Big, Huge, Ugly, Honkin' Bugs
Category: Slash, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: 2 - December 7-11, 1998
Spoilers: Need (minor), Bane
Written: November 27-29, December 1-2,7,25,28, 2007
Summary: Jack and Daniel comfort each other when one of their teammates is threatened, first by an off-world bug attack and second by the appearance of Harry Maybourne.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) The 'canon' time and duration of this story had to be changed to fit into this author's 'fanon'; therefore, there are some differences between the filmed episode and how it is portrayed in this story.
2) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically. Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
3) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Tonya, Jo, Linda, Claudia!
Big, Huge, Ugly, Honkin' Bugs
“Morning, Beautiful,” Jack said, leaning over to kiss his lover on the
“Mmmm, like this,” Daniel said.
The lovers were lying in the roomy king-sized bed in Jack's bedroom. The comforter was rumpled over the lower end of the bed, its upper edge hitting against the small of the colonel's back. The men were naked, a result of long and tender lovemaking that had begun the night before and not ended until the wee hours of the morning.
“This is real, Danny; this is what we're about: just you and me, here,” Jack stated, brushing his hand through his lover's hair.
“Sex?” Daniel said. Normally, he steered clear of the word, for some shy reason, but he used it sometimes when all it was, was a word. “Is that ...”
“No, Danny,” Jack answered, kissing the younger man again. “I just mean us, together: that's real. We can't let other things mess us up like we almost did recently.”
Daniel nodded his agreement. The couple, in their first year of their romantic relationship, had just made up from a nasty disagreement, one created out of the game they were playing for the world to see. Sam was part of the game, pretending to have romantic feelings for Jack so that the focus of everyone at work would be on her rather than Daniel. She knew about the lovers and wanted to protect them. Unfortunately, in the process of doing so, she and Jack had gone a little overboard, and Daniel had been hurt. It was all straightened out now, and the lovers were back on track.
“I love you, Danny. Being able to say that after holding it in for so long is ... amazing to me. Hearing you say it back to me, beats everything else.”
“I love you,” Daniel spoke obligingly as his hands rubbed Jack's arms and bare back gently. “Jack?”
“What time is it?” the younger man questioned.
“0630,” the colonel answered, using military time as was so often his norm.
“When's the mission scheduled for?”
“0915 hours,” Jack responded.
“Then we have time,” the archaeologist stated, bringing his hands up to Jack's face and kissing him passionately, his tongue mingling with his Love's.
“Time for ...”
“You know,” Daniel gasped as he pulled Jack so that they were touching, chest-to-chest.
“Gotta love you know,” Jack spoke as the couple started their day by making love.
“Let's hope the natives are friendly,” Jack said as he put on his baseball cap in the gate room.
“With the Stargate located right at the edge of what appears to be a modern city, they might be used to visitors,” Sam suggested.
“The friendly kind, I hope,” Daniel stated.
“Let's find out. Move out,” the colonel ordered.
With Teal'c in the lead, SG-1 walked through the Stargate, stepping onto BP6-3Q1. The team spread out slightly, the way they often did when first surveying a planet they'd never visited before.
“Modern city ... to whom?” Jack questioned, curious that the planet was still and quiet.
While the city looked sophisticated enough, there wasn't a single person in sight, nor could the team hear any activity.
“Maybe they're in some kind of town meeting or something,” Daniel suggested, though from the architecture of the buildings he doubted that was the case. ~These buildings are on par with what we have on Earth, and it's spread out. Where is everyone?~
Jack sighed, nodding as he led the way deeper inside the city's boundaries. Still, as they walked across the plaza that connected two parts of the city, there still hadn't been any visible sign of any life.
“Witness if you will, a ghost town,” Jack spoke.
“A very advanced ghost town,” Sam clarified.
“The architecture may indicate an Earth ancestry,” Daniel noted, feeling more confident about his assessment after observing more of the buildings between the Stargate and the place where the team currently stood.
At that moment, Jack stepped into some unpleasant goo, which Sam supposed could be some kind of bird droppings. Whatever it was, it was fresh, so they knew there had to be some kind of life somewhere, even if they couldn't see it.
While Daniel turned to shoot video of the city from the other direction, Teal'c suggested, “Perhaps they suffered the same fate as the inhabitants of this city.”
Taking some readings with her equipment, Sam responded, “My data is consistent with the probe, Sir. No radiation; the air's almost a hundred percent pollution free. Teal'c, it ... doesn't seem very likely that the Goa'uld are responsible for this, does it? I mean, what with the indigenous people of this planet being ... gone.”
“That is correct. A Goa'uld attack would have resulted in much more damage. Any technology would have been destroyed,” the Jaffa replied.
Ducking to avoid something that made a buzzing noise as it flew by him, Jack called out, “Whoa! You guys hear that?”
Daniel turned at the urgent sound of his lover's voice. He was about to ask if Jack was okay, when he saw a very large bug land on Teal'c's upper back.
~Oh, this isn't good,~ Jack thought as he began to carefully approach his friend. “Oh ...”
“What are you going to do?” Sam questioned.
Jack's answer was to pull out his sidearm and aim it at the creature.
**Jack, be careful,** Daniel warned caringly, utilizing the couple's special non-verbal communication that while still a bit limited, allowed them to express their concern for each other while in close proximity.
**Just make sure you're out of the way,** Jack replied. ~Precision: stealth. This isn't going to be easy. Quiet, O'Neill. Easy. Eassssy now,~ he warned himself as he concentrated on his task and then slowly cocked his pistol.
In a flash, before Jack could get off his shot, the bug stung Teal'c and flew away. The warrior collapsed against a metal pole and cried out in pain, something that was unusual in the extreme and alarmed his friends.
Jack and Sam rushed to Teal'c, Sam pulling out Novacain to help ease the pain.
Their task was interrupted almost before it could begin when Daniel, who was looking out into the distance, tracking the bug to make sure it didn't come back at them again, called out, “Uh ... we'd better get outta here.”
“No, really?” Jack responded a bit sarcastically.
“No, really,” Daniel replied seriously, pointing straight ahead and upward.
When Jack turned to look, he saw hundreds of bugs like the one that had stung Teal'c appear over the top of the building, flying swiftly towards SG-1's location. He ordered a fast retreat, both he and Sam grabbing Teal'c to help him flee the area.
“I'll dial,” Daniel shouted as he turned and ran towards the Stargate.
“Hurry it up,” Jack called out as they reached the Gate, the bugs moving in on them fast. “*Dial*, for crying out loud.”
“I am!” Daniel exclaimed, his hands making contact with the DHD faster than they ever had before. A second later, he placed his hand over the center ring while calling out, “Sam, send it.”
Sam pressed the buttons on her GDO just as soon as Daniel called out. She looked back at the oncoming bugs, not sure they'd make it back to Earth.
“Goooo!” the captain yelled when she thought the signal had gone through.
Either way, they didn't have time to wait. The bugs were on their tails and closing fast. The team ran through the event horizon as fast as they could.
Once through, Jack shouted up to the control room, “Lock it up!”
“Medical team!” Sam called out urgently.
As Hammond and some of the Special Forces personnel entered the gate room, several splats were heard against the now-closed iris.
“What is that?” the major general questioned.
Clearly still a little on edge from their close call, Jack pointed aggressively towards the Gate as he answered, “Those are bugs, Sir! Big ... ugly bugs!”
“Have I mentioned I hate waiting?” Jack asked as he, Daniel, Sam, and General Hammond waited for Janet to emerge from the treatment room where she was examining and tending to Teal'c.
“Several times,” Hammond replied dryly, to which the colonel just shrugged and then continued pacing the corridor.
Daniel could see the worry on his lover's face. Jack and Teal'c were like brothers, united through the common bond of being warriors. They understood each other in ways that not everyone could. It wasn't easy to watch a strong fighter battling for his life from a simple bug sting, even when the bugs were incredibly large.
Jack made another turn and caught his soulmate's gaze. For a few seconds, brown eyes met blue ones, both communicating their concern over their friend. The colonel's instinct was to hold his Love, gathering reassurance and strength from him, but he couldn't. They had to be on guard here at the Mountain. Friendship was all they could let anyone see, especially General Hammond.
Finally, Janet walked out and reported that Teal'c was suffering from the side effects of some kind of viral infection and that the Goa'uld he carried wasn't healing him, something that was surprising and dismaying to all of them. She had worse news, however.
“The blood sample I took showed a rather disturbing amount of DNA that doesn't match Teal'c's,” the SGC physician stated.
Simultaneously, though their words stumbled over each other's, Jack and Daniel asked, “What does that mean?”
“Actually, I'm not sure,” Janet admitted. Turning to look at the major general, she added, “Um, to be perfectly honest with you, Sir, I think I may be out of my league here.”
“General, if I may,” Sam interjected. “When I was assigned to the Pentagon, I had the chance to work with Doctor Timothy Harlow. He's one of the world's top geneticists, and he has full security clearance.”
“He'll be here before the end of the day,” Hammond said as he walked away to make the arrangements.
Frustrated, Jack said, “I have ... paperwork to do,” and then walked away.
Sam just stared at Daniel a moment before turning and following Janet to the infirmary. As for the archaeologist, he walked to the open door and looked in at his fallen friend. Then he slowly backed away and headed for his lover's office.
“Jack?” Daniel called out quietly a while later as he walked into the older man's office.
“Hey,” Jack replied quietly from behind his desk.
Daniel turned, looking over his shoulder at the open door. Suddenly, he closed and locked it. He then walked over to the security camera and hung a handkerchief in front of it.
“Daniel, that's old school. Just shut the friggin' thing off,” Jack said.
With a shrug, Daniel turned off the camera and then turned to face his lover.
“What?” Jack asked.
“Uh, well ... it's just ...” Daniel sighed, looking all around him. “I mean, uh ...”
“Daniel, spit it out,” an impatient Jack urged.
“It's just ...” the archaeologist began again, pointing at his lover. “You're ... sitting.”
Jack stared at the younger man and then nodded, saying, “Very observant.” He sighed and stood up, walking closer to his lover while apologizing, “I didn't mean to sound like that.”
“I know,” Daniel replied softly. “I'm ... still not very good at this.”
“Doing what I want, when I want, and ... how I want.”
“It's ... I really want to do this ,” Daniel stated, closing the gap between he and his lover and then pulling Jack into an embrace. It took a second, but then he heard his Love's sigh and felt the older man sag down into the hold. “I know you're worried about Teal'c. I am, too, but Sam really believes in Doctor Harlow.”
“Teal'c's fighting for his life, and that shouldn't be happening,” Jack said, burying his chin into his lover's neck.
Daniel rubbed the other man's back comfortingly and responded, “That's one of the reasons you're so worried: you can't control what's happening.”
Jack pulled back, acknowledging, “Control is something I've had for a long time.”
“Warriors: you're used to taking action,” Daniel replied, his hands on Jack's waist. “All we can do right now is hope for the best.”
“And this ...” Jack said, leaning in for a kiss. “Thanks, Love. I do feel better.”
“I'm worried about him, too, Jack,” Daniel confided.
“He'll be okay. Harlow should be here soon,” Jack spoke confidently, though his eyes gave him away. He sighed and then said with every fiber of his body, “I love you.”
Daniel smiled and replied, “I love you, too.”
Within a few hours of Sam first mentioning the man, Harlow had arrived and was working on Teal'c's situation in one of the medical labs. Unfortunately, he'd already unearthed some very bad news. The blood sample Janet had drawn showed only a small amount of alien insect DNA in it. That sample had just been tested again and now showed only one type of DNA strand present. The inevitable conclusion this led to was that the insect's DNA was actually transforming Teal'c's, courtesy of some kind of retrovirus.
“I can't believe I'm going to say this,” Harlow told Sam. “It appears that the alien insect's venom is rewriting Teal'c's genetic material, and it happened very quickly in that blood sample.”
“The Goa'uld that Teal'c carries is supposed to provide him with powerful immune capabilities,” Sam replied.
“Yes, so I read on the plane. It's amazing, but in this case, it appears that it's merely stemming the tide rather than reversing the problem,” Harlow explained.
After discussing Teal'c's condition a bit longer, Sam sighed, “I'd better inform the general and Colonel O'Neill.”
After hearing the news, Jack went to visit his friend. It was more emotional than he would have liked. Sharing feelings was something he still had problems with, except when he was with Daniel. Watching someone he was close to suffer, however, was tugging at him, especially when the Jaffa essentially asked Jack to kill him when there was no longer hope of him returning to himself.
~Once upon a time, that might have been easier than it is today,~ Jack thought as he looked down at his friend. He gave Teal'c a slight nod and then said, “I'll be back.”
Turning, Jack fled the room, heading for his lover's office. He needed this desperately, much more than even he realized. His old life and his new one were often at odds. He needed grounding. He needed Daniel.
“What's wrong?” Daniel asked when Jack entered his office, an alarmed expression on the colonel's face. “Is it Teal'c?” he asked, aware that Jack had been visiting their teammate.
“I just needed ... to see you.” Jack paused; then added, “Hammond wants to talk to me about something, but I came here first.”
“I'm okay, Danny. It's just a little ... old versus ... I'm not sure what battle. I'll explain later, but, seeing you, helps,” Jack said, smiling and then leaving the office.
Daniel sat quietly for a moment, evaluating the short and difficult-to-follow conversation. He really wasn't sure what was behind it, but Jack wasn't thrown for a loop very often, and that's why he was now a bit worried. He wished he could follow his lover and find out what had unnerved him, but now wasn't the time, not with Jack meeting with Hammond.
~I'll have to find out later,~ the archaeologist determined and then returned to his work.
Opening Hammond's door, Jack stuck his head inside and said, “You wanted to see me, Sir?” He followed Hammond's nod, catching sight of a visitor in the room. “Oh, for cryin' out loud,” Jack groused as he walked fully inside the office. ~This is all we need!~
“Colonel O'Neill,” Harry Maybourne greeted.
“Hello, Maybourne,” Jack responded, his tone dry and disgusted at seeing the man.
“I thought you would want to see this,” Hammond stated, handing Jack papers that ordered Teal'c released into Maybourne's custody.
Jack looked at his CO incredulously and responded, “You've got to be kidding.”
Unfortunately, Hammond wasn't.
“This facility is front-line. Your mandate is search and retrieval. Mine is research and development. As a source of information, Teal'c has been invaluable to your operation. Now he may prove *equally* invaluable to mine. This organism could be the biological weapon ...” the visiting colonel tried to explain before being cut off by Jack.
“He saved your smarmy butt and everyone else on this planet. Does that count for anything in your world?” Jack asked antagonistically.
“Absolutely,” Maybourne replied, adding, “And I am thrilled to get the chance to thank him personally.”
At his limit, Jack snapped, “General Hammond, request permission to beat the crap out of this man.”
Maybourne became wary. He was familiar with Jack's service record and knew what the other man was capable of. He also knew that General Hammond saw him as an enemy. He looked nervously at Hammond and then back at Jack, waiting for a response that would put Jack in his place, but that response hadn't yet come.
~Let's let him sweat a minute,~ Hammond thought, a hint of a smile on his face as he pretended to seriously contemplate the request.
“It shouldn't take long, Sir,” Jack said, adding fuel to the fire.
“General Hammond ...”
“At ease, Maybourne,” Hammond ordered. Sighing, he looked at Jack and reiterated, “I have my orders, Colonel. Dismissed.”
Jack glared at the other colonel, leaning over and whispering, “Keep pushing it, Maybourne. He might change his mind.”
Again a bit nervously, Maybourne looked at Hammond, who once again had that same contemplative look on his face.
Jack smiled at Hammond and then walked out, heading immediately back to his lover's office.
“Carter, you'll be interested in this,” Jack stated when he saw his second-in-command talking to Daniel.
“Guess who's back, like the plague?” the colonel asked.
Sam and Daniel exchanged a curious look, both of them shaking their heads.
“Maybourne, and he's handed Hammond Teal'c's walking papers, straight to being one of Daniel's museum exhibits.” Staring at his second, he spoke tersely, “Now, do you think that idiot Maybourne had some help here?”
“I ...” Sam paused. She looked at Jack and then at Daniel and suddenly realized what both men were wondering. She wanted to disagree, but she couldn't. Instead, she became angry, believing the two were right. It was the most logical conclusion. “Excuse me.”
“You think Doctor Harlow is responsible for this?” the archaeologist questioned after Sam had left.
“Maybourne had to get his information from somewhere, and it wasn't from us, was it?” Jack put forth. “He probably called Maybourne before he got on the plane.”
“He didn't really know what we were up against then.”
“It doesn't really matter what he thought when he was called; it's that he *did* call, and now ...” Jack paused, waving his right hand in the air as he turned and walked over to one of the bookshelves.
Daniel sighed in the realization and then said, “I don't think Sam is very happy with her old colleague.”
“I hope she knocks his brains out,” Jack spat, still facing the shelf of artifacts, letting out a sigh and shaking his head. He raised his right hand to rub against his neck. He was tense. He'd been tense all day. “Maybe we can bury him topside.”
“Maybourne or Doctor Harlow?”
Jack turned, shrugged, and answered, “I'll have to get back to you on that.”
A minute later, Daniel's phone rang. Maybourne would be leaving with Teal'c within the half-hour. Immediately, he and Jack headed for the treatment room where their teammate was.
“Sir, I'm sorry,” the captain called out as she joined Jack and Daniel in their vigil.
“Harlow?” Jack questioned.
“He really thinks he's doing the right thing,” Sam spoke, confirming that her colleague from the Pentagon had been the one to contact Colonel Maybourne.
Jack just nodded as the three waited in the corridor, having been barred from Teal'c's room by the NID.
“How can we just let this happen?” Daniel questioned.
Facing the wall, Jack asked, “What do you want me to do?”
In an attempt to be positive, Sam spoke, “As much as I don't trust Maybourne, I have to admit Timothy is the best, and he gave me his word he was gonna help Teal'c.”
~That makes me feel better ... not,~ the colonel thought.
~I'd like to be like Anne Frank and think there's good in everyone, but it isn't always easy,~ Daniel thought.
At that moment, the door opened, and Teal'c was brought out. He wore a yellow biohazard suit and was handcuffed. In addition, his ankles were shackled. Chains connected the cuffs and the shackles. One might have thought Teal'c was the country's most wanted criminal from the way he was being escorted out of the SGC.
“What's with the chains?” Jack asked General Hammond, his anger and frustration clear.
“Maybourne,” the major general answered simply.
“Of course,” Jack acknowledged. ~One of these days,~ he threatened inwardly without being specific about his recourse.
For a moment, Daniel looked away, and, finally, after Teal'c rounded a corner and was out of sight, Jack stalked off, his anger at its height.
“We'll meet in twenty minutes,” Hammond ordered the two remaining team members. “I'll have someone inform Colonel O'Neill.”
“Uh ... I'll ... find him, Sir,” Daniel volunteered, giving Sam a glance and then hurrying away.
“Jack?” Daniel called out as he entered one of the storage rooms on the twenty-first level. He'd already looked everywhere else he could think of for his lover when he passed by the infirmary and the corridor leading to this room and decided to check it out. Letting the door close behind him, he walked around slowly. He turned down one of the aisles and caught sight of his target. “You know, I haven't been back in here since ... you know.”
This particular storage room was the one in which Daniel had run into after breaking out of the infirmary while going through withdrawal a couple of months earlier. He'd come close to shooting his lover that day, but Jack had come through, saving his Daniel from himself and the effects of the sarcophagus.
The colonel was sitting on the floor, his back up against one of the metal shelves. His knees were drawn up to his chest, and he was leaning forward somewhat.
Jack sighed, “Me, either, but ... crap, Daniel, I'm angry.”
“I'm not real happy about anything that's happened, either,” the younger man admitted as he ambled forward to stand just a few feet in front of his Love, putting his hands in his pant pockets as he came to a halt.
Daniel wanted to comfort his soulmate, to take him into his arms, but he was still gauging the situation and initiating contact was still sometimes difficult for him, especially when they were on base, like they were now.
“He's a member of my team, and I stood there, watching that *idiot* Maybourne smirk while Teal'c was led out like he was some mass murderer or something.”
“Plan B,” Daniel stated.
“What?” Jack asked in surprise, not following what his lover was saying.
“You're always telling me there's an 'or', a ... Plan B. Let's find it,” the archaeologist urged.
Jack let out a tiny chortle of amazement as he stared at his lover. He stood up and walked forward, his eyes penetrating Daniel's blue ones. It was all so simple, even though it wasn't. Yet, in the blink of an eye, his world had once again found light.
“Plan B?” Jack questioned.
Daniel smiled as he nodded.
“You know something, Doctor Jackson?”
“Actually, I know a lot of things: ancient languages, Mayan heritage, Egyptian history, Aztec folklore, how to make good coffee,” Daniel chuckled.
Smiling as well, Jack laughed, “How to make me happy: that's a gigantic thing you know.” Seeing the somewhat embarrassed and shy expression on his lover's face, he dared to kiss his soulmate right there on the spot, not really caring if they got caught or not. More seriously, he spoke appreciatively, “Thanks, Danny.”
“Don't thank me,” the younger man replied. “You're the one who has to come up with the plan.”
“Let's go and ...”
“Oh, we can't. The general wants us in the briefing room. Actually, uh ... I think, maybe, he's hoping we can all come up with a ... Plan B.”
“My genius,” Jack praised, running his right thumb gently over Daniel's lips.
Daniel kissed the thumb, his tongue wrapping around it and licking it seductively. He wished the two could do so much more.
Jack was captivated by the tongue that was 'working' his thumb, so much so that he began to get a little over excited.
“Briefing,” Jack stated, coughing as he pulled back. He took a deep breath and mentally tried to calm himself. “Whoa!”
Daniel smiled. He'd seen the older man's excitement, and it felt good to know that he was affecting Jack in that way. For so long, he hadn't felt like anyone was really reacting to him in any way that was good.
“I love you,” Jack whispered.
“I love you, too,” Daniel replied.
“You want to go back?” Daniel questioned incredulously.
The archaeologist was sitting at the conference table along with Sam, while Jack stood off to the side, listening to the conversation and sharing Daniel's disbelief at the words their teammate had just uttered.
“All I'm saying is that notwithstanding what happened to Teal'c, there may be invaluable technology on that planet,” Sam argued.
~What did she just say?~ Stunned, Jack turned and walked towards the table. He leaned down and reminded, “Carter, there are bugs on that planet: big, huge, ugly, honkin' bugs.”
Entering the room hurriedly, Hammond informed, “Colonel, we just picked up an emergency communication from the driver.”
“The driver? The one transporting Teal'c?” Jack asked as the group hurried to the control room.
Once there, Hammond inquired, “Anything?”
“No, Sir,” Sergeant Davis reported. “He made contact and then there was nothing but static.
“Do we have his location?” Jack question.
“GPS tracking coming in now,” Davis reported, writing down the coordinates.
“Go,” Hammond ordered once Jack had the paper in his hands.
Roughly an hour before sunset, SG-1 arrived at the site where the van had been forced to stop. All of the men had been knocked unconscious, and Teal'c's larval Goa'uld had been found, alive, atop his biohazard suit. One radio was missing, and, apparently, Teal'c had traded clothing with one of the SFs that had been guarding him.
Fortunately, none of the men seemed to have been seriously injured, something that Janet confirmed once they got them back to the SGC.
“What happened?” Jack asked the driver, who was resting on a cot in the infirmary.
“I heard a noise from the back; lots of moving around, Sir. Then there was a ... weird shriek. The next thing I know, this arm is choking me. Strong; too strong. I blacked out.”
“Okay. Doc says you'll be fine,” Jack said with a reassuring smile before he turned and walked out, heading for another part of the infirmary where Maybourne and Harlow were being treated.
Maybourne's arm had been strained in the attack, and he was currently wearing a sling. The angry man was fit to be tied and had been spouting dictates and commands all the way to the infirmary and throughout his examination.
“I want as many personnel and canine units as this base has at my disposal five minutes ago!” the NID colonel ordered as he sat on a cot in the infirmary.
~There he goes again,~ Jack thought, having heard the whine from the corridor. ~Teal'c should have strangled him.~ Walking in with Daniel following, he reminded strongly, “All of whom report to me. I'm running this search.”
“This is still my responsibility.”
“Oh, I'm holding you responsible, Maybourne, don't you *fret*, but the troops are SGC. I'm running the show. You got a problem with that, take it up with Hammond,” Jack stated even more forcefully, not willing to give in on this battle.
Standing and grabbing his jacket, Maybourne promised, “I will.” He wanted to walk out, but Jack blocked his path.
~Come on. Just give me a reason,~ Jack taunted silently.
Quietly, Maybourne reminded, “Striking an officer is a quick way to a court-martial.”
Looking down at the noticeably shorter man, Jack responded both sharply and quietly, “I'm not going to hit you, Maybourne. I'm going to shoot you.” He watched as the man walked around him to leave. ~No one would convict me, if I shot him.~
Jack looked a little tired, as did Daniel. It had been a very long day for both of them, and, in fact, both were already scruffy looking, in definite need of a shave and sleep. They had a job to do, though, and both men were used to functioning with weary bodies. With his nemesis gone, the colonel faced the other men and asked what had happened.
“Well, he just went crazy,” Harlow answered. “He's so strong. I've never seen anything like that.”
“What about the larval Goa'uld?” Daniel inquired, worried about how its absence might affect their friend.
“I don't know. He must have taken that out himself,” Harlow answered.
“Why?” Daniel queried curiously.
“Um ... he told me he'd rather die than change into something else,” Jack confided.
Somewhat taken back that his lover hadn't shared that with him yet, Daniel responded, “Well, there has to be quicker, less painful ways to kill yourself, even for a Jaffa.”
“I don't think that's the way it's going to happen. I mean, I doubt that he will die,” Harlow opined.
“Uh, he depends on that Goa'uld to live,” the archaeologist pointed out.
“Ah, the alien insect's venom is affecting his physical makeup. With every passing moment, he is ceasing to be a ... a Jaffa. The larva may be the only thing that's holding that transformation back,” Harlow explained.
“So by takin' the worm out he might be expediting this ... change?” Jack asked.
“Why would he do that?” Daniel asked.
“Well, the metamorphosis ... could be altering his mind,” Harlow put forth.
Everyone took in that information for a moment before Jack sighed, “Great.”
“How's the, uh ... worm?” Daniel asked.
“Doctor Fraiser was working on it,” Harlow answered. “She's in one of the labs.”
“Okay,” Jack acknowledged. Leaving Harlow behind, Jack and Daniel walked out of the main infirmary. “Daniel, about ...”
“Jack, it's okay. Teal'c told you something in confidence,” Daniel stated understandingly. “Uh, I'm guessing that's what you were talking about earlier, when you came by my office ... you know, when you were just ...”
“... looking,” Jack and Daniel said together.
Jack stopped walking, so Daniel did, too.
“You know what he asked me to do,” Jack stated.
Daniel nodded, saying, “He's a proud man. I'm not surprised.”
“There was a time when ...” Jack began, trailing off and getting a far off look in his eyes.
“This is now, Jack. All we can do is ... deal with now,” Daniel stated. “Teal'c's out there, and we need to find him. Plan ...”
“C,” both men spoke in unison, small smiles dawning on their faces.
Jack nodded, feeling a little cleansed after their conversation, and then the two headed for Hammond's office to share the latest news.
It was night now, and the search for Teal'c had been fruitless thus far. The SGC had had a brief moment of hope when Teal'c had called them using the radio he'd taken from the van; however, it soon became evident just how much trouble their friend was in. Teal'c had simply asked them not to let Maybourne follow him and added that he was beyond help. Then he'd dropped the radio and walked away into the woods.
“We have the trace,” a technician called out.
“Get everyone we can out there *now*,” Jack ordered. “I want a map of that area in the briefing room *now*,” he added, turning and going to the room in question.
“Maybe we should join the search,” Daniel wondered as he walked with Jack up the stairs.
“No, not until we get close,” Jack argued. “There's too much at stake here.” Arriving at Level 27, he asked, “How much you want to bet Maybourne heard that, too?”
“We'll find him first,” Daniel insisted, wishing he believed it as strongly as he'd just said it.
“We'd better,” Jack responded. “If Maybourne finds Teal'c first, he's done. He might as well be one of those bugs because that idiot will have him pinned to cardboard like an old school display.”
“I did one of those once,” Daniel recalled.
“A?” Jack questioned with a raised eyebrow.
“Uh, actually ...”
“A-plus,” both men spoke in a brief moment of lightheartedness before they became serious again.
As the evening wore on, Jack and Daniel monitored the search team's progress, hoping their teammate would quickly be found.
Meanwhile, Harlow admitted to Sam and Janet that he had access to several variations of experimental RNA inhibitors, which were being researched. He believed that they, combined with the symbiote's healing abilities, could help Teal'c recover. Though the two women were both angry he hadn't told them that up front, Sam believed him when he said he did want to help. However, he needed venom from one of the alien insects to begin testing to see what might work on the Jaffa.
Janet gave Sam a look that said they really didn't have much of a choice anyway, so the captain headed for the major general's office to request permission to return to the planet.
“Sergeant, find Colonel O'Neill and Doctor Jackson and ask them to come to my office immediately,” Hammond requested as he stood outside his office. He paused thoughtfully for a moment and then walked back inside. “Captain, Doctor Harlow is here because of your recommendation. *He* is the one who contacted Colonel Maybourne in the first place.”
“I know that, Sir,” Sam stated.
“How do you know you can trust Harlow this time?” the man inquired, passing by Sam as he walked towards his desk.
“I know you think Maybourne put him up to this just to get a specimen of the insect,” Sam began.
“I wouldn't put it past him,” Hammond said, sitting down.
“Right at the moment, Sir, we don't have a lot of options,” Sam replied.
Just then, Jack and Daniel entered the office, reporting that Teal'c hadn't been found.
“Must have covered twenty miles in an hour,” Daniel informed as he stood beside Jack, his hands in his pockets and his eyeglasses perched on top of his head.
With no further progress with the White House, Sam took the opportunity to relay the latest about Harlow, interjecting, “In the meantime, we have kind of a good news, bad news scenario here. If we do find Teal'c soon, we may have a way of saving him.”
“Okay, that's good news,” Jack stated.
“But someone has to go back to BP6-3Q1 and catch one of those alien insects, preferably alive,” Sam added.
“And that would be the bad news,” Daniel surmised as Jack winced at the idea of trying to catch one of the giant bugs.
“I'll go, Sir,” the colonel volunteered.
“You'll need someone to watch your back,” Sam stated.
“And I'll go, too,” Daniel added, sharing a look with his soulmate.
**You go; I go. Argument over.**
Standing, Hammond promised, “I'll make sure it's not for nothing. We'll find Teal'c.”
“Pack your bug spray, Kids,” Jack told his teammates before leaving the office to prepare for the mission.
Sam and Daniel nodded to Hammond and then walked out of the office. Jack was several yards ahead of them, walking swiftly towards the locker room.
“I don't think we could carry enough to help,” Daniel quipped. “Bug spray,” he said when the blonde looked at him questioningly.
“Too bad we can't just spray it through the Stargate,” Sam said.
“We'd need a tanker,” the archaeologist mused. “Maybe you could rig one to a UAV.”
Sam chuckled, “That might work.”
“Okay, let's try that way,” Jack suggested.
The team had been on the planet for a while now, searching out their prey and trying to figure out the best way of getting the necessary venom without sacrificing themselves. It was dark on the planet, too, and they weren't sure whether that was a help or a hindrance.
Jack, Daniel, and Sam made their way cautiously through the eerily deserted city to a building. The colonel put his hand up to stop his teammates as he looked inside.
“Ewww,” Jack expressed as he grimaced, watching a man, who was crouched over on his side with at least one bug crawling over him.
“Daniel, maybe you'd better film this,” Sam suggested as she looked inside.
“Carter, will that do?” Jack asked about what they were witnessing.
“As a last resort, Sir, but Timothy was pretty adamant that capturing a mature bug would be the most useful.”
“Too bad Timothy isn't here to get one himself,” Jack groused lightly.
“I do think we should watch this and see how the entire process evolves,” Sam answered. “We might learn something that would be of help.”
“Into bugs, Carter?”
“Fine; we'll wait. Film it all, Daniel,” Jack ordered. After a moment, watching as he heard the sounds of buzzing nearby, he sighed, “The Bug Channel. I think I'll stick with Showtime.”
“This is crazy,” Daniel called out as they headed back to the Stargate.
“It's insane,” Jack agreed as he continued to look all around them.
“I can't believe they aren't attacking,” Sam said, glancing over her shoulder at several bugs in the distance that weren't moving towards them; at least, not yet.
“Maybe they have better fish to fry,” Jack quipped as the team walked rapidly towards the Gate.
“I don't think bugs like fish,” Daniel stated.
“That's why I don't like bugs, especially big, huge, ugly, honkin' ones like ...”
“Whoa! They're moving!” Daniel called out urgently, pointing over a nearby rooftop.
“Get ready. Here come the bugs,” Jack sing-songed, aiming his weapon while running. “Daniel ...”
“I'm dialing,” the archaeologist stated, having just arrived at the DHD.
“We only want one of those suckers, so ...” Jack ducked down evasively, missing the first bug that had arrived at the Stargate and begun attacking. “Daniel!”
“Now!” the archaeologist called out, his hand on the red button of the DHD and then ducking to miss the swooping bug.
“Go!” Sam called out, having transmitted the team's code to the SGC.
At the SGC, Janet was talking with General Hammond, letting him know that the symbiote was weaker, and time was running out. It had been hours since SGC's flagship team had been gone through the wormhole, and they were both worried.
“How long have they been gone?” Janet asked about SG-1.
“I'm about ready to send SG-3 after them,” the major general responded.
Suddenly, the klaxons sounded and the technician on duty announced it was SG-1. In a rush, Daniel and Sam ran through the Stargate. Jack was close behind them, jumping through and rolling at the top of the ramp to avoid an attack from one of the bugs that had swooped at him just before he stepped through the Gate.
“Lock it up!” Jack shouted as he recovered from his tumble.
As the iris began to close and as was the plan, one of the bugs made it through, diving towards a ducking Jack.
**Find that sucker!** Pulling off his mask, the colonel shouted up to the control room, “Close those doors!”
The tension in the air was palpable as the team searched the large room for the big bug. Fortunately, the technician had been able to close the doors, sealing the room and preventing the alien creature from breaking through to the rest of the SGC.
“Where is it? Where is it?” Jack called out anxiously, looking all around with his weapon poised to fire.
“There!” Daniel exclaimed, pointing upward towards one of the walls.
Jack opened fire as the bug again dived for him. He shot round after round with his MP-5, the bug swooping past him and through the large, circular ring, finally falling to the floor on the other side of the Stargate.
“Just winged it,” Jack noted as he stared down at the bug, seeing it's wings fluttering.
Sam walked forward and sprayed CO2 on the bug. A bit high on adrenalin and still a little panicstricken, she continued releasing the spray long after the bug had ceased moving.
“All right. Hold it; you got it,” Jack stated, touching her shoulder. **I think she was a little scared.**
**So was I,** Daniel admitted. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” Jack acknowledged with a nod as they remained focused on the large insect. “That's the last time I play the target for a bug,” he sighed, letting out a bit of a sigh as he turned and walked towards the doors.
While Harlow examined the alien insect, SG-1 played the video Daniel had taken on the planet for General Hammond. The tape showed a man transforming, becoming a cocoon, shrouded in white fuzz. Sam explained that they'd realized the final stage of metamorphosis required a dark place. Daniel then deduced that the planet's human inhabitants were completely wiped out by the bugs. Next, Hammond was shown the most chilling moment captured on the video. All of a sudden, several small bugs emerged from the cocooned man.
“It's how they reproduce,” Sam stated. Then she expounded, “The insect's venom actually converts the body's mass into it's own DNA material, but a human, or, in this case, a Jaffa's total matter is far greater than one of the insect's natural mass.”
“Thank you,” Jack spoke dryly. ~That was way more than I wanted to know.~
“So Teal'c isn't going to turn into just one of those things,” Hammond assumed.
“No, Sir,” Sam responded. “He's going to turn into a whole lot of those things.”
For a moment, everyone remained silent. It had already been looking bleak, and now the outlook was even bleaker.
Finally, Hammond snapped his head back a bit and spoke, “People, I wish I could tell you to get some rest, but we just don't have the time. We have to find Teal'c before Maybourne, and we have to figure out how to stop this from happening.”
Without really giving any orders, Hammond returned to his office.
Sam sighed, “I'm going to see if I can determine how long we have.”
“To find Teal'c?” Jack asked.
“No,” Sam responded. “How long we have before Earth becomes like BP6-3Q1,” she said, hopping off the stool she'd been sitting on.
“I'm going to check on the progress of the search,” Jack stated.
“I'm ... going to stay here and watch,” Daniel sighed.
Jack nodded and began to head away, but he stopped and turned back around, calling out, “Daniel?”
“I've changed my mind.”
“Going to the movies,” Jack stated cryptically.
The older man chortled, “Do you know what we were going to go see last night?” Jack asked about their plans that had gone by the wayside due to the current crisis.
“I'd forgotten we were going,” the archaeologist admitted. “Uh, what was it?” he asked, recalling now that it had been the older man's turn to select the movie they'd watch.
“'A Bug's Life',” Jack said, shaking his wildly in disbelief.
“Oh,” Daniel expressed with slight amusement, smiling lightly, getting a smile in return.
“I'll be back. Keep me posted if there's any progress,” the colonel requested.
Sometime later, Sam entered the medical lab where Harlow was working on the bug. Daniel was there and had been roped into helping out. As the three discussed the situation, the captain told them the disturbing results of her research on the possible far-reaching scope of the bug infestation on Earth.
“We could have swarms in the order of millions in six to eight weeks,” Sam stated, causing a few seconds of stunned silence.
“What was that, Carter?” Jack asked, entering the lab to check up on things. He'd heard the last part of her statement, but not all of it. After she'd filled him in on what she'd learned, he sighed, “Oh, isn't that fine and dandy.”
“You're sure?” Daniel asked.
“The probability model I created is pretty accurate,” Sam replied.
“Ten bugs? Each of us?” the colonel questioned, referring to the captain's statement that every stung person could turn into about ten bugs each.
“We need more Raid,” Jack said about the popular bug spray and then walked away.
As the noon hour approached, Harlow reported, “I think we've got it. It's this drug that's actually slowing the transformation in the sample. Now, that wouldn't cure a normal human, but Teal'c may at least stand a chance with the help of his symbiote's natural healing abilities.”
“We may not have that for much longer,” Janet responded from where she was monitoring Teal'c's symbiote.
The four people were brainstorming, trying to work out a way of prolonging the symbiote's life when Jack walked in to check on their progress.
“Oh, it's too bad you can't zap it with those paddles like they do on ... 'ER'. That guy that's ...” Jack paused, noticing Janet's stare. “What?”
“It couldn't be that simple,” Sam responded, exchanging a glance with Janet.
After throwing some ideas backwards and forwards, it was decided to try and set up an electrical current to the symbiote tank.
“It's getting better,” Janet announced later, after the tank had been hooked up to the current.
“It was so simple,” Sam stated.
“Well, I guess my work here is done,” Jack smirked.
**Don't let it go to your head,** Daniel quipped.
**Of course not,** Jack replied. **My head is reserved just for you.**
“Daniel? Daniel?” Sam called out. “Are you okay? You're ... turning red.”
“I ...” Daniel paused, gulping. “I'm fine.” He nodded and repeated, “Fine.”
Just then, a call from outside Cheyenne Mountain came in for Jack. When he hung up a couple of minutes later, he smiled.
“Where?” Sam questioned.
“He's with some kid in an abandoned building. Let's move!” Jack ordered.
“Maybourne isn't going to be happy,” Daniel said a bit cheerfully.
The President had given Harry Maybourne full jurisdiction. The team's only hope had been to find Teal'c first. Fortunately, the Jaffa had found himself an unexpected ally, a young girl who was street savvy enough not to have bought into Maybourne's 'we're the good guys' act that he'd given her earlier in the day, shortly before Teal'c had requested she contact Jack at the Mountain.
Quickly, Jack and Daniel, along with a medical team and a couple of SFs, headed for the address the girl had given him. As they traveled there, Jack filled Daniel in.
“Her name is Ally.”
“How'd she find Teal'c?” Daniel asked.
“She said he walked up to her and some boys, who were playing outside the building. Apparently, he scared them half to death.” Jack straightened and said with a bit of awe, “Ally said Teal'c was changing, but she didn't sound scared.”
Daniel raised his eyebrows and nodded in acknowledgement.
“I guess they bonded over a chocolate bar,” Jack added.
“Food is one of history's greatest negotiators,” Daniel put forth. “People need it.”
“Yeah,” Jack agreed. “I like almonds better,” he suddenly said, rubbing his hands together.
“Ally said it was a chocolate bar with peanuts and caramel.”
“Oh,” Daniel chuckled. “I didn't think you were on the phone long enough to get all that detail.”
“Ally's like you,” Jack said, straight faced.
“What do you mean?”
“She talks a mile a minute,” the older man teased.
Minutes later, the truck pulled up to the old building, and Jack and Daniel jumped out of the rear of the vehicle and were immediately greeted by Ally.
“Where is he?” Jack questioned as the three walked inside the building.
“He's up there,” the girl said, pointing to the place where she'd helped Teal'c hide from Maybourne and the NID. “That other army guy almost found him, but I hid him real good.”
“Thanks,” Daniel said softly, smiling at the girl before hurrying after Jack and climbing the ladder to the place where Teal'c was hidden.
Finding their friend in a cocoon-like state, Daniel returned outside to get the medical team, while Jack comforted Teal'c, assuring him that he was going to be okay.
As soon as they could get to him, the medical team placed Teal'c on a stretcher and prepared him for transport. When they were ready, they moved quickly towards the military vehicle.
Jack supervised the team, making sure Teal'c was safe, while Daniel lagged behind, waiting on the medical team.
Ally stayed at the archaeologist's side, watching the action as well and then inquiring, “Why can't I go with you?”
“Sorry, you just ... can't. These guys here are gonna take care of you and make sure you're okay,” Daniel answered, referring to the SFs.
The worried girl watched as Teal'c was placed in the vehicle under Jack's supervision and asked with concern, “Is Teal'c gonna be okay?”
“I hope so.”
“Me, too,” Ally stated. As Daniel was about to get inside the vehicle, the girl called out, “Hey ... tell him he still owes me one.”
Daniel nodded and then got inside, asking, “How is he?”
“We need to get back to the SGC fast,” one of the nurses called out, grateful when the vehicle finally began to move.
“What was that about?” Jack asked.
“I have no idea,” Daniel answered. “But, uh ... hopefully, Teal'c can explain it to us later.”
A couple of hours later, Janet and Harlow emerged from one of the operating rooms and gave their report to SG-1.
“His pouch had started to close, but we were able to reopen it. The Goa'uld is back where it belongs, and it seems to be doing okay,” Janet stated.
“And Teal'c?” Daniel inquired.
“With the help of the drug, it appears the symbiote has stopped the metamorphosis,” Harlow reported happily.
“We're hoping the Goa'uld has the ability to reverse the damage already done,” Janet added.
As Hammond entered the area, Daniel commented, “It can't be easy knowing the thing you despise most about yourself is what saved your life.”
With vigor, Jack expressed, “Hey, even I'm happy he's got the snake.”
“This sounds like good news,” Hammond deduced.
“Hope so,” Sam replied.
“Maybourne has ordered the insect specimen and all related research transferred to the Area 51 facility,” the major general stated.
Shaking his head, Jack muttered, “I should've shot him.”
“I regret that's impossible, Sir,” Harlow said, sounding a bit chipper as he looked at Hammond.
“Why is that?” Hammond questioned.
“Well, as soon as Teal'c is fully recovered, the insect is going to be involved in an unfortunate lab accident. I'm afraid I'll have to take full responsibility,” Harlow spoke, smiling.
**I guess he's okay after all,** Jack communicated to his lover with a smile.
“Jack, I ...” Daniel began, stopping as his eyes widened and curiosity heightened. “Uh, I'm not sure I really want to know, but ... what are you doing?”
“Well, since we beat 'em, I figured we'd enjoy them some more,” the older man answered, looking down at a small living bug display as he sat on the floor of his living room.
“Uh ... no,” Daniel refuted, shaking his head.
“I even have the perfect song,” Jack boasted. “We can have a sing-along.”
“O'Neill, I think you need ... help.”
“And you're just the one to give it to me,” the colonel stated happily, standing up and walking to his lover to kiss him.
“Mmmm,” Daniel sighed contentedly basking in the aftermath of the kiss.
“Mmmm,” Jack agreed, holding his lover to him and beginning to sway a bit. They weren't really dancing, but their hands were resting on each other's waists, and they were moving back and forth a tad. Mischievously, the older man grinned and sang in a joking fashion, “Once a lonely caterpillar sat and cried, to a sympathetic beetle by his side. I've got nobody to hug, I'm such an ugly bug.”
“You're certifiably out of your mind,” Daniel replied. “I should call Janet.”
“Come, My Love, to the glorious annual ugly bug ball,” Jack sing-songed. Seeing Daniel's clueless face, he said, “Danny, we've just got to get you more TV and movie aware. “That's a classic bug song: Burl Ives.“
“Oh, for crying out loud,” Jack whined, backing away. “He's the snowman in Rudolph.”
“Oh. He's a ... a snowman.”
“The voice, Daniel. Never mind. How's Teal'c?”
The younger man had just returned from the SGC and a visit with Teal'c. Jack had checked on their teammate earlier in the day, but then had other obligations that afternoon. He'd beaten his Love to the house by only an hour.
“Doing good. He wants to go and say thanks to Ally as soon as he's out of the infirmary,” Daniel stated. “Jack, what are you going to do with that?” he asked, pointing at the living bug museum.
Jack laughed, “Okay, I'll go give it back to Clay.”
“Ten-year-old bug lover who lives down the street,” Jack answered.
“That ... would be a good idea, and then come back.”
“I plan to.”
“Good, because ... then I want to show you some bug moves I learned from my display when I was in school.”
Intrigued, Jack asked, “What moves?”
With a grin, Daniel just smiled and headed up the stairs, saying, “Hurry back.”
Jack couldn't get the living museum back to Clay fast enough. When he did return home, he was positively buzzing from the moves his lover showed him.
“When you get back, it's going to be just you and me,” Jack said two days later, kissing his lover, regretful that the day before they'd both been too busy and tired to do anything more than share a quick dinner together at the SGC, after which they'd spent the night in their own residences, something that was getting harder and harder to endure whenever it happened.
“I wish I didn't have to go,” Daniel spoke softly as the lovers embraced.
“Yes, I do,” Daniel stated. “Jack, Ally saved Teal'c's life, and he's well enough to go out now.”
“Yeah, but what law says you have to go with him to give her that giant-sized water gun?” Jack asked with a bit of a laugh.
“Maybe it's because I was the one who talked to her,” Daniel supposed. “She was really worried about him. I just ... I feel like I owe it to her to ... to ... I don't know. I just have to go with Teal'c to see her.”
“My Danny, so giving and caring,” Jack sighed, leaning in to kiss the side of Daniel's neck, after which he placed a trail of tender kisses all along the younger man's neck while his hands caressed his back.
“Mmmm ... oh ... uh ... Jack, stop,” Daniel said, pushing back slightly. “I'll be back ... soon ... and then ...”
“Just us, you and me,” Jack spoke with tenderness. “You're my heart, Danny.”
Daniel couldn't believe his luck. Jack O'Neill loved him, or, at least, he said he did. This was a happy moment, one he wished he could bottle and keep forever.
“I love you, Danny. Hurry back.”
“I love you, too,” Daniel said. “Be back as soon as I can,” he said.
The lovers kissed again, and then Daniel left to meet Teal'c. Together, they'd visit with Ally for awhile, and then Daniel would return home to his Heart, his Jack -- to the man of his dreams -- and to their future together.
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