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You Can’t Keep An Old Dog Down

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Jack O’Neill had been gone for almost twenty hours and the remaining members of his team were beginning to get worried. They had been so hopeful that Jack had been putting together a device that would help him and from what little Daniel had understood of the Ancient language that was Jack had told him it would do, but so far he hadn’t returned.

As Teal’c meditated in the corner of the General’s briefing room, to try and alleviate his worries, Sam and Daniel were taking turns pacing. Every now and then they would stop and go over the plans Jack had drawn or the conversations they had had, trying to see if they had missed something or if they could figure out what exactly Jack had done.

Suddenly an alarm began blaring “Unauthorized Stargate Activation” and then they heard Harriman’s voice call out over the intercom, “Incoming Wormhole! All Security teams to the Gateroom!”

Daniel and Sam dropped their papers onto the table and raced for the control room with Teal’c only a few steps behind them.

They got there in time to hear General Hammond ask. “Is there an IDC?”

“No sir.” Harriman told him, his hand over the button that would seal the iris.

“Close the Iris” Hammond’s eyes never strayed from the gate or the men waiting below weapons ready.

Daniel spoke up, “but sir, it could be Jack. He didn’t have a GDO.”

“I know that son,” Hammond looked briefly at the younger man, before turning his attention back to the scene below, “But it’s not a risk I’m prepared to take. Nor would Colonel O’Neill expect me to.” Hammond didn’t look that pleased with his decision. “We don’t need a horde of Jaffa in the gateroom. Colonel O’Neill knew the risks when he left.”

“Sir,” Harriman’s concerned voice interrupted before Daniel could say anything more. “The Iris won’t close.”

Harriman’s fingers were moving rapidly over his keyboard trying to get control of the iris back.

Carter moved quickly to the nearest computer console and started typing in commands to see if she could figure out what had happened.

Hammond waited impatiently to hear what she’d found out.

“We’ve been locked out,” she finally announced but that didn’t stop her from continuing to try and get past whatever had taken control of their computers.

“Could it have been something put in by Colonel O’Neill before he left?” Hammond asked. If it had been, he was going to have words with the Colonel when he got back.

“No sir,” Carter stated with certainty. “Whatever has us locked out, is originating from outside our system. It is preventing the command from reaching the Iris.”

Before Hammond could ask another question, a figure stumbled through the gate and down the ramp a few paces. As soon as the person was clear of the gate it disengaged.

“It is O’Neill!” Teal’c recognized the weary person sinking to his knees on to the gate ramp.

Before anyone could react and stop him, Daniel raced out of the control room and toward the gateroom, quickly followed by Carter and Teal’c.

As Daniel started to push through the cordon of SF troops that filled the entrance to the gateroom, Hammond called through the mike in the control room, “Colonel O’Neill, how did you prevent the iris from closing?”

O’Neill remained on his knees but wearily raised his head to meet his commander’s gaze in the control room. “It wasn’t me, sir.” O’Neill stated in a pain-filled voice as he remained where he was. His head still felt someone had been using it for a kettledrum. “It was the Asgard… sir.”

Daniel came to a stop at the bottom of the ramp as Jack was talking to the General. He was quick to make the connection with the race that protected Cimmeria. “Thor’s people?”

“Yep and they look like the Roswell greys.” Jack added helpfully, then mumbled to himself. “Forgot to ask them why they ended up in Roswell.”

The alarm continued to blare until Jack shouted. “Could somebody please shut that damn thing off? My head is killing me.” He quickly regretted that shout though as his head found new levels of pain to express its displeasure at the noise. He curled on his side on the ramp, his head held firmly in his hands

Harriman shut off the alarm and without being prompted by the General then called through the intercom system. “Medical team to the gateroom. Medical team to the gateroom.”

“A little quieter next time please,” Jack begged as he lowered his head back into his hands. His head was beginning to feel like his last ten hangovers were coming back to hit him all at once.

Dr. Frasier and her team came into the gateroom and quickly knelt near Jack and began to check him over.

As she shined a penlight in his eyes to see how his pupils were reacting, Jack jerked his head away. “Watch it with the light Doc. An ice pick in the head would’ve been kinder than that.”

“Well, you’re going to have to put up with a lot worse.” Janet reminded him. “You know the drill, Colonel.”

“Yeah,” Jack sighed as a couple of orderlies helped him to his feet. “Spending quality time with Vampires R Us is something I always love to do.”

“And we’re going to be enjoying each other’s company for quite awhile. You are going to be confined to the base until I am certain that you are fully recovered from the effect of that Ancient device, not to mention what was done to you to correct it.”

“Oh come on Doc, I’m fine,” Jack told her.

“Colonel, that device implanted knowledge in your head that was in the process of remapping your brain among other things.” Frasier countered stiffly. “You won’t be allowed off base any time in the near future.”

Dr. Frasier gestured for the orderlies tried to help him to his feet so they could get him on a gurney, but Jack shook himself free of their grip. “And I can walk all by myself. I don’t need to ride on that thing. I just have one hell of a headache, that’s all.”

“You can walk under your own steam, can you? Well prove it.” Having dealt with Colonel O’Neill’s stubbornness before, Janet motioned for the orderlies to step back a moment. She also gave his team mates a look indicating they were not to help. “If you can make it down to the infirmary on your own two feet, without help from anyone, I’ll let you stay in VIP quarters after your tests. At least that way it will be easier for your friends to smuggle you the foods I won’t be letting you eat. Otherwise, you spend the night in infirmary, without a single complaint. Agreed?”

Jack nodded carefully. Taking a deep breath, he pulled himself to his feet. He stood there for several moments then began a slow and careful walk to the door. He stayed close to the wall, leaning against it every now and then for support. Daniel, Carter, and Teal’c followed close behind.

Jack’s legs were starting to get a bit wobbly as he reached the elevator and punched the button for the medical level.

Janet eyed him as he leaned up against the wall, not liking the pallor of his skin. “Ready to give in yet, Colonel?”

“A deals a deal, Doc.” Jack told her, leaning his head back against the wall to rest a little as the elevator moved up several floors.

On the medical level, the five people riding with him, waited for Jack to leave first, then followed behind him once more.

As he reached the door of the infirmary, Jack’s legs finally gave out on him and he sank down to his knees, making sure he was on the other side of the doorway.

“Made it!” he crowed weakly.

Janet just shook her head. “Help him into a bed, please Teal’c.”

Teal’c nodded and with Daniel’s assistance, O’Neill was settled into the nearest bed.

“Now, you all might as well go get yourselves something to eat.” Janet advised the rest of SG-1, even though she knew she was probably wasting her breath. “These tests are going to take a while.”

~*~

“Well, how am I doing, doc?” Jack asked Janet.

“Other than a slightly higher that normal brain function and exhaustion, you seem to be ok.” Janet told him.

“So I can get out of here?” Jack wanted to know.

“Only as far as the VIP suites on the next level. I’ve already had one made up for you.” Janet told him.

“Ah come on doc, you just said I was fine.” Jack protested.

“And I told you,” Janet countered, “you’re not leaving the base until I am certain you suffered no lasting damage from what happened to you.”

“Well Janet, are you ready to throw Jack out the door yet?” Daniel asked coming up to the bed. “Or should we just save you the trouble and take him out of here for you?”

“You can have him, Daniel,” Frasier told him. “But you are not to take him any further than the VIP suite on the next level and I expect a member of SG-1 to stay with him at all times. You might spot something wrong quicker than one of the monitoring nurses or the guard outside the door will. You’re going to be on Candid Camera for a while Colonel so remember to keep it clean.”

~*~

A burst of green light came toward him and he instinctively ducked, knowing that if it touched him it would kill him. A moment later he saw his younger cousin Tonks topple down the stone steps from about halfway up.

When his demented cousin Bellatrix appeared at the top of the stairs and hurried down to join in the battle, he growled like a dog. Moving to intercept Bella, he saw Harry off to one side and ordered him. “Harry, take the prophecy, grab Neville and run!”

He lost sight of Harry as he got between Bella and his godson.

“It’s been a long time, cousin,” Bella commented in a sickly childish voice as she sent a cutting hex his way.

“Not long enough,” he commented, nimbly dodging the curse and then sent a 'Reducto' curse her way.

Their battle went on for several minutes and he was beginning to enjoy the thrill of battle again. He’d missed this! He wished for a moment that James were here to share this with him. They’d always made such a good team.

As he dodged another cutting hex, he couldn’t resist shouting, “Come on, you can do better than that!”

Bella’s face became red with rage and she did do better as her next spell hit him right in the chest and he fell backwards through something made of cloth into blackness.

~*~

Jack sat up with a gasp and looked around the room as if trying to reassure himself that he was no longer in that strange dream world. Over at the table Daniel was asleep with his head pillowed on some books. Some watchdog he is. Janet will probably take his coffee away tomorrow.

Jack rubbed his chest absentmindedly where Bella had shot him. He could still feel the sting of the stunning curse. Bella’s curses always did pack quite a punch, he thought absently. Then realizing that he was acting as if what had happened in that dream world were real, he stopped and stared at his hand, wanting to make sure it was still his and not the one he’d seen holding the stick in his dream. As if he were this Sirius Black but he couldn’t be. I was born in 1956 not 1960, so it is impossible isn’t it? Why would I dream that I died as someone else. That makes no sense?

Jack realized he was sweating after the exertion of that dream battle and he also had an overwhelming urge to make sure that he was still in his own body and not that one from the dream.

He moved quietly into the bathroom to avoid waking Daniel and stripped out of the sweaty hospital pajamas. He studied his face in the mirror. Yep, that’s me!

Once he had the shower set the way he wanted it, Jack stepped in and let the water sluice down his body trying to work out the kinks the dream had left behind. As he moved this way and that his mind wandered back to the time he and James had pranked the shampoo in girl’s shower with a potion that made their hair turn different colors depending on their mood. Lily had not been impressed even though it was a very good potion. She had gotten them back though by hitting them with a spell that had them spouting complimentary things about the Slytherins for almost two weeks.

Jack stopped moving. James! He didn’t know anyone named James, at least not anyone he would’ve played jokes with, but the Sirius from his strange dream did. What the hell is going on? It can’t be reincarnation, because that is reliving past life, not one that comes after yours. How could I be this Sirius?

As he stepped back out of the bathroom looking for a pair of underwear and pajamas, Jack saw a calendar tacked up on the wall and out of habit glanced at it. It took several moments for his thoughts to catch up with his eyes as he looked at the date. It was May 5th or 6th but Sirius died on June 4th. How could he dream about the death of someone who hadn’t died yet? And if he was in some very weird way remembering a past life as this Sirius how could he be alive at the same time the other man, that wasn’t the way it was supposed to work, was it? And last but certainly not least, if the dream was real and he did somehow prevent this Sirius Black from dying, would he cease to be? God, I hate metaphysical stuff!