Battle Cry by tejas
[Reviews - 3] Printer
Category: Jack/Daniel
Genres: Angst, Character Study, Established Relationship, Hurt/Comfort
Rated: Mature
Warnings: Adult Themes
Series: None
Summary: In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. ~Josť Narosky

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Author's Chapter Notes:
This story originally appeared in the Ancients Gate 'zine, "Horizons". Thanks to Jmas for the invaluable beta... and to the rest of you who chipped in to provide alpha and beta and even gamma comments. Sadly, I've slept since then and don't want to put the wrong folks down by name. ;-( I'm gonna keep digging for your names and will add them to the notes when I find them. *sniff* Bad writer, no biscuit.

This story deals with violence. Daniel reflects on how he came to be whatever he is by S7 and is not entirely pleased. Here there be angst, but the quiet angst of someone determined to do what needs to be done with little thought to the personal cost. Oh, and Jack gets whumped. :-)

It's slash without sex, but there's a very good reason for that.
Excerpt from Dr. Daniel Jackson's personal journal:

I don't care how long I do this job, I will never get used to the chaos of battle. Between the cacophony of weapons fire, soldiers screaming in rage, soldiers screaming in pain and the constant motion it's like a crazed amusement park ride inside a cement mixer. I don't know how Jack, Sam, and oh, god, Teal'c do it. Teal'c's been at this since before Nick was born. I don't know how he hasn't lost his mind. But then, maybe that explains his ability to keep his composure. After decade upon decade of this, nothing less would faze him.

After Janet released me from the infirmary following the P3R-636 debacle, Jack thought we should celebrate by going out to dinner and a movie. For some reason I can't remember after all these years, we went to see Saving Private Ryan. I don't know whose idea that was, but whoever it was owes me. The theater was packed and even though the audience was quiet, when the Normandy scene came on screen, the quiet shifted to stunned silence. I remember tearing my eyes away from the screen and glancing around me. Coming, as it did, so recently after having had a hole blown in my chest on Klorel's ship, I really didn't feel up to watching it happen on the screen. Hell of a time for Hollywood to finally get it right. Most of the faces I saw reflected shock at the all too realistic portrayal, but a few, a bare few, showed what was probably on my face; on the rest of SG-1's faces. Here and there, scattered throughout the theater there was grim understanding. These were people who'd been there. Not in Normandy, but on some other battlefield that shared the same hell Spielberg captured on the screen. The same hell we'd seen. The same hell we were just in. Only this time, I hadn't been sure we were going to make it out.

"D'n'l?" Daniel knew the only reason he could decipher what Jack said was because he knew him so well. The explosions and weapons fire going on around them cast a blanket of sound over the two men. Daniel pressed his lips to the wounded man's ear to make sure Jack heard him. Contrary to others' opinions, Daniel had a very highly developed sense of self-preservation. Hiding meant quiet even in the midst of a maelstrom.

"I'm here, Jack. Try to stay still." He kept his hand pressed to his lover's side, willing the blood to clot, knowing it wouldn't without more than a hand pressing against the wound. Daniel swore under his breath. He'd learned a long time ago just how fast his world could change. All it took was a single moment for everything he held dear to come crashing down. People had always told Daniel he was a genius, but at times like this, he couldn't see it. He figured if he were all that smart he wouldn't need to keep learning that lesson. It kept slapping him in the face and he never saw it coming.

Daniel awkwardly got his pack off one-handed, nearly ripping his radio off at the same time. He tried not to think about the continuing radio silence. As soon as he got the bleeding stopped, Daniel promised himself to try again to reach Sam and Teal'c. He dug around and finally managed to find something that wasn't a book. Maybe Jack's right, maybe I do carry too many. He retrieved what turned out to be a t-shirt and pressed it down on the wound. He didn't think it would take long before it was saturated, but it was better than nothing. Jack had stopped moaning. Daniel could only tell because he was so close. At first Daniel feared the worst, but then he could see the other man was still breathing and in the dim light Jack's eyes shined up at him. Daniel grabbed one of his lover's hands and put it on the wadded t-shirt. "Jack, you need to hold this." He nodded, but it was obvious he was struggling. Now, with both hands available, Daniel dug out his med kit. Sam had the big one, but they had two of the ordinary ones between them. They'd have to be enough.

Excerpt from Dr. Daniel Jackson's personal journal:

We'd arrived on P3X-483 for a standard meet and greet. SG-12 had heard rumors on one of their last missions about rich naquadah mines on a planet that had supposedly thrown off repeated Goa'uld occupations. It would have helped if they'd been able to come up with all six gate coordinates. As it was, we found five planets in our database that met the various criteria. This was planet number three. The less said about the first two, the better. SG-6 should be getting out of the infirmary in a couple of days. But that's neither here nor there.

At first, things went well. As often happens, their name for themselves translated as 'the people'. They had the usual mix of leftover alien tech mixed with a more agrarian society. Didn't look like a society that could defeat a Goa'uld, but one thing we've learned is that appearances can be deceiving. One day I'd love the opportunity to study one of these cultures in more depth. There are some interesting parallels between many planets abandoned by the Goa'uld and the Cargo Cult of Melanesia. Right. Like that's going to happen.

I managed to find a mix of Greek, Arabic and, oddly enough, Mandarin that got our point across. Or so I thought. I didn't recognize the dominant language at all. The languages gave us some hints at which Goa'uld had been here and the dominant language hinted at a potentially new alien species. We just hoped they liked us or, as Jack put it, that they decided we were old enough to be out after midnight.

Turns out some of the locals were slightly, well, freaked by Teal'c, though they didn't let on until they had us in their leader's audience hall. Then all hell broke loose. In a display of our usual luck, it seems a coup had been brewing and we were apparently a handy excuse to start blowing things up. Jack got us out of there in the confusion and we'd headed back to the gate, but rebel forces had massed between us and our way home. Teal'c took point and led us into the dense forest on the north side of the town with Jack covering our six. Sam and I took our usual positions watching for anything. The plan was to lay low and wait until the battle moved into the town. That's when we found out just how much alien tech the headman's forces had. When he brought out the staff cannons, the rebels headed for cover. Right toward us.

Jack and I broke right Sam and Teal'c broke left. Jack yelled for them to get to the gate. Almost ten miles, I didn't want to think about what they might run into on the way. Then they were gone and we were out of game trail. Jack grabbed me and we dove behind a fallen tree. It was huge and gave us some decent cover. I remember sitting there gasping for breath with my back against the tree. Jack crouched next to me, breathing just as hard. I knew his knees had to be aching, but he'd never say anything. Our recent two days of downtime hadn't exactly been spent resting. He glanced at me and nodded, then faced the direction we'd come, his weapon trained on our back trail. I joined him and that's when it happened. Something dropped down from the trees with a paralyzing screech that cut through the screaming and weapons fire. It landed on Jack's back. I froze for a moment then dropped my weapon to hang from its strap. There was no way I could hit the creature without hitting Jack, too. I kept hearing the mantra that had been drilled into me from my first days on SG-1, "clean targets, clean backgrounds". The rolling spitting mass that was Jack and the creature provided neither. My knife was in my hand before I knew it and I crouched behind them, waiting for my opening. The thing was about the size of a large dog and looked like a cross between a wolverine and a saber tooth. I think the only thing that kept Jack from being completely eviscerated was his pack. The animal seemed to be more vicious than intelligent. When it got its fangs hung up in the straps, it reared up and gave me my opening.

There is nothing quite as intrinsically horrifying as the feeling of slitting a throat. Animal, alien or human, there's the same resistance as the blade slices through cartilage, the same gush of warm blood coating my hand, the same gurgling last breath, the same stench of fear that is probably more mine than my victim's. It's a frame of reference I could have gone my entire life without having. I don't get the shakes right after I'm forced to kill any more. Now I wait until we get home. In the early days, I'd bury myself in work and try to forget. When I'd get thrown off base to rest, I'd hole up in my apartment and drink until they stopped. For a while, my liquor bill was starting to get alarmingly high. Well, for me. I once teased Jack by telling him the only reason I was with him was to save my liver. He has much better ways to help me through those times, now. No hangovers, either.

The battle still raged around Daniel and Jack. Daniel thought the opposing forces must have found a clearing nearby because there's no way they could maintain their rate of fire if they'd been reduced to the guerrilla tactics dictated by the old growth forest. His ears were all but numb from the constant din of the fighting. Experience told him he'd have to be extra wary because he was reduced to what he could see or smell until his hearing had a chance to recover. Small sounds would go unheard by anyone who'd been this close to the fighting for long.

Daniel turned the gain up on his radio and tried again to reach his teammates. His latest attempt resulted in the same static he'd been hearing for minutes, or maybe hours. It felt more like years. He felt like there'd never been anything but the roar of weapons, gut-wrenching worry over Sam and Teal'c, the stench of blood and the eternal battle to keep Jack alive. Jack. He was drifting in and out and the inevitable infection had set in. Daniel had gotten him into a sleeping bag to stave off shock and as protection from the chill of night, but they couldn’t stay here. He'd dragged the dead creature out into the forest, but their hideaway was saturated with blood. The battle was probably the only reason they hadn't been set upon by scavengers. It was only a matter of time before someone or something discovered them and Daniel knew he had to get them somewhere safer. Somewhere like home.

Daniel crouched down next to the wounded man and ran his hand tenderly through Jack's short hair. He tried to not think about the last time he'd touched the other man like this. Daniel couldn't afford to think about his lover, he had to think only about his teammate. It was an exercise in self-deception, but one he'd grown used to, like the hole in a favorite pair of shoes. It was only a problem when it rained. Daniel knew what he had to do, but he didn't like it. "Jack? I gotta move us. You with me?" Daniel's eyes had become accustomed to the fading light, but it was too dark to see clearly. He could make out the trees around them, at least as darker shadows, but nuances of expression were lost to him. Daniel thought Jack nodded, but it might have been wishful thinking. Dragging him would be next to impossible over the rough, obstacle-strewn ground. Daniel would have to carry him.

Daniel resisted the impulse to open the bag and check Jack's wound again. The bandages were long gone. Looking at the gouges left by the dead creature's claws would do no good, not that he could see them. The night vision glasses in his pack were all but useless due to the intermittent flashes from the battle. By facing away from it, he kept his night vision intact, but the glasses would be torture. Daniel pulled his pack and the remnants of Jack's to him.

He had to travel light, but going empty handed would be foolish. Daniel ruthlessly culled their equipment until he had nothing but the bare essentials. He picked up his journal and held it over the open pack, undecided. Finally, Daniel shrugged and tossed it in on top of the one book he'd brought that he'd found useful in deciphering the local polyglot. Daniel took everything else, wrapped the bloody shreds of Jack's pack around it and shoved it under their tree. The odds of him ever seeing any of it again were slim, but he couldn't bring himself to leave his books sitting out where they were sure to be destroyed.

Excerpt from Dr. Daniel Jackson's personal journal:

To this day I don't know how I did it. I used the last of the elastic bandages and our belts to wrap the sleeping bag as tightly around Jack's wound as possible. It was the only thing I could think of to keep from leaving a blood trail. We both stank of blood as it was, but after watching Teal'c and Jack track wounded enemies, I knew better than to leave an obvious trail. At the time, I'm always glad I know this stuff, but later, when I'm sitting safe at home, I find myself growing more and more alarmed at this new body of knowledge I'm acquiring.
I nearly lost it when I stumbled into a small clearing and saw them.

Two moons had risen, giving Daniel a little more light as he made his slow way through the thick forest. Jack was little more than a dead weight over his shoulder. Wrapping him in the sleeping bag was one of Daniel's better ideas as branches and brambles tended to slide off its tough slick surface more often than not. Daniel was bleeding lightly from scrapes and scratches and his clothes were torn, exposing more skin to the hazards around him. He used his P-90 to brush away the worst of it as he passed through, but every time the weapon's strap snagged he considered putting it in his pack. The thought of not being able to protect them put paid to that idea every time.

Daniel was exhausted. The initial rush of adrenaline had worn off and he felt every cut, every scrape, every aching muscle. His shoulder and back screamed with pain from carrying Jack, but there was no place to rest. He'd have to find a defensible spot where he could put his lover down and try to get water and pain killers into both of them. He still had some antibiotics and Jack was probably due for another dose. Daniel plodded on, knowing each step took them farther from danger and closer to the gate and home.

The forest seemed abnormally quiet. His own harsh panting and small movements from the man he carried were the only sign of life. Daniel wasn't sure if it was just that his hearing was still numbed from the battle or if the resident animal life had fled from this part of the forest, too. He hoped the creature that attacked Jack had been fleeing the battle. Daniel kept casting quick glances upward, fearing another attack. It was unnerving.

The forest ahead of him seemed to be thinning. Clouds had started moving in and the moonlight sometimes dimmed to the point of nonexistence but the impression of openness before him was strong. Daniel picked up his pace as much as he could, the promise of a short rest lending him much needed strength. Daniel traveled a few more yards and finally saw what he'd been searching for. There was a clearing ahead. Small dark clumps of what looked like low brush dotted the space, but nothing moved that couldn't be explained by wind or changing light. The brush and trees at the edge, would give them cover, but they were sparse enough to provide a place to stop and tend their needs. He was banking on the arboreal creatures being more at home in the larger trees. Daniel eased Jack down, taking a moment to run his hand through the other man's hair and note his rising temperature. Jack was unconscious, which was probably just as well. Daniel took a moment to catch his breath, glancing warily upward at the thin branches overhanging the small space, then moved quietly out of their hiding place to check the clearing.

Daniel crouched in the shadows to survey the open area. Another moon had joined the first two. He glanced up to see clouds scudding across the sky, and for a moment the moonlight was bright enough to illuminate the scene. Daniel tasted bile and swallowed hard in an attempt to control his nausea. Some of the moving shadows he'd chalked up to changing light conditions were alive. The dark shapes he'd taken for shrubs casting shadows weren't. They were bodies.

Excerpt from Dr. Daniel Jackson's personal journal:

Scavengers had just found the place. My hearing had started to return with every yard I put between us and the din of battle, but I was still having trouble hearing my own footfalls. Just as well. I remember being on a dig when I was a student and coming across hyenas working over a dead camel. Hyenas eat everything, even the bones. The sound of powerful jaws crunching bone was unlike anything I'd ever heard before or after until the first time I heard my own ribs break. The bright light of the moons flickering through the clouds gave the scene a nightmarish quality, but it was the sound that made me nearly loose the power bar I'd eaten before leaving our tree. I also knew I had to go out there.

Daniel counted an even dozen of the animals feasting on the dead. He guessed there were close to thirty bodies, but he knew all too well that the weaponry in play that night could easily rip a person apart. He couldn't be certain of his count without a closer examination, not that the number was necessary, but he had to check. He'd taken the easiest path toward the gate he could find without using the road and he still hadn't heard from Sam and Teal'c. Daniel swallowed hard again, dreading what he knew was coming, but needing to see to Jack, first. He slowly drifted back into the cover of the forest and slipped into their hiding place. Jack was still unconscious, which presented another problem. While some scavengers were only carrion eaters, others weren't as picky. Hoping that these creatures used scent to find their prey, Daniel took off his pack and started rummaging through it. He pulled out Jack's P-90, then the remains of their first aid supplies, a canteen and his battered metal cup. First order of business would be to try and rouse Jack and get him to drink.

"Jack." He tapped the man's cheek with his fingers, but got no response. Daniel pinched the injured man's earlobe with his nails, stopping just shy of breaking the skin. "Jack! You need to wake up." The sharp pain roused his lover a little, but only to the point of muttering and trying to move his head away from the irritant. Daniel didn't want to raise his voice and risk drawing attention to them. For a split-second he considered trying to work his hand into Jack's pants as a wakeup call, but good sense prevailed. That left only one sure-fire method and it was one he hated to use, but he needed Jack awake. Reluctantly, Daniel laid his hand on the tape binding the sleeping bag over Jack's wound. With slowly increasing pressure, he pressed down, watching his lover's face. Jack's eyelids fluttered and he gasped. "That's it, Jack, wake up!"

"Wha..." Daniel sighed in relief. Jack's voice was harsh from illness and lack of use, but it sounded beautiful to the worried man.

"Jack, you need to stay awake for a bit." Daniel eased him up far enough that he could slip underneath and rest his lover against him. He held the canteen to Jack's lips and gently tipped it allowing a little water to flow between cracked lips. Jack swallowed eagerly, sighing when Daniel pulled the canteen away. "Take these and you can drink some more." Daniel dropped two antibiotic tablets into Jack's mouth and brought the canteen up again. "Ready for the next ones?" Jack nodded against his chest and Daniel repeated the action with the acetaminophen. He'd hold off on the more potent painkillers until it was time to move on.


"We're about halfway to the gate."

"Carter, Teal'c?"

"Don’t know." Daniel raised the canteen back to Jack's lips and helped the man with a few more swallows. Harsh coughing erupted from the injured man and Daniel held him as still as he could. Jack relaxed back against him, swallowing hard, still clearing his throat. "Jack, I need you to stay awake for a bit, do you think you can?"

"Piece a cake." Daniel couldn't help the quick smile at his lover's bravado.

"What's the situation?"

"We're at the edge of a clearing." Daniel glanced up to look over the sheltering scrub. From what he could see, nothing had changed. "There's been fighting here and, um, I need to check," he cleared his throat and brought the canteen to his own lips.

"Check the bodies."

"Yeah." There was no need to say it; Daniel knew they were both on the same page. "There's a pack of scavengers out there, Jack. You need to stay alert."

"Got it. Don't wanna be the daily special anyway." Daniel shifted around and eased Jack backwards until he was resting against a tree trunk, facing the clearing.

"Right. They'd have indigestion for a month." Daniel unzipped the sleeping bag far enough to free the injured man's arms. He went back to the pack and came up with Jack's Beretta. He handed it to his teammate along with Jack's P-90. "I reloaded them, just, um, just don't shoot me."

"Are you kidding? Y'know how much paperwork there is for a friendly fire incident?" Daniel ducked his head and smiled, only looking back up when Jack coughed again. His cough reminded Daniel of the rest of his plan. He patted down his pockets until he found what he was looking for. He opened the waterproof bag and pulled out four cough drops. Daniel opened one and offered it to Jack who popped it in his mouth and grimaced. "I really hate menthol." Daniel shook his head and continued unwrapping the other three, dropping them into his cup as he freed them from the paper.

"Yeah, well, let's just hope our friends out there hate it, too." Daniel unbuckled his knife sheath and holding the weapon by the sheathed blade, used the handle to pulverize the cough drops. Once he'd broken them up as well as he could, he added some water and stirred it with the knife handle. He could feel the pieces scraping against the metal and realized he should have done this before waking Jack up. The scent wafted up, but it wasn't very strong.

"Alcohol." Jack's voice sounded a little stronger. Daniel looked up and nodded before reaching for the first aid kit. There was still a little alcohol in the bottle. He poured it in and stirred again. Now the menthol smelled stronger. He dried his knife handle on the sleeping bag and refastened the weapon to his belt. "Here." Jack laid down his weapons and held his hands out over his body. Daniel poured a little of the mixture on them and Jack rubbed as much of the dried blood off as he could, letting the pungent liquid drip on the sleeping bag where it rolled off onto the ground. He held his hand out for more and Daniel accommodated him. This time Jack carried the scented water in his hands and rubbed it into his hair and over his face. "I smell like a giant moth ball." Daniel snorted and handed him the half-full cup.

"Better than smelling like dinner." Daniel hesitated. He placed his hand on Jack's leg and gave it a quick squeeze. For just a moment, he spoke to his lover, not his teammate. "You gonna be okay here?"

"Yeahsureyoubetcha." Jack flashed what was probably supposed to be a reassuring smile, then leaned back against his tree and fluttered his fingers toward the clearing. "Go. Look. I'll wait." Daniel nodded as he gathered up the supplies and shoved them back in the pack. He checked his own weapon and stood facing the clearing. With a final glance at his lover, Daniel went to look for their missing teammates.

Excerpt from Dr. Daniel Jackson's personal journal:

Death has been a constant companion. With my parents, I'd seen tombs opened and their inhabitants exhumed. They showed them to me in museums and taught me about the funerary practices of Ancient Egypt. As an adult, I find it ironic that it was their deaths in a museum that brought home to me exactly what death meant. Whether tagging bodies on Hanka or in Siberia or walking through a battlefield, I have never been able to see a dead body without wondering who will be left to mourn them. I've seen my parents die, my wife die, my friends die. I've died myself. I've experienced it in every way save the death of a child and I only have to look in Jack's eyes to gain some understanding of what that costs the survivors. As I stepped out into that clearing and saw the first body, the first man staring sightlessly at the moons, I couldn't see a soldier. I saw someone's husband, someone's son, someone's father. For that moment, I was eight years old again, hearing the breaking of a chain and the screams of my parents. I could only think that somewhere a boy waited for a father who would never come home.

Daniel crouched just inside the clearing near the closest bodies. They were messily dead, but most were strangers. Daniel thought he recognized a few from their brief time in the city before all hell broke loose, but it was hard to tell in the moonlight. He steeled himself and prowled around the edges, keeping low and steering clear of the scavengers and their meal on the other side. So far he found no sign that Sam or Teal'c had been there, but he needed to get the animals out of there so he could check the rest of the dead.

Daniel was close enough now to hear their high-pitched growls and their bickering over choice bits. The sound raised the hair on the back of his neck and on his arms. Despite the cool night, sweat gathered and dripped down his back and he knew he was breathing too fast. He didn't want to fire if he didn't have to. There was no telling who else might be in the woods with them and the sound of his weapons would be too distinctive. He looked away from them and cast around on the ground looking for anything he could throw to try and scare them off.

A shout followed by the unmistakable whine of a zat brought him around to face the feeding animals. A figure ran toward them, zatting indiscriminately and Daniel brought his P-90 to bear on the newcomer. The two men stared at each other. Daniel's heart pounded so loudly he feared the other man would hear it. Neither dropped their weapons, but as the moments drew on Daniel began to think that perhaps the stranger wasn't here to chase them down. Leaving his finger on the trigger, Daniel slowly brought his left hand to his chest and said, "Daniel".

The stranger was panting and in the dim light, Daniel couldn't tell for certain, but it looked like his eyes were wide with fear. He wasn't in the uniform of the city guard, but that didn't mean he was a rebel. At the moment, his political affiliation didn't matter, there were at least two lives depending on Daniel's ability to convince the man that Daniel was no danger to him. Again, he tapped his chest and said, "Daniel."

The stranger looked around them; still panting then brought his attention back to Daniel. With a shaking hand, he tapped his own chest and said, "Kai."

Daniel smiled and nodded then slowly raised his left hand to point to the other man and repeated, "Kai." Then he tapped his own chest again and repeated his own name.

Kai smiled and let the zat drift away from Daniel. Daniel relaxed his aim to the same degree and waited, trying to look as non-threatening as a man holding an automatic weapon could. Kai cocked his head and managed to produce something that sounded close to "Daniel" before his face fell and he gestured around them. "Mykos."

Excerpt from Dr. Daniel Jackson's personal journal:

We searched the clearing together. My relief in not finding Sam or Teal'c was muted by Kai's pain when he found Mykos. I never knew what their relationship was. Kai only spoke the common language and I'd never been able to get more than a few words of it, none of which were suitable for the situation. I heard him crying over Mykos' body while I went back to check on Jack. He was still conscious, but just barely. When Kai realized I had someone who needed help, he offered to help me get Jack to the gate. I went back, grabbed my sleeping bag and took it back to Kai. We got Mykos into it and dragged him a little way out of the clearing. Kai had killed most of the scavengers, but they wouldn't be the last. Perhaps the bag and the location would preserve him until Kai could take him home. I shared our water and the last of our power bars with him. Together, we carried Jack the last three or four miles.

Sometime during the long night, Daniel's hearing had returned. He heard his footfalls. He heard Kai trudging along behind him carrying the other end of the makeshift stretcher they'd put together. Jack's breathing was the most welcome sound since Daniel couldn't see him. Jack had grumbled over what he called Daniel's propensity to "pick up strays", but Daniel had just ignored him and injected the last of the morphine. The stretcher was going to be much easier on his lover, but his wound would still cause him no end of pain on the journey. With luck, he'd be safe and sound in the infirmary before it wore off. Daniel was more concerned that neither one of them would have ready access to their weapons, but Kai seemed to think it would be safe. It was hard to tell using only sign language, but Daniel also wasn't sure he could carry Jack the rest of the way on his own.

Dawn was breaking as they all but staggered up to the gate. They'd seen no sign of Sam or Teal'c and Daniel only hoped they'd made it back to Earth. If they hadn't... Daniel was torn between wanting in on the search and rescue yet knowing he'd be useless without rest. He didn't want his friends to have to wait that long. Daniel led them to the DHD and they gently laid Jack onto the ground. When Daniel checked him over he was glad he hadn't been able to see his pallor through the night. It was one thing to know how sick his lover was, but it was quite something else to see it in the cold light of morning. Daniel gently stroked Jack's too-warm cheek then let his fingers trail lightly over the unconscious man's chapped lips. He straightened slowly, exhausted, cramping muscles complaining the whole way and turned to his new friend.

Kai stood looking down at Jack with eyes much too ancient to be set in such a youthful face. Daniel felt certain those eyes had been as young as the rest of him the last time they'd seen the dawn.

"Thank you." The young man looked up at him and Daniel repeated his words, then placed his hand on his heart and simply said, "Kai." My friend, I wish I could make you understand what this means to me.

Kai placed his hand over his own heart, "Daniel." Then he reached out and covered the hand resting over Daniel's heart with his own hand, "Jack." Finally, he touched his own forehead, "Mykos." Daniel nodded. Perhaps you understand after all.

Excerpt from Dr. Daniel Jackson's personal journal:

Janet released Teal'c from the infirmary a few minutes ago. His injuries weren't too bad and the tretonin prevented any infection. She ordered him to his quarters, but I have a feeling he's going to be back soon, showered, changed and probably bearing contraband.

Sam doesn't look too bad. She took a glancing staff blast to her shoulder and knocked herself out when she fell. She's snoring in the next bed. Wish I had a tape recorder. She swears she doesn't snore. We know better.

They just brought Jack back in from surgery. He's looking better already. Janet said they'd given him a couple of units of blood and it shows in his face. He's still running a fever, but she doesn't think it's anything she can't deal with. I know he's going to try and get me to take him to the cabin far too soon. But then, it's always far too soon for my taste. Still, suffering through the fishing escapades of a cranky, recovering Jack beats the alternative.

Janet made noises about sending me home, but for now I think I'll just stay here. The bed's hard, the pillow's harder and the intermittent alarms are annoying, but I just want to listen to the snoring on my right, the steady heart monitor on my left and Janet's heels clicking on the concrete when she comes over to chew out Teal'c for the coffee he's going to sneak in for me. There's nothing like the sounds of home. Maybe they'll help drown out the sounds I'll be hearing in my dreams.

The End
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