by Maureen Thayer
Categories: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Drama
Content Warning: Mild Profanity, frank discussion about the act of rape and its traumatic consequences
Spoilers: The Broca Divide, Fire and Water, Hathor
Author's Notes (Important, please read): While not explicit, this story does talk in a frank manner about rape and the impact it can have upon the victim. It is, therefore, not suitable for children or for people who may become very upset about the subject matter.
Well, this would definitely go down as one of the most messed up days in the history of the Stargate Program. Jack couldn't imagine anything topping it on the scale of complete disasters. But then, the SGC was only a few months old, so give it time.
The aftermath of Hathor's little visit was still very much in evidence. Most of the men on base were now remembering their idiocy while under Hathor's influence, and, needless to say, they were feeling pretty foolish, not to mention angry. The women, on the other hand, were walking around with their heads held high, and Jack couldn't really begrudge them their moment of glory. After all, not only had they taken on a base full of men and come out the victors, if it hadn't been for them and Teal'c, Hathor may have succeeded in her plan to take over Earth. They'd all done a damn fine job.
Jack was suffering from more than a bit of mental discomfort himself. He now remembered how Hathor had turned him into a Jaffa, and it was not a pleasant memory. Thank God they got him out of that tub before one of those snakes went into him. Just the thought of that happening made him shudder.
Pushing that unsettling thought out of his mind, Jack finished dressing. He and Daniel were changing into their civvies in the men's bunk room because Doctor Fraiser was busy in the locker room, examining the tub that Hathor had used to "give birth" to her larvae.
Turning to Daniel, he saw that the archeologist was sitting, unmoving, on a bunk, staring down at the shoe in his hands. His expression looked a million light-years away.
"Are you going to finish getting dressed sometime this year, Daniel?" Jack asked. When Daniel didn't respond, Jack nudged his shoulder. The younger man's head snapped up, a startled look in his eyes.
"What?" he said, blinking.
"Are you going to put that shoe on or just keep admiring it?"
"Huh?" Daniel looked at the item in his hands. "Oh." He bent down and put the shoe on, then rose to his feet.
"So, you joining me and Teal'c at my place?"
"Um . . . no. I've got things to do at home. And I need to work on my report."
"Hey, you don't need to get that in until 1700 tomorrow. You'll have the whole day to work on it. You should relax, kick back, especially after the day you've had, the day we've all had."
"I'd rather get an early start on it," he insisted.
Jack frowned. "You know, Daniel, with the hours that you and Carter put in working, you're both going to burn out before you hit thirty-five. You need to learn to relax, smell the roses along the way."
"Well, the roses will just have to wait for another day," Daniel told him, a note of tension in his voice.
Jack looked at him more closely. "You okay?"
Daniel gave a short nod. "I'm fine. Just a little tired. It's been a long day."
"Yes, it has."
Jack and Daniel left the bunk room and headed for the locker room. They met Teal'c on the way. The Jaffa had changed into civvies in his room. As they entered the locker room, Janet, her wounded left arm in a sling, was busy scooping up a sample of the black goo that was the burnt remains of the Goa'uld larvae from the floor beside the tub. Sam was with her.
"Did you find anything?" Jack asked.
"Probably nothing we can use," the doctor replied. "Maybe we'll at least get a cellular level analysis on the Goa'uld, maybe even find some DNA information."
"A lot of that will probably be mine," Daniel stated.
Jack, who had taken a seat on a bench, looked up at him. "Eww," he said, wondering if Daniel had donated the DNA in the old-fashioned way. What was it with Daniel and women? First, he gets the most beautiful woman on Abydos, then that girl, Melosha, was snuggling up to him after she and Daniel both succumbed to that nasty little virus on P3X-797 and turned into neanderthals, and, now, Hathor joins the club. If this kept up, Jack's joke about Daniel having a girl on every planet might just come true.
At that moment, General Hammond arrived, so Jack was only partially paying attention to Daniel when he responded to Jack's noise of disgust with a softly spoken, "Yeah."
The colonel was quite amused by the interchange that went on between Hammond and Sam. The captain had been certain that she was going to be severely reprimanded, perhaps even court-martialed, for bopping a superior officer over the head. Instead, the general had told her that he was putting her and Doctor Fraiser up for commendations. Jack wholeheartedly agreed with the praise Hammond gave the two women.
"Nice job," Jack said after the general left.
"Yeah," Daniel agreed.
Sam and Janet smiled, the doctor letting out a little laugh. They had done a good job, and they were both proud of it.
"Well, if you two heroes will excuse us, Daniel, Teal'c and I are all heading off," Jack announced.
"See you in the morning, sir," Sam said.
"Oh, Daniel? Before you go, could you explain what you meant when you said that part of the DNA in these larvae would be yours?" Janet asked.
Daniel paused for a moment. "According to Hathor, in order to make larvae that will be compatible with their hosts, she needs DNA from the host species," he said. "She got a sample of mine and used it."
"Really? Is it something to do with the danger of the host body rejecting the symbiote?"
"That's what I gathered, yes."
"This is very interesting. This gives me a lot of food for thought. I wonder if there would be a way to make a host's body reject their symbiote."
"You may be on to something there, Janet," Sam said excitedly. "It would definitely be worth checking into."
As the two women chatted away, Jack, Daniel and Teal'c slipped out and made their way to the elevator.
As they waited for it to arrive, Jack kept glancing at Daniel. The archeologist was uncharacteristically quiet. Jack was surprised that he wasn't babbling on about how the things they'd just learned regarding Hathor fit in with Egyptian mythology.
"You sure you won't change your mind about joining us?" Jack asked.
"Not tonight, Jack," Daniel responded, his voice almost monotone.
The ride up in the elevator was made in silence. Something definitely seemed to be bugging Daniel, but Jack could tell that his friend didn't feel like sharing. He could push the issue, but that rarely worked with Daniel and only succeeded in making him angry or clamming up even tighter, sometimes both.
The three men went through the checkpoints and out into the cool night air.
"Soooo, see you tomorrow, Daniel," Jack said, standing with the archeologist beside his car and hoping that he would change his mind at the last minute.
Daniel just nodded, got in his car, started the engine and drove away. Frowning, Jack stared at the departing vehicle, wondering what the heck was bothering Daniel.
"Daniel Jackson appears to be disturbed about something," Teal'c commented.
"Yeah, I noticed that." All of a sudden, Jack didn't feel so much like having a night of pizza, beer and TV with the guys. "Uh, Teal'c, do you mind taking a raincheck on our evening at my place?"
"What is a raincheck?" the Jaffa asked.
"Do you mind of we do it another night?"
"I do not, O'Neill. In truth, I should perform Kel'no'reem at this time."
"Okay. Well, I'll see you tomorrow, then."
Jack went home and fixed a quick dinner, but ended up just picking at it. He was starting to get worried about Daniel. The archeologist's demeanor had not been at all like his usual self. Of course it could just be that he was totally embarrassed about having been turned into Hathor's lapdog.
After another ten minutes of just sitting there playing with his food, Jack gave up any pretense of eating. A few minutes later, he was in his car, on his way over to Daniel's. He didn't know if he'd be able to get his friend to talk, but he was damn well going to give it his best shot.
Arriving at Daniel's apartment, Jack saw the archeologist's car in its usual spot, confirming that Daniel was home. He took the stairs, too impatient to wait for the elevator when it failed to come within a few seconds. His knock on Daniel's door went unanswered. Guessing that his friend was in the shower since he hadn't taken one at the base, Jack used his key to get in. The place was still and silent. Jack checked the kitchen and found the coffeepot sitting empty in the coffeemaker, which meant that Daniel did not follow his usual routine of making a pot of coffee as soon as he walked in the door. That simple fact made Jack's concern multiply tenfold.
"Daniel?" Jack called softly, receiving no answer. He peeked in the bathroom, finding it empty, then headed for the bedroom. Not seeing his friend there either, Jack turned away, deciding that Daniel must have gone out for a walk.
Jack was heading out into the hallway when a sound made him turn back around. It had come from the other side of the bed. Jack immediately circled around the bed.
"Daniel!" he cried in alarm at the sight that met his eyes. Daniel was curled into a tight ball on the floor, his eyes staring sightlessly. Jack fell to his knees beside the stricken man and touched his shoulder. What happened next took Jack totally by surprise. Daniel made a horrid wailing sound and scrambled away from Jack like a frightened crab until he came up against the wall.
"No, please, no," he whispered. "I-I-I don't want to do this. Please don't. Please don't."
Jack's concern had blossomed into full-blown fear. "Daniel? It's Jack. Can you hear me?" His words went unnoticed by his friend, who had started to rock back and forth like a terrified child. "Come on, Danny. Snap out of it. You're really scaring me here."
When his words still had no effect, Jack decided to chance physical contact again. He moved up beside Daniel and took hold of his shoulders.
"No!" Daniel screamed, trying to struggle out of Jack's grasp. "No! Let me go! Please, please don't make me do this. Oh God, oh God! No, no, no, no, nooooo. Sha're, forgive me. Please forgive me."
A sick feeling rose up in Jack as realization hit him like a sledgehammer to the gut. Feeling like ten times the fool for being so clueless, Jack kept hold of Daniel as the younger man fought to get free, choked sobs rising from his throat. In spite of Daniel's struggles, Jack managed to get his arms around him.
"Shh. Daniel, it's Jack. Hathor's gone. She's gone, Danny. She's never going to hurt you again. Come on, buddy. Come back to me."
Slowly, Daniel's struggles ceased. Then, all of a sudden, he stiffened, growing absolutely still in Jack's arms.
"Daniel? You back with me?"
Daniel started pushing away from Jack, which answered his question. The archeologist had returned to his senses and was now trying to distance himself. For a moment, Jack was tempted to hang on and not let that happen, but he knew that would be a mistake. So he let go and watched as Daniel scrambled to his feet and fled out of the room. The sound of the bathroom door closing told him where his friend had gone.
Jack got up and headed to the kitchen. He got a pot of coffee started, thinking that Daniel might need a cup right about now. Actually, what Daniel probably could stand to have was enough booze to render him unconscious, but, since Daniel didn't have any alcohol except for the beer he kept there for Jack, the colonel decided that coffee would have to do. Besides, Daniel would not have appreciated the hangover he'd have had in the morning if Jack got him drunk.
Jack stood bowed over the counter, his hands gripping it, white-knuckled. He was recalling his earlier thoughts about Daniel and women, now bitterly ashamed of them. How stupid could he be? He hadn't even considered what it would mean if his guess about how Hathor got Daniel's DNA was correct. Not for one second did it enter into his mind that Daniel might not have been a willing participant. That thought made Jack kick himself even harder. Even if Daniel had been a willing participant during the act, it would only have been because of Hathor's power over him. Once he was free of that, the thought of what he did would be pretty hard to swallow. But Jack hadn't thought of any of that. He was thinking about it now, though, and pure, unadulterated rage and hatred was burning inside him. If Hathor was where he could get his hands on her, he would take exquisite delight in slowly torturing her to death.
The coffee was finished by the time Daniel came out of the bathroom. Jack studied his countenance. The linguist's eyes were glued to the floor. His face was shuttered, completely closed off, his whole body language shouting, "Back off! Don't touch!"
"I made some coffee," Jack told him gently.
Daniel gave a short nod and went to the pot. His hands were shaking as he poured a cup and took a sip. He kept his back turned to Jack, his gaze focused on the contents of his cup.
Jack watched Daniel for several silent moments, not knowing what to do or say. He had no experience with something like this. How many men did? What Hathor had done to Daniel was abhorrent. It made him sick to think about it. But he had to say something, do something.
"Um, Daniel, I—"
"Don't, Jack," Daniel interrupted in a tight voice. "Just don't."
"Daniel, you should talk about this."
"Why? Why should I talk about it? It isn't going to change anything. It isn't going to make it not have happened."
"Talking about it might help you deal with it. It's better than just bottling it all up inside."
Daniel finally turned to Jack, a look of anger and bitterness on his face. "And this coming from the king of repression."
The comment stung, and Jack saw that Daniel immediately regretted it. The younger man turned away again.
"I'm sorry," he murmured. "That was uncalled for."
Jack heaved a weary sigh. "Yes, it was, but I understand, and I can't deny that don't talk about my emotions easily. I guess that's one way that we're a lot alike. When we're in pain, we bury it deep inside ourselves. But, Daniel, I still think that you need to talk about this. What Hathor. . . ." He paused when he saw Daniel's body stiffen at the sound of that name. "What she did to you was a terrible thing. I understand how you must feel, and I want to help."
Daniel let out a short laugh that was anything but amused. "You understand? How, Jack? How could you understand?" He turned back around, his eyes boring into Jack's. "Have you ever been forced to have sex against your will?" he spat out.
The bluntness of the question and the venom in Daniel's voice made Jack wince. "No, Daniel, I haven't, but—"
"Okay, then let me ask you another one," Daniel said, not letting Jack finish. "Did you ever cheat on your wife?" His voice wavered. "Did you ever cheat on her, then feel dirty, and loathsome, and-and-and so sick afterwards that you wanted to throw up? Did you?"
"No," Jack replied quietly. He opened his mouth to say that Daniel had not cheated on Sha're, but he didn't get the chance.
"Then how could you possibly know how I feel?" Daniel asked in a voice that was so terribly sad and weary. He once again turned away.
Jack stared at Daniel's back. God, what a mess this was. How was he going to fix this?
"Okay, you're right, Daniel. I don't know how you feel, but I can imagine how I'd feel if I was in your place, and I want to make something clear to you. You did not cheat on Sha're."
"I had sex with Hathor, Jack, or didn't you get that?" The bitterness was back in Daniel's voice, along with a healthy dose of self-hatred.
"Yes, Daniel, I got that, but it wasn't consensual on your part. You didn't have free will."
"I didn't fight her," Daniel said in almost a whisper. "Not . . . not enough. I laid there and . . . and let it happen."
"Oh, for cryin' out loud, Daniel! You were under the influence of that whatever it is that she used on all of us. We were all helpless to fight against her. She made me a Jaffa, and I just stood there and let her do it!"
"I should have fought her more," Daniel continued, as if he hadn't heard Jack. "I should have done something to stop her. She . . . she . . . she. . . ." His voice choked off with a little sob. He abruptly turned and rushed out of the kitchen, fleeing to the bathroom. The door slammed, followed a short while later by the sound of retching.
Jack waited outside the bathroom without speaking. He was way over his head on this. He didn't have the knowledge, training or experience to deal with this kind of emotional trauma. Daniel needed to speak to a counselor . . . a rape counselor. God. Daniel was raped. Putting a name to it made it seem a hundred times more horrible. Jack cursed silently, throwing every vile insult he could think of at the bitch who did this to his friend.
When it finally grew quiet in the bathroom, Jack spoke through the door. "Daniel, I know you're hurting. Please let me help you."
"Just go away, Jack. Please," Daniel pleaded. "I-I need to be alone."
"I don't think that's a good idea, Daniel. You shouldn't be alone right now."
When Jack didn't get an answer, he tried the door, only to find it locked. To get in there he'd have to break the door down, something he was not prepared to do quite yet. He didn't think that pleading with Daniel would do any good, and he didn't have the heart to bully his friend by threatening to break the door down. The younger man probably did need some time alone. If it had happened to Jack, he'd want to be as far away from other people as he could get.
Jack let out another sigh. "Okay, Daniel. I'll leave you alone. But I'm not going to leave. I'll go out into the living room, and as soon as you feel like talking—"
"No," came Daniel's answer, his voice as tight as a bowstring. "I want you to go away, Jack. P-please just go away. I don't want to see you. I-I-I don't want to see anyone."
Jack didn't know what to do. He had a feeling that if he didn't leave, Daniel would stay locked in the bathroom, but the thought of leaving his friend alone scared the crap out of him. He was afraid of what Daniel might do.
Making a decision that he prayed he wouldn't come to regret, Jack said, "Okay, Daniel. I'll leave. But you need to make me a promise. You need to promise me, swear to me, that you won't do anything . . . stupid."
There was a pause. "I'm not going to kill myself, if that's what you're worried about," Daniel said, his voice cold and dead.
Though the words were what Jack wanted to hear, the tone of voice did nothing to allay his fears that Daniel would do something to harm himself. He wished that he could see Daniel's eyes. If he could look in Daniel's eyes, he'd know for sure if the man was telling the truth. But, since he couldn't, he would have to trust his friend not to go back on his promise.
"Okay, Daniel. I'm trusting you not to go back on your word. And I'm trusting you not to go running off somewhere. I want you to stay right here. Will you promise me that as well?"
The length of the pause this time made Jack suspect that Daniel had entertained the idea of running away somewhere.
"All right. I won't go anywhere," Daniel finally said, his voice sounding so tired and so very, very defeated that it broke Jack's heart.
"Okay. I'll go now, then. But I'm coming back in the morning to check on you." He interrupted Daniel's sound of protest. "That is nonnegotiable, Daniel. Either accept those terms or I'm not leaving."
"Fine," came the abrupt answer, spoken in a tone of resignation.
"I'll see you tomorrow. Try to get some sleep, okay?"
Fighting his instincts to stay, Jack left the house, got into his car and drove away, wondering how he was ever going to help Daniel get through this.
Daniel sat on the floor long after he'd heard the front door close. He didn't trust Jack not to turn around and come back. Finally, the discomfort of sitting on the hard linoleum drove him to his feet. As he staggered past the sink, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He froze and stared at his reflection. All at once, memories started flooding into his mind: Hathor's hands on him, touching him, caressing him, removing his clothing and laying him upon the bed, using her powers and her body to bring him to an unwilling arousal. And then . . . then. . . .
With a strangled cry, Daniel ripped his clothes off, stumbled into the shower and turned the water on, making it so hot that it hurt. He had to wash it away, wash away her smell, and her touch, and her eyes, and her voice, and the memory of his betrayal.
Sobbing, Daniel slid down the wall until he was huddled in the corner, his tears mingling with the water and draining away, along with a part of his soul.
Jack returned to the SGC, guessing that the general was still there. As soon as he arrived, he went straight to Hammond's office. "Sir, we need to talk," he said.
The general took one look at the expression on Jack's face and knew that this was something very serious. "All right, Colonel. Have a seat."
Jack shut the door and sat down.
"So, what is this all about?" Hammond asked.
"It's about Daniel, sir."
The general frowned faintly. "Doctor Jackson? Is there a problem with him regarding the events with Hathor?"
Jack paused. "Sir, I need to ask that you keep this off the record. I need to know that what I'm going to tell you goes no further than this office."
Taken by surprise at the request, Hammond stared at Jack. What was this all about? "Is this something that could affect the program or constitute a threat to national security?"
"It's not a threat to national security, sir, and it's not something that anyone else needs to know. As to whether or not it affects the Stargate Program all depends on if we end up losing Daniel because of it."
Alarmed at what Jack just said and the way he said it, Hammond leaned forward. "All right, Jack. This will stay just between the two of us."
Jack nodded in gratitude. He swallowed tightly, not quite knowing how to say this. "Did the doc tell you this stuff about how Hathor needs the DNA of the host species to make larvae that are compatible with it?"
Hammond nodded. "She informed me that Hathor apparently got some of Doctor Jackson's DNA and used it."
"Yeah." Jack scrubbed his hands over his face. "The problem is how she got it."
"Did she harm Doctor Jackson in some way?" the general asked in concern.
"Oh, yeah," Jack murmured. He looked at the general straight in the eyes. "She raped him, sir."
Horror paled Hammond's features. He sunk into the backrest of his chair, his mind reeling. Dear God. That poor boy. What he must be going through.
In the months that Daniel had been there at the SGC, General Hammond had come to feel a great deal of fondness for him. The young man was so bright and full of passion, so compassionate and noble. Just a few weeks ago, they'd all thought that they had lost him on Oannes, and it had hurt. George had felt deep sorrow at the loss of the brilliant, talented young man who embodied the heart and soul of the SGC. Though the general had had a reason to believe that Daniel was, somehow, some way, still alive – a reason he could not reveal to anyone – there had been enough doubt in his mind that he had still felt the grief.
And, now, this happens. That such a horrible thing would happen to someone like Daniel made George Hammond want to hit something. What he wouldn't give to have Hathor in his cross-hairs right now.
Jack saw the general's expression change from horror and sadness to anger and knew that his C.O. was feeling the same things he was.
Pushing aside his anger, Hammond looked at Jack. "How is he?"
"Not good, sir. Not only is he traumatized by the rape, he's also got it in his head that he betrayed Sha're."
"He was raped, Colonel. How is that a betrayal?"
"That's pretty much what I said, but Daniel wouldn't listen to me. He thinks he should have been stronger and fought her off."
Hammond shook his head. "I had virtually no will of my own when I was under the influence of Hathor, and neither did any other human male on this base. How does Doctor Jackson think that he could have done any better?"
"I said that too, sir, but it did no good. Daniel is so caught up in his guilt and pain that he can't think clearly or logically."
Hammond gave a short nod. "There are counselors who specialize in this sort of thing. I think that one of them would be far better suited to helping Doctor Jackson through this than Doctor MacKenzie would be."
"I agree, sir, but I don't know if we'll be able to get Daniel to talk to anyone about this. He's shut himself away. Frankly, sir, I'm more than a little worried about what he might do. I, um . . . had to make him him promise me that he wouldn't . . . hurt himself."
The general's alarm returned. "You think that Daniel is suicidal?" he asked, not even noticing that he called the archeologist by his first name.
"I honestly don't know. I've never seen him like this before, not even after Sha're was first taken. You should have seen him, General. When I first got there, he was apparently caught in the midst of a flashback. He didn't recognize me. The look on his face. . . ." Jack closed his eyes for a moment. "I'm just afraid that this is going to break him, sir, and we won't be able to fix him."
"What are your suggestions?"
"I really don't have any at the moment. I think that we're just going to have to wait a few days. Maybe after a while, Daniel will be recovered enough that he'll be willing to talk to a counselor."
"But he could also draw further into his shell."
Hammond sighed. "All right. I'll track down a counselor who has experience with this kind of thing and talk to them, see what they recommend."
"Uh, sir, if you ask your aide or someone else to go looking. . . ."
Hammond held up his hand to stave off Jack's objection. "I'll do this myself, Jack. Don't worry. It's the least I can do for that young man."
Jack relaxed. "Thank you, sir." He got to his feet. "I told Daniel that I wouldn't go back to see him until tomorrow. With your permission, I'm going to bring his laptop and maybe some of the stuff he's been working on. Nothing of a sensitive nature, of course. Maybe if Daniel takes his mind off what happened for a while, it'll help."
The general nodded. "Good idea."
"Uh, and about Daniel's report, sir. Is he going to have to include all this in it?"
"I see no reason why Doctor Jackson should have to include the information of how Hathor got the DNA sample from him. That is not crucial information in the events as a whole, and neither the president nor any other of my superiors need to know about it."
Jack gave Hammond a grateful smile, glad that they had a C.O. who was so understanding. "Thank you, sir. I know that Daniel will appreciate your care and concern, not to mention your discretion."
"What's most important right now, Jack, is that we get that boy though this and back here where he belongs."
"Yes, sir. I totally agree."
Jack left the general's office and headed for Daniel's. As he walked down the corridors, he noticed that things had gotten pretty much back to normal, although, sometimes, whenever he met the eyes of another man, he saw there a lingering trace of embarrassment. Jack couldn't help but think that the tiny dents they'd suffered to their egos was nothing compared to what Daniel was going through.
Why did the Goa'uld queen have to pick Daniel? Why him out of all the dozens and dozens of men on this base? What was it about the archeologist that drew her to him, made her select him as the man she would make her first new pharaoh? Daniel a pharaoh? Jack couldn't picture it, couldn't imagine the archeologist lording it over anyone. But then, if she had succeeded, he would no longer have been Daniel. He'd have been made a host to a Goa'uld.
In Daniel's office Jack tried to make some sense of the clutter on the worktable. How did Daniel keep track of anything? The problem was that he was always working on a dozen projects at the same time, leaping from one to the other, dropping everything when some new rock or translation was brought to him. It's no wonder that there was stuff all over the place. Daniel did the work of at least five people.
Finding a few things that looked like they might be okay to take to Daniel's house, Jack got a box and started filling it. He found some paper that had apparently been used to wrap things in and used it to protect the more fragile stuff, not wanting anything to get damaged. Daniel would be furious if something got broken.
Jack had almost filled up the box when a voice made him freeze.
"Sir, what are you doing?"
Jack turned to face Samantha Carter. She was staring at him in puzzlement, her eyes going back and forth between his face and the box he was filling.
"Um, Daniel's . . . not feeling so well. He's going to be staying at home for a few days, so I thought I'd bring him some stuff to work on. He, uh, wouldn't want to get too far behind. He's already got too much to do as it is."
Sam instantly knew that something was very, very wrong. First, since when did the colonel willingly take stuff over to Daniel's for him to work on? Jack was always trying to get both her and the archeologist to work less, to take time off and relax. Second, if Daniel was that ill, why hadn't Janet said anything about it? They were all given cursory examinations to make sure they were all right. And, third, the colonel's demeanor was a clear sign that something wasn't right. He looked tense, ill at ease.
"What's wrong with Daniel, sir?" Sam asked.
"He'll be fine, Carter. I'm sure he'll be back here in a few days."
"With all due respect, sir, that isn't an answer to my question." A bad feeling was growing in the pit of Sam's stomach, and she needed to know what was going on.
Jack's expression hardened into the emotionless mask she'd seen him wear many times in the past. "It is none of your concern, Captain. Just drop it." He turned his back to her and continued putting stuff in the box.
"Sir, how can you say that? Daniel is my teammate and my friend. I care about him. You know that. When we all thought he was dead—" she broke off, still unable to think about those awful days when they believed that Daniel had burned to death before their eyes. She still had nightmares about it and found it next to impossible to look at fire or bubbling liquid. Though Janet and MacKenzie had said that the images put in their brains by Nem would fade in time, she still got the occasional flashback. Just last week, she was boiling water and saw the image of Daniel burning, screaming for help.
Jack's shoulders slumped a little, but he did not turn around. "I know, Sam," he said softly. The use of her first name heightened the captain's concern.
Jack turned and faced her. "I can't tell you what's going on. I have no right. I can only say that Daniel is not doing so well right now and that he needs some privacy."
Sam searched Jack's eyes. "Sir, does this have something to do with Hathor?"
"Yes, and that's all I can say. Don't ask me anything more."
Wondering what was wrong with Daniel, Sam suddenly remembered the catatonic state she found him in when she and the other women were looking for Hathor. He was totally unresponsive, like he was in a state of deep shock. She had been quite worried about him at the time, but had later forgotten about it, what with everything else that went on. Now, she was thinking about it again and wondering if Hathor had hurt Daniel in some way. An image came to her mind of what the room looked like. The lamp on the bedside table had been knocked over, as if from a struggle, the bed in disarray.
In the next instant, Daniel's words came back to her about Hathor taking his DNA, and, in a flash, it all came together in Sam's mind. The blood drained from her face, her breath catching painfully. Oh, God. Oh, God, no.
Jack knew the instant that Sam figured out what happened, seeing her face go white, her eyes widen with horror. Damn. He should have known that she'd figure it out.
"Daniel," she whispered, her eyes filling with tears.
Jack moved past her and closed the door, not wanting anyone to overhear this. He then went back to the desk and sat on the corner.
"She . . . she raped him, d-didn't she," Sam said, her voice so low and shaky that Jack almost didn't hear it.
"Yeah." Jack ran a hand over his face. "That's how she got his DNA."
Tears were tracking down Sam's face. She wasn't even trying to stop them. The sight of his second in command crying so openly disturbed Jack. This was really hitting her hard.
"H-how . . . how is he?" she asked.
"Not good, Sam. Not good at all."
Jack gave a brief account of what happened at Daniel's place. Sam uttered the same objections that both he and Hammond did about Daniel's belief that he'd been unfaithful to Sha're.
Sam wiped the tears from her face. She should be embarrassed about losing it like this in front of her C.O., but, right now, she just didn't care. "What are we going to do?"
"I really don't know. Daniel wants to be left alone. For now, I'm going to abide by his wishes, though I am going to check up on him from time to time. Hammond is going to talk to a counselor, someone who's an expert on this kind of thing, see what they say."
Sam shook her head. "Pardon me, sir, but what counselor on Earth could possibly be an expert on what happened to Daniel?"
Jack shifted uncomfortably. "Carter, I know it doesn't happen as often as it does to women, but, um, men can and have been raped, too."
"Yes, but that's not the same thing. That generally involves nonconsensual sex with another man, which is an act of domination, just like it is when a woman is raped. What happened to Daniel is different. For one thing, he was raped by a woman, not some brute half again as big as him. How do you think that must make him feel?"
Jack swallowed painfully. Yes, he could imagine how that would make Daniel feel. If it had happened to Jack, he'd feel weak, humiliated, less of a man, even more so than if he had been raped by another man. The thought that a woman could force him to have sex with her would be unbearable. On top of that would be the overwhelming shame that, for the act to be made possible, he'd have to be aroused. Jack knew the physiology of the male anatomy, that a simple, nonsexual touch could cause arousal. Hell, how many guys had been thoroughly embarrassed when they had a reaction while being treated by a female doctor or nurse who was touching that part of their body? It had happened to Jack more than once, though, thankfully, never with Janet or one of her nurses.
"Now, I know that there are a few rare cases of men being raped by women," Sam said, "but, there's also the fact that Daniel was forced to have sex with a Goa'uld. A Goa'uld, sir, the thing that Daniel hates more than anything in the world. Just the thought of that happening to me makes me sick."
Jack shuddered, thinking about what he would be feeling and thinking if a Goa'uld had done this to him. It would have been bad enough that it happened at all, but for it to have been done by a Goa'uld would make it a thousand times worse.
"Sir, have you even thought about the other facet of this?" Sam asked, bringing Jack out of his thoughts. "What Hathor did was not a simple act of domination. She did it to create more Goa'uld. Can you imagine what he's going through knowing that he was actually a part of creating more of them?"
Jack felt nausea roil through his stomach. He hadn't thought about that before, and it made him feel even worse for Daniel.
'God, Danny. No wonder you're so messed up,' he said voicelessly, feeling sorrow well up inside him for his friend.
"Put all those things together, and it would be next to impossible for someone not to be traumatized by it, especially someone who feels things as deeply and passionately as Daniel does," Sam said. She looked at Jack earnestly. "Sir, I know that Daniel wants to be alone, but that's the worse thing for him right now. All he's going to do is think, and think, and think about it, reliving the whole thing over and over again. He'll keep getting more and more depressed as it tears him apart inside."
Jack looked at Sam closely. "You seem to know what you're talking about."
Sam grew very still for a moment. "Yes, sir. I've . . . seen it happen before."
The tension in Sam's voice made Jack wonder who Sam had known that suffered through a rape. He wasn't about to ask, though. That would be stepping way over the line.
"He won't talk to me, Sam," he said instead. "He begged me to leave. I really don't know what to do to make him talk, and if I go back over there now, he'll just withdraw back in his shell."
Sam was silent for a long time. "I'll talk to him."
"Yes, sir. Like I said, I have some previous experience with this kind of thing. Also, it might be easier for him since I'm a woman."
"Uhhhh, Carter, it was a woman who did this to him. Also, I'd think it would be a lot more embarrassing for a man to talk to a woman about something like this than it would be to talk with another man."
"Not necessarily, sir. For a lot of guys, that may be true, but Daniel isn't, well. . . ."
"A macho, manly man with more testosterone than common sense?"
Sam bit her lip, both amused and embarrassed. "Um, yes, sir." She cleared her throat. "What I was trying to say is that, when men get together, they tend not to want to show weakness to each other, which is one of the reasons why most men won't talk with each other about their deepest fears and feelings, the, um, mushy stuff. Yet some men will talk about that kind of stuff with a woman who is a close friend or family member. They feel more comfortable doing so because that whole thing I said before isn't a factor, and women are generally a lot more in touch with their emotions and will not judge them or think of them as being weak."
Jack had to admit that Sam was right. He had shared personal thoughts and emotions with his wife, Sara, that he never had with any guy. He'd felt safer doing so with her, knowing that she'd not only understand but would also welcome him opening up to her.
"And there's one more thing to consider, sir," Sam continued. "The fear of rape is something that every woman has. We live with it almost every day, whenever we're walking to or from our car, or sitting at a stop light at night, or even alone in our homes. We have a far deeper understanding of it, even those who have never been raped. Begging your pardon, sir, but did you ever in your life fear that someone was going to rape you?"
"Uh . . . no, I can't say that I have." Not even in the Iraqi prison did he ever have the fear that some guard would rape him. It was not something he even thought about.
Sam nodded. "A woman is going to be a whole lot more sympathetic and understanding of what Daniel went through, even if no woman could ever suffer exactly the same thing that he did."
"All right, Carter, you've convinced me. But how are you going to convince Daniel to talk to you?"
Sam fell silent, and Jack saw something pass over her face. "I'll think of something, sir."
"Okay. When are you going over there?"
"Now, if I have your permission, sir."
"Permission granted, Captain." He picked up the box of stuff he'd gathered for Daniel. "Take this with you. If he refuses to talk to you, at least you'll be able to give it to him. Come on. I'll carry it out to your car. Oh, and grab his laptop, will ya? He'll probably want that, too."
Sam got the laptop and went with her commanding officer to her car. He put the box on the floor in the back, then held out the key to Daniel's place.
"You might need this."
"Actually, I've already got one, sir."
"Yeah. The last time you and Daniel were both laid up in the infirmary, Daniel gave me his key so that I could feed his fish. He told me to make a copy while I was at it just in case. And he's got a key to my place so that he can water my plants when I'm laid up."
"Oh. All right." He watched Sam get in and buckle up. "Carter?"
Jack paused. "Help him get past this, Carter. I don't want us to lose him."
Sam nodded silently. She started the engine and left the car park. On the drive to Daniel's, she thought about what she was going to do, what she was going to say to help the man she had begun to think of as her best friend. She knew what might help him, but she wasn't sure if she could do it. It had been so long ago, but it still hurt to think about it. Sam's will hardened. But if that's what it would take, then that's what she would do. Daniel was far too important to her not to do everything in her power to help him.
A while later, she was in the elevator of Daniel's apartment building, and the nervousness was starting to build. Despite her words of confidence to the colonel, Sam was afraid that she would mess this up. She was not trained in psychology. What if she said the wrong thing, did the wrong thing? She could drive Daniel even further away from them. If her suspicions were correct, Daniel was more fragile and vulnerable now than he'd been since the day his parents died.
The only thing that gave Sam real hope was the strength that lie within the gentle archeologist. She did not know much about Daniel's past, except that he was orphaned as a child and had lived in foster care until he went off to college at a young age. She knew about how Daniel destroyed his career and standing in the academic community, making himself a laughingstock to his peers by daring to present a theory that they all thought preposterous. The fact that he'd risen above these things and become the man she had come to know and greatly admire and respect showed her that he was definitely not weak. But it was the things that he'd suffered since opening the Stargate and his refusal to give up on getting his wife back that showed her Daniel's true strength. Daniel needed that strength now more than ever.
Sam stood at the door, wondering if she should knock or go on in. Deciding on the former, she placed the things she was carrying on the floor and rapped on the door. She wasn't surprised when her knock went unanswered. Digging out her key, she let herself in. She placed the box and laptop on the coffee table and went in search of Daniel. She found him on the bed, curled into a tight fetal position on top of the covers, his back to the door. She thought for a moment that he was asleep, but the tension in his body told her that he was very much awake, though whether or not he was aware was another question.
Drawing in a deep, steading breath, Sam stepped up to the bed and sat on the edge.
"Daniel? Daniel, it's Sam." There was no reply. She touched his shoulder, feeling a little stab of pain as he flinched away from her. She did not withdraw the contact, however. Instead, she began to gently stroke his arm. "Daniel, I know what happened. Now, before you get angry at the colonel, he didn't tell me. I figured it out for myself."
"Please go away, Sam," Daniel whispered, his voice ragged.
"No, Daniel. I'm not going to do that. You know why? Because I'm your friend, and I want to help you, and the last thing in the world that you should be right now is alone."
"I don't want to talk about it."
Sam sighed. "I know, Daniel, and I do understand. Really I do. It's natural that you wouldn't want to talk about something like that. I know how . . . how hard it would be."
"It won't make it any better."
"That may be true to start with, Daniel. It could make you feel worse. But, in the end, I really think that it will make you feel better."
A tiny sob issued from Daniel. "Nothing can make this feel better. I feel so, so, so. . . ."
"Used? Violated? Dirty? Ashamed?" Daniel's silence answered her question. "You feel like you can never again step out in public, that the whole world is going to take one look at you and just know what happened. You feel weak and powerless because you couldn't stop it from happening, no matter how hard you tried." Sam's voice started to shake. "You feel like there's a . . . a filth all over you that will never come off, no matter how hard you scrub, and scrub, and scrub. Did you take a shower, Daniel? Did you make the water so hot that it nearly scalded you and stayed there until it grew cold and even then didn't move for ages? Did you throw up every time you thought about the way h—," Sam's voice broke, "the way she touched you? Do the images play through your mind over and over again until you feel like screaming and want nothing more desperately than to go to sleep and never, ever wake up?"
There was a long moment of silence, then, in a tiny whisper, Daniel asked, "How did you know?"
Sam closed her eyes and swallowed the bile that was threatening to rise. "When I was in my first year at the Air Force Academy, I was dating this guy named Brad. He seemed like a nice guy, kind and considerate. We'd been dating for about a month when he started getting a little pushy about taking things farther than kissing and hugging. I wasn't ready to take our relationship to the next level, so I gently asked him to back off. He did, and I thought everything was fine. Then . . . then, one evening on a date, he slipped some Rohypnol into my soda."
"Oh, God," Daniel gasped, knowing that Rohypnol was a date rape drug. He turned over and looked at Sam. She was no longer looking at him, her vision turned inward at the memories she was unburying. Sitting up, Daniel touched her arm. "Sam, please don't," he pleaded, not wanting her to bare her pain for his sake. For the moment, all thoughts of what had happened to him were gone.
Not hearing him or choosing not to stop, Sam continued. "Back then, virtually no one in the U.S. had even heard of Rohypnol since it didn't start showing up here till the early 90's, but Brad had spent a year in Europe, where the drug has been used illicitly since the late 70's. He had a friend over there send some to him."
Sam paused a moment. "When we got back to his apartment, I was feeling . . . well, if you're familiar with what the drug does, you know how I was feeling. Brad's roommate was out of town, so he knew that there would be no one there to stop him."
Daniel closed his eyes, not wanting to hear this.
"He . . ." Sam's voice cracked, "he started touching me, feeling me up. I wasn't putting up a struggle. That's the way the drug affects you. It can lower your inhibitions and, among other things, makes you lose control of your muscles, so, even if you wanted to fight, you couldn't. With Rohypnol and other date rape drugs, you usually don't remember anything afterwards, which is why they're so popular with guys who want to. . . ." She took a deep, steadying breath. "They can have their fun and not worry so much about being arrested for rape afterwards because the girl won't remember anything."
"Sam, please stop," Daniel pleaded again.
"The thing is that I didn't get nearly as much of the drug in my system as I was supposed to because I spilled my drink. S-so, I remember everything that happened." Her voice started shaking again. "And . . . and it didn't have the full effect on me. When Brad started taking m-my clothes off, I resisted, but that just made him more excited. H-h-he started f-fondling me, touching and grabbing me in intimate p-places. H-his hands were everywhere." Her breath hitched, and her eyes squeezed shut. She felt twin tears race down her cheeks. "And he wasn't being gentle. I think that the pain cleared my head a little more, and I started fighting harder, but there was nothing I could do. I couldn't get my muscles to work right, and I was so dizzy and starting to feel sick. He unzipped his pants and—"
"Sam, stop!" Daniel cried, covering his face and hunching forward, his shoulders drawn up tight. Oh, God. He didn't want to hear this. He didn't want to know this.
Ignoring him, Sam kept going. "Sometimes, I can still feel him on top of me, his breath in my face, stinking from the beer. He was just about to . . ." her hands made a helpless gesture, "when his roommate walked in. At first, he thought that he had walked in on a consensual sex act, but when I whimpered and said no, he knew what was happening. He grabbed Brad and pulled him away from me, then knocked him out with one punch, or so I learned afterwards. I wasn't all that aware of what was going on at the time. I just curled up into a tiny little ball and closed my eyes, wanting to die."
Sam was crying in earnest now. "Afterwards, I withdrew from everyone, especially Dad. I didn't want to talk to anyone or see anyone. I felt so dirty and violated. Even though Brad didn't get the chance to go all the way, what he did do made me throw up every time I thought about it. I kept feeling his hands on me, all over my body, hurting me. And I was so ashamed because I hadn't fought hard enough to stop him. I was too weak. I don't know how many times I relived it, seeing it repeated in my mind over and over."
With an effort, Sam began to calm herself. She hadn't intended to lose control like this, but talking about it had brought back all the pain. Wiping her face with trembling hands, she looked at Daniel. His knees were drawn up to his chest, his forehead resting on them, eyes tightly shut.
"Finally, Dad forced me to go see a rape counselor. It took a while, but I eventually opened up and started talking about what happened, and, in time, I began to feel better." Sam laid her hand on Daniel's head. "I know, Daniel. I know some of what you're feeling because I felt the same things."
A heartbreaking sob ripped out of Daniel's throat. Seconds later, he was crying uncontrollably. Sam gathered him into her arms and held him as he wept. He clung to her so tightly that it hurt, but there was no way in the world that she was going to say anything. This is what he needed.
Sam didn't know how long it was before Daniel quieted and drew away from her. He hid his face as he wiped it dry.
"I'm sorry," he murmured in a low voice.
"What for? For taking comfort in a friend's arms? I'm not sorry, so why should you be?"
"I'm sorry that you had to tell me those things. You shouldn't have done that."
Sam stroked her friend's hair. "Daniel, I told you because I wanted you to know that I really do understand what you're feeling, that you're not alone, and I can help you. I went through the same stuff, isolating myself, withdrawing from the people I loved, and it only made things worse. It wasn't until I let the people who loved me in and started talking about what happened that I was able to get past it."
Daniel shook his head. "But it's not the same, not really. You were incapacitated by the drug, and Brad was bigger than you, stronger. You were helpless."
"And you weren't?" Sam said, her voice rising a little in volume. "Daniel, whatever it was that Hathor was using was just like a date rape drug. It left you just as helpless to resist as a woman who's been given Rohypnol, or GHB, or some other drug of that type. And let's also not forget that Hathor is a Goa'uld and, therefore, far stronger than a human."
"But I'm a man!" Daniel shouted. "For Hathor to have sex with me, I had to . . . to b-be aroused. She physically aroused me," he said in a voice full of self-loathing.
"Daniel, listen to me. A lot of times when a woman is given a date rape drug, she doesn't just lie there passively. GHB is called liquid ecstasy because it can make a woman euphoric and sexually aroused. While she's under its influence, she can be as much of a participant in the sex as the man is. The same can be true for Rohypnol, especially if taken with alcohol." Sam stared at Daniel, who was not looking at her. "Daniel, did you want to have sex with Hathor?"
"God, no!" he cried, leaping to his feet and beginning to pace, his arms wrapped around himself in his signature self-hug. "I tried to stop her. I even fought with her a little. But s-s-she just breathed on me more. I couldn't resist her." He started crying again. "The whole time, this voice inside me kept screaming for her to stop, saying that I didn't want to do it, but she didn't stop. She made me have sex with her. I didn't want to!"
Sam was instantly at his side, pulling him to her again.
"Shhhh. It's okay, Daniel. It's all right," she murmured soothingly. "We'll get through this. You're going to be just fine."
This time, Daniel recovered a lot more quickly. He wiped the tears away, looking embarrassed.
"Hey! None of that," Sam chastised. "You have nothing to be embarrassed about. We're friends, remember? Friend's cry on each other's shoulder when they really need to."
"I've cried on more than just your shoulder, Sam," Daniel said with just the tiniest bit of a smile. "I've probably just about drowned you."
"No harm done. Besides, this blouse needed washing anyway. You saved me the trouble."
Daniel choked on a laugh, a wonderful sound to Sam's ears.
Daniel grew serious, gazing at her intently. "Thank you," he said in a soft, emotion-filled voice, his eyes full of gratitude and the love of a friend.
Sam took his hand and gave it a squeeze. "Any time, Daniel. Any time."
They returned to the bed, sitting side by side.
"Daniel?" Sam said after a period of silence. "I think it would be a good idea for you to see someone, a counselor."
Daniel shook his head. "No."
"Daniel, you need to talk about this, get everything out in the open. Rape counselors are trained for this kind of thing."
"Sam, what rape counselor has ever dealt with a case like mine?" Daniel asked quietly. "What counselor would understand what Hathor is and what she did to me? What counselor would know the . . . the reason why she did it? Unless you plan on giving the person full security clearance so that we can tell them everything, I couldn't really open up about what happened to me."
Sam knew that Daniel had a point. She'd said most of the same things to the colonel earlier. Daniel's experience was utterly unique among humans on Earth, and unless a counselor could be given all the facts, their ability to help would be limited, and even then, they'd lack the personal experience with the Goa'uld necessary to have any real insight on all the nuances of the situation.
"Besides, I don't need someone with a degree in psychology," Daniel said, his voice very soft and gentle. His eyes lifted to hers. "I've got my friends to talk to and help me."
Tearing up, Sam enfolded Daniel in her arms again. "We'll be right here for you, Daniel. I promise."
Over the next four days, Daniel talked with both Sam and Jack about what happened and what he was feeling. Some things he found easier to talk to another man about, while, with other things, he needed Sam's understanding and unreserved compassion.
During the times that Daniel talked with Sam, she spoke of her own experience as well. He was infinitely patient, understanding and caring when she did, listening quietly as she spoke, making her feel like her pain was more important to him than his own. In sharing her experience with him, she felt the old ghost of her ordeal finally put to rest once and for all, and, in turn, it helped Daniel open up more about what happened to him. They drew strength and comfort from each other. Neither Daniel nor Sam ever said anything to Jack about her past experience. The captain didn't want her C.O. to know, and Daniel both respected and understood her feelings.
No matter what happened in the future, Daniel knew that he would never be able to repay Sam for what she did. She had opened up her soul to him and bared a terrible and very intimate pain. That had taken a lot of courage and trust, and the fact that she'd done it for his sake made him feel humble and grateful beyond words. She was a wonderful friend whom he cherished deeply.
As for Jack, he came to know and understand Daniel a whole lot better in those four days. In watching Daniel overcome the trauma of what happened to him, successfully finding his way past the feelings of guilt, humiliation, violation and helplessness, Jack saw the depth of quiet strength that dwelled within the gentle, caring young man. Jack realized that his initial fear that Daniel would seek to take his own life had been groundless. Daniel was far too strong and courageous to ever take that course of action, no matter what happened to him. He was strong enough that, if he had chosen not to seek help from his friends, he would eventually have recovered from Hathor's actions on his own, though it would have been a much longer and rockier road. Jack was glad that Daniel had chosen to allow his friends to help him heal.
Janet, of course, had to be told about what happened since she was Daniel's doctor. Once she found out, she stopped by to see him every day. Her medical knowledge of date rape drugs and how they affected the victim, as well as her newfound knowledge about what Hathor had done to the men on base helped a lot in putting to rest Daniel's guilt and shame over having become physically aroused in response to Hathor. Though she knew that she could get into trouble if anyone found out, she did not record the rape in Daniel's medical file, saying, instead, that he had an adverse reaction to the 'drug' Hathor used on him since he was given more than anyone else.
At the end of the four days, Daniel gave Jack permission to tell Teal'c about what happened. The Jaffa's expression did not change upon hearing the news, but a tiny muscle in his jaw started twitching, which told Jack that Teal'c was definitely upset. Afterward, the Jaffa requested to go see Daniel, who had been on leave the whole time. After clearing it with the archeologist, Jack brought him over, Sam coming as well.
As soon as Teal'c saw Daniel, he stepped up to him and said, "O'Neill has told me what Hathor did, Daniel Jackson. I tell you now that if ever I lay eyes upon her again, I will take great pleasure in killing her. She will rue the day that she brought harm to you."
Daniel swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. "Thank you, Teal'c."
That evening was their first get-together as a team since Hathor came to the SGC. They all had a little bit too much to drink – with the exception of Teal'c, of course – and decided that it would be best if everyone stayed at Daniel's that night.
It was around two a.m. when Daniel got up to use the bathroom. Afterwards, he crept into the living room and looked around. Sam was curled up on the couch, her face peaceful and beautiful, looking like an angel. Jack was sprawled out on the recliner, snoring softly. Teal'c was sitting cross-legged on the floor at the end of the couch, deep in Kel'no'reem.
A gentle smile came to Daniel's lips as he looked at his friends. He'd been with them such a short time, only a few brief months, yet he had come to care about them all so very much. They had become a part of his family. And it felt really good.
Daniel knew that he still had a long way to go before he was fully recovered from what Hathor did, but he also knew that he'd get there and that, no matter how long it took, his friends, his family, would be there at his side.