.  He could only imagine what this must have done to Sha're, to watch helplessly as her body was used to hurt him.

Jack and Sam were now staring at the floor, and Teal'c looked as somber as Daniel had ever seen him.

"Go on," the archeologist told them.

Sam took over the recount of events.  "At the same time as you were going after Amaunet we were attacked by a large force of Jaffa.  We had our hands full fighting them, so we couldn't do anything to help you.  You and Amaunet were in a tent not far from the battle.  We don't know exactly what happened in there, only that she got you with the ribbon device."

Daniel frowned.  "But what happened to Amaunet?  Why did she leave before finishing me off?  I know you didn't capture her.  You'd have told me before now.  Did she hear you coming and escape?"  His questions were answered with silence.  He looked one-by-one at the faces of his teammates and started getting scared.  "What happened?  What aren't you telling me?  Where's Sha're?"

Jack sighed quietly.  "I'm sorry, Daniel.  There's just no easy way to tell you this.  Sha're is dead."

The others watched as the blood drained from Daniel's face.  "No.  No, she can't be dead."

"Oh, Daniel, I am so sorry," Sam said, tears coming to her eyes.  "I wish we could tell you something different."

Daniel suddenly thought of something, and he grabbed onto it like a life preserver.  "A sarcophagus!  Her Jaffa would take her body to a sarcophagus."

Hating that he was dashing Daniel's hopes, Jack said, "There were no Jaffa left to take her anywhere, Daniel.  We killed them all."

As Daniel's last hope died, his friends watched him wilt before their eyes, tears sliding down his cheeks.

"How did she die?" he asked in a tone of heartbreak.  "What hap—"

Daniel's voice cut off as a memory leapt into his mind, the memory of a single gunshot ringing out as blackness consumed his consciousness.

"Oh, God.  Y-y-you killed her," he whispered raggedly.  His voice rose to an outcry of pain and anger.  "Why did you kill her?!  You could have wounded her!  You could have taken her alive!"

Daniel launched himself to his feet and strode away across the living room.  Jack rose and slowly approached him.  When he attempted to touch his friend's shoulder, Daniel jerked away.  The archeologist turned angry eyes to him, eyes filled with grief and betrayal.

"Why, Jack?  Why?  You know how much I loved her.  I would have died for her.  It was you who killed her, wasn't it.  Wasn't it!"

Jack closed his eyes, feeling sick, wanting more than just about anything in the world not to have to answer.

Slowly his eyes opened and met the accusing stare of his best friend.  "No, Daniel.  I didn't kill her."  He paused, then spoke the fateful words.  "You did."

Some of you may recall that, in Forever in a Day, Daniel's gun fell from his grasp as he was being ribboned. In this version of the events, it did not. All other questions about the shooting will be answered in the next chapter.

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