Actions

Work Header

Choices and Consequences

Work Text:

Jack O’Neill glanced once again at his young friend. Daniel looked tired but otherwise fine. He wondered what Daniel had gone through since his abduction by the Unas Chaka. Daniel had been lucky. Once again he used his linguistic skills and his heart to survive. He had appealed to the Unas. He had been shocked when he first saw the Unas with Daniel. He wasn’t sure if they would even find the man alive. Unas were known for their rather nasty tempers, but once again Daniel magically turned an enemy into a friend. He even received an open invitation from the Unas to return one day. Now that was just totally crazy! Daniel’s only injury from the attack was a scratch on his cheek. He had indeed been very lucky that the Unas hadn’t decided to make him lunch.

Jack looked at his teammate again as if to make sure that Daniel was in fact still with them. He had been so glad when they had finally located the man very much alive and well. Now he had to inform Daniel of what else had transpired while he was making nice with the Unas who had kidnapped him: Rothman. How the hell was he supposed to tell Daniel about Robert Rothman? Rothman was a complete geek, but he was Daniel’s friend. Daniel needed to hear of what had happened to Rothman earlier. How was he supposed to tell Daniel that his friend was now dead? How? He looked up at Sam and indicated that they should stop to take a break. She brought the small group to a halt and again looked at him as if silently telling him to give Daniel the bad news. He sighed deeply, catching the younger man’s attention. Daniel’s voice came to him from beside him, “Jack are you all right?”

Daniel looked at his friend noticing that the man remained oddly silent since they had left the cave. What was wrong with Jack? Why was he acting as if there was something wrong? He prodded gently, “Jack?” and watched as his older friend ran a hand back through his hair as he cleared his throat. Daniel waited patiently for Jack to speak.

Jack glanced at Daniel seeing the expectedness there. Daniel was waiting for an answer. He had to tell him. He swallowed hard and cleared his throat before he began. He once again watched his friend intently as he started, “Uh Daniel…there’s something… I have something that I need to tell you…”

“What is it, Jack?”

“It’s about Rothman…he, uh… Daniel…Rothman’s dead.”

Daniel remained silent for the longest time staring in shock towards his friend. Rothman was dead? When did it happen? How did it happen? How could Rothman be dead? He was just speaking with the man earlier, so what had happened? He struggled to accept the news as he asked, “What…what happened, Jack?”

“He…we had no choice, Daniel. We camped last night near this stream…he… The stream was full of Goa’uld larva, Daniel. Rothman…he was taken as a host…we had to…”

Before Jack could finish his comment Daniel’s eyes suddenly sparked bright white. Jack momentarily froze unprepared for the sudden attack coming from his friend. Daniel lunged at him grabbing him around the throat. Jack tried to react, but Daniel was just too fast and too strong for him. He felt his air passage being immediately cut off and swung at the man. Daniel responded immediately driving an upper cut punch into Jack’s solar plexus. Jack could only scream as he heard the sickening snap of a rib, or several ribs, being broken upon impact. He doubled over in pain. Daniel refused to give up the fight as he released his grip on Jack’s throat and swung at him again, this time catching Jack right across the jaw. Jack flew to the ground only managing to utter a grimace as his head smashed into a rock and unconsciousness flew up to greet him. The last thing he heard was the firing of a weapon and then nothing.

Daniel stared at Jack in shock as he told him that Rothman was now dead and that he had been inhabited by a Goa’uld. Halfway through Jack’s explanation blackness swamped him. Daniel had no idea what was happening as he felt another conscious mind invade his own. He couldn’t even scream or utter a warning. He could sense only anger and rage from the creature now controlling him. He felt his body moving of its own accord being controlled by another being. He heard Jack scream and felt ice-cold fear envelope him. Jack sounded hurt! He had to do something! But as he attempted to regain control of his own body he felt the angry being within him block his attempts. He struggled to regain control over himself and just when he succeeded searing, burning pain filled him. He cried out as a sharp pain entered his side driving the breath from him. The sudden pain forced him to momentarily lose his control, and the creature once again took over. He felt himself suddenly running, but the pain continued to keep him at bay.

Sam had told Jack earlier that he couldn’t keep the truth of Rothman’s fate away from Daniel. Daniel had a right to know. She silently urged him to talk with Daniel when he called a halt to their traveling. She watched the two men as Jack informed Daniel that Rothman was now dead. She was totally unprepared for Daniel’s sudden attack on the Colonel. She pulled her gun on instinct aiming it at Daniel. She felt herself freezing as she realized that she was now aiming her gun at her friend. She couldn’t shoot Daniel. What the hell was she thinking? But as Jack flew to the ground striking his head on a rock and Daniel moved in for another attack she reacted without thought. She pulled the trigger. She watched in horror as Daniel flew forward a blotch of red blood rapidly spreading across the back of his jacket. Holy shit, she had shot Daniel! She couldn’t move. She was frozen in terror at what she had done to him. Shit! She shot Daniel! Damn it! As her fear for both of the men’s safety filled her she found herself making her way rapidly to their sides. She approached Daniel, but as she reached for him the man suddenly darted. She wanted to call out to him, but Daniel was running extremely fast. She saw him disappear into the foliage of the surrounding forest.

Sam wanted so desperately to chase after Daniel knowing that wound was a serious wound. Daniel could die if he wasn’t helped soon. Oh God, what if he did die and she killed him? Oh shit! She stepped forward planning to go after her fleeing teammate, but as her eyes fell to the still Colonel she knew that she couldn’t leave him. His head was bleeding badly, and she knew for certain that he had at least a few broken ribs. Colonel O’Neill could die if she didn’t tend to him now. He struck his head hard enough to cause a concussion, and could possibly slip into a coma if she didn’t help him. Shit! What should she do? She had two teammates who were now seriously injured. What the hell was she supposed to do now? She glanced around her frantically, spotting her other teammate she quickly spoke “Teal’c…”

“Yes Major Carter?”

“I have to stay with the Colonel. He needs my help. I can’t leave him, Teal’c…”

Teal’c nodded his head in understanding as he continued, “Than I will pursue Daniel Jackson and bring him back for medical attention.”

“Teal’c…he… Why would he attack the Colonel?”

“He has been taken as a host.”

Sam paused as that thought solidified in her mind. Oh no…he was taken as a host? Poor Daniel. She knew how he felt about the Goa’uld and being inhabited by one was probably his absolute worst nightmare. They had to find him and free him. She asked, “What are we going to do?”

“I will find Daniel Jackson and bring him back. You must remain with O’Neill and tend to him.”

“Thank you Teal’c.”

Teal’c nodded his head once again before turning to pursue the young archaeologist who was now in the woods…somewhere. Teal’c only hoped that he would find Daniel Jackson before it was too late. He too had seen the result of Major Carter’s shooting. If Daniel weren’t found soon then he would most likely bleed to death in the forests of the planet. He doubted very much that the symbiote within Daniel would be able to heal him sufficiently. The symbiotes of this world were immature Goa’uld and primitive. Teal’c was unsure as to whether or not a Goa’uld was born with the innate ability to heal its host or if that ability was developed. He had to find Daniel as quickly as possible.

Sam watched Teal’c only a moment longer as the Jaffa took off in the direction that Daniel had just run. She sent several prayers up into the heavens that both Daniel and Jack would survive. She then turned her attention back on the Colonel. She cleared her mind so she could focus completely on O’Neill. She would be no good to him if she kept thinking of Daniel and what she had done to him.

Daniel was aware of one thing…he was running into the woods. He attempted to again regain control of his body but the symbiote within still maintained a very firm grip on him. He sensed the Goa’uld was very afraid and panicking. He knew that he had been injured. The realization came to him when the pain in his side refused to abate. He also knew that he was in trouble and if he didn’t regain control of his own body back soon the symbiote would carry them both too far away from the help that they both needed. He continued to fight with the creature inside of him hoping and praying that he would soon gain his complete control back. He had to regain his control. He had no choice in the matter. If he didn’t win this battle they’d both be dead soon. He could tell that he was still losing blood fast. His time was growing shorter and shorter by the minute.

Sam focused on Jack. She had to check the severity of the head injury. My God, there was so much blood. He could be suffering from any number of things. She quickly went over her medical training in her head ticking off possible results of such a trauma: concussion, clot compression, brain damage, skull fracture… Sam shivered as she thought of the list of possible outcomes. She hoped he simply had a concussion, but even with a concussion the Colonel could slip into a coma at any time. Shit! She quickly pulled out her med pack retrieving all the supplies she would need. She had to move him first and make him more comfortable. She did so then once she had him where she wanted him she set to work on cleaning the injury. She removed his hat then focused on the task at hand. She sighed in relief when she saw no blood oozing from Jack’s ears or nose and no liquid. Those were all signs of skull fractures and of a grave injury, but even though they were absent Colonel O’Neill was still in danger of death. She checked his pulse, checked his eyes and checked his neck. He seemed fine…at least at the moment but she knew just how serious a head injury could be and just how quickly things could go from bad to worse when such an injury occurs.

Sam continued to gently clean the gash on Jack’s temple wincing as the blood continued to flow freely from the open cut. She had to get the injury clean so she could look for any possible fractures in the depths of the wound. She couldn’t probe with her fingers or she’d expose him to possible infection, or worse penetrate his brain through the open fracture. Sam shuddered again as that thought entered her mind. She sighed in relief when the blood flow seemed to ebb. Thank goodness now she could examine the injury itself a bit closer. She didn’t see any fractures which was also a good sign…but, of course, hairline fractures were nearly impossible to see. She shook her head as more discouraging thoughts entered her mind. She had to remain positive, and she had to stay focused. Her mind briefly drifted to thoughts of Daniel out there in the woods with a serious gun shot wound all alone…damn it! She had to remain focused on Jack! She couldn’t allow her thoughts to wander off when she needed to focus on her task at hand! She silently chastised herself then once again focused on her patient.

Teal’c continued to search for Daniel. He was sure that Daniel couldn’t have gotten very far. He was practically bleeding to death. He had to be losing his strength rapidly. How could the man keep moving when he was so critically injured? He knew that a symbiote provided its host with extra strength. The symbiote would drive Daniel until he could go no further. The symbiote within his friend was still young and primitive. Its only focus right now would be survival and doing so in any way possible. It wouldn’t listen to Daniel no matter what he had to say. It was simply reacting to an instinct for survival…fleeing. He had to find Daniel Jackson or the man would not be alive for much longer. For the first time in a long time Teal’c was scared. He didn’t want to lose Daniel Jackson. The world needed more men like him. Daniel was too good a person to die in the woods on a strange planet alone. Daniel was too good a person to now be inhabited by a Goa’uld. He would have to find a way to free Daniel from the creature within him, but his first goal was to locate the young man before his time ran out.

Daniel continued to struggle with the creature inside him. He could tell that they were both growing weaker. He didn’t have much time. If he passed out here in these woods in the middle of nowhere he’d most likely die. No one would be able to find him when he was lost in woods that stretched on for miles and miles. Searching for him in these woods would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack…impossible. He shuddered as that thought entered his mind. He was aware that they were no longer running. Neither he nor the creature had the energy to continue running. They were now walking aimlessly. He knew that time was definitely not on his side and his strength would soon quickly diminish. As Daniel thought about that he stumbled falling painfully to his knees. Agony reverberated through his wound stealing his breath once more and distracting the symbiote within. When he sensed the creature’s inattentiveness he attempted to take over control yet again but felt the symbiote desperately reassert its control. The symbiote was extremely afraid. The symbiote also knew just how severely injured they were and knew that they were most likely going to die together out here in these woods. He could feel its fear and uncertainty as strongly as he felt its rage before they were both gravely injured. The creature didn’t know what to do and was becoming desperate. It knew that they were most likely not going to make it past today. It also knew that it wasn’t yet ready to die.

Sam continued to examine her unconscious CO. She continued to hope that Jack would soon awake. If he awoke then that would be at least a sign to her that he was still with her. She turned her attention away from the gash across his temple to focus on his rib cage. She pushed his shirt up over his chest then gently started to run her fingers across his rib cage in an effort to determine how many broken or fractured ribs he might now have. She could feel that his rib cage was tender on the left side. His broken ribs were in that area. She determined that he had several. She also listened intently to the sounds of his breathing, sighing in relief when it sounded normal. Thank God for small favors!

After providing all the possible medical aid she could she sat down beside Jack and watched him intently. Her mind wandered off to thoughts of Daniel also being in peril. What was she going to do now? She had a severely injured Colonel and a severely injured archaeologist. Teal’c went after Daniel, but would he get to the man on time or would he be too late? She cursed at herself again for shooting Daniel. She knew that she had no choice, but she could’ve shot him in another, less vital area. When she saw Jack fall and strike his head then Daniel preparing to attack him again she didn’t think. She simply fired her weapon and failed to think of the potential danger a wound to his side could cause. Damn it! Daniel might die. Why didn’t she just shoot him in the arm or something? Why did she shoot him near vital organs…shit, she even shot the man in the back. She could feel coldness entering her body as she thought of the potential dangers that could befall Daniel from that injury. My God, what if she blew a hole in his kidney or lungs…? Sam felt suddenly very cold and quickly wrapped her arms around her body in an effort to ward off the sudden chill. If Daniel died it would be all her fault…all her fault because she was the one who had shot him.

Teal’c grew more and more worried for his young friend when he saw no more signs of Daniel even passing through the area he was examining. Where could Daniel have gone? He had to locate the archaeologist. He had precious little time to waste. He knew enough about human physiology to know that Daniel had been critically injured. He hoped that the man hadn’t collapsed somewhere that would conceal him from view. He was sure that Daniel would most likely lose consciousness soon, if he hadn’t already, so he turned his search to the ground as well. He was determined to locate Daniel Jackson and save him before it was too late. Daniel would not die because he wasn’t about to allow that to happen. He would find Daniel and when he did he would get the man help as quickly as he was able.

As Daniel crashed to his knees once again he knew that he wasn’t getting back up. There was no way he could. He had very little strength left and could feel the symbiote within him beginning to die. He knew, he was certain, that the symbiote was dying. He hoped that he wouldn’t die right along with it. He was now completely in control of his body, but the Goa’uld had used up so much of his energy in its mad desperate dash through the woods that Daniel knew he wouldn’t be able to make it back to Sam’s location. He pushed himself back up determined to turn himself around, but he only rose an inch before finding himself once again on his knees. He cursed. Why did the symbiote not listen to him when he had warned it of the danger they were in? He attempted to rise yet again but was unsuccessful. He cried out as he jarred his bullet wound and clamped his hand tightly over the injury. His wound was still bleeding, and he knew that he was going to die. He made another attempt at rising but headed the opposite direction falling face first onto the ground and managing only enough energy to turn onto his right side. He continued to hold his right hand tightly over the wound praying that he wouldn’t die out here all alone. God but he was so weak. He was actually beginning to get a bit worried about his predicament. He knew his situation was not good at all. He could feel the creature’s despair, rage and fear as well. He knew that the symbiote would be dead within the hour. He only hoped that he wouldn’t follow in the creature’s footsteps. He laid there for the longest time just staring off in the distance trying to muster up enough energy to once again get to his feet, but as he made yet another attempt he collapsed and slipped into unconsciousness.

Sam once again examined Colonel O’Neill. She silently urged him to awake. What would she do if he didn’t awake? What if Jack never awoke again? She silently yelled at herself for thinking so negatively. She had to stay positive. She couldn’t allow herself to give up hope. She glanced towards the woods once again wondering if Teal’c had any success in locating their other missing teammate. She rapidly turned back when she heard Jack groaning. She jumped to her feet and went to him immediately kneeling by his side. She questioned, “Colonel? Colonel…? Are all right? Colonel?”

Jack could feel consciousness beginning to return. The first thing he became aware of was the intense headache he now seemed to have. He felt as if he had one of the worst hangovers in years. He tried to recall what exactly had occurred to give him such a pounding headache when he heard his second in command asking him if he was all right. He tried to focus on that voice mumbling, “What the hell happened?”

“Colonel.”

Sam smiled down at her CO extremely thankful to hear him speaking. She answered gently, “You fell and hit your head…you were helped a bit…”

“I was punched…I was…Daniel!” as Jack recalled his friend attacking him he also recalled hearing a gun firing just before losing total consciousness. He attempted to sit upright when his whole world did a sickly pitch before him. He nearly blacked out yet again very grateful that Carter was there to grab him before he took another nosedive. She urged him to lie back down and Jack did so very willingly. When the pain eased enough that he could think again he questioned, “Daniel? Where’s Daniel?”

“He’s…”

“I heard a gun fire did…Daniel, where is Daniel?”

“He’s not here, sir.”

“Where the hell is he then?”

“Sir, you need to relax. Don’t worry…”

“Don’t worry? I heard a gun firing and now you’re telling me to relax? Where is Daniel?”

“Colonel, you need to calm down…”

“Why aren’t you answering my question, Major? Where the hell is Daniel?”

“Teal’c is searching for him. He’s…”

“He attacked me…”

“Yes sir, he did but that wasn’t him…he was inhabited…by a Goa’uld sir. He attacked you. I knew that he’d kill you if I didn’t do something quickly so I… I shot him sir.”

“You shot him? You shot him with your gun? You…”

“Yes I did. I’m sorry. I…he would’ve killed you. I did what I felt was right. I…”

“How badly was he injured?”

Sam turned from her CO refusing to make eye contact and refusing to speak for the longest time. She swallowed hard, swallowing back the tears she so wanted to release. She had to tell Jack where Daniel was injured. She had to prepare him for the possibility that Daniel might…die. She had to tell him. She attempted to but once again hesitated. Jack interrupted her chaotic thoughts as he gently commented, “That bad, uh? Will he make it?”

“I…I don’t know, sir. He ran off into the woods. Teal’c is looking for him. The symbiote panicked and took off running. I…I don’t know…I…”

Sam cursed as a single tear glided down across her cheek. Shit, she wasn’t going to do this! Not here, not now and definitely NOT in front of Colonel O’Neill! Damn it, she would not cry! She swallowed hard as she felt the tightness in her throat that always seemed to surface when one was trying to hold back tears that wanted to come. She gasped as she felt Jack’s warm hand suddenly wrap around her own. He gave her hand a tender squeeze then said in a soft gentle voice, “You did the right thing, Major…”

“No I didn’t. I shot him Colonel. I shot Daniel. What kind of a person does that make me? I shot my friend! I shot a man who never did anything to anyone…I…”

“You had no choice. If you hadn’t acted then the Goa’uld within him would’ve killed me. Carter, you had no choice…”

She still couldn’t look Jack in the eyes, but she drew great comfort from his grip on her hand. She felt horrible for shooting Daniel. She was so afraid that he’d die and that Jack would die. What would she do if that ever happened? Could she handle that?

She looked up at Jack feeling those tears threatening to gush as she saw the pain etched across his face. Jack was struggling to remain conscious. She could tell that he was. She felt ice-cold fear once again slice at her…what if Jack had an epidural hematoma? He would die for sure. He was drowsy. She could see that he was. She questioned, “Colonel, how are you feeling?”

“Well, I have a huge headache…feel like I’ve been partying for the last week…and got flat out drunk…”

Sam paled as she recalled a severe headache as being one of the many symptoms of clot compression. What if the brain itself was still bleeding or swelling? What if the pressure from the swelling was causing his severe headache? He could be slipping into a coma…he could be dying. No, no…this can’t be happening. First Daniel and now Jack…they were both critical right now. She noticed that Jack was now staring intently at her a look of concern and worry crossing his facial features. Sam tried to smile reassuringly his way, but could tell that her smile was doing little to allay any of his fears or concerns at the moment.

Jack continued to watch his second in command trying his best to remain conscious a little bit longer. God did his head ever hurt badly. He knew that he’d only remain conscious a few minutes longer but struggled any way. Carter looked as if she were carrying the weight of the world upon her shoulders. She had made a choice, and now she was seeing the consequences of her actions. She knew what she had to do and she did so, but now she was having difficulty accepting that choice was necessary. He prayed that Daniel would be all right. The man had as many lives as a damned cat surely he’d survive a gunshot wound. Jack sent a silent prayer up to the heavens to ensure that Daniel would return to them alive. Teal’c went after him, and Teal’c would find him. He’d be all right. He had to be all right. He once again squeezed Carter’s hand in comfort then said, “You made the right choice, Carter. I’m sure Daniel knows that…”

“But it’s just so hard…I shot him with my weapon…I…”

“He’ll be fine, Carter. He has nine lives remember?”

Carter smiled shakily in response to that comment of Jack’s and found that she was feeling a little bit better. She glanced towards the woods in the direction Daniel had fled and hoped that he’d be all right. When she looked back at Jack his eyes were once again closed. She felt a sharp fear stabbing at her. She shakily questioned, “Colonel? Colonel O’Neill?”

He didn’t answer. He didn’t even act as if he had heard her. Sam swallowed hard as she reached shakily for the man’s neck to check his pulse. She sighed in relief when she found it. He was still alive but she needed to keep him awake, for if he fell asleep he might never awake again. She focused on waking Jack up once again. She started to shake him and call his name. The longer it took him to respond the more fearful she was becoming. Oh God, what if he had already slipped into a coma? Oh God no, this couldn’t be happening! Sam became desperate to wake Jack now nearly screaming his name to get him to respond to her. He had to wake up! He had to!

Teal’c continued to search for Daniel. He was determined not to give up his search. He had to find Daniel, and he wasn’t leaving these woods until he did so. Once he found Daniel then he’d have to get him out of the woods and get him some help as quickly as possible. The man had just been through quite an ordeal from his abduction, and now he was shot on top of it. Daniel was here somewhere. Teal’c just had to locate him.

Daniel slowly started awake. The first thing he became aware of was the intense burning ache in his side. He pressed gently on the wound and cried out in sudden pain clenching his eyes tightly shut as darkness threatened to overpower him. Oh God, did that wound ever hurt! He swallowed hard steeling himself against the anguish presently tearing through his side. He had to stay awake, and he had to assess his condition. He focused intently on his breathing sighing in relief when the pain in his side seemed to ebb a bit. When he felt confident enough that opening his eyes wouldn’t send his whole world pitching crazily before him he did so. He realized that he was still laying on his right side on the hard ground. Where was he? How far did the symbiote take him? As he thought of the symbiote he noticed that he couldn’t sense the being within. Was the creature now dead or just unconscious? He actually hoped for the first. He didn’t like the idea of becoming a Goa’uld host in the least. He glanced at his side noticing the crimson liquid still oozing through his fingers. My God, if he didn’t get help soon he’d bleed to death out here. How long had he been unconscious? He stared blankly at the blood continuing its slow trek down across his body soaking into the material of his jacket. He eased his hand off of his wound then eased the jacket open gently tugging on the shirt. He inhaled sharply as pain rapidly greeted the simple movement. As he eased the shirt up off of his injury and glanced at it he felt ill. He could see that the bullet had penetrated his back and exited out the front. Well at least he didn’t have a bullet still lodged in his body. He knew the wound was critical. He’d die if he didn’t find help soon. He gently covered his wound back up drawing the jacket once again over top of the wound and pressing his hand against it. He again inhaled sharply as the light pressure succeeded in jarring his wound. He had to get up. He couldn’t remain here. He attempted to rise crying out in anguish as the attempt succeeded in sending severe agony ripping through his wound. Oh shit, did that injury ever hurt! He fell back to the ground screaming as the pain threatened to send him back into the abyss of blackness. He couldn’t just give up. He had to get out of here. He could feel heat sparking within him and knew that his wound was now most likely infected. He had no choice but to force himself onward. He once again attempted to rise, but the pain lashed out at him sending him once more to the ground. He silently urged himself, “Come on Daniel. Come on. You have to move. Get up!”

He closed his eyes swallowing hard as he attempted to once again reign in the strength he would need to make a third attempt at rising. He jumped crying out when a hand touched his shoulder. He snapped his eyes open and stared into the face of the Unas Chaka. Where the hell did he come from? How on earth did the Unas find him? He watched Chaka wondering what the creature wanted. Chaka spoke one word, “Dan…yell…”

Daniel focused on the Unas all too aware that he was now breathing heavily from his attempts to rise. He licked his lips to moisten them then answered, “Yes…Chaka…I need help…help…help, Chaka…”

Chaka stared at him for the longest time not moving. Daniel swallowed hard forcing himself to sit upright. He gritted his teeth preparing not to voice his pain but failed miserably at the task. He closed his eyes forcing back the tears of agony that wanted to come forth. Shit but his side burned immensely! He struggled to pull in a ragged breath as the injury responded to his movements by sending excruciating pain stabbing throughout his side.

Chaka noticed Daniel’s obvious distress. Daniel didn’t look well. He examined Daniel quickly discovering why he was struggling so much to arise. He was injured and by the look on his friend’s face he wouldn’t be able to do so on his own so Chaka gently draped his arm around Daniel urging the man to rise.

As he felt an arm bracing his back Daniel opened his eyes focusing on the Unas now with him. As Chaka said his name again Daniel nodded. He was sure Chaka was urging him to rise. He attempted to do so finding that he was eternally grateful that the Unas was now helping him. He doubted he’d be able to rise on his own. His energy was all but depleted as he continued to lose the precious blood that he so desperately needed to continue living. He was already feeling dizzy and was sure that was due to losing so much blood. Once he was to his feet he nodded at Chaka saying, “Thank you…”

Chaka once again uttered his name then moved to loop his other arm under Daniel’s knees. Daniel shook his head no but Chaka refused to listen and in one quick move had Daniel cradled in his arms with one arm under his knees and the other across his shoulders supporting his back and neck. He tried to argue with Chaka but felt his strength quickly diminishing. He muttered, “Chaka…my friends…can you…I need you to find my friends…my…”

He groaned as he felt lightheadedness suddenly sweep over him. He licked his lips and once again focused on Chaka making yet another attempt at communicating to the Unas, but blackness demanded his return. He fought against the blackness but was rapidly losing the battle. He just wanted to sleep, but he also knew the dangers of drifting asleep in his present state. He needed help or death would find him in the next few hours. He propped his head against Chaka’s chest no longer able to resist the pull of the darkness that was once again descending upon him.

Chaka focused on Daniel’s face. He knew that his friend was in danger. He was injured and needed aid. Chaka wondered how his friend became injured since his departure. He decided to return to the cave and tend to Daniel there. Once he was assured that Daniel was safe then he would search out the others who came for him. He focused intently on his friend who was now fast asleep in his arms. He knew just by looking at Daniel’s face that his friend was slipping away. He had to get moving. With his mind made up, Chaka turned in the direction of home carrying his newly acquired friend in his arms. He hoped that the ones who came for Daniel were not the same ones who had injured him.

Sam continued to call to Jack becoming increasingly more fearful the longer he remained unresponsive. Oh God, she shouldn’t have left him go back to sleep. Damn it, she knew better! What was she thinking? How could she have forgotten something like that? She knew the answer already. Her focus was split in two different directions. She was worrying and fearful for both Jack and Daniel. She was struggling just to maintain her focus. She called his name once again and cried out in relief when the man groaned. Oh thank God! He was awaking. Sam questioned, “Colonel…”

“Carter, what do you want now?”

“Sir, you have to stay awake. You can’t rest…”

“What?”

“You have to stay awake. You took a pretty nasty blow to the head. Colonel, you need to stay with me here.”

Jack opened his eyes focusing on the worried face of Carter. He could see her inner turmoil and struggle. Then he remembered why she seemed so fearful and so concerned…Daniel and him. They were both injured. He wondered if Teal’c had any luck locating Daniel yet. He questioned, “Daniel?”

“No sir. Teal’c still hasn’t returned. Jack, can you sit up for me?”

“Jack?”

“I’m sorry, Colonel.”

“No, no…it’s okay. Yeah, I think I may be able to sit up…just need some help here.”

Sam immediately offered him the aid he needed. She then asked, “Can you stand up?”

“Oh…sure Carter…sure, no problem.”

He attempted to do so on his own, but didn’t make it very far. He glanced at her then said, “Um well…a little help would be nice.”

Sam grinned at him responding, “Sure sir.”

She managed to get Jack to his feet and over to a tree then helped him to sit down with his back against it. He leaned back closing his eyes as the pain in his head throbbed intensely. He heard Carter’s concerned voice question, “Sir, how are you feeling?”

“Still like I have a major hang over…”

“How are the ribs?”

“They don’t hurt as much as my head.”

“Good. You have to stay awake…”

Jack opened his eyes watching Carter intensely then he casually questioned, “So what would you like to talk about…and please none of that scientific mumbo jumbo or I will fall back to sleep.”

Sam rolled her eyes in response to that comment and as Jack grinned at her she returned the grin. She answered, “Oh, I don’t know. We could discuss the weather.”

“Yeah, the weather. I’m sure I’ll be with you for oh about the next thirty seconds.”

“Well, do you have a better idea?”

“Hmm…let’s see…what is your worst fear?”

As Jack glanced at Carter he realized that was definitely not a good question to ask her. Damn, now that was stupid! Whatever possessed him to ask that question? He of course knew the answer. The knock to his head successfully managed to confuse him just a bit. He quickly apologized. Sam smiled then said, “That’s all right, Colonel.”

He watched her noticing that she was still very fearful. She continually scanned the woods then scanned him. She was determined to keep an eye out for Daniel and Teal’c while also keeping an eye on him. He commented, “Carter, he’ll be fine. Our Daniel is tough. He has nine lives. Trust me…”

Trust him…God how she wanted to, but right now her mind was plagued with guilt and fear. There was no way she could ignore the facts: she had shot Daniel. She injured him critically. The truth of the matter was that Daniel could die, and if he didn’t soon get aid…he would die. She knew that he would. He couldn’t live long out there running. He was probably even now bleeding to death, and if she hit a kidney or lung with that bullet… She once again wrapped her arms around her body as she trembled. She cast a worried glance Jack’s way as she asked, “But what if he isn’t? What if he dies because of me? I pulled the trigger. I injured him…I CRITICALLY injured him. What if Daniel dies because I shot him? I would be a murderer. What if I murdered my own friend in cold blood? What would I do?”

Jack watched her intently. He knew exactly what she was going through. He had been in similar situations. In fact, there was even one mission back in his old Special Ops days where he had to actually kill one of his close friends. His friend had been working for the other side. He was passing US military secrets to their enemies. Jack was the one sent to retrieve him and bring him back to the United States for trial. He ended up having to shoot the man in the end. He shuddered as he remembered that time all too clearly. He glanced up at Carter when her voice came to him, “Sir, are you all right?”

He cleared his throat softening his voice as he said, “You would carry on with your life. Try your best to keep on living. Daniel wouldn’t want you to give up on life if he died. He would wish you only the best, and he would forgive you. Hell, he probably already forgave you. Sam you had a choice to make, a very hard choice. You could’ve just left him kill me. You had to make a choice, and you had to make it in only a few scant seconds. It was a judgment call. You knew what you had to do and you did it…”

“But if Daniel dies…”

“We need to stay positive. He’s out there in those woods critically injured. Teal’c is searching for him all we can do is stay here and wait. I can’t travel with you in my present condition and you…I know you won’t leave me. You know what could happen to both of us. You have to keep your faith. You have to believe that Daniel will be all right and if he isn’t…”

Sam glanced up at Jack once again. She could see that he was very afraid for their young teammate, as well. Daniel meant a lot to both of them and if they were to lose him…they had lost Daniel once before and all three of them struggled to deal with his death. They had been shocked to discover that their friend was still alive and that their minds were simply programmed to believe that they had witnessed Daniel burning to death. Sam didn’t want to ever have to relive his or anyone else’s death again. It was just too painful. She had lost so many people in her lifetime that meant something to her…hell they all lost so many important people in their lives. They needed one another. The members of SG-1 relied heavily on one another. They were more than just a team; they were a family. If something happened to one member then all of them were affected. She was jolted out of her reverie as Jack squeezed her shoulder in a comforting gesture. She once again focused on him finding that she was glad to have him with her at a time like this.

Jack watched her intently. He knew that she was worrying herself sick over him and over Daniel. She had two badly injured team members to keep her mind thoroughly occupied for a while. He continued to struggle to remain alert. He didn’t want her to be worrying over him and Daniel. She didn’t need the extra burden. He felt his head drifting back and attempted to jerk it upright, but his head refused to follow his command. He felt his eyelids drifting shut and his hand sliding off of Carter’s shoulder.

Sam focused intently on Jack when she felt his hand slip off of her shoulder. She noticed that his eyes were once again closed. Oh God no! She turned yelling, “Colonel? Colonel?”

She received no response. She could feel her fear tripling. Shit, she had to get him awake again! Damn it! She pressed her hand against his left cheek then said, “Jack…Jack wake up damn it! Wake up!”

“Wha…what Carter, what is it…?”

“Don’t do that to me again, sir! My God, I thought you… Don’t do that ever again! You need to stay awake. Come on we need to think of some way to keep you conscious.”

Jack grinned evilly as he said, “I could think of a few ways to…”

“I’m serious Colonel…”

“I know…I’m sorry…but the thought has crossed my mind on several…”

“Colonel, I think we need to change the topic…Tell me about Sara.”

“Sara? You want to know about Sara? Why?”

“I’m just curious. You never told me much about her even after that incident in the hospital. What is she like? Is she a nice person? How did you two fall in love?”

“Sara…you want to talk about my ex-wife…what has Daniel told you?”

“Nothing…all I know is that you lost Charlie then you lost her.”

He looked at her in surprise then questioned, “That’s all? Daniel never told you about her?”

“Well no. Why would he? What does he know about her that I don’t know?”

Jack looked at Carter intently and she knew by that expression that Daniel Jackson knew a hell of a lot more about their Colonel then she thought he did. She continued, “If you don’t want to talk about her I understand…how about Daniel then? Tell me how you and Daniel met.”

Jack grinned at that request. He looked at Sam then replied, “How Daniel and I met? Well, that’s an easier topic of discussion. We met at the SGC. I knew nothing about the man when we first met.”

“What was your first impression of him?”

“Geek…a definite geek.”

Sam laughed as Jack said that. She noticed his head nodding forward again but this time he jerked his head upright. She became even more frightened for him. She could tell that Jack was struggling to remain alert. She had to keep him talking about anything. She had to keep him conscious. If he didn’t remain alert then he just might slip into a coma. She had to keep him talking to keep him awake.

Teal’c continued to search for Daniel growing more and more uncertain as he went. What if he didn’t find Daniel and the man ended up dying in these woods? One of his greatest fears was dying alone, and he didn’t want any of his friends to suffer such a grim fate. He hated the thought of dying alone. He didn’t fear much but that was definitely close to the top of his list. He’d never openly admit that to anyone though. He had to find his friend before time ran out. Through the years Teal’c has grown closer and closer to his Tau’ri friends. He wouldn’t give them up for any reason. The day that he turned against his god to help aid Jack O’Neill was the day his life changed forever and the day that his life changed for the better. Through the years he grew more and more attached to each member of SG-1. They were his family now. He vowed to protect them always. He wasn’t about to allow any harm to come to them if he were able to prevent it. He loved each and every member of SG-1 deeply, but he wasn’t about to openly admit such feelings. He was trained to be a warrior without a conscience. He was trained to suppress all emotions. The training was so much a part of him and so ingrained in him that he rarely showed much emotion to anyone. The members of SG-1 knew him better than anyone else, and they could read him and his thoughts like a book. He didn’t need to show emotion around them because they some how understood him. They had an innate instinct when it came to reading one another’s emotions and feelings. They knew each other so well. They were more than a team; they were a family and Teal’c was very glad to be a part of that family. He wouldn’t give them up for any reason. His Tau’ri friends just meant too much to him.

Chaka entered his home carrying his friend over to a corner of the room where he gently laid him down. He checked Daniel’s condition noticing that his condition deteriorated some. He immediately found his sister and ordered her to go collect medicines for his friend. She returned shortly thereafter entering his home noticing that her brother sat cross-legged on the floor staring down at a lone figure. She knew that the one Chaka brought with him was the one he had defended from death. She was determined to help him in any way she could. She approached Chaka then set to work on his friend. She noticed that he was weak and losing his life force rapidly. She quickly mixed some herbs together then worked on cleansing his injury and bandaging it. Once she was done she looked back at her brother and told him she could do no more. He thanked her for her help and remained keeping a silent vigil over Daniel.

Daniel started to awake once again. He struggled to open his eyes but had some difficulty in doing so. He tried to recall where he was and what had happened. As he attempted to move he cried out feeling the pain returning in his side rapidly. He reached for his injury when a hand suddenly wrapped gently around his wrist. He noticed that the hand felt rough and odd. He rapidly opened his eyes as he realized that hand wasn’t human. When he glanced at the one with him he sighed in relief seeing Chaka above him. He suddenly remembered that Chaka had found him in the woods and carried him somewhere. Daniel glanced around realizing that he was in what appeared to be some kind of shelter. As the throbbing in his wound continued to increase he again reached for his injury when Chaka tightened his grip slightly and whispered, “Ka…ka…”

Daniel focused on him then responded, “Ka…no…okay. I understand.”

He continued to watch the Unas then replied, “Thank you…thank you.”

He attempted to shift wincing as the simple movement sent more agony ricocheting throughout his body. The burning in his side was now even more intense than before and he noticed that he was extremely warm. As he closed his eyes Daniel realized that he had a fever. Shit, a fever could only mean one thing: his wound was infected. He coughed crying out as doing so made his side ache all the more. He clenched his eyes tightly shut waiting for the pain in his side to ease up some. When he felt he could once again focus he again opened his eyes looking at Chaka as he spoke, “Water…Chaka. I need water… Water…”

Chaka seemed to understand what Daniel was telling him because he released Daniel’s wrist then turned lifting up what appeared to be some form of a cup. He then pressed his right hand against Daniel’s shoulder urging him to try to sit up. Daniel attempted to do as Chaka wanted but anguish tore through him at the simple movement. He rose only a few scant inches before once again falling. His attempt to rise only succeeded in driving more agony to his injury causing him to again reach for his throbbing side. Chaka succeeded in stopping him from touching his wound as he quickly ordered, “KA!”

Daniel focused on his newly acquired friend nodding to indicate that he understood the order. He then focused on once again attempting to rise. Chaka helped him to raise enough to be able to drink then held the cup to Daniel’s lips and urged him to do so. Daniel gratefully accepted the liquid he was offered. Once he was done drinking Chaka helped him to lie back down. He closed his eyes as he felt the fever within spiking even higher and within only a few short minutes Daniel was once again deep asleep.

Chaka continued to watch his friend noticing how he struggled to sit up and to drink. He knew that his friend needed more help then he could provide him with so he determined that he had to locate the ones who had accompanied Daniel when he left here originally. He called his sister over and told her to keep watch over Daniel. She quickly took his place sitting down beside her brother’s friend to guard and watch over him.

Chaka entered the woods heading back in the direction where he had found Daniel only a short time ago. He could only hope that those who were with Daniel were now searching for him and had realized that he was in the woods. He moved at a very rapid pace making good time as he did so. When he saw one of those who were with Daniel earlier he approached. Then indicated that he should follow.

Teal’c continued searching for Daniel knowing that if he couldn’t locate his friend that Daniel would surely die. He had to find Daniel soon or he would be of no help at all. As he continued in his search he heard a noise in the distance. He hoped that noise was Daniel attempting to make his way somewhere. He stopped and waited patiently to see what the source of those sounds was. He cocked his head to the left in confusion when he saw a Unas step before him. He recognized him as being the one who had abducted Daniel. The Unas approached then made several hand gestures. Was he trying to tell him to follow? He was unsure of what the Unas expected from him until Chaka reached out and gently tugged on his arm. Teal’c nodded then followed Chaka to his home.

Sam continued to watch Jack and observe him for any possible changes. They had both fallen silent, and she noticed that Jack was once again falling prey to the lure of unconsciousness. She needed to get his full and undivided attention and she needed to get him on a topic that he could focus on. She spoke up in an effort to draw his attention to her yet again, “Colonel, tell me about Charlie.”

“What? What Carter? I’m sorry.”

Jack shook his head to clear it wincing as pain answered his sudden action. He felt lightheaded but did his best to ignore that as well. He focused intently on Carter’s face as she asked, “Charlie… Tell me about him.”

“Sam…”

“I’m sorry is that getting too personal?”

“No…no that’s all right I just…”

“I understand.”

Once again they both fell into complete silence that seemed to stretch on forever Jack was the first to break it, “You know I still hold myself totally responsible for his death?”

“What?”

“Oh yeah…when I went on that first mission to Abydos I was determined to…end my life. Daniel knew it and tried his damnedest to stop me. He was determined to get through to me. He even went so far as to throw himself in front of me when Ra intended to kill me. He died for me on Abydos, Carter. He actually died…”

“WHAT? I never knew that…”

“Ra had a sarcophagus and brought him back to life. I couldn’t believe the man would go as far as to sacrifice himself to save me. The kid was crazy… He reminds me so much of my son, you know. Charlie…Charlie was so innocent and too young to die…Daniel…Daniel’s a lot like him. It’s scary…he’s matured and grown a lot since that first trip to Abydos but…”

Jack felt his eyes drifting shut and his head once again drop back against the tree as blackness threatened to swallow him up. Sam quickly drew his attention back as she demanded, “Stay with me Colonel. Damn you stay with me! Tell me about Abydos, tell me about Daniel, tell me about your son…God, please just tell me about something but don’t you dare pass out on me again! Do you hear me, Jack! Don’t you dare leave me! JACK!”

Jack jerked his head up once again crying out in agony as the pain sliced at him. He leaned forward pressing his hand to his head muttering, “Shit, I have got to stop doing that!”

“Colonel? Oh thank God! Don’t you dare do that to me again! Don’t scare me like that!”

“Major, you need a vacation…”

“What I need is for you and Daniel to get well. What I need is for both of you to survive and make it back to Earth in one piece. I’ll be damned if I’m going to return to Earth with a dead colonel or a dead archaeologist so you and Daniel had better be doing your damnedest to stay alive! Do you hear me, Jack? Do you?”

“Yes ma’me.”

Despite the graveness of their situation Jack found himself smirking mischievously at Carter. He knew how much of a danger he was in and after her obvious avoidance about where Daniel was shot he also knew that Daniel was in a lot of trouble. He once again found himself praying that he and Daniel would both live long enough to successfully make it off of the planet in one piece and still be breathing. He continued to observe his second in command noting just how much of a toll this whole situation was having on her. She was obviously putting herself through an emotional ringer over shooting Daniel and over his own present condition. Jack wished he could help her out more than he was but his head was pounding constantly and urging him to fall into that ever-encroaching darkness that was hovering just below the surface of his mind luring him to follow.

Teal’c continued to follow the Unas a bit surprised at just how fast the creature could traverse through the woods. He recognized the cave immediately where Chaka paused to once again urge him on. He followed the Unas into the cave recalling events from only a few scant hours earlier. He hoped that in following Chaka he had made the right decision. He was sure that Chaka was leading him to his missing friend. He knew the risks should his judgment call be incorrect. If he were wrong then Daniel Jackson would surely die within the next few hours. He didn’t even want to think of the possible consequences that his rash decision could potentially have on his friend.

Chaka led Teal’c deeper and deeper into the cave towards his home and towards his friend. He hoped that the one following him would actually be able to help Daniel. Chaka was positive that Daniel’s life force was rapidly leaving his body. He could think of no other way to help Daniel so he continued to guide Daniel’s friend to him. He glanced back once again to assure that Daniel’s friend was still with him. Once to his home he signaled for Teal’c to enter and quickly approached his sister. She looked up at her brother and reported that his friend’s condition was worsening. Chaka knelt beside Daniel gently pressing his hand to his face. He hoped that he wasn’t too late to save Daniel.

Daniel fought his way to consciousness as he felt a hand pressing against his left cheek. He was extremely hot but didn’t understand why. Why was he so hot? Did someone turn the heat up in this place or what? As consciousness came to him he jerked awake crying out in anguish as the wound immediately punished him for such a sudden move. Shit, the wound…he had forgotten. He was wounded, shot by a gun and he was so hot because he was feverish. His wound was infected. He was with Chaka…in Chaka’s home. He opened his eyes to look into the face of Chaka. Without thought he once again reached for his injured side. Chaka reacted immediately gently grabbing onto his wrist as he calmly ordered, “Ka…ka Dan…yell. Ka…”

Daniel nodded then replied, “Ka…no…”

As another voice filled the room Daniel looked beyond Chaka. He managed a weak smile as he saw Teal’c. Teal’c interrupted, “It is very good to see you, Daniel Jackson. I have been searching for you. We must get you to Major Carter before it is too late.”

“Teal’c…good to see you too.”

“What of the symbiote within?”

“I think it’s dead…either dead or unconscious. After I collapsed in the woods I no longer felt its presence. I’m not exactly sure what that means.”

“I cannot sense any Goa’uld within you, my friend.”

“But these Goa’uld have no naquadah within them, Teal’c. You may not be able to sense their presence. Doctor Fraiser will have to do an X-ray…that is if I…live that long…”

Daniel swallowed hard closing his eyes yet again as he could feel the life draining fever continuing to burn ever hotter within. He licked his lips noticing just how dry they were. God but he was so thirsty. He knew that a fever could dehydrate a person quickly…pair a fever with blood loss and you were faced with a definite case of dehydration. He inhaled sharply as he felt Chaka once again urging him to rise into a sitting position. He gritted his teeth as the pain in his side ignited in response to the simple move, but he allowed Chaka to help him rise despite the anguish the movement was causing. He was very glad that Chaka was supporting him, for he feared that if he were unaided he wouldn’t even be able to sit upright on his own. He was just too weak and feverish. All of his strength was going into fighting off the infection within and combating the fever now holding him captive. He nearly sighed out loud when he felt the cup of liquid once again being pressed to his lips. He drank from the cup thirstily not really noticing the bitter taste of the concoction. He was sure that there was some type of an herb or something brewed into the liquid to give it that bitter taste, but he didn’t care. He was so damned thirsty that he’d drink almost anything that he was given.

Teal’c continued to observe his friend. He could see the fever was burning within Daniel and feared that could only mean one thing: Daniel’s wound was now infected. He noticed that Daniel wasn’t even able to sit up on his own. The fever and the injury already were zapping what little reserves of strength the man had yet remaining. Obviously the larval Goa’uld that had entered his friend didn’t heal him, for Daniel would not be so close to death if it had. He once again wondered if a symbiote developed its ability to heal itself and its host or if that ability was acquired later in their evolution. He knew that he had to do something. If Daniel didn’t get the medical attention he needed then he would surely not live much longer. He knew that whatever Chaka and his race has done so far for Daniel probably helped to keep death at bay, but for how long? How much longer would Daniel live before the infection killed him or the fever caused by the infection? How much longer could he survive without getting the proper medical attention that he so desperately needed? Teal’c glanced up at his friend as the man’s voice broke into his thoughts, “Where are Sam and Jack? Why didn’t they…?”

Teal’c looked at his friend for the longest time. Could Daniel be completely unaware of why he had been injured in the first place? Did Daniel really not know what had happened to O’Neill before his sudden mad dash into the woods? He continued to silently observe his friend and by the blank expression crossing the man’s face he was positive Daniel was unaware that he had even attacked O’Neill.

Daniel tensed as Teal’c fell completely silent looking at him with a dark intensity that spoke volumes. He had a sudden uneasy feeling that something wasn’t right. He slipped his tongue out between his lips to once again moisten them and sighed when Chaka once again offered him liquid. He nodded his head yes and allowed Chaka to help him drink. He willingly drank the bitter tasting liquid knowing that he was in desperate need of fluids to survive. Chaka removed the cup after Daniel drank for a time then Daniel once again focused solely on Teal’c questioning, “Teal’c, what happened to them?”

Teal’c lowered his voice already very much aware of the physical condition his friend was now in. He hoped that by telling Daniel of what had occurred prior to his dash into the woods it wouldn’t impede his healing at all. He also knew that Daniel had a right to know what he had done while under the influence of the Goa’uld.

Daniel watched Teal’c intently feeling the uneasiness continue to spread throughout him. Something had happened when he was under the influence of the Goa’uld. Something very bad had happened. Daniel spoke barely above a whisper as he questioned, “What did I do, Teal’c? What happened while it was in control of me?”

“Major Carter is with O’Neill…”

“Teal’c just tell me what I did…please.”

“You attacked O’Neill. He fell and struck his head on a rock…”

Teal’c watched Daniel intently knowing that the news of what had occurred while the larva was in control would cause Daniel much stress. His young friend fell completely silent inhaling shakily as he downcast his eyes. He then spoke even softer then before, “God, is he all right? How badly did I hurt him?”

“Daniel Jackson this is not your fault. You could not have known that the larva within you would harm Colonel O’Neill. You cannot blame yourself for actions that you did not do.”

“The hell I can’t! It used me…it used my body to hurt Jack! How the hell can I not feel responsible for that?”

Daniel started coughing immediately after speaking. He clenched his eyes tightly shut once again reaching for his injury to comfort it. He felt the gentle grip once again being applied to his wrist and knew that Chaka was holding his arm. He cursed but yielded dropping his hand back to his side. Chaka continued to maintain his gentle hold almost as if he feared that Daniel would attempt to touch his wound. He heard Chaka say his name and glanced up at him. Once again Chaka was urging him to drink the bitter liquid he had to offer. Daniel found that he was extremely grateful that Chaka even had liquid here to sustain him. He drank so much already, but he was just so damned thirsty. He nodded allowing the Unas to press the glass to his lips and aid him. Once Chaka removed the glass Daniel thanked him then focused on Teal’c as he questioned, “Will Jack die? How badly did I harm him?”

“He was unconscious when I left to pursue you. Major Carter will help him Daniel. You need to focus on yourself and not worry about O’Neill.”

Daniel closed his eyes as exhaustion threatened to pull him under yet again. God but he was so damned tired and so damned weak. He hated being this weak! He was also now burning with fever. He was so hot that he struggled to breath occasionally. God, could someone with a fever possibly suffocate as a result? He silently chastised himself for thinking such foolish things. He glanced up at Teal’c as he continued, “You know I can’t do that, Teal’c. Jack is badly hurt and it’s all my fault. I can’t just…”

“Daniel Jackson you cannot change what has already happened. You are not the one who attacked him. You are not responsible for causing O’Neill pain.”

“I hurt him Teal’c…me…no one else…me…”

Daniel paused in the middle of his comment as sudden dizziness swamped him. He clenched his eyes tightly shut sensing that he was about to pass out again. The fever was being very persistent and attempting to pull him back into its greedy clutches yet again. The fever was threatening to consume him in its own burning inferno. He tried to focus on Teal’c but noticed the Jaffa swaying before him. He immediately clenched his eyes back shut in response to seeing that wavering image. Shit! He was going to black out again! Shit! He couldn’t do this! He had to stay awake! He had to get to Jack…he had to…

Daniel attempted to rise to his feet when he felt two hands gently holding him in place. He opened his eyes trying to focus on whoever was holding him. He saw Chaka and realized that he was now lying down on the floor. When the hell did Chaka guide him back to the floor? Shit, he couldn’t even seem to focus on himself let alone on anyone else in the room. He shook his head in an attempt to clear his thoughts then noticed Chaka was above him as was Teal’c. They both looked extremely worried about him. He quickly pushed his own safety and welfare aside as he continued, “I have to get to him Teal’c…we have to…”

“Daniel Jackson you must rest. You are in need of healing. You will not do yourself any good if you continue to fight against your body’s needs. You must focus on…”

“How the hell can I focus on myself when I know that Jack is out there possibly dying because of me? I can’t do that, Teal’c! If he dies…if…I can’t handle that! I just can’t! Don’t ask me to accept that I can do nothing for him!”

“Major Carter is with O’Neill. He will be fine.”

“You don’t know that. You can’t know that for sure…”

Daniel cursed aloud as his vision swam before him. Oh God, he was going to pass out. He tried to fight the constant tug of unconsciousness but was failing miserably at the task. He closed his eyes trying to draw some inner strength to the forefront to keep him alert, but as he opened his eyes and the room started to slide out of focus he knew he was fighting a losing battle. He managed to mutter Teal’c’s name before that possessive darkness dragged him under and back into the fiery depths of his fever.

Teal’c knew that Daniel would only be able to remain alert for a few moments longer. His friend was consumed with fever. The fever was sucking the life out of him making him weaker and unable to remain awake. As he watched Daniel’s eyes slide shut once again he felt cold fear encircle his heart. What if Daniel didn’t have those few hours to hang on? This whole time Teal’c has been sure that Daniel had several hours left before death would visit him. What if he was wrong and the young archaeologist had more internal damage then he could see? If Daniel died… Teal’c shivered. He couldn’t even imagine Daniel dying, but as he focused on his young friend lying on the floor completely unconscious with sweat running off his face from a high fever he sensed the possibility. Teal’c refused to give up on Daniel. Daniel would be fine. The man wouldn’t accept defeat easily. He always managed to hold on, and he always managed to remain strong. Daniel would be fine. He just needed a little aid to guide him to the track of healing. As Daniel groaned in his unconsciousness Teal’c knew he had to act. He had to get Daniel back to the Stargate. The Unas could do no more for him. It was up to him to get Daniel to the Stargate so that he would live. Without thought Teal’c dropped down beside his friend and quickly scooped the man up into his arms.

Chaka watched the exchange between Daniel and his friend sure that he did the right thing in bringing him here. As Daniel once again succumbed to rest Chaka became even more worried for him. He was getting worse instead of better. He was supposed to be improving, but he didn’t seem to be. He glanced sadly from Daniel to his friend then back to Daniel once more. He watched Daniel’s friend kneel beside him then lift him into his arms. He approached saying, “Ka…”

Teal’c focused on the Unas then said, “I must take Daniel Jackson back home. He will not survive if I do not. Thank you for caring for my friend.”

Chaka nodded then gently pressed his hand against Daniel’s face muttering words that Teal’c could only assume were of comfort and encouragement. It was very obvious to him that his young friend had made quite an impression on this Unas. He could tell that Chaka cared for Daniel Jackson a lot. Chaka looked back up at Teal’c then nodded his head moving to the side to allow Teal’c passage. Teal’c nodded his head then headed for the door carrying his precious burden within his arms. He would not allow Daniel Jackson to die. He would get him the help he needed. A long time ago he had vowed to be Daniel’s protector and that protectiveness turned into a great respect and love for the man who dared befriend him even after he stole and murdered his wife. Daniel was too good a human being to die so young.

Jack turned to once again focus on his second in command. She had been talking and now she was silent. He watched her intently sensing her emotions were in utter turmoil over what she had done. Jack interrupted the silence by saying, “Carter, you can’t change the past. What’s done is done. If you sit there and continue to torment yourself over actions you had to take you’ll only make yourself sick. He’ll be all right…and if he’s not then we’ll deal with it. If he should…we’ll get through it together. Do you hear me Samantha Carter?”

Sam fell silent as she cast her eyes in the direction of those woods once more. She couldn’t get the image of Daniel bleeding out of her mind. She couldn’t cast aside her emotions. She had seriously hurt him. She had placed Daniel’s life in serious jeopardy by wounding him critically. She understood that if she hadn’t acted than Colonel O’Neill would be dead…hell, he could still die. What a mess this trip has become. They were sent here on a search and rescue mission. Their orders were simple enough: search for Daniel and rescue him. Nowhere in those orders did it state that they were to shoot one member to protect the other. Nowhere in those orders did it say that both Jack and Daniel could possibly become casualties. Nowhere. But fate had different ideas. Sam shook her head as she turned to focus on Jack. He was once again staring at her intently. She muttered a quick apology, “Sorry sir.”

“What the hell are you apologizing for, Carter? Had it been you he had attacked and nearly killed I would’ve done the same…”

“No you wouldn’t have. You couldn’t shoot Daniel.”

“Carter, I worked in Special Ops for the past oh ten or so years. I’m trained to do what I have to do to survive. If I sensed a danger to a member of my team I’d protect them at all costs…”

“But you would have never critically injured him if he were a member of your team. Sir, I had a choice to make. I knew that I had to shoot Daniel or he would have killed you, but I also trained on weapons long enough to know where to shoot to kill and where to shoot to injure. I shot to kill, Colonel. I…I acted on instinct. I didn’t think of whom I was shooting I only knew that I had to do so to keep you alive. Colonel, I shot him in the back, and I shot him on his left side. I could’ve pierced his lung or taken out one of his kidneys. For all I know sir, Daniel could be…dead. I…if he is… Sir, he’s never done anything to hurt anyone. I shot an innocent man.”

“Sam, stop doubting yourself. You did the right thing. Daniel knows you did. I know that he understands why you shot him where you did. I’m positive he already forgave you. You need to accept the choice you made and quit regretting it. If you would’ve hesitated he could have killed me then turned on you. Hell, he could’ve killed all of us if you hadn’t stopped him. That was not Daniel who attacked me that was a Goa’uld larva. That was a primitive Goa’uld whose basic instinct would be to defend its self. The symbiote was acting on a primitive level. It attacked me before I could attack it. It was merely acting out of self-defense. Carter, there are going to be other times in your life that you may have to make the same or a similar decision to save his life or another’s. If I would’ve attacked Daniel then tried to kill him you would’ve reacted the same way. You’re trained to make decisions on the spin of a dime, Carter. You made a call and it was a good call. You probably saved my life in the process. Stop beating yourself up over something you had to do. You know what would have occurred if you hadn’t acted when you did. Your choice was the right one. We all know that…even Daniel does.”

Jack tried to keep his extreme worry from ever reaching his face. He knew that Carter did the right thing but after she told him of where exactly she had shot Daniel he feared that the man might not survive this trip. He knew the implications of such a grave injury. She said she had shot him in his left side. He could now have a collapsed lung or be bleeding heavily internally. Jack hoped that Daniel was all right. They came here to rescue him and Jack was determined to return with all of his team alive and intact. He had no intentions of bringing a dead teammate back through that gate. No way in hell!

Sam cleared her throat as she once again fought to keep tears that were threatening to spill over at bay. She focused on Jack asking, “Colonel, how are you feeling?”

Jack noticed her sudden change of topic, and he could also tell that Sam was on the verge of tears. She was one tough soldier but right now she was dealing with two teammates who could both die on her. She was performing very well under the stress of the situation. He was very proud of her for holding herself together so well under the circumstances. If their roles were reversed Jack wasn’t sure if he’d be quite as able to hold it together.

Instead of pointing out the obvious change in topic Jack answered her question, “Yes…I’ll probably have a headache for the next week…but I’m feeling much better.”

Sam smiled sadly. Jack could tell that she was struggling to continue on. He grasped her hand in his then focusing on her face he encouraged, “Quit worrying. They’ll be fine. They’ll probably be back in the next few minutes. Carter, you need to relax…”

“Right…Relax? Colonel, I might never be able to relax again especially if…”

“Carter, didn’t I tell you to stay positive?”

“Yes sir.”

“Then do it. If you continue to blame yourself and argue with yourself you’re going to get sick. What would happen if Teal’c were to show up and you were sick? He’d have a concussed teammate, a wounded teammate and an ill teammate. You have to stay positive and when Teal’c returns with Daniel then you’ll have to be able to tend to him and get him to the Stargate. Daniel will need immediate medical attention when he gets here. We won’t have a whole lot of time to waste.”

“What about the Goa’uld? Would it heal him?”

“I don’t really know, Carter. I don’t think so…whether it will or not isn’t the point. The point is you have to be prepared for every possible scenario. If the symbiote didn’t heal Daniel then he’ll need immediate medical attention. Expect the worst…then you’ll be prepared for it…”

Teal’c carried his wounded friend back in the direction he had come. With each step he drew closer to Carter and O’Neill’s location. Knowing that he was closer to his other two teammates made him feel better, but the fear still remained within him. He could tell that Daniel was very feverish and fading fast. The man was so feverish that the heat from his body was radiating off of him in waves causing even Teal’c to break out in a sweat. He knew that was not a good sign, a high fever was another possible danger to his injured friend. It could kill just as quickly as a bullet wound. The more the infection spread within him the higher the fever shot. Teal’c increased his pace determined to get Daniel the help he so desperately needed before it was too late for him. Daniel was deathly still in his arms. His breathing sounded labored and with each breath Teal’c could hear the underlying pain that imprisoned his friend.

Teal’c nearly jumped for joy when he could see the small copse of trees where he had left Carter only a few hours ago. He felt completely relieved as he drew nearer their location. They still had to make it to the Stargate but at least they were now with their friends. He picked up his pace faltering as he noticed Carter sitting on the ground looking at O’Neill who was presently propped upright against a tree. He suddenly felt worry and fear increase within him. Was O’Neill all right or had Daniel’s unexpected attack seriously injured him as well? Teal’c quietly approached the two remaining members of SG-1 unaware that he had slowed his pace down considerably when worry for Colonel O’Neill filled him. He drew to a halt only a few feet from the two realizing that neither heard his approach. He unconsciously intensified his grip on Daniel only realizing it when Daniel cried out in sudden pain. He immediately glanced down at the man in his arms and watched as Daniel slipped his tongue out between his lips dragging it slowly across them to moisten them. He was sure that Daniel was still unconscious until the man spoke just above a whisper, “Teal’c, where are we?”

Teal’c stared intently into the face of his severely injured friend. He was extremely glad to see that Daniel was awake once more. He smiled at Daniel as he calmly replied in a low tone of voice, “We are near the Stargate now Daniel Jackson. We will get you home.”

Daniel’s face suddenly creased in confusion. The Stargate? Teal’c said that they were near the Stargate, but how? He inquired, “The Stargate? How...what…where’s Chaka?”

“He chose to remain behind.”

Daniel simply nodded in response to that comment then closed his eyes as lightheadedness swept through him once more. As a feminine voice spoke Daniel opened his eyes staring in the direction of that voice. He sighed in relief as his eyes fell on Sam Carter. Teal’c also glanced up as Sam muttered a quick, “Oh my God, Daniel!”

Daniel focused on her and offered her a weak smile. He could tell that she has been worrying excessively and felt bad about being the source of most of that worry. He could also see the guilt within her. He knew that he was also the source of her guilt. He spoke gently to her, “Hi Sam.”

“Daniel? Daniel I’m…I…I’m so sorry…”

Daniel continued to smile at her then said, “I know. Don’t worry about it. You had no choice. I understand.”

“But if you…”

“Ah…I said don’t worry about it…how’s Jack? Teal’c told me what I did…how is he?”

Jack’s very concerned voice came to him as he replied, “I’m fine, Danny boy. How about you?”

Daniel sighed in relief when he heard the voice of his friend speaking. Thank God Jack was all right. He attempted to focus on Jack, but Sam blocked his view. He quickly replied, “Thank God… I’m so sorry, Jack. I’m so sorry. I…"

Jack attempted to rise. Sam quickly offered him her help knowing and understanding Jack’s need to see Daniel face to face. He drew shakily to his feet wanting to get a closer look at his friend. Teal’c must’ve sensed what he planned to do because he quickly carried Daniel over to him. When Jack looked down at his friend he could tell that Daniel was definitely not fairing too well. He was extremely pale and beads of sweat covered his face. Daniel looked as if he had at least one foot in death’s door already. Jack shivered as that thought entered his mind. He gently pressed his hand against Daniel’s forehead feeling uneasiness continue to creep up within him as he could feel the extreme heat coming from the man.

Daniel moaned as he felt the cool hand press against his fevered brow and quickly turned towards the source wanting the coolness to remain. He was so hot and Jack’s hand felt so good. His hand was so cool against his searing flesh. It felt absolutely heavenly. Daniel mumbled, “God Jack, I’m so sorry…so sorry…”

Jack lowered his voice to a soothing pitch as he crooned, “Shh…shh…just relax Danny. You need to relax. We’ll get you home. You just need to hang in there. Okay?”

Daniel nodded his head feeling exhaustion once again tugging at him. All he wanted to do right now was drift asleep once more. His tired voice answered just above a whisper, “’Kay Ja’k…”

Daniel felt his eyes drifting shut and was prepared to follow that lead but as he recalled how he almost killed Jack he once again forced them back open. He wasn’t ready to drift into unconsciousness. He had to reassure himself that Jack was really, truly all right. As he focused on his friend’s face he frowned noticing the deep gash on the man’s temple. He knew, without having to ask, that he was the one who provided Jack with that injury. He felt guilt swamp him even more at the knowledge. God, it was his fault that Jack was hurt…all his fault! He cursed continuing to watch his friend as guilt plagued him.

Jack could tell that Daniel was feeling extremely guilty over what had occurred. None of this was Daniel’s fault, so why did the man insist on blaming himself? Jack found that to be incredibly frustrating. Carter and Daniel were both like that. They were both so ready to take on the blame when the events were completely out of their control to begin with. He noticed that Daniel was fighting against his body’s insistent call for rest. Daniel was in very bad shape. He didn’t even see the injury yet, but he knew that the wound was infected or else Daniel wouldn’t have such a high fever. Their next plan of action was simple: get Daniel to the Stargate and back home to the infirmary where Fraiser could take care of him. As he continued to focus on Daniel he felt suddenly lightheaded and cold. God, why was he suddenly so damned cold? He knew immediately that something wasn’t right. He felt even shakier on his feet and struggled to remain focused. What the hell was happening to him? He not only felt cold, but now he felt ill. He couldn’t ignore the sudden arrival of such odd symptoms. He had to tell Carter. Jack suddenly muttered, “Uh, Carter…I’m not feeling so good…”

He no sooner got the words out before he was doubling over and vomiting. Oh shit, what the hell was wrong now? Jack continued to heave only faintly aware of Daniel’s desperate voice calling his name and of Carter’s hand rubbing gently up and down across his back. When he finally ceased vomiting he quickly spit the remainder of the bile out of his mouth. He swiped his hand across his mouth rapidly feeling himself shudder in response to vomiting. He hated when he vomited. Recalling hearing Daniel’s desperate voice calling to him he turned to focus on Daniel. His friend’s face was stricken with worry and guilt. Daniel was afraid. He could see that the man was very afraid…not for himself mind you, oh no, rarely did Danny think of himself at a time like this. Let’s just forget the fact that Daniel had a critical gun shot wound at the moment and a dangerously high fever to bat. No, Daniel’s only concern was for him. He wasn’t worrying about himself. He was solely focused on Jack. He had to reassure his friend that he was all right…even though he knew that he was far from it. He was still as cold as hell and only growing colder by the minute. Jack was sure he knew exactly what those symptoms were indicative of. He was slipping into shock. He obviously had some other injury that he was unaware of, for he was fast approaching unconsciousness yet again. He had to tell Carter, but first he had to make certain that Daniel would be all right. Daniel was shaken up badly as it was and if he were to see Jack slipping into shock right before him… Jack shook his head as he focused on his friend who was still obviously fighting off unconsciousness himself.

Daniel felt his heart skip a beat as Jack suddenly doubled and vomited. He knew that was not a good sign. He prayed that Jack would be perfectly fine. Jack had to be all right. He felt totally helpless. He was to damned weak to offer Jack any kind of aid whatsoever. All he could do was watch as his best friend knelt on the ground puking his guts out. He watched as Sam quickly stepped to Jack’s side focusing intently on him. Daniel felt his heart lurch in his chest as he witnessed Jack falling to his knees and begin to vomit. What the hell was wrong with Jack? He cried out, “JACK!” as he continued to observe his friend. Oh God, what had he done? Daniel felt extremely guilty knowing that he was the source of Jack’s present condition. It was because of him that Jack was now on his knees vomiting. It was because of him that Jack had that nasty gash on his temple. God, Jack had to be all right. He just had to be! He could feel exhaustion make another grab for him and quickly avoided falling into it. He couldn’t rest knowing that Jack was in trouble. He continued to focus on his friend very much aware of how the image of Jack and Sam continued to waiver before his eyes. Shit, he was going to pass out again. No, he couldn’t…not while Jack was in trouble. NO! His body chose to ignore that command of Daniel’s as blackness started to rapidly encroach his vision. He forced himself to watch Jack finding that he was battling with his body’s demands, but he was fighting a losing battle. The last thing he saw before darkness claimed him was Jack collapsing on the ground.

Jack attempted to rise once again all too aware of how much Daniel was worried about him. He had to get to Daniel to reassure him that he was fine, but as he attempted to arise darkness closed in on him and he collapsed where he knelt.

Sam froze as Jack suddenly collapsed before her. She felt a strong fear fill her rapidly. She focused intently on Jack beginning to scan his body and check him over. As she pressed her hand to his skin it felt cool and clammy to the touch. Oh God no, this couldn’t be happening. NO! She checked him very thoroughly he couldn’t be lapsing into shock! She quickly checked his pulse silently urging it to be beating strong, but as she felt the faint rapid pulse beating beneath her hand she felt her spirits fall even further. She then listened to his breathing noting that it was both shallow and rapid. She cursed out loud as she realized he was in shock, “Shit! Goddamn it no! Don’t you dare do this to me, Colonel!”

Upon hearing the desperation singeing Carter’s words Teal’c approached her inquiring, “Major Carter, what is wrong?”

“Ah, shit! He’s in shock. Damn it! He was doing so well. There must’ve been another injury that I couldn’t see. We have to get him back to the Stargate as quickly as possible or he may die…how’s Daniel?”

Teal’c focused on the face of his friend noticing that Daniel was once again asleep. He quickly replied, “Daniel Jackson is unconscious again.”

“Damn it, why is this happening! We should have never separated from the other two teams. Damn it! I can’t carry Jack and you can only carry one of them at a time. They both need immediate medical attention.”

“So what are we to do?”

“We? I have to make another damned decision! I have to make another damned choice! God, I can’t make this choice! It’s too damned hard!”

“What choice is that, Major Carter?”

“I need to decide who’s in more need of medical attention. Teal’c, you’re going to have to carry both Jack and Daniel back to the Stargate. I can’t carry either of them. They’re both too heavy for me and neither of them is presently conscious. You can only carry one of them at a time. I’ll stay behind with one of them as you take the other through the gate. Then, once you get them back, you have to return immediately for the other. They’re both close to death. They both desperately need medical attention. We have no time to waste. The longer we wait the less the chance of survival is for either of them.”

“So who shall I take first?”

Carter nervously bit her lower lip as she focused on first Jack then Daniel. She had to make another one of those quick decisions. God, she hated being put in this kind of a position, but she had a judgment to make and she had little time to sit here and debate about all the pros and cons of each. She focused on Daniel who seemed to be stable at the moment. She then glanced at Jack who was obviously in shock. She knew which one she had to send back first, but she hated to make the call. She verbalized her anger and frustration at having to make such a drastic decision, “Shit! I hate making these kinds of decisions! Shit!”

Teal’c knew how difficult this kind of a decision was to make. He waited patiently for her answer gently encouraging, “Major Carter, you must make a choice now. The longer we wait the less chance of survival for either of them. You must make a decision.”

She focused intently on Teal’c then once again glanced from Daniel to Jack. God this had to be one of the hardest damned decisions she’s ever had to make in her life! She inhaled deeply as she quickly voiced her final verdict, “Jack…It’ll have to be Jack.”

She stood up and focused on Daniel briefly. God, did she make the right call? She shook her head. She had no time to stand here and argue with herself about the call she had made. She knew that it was the right decision, but she also knew that she was placing one man’s life above another’s. She began to voice her rationale for her determination, “Daniel’s still stable…for the moment. Jack, on the other hand…the longer he goes without medical aid the closer he draws to death.”

Teal’c nodded his head in agreement responding, “I will take Colonel O’Neill to the Stargate. When we have arrived on Earth then I will return for you and Doctor Jackson.”

Teal’c focused on Daniel then on Jack. He knew that both of them were in serious danger. They were both now very close to death. He carefully placed Daniel on the ground beside Jack noticing Carter wrapping her jacket around O’Neill to keep him warm. He laid Daniel down careful not to jar his injury. He focused on Daniel’s face and gently brushed a piece of lose hair off of Daniel’s forehead as he spoke softly, “I will be back for you, my friend.”

He then turned to lift O’Neill into his arms. Sam said, “You need to be careful with him. I know he has some internal injury, but I don’t know what it is. You need to keep him warm. You need to hurry, but try not to jar him. You could make things worse if you’re not careful with him. Go. Now. We’ll be here.”

Teal’c nodded his head then gathered O’Neill up in his arms glancing once more at Daniel then Sam. He added, “I will be back shortly, Major Carter.”

He then turned in the direction of the Stargate and started his journey. He was very glad that they were so much closer to the gate now. He knew that time was something that neither Jack nor Daniel had. He had to act quickly or they both could die.

Sam watched as Teal’c made his way rapidly in the direction of the Stargate then she turned back to Daniel whispering, “Oh God, I hope I made the right decision. Please let it have been the right decision.”

She focused on Daniel’s still face, kneeling beside him as she pressed her hand against his cheek. She could feel the fever burning and raging within him. He didn’t have much time left either. The higher his fever arose the more danger of brain damage and death for him. She didn’t know what else to do. She has two severely injured teammates who both need immediate medical attention, but Jack was the more serious of the two. Daniel’s injury was very serious as well, but for the moment he was still stable. Jack, on the other hand, slipped into shock and usually a shock victim had little time before death found them. She had to choose Jack because he was in more danger. She whispered, “Oh God Daniel, please hang in there. Please. We’ll get you help. You just have to hang in there for a little while longer. Please Daniel, please.”

She stared intently at his face silently encouraging him to hang on then turned her focus to his wound. She was relieved to see that it was bandaged now. She resisted her urge to examine the injury knowing that to remove those bandages that were now successfully stemming the blood flow could cause the bleeding to start again. If he lost any more blood he’d probably die. She was unsure as to how much blood he had already lost but from the looks of his jacket and pants she knew that he had bled rather heavily from the injury. He was very still but as he continued to inhale and exhale shakily Sam knew that he was still alive. She prayed that he could hold on for as long as it would take for Teal’c to get him home. She clenched her eyes shut as the overwhelming urge to cry once again swamped her. She silently cursed telling herself she had to remain strong. She could do no good for Daniel if she left her emotions run rampant. She inhaled deeply as she regained her focus. She once again found herself staring intently at Daniel’s face silently urging him to hold on just a little while longer. She gently gripped his hand in hers drawing some small bit of comfort from feeling that still warm hand within her own.

Teal’c knew the dangers that both Jack and Daniel were now facing. He also knew that he had to act fast. He had little time to waste. He felt relieved as he saw the Stargate in the distance and increased his pace. Once there he punched in Earth’s address then sent his GDO code through. He waited patiently for the SGC to identify the incoming travelers who were on their way.

In the gate room the speakers once again announced, “Incoming travelers. Repeat. Incoming travelers!”

General Hammond focused intently on the screen waiting for the GDO code to be recognized by the computer. He knew that SG-1 still remained off world as well as several other teams. As the recognition signal appeared on the screen Hammond sighed in relief. It was SG-1’s signal. They had been growing more and more worried about SG-1 when they hadn’t checked in. The other two teams were already here on Earth and the members of SG-1 were the only remaining members on that planet. He headed down to the embarkation room to greet his team. He watched as Doctor Fraiser entered the room and felt confident that her assistance might not be needed this time. As a lone figure stepped through the gate Hammond’s confidence faltered and his fear increased. He immediately recognized the one who arrived and in his arms was a very unconscious Colonel O’Neill. He immediately demanded, “Teal’c what happened? Where are Major Carter and Doctor Jackson?”

“Colonel O’Neill has slipped into shock. He needs immediate medical attention.”

As Janet’s team quickly relieved Teal’c of the precious burden placing Jack on a gurney to rush him to emergency Teal’c focused on Hammond continuing, “General, I must return to the planet immediately. Doctor Jackson does not have much time left. He was critically injured. I must return for him.”

“WHAT?”

Daniel was critically injured? How? What the hell had happened on that planet? The mission was to go in and rescue Daniel not bring back two badly injured teammates. What the hell happened on that damned planet? Hammond didn’t like the look in Teal’c’s eyes or the way he held himself so erect, so tense. Something had obviously occurred while SG-1 had been returning to the Stargate. The other two teams had reported Jackson was retrieved unharmed and that SG-1 should be returning shortly so obviously something happened after SG-1 were left alone…something that caused two members to become seriously injured.

Doctor Fraiser glanced up at Teal’c feeling uneasiness sweep through her at the news. Teal’c was saying that Daniel had also been injured? How badly? What were his present injuries? She had to be prepared to give him immediate attention as well if his condition was that deteriorated. She questioned, “What’s wrong with Daniel?”

“He has been wounded…”

“Wounded? How?”

“He was shot, Doctor Fraiser. He has a gun shot wound to his left side.”

Janet stared at Teal’c not sure of what to say or even how to react to the news. She was having a very hard time comprehending the information Teal’c provided her with. Shot…with a gun. Why? Who shot Daniel and why? How badly was the young man injured? She could only gasp muttering, “Oh my God…Teal’c what happened?”

Instead of supplying her with any kind of answer Teal’c focused on the General demanding he be allowed to return to the planet, “I must return to P3X-888. It is imperative. The longer I remain here the less chance Doctor Jackson has of survival.”

Hammond nodded immediately authorizing Teal’c’s return to P3X-888. He responded, “You bring Doctor Jackson home…alive.”

Teal’c nodded his head saying, “Thank you General.”

“Do you need back up?”

“No. I simply must return to the planet to retrieve Daniel Jackson before his time runs out.”

“You may go. Dial up P3X-888 immediately!”

As soon as the wormhole disengaged the coordinates for P3X-888 were quickly redialed. Janet turned to focus on O’Neill noting that he was definitely in shock. She was thankful that her aides were already prepping him for the OR. She quickly ordered the nurse to get him into surgery then ordered a second nurse to get blood prepared for Daniel. She had no idea what to expect when Teal’c returned with Daniel, but she had to be prepared for anything. Teal’c said he was shot so he most likely would now be in need of blood depending on just how much blood the man has so far lost. She cursed as she thought of all the bad luck SG-1 has been handed as of late then she pushed her thoughts to the back of her mind knowing she had to remain solely focused on her patient.

Teal’c wasted little time entering the Stargate once the wormhole was established. He was through the gate and running back towards Carter and Daniel’s locale before the gate even shut down again. He knew that little time remained and as he finally approached their locale Major Carter glanced up at him saying, “Oh thank God Teal’c! Let’s go. Daniel’s not doing to well.”

Teal’c knelt down beside his friend pressing his hand against the man’s forehead. He inhaled sharply when he felt the heat radiating from the man. He whispered, “We are almost home, my friend. You must remain strong.”

The only indication that Teal’c received from the young man that he was still fighting was a quiet moan and the slightest turn of his head. At least it was a sign that Daniel was still in there. After Daniel stilled again Teal’c gently lifted the young man into his arms preparing to carry him to the Stargate. He tried not to notice how Daniel’s head simply flopped against his chest and his breathing sounded even more labored than before. He would get Daniel to the SGC on time. He wasn’t about to let the man die.

The first thing he noticed, as he started to head to the gate, was how hot Daniel was. He was positive that the fever within the young man increased. He tried not to be distracted by that observation as he made his way rapidly in the direction of the Stargate. He glanced at Major Carter noting her strained features. He commented, “He will be fine, Major Carter. We will get him the help he needs. Let us not delay any longer.”

She nodded in Teal’c’s direction then focused intently on the unconscious form of her friend. Daniel’s breathing had since become even more haggard than before. She knew that he was balancing precariously on the edge of death, and she knew that one wrong move could send him over that edge into the afterlife. She shook as she thought of that and yelled at herself to remain positive. Daniel would be fine, and Jack would be fine. She just had to do as her CO had commanded and remain positive.

The journey back through the gate happened in a blur. She was only half aware of the three of them entering the wormhole and being shuttled through space to arrive on Earth. Once in the SGC a flurry of activity arose all around her. Med techs were already there with a gurney ready to take the unconscious archaeologist to the infirmary. She watched in a haze as Daniel was quickly strapped up to a heart monitor and an oxygen mask was placed over his nose and mouth. Not only had she noticed his laboring for breath but obviously so had the med techs. She watched speechless and frozen as Daniel was rushed away on a gurney to the infirmary. She stood there for a few minutes longer unable to move. It was only when she focused on General Hammond that she left herself believe that she had gotten Daniel and Jack successfully back to the SGC. She felt her knees go weak and knew that she was going to collapse. She decided not even to resist the urge as her legs buckled beneath her. She gasped when she was suddenly caught in strong arms. Teal’c’s voice came to her through the noise and confusion, “You are all right now, Major Carter. We have succeeded. Daniel Jackson and Colonel O’Neill are being taken care of as we speak.”

She didn’t pull from Teal’c or resist leaning back into his warm, strong body. She allowed his strength and comfort to fill her willingly allowing his arms to wrap tenderly around her body to hold her upright. She leaned her head back against Teal’c’s shoulder closing her eyes as she felt an overwhelming burden suddenly lift from her soul. They had succeeded…they brought Daniel and Jack home, and now they would have to wait for Janet to finish tending to them. As she told herself that she allowed her eyes to open and noticed that General Hammond still stood before her looking at her in concern. He smiled reassuringly her way as he said, “Good job Major Carter…Teal’c. Now I’m ordering you both to report to the infirmary but stay out of Doctor Fraiser’s way. She’s quite busy at the moment. We’ll brief in five hours.”

“Yes sir.”

Teal’c nodded his head in Hammond’s direction then focused on Major Carter once more. He questioned, “Are you able to walk without assistance?”

“I think so.”

“Then come. Let us go to the infirmary.”

Sam nodded finding she had the strength to stand once more. Teal’c released her but still placed a supportive arm across her shoulders prepared to aid her if she needed it. She knew she didn’t need help to get to the infirmary, but she did need the reassurance of physical contact. All her fears were still very much alive within her. Yes, they had successfully brought Jack and Daniel home alive, but neither of them was completely out of the woods yet. They were both still in danger. She couldn’t relax just yet.

As they entered the infirmary voices and noises surrounded them and greeted them. The nurses were very busy trying to stabilize both Jack and Daniel. Sam once again sent a silent prayer into the heavens for both of them. If either of them died she would hold herself solely responsible. Both of their lives had been in her hands. She was responsible for Daniel’s injury and Jack’s. She should’ve been more thorough when she had first examined the Colonel. God, if only she had been more thorough…if only she had been more…

The soft, reassuring voice of Teal’c’s came to her through her conflicting thoughts as he said, “Major Carter, they will both be fine. Daniel Jackson and Colonel O’Neill are both very strong individuals. They are strong and they are stubborn. They will not give up without a fight…”

“I know it’s just that…”

Teal’c watched Carter closely. He knew that she was feeling very responsible for what had happened to both of their teammates. He could see the blame and doubt within her as she stared blankly in the direction of the floor. He guided her gently onto a couch maintaining his physical touch across her shoulders. He pulled her against him sensing that she needed reassurance and a shoulder to lean on. As she sighed heavily Teal’c once again focused on her face lowering his voice even more as he added, “Major Carter, none of this is your fault. You will help no one if you continue to blame yourself for things out of your control…”

“Out of my control? Teal’c, I had choices to make…I handled those situations completely wrong. I should have been able to realize that the colonel was in more danger then I had first suspected. I should have been able to stop Daniel without shooting him. If either of them die… Teal’c, it’s all my fault that they’re both now fighting for their lives…”

“Major Carter, you are not to blame for what has transpired. You made the choices, yes, but you had no other alternatives. No one is blaming you for what has happened. You are the only one who believes you have acted without thought. Daniel Jackson and Colonel O’Neill do not blame you for what has occurred. They both understand what you did, and they both know why you did it. You will not help either of them if you continue to blame yourself for what has happened…”

“I just…I…”

Sam sighed heavily again as she propped her head gently against Teal’c’s shoulder. He pulled her against him more offering her the comfort and company that she so needed at a time like this. They sat in silence waiting for any news about Jack and Daniel’s conditions. Sam started drifting asleep as minutes turned into hours. Teal’c glanced at her briefly and smiled as he noticed that she was now sleeping against him. She would be all right. He knew that she would. He refused to release his hold on her choosing to remain sitting with her while they awaited news of their comrades. As the hours stretched Teal’c found that his eyes were also drifting closed.

After several long hours of work Janet finally allowed herself a break. She found that she couldn’t make herself leave the infirmary just yet. She needed to see Daniel and Jack once more to assure herself that they were both well on their ways to mending. They had both drawn dangerously close to the edge of death. She approached her two patients. After some consideration she decided it would be better to place Jack and Daniel in the same room. She already knew that she wouldn’t be able to keep them apart no matter how hard she tried. Daniel and Jack were always permanent fixtures in the infirmary when one of their teammates had been injured. All the coaxing, yelling, ordering and demanding in the world couldn’t sway either of them to leave the room when a member of their team were injured. She already knew what to expect. If they were in separate rooms then they’d both attempt to get to the other without thinking of themselves or the dangers such actions could create. She decided to eliminate that particular battle and settled on placing them in the same room. They wouldn’t be as tempted to get up and move about if they could see one another and be near one another.

Janet worked well into the night attending to Jack and Daniel. She was relieved to discover that Daniel’s wound, although infected, would probably heal…unless the fever raging within him arose too high. She was now more concerned about his fever. She had been relieved to discover that there were no internal injuries just a lot of blood and a lot of damaged tissue, but no vital organs had been punctured. She immediately set him up with an antibiotic drip wanting to get the drug into his system as quickly as possible to combat the remaining infection. He was now resting quietly. She then focused on Jack just as relieved to see him resting comfortably too. Jack had internal injuries that only announced their presence when he slipped into shock. He had a ruptured spleen. If Teal’c had been any later in bringing Jack back to Earth the colonel would not have survived the operation. She shook as she thought once again of how close both of her friends had come to death today. She saved both of their lives, and now they were both resting comfortably.

As Janet turned to leave the room she paused hearing muttering coming from behind her. She knew that Daniel was mumbling in his sleep. He was finally awaking. Thank God, he was returning to consciousness. She approached his bed prepared to greet him when he suddenly sat up yelling Jack’s name at the top of his lungs. She cursed as his sudden movement most likely tore his injury open yet again. She felt her heart ache as Daniel collapsed against the pillows his face now lined in anguish as he clutched at his wounded side. Shit! She attempted to break through the pain as she spoke his name repetitively.

Daniel started to drift back to consciousness trying to recall what had happened and why he was still so damned hot. He attempted to focus on his surroundings sensing he was no longer in the woods. The first thing that broke through his mind was that insistent annoying beeping off to his right. What the hell was that annoying sound? He recognized the sound, but couldn’t yet focus enough to put a name to it. As he opened his eyes he noticed the white tiled ceiling above him. Instantly he knew where he was: he was home, on Earth, in the SGC. He was in Janet’s infirmary. As awareness invaded the fog that seemed to be filling his head he remembered Jack…oh shit! Where was Jack? Was he all right? He remembered Jack collapsing on the ground right before the fever stole him away. Without thought Daniel bolted upright in the bed screaming Jack’s name. His friend’s name quickly turned into a scream of outright pain as agony pierced his side. He cried out as he felt fresh blood once again pumping out of his body. Shit, the gunshot wound. How the hell could he have forgotten that already? He struggled to remain sitting upright, but the severe anguish digging at his side forced him back against the pillows nudging him towards unconsciousness yet again. He shook his head to clear it and focus. He needed to see Jack. He had to know if Jack was all right. He forced his eyes to open once again seeing a very concerned Doctor Fraiser hovering over him gently urging him to relax and calm down. He licked his dry lips then spoke through a haze of pain, “Jack…Jack…is he…I need to get to Jack…”

“Shh, shh…Jack’s fine, Daniel. He’s all right. He is resting…”

“No…no, I need to see him. I have to…he collapsed…he… I have to see Jack!”

Daniel once again attempted to arise but felt Janet’s gentle restraining hands press him back against the pillows. He attempted to struggle against her hold but knew that his attempts were completely useless. He was still very weak and exhausted. He couldn’t fight her no matter how hard he tried. He was just too weak to resist. He collapsed frustrated with his inability to get to Jack. He chose to focus intently on Janet reaching for her arm wrapping his hand around her to pull her closer. He focused on her face as he continued, his voice now coming out as no more than a painful whisper as he pleaded with her, “Please…Jack…I have to see Jack. I…I need to know that he’s all right…Please…”

A voice sounded off to his right and Daniel felt relief flooding his body as he recognized the voice. He turned to look at his friend and Janet moved so he could see. As his eyes fell to Jack now looking at him, a weak smile plastered on his face, Daniel relaxed. Jack said, “Hey Danny…you’re a tad bit noisy over there. I’m tryin’ to get some sleep…”

Daniel offered him a smile in return as he once again moistened his lips with his tongue before continuing, “Sorry…Jack…I had to…Jack, I’m so sorry for hurting you…so sorry…”

Jack focused on his friend. He had been resting until Daniel’s desperate call then painful scream sliced through his head bringing him to full alertness. All he could think of was that Daniel needed him, and he had to get to him as quickly as he was able. He forced his eyes to open hearing his friend pleading with someone, asking repetitively if he was all right. He knew that Daniel needed to be assured that he was fine. As Jack clawed his way to consciousness he felt relieved hearing Daniel’s voice. If he could hear Daniel then his friend was all right. He shook his head at Daniel as he responded, “You have nothing to apologize for Daniel…nothing. That was not you who attacked me that was a symbiote…I’m all right now, Daniel. I’m all right.”

“God, Jack I was so scared…I…I’m so sorry…”

“Shh, Danny…as you can see I’m fine. I’d love to go over there and give you a huge hug, but I’m not feeling too good at the moment…”

“Yeah, me either…I’m glad you’re all right, Jack…”

Both Jack and Daniel jerked their heads towards the infirmary doors as they flew open. They both grinned from ear to ear as Teal’c and Sam came charging in the room looking as if they were ready to kill anyone who dared attempt to stop them. Janet said, “Ah…visiting hours are over you two. You both need to get some sleep.”

“We are fine.”

“Yes Janet, we’re fine. We just heard screaming and…”

Janet turned her focus on Daniel’s injury shaking her head as she could see blood seeping through the bandage. She added, “They’re both fine…although Doctor Jackson decided he didn’t want to lie down so he sat up…”

As Sam saw the blood on the hospital gown Daniel wore she paled as her fear arose again. Janet recognized that fear immediately and strove to cast it aside as she added, “He’ll be fine. He just needs to be patched up again.”

Janet focused on Daniel as she continued, “And if you have any more brilliant ideas to sit up I will give you a sedative that is sure to keep you flat on your back. Do you hear me, Doctor Jackson? We didn’t do all that patching and stitching just to have you tear it open once more on a whim.”

Daniel bowed his head feeling properly chastised as he quickly excused his sudden desire to rise, “I…I had to know if Jack was all right…I…I wasn’t thinking about…”

Janet eyed him up noticing the fear and worry still present within Daniel. She calmed her voice as she continued, “Obviously you weren’t. Daniel, just be careful. You probably shouldn’t make the attempt to arise for several days. We’re here to help you in that area. Neither of you are to be sitting up, standing up, walking, running, jumping…”

Jack interrupted, “Yeah Doc, we get the idea. Jeez you don’t have to lay it on so thick.”

Janet rolled her eyes at Jack then at Daniel replying, “When it comes to you two I have to be very specific. The two of you seem to have some difficulty following orders…even when those orders are for your benefits.”

Daniel piped in, “All right Janet. We understand. We aren’t to get out of bed…”

“For ANY reason Daniel. I’ll put you both on complete bed rest and have you regularly sedated if you can’t follow my orders to the tee. Is that understood?”

Her question was followed quickly by grumbles coming from both of her patients. She cleared her throat as she again questioned, “Is that understood? Or should I…”

“No…no Janet, we understand,” replied Daniel sheepishly.

She gave him one of those looks that seemed to be saying that she wasn’t buying anything he just told her. Jack jumped in adding, “Honestly Doc. We promise.”

Teal’c and Sam grinned in response to Janet’s insistence. They were relieved to hear the normal bantering going on between the three before them. If Daniel and Jack were feeling well enough to be giving Janet a slightly difficult time then they were both doing better. Sam was very relieved. She glanced up smiling at Teal’c as the Jaffa reached over and entwined his hand with her own giving it an affectionate squeeze. In the small gesture Teal’c managed to convey one message: Jack and Daniel would both be fine. Thank heavens for that! Her smile broadened as Janet turned to Teal’c and her to add, “And as for you two…you can both remain here with Daniel and Jack but…”

Sam couldn’t resist teasing her friend a bit as she grumbled, “Oh I knew there just had to be a but…”

Janet glared at her then continued, “You need to allow my patients to rest. Both of them need lots and lots of rest. You may sit with them, but don’t disturb them. Is that understood?”

Sam sighed rather loudly drawing a quiet giggle from Daniel and a slightly murderous look from Janet. She grinned saying, “Yes Janet. Now can we please have some time alone with our friends?”

Instead of answering her Janet cast a stern look in Teal’c’s direction as she continued, “Teal’c that goes for you as well. Do you understand?”

“I do.”

Janet nodded her head seemingly satisfied with their compliance to her orders, “Good. I need to take a look at Daniel’s wound again to see if he tore any of the stitches out.”

Daniel looked at Janet asking, “Uh…I did have one question…”

“Yes Daniel?” asked Janet as she focused on him. She noticed that he seemed suddenly very anxious. She waited patiently for his question sure that she already knew what it was. Daniel glanced nervously at her swallowing hard before asking, “Did you take any X-rays? I…”

Janet looked at him with understanding shining in her eyes as she replied, “Yes Daniel. You’re alone. I found trace amounts of something breaking down in your blood stream. I assume that it is…”

Teal’c continued, “The symbiote that had inhabited him.”

Janet nodded thankful that the symbiote was gone. She knew that one of Daniel’s biggest fears was to become a host to a Goa’uld. She was more than a little happy to be giving him the great news. She glanced at Sam who was looking at Teal’c then Daniel asking, “It’s dead?”

Teal’c voiced his thoughts on the topic, “It was a primitive Goa’uld. I do not believe it had the ability to heal itself or its host sufficiently. The injury to Daniel Jackson was severe. The symbiote was probably too weak to sustain itself, so it died while on that planet.”

“But I thought that a symbiote was capable of healing its host…” asked Jack.

“If that were true in this situation then Daniel Jackson would not still be lying in that bed with a wound to his side. The symbiote would have had sufficient time to heal him if it were able. I believe that the ability to heal a host was developed…”

Janet set her lips in a grim line as she continued to work on stemming the new flow of blood springing from Daniel’s injury. As he winced in response to her ministrations she quickly apologized for causing him further pain. She glanced briefly at Teal’c as she added her input to the discussion, “Developed? That would make sense…the Goa’uld on that planet have never blended with hosts before and according to Daniel’s information no naquadah is present in them. Maybe they developed the ability to heal themselves and their hosts later in their evolutionary cycle.”

She returned her attention back to Daniel as she started to bandage his injury again. Once she had him patched up she gently suggested, “Now I don’t want you to tear that injury open again, Doctor Jackson. You lost a lot of blood on that planet. You need blood to survive so don’t be getting any foolish notions about sitting upright any time soon or I’ll tie you to the bed.”

Jack commented, “Ah Doc, stop hassling him. He won’t sit up. I’ll make sure that he remains in bed.”

She cast him a look of disbelief as she added, “That goes for you also Colonel. I wasn’t kidding about restraining you. I have no qualms about doing whatever I must to keep you both in your beds. What you both need is lots of rest and relaxation. Is that understood?”

“Yeah. I understand perfectly,” came Jack’s slightly sarcastic response.

Daniel closed his eyes swallowing as the pain in his wound still throbbed. He then opened his eyes to once again focus on Janet. He questioned, “Janet…can I at least get some water…I’m rather thirsty and…”

Janet jumped up immediately feeling a bit guilty for not offering as she added, “Well of course you can Daniel. I’m sorry. I should’ve asked. I was just so worried about your wound…”

She silently chastised herself for not thinking of how thirsty Daniel would be after such an injury. He not only had a fever, but he had lost a sufficient amount of blood. He would be extremely thirsty. She quickly filled a glass with water then sat down on his bed preparing to help him sit upright to drink water. Daniel reached over and gently placed his hand on her arm replying, “Thanks…”

Janet smiled at him noticing the fever still was raging within him. She knew that Daniel wouldn’t be awake much longer, so she would have to get fluids into him now while he was alert. She helped him to slowly rise noticing the pain that immediately crossed his face upon jarring his wound. When he was propped up enough to drink water she pressed the glass to his lips. She knew that he wouldn’t be able to sit completely upright for long without help. The pain from his injury mixed with the fever that was constantly taxing his reserves of strength would keep Daniel weak for several more days at least. She helped him drink water gently urging him to drink more until he finally had his fill. She sat the glass down on the table beside the bed and gently eased him back against the pillows. Once he was settled Janet gently pressed her hand to his fevered brow.

Daniel sighed loudly closing his eyes as the coolness of Janet’s hand helped him to feel a bit better. God, he was still so hot and feverish. He hoped the fever would leave him soon. He felt like he was in a sauna because he was so hot. He knew the fever was from infection and he knew it would stay with him a few days more. He whimpered softly as Janet removed her cool hand but as she replaced it by applying a damp, cool washcloth to his searing flesh he sighed once more. Janet’s voice broke through to him as she softly spoke, “You need to get some rest, Daniel. Your wound will heal but for now you have to fight the fever. I administered some antibiotics so that should help to combat the infection.”

Daniel heard her and simply nodded his head to show that he understood. He wanted to open his eyes but felt so exhausted. Janet’s voice grew even more distant as exhaustion threatened to once again steal him away. He heard her tell him to rest once more and without further thought he gave in to his body’s demands allowing sleep to flow over him.

Sam watched the exchange silently feeling anxious as Daniel started drifting asleep. She nervously bit into her bottom lip knowing that he was only resting yet fearing that maybe he was dying. She felt the firm grip on her hand, felt Teal’c’s strong presence beside her and felt relief fill her. She was just getting herself worked up. Daniel was only resting. He would be fine. He was just really weak. He will be in and out of consciousness simply because his body needs the restorative powers of rest. She was being silly but she still found herself asking, “Janet is he…?”

Janet turned to Sam noticing her friend’s concern and worry. She smiled as she replied, “He’s fine Sam. He’s just resting. Daniel will be in and out of consciousness for a few days. His wound is on the mend but it was also infected. He’s fighting the fever and the infection. I have an antibiotic drip hooked up to him and am keeping a close eye on his fever to make sure it doesn’t escalate.”

Jack interrupted, “So he’s going to be okay, doc?”

She turned to Jack smiling warmly at him as she reassured him, “Yes, he’s going to be fine, Colonel. Our Daniel’s a fighter.”

Janet turned back to Sam and Teal’c continuing, “He’ll be sleeping a lot so you must leave him rest. Don’t wake him. If he awakes let us know. We need to get fluids into him. He’s lost a lot of blood and is losing water to perspiration. He’ll be very thirsty when he wakes and will probably ask you to give him some water. I’ll keep a pitcher of water on hand at all times so you can give it to him as he requests it. I’m sure I won’t be able to draw the two of you away from this infirmary for very long, but you both need to sleep. If I come in here and notice any signs that you’re both avoiding rest I’ll boot you out of my infirmary until you do get some sleep. I don’t need two exhausted patients either. Is that understood?”

Sam and Teal’c simply nodded then Janet said, “I have to go talk to the General. I’ll be back. If anything happens then contact me.”

“We will Janet.”

As Janet vacated her place beside Daniel Sam quickly filled it continuing to moisten the washcloth and rub it over his face. She watched him intently, relieved to hear the smooth breaths of inhalation and exhalation coming from him as he slept.

Janet noticed Sam’s immediate actions upon her moving. She could tell by looking at Sam that her friend was very concerned for Daniel. She had no idea what had occurred on that planet, but she could tell that it had been something major. Sam looked full of guilt and remorse as she sat there patiently tending to Daniel. Teal’c seemed very concerned for Daniel and Jack, but she could also see worry when he looked at Sam. He was worried about her as well but why? Janet watched him as he approached Jack’s bed and lowered himself into the seat beside Jack. She grinned as he tenderly ordered the Colonel to get some rest. The Colonel replied to that order by rolling his eyes. She watched him as he nodded to Teal’c then focused on Sam. He too seemed very worried for her. She heard him asking how Sam was doing and Teal’c assured him she would be fine. What had happened that made both Jack and Teal’c worry about her?

Something had happened to the members of SG-1 on that planet, something bad but the team was now even closer than before. She was amazed at the strong unity this team shared with one another. Each challenge they faced seemed only to strengthen their bond and draw them closer to one another. She smiled as she watched the members of SG-1 once again together and lending each other comfort and reassurances by their presences alone. Her smile broadened as she turned and exited the infirmary heading to General Hammond’s office to give him the latest report on Daniel and Jack’s condition.

Jack focused on his second in command as he questioned, “Sam?”

She didn’t look up or even acknowledge that he had said something to her. She was so focused on Daniel. Jack asked louder, “Sam?”

Sam turned to look at the Colonel as she asked, “What?”

“Stop worrying. He’s fine. I told you that he would be fine. You need to forgive yourself for what happened on that planet.”

Sam didn’t respond merely downcast her eyes staring intently at the floor. Jack continued, “Sam, I know how hard it is to accept that you injured one of your own teammates, but you had no choice. Daniel understands, we all understand…”

“Colonel, I really don’t want to talk about this.”

“We have to talk about this Major, or it’ll eat you alive. If you continue to blame yourself for something that you had to do then you’ll never be able to move on with your life. You had a choice to make and you made it. Daniel was shot and I was injured, but we are all alive. We are all alive and well thanks to you. Sam you saved our lives. We’re here because of you.”

“But if I would’ve never shot…”

“Then we would all now be dead. You had no choice. If you hadn’t of acted then we’d all most likely be dead now…including Daniel. Because of what you did you saved all of us. You had to make a very hard choice and you did. Everything worked out so stop beating yourself up and forgive yourself.”

“Colonel, you just don’t understand how hard…”

“Believe me Major, I know exactly how hard it is to forgive yourself for shooting someone you care deeply for, someone you love…I had to make that choice myself. I know how you’re feeling. You need to accept that you had a decision to make and you did so. At least the person you shot didn’t…die. I wasn’t so lucky. You should just be glad that we’re all alive and well. In this job you have to make very difficult decisions, and you have to look at all the angles. You did the right thing now you need to forgive yourself for doing what you had to do.”

Sam glanced at the Colonel not sure of what to say so she simply nodded. He smiled at her then relaxed sure that she was going to be just fine now. She had friends to help her, and she would be just fine.

Jack drifted asleep shortly after speaking with her. Teal’c said, “Colonel O’Neill is resting. We should also get some rest.”

“I don’t want to leave them. Not just yet…”

Teal’c nodded his head understanding how she was feeling. He told her he’d be back shortly to relieve her. She nodded then focused on Daniel once again. She sat down in a chair that Teal’c had pulled up to the bed for her then propped her head on her arms watching Daniel as he slept. Sleep claimed her shortly afterwards.

Daniel started to drift awake trying to remember where he was. As he heard the rhythmic beeping of the heart monitor off to his right he recalled that he was in the infirmary. He groaned as the fever still stubbornly maintained its greedy hold on him. He was still extremely tired and knew that he wouldn’t remain awake for much longer. He hated being this weak. As he opened his eyes he focused first on the bed off to his right sighing in relief as he saw Jack lying in the bed resting. Thank God Jack was all right. He still felt guilty for being the source of Jack’s present condition. If Sam hadn’t acted when she had he would’ve probably killed Jack. He shivered as that thought entered his mind. Thank God Sam had reacted so quickly. He turned his gaze towards the young woman resting beside him. She was sitting on a chair but had her head resting in her arms on the edge of his bed. He watched her as she slept thankful that she was actually getting rest. He knew that Sam would blame herself for shooting him and would struggle to forgive herself. He felt bad for being the source of her inner turmoil.

As he quietly observed her now he was unable to resist reaching out to gently stroke her hair. As he started to run his hand through her hair she calmed immediately upon feeling the soothing touch. He wanted to tell her that he forgave her. He wanted to tell her that he understood why she did what she had. He wanted her to know that he would be forever grateful that she had done what she had to do. She had to understand that blaming herself for hurting him wasn’t good for her. She had to know that she had nothing to feel guilty or upset about. She did what she had to do, and she did the right thing.

He continued to gently stroke her hair smiling softly as he noticed her continuing to calm. He felt a bit guilty as her eyes fluttered open. As she looked up at him he smiled then quickly apologized, “I’m sorry Sam…I didn’t mean to wake you.”

Sam shook her head then said, “No, no you didn’t.”

“Yes I did. How are you?”

“I should be asking you that.”

“I’m fine…love to get out of this bed as soon as possible, but I’m fine.”

Daniel mentally cursed as he noticed her sudden tensing upon mentioning getting out of bed. He knew that she was thinking that if not for her he’d be out of this bed. He could see the guilt and anger she was holding against herself for her actions. He felt a bit sad seeing that she was still blaming herself for something that she had to do. He was determined to cast that blame aside for her. He quietly prompted in a voice lined with concern, “Sam tell me…how are you really?”

Sam broke eye contact with him briefly before turning back to him and saying, “I’m fine.”

“Sam, don’t.”

“Don’t what?”

Daniel noticed that she was trying to avoid the issue. He continued to be persistent. He wasn’t about to allow Sam to continue to blame herself for something she had to do. He continued, “Sam, what you did…you had no choice.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I know you don’t, but you have to. If you don’t talk about it and you keep everything bottled up inside it will eventually overwhelm you and destroy you. You have to talk about it whether you want to or not…I understand what you did. You did the right thing.”

Sam stared at Daniel in shock horror as she responded, “I did the right thing? Daniel, I almost killed you!”

“Yes, you almost did…but you didn’t…”

“I almost did! How can I not blame myself for almost killing you?”

“Sam, if you hadn’t acted when you did Jack would probably be dead, as well as you and Teal’c. I had no control over the symbiote. It was so full of anger, rage and fear that it just took over me and lashed out. I tried desperately to control it, but I couldn’t do it. Sam if you hadn’t of shot me that thing would now be in complete control of me and you, Jack and Teal’c would all be dead.”

Sam shook her head in denial, but Daniel wasn’t allowing her to make excuses for it so that she could maintain her tight grip on her guilt. He continued, “I hurt Jack…I hurt him badly. I…I couldn’t even stop the creature from hurting my best friend. Sam, what makes you think I could have stopped it from killing you as well? I…if not for you that thing would have killed Jack. I could feel its rage and its anger. All it wanted to do was kill and flee. It would have done so if you hadn’t of injured me. Sam, you saved my life and everyone else’s when you shot me.”

“No I didn’t! I almost killed you!”

How could Daniel even look at her knowing what she had done to him and say that she had saved his life by shooting him? She didn’t save anyone’s life. She almost succeeded in ending his, so why was he insisting that she had done the right thing by shooting him? As Daniel spoke again Sam looked up finding that it was becoming increasingly harder to meet his eyes knowing that she had severely injured the man. He gently gripped her left hand drawing her attention to his face with the simple touch. She waited for him to continue.

Daniel noticed that Sam was hesitating to look at him. She was obviously still feeling liable for his present condition. Daniel gently squeezed her hand as he continued in his soft-spoken voice, “Sam, if that thing would have killed all three of you it would probably even now be in control of me. I would’ve been trapped as its prisoner. If I knew that all three of you were dead because I had killed you I would’ve never been able to forgive myself and would’ve trapped my own soul, my own spirit in my body. The creature would’ve had complete control. When you shot me you weakened me and you weakened it. When you shot me you not only injured me you injured that creature…it died because of the trauma it sustained from the wound. You saved me from being a prisoner to that creature. Thank you for saving me.”

Sam stared at Daniel in complete shock unsure of how to even react to all that he had just said. He was thanking her for shooting him? Why? She had almost killed him…but as she thought of his words she started to understand what he was telling her, and she felt the first of those unshed tears falling. They weren’t tears of mourning they were tears of relief. She felt as if a heavy weight was suddenly lifted from her shoulders. Daniel was right. If she would’ve never wounded him then he would probably now be lost to them living in his worst nightmare as a host with no control. He would be a virtual prisoner of the Goa’uld that had attempted to enslave him on P3X-888. When she shot him she not only saved the lives of Jack and Teal’c she had saved Daniel’s life. If she wouldn’t have done as she had Daniel would be trapped within his own body and within his own mind by the creature that had attempted to steal his life. She smiled brightly at him through her dampened eyes. Daniel was returning that smile with one of his own radiant ones. She whispered, “Thank you.”

Daniel smiled as he watched the realization of what Sam had truly done when she had shot him dawned on her. He sighed in relief sure that Sam was going to be just fine now. As the tears ran slowly down across her cheeks Daniel reached up and pressed his fingers against her head turning her so that she was now looking at him. He softened his voice even more as he answered, “You’re welcome Sam. Are you going to be all right now?”

She swallowed hard feeling the tightness in her throat that always accompanied tears. She couldn’t find her voice just yet so she settled for simply nodding her head. She closed her eyes as Daniel reached up and tenderly swiped away her tears with his thumb. He wiped her left cheek and then her right cheek noticing that the tears still seemed to be streaming down across her face. He could tell that she needed a little more reassurance so he simply offered, “Come here Sam.”

She opened her eyes to once again look at him seeing that he had forgiven her long before now for the actions she had to take while on Chaka’s planet. As he urged her to come to him Sam went willingly into his open arms feeling overjoyed and relieved as he wrapped his arms around her body and held her close. She returned his hug being careful not to bump his side or cause him any further pain. She smiled as she could hear the sound of his heart beat pounding in his chest. She allowed herself to relax. Daniel was here now, and he was alive. She never thought a heartbeat could ever sound so sweet to her ears. As she felt the hair on the top of her head ruffle gently she knew that his breath had caused the movement. Again she was assured that Daniel was very much alive. She held him tightly not wanting to let him go, half afraid that if she did he’d slip from her grasp. Daniel seemed to understand her need and unselfishly offered his arms as a safe haven without any complaints. She rested her head against his chest reveling in the feel of him beneath her. He was very warm. She could feel the heat radiating off of his body triggered by the fever that was still within him. Even though he felt hot under her she still was glad to simply feel him and know that he was in fact alive and safe.

Daniel held Sam against him giving her the comfort and reassurance he knew that she desperately needed. She was finally allowing herself to accept that she had no choice on that planet but to do as she had. She was finally forgiving herself for doing what she had to do. Daniel was very happy for Sam knowing that she’d be just fine now. He closed his eyes as weariness once again swept through him. God he was so tired, but he refused to fall asleep until Sam felt confident enough that he was alive to let him go. He knew that she still was trying hard to assure herself that he was really, truly okay. He was glad that she was finally allowing herself to take the first steps towards healing all her doubts and guilt.

He lost track of just how long they both remained that way all he knew was that she needed this. She needed him to hold her and console her. She needed this contact to help her to deal with all she had to do while on that planet. He refused to break the hug allowing her to make that choice on her own. He smiled as Sam eased out of his arms and looked up at him shyly. He questioned, “Feeling better?”

“Yes…sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”

“You needed to do that. I was happy to be of service. Are you going to be all right now?”

Sam’s smile broadened as she shook her head saying, “Yes, I think I will be. Thank you.”

“Any time.”

Daniel ended the comment by yawning and closing his eyes. Sam immediately felt guilty for keeping him awake. She realized that Daniel had deliberately resisted his body’s insistence on rest so that he could comfort her. She quickly apologized to Daniel who simply smiled and nodded. He then opened his eyes asking, “Would you mind…giving me some water, Sam?”

“Oh no. Hold on a minute…”

As she poured a glass of water she started to speak, “I really am sorry for keeping you awake. You should’ve said something.”

“Sam, I’m fine and you needed me. I don’t mind. I’m just glad that I could help you. Stop worrying about me. I’m fine. Just a bit tired, but I’ll be better in no time.”

“I shouldn’t have…”

“Nonsense. You needed me and I’m glad that I could help. I’ll rest a lot better knowing that you’re going to be all right now.”

She sat down on the bed beside him helping him to arise enough to sip from the glass she now held. As he winced she felt her heart ache for him knowing that such a simple movement was causing him such pain. He gave her a reassuring smile as she pressed the glass to his lips helping him to drink much needed liquid. Janet had told her that Daniel would be extremely thirsty upon first awaking due to his fever and blood loss. She helped him to drink glad to see that he managed to empty at least half a glass. When he was finished she helped him back against the pillows watching him as he closed his eyes once again. She could tell that he was exhausted and knew that he would be fast asleep within the next few minutes. She picked up the washcloth and dipped it in the bowl of cool water sitting next to his bed. She wrung out the excess water then applied the cloth to his fevered brow. Daniel instantly began to relax as she gently ran the cloth across his face. He sighed in relief then spoke, “Thanks Sam. I needed that…just feel so hot.”

“That’s the fever, Daniel. It’s still with you.”

“Yeah…kinda noticed that…”

“How are you feeling, Daniel?”

She continued to rub the cloth across his face noticing that he continued to talk but kept his eyes shut as he did so. He slipped his tongue out between his lips moistening them before answering, “Tired…I feel really tired, hot…weak…”

She softened her voice as she crooned soothingly, “Get some rest, Daniel. Rest will help you to heal and help you to regain your strength. Go ahead and rest. I’ll be here…Teal’c will be back in an hour to take over…”

“How’s Jack?”

Sam looked over at her sleeping CO then back to Daniel as she answered, “The Colonel’s asleep. He’ll be fine.”

“What happened? Why did he…?”

“He had a ruptured spleen…that’s why he lost consciousness on the planet. He was in surgery when Teal’c and I brought you back, but he’s fine now.”

“I’m glad…I still feel terrible for hurting him.”

“It wasn’t your fault, Daniel. You’re both safe and you’re both healing that’s all that matters. Now you need to relax and get some sleep. Okay?”

“’Kay…”

Sam grinned as she watched Daniel drop off into sleep once more. She was very glad that he was going to be all right. She felt so much better about what had happened after speaking with him. She jumped in surprise as Jack’s voice filled the room, “He resting now?”

She turned to look at her CO noticing that he was now watching her intently. She answered, “Yes, he just drifted asleep.”

She stood up and approached him smiling. She questioned, “How are you, Colonel?”

“Oh, I’m just dandy. You know how much I love staying in Janet’s infirmary…at least this time I can see Danny, and I don’t have to go searching the whole damned SGC to locate him. I still think she intentionally places us as far apart as she’s able when the mood suits her.”

Sam laughed as she sat down beside him. She added, “Well, she has to do something since you’re always giving her a hard time. It’s only fair that she get to return the favor on occasion.”

“Yeah right…stop defending her before I declare you a traitor.”

Sam laughed again as she continued, “A traitor? Simply because I…”

“Ah, don’t…all you want to do is defend that woman’s right to torment us.”

“Colonel, I don’t think she’s being too harsh right now. I mean she did place the two of you in the same room. She could have very easily separated you, but she didn’t.”

Jack rolled his eyes before continuing, “Yeah, this time…probably wants something from us…”

Doctor Fraiser grinned as she entered the room, catching the last snippet of conversation she decided to voice her own thoughts on the topic “I always want something from you, Colonel.”

Jack glanced at her then said, “See she’s even resorting to spying on us now.”

Janet smiled then questioned, “Colonel, how are you feeling?”

“Fine…”

As she focused on her other patient she noticed that Daniel was asleep. Not wanting to disturb him knowing he needed rest she settled for asking Sam and Jack, “And Daniel?”

Sam looked up at her as she answered, “He was just awake a few moments ago. I gave him some water. He’s sleeping again.”

Janet felt relieved upon hearing that. She added, “Good that’s what he needs. Now as for you Sam, when was the last time you slept?”

“Actually I just awoke…Daniel woke me. I must’ve drifted asleep when I was watching him.”

“You still need to get proper rest…preferably in a bed. Where’s Teal’c?”

“He should be returning soon. He retired to his room to conduct his Kel-no-reem.”

Janet grinned as Sam told her what they had been doing. Well at least they were cooperating by trying to get some sleep. It wasn’t uncommon for SG-1 to avoid rest when one of their team was in the infirmary. They usually took shifts. Each one would sit with the injured member for a certain amount of time then they would rotate. She had to be very persistent just to get SG-1 to do the shifts to begin with. They didn’t want to be far from each other when they were hurt, ill or injured. She nodded her head and simply responded, “Good.”

Janet checked on Jack once more to make sure he was all right then she checked on Daniel. When she was finishing up with Daniel she was glad to hear Sam telling the Colonel that she would be back later. When she was completely done she started to leave running into Teal’c as he was coming to join them. She glanced back at Jack smiling broadly when she noticed that he was now resting peacefully. She remained only long enough to see Teal’c take one of the now vacant seats in the room and begin his quiet vigil over his friends as they slept. Satisfied that her patients were both fine at the moment she exited the infirmary preparing to grab a quick bite to eat before she was needed again.

 

Later…

Daniel started to awake again. This time he remembered where he was. As he opened his eyes he focused on the ceiling. It wasn’t very long before he sensed that someone was now observing him. He instinctively knew who it was so he turned towards his friend smiling as he saw that Jack was watching him intently. He simply questioned, “What?”

Jack awoke noticing that he was alone in the infirmary. He figured that Sam and Teal’c decided to go get something to eat. He quickly focused on the man who was asleep in the other bed. He grinned as he noticed that Daniel was resting very peacefully. He needed all the rest he could get after the ordeal he had gone through. First, he was abducted and then wounded. It was about time the poor man finally got a break. He was happy to see that Daniel was now able to relax and sleep. As he watched his friend he shivered remembering just how close to death they both had come. He was glad that they were both very much alive and well. Thank God. He continued to silently examine his friend feeling his grin splitting into a warm smile as the man slowly awoke and opened his eyes. Instead of announcing to Daniel that he was also awake Jack settled for continuing to watch him. It wasn’t long though before Daniel caught him and turned to him asking a simple question. Jack casually answered, “Oh nothing. I’m just glad you’re okay.”

Daniel nodded his head in response then asked, “How are you Jack?”

Jack smirked shrugging his shoulders as he replied, “Just peachy.”

Daniel focused more intently on his friend’s face as he inquired, “Honestly Jack, how are you?”

Jack could hear the slightest tinge of fear and concern in that question knowing that Daniel was still upset about harming him. He quietly sighed wondering briefly again why Daniel continued to blame himself for something he hadn’t even done. He offered Daniel simple reassurance, “I’m fine Daniel. Just fine.”

Daniel nodded watching Jack as if he were unsure as to whether the man was lying to him or not. Jack refused to break eye contact with him knowing that if he did so then Daniel would assume that he was.

Daniel remained silent for what seemed like hours before quietly replying, “Jack I’m really sorry.”

Jack made his answer lighthearted wanting to tell Daniel with his voice that everything really, truly was fine. He said, “I think we covered this already…”

His comment didn’t have the desired effect on Daniel that he had hoped for. As soon as he said it Daniel broke eye contact and glanced at the floor looking ashamed of what he had done.

Daniel quickly discovered that he couldn’t maintain eye contact with Jack knowing that he had almost killed his best friend. He quickly glanced at the floor feeling ashamed for being the cause of Jack’s suffering. It was all his fault that Jack lay in that bed. It was all his fault that Jack nearly died from a ruptured spleen. He couldn’t look at Jack knowing that his actions had almost ended his friend’s life.

Jack mentally cursed noticing the immediate veil of guilt that seemed to be hanging over Daniel at the moment. He softened his voice as he continued, “Daniel I’m fine…none of this is your fault. You didn’t hurt me. You weren’t in control. The snake is what attacked me on that planet. Daniel I know you would never harm me. I know that you would never attack me.”

Daniel spoke up barely above a whisper, “So you…you forgive me?”

Jack felt his insides twist. How on earth could Daniel believe that he would hold something like that against him? He had to set things right. He attempted to rise to approach Daniel’s bed wanting to be right next to him to offer the comfort the man might need but his move was met instantly with pain. He silently cursed as he fell back against his pillows knowing that he wasn’t rising from this bed any time soon. Damn it! He wanted to go over to Daniel but obviously that wasn’t going to happen today. He unwillingly accepted that he was momentarily confined to the godforsaken bed. Pushing his anger and frustration aside at his present predicament he focused on Daniel uttering softly, “Danny there’s nothing to forgive.”

Daniel felt relief was over him as Jack uttered those words. He still felt bad for causing Jack pain and placing him in a hospital bed but Jack wasn’t blaming him for what had occurred. He looked up at Jack and smiled as he continued, “Thank you Jack. I truly am sorry about what happened. I…”

“I know you are Daniel, but you don’t have anything to blame yourself for. You didn’t attack me. You didn’t hurt me. You are not the one who put me in this infirmary. A snake attacked me, not you. Do you hear me?”

Daniel nodded continuing to smile at Jack. Jack wanted to say more but was interrupted as his other two teammates entered the room.

Sam and Teal’c entered the infirmary to check on their friends and were happy to see that both men were now awake. They quickly occupied the chairs at each man’s bedside turning the chairs sideways so that all four of them could look at one another. Sam was the first to speak as she said, “Well I’m very glad to see that both of you are finally awake. How are you feeling?”

“Good.”

“Yeah we’re both good, Sam.”

Sam smiled and the room fell into a companionable silence. After several minutes Jack spoke up, “You know after this trip I think we are all due for some downtime. What do you say I ask Hammond if he’ll give us some leave time?”

Three pairs of eyes turned his way as he continued, “Hey even we deserve a break occasionally…”

Sam answered, “I wouldn’t know what to do, sir.”

Daniel suggested, “Well Sam, you could visit your father…if you don’t mind spending some time with the Tok’ra.”

She looked at Daniel and nodded before continuing, “Yeah I haven’t seen him in a while…I think I’m about due for a visit.”

Jack grinned as he thought of an even better idea. He quickly interrupted, “Or…”

All three looked at him once again as he continued, “You could all come to Minnesota with me. We could spend a week at the cabin maybe do some…”

Three voices immediately interrupted, “NO!”

Jack stared at all of them wondering why they were speaking so vehemently all of a sudden. He shrugged his shoulders questioning, “What? I have a very nice cabin. There will be no one around. We could…”

Again all three said no in unison. Jack asked, “Well why the hell not…?”

The other three members looked at one another wondering which would be the one to tell Jack exactly why they were saying no to his suggestion. Daniel decided to provide an answer, “We would love to come spend time at your cabin but…and there is a but Jack, so listen carefully…”

Jack cast a glare Daniel’s direction before complaining, “I’m listening, Daniel, I’m listening. What?”

Daniel raised his eyebrows up in surprise. He watched Jack waiting for the man to interrupt. When Jack seemed willing to listen he continued, “No fishing. None. We don’t want to see fish, smell fish, eat fish…none Jack. Absolutely no fishing.”

Sam left a slight giggle escape from between her lips earning her a scowl courtesy of her CO in response. Jack only held her gaze a moment longer before turning to Daniel and perfecting a wounded look commenting, “I wasn’t going to say fishing Daniel.”

Daniel looked at each of his teammates in surprise before turning back to Jack and affording him with an absolutely perfect look of disbelief before answering, “Oh really Jack? Then what were you going to say?”

Jack glanced away briefly before turning back to reply, “Camping…I was going to say we can all go camping.”

Daniel grinned nodding as he commented, “Camping? Really? Interesting.”

Jack continued to glare at Daniel as he snapped back, “Yes really Daniel.”

Jack noticed that Daniel wasn’t exactly buying what he had just said. In fact that damned grin of his only widened. Jack continued to bestow a glare upon Daniel but the man seemed totally unaffected by it so he settled for glancing towards Teal’c when the Jaffa spoke up.

Teal’c decided to add his own thoughts to the discussion as he said, “Why would we go camping if we are to stay at your cabin, O’Neill?”

Jack appeared rather flustered before attempting to answer, “Well because Teal’c…ah hell…”

Sam was the first to giggle receiving another of Jack’s wounded looks as she did so. He whined, “What are you laughing about, Major?”

She laughed harder before answering, “Sir you’re a very poor liar…”

Jack said nothing as she continued to laugh. He looked to Daniel and Teal’c for any kind of support but both of them were sporting stupid grins at the moment. He sighed loudly then shrugged his shoulders as he innocently remarked, “Well what’s wrong with fishing? It’s a very popular sport…”

That comment only received more laughter and soon he was laughing with them just enjoying being with those he loved and cared for. They were going to be all right. If any of them had difficulty in dealing with the events that had taken place on Chaka’s planet then they would be there to help each other through it. Friends were always there for friends through the good times and the bad and SG-1 was more than a group of friends. They were a family.

 

** The End **