Jmas Fan Fiction

Part 2

Things seemed to be getting clearer with each passing moment. He might never remember everything about his ascension, but Daniel had no doubts about the information he had just shared, and was about to share.

Surprisingly, his friends were waiting patiently for an explanation. He’d expected them to get angry, they still might be when they heard what he had to say.

“Do you remember when you were captured by Nirrti? Her experiments?”

They all nodded, Jack looking a little surprised that Daniel knew about that mission.

“Yeah, I was there. A little late, I’m afraid. Sorry, Sam.”

Sam smiled at him. “I just wish…”

Wish he’d appeared to her like to Jack and Teal’c. He knew.

“That happened around the time I saw Bra’tac and Ry’ac being captured. I tried to find you on Earth, but you were gone. Once I found you, your escape was already in progress. I waited until I knew you were safe then went back to keep an eye on Bra’tac and Ry’ac, trying to give you time to recover. Then I found out about Anubis and, well, you know what happened next.”

“So you’re saying Nirrti did something to us besides the obvious?” Jack asked.

“Yeah. A little upgrade on that pink stuff Hathor used. This time with added nanites and specifically targeted to the two of you. Apophis figured if you were so…focused on feelings, SG1 would lose its effectiveness against him. At the very least, you’d, ah…”

“Go at it like minks and break up the team?”

“Yeah, that. The fact that you didn’t says a lot about your strength of commitment to the team.”

“So was any of it real?” asked Sam in a quiet voice.

Daniel took another deep swallow from his mug before answering. “What the two you decided to leave in that room three years ago was real.”

Sharp looks from all three of his teammates revealed to Daniel how shocked they were that he knew about that.

“So what happened today…” Jack began.

“Wouldn’t have happened three years ago. Sir.” Sam was nodding to herself. “I’ve been so confused about why I was doing and thinking… things. It didn’t feel right, didn’t feel like me.”

“It wasn’t,” Daniel offered. “Not all of it, at any rate. Your ability to resist was compromised.”

“Along with my personal and professional judgment, it seems.”

“Not just you, Carter,” Jack reassured her.

“The important thing is now we know and with any luck it can be counteracted. You’ve already been trying.”

Both Sam and Jack nodded hopefully, studiously avoiding direct eye contact with each other.

“Do you believe this is the only plan Apophis has instituted against us, Daniel Jackson?” Teal’c’s quiet, steady voice broke the uncomfortable silence.

Daniel stood and went to the fire, topping off his coffee and wishing for some more of whatever was in Sam’s flask, before answering.

“No, He wants us dead. More, he’s already succeeded.”

“Kelowna.” Jack wasn’t asking.

“The Jaffa ambush.”

“The Alpha site.”

Daniel nodded. “And just about every time you were injured off-world while I was.. gone.”

Jack was shaking his head. “How? He couldn’t know where to find us.”

“He’s the next best, or worst, thing to an Ancient, Jack.”

“Some kind of new technology?” Sam asked.

“A microscopic device delivered by a good old-fashioned blow gun. You probably wouldn’t have noticed or would have thought it was an insect bite. It’s essentially a GPS, just substitute galactic for global. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if other SGC personnel aren’t tagged as well.”

“What about you?”

“Osiris found me pretty easily, so I’d say yes.”

“So…” Jack drawled. “Apophis probably knows where we are right now?”

“That’s a pretty sure bet, Jack,” Daniel affirmed, watching as his teammates looked out into the darkness realizing, as he did, they could be attacked at any moment if it suited Apophis’ plans.

“I’ve got a really bad feeling about this…”

 

Hell, bad didn’t even come close to covering it. At the same time, Jack knew they couldn’t start living their lives in fear of where or when Apophis might show up next.

“There must be some means of taking advantage of this knowledge,” Teal’c mused.

Much as Jack didn’t like the inevitable danger ‘taking advantage’ likely meant, the big man was right. Daniel had just handed them a way to take out Anubis-Apophis once and for all. Another gold star for SG1’s soul and conscience; Jack made a mental note to add it to his list.

Daniel was nodding to himself, thinking. “It could work, Jack. And I think I know where we could get his attention in a hurry.”

Jack smiled at Daniel, getting a kick out of the enthusiasm and tactical gears he could see turning in Daniel’s head. Just like old times, only better because they now knew that a good portion of what had gone wrong between them hadn’t been their fault.

Jack wasn’t letting himself, or any of them, totally off the hook. They could blame Apophis for the past year, but not the years prior while they were drifting apart due to the big secret. It was time to own up.

“Daniel? About that room…”

“I know, Jack.”

“I know you know. I just wanted to say, well, that thing should never have come between us. Not to the point where you thought going off with Oma was a better option.”

Shaking his head, Daniel sighed. “No, Jack. Is that what you’ve been thinking all this time?”

“Well, yeah, why else…?”

Daniel rose and moved over to stand directly in front of Jack, kneeling so he could look him in the eye. “I left because I knew Jacob couldn’t heal me completely. My body was too far gone and I knew I’d have been a mind inside a shell. No use to anyone in any meaningful capacity. I was more afraid of living like that than I was of taking a chance with Oma.”  Jack could see Daniel’s regret and a slight tinge of embarrassment. “I took the easy way out, Jack. I was tired and sick, and, yeah, I’d had too many failures in too short a time. But it was never because I wanted to leave you guys.”

Something inside Jack loosened at the words, set free the guilt and shame of believing he helped drive Daniel away. Pulling Daniel up then standing to face him, Jack let his relief break over into a huge smile.

“Good. That’s… real good.”

Jack could see Daniel was sorting through an epiphany of his own, so he reached out and drew the man into a strong hug. It was something he’d wanted to do from the moment he had seem Daniel, alive and whole again, coming down those steps on Vis Uban.

Apparently he wasn’t the only one, Jack thought, as he felt Teal’c and then Carter join in and surround Daniel in a group hug, fierce and heartfelt, to beat them all.

For all the danger Daniel’s new memories revealed, for all the mistakes they had made, for all the lapses Apophis’ interference had caused… they were still SG1. They were going to be okay.

 

As his team drew reluctantly away, Daniel felt tears sting his eyes, threatening to spill over.  A quick glance from beneath his lashes told him he wasn’t alone. They still weren’t all the way back, but they were definitely on the right path at long last.

As Jack roughly cleared his throat, Daniel knew right down to his bones what he was going to say.

“Let’s pack up and get the hell out of Dodge, kids. We’ve got an appointment with a bag of gas.”

The words brought smiles to all of them, no doubt as Jack had intended.

Daniel nodded and headed off to gather his things only to be stopped by Jack’s voice.

“Daniel?”

Turning back, Daniel saw the gravity in Jack’s expression.

“For the record? There was nothing easy about it. For any of us.”

The tears that had threatened earlier made a sudden reappearance, causing Daniel’s throat to tighten with a myriad of emotions. He could only nod his appreciation. For the first time in longer than he could remember, though, he was absolutely certain Jack understood the gesture. He’d missed that certainty and, until that moment, hadn’t really known how much.

Turning to his packing, Daniel was glad for the darkness surrounding him. For a trip he had expected to be so fruitless and painful, it seemed to have been one of the most important journeys of his life.

 

Brightman wasn’t Fraiser, Jack couldn’t help thinking. Good competent, a little detached, but no Janet Fraiser with her intimate understanding of the little quirks and history of SG1. She did her tests, but let their idle quips and teasing pass unremarked. Janet would have known how important and significant those seemingly innocuous exchanges were to his team.

Hammond certainly knew. Jack caught his CO grinning more than once as he listened to their preliminary report on what Daniel remembered while they were off-world.

Jack knew their formal briefing would be much more difficult. While they had been completely forthcoming with Brightman about the nanites, Hammond had been given the abbreviated version concerning himself and Carter. At first opportunity, Jack intended to get Hammond alone and tell him the truth, consequences be damned. Deception had been a part of their personal and professional life far too long.

Daniel was more animated and open than Jack could remember since months before he’d gone glowy. The shadows of secrets they had all been living under for so long had receded in the light of the truth and there was no way in hell Jack was going to allow his team to lose that again.

“Doctor Jackson? You said you had a place in mind to get Apophis’ attention?”

Daniel nodded, “Yes, sir. Abydos.”

“Whoa, Daniel. You sure the old memory is okay in there? Abydos is…” Jack gestured broadly, hesitating to say the word.

“Gone,” Sam finished for him apologetically.

“Um, well, that’s not entirely accurate.”

 

He’d known his pronouncement was going to cause a stir, but Daniel wasn’t quite prepared for the almost comical disbelief on the faces of his team. Hammond was first to regain his composure, perhaps finally realizing the infirmary wasn’t quite the place for Daniel to answer the question foremost on their minds. After checking with Brightman, he called an adjournment to the briefing room.

As they walked, Daniel couldn’t help but notice the way Sam moved beside him, nudging his shoulder from time to time, smiling brighter than he’d seen in what seemed like forever. Jack walked on his other side, a spring in his step Daniel couldn’t remember seeing the entire time he’d been back. Teal’c, well, the big man looked more at peace than even when he’d rediscovered his mojo. It felt like they were all connected again, they way they should be, and Daniel reveled in the simple rightness and joy of it all.

Daniel couldn’t help reflecting on his words during his argument with Jack only days ago. His world had taken a sudden shift in what seemed like an impossibly short time. It was as if he’d gone from the darkest depths of the unforgiving ocean and emerged into the bright air of morning.

At last he could answer the question he’d asked of himself on the top of Cheyenne Mountain. This. This is what he’d come back for.

 

As they entered the briefing room, Jack grinned at how his team dispersed, all of them jockeying for a chair beside Daniel like a bunch of kids determined to get the shotgun seat. By virtue of his height and longer legs, Jack won and barely suppressed the urge to stick out his tongue at the other two members of his team as they sulked over to sit opposite them.

Luckily, Hammond seemed not to notice, or if he did he wasn’t in the mood to chastise them. Instead, with a throat clearing bid for their attention, Hammond got down to business.

“Doctor Jackson, SG1 was told by Skaara after Anubis’ attack that Abydos was destroyed.”

Daniel glanced first at Jack and then at the general. “I know, sir. But I also know that it wasn’t the entire planet that was affected. Just the pyramids and the immediate vicinity. Which would include the Abydos stargate, of course. The planet is still there, still habitable, and still of interest to Apophis.”

As expected, Jack interrupted. “How do you know this, Daniel? I thought you’d been tossed out of the glowy club by then?”

Daniel smiled in a way Jack could only call impish. “You remember I said that I insisted Oma descend me?”

“Demanded is the word you used, but yeah. She was pissed?”

Daniel nodded. “Beyond pissed. And part of the reason she was angry enough with me to do it was because I also insisted that the Abydonians be saved in the only way they could be.”

“Ascension?”

Jack could see General Hammond was suppressing a grin at the thought of glowy Daniel pull his all too familiar save the universe routine on Oma Desala.

Daniel smiled at the general. “Yes, sir. Sort of. The two of us together barely managed, but we brought all the Abydonians onto the other plane. Only a few were truly ascended, those who died in the pyramid during the battle. Oma took care of them, thank goodness. The others? While they exist in an incorporeal form, they don’t have any ascended abilities. From their perspective, nothing’s changed.”

“Is there any way to…?” Jack made a dropping gesture with his hands. He knew Daniel had to feel about his adopted people.

Daniel shook his head. “I honestly don’t know. I hope so. Maybe we’ll find out when we go there.”

“Go there?” Carter sat up straight. “How? Why?”

“You said Apophis still possessed a personal interest in Abydos, Daniel Jackson. What is it?”

Jack felt major alarms tingling up and down his spine and as Daniel ducked his head, he just knew he wasn’t going to like what the other man was about to say.

“That, uh, that would be me.”

 

 

How to explain, Daniel mused to himself. He wasn’t sure he could.

“When Apophis destroyed the pyramid, his main concern was to test the weapon. But a… side ‘benefit’, for lack of a better word, was the obliteration of Sha’re’s people. And her grave. He’s never gotten over losing Amaunet, or the role the Abydonians, and we, played in her…death.”

“Revenge against an entire planet for the actions of a few is definitely his M.O.,” Carter granted. “But why would he want you?”

“Ascension. Or rather un-ascension,” Jack mused. “Is that why he wants you, Daniel? Because you were able to come back?”

Daniel nodded slowly, not really surprised Jack was the one to work it out. “Yeah. He not only needs the memories he thinks I have of becoming corporeal again, he needs a body to descend to.”

Turning to face Daniel, Jack swore dangerously, “Not a chance in hell.”

“But, Daniel,” Sam interjected. “How can you know what Apophis has planned now?”

“I, um, dreamed it.”

 

 

“Dreamed, huh? Just like I dreamed you paid me a visit in Ba’al’s Shop of Horrors? Or Teal’c dreamed all kinds of whacked things after the ambush?”

Jack could see Daniel making the connections in his head. “Skaara?”

Probably, Jack thought with a nod. “Or Kasuf. Maybe even Oma or Shifu. I don’t doubt for a second that you made just as much of an impression on the Glow Club as you have around here. Probably taught them all kinds of sneaky ways to dodge the rules.”

Daniel blushed, but Jack just nodded. The truth was the truth.

But there was a bigger issue to deal with. “So why in hell would we go to Abydos knowing Apophis wants to get you and he’ll be watching for you there?”

“To stop him, Jack. Once and for all. Wouldn’t you rather do that on our terms instead of his?”

As much as he might wish he could deny it, Jack knew Daniel was right. They had a decided advantage with Daniel’s inside scoop. But Jack didn’t have to like the fact that any plan he could come up with off the top of his head placed Daniel right in the middle of a suicide mission. And that was simply not acceptable.

“General?”

Hammond looked like a man unbearably divided, but Jack knew what his answer would be.

“I’m afraid I agree with Doctor Jackson, Colonel. I’ll need to advise the President, but I suggest you and your team start to work on a plan. I’m sorry.”

With a barely controlled sigh, Jack nodded curtly. There really was no other choice in the matter; his heart knew even if his head was screaming no way. It didn’t help.

As the general dismissed them and left the room, Jack found himself turning to look at Daniel. “Sometimes, my friend, I could almost wish you hadn’t got this part of your memory back.”

Daniel gave a tight smile, nodding agreement. “Me too. Almost.”

 

 

Surprisingly, or maybe not, Daniel couldn’t seem to shake his persistent shadows. He’d tried the mess: lunch; the infirmary: checking for news; even the bathroom: well, at least Sam had waited outside. He finally gave up and headed for his office to allow his team to say whatever it was they so clearly had to say.

“Are you nuts?”

Not exactly what he’d expected, but Jack’s worried expression kept Daniel from taking offense.

“Not recently, Jack.”

clipThe other man shrugged an apology as he flopped into a chair. “There has to be a way to do this without letting Apophis get his hands on you. Get him to come to us himself.”

Teal’c chose to stand beside Daniel, at the Jaffa equivalent to parade rest. “It will not be easy.”

Sam settled on a stool on the other side of Daniel’s worktable, crossing her arms and straightening her back in that way she had of settling down to business. “Apophis needs you alive. I doubt he’d risk sending super soldiers, they’re too…”

“Stupid?” Jack offered.

With a half smile, Sam agreed. “So he’ll most likely send Jaffa, probably a lot of Jaffa.”

“Not a good thing,” Daniel allowed.

“But what would it take to get Apophis fired up enough to leave his ship?” Jack asked. “Can he leave it?”

Daniel shrugged. “The suit he wears acts as a shield; it not only allows him to hold a corporeal form, it shields him from the Others.  That’s why he can’t use his ascended abilities. I’d wager he can leave the ship, but it’s a risk he’d rather not take unless…”

“Unless the benefit was compelling enough to negate the risk,” Teal’c finished.

“Daniel as sole bait probably isn’t compelling enough,” Sam mused apologetically. “He’d leave capturing him up to the Jaffa.”

“Not if he thought I still had ascended power.”

“Fake him out?”

Daniel nodded. “A few technological aids ought to give the Jaffa a good enough show to convince Apophis he’ll have to capture me himself.”

Jack sighed beside him. “And then what, Daniel? How do we fight something that’s made of energy? Much less kill it. Because, I’ve got to tell you, unless we can go in with something more than magic tricks and good intentions, this will be a one way trip for all of us.”

 

Jack watched as Daniel swallowed hard and noticed the evasive cant of his head, the way he didn’t quite meet their eyes.

“Daniel…” Jack drawled in warning. “I’m not going to like this, am I?”

A wry smile and slight headshake confirmed Jack’s feeling.

“If Apophis uses his ascended powers, he’ll break the rules of the Others. They’ll have no choice but to act. Immediately.”

“So…what? You want to get him pissed enough at you to use them?” Jack guessed, rightly from Daniel’s deer-in–headlights expression. “Still not liking this plan, Daniel.”

“Unless we can figure a way to penetrate his shield, it’s the only way, Jack.”

“It’s possible the weapon we developed to penetrate the Kull armor would work,” Sam interjected. “But there’s no way of knowing that for sure without understanding how the shield works.”

Daniel shrugged, sliding down in his chair and resting his hands on his stomach. “It’s a containment as much as a defense, it holds his energy in place and shields him from detection by the Others. It absorbs standard energy weapons and bullets.”

Carter nodded. “It would have to be powered by naquada, wouldn’t it? Something carried on him. Maybe some kind of frequency jamming like we used with Osiris would do it…” Sam was already out of her seat, her mind pointing her toward her lab. “Teal’c? I have some questions….”

The big man rose and followed obediently, bidding the other two good evening with a supremely pleased smile on his face.

Daniel was smiling, his eyes now closed, and Jack realized his friend hadn’t slept much over the past few nights. Hell, come to think of it, neither had he.

“I think we’ve done all we can do for one day. What say we get out of here for the night, start fresh in the morning?”

Daniel opened one eye to look at him and Jack could see he was almost ready to disagree, but instead, he smiled and swiveled forward to rise to his feet. “Let’s go.”

A little shocked to have won so easily, Jack was left to follow, catching up with Daniel at the elevators.

“Hey! How about leaving your car here, coming over for dinner?” Jack really wasn’t ready to go home alone. More, he wasn’t ready to let Daniel go off on his own as he had so often recently.

A surprised twitch of the lips was Daniel’s first reaction and Jack could see a glint of mischief in the other man’s eyes. “What have you got?”

“Not much, actually. I cleaned the fridge before the mission. What are you in the mood for? I’ve got chicken, steak, and Mexican on speed dial.”

“No Chinese?”

“Doc cut me off a few months ago. The blood pressure.”

A tightening of lips was Daniel’s only visible reaction to the mention of Janet. “Mexican, then. Chicken fajitas sound good tonight.”

The elevator finally opened and they entered, Daniel moving to lean against the back wall for the long ride to the surface and closing his eyes again. As Jack punched the button and joined his friend, he noticed the furrows of tension on Daniels forehead that bespoke a headache and way too much worrying. Knowing Daniel, Jack was aware that saying anything would only serve to increase the stubbornness factor. With a smile, Jack added a stop at the liquor store to his list of things to do on the way home. There was more than one way to mellow out an archaeologist.

 

“You are one sneaky colonel, Jack O’Neill.”

It wasn’t until his third glass of merlot that Daniel realized Jack was on a mission to get him drunk.

“I am not trying to get you drunk, Daniel”

“Yes, you are.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Are.”

“Not.”

Daniel giggled at the comfortably familiar absurdity of their conversation. “Are. And, FYI, I am.”

“You are?”

“Don’t change the subject, Jack.”

The other man laughed, saluting Daniel with his beer before draining the last of the bottle and getting up for another round. While he was gone, Daniel took the opportunity to shed his shoes and socks before stretching out on Jack’s sofa with a contented sigh. Despite what lay ahead, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so at peace.

From the despair and isolation of only a few days before, his world had somehow righted itself again and he had no intention of over thinking the change. Other things, though, were hard not to think about.

“Stop thinking, Daniel.”

Opening one eye and accepting the fresh glass of wine Jack offered and shrugged. “Not possible, Jack.” He waved his glass in Jack’s general direction and smiled. “The best we can hope for is diminished capacity….” The eye winked before closing again.

With a nod of understanding, Jack returned the toast and took a drink of his own.

“So, Daniel. Just how much do you remember about….” Daniel opened his eyes in time to see Jack making a vague upward gesture, complete with fluttering fingers.

xlip“Enough. More and more actually as time passes,” Daniel admitted, putting his glass on the coffee table and rolling onto his side to look straight at Jack. “What is it you’re hoping I remember, Jack? Or don’t remember?”

With a hard swallow, Jack simply said, “Ba’al.”

Daniel couldn’t tell if Jack hoped he remembered or not, but he couldn’t lie. “Yes. All of it.”

Taking a long drink from his beer, Jack sighed. “Good. I need, have needed to say thank you for that for a long time.”

“Thank you?” Daniel was mildly surprised. “Then you knew?”

“That you’d dropped a hint to Teal’c about how to help me? Yeah, almost right away. Not the details obviously, but I knew you’d done something.”

“How? I was trying really hard not to think about it, much less say anything, in case Oma or the Others caught on.”

Jack shrugged one shoulder, “Something in the eyes, and… I know you…”

Despite the troubled times they had experienced since he’d come back, Daniel couldn’t deny the essential truth of Jack’s words. Despite their differences over the years, Jack did know Daniel. There hadn’t been anyone in his life Daniel considered closer. No one could see beneath the surface of Daniel in quite the same way as Jack. Maybe because they were both so alike where it mattered. It really didn’t matter why to Daniel, just that it was.

“You’re welcome, Jack.”

 

On to part 3

 


 

 

 

 

 

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