Author's notes: This is an AR - Alternate Reality story. Answers the challenge about putting the SG characters in a different setting. Thanks to Tom for proofreading, Pettygrew for the comments when this was just a WIP on my LJ, and Carol for the title ;) Feedback is always appreciated.
Much Ado About the Library
Much Ado About the Library
Date Archived: 03/04/03
Category: Team, Humor, Adventure/Action, Gen story, Alternate Universe
Characters/Pairings: Col. Jack O'Neill, Teal'c, Dr. Daniel Jackson, Maj. Samantha Carter, Apophis aka Na'onak, Gen. George Hammond, Maj. Paul Davis No Pairing
Permission to archive: AG, anyplace else, please ask
Notes: This is an AR - Alternate Reality story. Answers the challenge about putting the SG characters in a different setting.
Thanks to Tom for proofreading, Pettygrew for the comments when this was just a WIP on my LJ, and Carol for the title ;)
Feedback is always appreciated.
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of
Showtime/ Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions,
and Gekko Productions. I don't own the characters and make no claim to. I have no money, please don't sue.
Summary: An archive has been damaged. Will Librarian Daniel Jackson figure who did it in time to stop a disaster?
Much Ado about the Library
An Alternate Reality SG-1 story
Chapter 1: Monday
Some days it didn't pay to come into work, Doctor Daniel Jackson thought absently as he looked over the piles of papers shoved into his mailbox. He had been with the Colorado State University Library for only a little over a year, but during that time, the Library had lost 3 Librarians. So it was down to he and one other Reference Librarian to do the work of five. He knew their director was hard at work on the problem, but it was difficult finding quality people to do the job for such low pay.
"Daniel, we need to meet later to discuss the budget," a harried voice said from behind him.
"Hi Sam, good morning, I'm fine, how are you?" he tossed back absently, not turning to face his friend and colleague, Dr. Samantha Carter. A look at her mailbox showed that it was empty. Show-off.
She breezed into the mailroom, offering Daniel one of the mugs of coffee she held in her hand. He instantly forgave her for every transgression. "I'm ok, I'd be better if we got this budget thing straightened out."
Daniel rolled his eyes, the last thing he needed was to get into another argument over which department needed more money. "I can't now, I'm on the desk. Later, ok?" He called, leaving the mailroom to escape her clutches.
The reference desk wasn't exactly a refuge either. His pile of mail stayed high next to the computer while he was called away to answer inane questions. It wasn't that he minded; one of the reasons he entered this profession was to help people. (The other reason being that he could no longer get a job teaching in his field.) But what he couldn't stand were the ungrateful, like the girl who wanted him to do all the research for her while she sat there on her cell phone. Or the guy on the computer next to her, downloading porn.
He knew he was suffering from burnout and if they didn't hire anyone soon, he would reach critical mass.
"Oh, Dr. Jackson, there you are!" a sultry voice shook him out of his thoughts.
His back straightened and he turned around slowly. There was only one professor on campus who said his voice exactly like that: Dr. Gillian Hathorn. "Dr. Hathorn, what brings you here?"
The professor of human sexuality, tall, leggy, red-haired, and so not his type, stepped up to him, taking his arm as if they were at a dance and not in the middle of the Reference Room. "I just wanted to go over with you some of the selections for my classes this semester."
"Reserves? I told you, Dr. Hathorn, that you needed to speak to Circulation about that."
She pouted, "But really, Dr. Jackson, you're the only one here who understands my needs."
Oh god, he thought he was going to throw up.
Daniel whirled around happily at the interruption, "Paul! Yes, we do have a meeting now, don't we? You'll have to excuse me, Dr. Hathorn..." He extricated himself from her grasp and pulled Paul Davis along the room. "Why don't we go to my office..."
Paul Davis, liaison for the faculty, laughed as Daniel shut the door to his office and sank into his chair. "Why don't you just tell her you're not interested?"
"And then what? Get the human sexuality department angry with me? I don't need that right now, on top of everything else. I'm still supposed to be on desk. I'll be so glad when new help arrives." Daniel rested his head in his hands, rubbing at the headache growing there. "To top it off, I've left my coffee out there."
"Well, I might have some good news for you. The history department would like to lend you an assistant, hopefully to clear up the backlog on those rare texts upstairs."
"God, Paul, that would be great." Daniel sighed, relieved. "I've been asking for help with that for months."
"It all works out then, he'll be by later this afternoon." Paul smiled. "I think she's gone, I'll see you later."
"Take care," Daniel called. He lacked the energy at the moment to get out of his chair. Oh well, the students could wait for just a few more minutes.
Dr. Sam Carter kept her eyes glued to the computer screen. She was waiting for Daniel to show up for their meeting and since it was so late, they decided to meet out in Reference. That way, Daniel couldn't attempt to sneak out of the library without passing her first. Though the rest of the library's floors twirled about in a labyrinth of confusion, the first floor had been cleanly designed and renovated just a few years ago. The main staircase flowed from the second floor into the center of the room, and right into her line of sight.
Daniel's office was only over to her right, but she guessed he'd probably hide out in the staff room upstairs, alone with the coffee maker.
He showed up only about 15 minutes late, with his ever-present mug in one hand, and a pile of papers and folders clutched to his chest with the other. "Hey Sam," he said brightly, placing the slightly sticky papers on the desk. "Quiet tonight?"
"At the moment," she clicked print on the computer and turned to face him. "Daniel, I'm printing out a list of our usage statistics for our online indexes and databases..."
Daniel's eyes immediately glazed over and Sam sighed. Daniel was a brilliant linguist and scholar, but even mention numbers and he broke out in hives. She pulled up the printout and handed it to him. "Anyway, this clearly justifies us spending more money on our technology..."
"What, Sam, wait! I need that money for more books."
"Daniel, clearly, technology is where it's at. You know our circulation statistics are dropping."
"Maybe for your departments! But the Humanities and Social Sciences still need print!"
"Hey, kids, I've got someone here looking for you," a familiar voice drawled.
Sam and Daniel turned to greet Jack O'Neill, the nighttime janitor for the library. The gray-haired man was only slightly older than both of them, but insisted on taking on a paternal air. He and Daniel had hit it off, something Daniel attributed to the fact that the man was much smarter than he wanted known. Sam had once witnessed them arguing over the nuances of a Shakespearean quote. There was much more to the doe-eyed janitor that the persona he projected.
"Hi Jack," Daniel greeted with a smile. "Who's that?"
There was another man standing behind O'Neill and his trash cart on wheels. The newcomer was tall and broad, with ebony-colored skin, and intelligent dark eyes. Sam found herself meeting that intense gaze, a flush rising to her cheeks. "I am Teal'c Murray, from the History department. I have come to see Daniel Jackson."
"Uh, wow, you're my assistant?" Daniel stood and scratched his head. "Um, nice to meet you, Mr. Murray. I'm Daniel Jackson."
Teal'c inclined his head. Sam stood up and introduced herself. "Teal'c, that's an unusual name."
"It is a name passed down in my family," he told her gravely. She thought he took himself far too seriously.
"Teal'c here's a grad student," Jack explained. Sam wondered how that man always seemed to make friends so quickly. "Just transferred from UCLA, right?"
"Why would you do that?" Daniel asked.
"I received more money to attend here, as well as participate in my favorite sport."
"Football?" Sam guessed, taking a look at those broad shoulders.
"Hockey," he corrected gently.
Ah, that explained Jack O'Neill's interest all of a sudden.
"That's great, Teal'c," Daniel cut in smoothly, "if you come with me I'll show you where the archives are upstairs. We can talk about your hours then..." He led Teal'c away.
Sam sighed as she watched them go. "And we still haven't resolved this budget issue!" she exclaimed into the air.
"Friendship is constant in all things, except in the office, huh?" Jack broke in.
She turned and watched him replace the garbage bag in the trash bin behind the Ref desk. "What?"
"Sorry - Shakespeare. Don't mind me, just cleaning up the trash here."
Sam smiled. "It's just incredibly busy for us right now. I know Daniel would like nothing better than to be able to actually work on his research. There just isn't time."
"Know what you mean," Jack replied darkly. "There's never enough time."
When she wondered what he meant by that, Jack waved goodnight and moved off. She sighed and started closing up the desk. The end to another busy day.
Chapter 2: Tuesday
Teal'c was working out nicely, Daniel thought with glee, as he set the grad student up in the archive room. This material would be ready for use by the History Department in no time, when the original timeline, if he had been doing all the work himself, would have taken at least another year. So, clearly, the History Department should be pleased with this development.
Clearly not, he thought with dismay, as he caught the memo on his desk, which matched the email in his inbox. Then the phone rang sharply and with a sigh he answered it: "College Library, Daniel Jackson speaking..."
"Ah, Mr. Jackson. This is Dr. Apophis Gray. I trust you've received my memo?" The voice was silky smooth and yet make Daniel feel somewhat dirty.
"In triplicate. And it's Dr. Jackson."
"Of course. Then you know, Dr. Jackson, that you are taking my best Graduate Assistant?"
"Listen, Dr. Gray, Teal'c Murray was assigned to me by your department. If you have an issue with that you should take it up with your department head."
"My issue is with uppity Librarians who can't do their own work."
"You have no idea what you're talking about!" Daniel shouted into the phone.
"You have no idea who it is you're dealing with, Jackson. I expect Teal'c back in my office tomorrow morning, or I will speak to your supervisor."
"Go ahead, you, you snake!" Daniel growled, hanging up the phone with a flourish. He plopped his head into his arms on his desk.
Of all the arrogant, annoying, ridiculous...
"I see he tracked you down," Sam's voice said from the doorway.
"Please tell me you've brought me coffee," Daniel answered, his voice muffled.
"I've brought you coffee." Sam set the mug on the desk and Daniel scooped it up gratefully.
"Look, I'm sorry about the budget thing," he sighed, sipping the warm brew gratefully. "I just don't want anyone to get left behind."
"I know Daniel." She sat in the seat on the other side of her friend's desk.
"Hey, who's on Reference?"
"Simmons, from Circulation. He can handle it for a few hours. We need the break."
"So true." Daniel set the coffee down and sat back into his chair, stretching.
Sam frowned into her own mug. "Daniel, what do you know about Jack O'Neill?"
Daniel looked away from her, wondering at the oddness of the question. "He's the janitor." But he was also Daniel's friend; a cheerful face when it seemed like everyone else on campus was there to get him down.
"I got curious, last night, after you left." Sam leaned over and pushed a few buttons on Daniel's computer.
"Sam, what did you do?" Daniel asked in astonishment, watching as she pulled up files from the network.
"Some digging," she replied, "It's not like this is classified information or anything, Daniel! I didn't find much on 'Jack O'Neill,' but for a 'Jonathan O'Neill.'"
"Oh my god," Daniel breathed, starring at the screen. "THE Jonathan O'Neill?"
"You've heard of him?"
"I've read some of his work. He's a respected Shakespearean scholar."
"He was, Daniel." Sam clicked a few more times and she pulled up the newspaper articles she had saved earlier. "Jonathan O'Neill was also a controversial figure at the University of Minnesota. There was a demonstration that got ugly, a hate group on campus. His son was killed."
"My god," Daniel breathed.
"O'Neill disappeared from academia, from his job. None of the sources I found could explain what had happened to him."
"And you think that our Jack is the same guy?" Daniel asked incredulously.
"Shakespeare, Daniel, that was the clue. And this," she clicked again, "it's a picture from the University of Minnesota's Yearbook."
It was Jack. The face looking back at him from the computer screen had the same face, the same quirky grin, even the same dark thoughtful eyes. "The poor man," Daniel whispered.
Daniel dropped the pencil he was holding, which rolled under the reference desk and out of reach. Jack's voice had startled him out of his thoughts. After Sam's revelations earlier that day, he had no idea how to relate to the man. He even felt slightly guilty for knowing such a personal detail about his life, and not telling him. "Um, hi Jack."
"You're jumpy tonight. Rough day?" Jack asked, rolling his cart past the desk so he could get at the trash bins behind it. He knelt and picked up the pencil Daniel had dropped.
"Thanks," Daniel murmured, taking the pencil back. He wondered if he was blushing, his cheeks felt warm. Immediately, he dropped the pencil again.
Jack leaned back against the desk and frowned at him. "Daniel, is something wrong?"
"Well, um, maybe?" Daniel sighed, pushing back in the task chair so he could look Jack in the eye. "If I sorta know something about someone, do you think I should tell that person I sorta know?"
"Daniel, what are you talking about?" Jack asked, his eyes crossed in puzzlement.
"You, Jack. I'm talking about you."
Jack looked away, closing his eyes for a moment. "Not here," he gestured to the rest of the Reference room, which still had a few students sitting at computers, despite the late hour.
Daniel nodded, "I have a pot of coffee brewing upstairs. C'mon."
Jack left his yellow cart downstairs and followed the Librarian into the staff room. They sat around the table, nursing mugs filled with flavored hazelnut coffee. Daniel breathed the rich smell in deeply, waiting for Jack to speak.
"What do you know?" the janitor finally asked.
Daniel shrugged, not sure if he should mention that it was Sam who had done the digging. "That you might be Dr. Jonathan O'Neill, formerly of the University of Minnesota."
Jack cursed under his breath and set the mug down harshly on the Formica. "How?" he asked, "How did you find out?"
"It's not exactly difficult for a librarian to find information," Daniel smiled slightly, "Especially when you haven't changed your name."
"Yeah, well, who expects a janitor to be a Shakespearean scholar?" Jack said bitterly, standing. He began to pace along the tiny staff room.
"Jack, I'm sorry," Daniel began, "I didn't mean to invade your privacy. But why are you working as a janitor? Your qualifications..."
Jack was shaking his head harshly. "No. I swore I would never work in academia again. Not after what happened to my son."
"Jack, it wasn't your fault! From what the newspaper said..."
"Screw the paper." Jack stopped pacing and placed his hands on the back of a chair, leaning heavily on it. "There was this group on campus, they were more of a cult really. Called themselves the Serpent Greens or something stupid like that. I got them kicked off. They were causing trouble, got associated with some radical hate group..."
"You don't have to tell me this, Jack," Daniel cut in quietly.
"You asked, damn it," Jack swallowed hard. "I was lecturing that night. My wife and son had come to pick me up, they were in the audience, waiting for me to finish so we could all go out for dinner...
"The mob came after me, in the confusion of people leaving. There were gunshots, I was hit, and so was he. He looked so small, staring up at me as if asking, 'daddy why?'"
"Oh, god, Jack," Daniel immediately stood up and went to support his friend. He placed his hand on Jack's shoulder and the older man spun around and fell into Daniel's arms, trembling, but not crying.
"For this I shall have time enough to mourn," Jack quoted softly. "My penance. He should never have been there. I should have protected my family."
"Jack." Daniel held on, not knowing what else to do for the distraught man. He remembered his own grief, over 20 years old now, of losing his parents in a terrible accident. That suddenly paled in comparison to what Jack was feeling.
"Daniel," the janitor pulled away, his voice gruff. "So, I left. I couldn't stand being there any more. And if I just went to another college, the press would have followed."
"Your wife?" Daniel asked, suddenly understanding.
"We separated shortly after it happened," he murmured. "I like working here, you know? To be around all this knowledge, even when I can't bear to touch any of it myself."
"I won't tell anyone," Daniel promised, thinking that he would also swear Sam to secrecy. "Thank you, for sharing this with me."
Jack nodded at him, his eyes red, but meeting Daniel's. "I'm kind of glad you know, now."
Daniel grinned, "It explains all the quotations."
Jack chuckled softly. "Yeah. Anyway, I got work to do, so I'll see ya around, ok?"
"Yeah. See ya around." Daniel followed Jack out of the staff room, and they both were nearly knocked over by a student rushing past them.
"Hey! Watch out!" Jack called down the hallway. "You ok?"
Daniel dusted himself off, "Yeah, and you shouldn't really yell in the library."
"Shouldn't be running either." Jack frowned after the student. "What was he doing on this wing anyway?"
Jack had a point, in this part of the 2nd floor there was the staff room, the storage rooms, and the archives, which all should be locked up. "Maybe he was using the computer terminal by the archives."
"Yeah, a nice an' private place to look at porn."
Daniel rolled his eyes. "I really have to talk to Sam about that." At Jack's raised eyebrow he grinned, "I mean, see if she can put a lock on these computers or something."
"Take care, Jack."
Chapter 3: Wednesday
Daniel snored into the piles of paper on his desk. He hadn't had his coffee for the day and decided to hide out in his office unless he was needed. He hadn't even gone to check up on Teal'c, who should be working on the archives this morning, or even stop by the mailroom. Maybe he was still reeling from Jack's revelations last night. What Sam had told him had been enough to catch at his heartstrings, but to see the devastation in Jack's eyes -- that had almost undid him.
The older man had become his friend quickly, ever since the two had met when Daniel had started working night shifts at the library. He admired the man's quiet wit, his quick sense of humor and the snarky intelligence he hid from anyone else. And now, Daniel ached for this man, feeling his intense pain. No one should lose a child and never in such a horrible way.
The jangling of the phone woke him from his dozing and he picked it up tiredly. He swore, if it was Apophis Gray again he would hang up on him. "Library," he mumbled into the receiver.
"Daniel, come out to the Ref desk right now!" Sam's voice cried into his ear.
"Ow," he muttered, "You couldn't have knocked?"
"Ok, ok," he muttered, hanging up the phone. He stumbled out of his office, rubbing his eyes under his glasses. When he could see again, he found Sam and Teal'c standing behind the desk, both looking slightly panicky. And since he had never seen anything besides calm intelligence on Teal'c's face, that concerned him. "What's wrong?" he asked, suddenly awake.
Sam's face was white as she answered, "The archives, upstairs."
Her words had Daniel bounding up the stairs, taking them 2 or 3 at a time. He moved along the corridor, past the staff lounge. The door to the archives, which was usually locked unless someone was working inside was thrown wide open. His heart was in his throat when he stepped inside.
The books had been pulled off the shelves and torn into pieces, littering the floor with cracked spines, and disfigured pages. The folders housing the rare manuscripts and photographs had been upended and stomped on. He could smell the remnants of fire, and knew some had to have been burnt. All along the walls, red paint had been dripped, making it look like blood covering the room.
Daniel gagged and fell backwards, stumbling to the floor. Who could have done such a thing? All that knowledge, lost!
Sam took the corner, seeing Daniel on the floor outside the archive room. For a moment she thought he might have passed out - an extreme reaction to be sure, but Daniel, probably because of his archaeological training, had a soft spot for old things. "Daniel, are you all right?" She knelt by his side, Teal'c standing behind them both.
"This is horrible, Sam! Who could have done such a thing?" He asked, voice sounding suspiciously thick.
"Campus Police are on their way, Daniel. They'll figure it out."
He shrugged out of her grip and pushed himself to his feet. "Right, Sam. I'm sure this has high priority."
"Daniel?" She didn't like how his face looked at from this angle, all dark and shadowed. Sam moved to stand, and was surprised when Teal'c held out his hand. She took it, using that restrained strength to pull herself up.
Daniel slammed his fist against the wall, startling both her and Teal'c. "I'll be in my office," he snapped, heading away from them.
"Dr. Jackson is very upset," Teal'c commented unnecessarily.
Sam sighed, "This project was his baby. He's the one who pushed so hard for the archives to be catalogued and available to the public. This is like a punch in the face to him. Or rather, a knife in the back."
Teal'c frowned, "You think this was a personal attack?"
"I don't know what to think," she exclaimed, "Whoever did this specifically targeted this area. Nothing else in the library was disturbed. There were no signs of forced entry, no broken windows or doors. None of the change machines were touched, so this wasn't someone who wanted money."
"The perpetrators were cowardly," Teal'c growled. Sam wondered at the intensity in his voice, but then, Teal'c was a history grad student. He too had much invested in this collection.
"Come on, Teal'c. I need to wait for campus police."
Of course, Daniel thought to himself, it never rains but it pours. He had been on his way back to his office, to brood in private over the destruction of a beautiful and valuable collection when he was stopped mid-walk by a faculty member.
Dr. Apophis Gray was just as rude and intractable in person as he had been on the phone. He loudly demanded to speak to Daniel, and to prevent the further disturbing of the library, Daniel acquiesced and ushered the man into his office.
"Now, Dr. Gray, how can I help you?" Daniel struggled to keep his voice level as he looking sorrowfully at his empty mug on the desk. Ah, if he could have but a drop of coffee to get him through today.
"I've come to discuss the hours for my graduate assistant, Teal'c Murray. He's been spending far too much time here over the past few days, and I desperately need him in my department."
You mean you need someone to grade your papers for you, Daniel restrained himself from saying. "Dr. Gray, Teal'c's time was determined by his department. I have nothing to say about that. But I suspect we won't be needing him anymore."
"What do you mean?"
Daniel grabbed his mug from the desk, intent on ushering the professor out so he could at least have one positive thing today. "I mean the archives were destroyed by vandals. There's nothing left for Teal'c to catalog."
Dr. Gray frowned, "That is disturbing."
"Yes. It is. Now if you will please excuse me, Dr. Gray," Daniel held open the door and watched as the man left.
"Tell Mr. Murray that I expect to see him in the departmental offices later today," Dr. Gray said, stalking his way out of the office.
Daniel watched him go with a frown. Something didn't sit well with him.
After meeting separately with campus police, the Library Director called both Sam and Daniel into his office. Director George Hammond looked on his employees fondly. Both Librarians were true professionals and scholars. He hated that such a horrible thing had to happen right now, when all three of them were stressed out.
"...and then a student pushed past us both," Daniel was recounting his version of the events of the previous evening. "I didn't think to check back there though. But the door to the archive room was closed. I'm sure of that."
Hammond leaned forward on his desk, folding his hands in front of him. "Dr. Jackson, both Jack O'Neill and Teal'c Murray were the only two people with keys to that room, were they not?"
Daniel hesitated, his mouth working for a moment. "Well, yes, I gave Teal'c a key on Monday, for when he needed to work when we're closed. And Jack's always had access to the library at night. That's his job."
"Sir, what are you saying?" Sam broke in.
"Campus Police think it was an inside job. Someone clearly entered the library using a key, and then unlocked the archive room," Hammond sighed. "The only other member of the staff with access, besides the three of us and the two I just mentioned is Norman Walter Davis, the head of Circulation."
"I don't believe any of them would do that!" Daniel exclaimed.
"Please, Dr. Jackson, we have to consider this. How long has Teal'c been here, really? What do we know about Mr. O'Neill? As for Walter, he's been at this library for over ten years..."
"That doesn't necessarily exonerate him, sir," Sam broke in.
"But why would any of them want to do this?" Daniel murmured. "Yes, they had opportunity, but what motive?"
"It was an illogical crime, Daniel," Hammond broke in softly, "Most likely perpetuated by a disturbed mind. I've had the keys taken from Davis, O'Neill and Murray. Davis will open the library with a member of security every morning. Mr. O'Neill has temporarily been relieved of his duties."
"Dr. Hammond!" Daniel exclaimed, "There's no proof that Jack was involved."
"The police are investigating him. Apparently some things in his background check don't make sense. We'll discuss this further as more information becomes available."
"I don't get it Sam, it doesn't make sense," Daniel bemoaned as they walked along the corridor back to his office.
Sam recognized that look on Daniel's face, that sense of determination that only appeared when the archaeologist/librarian was deeply motivated on a course of action. "Then we'll just have to figure this out ourselves."
Daniel shot her a look, then smiled. "Then we just will."
Chapter 4: Thursday
Daniel knelt in the chaos that used to be the archive room, looking for anything that might be salvageable. Campus police had collected whatever evidence they needed yesterday, so he had their permission to clean up the crime scene. Actually, they wanted to leave it as it was, just in case, but Hammond demanded to be able to rebuild. And since he was a powerful man on campus, he got his way.
Most of the damage seemed to be done to the personal papers, which consisted of private letters, diaries, and clippings. These had been placed in large box-folders, which were labeled with the names of the individuals who owned the papers. The perpetrators had gone out of their way to pull out the contents of these folders, setting some of the items on fire, soaking others in red paint, and just plain tearing up others.
"I wonder why the fire alarm didn't go off," Daniel wondered aloud, pulling out another piece of charred paper from the chaos.
"The entire alarm system had been turned off," a voice answered his absent-minded question.
Daniel looked up to see Officer Harry Maybourne standing in the doorway, leaning against the post with his arms crossed over his chest. "Officer Maybourne," he said coolly.
"Dr. Jackson," Maybourne smiled. "Do you have a moment?"
Daniel shrugged. "If you don't mind talking to me while I sort." He continued his perusing of the piles of paper, arranging them into piles of: Completely Destroyed, Slightly Destroyed, Salvageable, and What the Heck is This.
"I wanted to ask you about Jack O'Neill. Dr. Carter tells me that you and he are acquaintances.
Daniel kept his eyes on his work. "He's a friend, yes."
"How much do you really know about O'Neill?" Maybourne demanded.
Thinking back to Jack's revelation concerning his past, Daniel kept quiet. If Maybourne didn't know, then it wasn't for him to divulge.
"Look, Dr. Jackson," Maybourne sighed, "I bet Jack O'Neill told you some sob story about his past. About how his son was killed when a demonstration turned violent."
Daniel continued ignoring him.
"And another sure bet is that he didn't tell you what really happened to his son."
That caught Daniel's attention. "What do you mean?" he asked softly.
Maybourne seemed to sense that he had captured his audience. He entered the room, crouching down until he was at Daniel's eyelevel. "There was gunfire at the school, O'Neill was shot, yes. But he had his own weapon with him. Had applied for the permit about a week before. He shot back. When the smoke cleared and the forensics came back it was clear, the kid was dead and the bullet was from O'Neill's gun."
Daniel gasped, disbelieving.
"It makes you wonder, what that does to a man, doesn't it? How do you get up every day knowing you've killed your own son? Maybe it drives you away from home, from your career, till you end up in a dead end job. Maybe it eats at you until you need to act out. Start with something small, like a roomful of papers..."
"Enough," Daniel stood up, his cheeks burning. Maybourne followed slowly, a sly grin appearing on his face. "Why are you telling me this?"
"Don't be surprised if it comes back that your so-called friend is the perp," Maybourne said.
"There's no evidence," Daniel said quietly, "If there was you'd be out there arresting him instead of bothering me. Now if you will excuse me, I have work to do." He gestured to the door, wanting this officious man to leave as quickly as possible.
"Just a bit of advice," Maybourne called out before he left. "I wouldn't get too close to him, if I were you."
"Daniel, have you seen Teal'c?" Sam stuck her head into Daniel's office. The young librarian started, knocking several folders off of his desk.
"I sent him back to the history department," Daniel sighed, pulling off his glasses and rubbing his eyes tiredly.
"Why? We could really use his help with the clean up."
"Not if he's a suspect, Sam."
"You don't really believe that, do you?" she asked. They had sworn that they would get to the bottom of this mystery together. Now it looked like something how soured Daniel on the entire experience.
Daniel looked up at her, his blue eyes red-rimmed and puffy. "I don't know what to believe, Sam. You think you know someone and then..." He shook his head. "I have to be on desk. I'll see you tomorrow."
Sam watched him gather his files and leave the tiny office. Something had happened, of that she was sure of. She wanted to tell him that there would be no janitorial service tonight, the University still hadn't decided what it was going to do about Jack, but she felt bringing up the man's name would be a bad thing.
Well, if Daniel wasn't going to help, she had to work on solving this mystery by herself. Though her subject field was science and technology, any Librarian worth her salt had decent investigative skills. There was nothing like a good reference question for her to sink her teeth into, and that's what she had to approach this like.
Ok, Sam, she thought to herself, heading upstairs for the remnants of the archives instead of heading for home, let's figure this out. Define the problem, figure out who trashed the Archive Room and why. What do we know? It was an inside job. No, that's not necessarily true, it just needed to be someone with access to someone with a key. An extra master key was usually kept on file at the Circulation Desk. That suddenly opened up her list of suspects from three to much more.
Sam unlocked the Archive Room door and entered. She took a quick scan about the room, hoping her subconscious mind would find something she could use. Daniel had done a good bit of work, separating the pieces into logical piles. She knelt over it and noticed something odd. The papers that were completely destroyed, either by fire or paint, had been personal papers. Most of the rare books and photos had been stomped on and torn, yes, but less care had been taken to obscure them.
There was something in those papers someone didn't want them to see. As a leap of logic, it was a bit of a stretch, but Sam decided to go with it for now. Though nothing in the collection was catalogued, she knew there was a master list of donations to the collection. If she could find that, she would have an idea of what exactly was in that personal collection.
She rubbed her hands together and started working.
Daniel saw Sam leave just before closing time, a thoughtful look on her face. He didn't have the energy to flag her down and ask why she was staying so late. His mind was too occupied with Maybourne's words from earlier. How much of that was true? Had Jack actually killed his own son?
He had checked the newspaper articles that Sam had found, but nothing would confirm or deny anything except that Charlie O'Neill had died during the riot. If Maybourne was right, wouldn't the media have gotten a hold of the story?
He didn't draw any conclusions, he couldn't right now, not before talking to Jack. Daniel knew the older man wouldn't be at the library that evening, and as he walked to the parking lot, he realized how much he missed that easygoing yet irascible presence.
"Hey, Daniel!" As if his thoughts had conjured him up, Jack O'Neill appeared along the sidewalk. He half ran to where Daniel waited.
"Hi Jack," Daniel said softly, glad to see his friend, but a bit wary at the same time. "How are you doing?"
"Well, I could be better." Jack placed his hands in the pockets of his jeans. "They won't let me near the library. Daniel, you don't think I did this?"
Daniel turned away and started walking towards his car, aware that Jack kept pace beside him. "You lied to me, Jack."
"About what really happened to your son."
Jack's footsteps stopped abruptly, and Daniel turned to see the man had frozen in mid-step, his face gone suddenly pale under the harsh street lamps. "I never lied to you."
"You just neglected to mention that it was your gun that killed him."
"What was I supposed to say?" Jack's voice bit out sharply.
"The truth, Jack, I expected the truth!"
"Goddamit, I told you the truth! I haven't spoken to anyone about what happened, ever!" Jack curled his fingers into fists at his sides and he looked ready for a fight.
Daniel stepped back, a bit warily. "You didn't tell me everything Jack. How am I supposed to believe you now?"
A car's headlights blinded them momentarily, then the car pulled up alongside them, the window sliding down. Paul Davis stuck his head out. "Problem, Daniel? I was just heading home myself, need a ride to your car?"
Daniel looked over at his friend gratefully. "Thanks, Paul. Good night, Jack," he murmured, moving to open the passenger side door of Paul's car.
He almost didn't hear the words, but his entire being was still focused on Jack, even while trying to get away.
"Whereto serves mercy, But to confront the visage of offense?"
Chapter 5: Friday
The next day Daniel felt slightly guilty about the way he'd treated Jack. He should have listened to the man, taken in his explanation. But Maybourne's words had echoed in his mind, and for a moment he was honestly afraid. Of Jack. The thought was absurd. He knew Jack O'Neill, knew the man's quiet compassion, his quick wit. He still could not believe what was being said about him.
And now he would never have the chance to tell him that. Daniel had screwed up their friendship, and unless Jack tried to approach him again, he had no way of getting in touch with the older man.
"What was that all about?" Paul had asked as they had driven away.
Daniel kept his eyes on window, staring out in the dark parking lot. "They think that Jack was the one who destroyed the archives."
"Do you believe that?" Paul's voice was quiet.
"No," Daniel answered.
"Daniel," Paul began, "We've known each other for a while now..."
Paul sighed, pulling up next to Daniel's car. "I trust your instincts more than other people's facts. The truth will come out."
Daniel grinned. "Thanks, Paul."
Now, as Daniel sat at the Reference Desk, idly going through his collection development cards, he hoped that Paul was right. He looked up as Sam approached, most likely to relieve him for his evening break.
"Daniel." She looked tired, dark smudges ringed her large blue eyes. "Got a minute?"
He gestured to the nearly empty reference room. What student would be doing research now, on a Friday afternoon?
"I found this in the files in tech services," she placed a full dusty folder on the counter top next to them.
"Nice, what is it?"
"It's a listing of what exactly was in the archive."
Daniel opened the folder, looking in awe at the mimeographed pages. He hadn't seen that purplish print in a long time. "This is great Sam, now we have a way to trace what's been lost."
"Daniel," She hopped up onto the counter, swinging her legs absently. "Did you notice that the only things that were systematically destroyed were the personal papers?"
"The only things completely irreplaceable," he agreed.
"I think there might have been a reason for that."
He leaned back in his chair. "How so?"
"I think whoever our vandal is, didn't want something in the archives to be found. Something among the personal papers."
The light bulb clicked in Daniel's mind. "And by looking at this list, we might get an idea of what that was."
"It's a long shot, but it's all we have to go on at the moment." She shrugged.
Daniel divided up the list. "We'll split it. Flag anything you think might be important."
"Right," Sam grabbed her share and got to work.
A few hours later, Daniel had gone to grab some coffee for them both, leaving Sam alone at the desk. She chewed on the tip of her pen, thoughtful at the list on the desk.
Daniel came back, setting both mugs on the desk. "Hey Sam, I had a thought. What if the person tore apart the archive just as a cover, so we wouldn't notice if something was missing? Sam? Are you listening to me?"
She looked up, "Daniel, what was the name of that professor pestering you about Teal'c?"
"Dr. Apophis Gray, why?"
"I don't suppose Apophis is a common name," she mused, thinking out loud. "Isn't it rather convenient that the archives get ruined and he gets the very thing that he wants? Teal'c back working for him?"
"Come on, Sam, why would a history professor destroy something of value to his own research?"
"I don't know, Daniel, but what I can tell you is that the personal papers of one Gray family was included in the archives."
"What? Let me see that," Daniel reached over the grasped the pages out of her hands. He frowned. "Do you think it's the same family? Gray's a common name."
"I don't know," she stood, "But I definitely think it's time for me to do some checking up on Dr. Gray."
Sam was so deep into her work that she didn't notice the shadow that crept up behind her until it spoke.
She jumped and nearly shrieked. "Holy Hannah, Teal'c, you're very good at sneaking up on people."
He merely inclined his head to one side in acknowledgment. "Indeed."
"So, what's up, Teal'c?" she asked brightly. She hadn't seen the man for a few days, and was starting to get a bit worried about him.
Teal'c seemed thoughtful for a moment. "I was just wondering if you have discovered the identity of the vandals who destroyed the archives?"
She sighed, "Not yet, I'm afraid. And campus police haven't told us if they have any leads at all."
He nodded. "But you have your suspicions."
"Of course," she said hesitantly, thinking of the research she was just doing on the ever-mysterious Dr. Apophis Gray. However, she didn't really want to share her suspicions just yet. "How's it going at the History Department?"
"As well as can be expected. It is fortunate I have only a semester of classes left before I begin my dissertation."
She smiled brightly at him. "Then you'd be one of us, Teal'c, a PhD."
He smiled back at her, a slight careful grin.
After Teal'c had left, Sam turned back to her computer, realizing she had left the file about Dr. Gray wide open on the screen. She frowned, that wasn't smart of her, but Teal'c had surprised her so quickly, she didn't have time to minimize the window. She truly hoped Teal'c had nothing to do with this entire mess. She liked him, liked him more than was probably prudent based on their few days' acquaintance, and didn't want to think of him causing such destruction.
Sam reflected that she probably felt about the same as Daniel did.
Suddenly, she gasped at the screen. Now this, this put an entirely different spin on everything... Sam picked up the phone to call Daniel.
Chapter 6: Saturday
The library didn't have reference hours on Saturday, well, at the moment anyway, with only 2 Reference Librarians employed. If the University wanted more hours, they could darn well hire the Librarians to staff them, Daniel thought sourly as he made his way towards the Library anyway. Yes, it was the weekend, but he was so far behind in his work that he thought he'd come in during his time off and catch up.
He wondered why he hadn't heard from Sam last night. She was supposed to call after she finished doing the background search on Dr. Gray. Maybe she hadn't found anything interesting.
Daniel slipped past circulation with his head down, so none of the workers would stop him. He didn't want to get caught and have to deal with trivial stuff when all he wanted was peace and quiet in his office. What was the point in coming in during his day off if he didn't get anything accomplished?
There were printouts on his desk. Daniel frowned; apparently Sam had found some stuff, but hadn't seen fit to call. He sifted through the pages, at first a bit confused at what he was seeing.
They were excerpts from newspapers, downloaded off of Lexis, from about 6 years ago. The first couple dealt with the growth of a cult group on the University of Minnesota's campus, Serpent Green. Daniel trilled the name across his tongue, wondering where he had heard that name before... Of course! With Jack, when the older man had told him about his private tragedy. Why was Sam sending him articles about Jack? He thought they'd already hashed that background out.
The next clip caused him to sit down hard, nearly missing his chair. While at UMinn, Jack had had some very public debates with another faculty member, a man he accused of leading the cult, Dr. Rerek Gray. The next few articles covered Rerek's leave of absence, following the mob that had robbed Jack of his son.
Daniel took off at a run for the Reference Section, wanting to confirm the tidbit in his mind, the tiny piece of the puzzle he could almost remember. He grabbed an Encyclopedia off of the shelf and read:
Apopis also called Apep, Apepi , or Rerek ancient Egyptian demon of chaos, who had the form of a serpent and, as the foe of the sun god, Re, represented all that was outside the ordered cosmos. Although many serpents symbolized divinity and royalty, Apopis threatened the underworld and symbolized evil.
It had been right in front of him all along, but he just hadn't had enough of the pieces of the jigsaw. For a moment, he doubted his reasoning, wondering if this link was not purely coincidental. Dr. Gray and Jack, inexorably linked in this odd circle. Had Jack followed Gray or the other way around? And were the archives destroyed just to implicate Jack or for another purpose?
Daniel frowned and stalked back to his office. He had work to catch up on first, and then he would devote himself to the problem at hand. Maybe his subconscious mind would come up with something as he kept busy.
The Library closed at two, but Daniel stayed behind working. He had his own key if he needed to get back in. The doors were designed so someone could always get out if they needed to.
He saved his work, then turned away from the computer, catching sight of the printouts on his desk. Thoughtful, he picked up the phone to call Sam's home, but there was no answer. Oddly enough, her voice mail didn't pick up either.
Daniel dropped the phone back on its cradle, then grabbed his empty coffee mug. One more refill and then he would head on home. As he made his way into the staff room, he instinctively looked towards the Archives room, as he had done for the past week. His breath caught, a light flickered from under the door.
Daniel walked briskly towards the room, reaching out to grab the doorknob. Maybe the criminal really had returned to the scene of the crime. Before he could touch the door, it swung open and he was face to face with...
"Daniel," Jack looked grim. "This isn't what it looks like."
"Clearly," Daniel gestured with his mug.
Jack's eyes glinted with amusement, "What, were you going to bean me with the mug?"
"You certainly deserve it!" Daniel exclaimed, pushing past the older man until he was in the room proper. No more damage had been done to the room; a few pages were off of their carefully arranged piles, as if Jack had been reading them. "Returning to the scene of the crime, Jack?" he asked, but only half-heartedly, he still believed in Jack's innocence, despite this setback.
"For crying out loud, Daniel," Jack sighed, running a hand through his silvering hair. "It will help me nothing To plead mine innocence, for that dye is on me Which makes my whit'st part black," he quoted.
Daniel answered back, "If powers divine Behold our human actions - as they do - I doubt not then but innocence shall make False accusation blush."
Jack frowned, "Now what do you mean by that?"
"It means that I don't think you did this, Jack," he said quietly. "But you have to level with me. This has to do with Apophis Gray, doesn't it?"
Jack's eyes closed for a moment, then he turned away and stared at the now empty shelves. "You guys are really good at finding stuff out."
"Yeah, that's why they pay us the top dollars," Daniel tried to joke.
"I came to work here because I was following Gray." Jack admitted. "I knew he was responsible for that cult on campus, for the mob that came after me. But I couldn't prove it. You know they never prosecuted anyone for that, right? There was no way to prove who had been part of the mob that attacked and who was a student there for my lecture..."
"So you sought revenge?"
"No," Jack denied, "I wanted to make sure it wouldn't happen again, at another university."
Daniel swallowed hard, "Did you make up all that stuff, about not being able to work in academia?"
"Daniel," Jack reached out and touched Daniel's shoulder, sliding his hand over to cup the man's cheek before pulling away. "No, that wasn't a lie. Why do you think I ended up picking up garbage and mopping floors?"
The young librarian nodded, and moved away, his eyes downcast. This was still a bit emotional for him. He wanted to trust Jack so much, wanted to believe the connection and friendship they had developed over the year had been true. "Then what's the story with the archives?"
"I think that Serpent Green has occult origins, and I think it's been around for a long time. There was a journal I'd found in here one night while cleaning, that talked about some ceremonies...I'd meant to come back and look at it, but before I could this happened."
"Journal?" Daniel questioned, "From the Gray family papers collection?"
Jack nodded. "Alexander Gray, 1852."
"You know," Daniel began thoughtfully, "We only have half of the collection from the Gray Family. The rest is at the Colorado Historical Society."
"So there might be..." Jack trailed off, and Daniel looked at him in concern. Jack shushed him and moved to hide behind the door.
That's when Daniel heard the muffled voices in the hall. Someone else was in the library. "Over here," he motioned to Jack, and pushed forward the short cabinet that rested along the opposite wall. If they knelt behind it, they shouldn't be seen.
Jack had just joined him when a key clicked in the lock and the door swung open.
"Shouldn't the light have been off?" One hushed voice asked.
"Maybe they're worried someone's gonna come steal the stuff."
The voices snickered, and Daniel took a peek from his hiding place. They were two young men, possibly students, dressed in long dark green robes. On their forehead, etched in an odd gold paint was a symbol. He tried to memorize it quickly before ducking his head back down.
"Do you see it?"
"No. As I told the master, the Book of Ritual is not here."
There was the sound of paper ruffling, then:
"Careful, they can't know we've come back. It would look too suspicious."
"We must be quick, the ceremony is in 3 days time."
Daniel could feel Jack tensing next to him. Oh no, this wasn't good. He tried to meet the other man's eyes, but it was too late.
Jack leapt up from behind the cabinet and dived towards the students, who shrieked in alarm. They turned and ran through the door, Jack hot on their heels.
"The things I do," Daniel murmured, jumping over the cabinet and chasing after all three.
By the time he had gotten out in the hallway, they were gone. He was about to head downstairs when he heard the sounds of something falling over to his right. Daniel ran that way, there was a side staircase to one of the secluded stacks.
He found a row of shelving knocked down, books all over the ground. Great, he thought, climbing up the steep stairs after the men. This was the only place they could have gone.
He remained always a bit behind, finally catching up on the fourth floor just to see Jack grab one of the young men by the arm. The kid twisted, bringing up his knee in a well-aimed shot for Jack's groin. The older man went down, hard.
Daniel jogged over, and Jack waved him toward the boys as he knelt doubled up on the floor. Daniel obliged, running into one of the study rooms where the two had fled. They were gone, but left the window flapping open. He leaned over, watching as the cult members slid down the drainage pipe as deftly as serpents. Thoughtful, he pushed at the window; it was one of the old ones, not rewired when the library was renovated. This must have been how they got in the first time.
"They got away?" Jack croaked from behind him.
Daniel sighed when he looked back to meet his friend's crestfallen eyes. "I think they had some climbing gear. There's no other way they could have made it up here."
Jack sighed, "That's ok, Daniel, I didn't expect you to throw yourself out the window after them."
One thing about tonight, it had clearly proven to Daniel that Jack was innocent. There was no way Jack could have set this up, since no one knew Daniel would be working after the library closed. "The marks on their foreheads..."
"The Serpent Green guys used to do that, to mark themselves when they went on a rampage. It wiped off easily too." Jack growled. "What do we do now?"
Daniel looked at him in surprise. It seemed obvious to him. "We go downstairs and clean up that knocked down shelf. Then we see about getting access to the State Archive Collection."
"You heard them, they're missing a book. It's got to be among the collection we sent to the Archives. We've got a head start on them, Jack. And maybe that will be enough to figure out what's really going on here."
Jack nodded and grinned. "Wise men ne'er sit and wail their woes, But presently prevent the ways to wail."
"Do you spend all you free time looking this stuff up?"
Chapter 7 - Sunday
Daniel arrived at Jack's place early the next morning, a bit curious about where the older man lived. They had agreed to meet there, and Daniel would drive them both over to the Archives. He had made a few calls the night before, calling in a favor from probably the last person he would have ever wanted to be indebted to. Oh well, this was important, especially to Jack. The only thing it would cost him was his dignity.
Jack lived on the second floor of a three-story high row of condos in town. The place looked like it was probably something a long time ago but now, seemed a bit well, shabby. Daniel felt a pang of sympathy for Jack, wondering what his life must have been like before this. He walked up to the door and pressed the button under the intercom screen. Jack buzzed him in and Daniel walked up the short flight of stairs. Jack opened his door and waved him inside.
Jack's apartment was very much like the man himself: simple and complex all at the same time. He recognized the furniture as bargain issue, but everything was neat. On the coffee table in the center of the living room, Jack had displayed several photographs, most of a young boy Daniel presumed to be his son. There were also a few pictures of the family together. Daniel sat on the springy futon, and looked up at Jack.
"Want some coffee before we leave?" Jack asked self-consciously, as if aware Daniel was scrutinizing his home.
"That would be great, thanks," Daniel smiled, trying to put the older man at ease.
"So, where are we off to again?" Jack asked as he carried two mugs over to the table, giving one to Daniel as he sat next to him.
"The Colorado State Archives. I've called someone I know, and he's agreed to let us in today, even though they're closed."
"Right," Jack gazed into his coffee. "What do you think we'll find there?"
Daniel blinked at him in surprise. "Well, whatever it was those two students were looking for yesterday. That book."
"Right," Jack agreed. He was uncharacteristically silent.
"Jack, what's bugging you?" Daniel asked. He was surprised at how adept he'd become at reading this man. It felt like they had been friends for years.
Jack shrugged, setting down his mug carefully. "It's just, I've never been this close before. We might be finally able to nail this guy..."
"I thought you said you weren't out for revenge."
"Justice, Danny, justice," Jack corrected absently.
"And maybe, absolution," Daniel murmured.
Jack stood and carried his mug back into the kitchen, and Daniel wasn't sure whether or not the other man had heard his comment. Either way, it was time they set out. Stephen Raynor wouldn't wait forever.
Stephen Raynor looked exactly the same as the last time Daniel had seen him, over 5 years ago now. They had gone to library school together, and at first had been fast friends. However, many things had come between them. Stephen had begun to look down on Daniel, since the double PhD was there not because librarianship was his first choice, but to find another career path after he had been laughed out of academia. Stephen himself had a degree in Archaeology, and he had argued with Daniel for hours on his controversial theories.
They didn't part as friends, but not as enemies either. Still, Stephen didn't look exactly pleased to see Daniel when he and Jack entered the Colorado State Archives.
"Hello, Daniel," Stephen greeted with a slight sneer to his voice.
"Hello, Stephen," Daniel answered in the same tone of voice. Jack looked between the two of them, raising an eyebrow in curiosity. "This is my friend, Jack O'Neill."
Stephen merely nodded at Jack, then turned back to Daniel. "So what was so important you needed me to open the Archives on a Sunday."
"It's a long story," Daniel tried brushing him off. "If we could just see the Gray family papers..."
Stephen frowned, "After your library dumped them on us? Are they thinking about taking them back?"
Daniel sighed, wondering why he thought this would be easy. "Stephen, please, just humor me, ok?"
Stephen studied Daniel intently for a moment, then nodded. "Fine, but I'll be with you in the archive room. We never let the public in there unattended."
"Fine," Daniel shrugged, and allowed Stephen to lead them inside the atmospherically controlled room.
"The Gray Family was a well-respected frontier family. They made their fortune in gold mining," Stephen lectured as they walked, "about 150 years ago. In the early 20th century they became philanthropists, donating much of their wealth to various charity groups throughout the state."
"Yadda," Jack muttered, earning himself a glare from the archivist.
Daniel sighed. "What I'm looking for is a book, really. Something from the Gray estate."
Stephen frowned, then moved to a locked door. He typed in a number into the keypad along the wall and the door slid open. "Here's the remains of the Library from the Gray Estate. Knock yourselves out." The door swung open and revealed neat rows of shelving, of which carefully preserved old books sat like tiny regimental soldiers. Jack groaned audibly and Daniel shared the sentiment. "Is this catalogued?" he demanded.
"There's a list," Stephen pointed to a clipboard hanging on the wall. "But we haven't gotten around to labeling and organizing this collection yet."
"Sweet," Jack murmured sarcastically and grabbed the metal clipboard, flipping through the pages.
"Gentlemen," Stephen held out two pairs of white cloth gloves he pulled from the storage cabinet next to the door.
"You've got to be kidding me," Jack exclaimed.
"Just do what he says, Jack," Daniel reached out for the gloves. This was entirely too fancy for this collection, Daniel was certain these books couldn't be nearly that old. Then again, the Grays had collected some rare medieval manuscripts. Some of these books could be just as valuable.
Daniel split the collection in half, giving Jack one side to do while he started at the other. He couldn't say exactly what to look for; the book couldn't just be labeled "The Book of Ritual" or whatever the two students had called it. However, it had to be flagged in some way. Something about it must be different so the user could tell from a glance that this was the volume.
As they worked, they were interrupted by a beeping tune. Daniel reached for his cell phone.
"You've got the theme from MacGyver as your cell phone ring?" Jack asked incredulously.
Daniel just grinned and snapped it open. "Hello?" he said into the phone, hesitant as he usually was.
"Daniel." It was Sam's voice, though the transmission was filled with static and breaking up.
"Sam, where have you been, I've been trying to get in touch with you all weekend?"
"D...help me," her voice started to fade away.
"Sam! Where are you?"
"D...r....Gray....liar.....Teal'c..." And then the phone went dead. Daniel looked at the tiny cellular device and cursed, causing both Jack and Stephen to look at him in shock. "Sam's in trouble, but I couldn't catch enough to figure out where she is..."
"Apophis?" Jack asked quietly.
"Yes," Daniel agreed. "We have to find that book!"
"What exactly is going on here?" Stephen demanded.
Daniel whirled on him. "I don't have time to explain. A friend of mind is in very deep trouble. And the only clue we have at the moment is this book."
"Daniel, I think I found it," Jack's voice broke into the argument.
Daniel turned to find Jack cradling a medium sized green book in his glove-clad hands. He ventured closer to get a look. The cover said 'On the History of Serpents' on the front in bright silver letters. But the inside proved to be a much different title, as if the interior had been pasted onto this cover. Jack carefully turned the pages, revealing a journal of some type. The words were written by a scrawled hand, complete with illustrations that seemed right out of Crowley.
"God," he whispered, catching a glimpse of a particularly gory drawing. "It's a good thing they haven't gotten their hands on this," Jack said.
Daniel took the book from Jack. "I'll need time to study this."
"I'm not staying here all day, Daniel." Stephen denied from the other side of the room.
"Of course not. That's why you're going to let us take the book with us." Daniel smiled.
"The hell I am," Stephen retorted. "That is highly against policy, and I...eep!" He ended up shrieking as Jack grabbed him by both lapels of his suit and slammed him against the cabinet.
"I'll be damned if after five years of searching for proof on this guy that an arrogant, narrow-minded academic like yourself is going to stop me," Jack growled sounding nothing like himself, punctuating each word with a shake. "Now, you are going to let Daniel take that book home to study, and we'll leave you a nice fat IOU. Understand?"
"I could have you brought up on charges of assault!" Stephen shrieked.
"You're too chicken shit to do it," Jack growled.
In the end, they walked away from the archives, Daniel tucking the book safely into his jacket. "Jack?" he asked hesitantly as he opened his car door. "Where exactly did you learn how to do that?"
"Air Force, reserves," Jack grinned, getting into the passenger seat.
"You never cease to amaze me," Daniel murmured.
"I hope I have plenty more to surprise you with, Dr. Jackson."
Chapter 8 Monday
Daniel woke uneasily from a dream where he was trying to build a bomb out of a paper clip, a can of hair spray and some duct tape. He rolled over onto his cell phone and realized that it was ringing. Well, that certainly explained the dream. Absently, he clicked it open.
"H'lo?" he mumbled, at his pre-coffee best.
"Dr. Jackson, are you planning on coming in today?" It was Simmons from the library.
Daniel sat up straight and glanced at his watch. Phew, he wasn't exactly late, not yet. "Yes..." he said slowly.
"Dr. Carter didn't come in this morning," Simmons went on to explain. "And she's not answering her home phone."
Daniel cursed. "I'll be there as soon as I can, Walter." He clicked the phone shut and then took in his surroundings. He had fallen asleep on Jack's living room floor, no wonder his entire body ached. Daniel stretched and leaned his bead back on the couch-like futon.
"Jack?" he called hesitantly, not seeing the older man.
Jack stumbled out of the kitchen, scratching idly at his belly under his t-shirt. He looked stubbly and red-eyed and squinted down at Daniel. "Coffee?"
"Please." Daniel held onto the futon and pulled himself up. He hadn't pulled an all-nighter like this since getting his second PhD. He collapsed into one of the kitchen chairs, gulping down the mug that Jack set in front of him. Grateful, he propped up his chin with one arm, bracing his elbow on the table. "Thank you."
Jack sat across from him. "Do you have this thing figured out?"
Daniel sighed, trying to shake the cobwebs from his mind. "I have a fair idea, yes. And I'm especially worried about Sam."
Jack gestured for him to continue.
"Simmons called and said she didn't come into work this morning, didn't call either."
"Crap," Jack swore, "Work, don't you have to...?"
Daniel sighed, "I normally come in late if I'm working the night shift, which is what I was scheduled to do today. But Jack, that's not important right now. Not if what I think is going on is happening."
"What did you get from that book?"
"It's a grimoire: a list of spells and rituals. Black magic, Jack."
"Double, double, toil and trouble?"
"Something like that," Daniel sighed. "There's a specific timeline talked about here, a particular alignment of the stars and planets which occur exactly tomorrow evening. During that time, a sacrifice and this ritual will call the Serpent God Apophis."
"The name Gray is going by."
Daniel frowned, "I think he believes the God will enter him with this ritual. And, I think that Sam is the sacrifice."
"What?" Jack exclaimed. "Why?"
"Because she's of 'fair hair' and has 'sky-colored eyes'," he quoted from the book. "and now she's missing. Put that together with her phone call from yesterday...Jack we're running out of time."
Jack stood and began to pace. "Do you think Gray would actually try to kill her?"
Daniel shook his head. "I'm not sure what he's capable of. You know he tried to kill you."
"Yeah, anonymously, with a gun. But sacrificing someone, that's entirely different."
Daniel winced. "The ritual is quite bloody."
"But we have the book," Jack said confidently. "They can't do anything without it."
Daniel tried to think, despite the pounding in his head. He got up to get some more coffee, which he desperately needed at this point. "I've been thinking about that. Gray clearly knows the date, since those students mentioned it when we ambushed them in the archive room. He might have just enough knowledge to go ahead with the ceremony anyway. Especially since he won't have another chance for 25 more years."
Jack swore again. "So we have to find Carter. Do you think she's on campus?"
"That's too risky, having his base of operations on campus," Daniel countered. "But he wouldn't have it at his own home, would he?"
Jack frowned at him. "Does he live on the old Gray estate?"
Daniel froze. "I don't know. That's a good place to start. I need to use your phone..."
Daniel dialed Paul Davis' office extension. "Hi, Paul. It's me, Daniel Jackson. I need a favor from you."
"Daniel? Are you all right?" Paul asked, "I haven't heard from you all weekend."
"Yeah, well, I was kind of busy. Listen, Paul, I need you to work my shift at the library today..." Daniel held the phone away from his ear at Paul's indignant shriek.
"Are you insane? I'm the faculty liaison, not a reference librarian!"
"Just do it as a favor to me," Daniel fairly begged. "I think we're on the trail of the person who trashed the archives."
Paul was quiet for a moment. "Are you sure that's a wise thing to do, Daniel?"
"Probably not," Daniel sighed, "But we have to see this through."
"We? You and Sam Carter?"
"Not exactly." Daniel's eyes lingered on Jack for a moment. "Look, if you don't hear from me...there are papers on my desk in my office, ok?
"Wait, what do you mean by that? Daniel?"
"Just show up at the Library at 2, Simmons will help you out," Daniel set the phone down quickly.
"Friend of yours?" Jack asked grumpily, leaning against the sink. Daniel supposed he hadn't forgiven Paul for stealing Daniel away on that hectic night, had it only been 3 days ago? It seemed he had lived a lifetime since then.
"Insurance." Daniel sighed. "I'm going to go back to my place, get fresh clothes, get showered...If I leave you a list of things, do you think you can pick them up?"
"Just some stuff we might need. Flashlights, rope, duct tape..." Daniel flashed back to his dream and inexplicably blushed. "You know, the usual for breaking and entering."
Jack laughed. "You got it."
The drive to the Gray Estate didn't take them very long. Daniel had been surprised that the old buildings still stood, and what should have been declared historical landmarks were left to rot and ruin on the top of an ominous looking hill. The dilapidated Victorian was surrounded by a solid iron gate, its blue-gray shingles swaying precariously in the wind.
"Not too 'haunted house' is it?" Jack griped good-naturedly from the driver's side. They had taken his truck, thinking it less recognizable than Daniel's bright yellow VW.
Daniel shrugged, gazing at the house through the binoculars Jack had procured from somewhere. They looked like they were going on a survival weekend; the back of the truck filled with stuff Jack had gotten at a local camping store. Daniel wondered if they were both taking this a bit too seriously. "Well, what do you think we should do?" he asked finally.
"We'll wait until dark, then break in," Jack offered.
"Why wait until dark?"
"Um, so no one sees us, Daniel."
"Oh, right. But won't that make it harder on us?"
They drove around for a while, waiting for the sun to go down. It was also an opportunity to 'case the place' as Jack said. For such a well-read man, Daniel had a feeling Jack watched a lot of television. The Estate was located off the beaten path of the closest neighborhood, a part of Colorado that was going back to nature. Daniel could tell Jack wasn't happy about the distance from civilization, and he wasn't either. If Apophis Gray was planning on sacrificing Sam, there wouldn't be anyone near by to ask for help.
An hour before sunset the cars began to arrive. Jack was driving slowly past the driveway, and made it look like they were just driving by as a long black sedan pulled up to the curb.
"Showtime," Jack murmured.
"Can you park in the woods there," Daniel pointed to a clearing a few feet ahead. The truck should be able to handle the terrain no problem. Jack obliged, and they spent a few minutes covering the vehicle with leafy branches. Luckily the trees hadn't lost their leaves yet.
"I feel like we're in some weird made for TV movie," Daniel confessed giddily as they hiked through the wilderness back towards the hill. Each carried packs filled with supplies.
Jack was holding onto a flashlight, guiding their way through the darkening forest. "As long as it's a movie with a happy ending," Jack grumbled.
The metal gate literally surrounded the Estate, so even coming towards it from this angle they still had to somehow manage to get around it.
"Funny," Jack murmured, "That a house in that kind of condition is surrounded by a perfectly good fence."
Daniel risked a quick touch, glad to feel cool metal under his skin. "It's not electrified."
"Christ, Daniel, you decided that by touching it?" Jack growled. He joined Daniel by the bars, looking thoughtful.
"Maybe we can swing a rope from a tree branch, then climb up and swing over," Daniel thought out loud, looking out for the perfect tree.
"Or," Jack's voice came from further down, "We could just slip through here."
"Huh?" Daniel asked intelligently, as he walked over to join Jack.
This part of the fence showed some wear and tear, and two of the long iron bars were bent, widening the gap between them. Jack had already slipped half of his body inside, his pack dangling in his hand. "Convenient," Daniel grumbled, following the older man.
"Now that we're in, where do you think they'll be holding this little shindig?"
Daniel frowned, trying to think. The book of ritual really hadn't specified a location, but he had his own ideas. "With the house looking like that, I'd bet there's some kind of underground, maybe a basement, so even if someone comes looking, the altar or whatever stays sacrosanct. Or, um, un-sacrosanct in this case."
"Um, right," Jack frowned at him. "How about we follow them?" He pointed to the group of people walked up the long drive. From this distance, it was difficult to tell much about them, except that they were carrying flashlights, were dressed in long dark coats or robes and there were about 20 of them. "Down," Jack commanded, dousing their light.
The mob made its way across the overgrown lawn and into the front door of the main house. Daniel swallowed hard, as he realized this situation must be similar to what Jack had faced five years ago, when his son was killed. What was he thinking, bringing Jack along?
"Quick and keep quiet," Jack murmured and they began the move. The overgrown yard helped conceal them a bit as they crept towards the house. They paused just outside a window, and Daniel took a moment to marvel that these windows on the ground floor still had their glass.
They both pressed forward, nearly nose to dusty glass when the sound of a voice behind them caused them both to jump.
"Dr. Jackson, O'Neill."
"Teal'c," Jack said, as he spun around, "what are you doing here?"
Daniel turned as well, confused. He noticed the tall man's dress, and then Teal'c moved forward, the heavy flashlight he carried in one hand reflecting off the window and revealing the metallic paint on this forehead. Daniel gasped. He remembered Sam's words: "Teal'c...liar..."
Jack took a swing at Teal'c, but the young man merely sidestepped it and clubbed Jack on the back of the head with the flashlight. The janitor went down.
Daniel backed away, "Teal'c, you don't want to do this...we want to help..."
Then Teal'c loomed over him, and with a snap, his vision turned black and knew no more.
Chapter 9: Tuesday
Jack opened his eyes, wincing at the sudden brightness, which caused tiny feet to tap dance around his head. He took a few moments to get himself oriented, then immediately regretted it. He was sitting up, his arms behind his back and around a pole of some kind. A glance to the right showed that Daniel was in the same situation, his head slumped to one side, obviously still unconscious.
The room before them could easily have come from an ancient Egyptian crypt...or a really bad made-for-tv movie, as Daniel had pointed out earlier. Each wall that Jack could see was painted a sandy color and decorated with hieroglyphics. Whether or not that writing actually said anything of importance, well, only Daniel could tell him that for sure.In the center of the large room a large stone precipice stood out between a series of four stone pillars. It could serve as a stage or an altar. A pool was half-hidden behind the altar, reflecting the lighting and glitzy paint. Adding to the horror movie feel was the fact that the only source of lighting came from the torches that lined the walls.
Jack got his legs under him and tried to stand, using the pillar he was tied to as support. Laboriously, he managed it, cringing at the pins and needles feeling that raced through his thighs. He rubbed his hands against the pole, which was wood rather than metal or stone, and found his bonds were chains. Not just handcuffs or rope, but actual metal chains. This asshole had gone all out to fulfill his little fantasy.
A rumbling sound caught his attention, and part of the wall across from them slid open. Apophis Gray stood at the head of a procession, dressed in gold and green robes, with an outrageously ridiculous piece of headwear. His followers flanked him, each in monotone green robes, with that symbol painted on their foreheads. Jack looked for Teal'c. He couldn't believe that kid was a willing follower.
"Daniel!" he hissed, trying to wake his companion up. "We've got company."
Daniel sort of sniffed, and then opened his eyes, looking up at Jack in puzzlement.
Jack gestured with his chin. "Over there."
Gray crossed over the altar, to stand in front of them. "Dr. Jackson, Dr. O'Neill. Welcome to our little abode."
"Are you going for camp?" Jack sneered, "Otherwise, it's just a bit over the top. Been watching too much Relic Hunter lately?"
"Jack," Daniel warned quietly.
But he didn't want to listen to Daniel. He wanted to keep this guy focused on him, not the young Librarian. He'd already lost one person he cared about because of one Apophis Gray and he wasn't about to let it happen again.
"You mock me now, O'Neill, because you do not understand. Soon the Serpent God will rise and you will bow to me."
Jack sighed, "The man says things like that and expects me not to mock! Incredible!"
Gray merely smiled and shook his head. He turned to one of his followers. "Jeff, bring the woman. We have a ritual to hold."
"Sam," Daniel murmured, and Jack nodded in response. "Just tell us one thing," Daniel said louder, "Why did you destroy the archives?"
Gray turned back to his captives. "I thought you had figured that out by now, when you went to all this trouble to bring me the Book of Ritual."
"What are you talking about?" Jack snapped, "Do you think we'd be so stupid as to..."
He trailed off as one of Gray's followers stepped forward and handed the cult leader the book.
"Oops," Daniel murmured.
"Oops?" Jack echoed.
"It was in my pack, I thought we might need it," the young Librarian explained.
Gray grinned at them, his smile twisted like a Cheshire cat. "It was the last item I needed to complete my plans. I had everything else, but the words of the Ritual."
"So you had the archives trashed to cover up the missing book, only to find the book wasn't there in the first place," Daniel said, hung up on that one point. Jack couldn't blame him; Daniel had cared so much about that collection.
"And imagine how pleased I was to find Dr. Jonathan O'Neill, excuse me, Janitor Jack O'Neill, being blamed for the crime."
"You bastard!" Jack cried angrily, stretching at his bonds. He would love to be able to take a swing at Gray right now.
"How the mighty have fallen, eh, O'Neill?"
"Jack, don't let him get to you," Daniel whispered urgently.
Jack met Gray's eyes, silently promising a reckoning. Gray had a lot to answer for, and Jack wasn't going to let the man get away with taking lives.
"My lord!" a fairly high-pitched voice came from the dimly lit doorway. "The woman has escaped!"
Gray whirled, his brows furrowed in anger. "What? Go on; find her! The hour of the Ritual approaches!"
Most of the students left the room, presumably to search for the missing Sam. Gray growled his displeasure, then stopped pacing in mid step. He stalked across the room and grasped Daniel by the jaw. "Yes...blue of eye and fair of hair..."
"Actually, my hair is brown," Daniel provided helpfully.
Gray shrugged, "Close enough." He gestured to one of the remaining students. "Quickly, tie him to the altar. The ritual must continue."
"No!" Jack cried out. "Leave him alone. Your problem is with me."
He hoped he was speaking directly to Gray's bravado, that the professor would take the bait and spare Daniel's life.
Gray looked him over critically, "You have the wrong eye color."
"Goddammit, Gray!" Jack growled as Daniel struggled against the three large young men who unchained him from the pole. "You can't just kill someone like this and get away with it!"
Gray began to laugh, "I have no intentions of just 'getting away with it' O'Neill. When this night is over, I shall be a god."
"You're insane!" Jack couldn't believe that Gray believed this crap. That by killing Daniel at the right time, the Serpent God would show up. How crazy could a person be? Then again, if Gray truly believed in what he was doing, that made him even more dangerous than Jack had feared.
"Jack!" Daniel cried out.
But Jack could only watch as Daniel was tied between the pillars, like some kind of diva from a 1940s movie, his arms spread out. "Stop this," Daniel tried to get through to the students, "When he gets caught, you'll go down for murder too! Because that's what this is, murder!" They ignored him.
Gray walked past him and placed the little book that had caused this whole mess on a sort of stand, presumably so he could read from it. He pulled out a long wicked looking knife from under his gaudy robes and set it down next to the book. He gestured to his cronies and two young women brought tall white candles from the shadows.
"Don't do this!" Jack tried one last time. Gray spoke without looking at him. "Gag them."
"Crap," Jack muttered, then called out to Daniel, "Courage then! What cannot be avoided 'twere childish weakness to lament or fear!" As last words went, it was kind of lame, but the only thing that came into his brain at the moment. Daniel could only nod once, to show that he understood, as he was gagged. He would not go to his death a coward, and though that might mean nothing otherwise, it would mean a lot to Jack.
Was he always meant to lose people he cared about? He thought angrily, his eyes fierce as the student slapped a bit of duct-tape over his lips. They were obviously dealing with highly advanced cultists here.
Whatever happened, he would be there for Daniel, even if only with his eyes and heart.
Gray had begun the ceremony, pouring colored wax off candles into a long metal vase. He gathered the container in both hands, striding forward to place it at Daniel's feet.
"So it begins," Gray began. He moved over to the little stand, flipping open the book. He gathering the knife between his hands and raised it like some parody of a priest during Mass.
Jack wished Gray would plunge the blade into his own chest.
Instead, the man walked toward Daniel, the blade between them. Daniel's eye's flashed and didn't move from glaring right at Gray, as if they could speak for him. "In blood was the world born, and in blood life is given. So will in blood be returned to the god, so he may rise and take this vessel..."
Jack cringed, as Gray slipped into another language, one that grated against his ears. It sounded like two pots clashing against each another. For a moment there, he could have sworn he heard...sirens?
Gray had now pointed the knife toward Daniel, just below the other man's belly. Jack tried to shout through his gag. Daniel tried to squirm away, but he couldn't get far.
That's when the main doors flung open and a series of overhead lights went on. Jack blinked at the sudden illumination, which suddenly made the entire setup look cheap and fake.
"Back away from him!" a deep voice cried out. If Jack squinted, he could make out the form of a cop holding a gun in the doorway. Other people flanked him, but Jack's watery eyes couldn't make out much more than their physical forms.
"You cannot stop me now!" Gray cried out, then leaned forward, plunging the knife into Daniel, who cried out around the gag.
There was a gunshot and Gray fell backwards. Cops swarmed into the room, one screaming for a medic as they freed a bleeding Daniel from the altar.
He grunted around his gag, and was surprised as Sam Carter darted up to him. She was dressed on one of those silly robes, though it looked far too big on her.
"Jack?" she gasped, pulling the tape off of him.
"Get me loose, dammit!" he demanded. He needed to make sure Daniel was ok.
She nodded and gestured to someone behind her. Teal'c ran up to them both, the gold tattoo painted on his forehead smearing under the sweat soaked skin. He held up a tiny silver key in his hand, and moved to unchain Jack.
"Teal'c, what the hell?" Jack asked, more than a little confused.
Sam tried to explain, "Teal'c and I developed this plan. He helped me escape, so Gray would have no one to sacrifice. We didn't expect you and Daniel to find us."
Jack rubbed at his newly freed wrists. "So why did you feel the need to knock both of us out?"
Teal'c inclined his head, "I was still pretending to be in Apophis' service. It would have looked suspicious if I had done anything else."
"And I take it Gray using Daniel as the sacrifice wasn't on the agenda either," Jack grumbled, pushing past both of them to where the officers were tending to Daniel. Apparently an ambulance had come with the little swat team Carter and Teal'c had called up, because medics were already loading the librarian onto a stretcher. He pushed his way to Daniel's side and reached out to touch him. "Daniel..."
"Jack..." Daniel slurred.
"Excuse us sir, he needs to be taken to a hospital..." the paramedic pushed him away gently and Daniel was wheeled away.
Gray was being set up on another stretched and Jack hoped the bastard lived, so he could suffer in prison for all the pain he had caused. He clenched his hands into tight fists at his sides, wanting to punch something, anything.
"Mr. O'Neill," some called him. "We're going to have to ask you a few questions..."
Jack nodded, closing his eyes as he forced himself to relax. "Fine." The faster this was over, the sooner he could get to Daniel's bedside.
Chapter 10: Epilogue
Daniel shrugged on his suit jacket, wincing only slightly at the strain on his still sore abdomen. He grabbed his travel mug of coffee and slammed his car door shut. Most of the past month had been spent recuperating after the surgery that saved his life. Finally the doctors had given permission for him to return to work. One of the more helpful ones had suggested he try some counseling.
He shrugged her off. He could handle this, especially since there shouldn't be anything emotionally scarring about being chained between pillars while some guy who wanted to be a god tried to carve his guts out. Ok, now he was channeling Jack's sarcasm.
The older man had proved to be a good friend, and a frequent visitor to his hospital bed. Part of Daniel wondered how much of that was due to guilt. Jack didn't need to blame himself; he had enough of self-recrimination to last a lifetime. At least the man would finally have the satisfaction of seeing Apophis Gray in prison, eventually. Right now Gray slept in a coma, and wouldn't stand trial until he woke up.
Daniel shrugged off his morbid thoughts and walked into the library. He took a deep breath, his lungs filling with the familiar and much loved musty air. He finally was home.
"Welcome back, Dr. Jackson!" Simmons waved from the circulation desk as he walked by.
He grinned and waved back with his free hand.
"Hammond wants you in his office, soon as you get in."
Daniel nodded, stopping at his office to grab a notebook and a pencil. He probably needed to catch up on a lot of things. Poor Sam, she had been the only Librarian while he was convalescing. He hoped they had hired a few temps, or maybe even gotten a full time. Then again, he was sure someone would have told him if that were the case.
He was surprised when he entered Hammond's office to find both Sam and Jack there. And Jack, oddly enough, was decked out in a suit. He had never seen the janitor like that, and thought perhaps that this was what Jack had been like when he was 'Dr. O'Neill' at Minnesota U.
Jack quirked him a grin and Daniel sat down in the free chair, a bit puzzled.
"Glad you could join us, Dr. Jackson," Hammond said, fighting a smile himself.
"Glad to finally be back, sir," Daniel smiled openly back. Glad to be alive, he thought to himself, alive and basically well. He needed a few more months until he was fully fit again, but he was well enough to work.
"You will find," Hammond continued, a twinkle in his blue eyes, "That a few things have changed in your absence..."
"Oh?" Daniel asked, holding his breath. He didn't like the sound of that.
"For crying out loud, just tell him," Jack finally busted out after a few minutes of silence.
Hammond cocked his head at Jack. "After recent events came to light, and Dr. O'Neill's innocence was proven, I've asked if he would consider a position here."
Daniel's jaw dropped, and he had to consciously close his mouth. "As a Librarian?"
"Assistant," Jack supplied. "At least until I get my MLS, and I've already been accepted into a program."
"That's great, Jack," Daniel said, feeling slightly uneasy about something. He decided to ask: "Are you sure you can work here? I mean, Academia..."
Jack shrugged, "This is different than being teaching faculty. I think I can do this."
Daniel nodded, then turned to Sam. "We finally got some help..."
She smiled at him fondly.
A thought occurred to him, "I never got a chance to ask you exactly, what happened? What about that mysterious phone call?"
Sam sighed. "It's a long story. Teal'c caught me looking up information on Gray. I was about to call you and let you know when he proposed a sort of plan. He was going to pretend to enter the Serpent cult and recommend me as a sacrifice. The phone call was me trying to let you know what was going on, but Gray caught me in the middle of it."
"So Teal'c wasn't going to let you get sacrificed at all, right?" Daniel asked.
"No, Daniel," she reached out and touched his hand gently. "I'm sorry you had to be injured. We'd always planned to have the police there."
"I'm just glad everything turned out all right and no one got killed."
Jack grinned, "I'm just glad no one said, 'if it weren't for those pesky Librarians...'"
Daniel groaned at Jack's attempt at humor. At least he could count on the man to lighten up a dark mood. He had a feeling Jack was finally on the way to healing. He decided he would look up Teal'c after this, see how the young man was doing on his dissertation. Maybe even try to convince him to go to library school.
I go into my library, and all history unrolls before me. I breathe the morning air of the world while the scent of Eden's roses yet lingered in it, while it vibrated only to the world's first brood of nightingales, and to the laugh of Eve. I see the pyramids building; I hear the shoutings of the armies of Alexander.
Alexander Smith (1830-1867), Scottish poet. "Books and Gardens," Dreamthorp (1863).
Being a writer in a library is rather like being a eunuch in a harem. John Braine NY Times 7 Oct 62
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