Mystery

Author: Orrymain and special guest co-author, Claudia!
Category:  Slash, Angst, Humor, H/C, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  NC-17
Season:  4
Spoilers:  There But For the Grace of the God, Crystal Skull
Size:  87kb
Written:  March 23-26, April 3, 2004  Revised for consistency:  January 28, 2007
Summary:  Daniel becomes colorful; Jack follows suit; Teal'c and Junior battle for their lives; Sam worries!
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Jack ordered her, Daniel gave her the pouty lip, and I basically tricked her into it, and before you knew it, Claudia was writing a fic with me!  Thanks, Claudia, for being such a good sport.  It was a hoot and a holler writing this with you!
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:  Quingem, Drdjlover!

Mystery
by Orrymain and Claudia

“Sir, don't forget to keep your sunglasses on at all times,” Sam warned sternly.

“Yeah, I know, Carter.  Two suns, much closer to the planet than we're used to ... yadda, yadda,” Jack responded dryly as they waited for the final chevron to engage.

“Chevron Seven ... Locked,” Sergeant Davis called out as the kawoosh of the opening event horizon was heard.

“Daniel?”

“Yes, Jack?” the young man asked, still adjusting some of his equipment.  “What did Carter just say?”

“Uh ... actually, I wasn't listening.  Sorry, Sam,” Daniel admitted as he shrugged.

Jack shook his head, saying, “Daniel, sunglasses.”

“Oh, yeah.”

**Danny, so help me.  You've been so scatterbrained lately,** the colonel communicated via the lover's special non-verbal link that was continuing to grow.

**Sorry.**

**Don't take off your sunglasses.  Do you understand?**

**Yes, Dad!**

A bit harshly, Jack ordered, “SG-1, move out.”  He moved forward, just behind Sam, as the flagship team of the SGC walked to planet P44-449. The team was dressed in their tan and white desert camouflage uniforms with the short-sleeved tan tees.  Almost as soon as they stepped through the Stargate, they wished they could remove their jackets.  It was hot, blazing hot, and it was still very early in the morning.  “At last, a planet with no trees!” he exclaimed, a sloppy smile on his face.
 
“You'll wish there were trees soon enough, Jack.  No trees means no shade,” the archaeologist pointed out.
 
“Let's hightail it to those ruins then.  Carter, lead on,” the colonel instructed.

====

By the time they got to the stone structures that the UAV had picked up, Sam and Jack were looking exhausted and sweating profusely.  Even Teal'c looked uncomfortable.  Jack was feeling decidedly put out that Daniel looked as fresh as he had when he first stepped onto the planet.  His lover was certainly at home in the desert and the heat.  Seeking out some shade, Jack sat down and took a long, slow drink from his canteen.  He looked over at Daniel who had discarded his pack and was already at work examining the writings on the walls.

“Daniel, drink some water before you get dehydrated,” the colonel/concerned lover ordered.  Jack shook his head as Daniel just waved at him absent-mindedly. He knew Daniel hadn't heard a word that he had said.  With a sigh, the leader of SG-1 stood and wandered over to the engrossed archaeologist and waved the canteen under his nose.  At first, it was simply brushed away.  “I'm not going to leave you alone until you have a drink, Daniel.”
 
With an exasperated sigh, Daniel took the canteen and took a swig from it.  He handed it back to Jack, and immediately turned back to the writings he'd been studying, a small smile gracing his lips.
 
**Love you, Danny.**

Jack watched as the smile grew.
 
**Love you too, Jack.  Now go away and let me work.**

====

“Sam, can you take some pictures of this area right here?” Daniel requested.  “Make sure not to miss the bottom portions of each square.  I think the lines may be significant.”

“Sure, Daniel.”

“Daniel, how long is this going to take?”  Jack asked a bit abruptly.

“I'm not sure.  Probably a while.”

“It's already been a while.  I thought you said you could find the writings you needed within an hour or two?”

Daniel shrugged, responding, “I guess I was wrong.  Jack, these writings are more elaborate than the ones we saw on the UAV.  I'm not even sure, they're connected.”

Jack closed his eyes.  It was hot, and getting hotter.  He and Teal'c were essentially wallpaper on this mission, not that he minded, but it was so dang hot.

====

After another hour passed, Jack whined, “Daniel!”

“Teal'c,” Daniel called out as he ignored his lover.  “Look at this.”  He waited for the Jaffa to join him at the center of the wall he had been examining and then pointed to the item of interest.  “Isn't this a variation of the Goa'uld warning that we found on P3R-233?”

Teal'c frowned as he confirmed, “Yes, it is similar to the Korush-nai.”

“Uh, Jack,” Daniel called out nervously.  “I think you need to see this.”

Jack ambled over to his teammates.  “What's going on?”

“Look,” Daniel pointed.

“O'Neill, this looks like the Korush-nai.  It is the symbol the Goa'uld leave to warn other Jaffa or Goa'uld to turn back.”

“I remember, but I thought that meant the surface of a planet would be contaminated.  We're on the surface, and it's been checked out.”

“Well, it's not the exact symbol.  The Korush-nai is a ... frowning sun of sorts.  This is more of a ... cackling sun.  It's some kind of variation,” Daniel pointed out.

“Which means what exactly?” Jack asked a bit impatiently looking at both Daniel and Teal'c.

“I am not certain, O'Neill,” the Jaffa replied.

Sam interjected, “Sir, I recommend we go back to the SGC and run some more tests to be sure we haven't missed something.”

Nodding, Jack spoke, “I agree.  Let's pack it up.”

“But, Jack ...” Daniel began, his hands on his hips.

“No buts, Daniel.  We don't know what we're dealing with.”

Daniel wasn't happy, but, having no choice, he put a few artifacts in his pack and headed back to the Stargate with the rest of SG-1.

====

“We came, we saw, we didn't quite conquer,” Jack quipped after SG-1 stepped through the wormhole and walked down to meet General Hammond.
 
“Sir, I'll just go and ...” Sam waved a hand in the direction of the control room and hurried off to verify some readings she had taken with those of the UAV previously.

“And I'll start working on these translations,” Daniel stated as he scurried off to his office.

Jack looked expectantly at Teal'c wondering what the Jaffa would decide he needed to do this instant.  Instead, Teal'c simply looked inscrutably back at him.  Jack shook his head.

~Never get into a staring contest with a Jaffa,~ the colonel reminded himself.

“Colonel?” General Hammond called out as he waited for the CO of SG-1 to explain what was going on.

“We ran across a cackling sun, General,” Jack responded, realizing that the general had just about had his fill of quips.

“Very well.  We'll meet at 1500 hours to discuss a return trip.  In the meantime, Colonel, perhaps a shower?”

Jack could have sworn Hammond was smirking as he left the gate room.  He lifted his arm and took a tentative sniff.  Perhaps he could use a shower.  On the other hand, he could go and annoy his delightful linguist.

~Choices, choices,~ Jack mused as he left the gate room.

====

“Okay, I'm here,” Jack announced unnecessarily as he sat down at the long conference table in the briefing room.  “This had better be worth interrupting my video game.  I was finally getting the best of Pac Man, and it's only taken me thirty years to do it, too.”

Hammond shook his head in disbelief.  Jack O'Neill was the best at what he did, but if you didn't know him, you wouldn't know it from his child-like remarks.

“Colonel,” Janet spoke from her seat next to the major general at the long briefing room table.  “Major Carter just completed a more detailed analysis of the planet's atmosphere.”

“There was air.  I know, because I could breathe it,” Jack smirked.

“Yes, Colonel, but some of the elements making up the air are suspicious,” Janet explained.

“Suspicious air?  Did it commit a crime?”  Jack saw the glares at his flippancy and decided he had better get serious for a few minutes at least.  “Sorry.  Go on.”

“There's an anomaly in the makeup that I can't identify and, given what Sam told me about the Goa'uld warning, I think we'd better run full examinations on all of you right away,” the SGC Chief of Medicine stated.

“And,” Jack prodded expectantly.  “There's always an 'and' when there should be an 'or.”

More glares were aimed at the Air Force colonel, who simply stared back at the starers.

Janet continued, “And I think until the matter is resolved, SG-1 should be quarantined.”

~Time alone with Danny.  Works for me,~ Jack thought.

“We're a bit short of rooms, Colonel, due to the virus from P2J-118.  We'll have to put all of you together in one room,” Janet added.

~So much for my time alone with Danny,~ the colonel sighed.

Hammond ordered, “Colonel, SG-1 will report to VIP Room 3 immediately.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Major Carter is aware of the situation, Colonel.  She may already be there,” Janet said as she walked out.

====

After going to Teal'c's quarters and informing him of what was happening, Jack headed for Daniel's office.  He smiled as he walked in, seeing his lover so involved in his work.  Daniel was always the happiest when he had some archaeological whatever to concentrate on.

“Daniel, I hate to interrupt but ...” Jack began, trailing off as soon as his lover looked up at him.  He was stunned at what he saw.  His lover's skin had a slight green tinge to it.  “Ah, Danny?  We need to go to the infirmary.”

“What?  Why?  Jack, what's wrong?”

Daniel rubbed his eyes.  He was feeling really tired and wasn't sure why.  He'd been fine when they came back through the Stargate.  As he lowered his hand, he caught sight of the color of his skin and froze.

“Oh my ... JACK WHAT THE ...”

Seeing and hearing the panic rising up in his lover, Jack rushed over to him and pulled him up into a hug.

“It's okay, Danny.  We'll go see Fraiser, and she'll soon have you back to normal.”

“Jack, Janet doesn't have pills for people who are ... JACK, I'M GREEN!”

“Well, you'll match the grass now,” Jack tried to tease.

Daniel slapped the arms that held him.

Still in shock, the colorful archaeologist whispered, “I'm green.  How did I get green?”

“I don't know.  Sam and the Doc said there was something funny about the air on that planet.  Come on, let's go and get you checked out.”

“Checked out?  What do you think I am ... a green string bean?”

Jack couldn't help himself.  He laughed, and immediately felt another, more powerful swat on his arm.

“I'm sorry, Love, but that was pretty funny.”  Jack's laughter subsided, however, when he saw the true fear in Daniel's eyes.  He pulled his lover to him for a quick hug, and then tugged on his arm to lead him to the door.  But as they reached it, Daniel stopped short and began to back up.  He couldn't face anyone looking like this.  He hated being the center of attention and knew this would feed the rumor mills at the SGC for quite some time.  He was tired of always being a laughing stock.  “Danny?”

“I can't go out there like this.  Everyone will laugh at me.”

“No, they won't.  This is the SGC.  Weird things are always happening around here.”
 
Daniel shook his head as he refuted, “Jack, when is the last time you saw anyone green walking the corridors?”

“St. Patrick's Day?” Jack tried to quip, coughing afterwards in lame apology.

“I can't go out there.”  Daniel looked at his hands again.  “Look at me!  Gawd, I ... I look like Kermit!”

“But you're my Kermie, Danny, and I love you, whether you're blue, green or purple.  Come on, Love.  It'll be okay, I promise.”

Jack held Daniel close, then kissed him and led him out into the corridor.  As they passed a group of Marines, one of them looked at Daniel and opened his mouth to comment.  A death glare from Jack had him reconsidering and increasing his pace to get as far away from Jack O'Neill as he could.

Happily, they reached the infirmary without further incident.  Daniel immediately pulled the curtains around the area, and then made a bee line for his bed, grabbing the covers and lying face down on the bed and pulling the sheets over his head, holding them firmly in place with his fists.

====

“Ah, Doc,” Jack called out, entering Janet's office.

“Just a minute, Colonel,” Janet requested.  She was on the phone.  After a moment, she looked up at Jack.  “This is going to be a while.  Can you get one of the nurses to help you?”

“Janet, this is ... it's an emergency!”

Janet paused, trying to decipher the funny look on the colonel's face.

“Please, Doc.”

Janet nodded, finished her conversation quickly, and questioned, “Okay, what's the problem?”

“Over there,” Jack said, pointing to the white curtains blocking off one of the beds.

“That's Daniel's bed,” Janet charged, almost afraid to see what was behind the curtains draped around the bed.

“That would be correct.  Doc, he's green.”

“Excuse me, Colonel?” Janet responded, actually stopping for a moment.

“Greener than the Jolly Green Giant, Janet.”

“Jack, I don't have time for ...”

“This isn't a joke.”

Janet saw the seriousness on Jack's face.  She was skeptical, but then again, this was Daniel they were talking about, and with Daniel Jackson one could never assume.  She walked over to the area, and pulled open the white curtains.  What she saw was the outline of a body under the covers.

“Daniel?”

“Close the curtains,” the archaeologist demanded.

“Um, Daniel ...”

“Close the curtains.”

Janet turned, pulled the material taut, and then requested, “Okay, let me see.”

Daniel rolled over and slowly pulled down the covers, revealing his green skin.

“Oh.”

“Oh?  Years of medical training, and all you can say is 'oh'?” Daniel asked incredulously.

“Well, they didn't cover people turning green in chemistry,” Janet said, touching Daniel's skin.

“Doc, he was fine when we returned from the planet, but after our meeting, when I went to fetch him ...” Jack began.

“Fetch?” Daniel interrupted, being short on patience at the moment.  “I may be green, but I am NOT  a dog, Colonel O'Neill.”

Jack gulped.  His lover seemed to have lost all his sense of humor.

“Anyway, when I got to Daniel's office, well, what you see is what I got,” the older man intoned.

Janet sighed, “I'd better run some tests.  Colonel, I want you, Teal'c and Sam quarantined immediately, without delay.  Is that understood?”

“Yes, Ma'am.  Uh ...” Jack looked at Daniel.

“Colonel, he'll be fine.”

Jack tilted his head in a slight nod.  He hated leaving Daniel, but couldn't think of a way to stay.

**Sorry, Love.  It'll be okay.**

**Jolly Green Giant.  Fetch.  You ain't got nothing, Colonel, nor will you have anything of mine if you keep that up.**

**Ouch!  I love you, Angel,** Jack communicated.  There wasn't a response.  His lover was pouting.  ~That's okay.  I'd be a bear if I were green, too.~

Jack turned to head for the VIP room assigned to SG-1 when he heard a tender thought.

**I'm sorry, Jack.  I'm just ... scared.  I love you, too.**

Jack turned, smiled, and replied, **It'll be okay.  I promise.**

“Colonel, I said immediately.”

“I'm going.  I'll see you later, Daniel.”

====

“Sir, where's Daniel?” Sam asked as Jack walked into VIP Room 3.

“He's in the infirmary.”

“Is DanielJackson unwell?” Teal'c inquired with a worried expression.

“DanielJackson is green, Teal'c.”

“Green?” both Sam and Teal'c asked within seconds of each other.

“Green,” Jack acknowledged, walking to the sofa and sitting down.  “Fraiser is doing some tests.  Hopefully, we'll know something soon.”

====

A few hours later, as evening set in, Janet and General Hammond entered the VIP room.

“Where's Daniel?” Jack asked sharply, not really intending to be as harsh as he knew he sounded.

“Relax, Colonel.  Daniel is fine,” Janet answered.  “I gave him a sedative.  He was very upset.”

“Sit down, people,” the general urged, taking a seat himself.  “Doctor Fraiser has discovered some interesting possibilities.”  The general nodded at the physician.

Janet explained her findings thus far, saying, “One of the elements in the air seems to be a synthesized copper and iron component.  I don't know how it got there, but as far as I can tell, the only damage it will do is to cause the change in skin color.”

“It's manufactured, though?” Jack asked as he sought clarification.

“Yes, I think so, but when, why or how, I don't know.”

“Perhaps DanielJackson's translations can be of assistance?” Teal'c asked.

“Once he wakes up, he's free to go,” the physician responded.

“Free to go?  Doc, how do we reverse this?”

“I ... I don't know, Colonel.  I really don't know,” Janet answered as she took a deep breath.

“Swell.”

SG-1 was dismissed.  Janet told the team that if they hadn't already turned green, they probably wouldn't.  She assumed Daniel had been exposed to something that put him at higher risk, or, perhaps, it was just his DNA that made him more vulnerable.  SG-1 would be on light duty for a few days until the general and the Doctor were more confident there would be no other side effects.

In the meantime, Jack headed for the infirmary.  Telling Daniel he may be green for life wasn't going to be easy.  Taking his seat beside Daniel's bed, he hoped his lover would find a solution in the Goa'uld writings on the wall.

**I love you, Angel, no matter what color you are,** Jack spoke as he smiled, meaning every word of his silent communication.

====

After he'd been sitting by Daniel's bed for about half an hour, Daniel finally started to awaken.  

“J'ck?”

Jack grinned as he heard his name called.  No matter how many times it had happened over the years, knowing that Daniel's first conscious thought was about Jack gave the older man such joy.

“I'm right here, Danny.”
 
Opening his eyes, Daniel smiled at his lover.  Within seconds, the memory of recent events came flooding back to him.  He looked hopefully at his hand clasped in Jack's.  It was still green.  He couldn't believe this was happening.  Why did these things always happen to him?

“Why am I green, Jack?”

“We're not sure, Danny.  There is a synthesized copper and iron element in the air on that planet, and Janet thinks that might have caused this reaction in you.”

Daniel looked suspiciously at Jack and asked pointedly, “What aren't you telling me?”

“We don't know how to reverse it ... yet.”

Jack saw Daniel's eyes widen in horror, and then with a speed the Special Ops colonel had to admire, Daniel dived under the bed covers, pulling them firmly over his head.

“Ah, Danny?  Whatcha doing?”

Indistinguishable, muffled sounds came from under the covers.  Jack tried to pull the covers back down, but they were held firmly in place.

~Geez, you're strong, Danny,~ Jack opined.  “Danny?  We hope that the writings on the planet might give us a solution.”  He waited for a reply that never came.  “Um, Daniel, we need you to translate them for us.”

Jack gave an experimental tug on the bed cover and was relieved when it was released.  The face looking back at him was so woeful that Jack's heart melted.  He checked that the coast was clear, and then kissed his lover deeply, letting all the love he had for the younger man flow into it.
 
“I love you, Angel, and trust me, you are sexy and beautiful, even if you're green.”  Jack caressed Daniel's jaw and leaned in for another kiss.  “We need to go to your office so you can do your magic with those writings.”
 
Daniel weighed his options.  He really couldn't stay cowering in the infirmary all day.  He looked at Jack and saw the older man's love for him, even though he was green, and, if he ever wanted to be normal again, he knew he'd have to solve the mystery of the Goa'uld symbol.  Reluctantly, he nodded and allowed Jack to help him up.

As the teammates and lovers left the infirmary, Daniel lifted up his chin.  He was not going to let this humiliate him.

When they passed SG-2, who were returning from a mission, Daniel exchanged pleasantries with them before continuing on his way.

**Geez, I love you Angel**
 
Jack wondered if Daniel would ever cease to amaze him.  If the situation were reversed, he was sure that he wouldn't be handling it as well as Daniel was.  He did notice, however, the expression of relief on Daniel's face when they reached his office.

“At least there's one advantage to being green,” Daniel said wryly.  “No one can tell when you're blushing.”

====

“Hey, Daniel.  How's it coming?” Sam asked as she entered Daniel's office, trying her best not to react to his greenish skin hue.

“It's not,” Daniel answered, sighing in frustration.  “Sam, I may always be like this.”

“Look at the bright side.”

“What's that?”

“I ...” Sam flinched.  “I haven't thought of it yet,” she admitted with a nervous smile.

Daniel sighed.  Sam walked over to her friend as he sat at his desk, studying the photographs of the writings they had found.

“Why would the Goa'uld make anything even closely related to a smile?  I mean, a cackle is a wicked laugh, Daniel, but it's still a smile.”

“I have no idea,” Daniel answered.  “In fact, I have no idea about any of this.”

“It'll come to you.  Is there anything I can do to help?” the major asked.

“Sam, why am I the only one effected by this?  We were all there the same length of time and basically in the same location.”

“Well, the colonel and Teal'c did patrol the perimeter quite a bit, and I was more mobile than you, taking the photographs.  You were ...” Sam paused, making a realization.  “Daniel, you were pretty much in the same location the entire time.”

Daniel's look was intense as he processed the information, then surmised, “There has to be something here, then, where the symbol is.  But what?”

Daniel sighed as he sat back in his chair.

“Hey,” Jack greeted, clapping his hands together in a show of positive attitude as he entered the office/lab.  “What have we learned?”

“*We* have learned nothing,” Daniel scowled.  “*I* have learned that it's not easy being green, and I don't like it.”

“Yes, well.  What about the translations?” Jack asked, trying to remain focused on the good side of the road, so to speak.

“I need to go back to the planet.”

Shaking his head, Jack responded, “I don't think so.”

“Jack, I don't want to live my life as a freak.  I need to study this more.  The photos just don't show everything.”

Sam chimed, “Haz Mat suits should protect us, Sir.”

“I'll talk to Hammond.  Keep working on it, and I'll see if he'll greenlight a ...” Jack paused, seeing the look of frustration on Daniel's face.  He hadn't meant to use the 'G' word; it had just come out.  “... I'll see if Hammond will give us permission to go back in the morning.”

Jack made a quick exit, heading for Hammond's office.

“Hey, how about a late snack?” Sam suggested, looking for a diversion.

“Sam, I don't want to leave here until I have to,” Daniel stated.

“Okay, I'll bring us something to eat here, okay?”

“Okay,” Daniel agreed as he returned his focus to the strange puzzle he was trying to solve.

====

That night, Teal'c remained in his quarters, while Sam stayed in the VIP room where SG-1 had been temporarily quarantined.  Daniel worked late into the night in his office, while Jack kept watch.  Finally, the older man forced his workaholic lover to rest on the cot for a while.  Unfortunately, they couldn't risk turning off the security equipment like they might normally.  Janet was making periodical checks on all four members of the team as a precaution.  Thus, while Daniel slept, Jack sat in a chair, not sleeping himself until Daniel awoke and went back to work.  Even so, the colonel didn't get much sleep that night.

====

Early the next morning, SG-1 stood in the gate room wearing Haz Mat suits.  Daniel wasn't convinced he needed to wear the suit since he'd already been affected, but as it covered up his green skin he'd been happy to don the garment.

General Hammond watched as the team stepped through the wormhole.  Even though he had his doubts about allowing SG-1 to return to the planet, his 2IC was remarkably persuasive when he wanted to be.
 
====

“Daniel.”

Jack called his lover back.  Daniel was like an excited puppy and kept bounding ahead in his eagerness to reach the ruins and solve this latest mystery.  Anyone who didn't know the archaeologist would assume Daniel was simply eager to find a way of removing the green hue from his skin, but Jack knew that this was simply Daniel, hot on the trail of some new discovery.

Like the last time on the planet, by the time they reached the ruins, Jack and Sam were sweltering from the excessive heat while Daniel and Teal'c looked unperturbed.  As Daniel began examining the markings on the wall, Sam set up the various gadgets and instruments she had brought while Jack and Teal'c patrolled the perimeter.

After an hour had passed, Jack was eager for an update and asked hopefully, “Made any progress, Daniel?”

“Hmmm, need more time,” Daniel muttered, his attention focused on his translations.

“We can only stay for another hour.  Hammond's orders.”

“Uh, sure Jack.”

Jack wondered whether Daniel had actually heard a word he'd said.

====
 
Jack looked at his watch, then over at Daniel and sighed.  The archaeologist had shown no sign of slowing down, but now their time was up.  General Hammond had been reluctant to sanction this return visit, and he didn't want to give his commanding officer cause to regret his decision.

“That's it!”

Jack's smile at the jubilant cry soon vanished as Daniel reached up and removed the hood from his Haz Mat suit.

“Jack, it's okay.  Well, not totally okay, but there's no danger to you guys as long as you stay away from the wall,” Daniel intoned.  He saw the strange look on his lover's face.  “Jack, what's wrong?”

~Geez.~  The older man took a deep breath before approaching his lover.  “Danny,” Jack whispered into the younger man's ear, “you're ... blue.”

“Excuse me?”

“You're blue.  I have to admit that it's a beautiful shade.  In fact, it really goes well with your eyes.  I could live with this.”

Daniel's eyes were dark now, but not from lust.  In fact, Jack feared he may never be the recipient of Daniel's lust again if he didn't somehow get his foot out of his mouth.

“Ah, what I meant was ...”

“I know what you meant, Jack,” Daniel replied.  “AND TAKE OFF THE BLASTED SUIT.”

Jack did as ordered, though he had a brief though of, ~Ordered?  Hey, I'm the colonel.~

Daniel began to pace, back and forth, muttering, “Blue.  Green. I don't get it.  The writings said ... and the sun ... that made sense, but this ... no, that ... but maybe ...”

On and on, the young man worked to piece together the mystery of his changing color.

“Daniel, we have to get back to the SGC,” Jack stated not long thereafter.

“No, Jack, the answer is here,” Daniel insisted as he walked back to the wall.

“Oh, no, you don't.”  Jack physically pulled his lover away from the wall, tugging him several yards out of range of the strange symbol that was apparently causing the problem.  “Daniel, we don't know the extent of this.  I won't let you go blindly ...”

“I'm not, Jack.  The answer is there, and I have to find it.”

“Daniel.”

“Jack.”  Jack let out a breath of frustration as he removed his arm and let Daniel return to the wall.  “Put the helmet back on.”

“No, it won't make any difference.”

“Carter, Teal'c.  You two head back to the SGC.  Fill Hammond in.  We'll be back when ... you know.”  Jack waved his hand in the air.  He had no idea when they'd be back.  At the moment, he was subject to the whims of his archaeologist.  “Go,” he ordered quietly.

“Yes, Sir,” Sam acknowledged, after which she and Teal'c returned to the SGC, leaving the two lovers to the puzzle.

====

Jack watched with great concern.  His blue lover had been sitting in front of the wall for two hours, mumbling things Jack didn't understand.  He was about to pull the plug and forcibly drag Daniel back to the SGC.

Suddenly, Daniel exclaimed, “YES! Jack, I've got it!”

“You said that before.”

Leaping to his feet, Daniel hurried to Jack, explaining, “Yes, I know, but now I really do.  Jack, this one section of the wall was tampered with.  I mean, the age doesn't match the rest of it, and the angles of the symbols don't match.”

“Daniel ...”

“Sorry, okay, the point is, it's not the Goa'uld warning.  I mean it was there, a very long time ago.  The Goa'uld had infected the atmosphere, but someone was able to fix it.”

“Fix it?”

“Yes, using a sort of purification system, only in order to clean the air, there was a ... a ...”

“Side effect?” Jack offered with his eyebrows raised.

“Exactly.  Whatever is in the purification system must somehow interact with our body chemistry.”

“Yeah, but I'm not ... blue.”

“I think the system is connected to that wall.  Maybe it's even inside it or linked to it underground.  I don't know, but stay away from the wall and ... you won't be green or blue.”

“Danny, why the color change?”

“I haven't figured that out yet.  Jack, I think Sam and Janet need to examine the wall more closely.  There's some indications about how it's set up, but that's Sam's domain.  I don't quite understand how all that connects.

“Okay.  Let's go back to the SGC,” Jack suggested.

“Jack, I should stay and ...”

“No.  Move, Daniel,” Jack said, his suggestion now an order.

“Tyrant.”

“Blue Boy.”

“You're so not getting any tonight, Jack.”

“I'll be so blue, Danny,” the older man jested.

“And maybe not for the rest of the month.”

Smirking, Jack intoned, “I'll have a blue, blue Christmas without you.”

“Make that for the rest of the year,” Daniel replied dryly.

Jack chuckled.  Daniel needed him as much as he needed the younger man.  He wasn't worried ... much.

====

As the lovers reached the Stargate, Daniel stopped.

Jack sighed, “Danny?”

“It makes more sense for me to stay here and keep working on that wall.  I don't need to go back to the SGC.  You can go through and send Sam and Janet back.”

“Daniel, I am not leaving you here alone,” Jack insisted.

“But, Jack ...”

“No.”

“Jack.”

“No, Danny.  End of Discussion,” Jack spoke.

The colonel looked at Daniel, determined not to let the pouting lower lip get to him.  Finally, the archaeologist sighed and trudged over to the DHD.  As he began dialing Earth's address, Jack stopped him and drew him into a hug.

“It'll be okay,” Jack reassured as he felt his lover burying his nose in his neck.

“I'm always a laughing stock, Jack.  This crazy stuff always happens to me.  Gawd, I'm so tired of having to ...”

“... having to be brave and ignore the stupidity and ignorance of others?”

Daniel nodded.  He couldn't remember a time that he wasn't standing out in some way, even when his parents were alive.  He was the little boy genius, always different.

Jack pulled away to look at Daniel, who stubbornly refused to meet his eye.  With his left hand Jack tilted Daniel's chin upward.

“Danny, you have never been a laughing stock to me or anyone else that genuinely knows you.  Your so called academic peers haven't got a tenth of the brain cells that you have, and everybody I know at the SGC respects you.”

“They wouldn't admit it to you if they didn't Jack.”

“No, but I'd hear about it.  You know the SGC.  It's a rumor mill.”  Jack leaned in and kissed his lover then pulled him into a firm embrace.  “I love you, Danny, so friggin' much.  I'm sorry I teased you.”

“It's okay, Jack.  You can't help it.  It's part of the military mentality.” With a smirk, Daniel left Jack spluttering in indignation and began dialing Earth again.

====

“Oh, Daniel,” Sam gasped.  She didn't mean to.  After all, Jack could have warned her, but walking into the briefing room, she had been unprepared for a blue Daniel.  ~Bad move, Samantha,~ she chastised herself.

Janet had already run another series of tests on the archaeologist and would be joining SG-1 and General Hammond with the results shortly.

Daniel sat low in his seat.  He had seen the myriad of looks from personnel as he walked from the gate room to the infirmary, then to his office, and now to the briefing room.  He just wanted to disappear.

~No, I don't want to disappear.~  Daniel suddenly sat up straighter.  ~I already disappeared and that ... gawd, that was worse,~  he thought as he looked over at his lover seated across from him at the large table.

Daniel remembered back to the episode with the crystal skull they had found in the huge pyramid, when he had been teleported to another phase of existence. During that entire nightmare, he hadn't been able to talk to Jack in any way.  He wasn't able to touch him, and Jack had been all alone.

Daniel's epiphany brought a big smile to his face as he stared at Jack.

**Danny, you're smiling.**

**Jack, I may be blue, but at least you can still hold me.  At least, we can talk.  I don't care what color I am ... or you are ... I just care that we're together.**

Now, Jack smiled, too, replying, **Always, Love.**

“Well, I'm glad to see you two seem to be so happy,” General Hammond noted as he observed the smiling teammates.

“Uh, yeah, well ... gas,” Jack smirked.

Daniel looked down and laughed.

“Doctor Jackson, what did you learn from your return to the planet?” Hammond inquired curiously.

“Well, I think the Goa'uld did inject some kind of poison into the atmosphere of the planet, but, later on, someone, or something, was able to cleanse it.  They've altered or installed some element or device into or near the wall with the warning that has essentially eliminated the poison, but that results in a change in color for anyone who comes in close contact to where the ... well, cleaner I guess you'd call it, is installed.”

“Any idea about who or what would have the capability to do this?” the major general questioned.

Daniel shrugged, responding, “Someone we haven't met or ... maybe someone like Ma'chello, although this is a little outside of his normal area of expertise, but it would have to be someone of that caliber.”

“Okay,” Janet said, as she joined the others, sitting down next to Sam.  She opened a folder and looked at the data in front of her.  “I think what has happened is some kind of shift of balance in your chemical make up, Daniel.  Is it possible that if you returned to the planet again, you might change to another color?”

“I don't know.”

Janet continued, “I think it's a possibility that every time you, or whoever, goes to the site of the ... infection, that it triggers a reaction.  The color isn't intentional.  It's just the result of being there.”

“But, Doc, how do we reverse it?” Jack asked, his hands moving outward to reveal his palms briefly.

“I'm still working on that.”

“General, I know you're hesitant, but I really think I need to go back there,” Daniel stated.

“Daniel,” Jack interjected.

“Jack, the more we learn, the better we'll be able to deal with ... this,” Daniel said as he waved his hand in front of his body.  “Please, General Hammond.”

“Doctor Fraiser?” Hammond asked, looking over at her.

“Sir, SG-1 checks out in perfect health, except for Daniel's color.  If they stay away from the wall, they should be fine, and since Daniel is already infected, it shouldn't matter, although he might ...”

“... change colors?” Jack finished the sentence for the diminutive doctor.

“Yes,” Janet affirmed.

Considering the comments, Hammond let out a sigh and then expressed, “SG-1, you have a go.  I don't see a need for the Haz Mat suits this time around, but that's your option.  Dismissed.”

====

After eating a light lunch at Janet's insistence, SG-1 once again found themselves back on the hot planet, Sam playing around with various pieces of equipment, Teal'c helping her, Daniel ensconced in front of his wall, and Jack feeling like a third wheel. They'd decided not to bother with the Haz Mat suits.  The planet was hot enough without adding extra layers, and as long as they stayed cleared of the center of the wall, they figured they'd be safe enough.

“So Carter,” Jack fiddled with the knobs on one of Sam's doo-hickeys, “find anything interesting?”

“We have not, O'Neill,” Teal'c answered for the two as he reached over and removed the device from Jack's hands.

“Shouldn't you check on Daniel, Sir?” Sam asked.  ~Please check on Daniel.~

“You mean I'm annoying you, so why don't I go and annoy Daniel?” Jack interpreted.  Two impassive faces gazed back at him indicating that, yes, that was exactly what Sam meant.  “Okay, okay, I can take a hint,” he muttered as he stalked off towards his lover.

“As long as it's not too subtle,” Sam whispered to Teal'c.

“And I heard that,” Jack called back.  He found himself wishing for a little action, maybe a Jaffa or two that he could fight.  As he approached the wall, he could see Daniel crouched over, examining some marking's at the base of the wall.

At that moment, the scientist looked at his hand, now a bright pink and sighed, ~This is getting ridiculous.~

“Hey, Danny.”

Daniel braced himself for Jack's reaction and turned around to face his lover.

“You're pink!” Jack exclaimed.

Daniel was pleased that Jack seemed to be taking this latest color change in his stride.  At least his lover hadn't begun with a battery of pink jokes -- yet.

Jack sighed, practically whining, “I liked the blue; it matched your eyes.”

Daniel glared at his soulmate, then turned back to his wall.  He knew his lover was using humor to deal with the situation, but that didn't mean he had to like it.  Focusing on the last symbol in the sequence he'd been studying, he brushed his hand over it, feeling the carvings etched into the stone.  Too late, he felt the stone move.

“Oh, oh.”

“Danny?”  At the same time Jack spoke, Daniel was encased in a bright light and a second later, had vanished!

====

“Teal'c! Carter!”  Jack looked all around.  “We've done this!” the Air Force colonel spoke with frustration that was beyond belief.

“O'Neill, where is DanielJackson?”

“HOW THE HECK DO I KNOW?” Jack growled.  “One minute he was here, the next -- poof!”

“What was he doing, Sir?”

“What was he doing?  He was ... touching things.  You know, Daniel is always touching something he's not supposed to,” Jack answered.  **Danny?  DANIEL!**  ~Not again.  There had better not be any crystal skulls around here.~

Jack was fuming.  He could handle a lover who was green, blue, and even pink, but invisible was a definite no go.

“Okay, Sir, show me,” Sam requested.

“Show you?  Carter, you can't go playing around with that stuff, or you'll start turning colors, too.”

“DANIEL?  CAN YOU HEAR US?” Sam shouted, a bit out of desperation, not knowing what else to do.

“You know, Carter, you could try the radio,” Jack proposed.

“Oh,” Sam reacted as she blushed, kicking herself for not thinking of the obvious.  “Yes, Sir.”

When there was still no response from Daniel, Jack sighed, “Go back to what you were doing.  Maybe you can find out something.”

“Sir, shouldn't we tell General Hammond?”

“Why?  He'll order us back.  Do you want to go back, Carter?”  Jack waited for a response that didn't come.  “Teal'c?”

“MajorCarter and I have not yet completed our task, O'Neill,” the Jaffa stated and then returned to what he had been doing, Sam following him.

The two teammates quickly became involved in what they were doing.  Neither saw Jack walk to the exact spot where Daniel had disappeared.  Neither saw him running his hands over the carvings, and neither saw the same bright light envelop Jack, causing him to vanish, after he had pushed the exact same stone as Daniel had just minutes earlier.

“Sir, I think ...” Sam looked around, astonished.  “Teal'c, where's the colonel?”

“I do not know.”  The Jaffa stood and quickly went to where Jack had been minutes before.  “O'Neill?” he called out.

“What do you think?” Sam asked, still looking around the area.

“I think O'Neill has followed DanielJackson.”

“Maybe we should return to the SGC,” the major wondered, watching as Teal'c returned to his work.  “Teal'c?”

“O'Neill wished us to stay.  I will stay.”

Sam nodded, took a breath, and returned to the task at hand.

====

“Jack's going to kill me for this,” Daniel muttered as he began looking around at the place he'd been transported to.  He was in a large room, the walls of which were covered in hieroglyphs and symbols.  Wandering over to the nearest one, he began examining the markings.  A moment later, he heard a slight thump behind him and turned around.  “Jack.”

The scientist walked into Jack's warm embrace.  Maybe he should be worried, but he was just happy to see his lover.

“You disappeared again, Danny.  You just vanished.  You're not allowed to do that.  It's ... against the rules.”
 
Jack's words were muffled as he spoke into Daniel's neck.  Jack was clinging to his lover, his hands gripping Daniel's clothes tightly.  He knew he was doing it, but he simply couldn't help it.  He'd never wanted to repeat the crystal skull experience, and the minute his lover had been out of his sight had been a minute too long for the tough Special Ops colonel.

Daniel held his lover and rubbed soothing circles on his back as he responded, “I'm sorry, Jack.  I didn't mean to scare you.  It's okay, we're both here now.  I love you.”

Daniel felt Jack's despair.  He hadn't known what would happen when he touched the stone, and had he known, he truly wouldn't have done it.

“Love you, too.”

“Ah, Jack.  You do realize you've turned yellow?” Daniel asked once he felt a bit more settled.
 
Jack clung to Daniel, more tightly, and replied, “Don't care.  As long as I'm with you, I don't care if I turn every color in the universe.”

Still wrapped in Daniel's arms, Jack started kissing his lover.  He knew they should be looking for a way out of this place.  It hadn't escaped him that there didn't seem to be a door in this room, but right now, he needed Daniel, to feel his heart surrounding him.

“Jack, Sam and Teal'c, ... you don't think they'd figure out how to get in here, do you?” the younger man asked mischievously.

“They wouldn't dare.”

“Make love to me, Jack.”

Daniel knew what his lover needed, and, truth be told, he needed it, too.  They were both at the end of their emotional tethers, and they needed to ground themselves.

The two began caressing, each removing the other's tops and bottoms, and kissing every inch of newly revealed skin.  Eventually, as Jack slipped inside Daniel, each felt the tension and stress they'd been feeling melt away.  As long as they had each other, they could cope with anything.

====

“So,” Jack began as he reattached his weapon to his vest, “any idea where we are?”

“My guess is that the wall isn't really a wall.”

“Then, what is it?”

Daniel theorized, “Maybe just a ... well, I think maybe it's like a chimney.  Whatever the person who cleaned the air on the surface did, maybe it is generated by something down here, and is released through the wall where the Goa'uld symbol is.”

“There's nothing in this room but us.”

“And these,” Daniel pointed out as he walked to the hieroglyphs that were on the walls.

Quietly, Daniel read the symbols.  Jack watched for over an hour as his scholarly lover moved from wall to wall, his hands tracing the symbols he was reviewing.  Occasionally, Daniel would mumble something, but then he would quiet.

~My genius.~

Jack felt like he could watch Daniel forever.  His lover was so focused, and in spite of their situation, having a wonderful time trying to solve the mystery of the wall.  Somehow, from deep inside, Jack knew that Daniel would find the answer.  He always did.  It was only a matter of time, and Jack's only worry was that they might run out of time.

“Jack, it is Ma'chello.  I'm sure of it, but he ... he tried to hide his presence with their hieroglyphs ... like kind of a ... masquerade.  He wanted to preserve the planet ...”  Daniel continued reading, and then with a strong, powerful voice, “Jack, we have to get out of here.  We have to get Teal'c off this planet ... now!”

====

Meanwhile, on the surface of the planet, Sam sealed the last of her soil, or rather sand, samples and turned to face Teal'c.  She frowned as she took in the Jaffa's appearance.

“Teal'c?  Are you okay?”

For the first time since they had visited the planet, the Jaffa looked as if he was beginning to be affected by the heat.  Sweat was pouring off him and his posture was stiffer than usual, as if he were bracing himself against pain.

“I will be fine, MajorCarter.”

“Yeah, like Daniel's always fine,” Sam responded skeptically.  “I think we should head back to the SGC and get Janet to check you out.”

“We cannot leave O'Neill and DanielJackson,” Teal'c insisted.

Sam considered their options for a moment.  She didn't want to leave the colonel, or Daniel, either, but she and Teal'c weren't really achieving anything by staying, and the Jaffa really didn't look well.

“We'll get General Hammond to send a team back for them.  He needs to know what's going on, Teal'c, and if the colonel and Daniel are in trouble, we'll need the extra manpower,” Sam commented.

Reluctantly, the Jaffa nodded his acquiescence, and the two began the trek back to the Stargate.  As they walked, Sam realized that she was slowing down her pace to match Teal'c's.  That, more than anything, brought home to her just how ill the Jaffa was.  She really hoped that Teal'c made it to the gate.  Right now, she wouldn't bet on it.

====

Jack and Daniel were continuing their conversation, the archaeologist suddenly very insisted on finding a way back to their friends.

“Daniel, why do we need to get to Teal'c so fast?” the colonel questioned.  “What do those little squiggly things say now?”

“Jack,” Daniel turned to face his lover, his face solemn.  “Ma'chello was turning the tables on the Goa'uld.  This planet is safe for anyone *except* a Goa'uld.  That's why the symbol was altered, to ... well, to laugh at the Goa'uld.”

“Danny, I'm an old colonel,” Jack spoke with exasperation.

Daniel wanted to scream.  Jack wasn't dumb, and they both knew it, but sometimes, even when they were alone, the older man played dense.  Daniel didn't have time to chastise him now, but later, he'd get his payback.

The archaeologist elaborated, “Jack, the cleaner that has purified the air for humans and humanoids is also a toxin for the Goa'uld.  It's like a slow release.  They'd come to the planet, see the symbol, maybe wonder about why it had changed a little, but then they'd leave, carrying back the toxin.  I think it's supposed to be contagious, but I'm not sure how exactly.”  He  turned back towards the wall, looking again at a certain area.  He walked over and again traced the writings.  “Jack, this planet will kill Teal'c.”

“Daniel, he's already been exposed.”

“Yes, but ... Jack, it's complicated.  It's like it's the accumulation of the toxin that would kill the Goa'uld.”  Daniel was becoming agitated.  He needed more time.  “Look, I think one time on the planet isn't enough to do permanent damage.  He would have to be involved with other Goa'uld, also infected.”  Daniel let out a breath of exasperation.  “Jack, coming back though.  It may kill him.”  He turned, looking around the room, desperate for a way out and more answers.  “Gawd, it's my fault.  I had to come back just because I was ... green.”

Jack walked to Daniel to hold him, but Daniel pushed him away, walking to the wall on the other side.  His eyes searched for clues.  There had to be a way out.

“Daniel, I won't let you to take the blame for this.”

“He could be dead already.  It's just ... color.  Why did I care so much?”

Jack hurried to Daniel again, turning him to face him.  Daniel struggled for a moment, but Jack's strong arms wouldn't let him go.  Jack forced his lover into a protective hug.

“Listen to me.  We take risks every day.  This is not your fault.  And we're not done here.  Let's look for the way out and then go from there.”

“What's wrong with being green?” Daniel inquired with a tiny voice.

“Nothing.  Just like there's nothing wrong with being blue or pink ...”

“Or yellow,” Daniel said softly.

“Or black or red.  The color of our skin doesn't matter.  Geez, Danny, there's a lesson in here somewhere.”

Daniel pulled back slightly and spoke, “I love you, Jack.  I don't care what color we are.  I only care that we ... are.”

“My linguist.  I love you so much.”

The two kissed and then focused on trying to find a way out.

====

“Thank Heaven,” Sam thought as she and Teal'c finally reached the Stargate.

For the last fifteen minutes, the teammates had been moving at a snail's pace.  Now she was half carrying Teal'c, and the Jaffa was no lightweight!  As Sam raced over to the DHD, Teal'c clung to his staff weapon using it as a crutch to keep himself upright.  She was sure that only the warrior's will power was keeping him upright.
 
With a whoosh the wormhole engaged, and after sending through the iris code, the major pulled Teal'c's left arm over her shoulders, and they staggered into the event horizon.

“We need a medic,” Sam shouted as soon as they emerged into the gate room.

At the same time, Teal'c lost his battle to stay upright and fell to the ramp with a loud thud.

“What happened?” Janet questioned urgently after having raced into the gate room with her team.

“I don't know, Janet.  He just kept getting weaker.”

As she examined the Jaffa, Janet asked, “Was he near that wall?”

“No, not at all.”

“Okay, I have a pulse.  Let's get him to ISO Room 4,” Janet ordered her medical team.  Then she turned to Hammond and opined, “I think Teal'c should remain in quarantine until we know more about whatever this is.”
 
Sam watched Teal'c being loaded onto a gurney and then turned to face General Hammond.

“Major, where are Colonel O'Neill and Doctor Jackson?” Hammond asked, clearly not happy about the recent turn of events.

“We don't know, Sir,” Sam answered.  “According to Colonel O'Neill, Daniel apparently touched something on the wall and disappeared in a flash of light.  The colonel told us to keep working.  The next thing we knew, he was gone, too.  I suspect he touched whatever Daniel had and disappeared as well.  We came back to get help for them and Teal'c.”

“Did Teal'c give you any indication at all why his symbiote isn't healing him?” the major general asked.

“Sir, he said that his symbiote is dying.”

====

Half an hour later, General Hammond watched SG-3 disappear through the Stargate.  They had strict instructions to stay away from Daniel's wall, but to search the rest of the area around the ruins.  If they turned up nothing, they were to set up camp by the Stargate and wait. Hopefully, the two missing members of SG-1 would find their way back there.
 
Hammond entered the observation area and looked at Sam Carter with sympathy. It had been a tough decision to make.  She wanted to be here for Teal'c, but she'd also wanted to head back to the planet and help look for the colonel and Daniel.  In the end, the major general decided the kindest thing to do was to take the choice away from her, so he'd ordered her to remain here on the grounds that she was exhausted.

As Janet secured an IV line into Teal'c, she looked up and saw the two anxious people.  She nodded, and exited, joining the two moments later.

“Janet?” Sam called out.

“Doctor?”

Hammond's inquiry came just a split second after Sam's.  Janet looked worried and that was never a good sign.

“Teal'c was right; the larval Goa'uld does seem to be dying,” Janet stated, her professionalism keeping her comments steady.

“Can you do anything for it?” Hammond inquired.

Janet shook her head, responding, “I simply don't know enough about Goa'uld physiology.”

====

“Daniel.”

“Jack, I'm sorry.  I'm going as fast as I can,” Daniel answered as the clock ticked on into evening.

Jack sighed, “No, that's not what I meant.”

Daniel stopped his translating for a moment to look at his partner.  He had a quizzical look on his face as he waited for Jack to explain.

“What I meant was ... I'm sorry I can't help.  I wish I could because I know the pressure you're putting yourself under.  You're slaving away at these walls and I'm just ... standing here.  I'm sorry, Danny.”

Jack turned around, not able to look at Daniel, but within seconds, he felt his lover's arms surrounding him.  Daniel kissed the side of Jack's neck and squeezed his lover to him.

“I love you, and, actually, you can help ... if you want to.”

“I can?” Jack turned back to face Daniel, shaking his head, “How?”

“Come look at this,” Daniel requested, leading his lover over to a section on the east wall.  “See this set of four symbols.  One looks like the sun, and then rain, and then a sword, and finally a cloud.  These patterns are repeated over and over again, but I think the doorway is going to be where the pattern is interrupted.  I haven't seen any of these four symbols separately.  Jack, look over the walls, from top to bottom, and, if you see these four symbols in any other order, or alone, tell me.”

“Okay.  I think I can handle that.”

Jack started to walk away, but Daniel pulled him back for a quick kiss and then stated, “Jack, we're not all experts at everything, and I know sometimes, when we've faced the Goa'uld or some other menace and all I have is my Beretta, I kinda feel ...”

“... useless.”  Jack added, “But you're never useless, Danny.”

“And neither are you, Love.”  The two smiled and began to go about their quest when Daniel called out, “Oh, Jack, don't ...”

“... touch anything,” Jack said with a smile, speaking the words with Daniel, prompting both to laugh.

====

“Sir, any news?” Sam asked as she entered Hammond's office after having been called to his office.

“Nothing specific, Major, but I thought you'd like to know that SG-3 did a full sweep of the area and found nothing,” the commander of the SGC informed.  “They've set up a base camp about a half mile from the wall instead of near the Stargate.  I agreed that it would allow them to continue doing searches further out.  Has your staff had a chance to complete any of the sample testing?”

“Only preliminary results.  Everything is normal, General.  We're doing more.  I'm going to go conduct a few of the tests myself.”

“I'm sure your department can handle it, Major, if you'd prefer to stay with Teal'c.”

Sam nodded, then hesitated.

“Is this something else, Major Carter?”

The blonde sighed, then asked, “Sir, do you think we should contact Teal'c's wife and child?”

“I've already sent word to Master Bra'tac, but until Doctor Fraiser gives the okay, Teal'c remains in quarantine.”

“Yes, Sir.”

====

“Danny, is this it?” Jack asked excitedly.  He had found a segment on the south wall that seemed to fit Daniel's scenario.  “It's the four symbols, but reversed.”

Daniel smiled in acknowledgement, saying, “Okay, if I'm right ...”

“You always are.”

“Gawd, I love you,” Daniel said as he took Jack's hand, and then pressed the center two symbols, causing the flash of light to once again encircle the two men.

“Whoa!  We're back!” Jack chirped happily.

“And we're ... normal again, too,” Daniel observed, seeing Jack's natural skin color, and then looking at his own hand.

“Let's get out of here.  Carter?  Teal'c?”

Jack and Daniel walked away from the wall.

“Jack!  Doc!  Where have you been?” a familiar voice questioned.

It was Lou Ferretti, temporarily assigned to SG-3.

“Never mind that, Lou.  Where's the rest of my team?” Jack questioned.

“Back at the SGC,” Lou answered.

“Teal'c?” Daniel asked.

With a shake of his head, Lou replied, “Not doing so well from what I've heard.”

“Jack ...”

“Let's go,” the colonel ordered.

====

With a sigh of relief, Jack and Daniel stepped through the Stargate and found themselves happily back in the SGC.

“It's good to see you back to your normal color, Doctor Jackson,” General Hammond said, smiling at the archaeologist as he and Jack walked down the ramp to meet him.

“Thank you, General.  How's Teal'c?” Daniel inquired.

“Not too good, I'm afraid.”

Jack stated hopefully, “Daniel thinks there might be a way to save Junior, General.”

“Why am I not surprised,” General Hammond smiled fondly at Daniel who blushed much to Jack's delight.

**You're so sexy, when you blush, Angel.**

**Jack!**

**It's true, Love.  Your so gorgeous, I'd like to ...**

**Jack, if you continue with that line of thought, you won't be doing anything anytime soon.**

**Okay, okay.  I'll be good.**  Jack heard Daniel's silent snort of disbelief.  **... Hey, I heard that.**

General Hammond watched Jack and Daniel exchange smiles and shook his head. He'd never understand how these two men could seem to be at each other's throats one minute and best friends the next.  He then motioned for Sergeant Davis to call Sam to the gate room once SG-1's IDC code had been registered on the equipment in the control room.

“Daniel!  Colonel!” Sam greeted cheerfully as she hurried over and gave Daniel an enthusiastic hug.

“How's Junior doing, Carter?”

“Not very well, Sir.  We don't think he has much time left, and if Junior dies then ...”

No one needed Sam to finish her sentence.  Teal'c needed his symbiote to sustain his immune system.  No Junior, no Teal'c.

“Well, Daniel, it's nice to see you looking more like yourself again,” Janet stated as she joined the group.

The physician didn't say anything else, but that particular smile was the one she always gave the archaeologist when he had survived some ordeal.  It was her “we love you” look.  Naturally, Daniel blushed again.

**Danny.**

**Shut up, Jack.**

**But you're blushing again.  You're so cute**

Daniel decided to ignore his lover for the time being.  “Janet, we think there might be a way to save Teal'c, but ... ah ... it involves ... we have to ...”

====

“Daniel, are you sure about this?” Sam whispered as she stood next to him in the observation deck.

“No, but I don't know what else to do, either,” Daniel admitted.

With a bit of a shiver, the major commented, “I can't believe the colonel is willing to go along with this.”

“I know it's a stretch, but it is Teal'c's life we're talking about, Sam.  If I'm right, and Ma'chello is the one who set this up, then in some way, it makes sense.”

“Doctor Jackson, how's it going?” the general asked as he walked in.

“Janet hasn't begun yet, General.”

“You realize this is a bit unorthodox?” the bald-headed man asked.

“More like insane, but ...” Daniel's voice trailed off as everyone looked down to see Janet finish her preparations.

“Are you sure there isn't any risk to Colonel O'Neill?” Hammond asked.

~There had better not be.~  “Uh, as sure as I can be, General.”

Nodding, Hammond requested, “Explain one more thing to me.  If exposure is the key factor here, then why is it Colonel O'Neill going through the procedure and not you since your exposure was greater?”

~Because Jack wouldn't let me, threatened me with bodily harm, and withdrawing all sexual favors and ... okay, because he begged me and ... okay, so it was after one of those O'Neill Special's, the kiss that makes me forget my name.  He ... He took advantage of me.~  “We're thinking that any substantial exposure would be adequate, Sir, and Jack ... the leader thing.”

“I see.”

General Hammond leaned forward and turned on the microphone, calling out,  “Doctor Fraiser?”

“We're starting now, Sir,” Janet stated as she looked up through the large windows.

“Very well.”

Moments later, Janet began the procedure.

====

Daniel watched Janet make a small incision in Jack's left arm.  Leaving him briefly, she removed the larval Goa'uld from Teal'c's pouch and headed back over to Jack.  He was tempted to call a halt to the whole thing and take Jack's place, then deal with his lover's anger later, when it was all over.

**Don't even think about it, Danny.**

Jack raised his eyes to meet Daniel's, each reassuring the other through their silent communication.  He cringed as he felt Junior suckle the incision Janet had made and then winced when the Goa'uld sank its teeth into his arm and began suckling in earnest.  He didn't look down at it, didn't look anywhere except into Daniel's eyes.

Finally, it was over.  The Goa'uld released its hold on Jack's arm and was quickly scooped up by Janet.  She watched it slither back into Teal'c, and then returned to the colonel who was trying to make a quick escape.

“Not so fast, Colonel.  I need to do some tests and make sure your cell count is still normal,” Janet insisted.

“Come on, Doc.  I feel fine,” Jack pleaded.  He'd seen Daniel run from the observation room as soon as Janet removed Junior and he was anxious to check on his lover.  **Danny?**

There was no answer and Jack looked around for Carter who was also nowhere to be seen.

====

Sam followed Daniel into the bathroom and wasn't surprised to hear him throwing up.

“Daniel?”

“I'm fine, Sam.  I'll be out in a minute.  Please, go back to the infirmary,” the young man requested.

Sam shook her head and wondered when Daniel would stop saying he was fine in situations when it was patently obvious that he wasn't.  Reluctantly, she gave her teammate the privacy he'd asked for.

As soon as she walked down the corridor to the infirmary, she heard the voice of her CO demanding that he be set free.  She rounded the corner and immediately found two anxious brown eyes, fixed on her.

“Bathroom,” Sam mouthed, answering Jack's silent question.

“Janet, let me go.”

“Colonel, I need to make sure Junior didn't do any harm.”

“Junior was too weak to do harm, and, if he wasn't, he'd be in me, and you know it.  The little guy knows we were saving his life, and Teal'c's,” Jack maintained with a fervor.

“One moment, Colonel,” Janet said as she inserted the needle and drew blood.  “Okay, but stay close.”

“Thanks,” Jack stated and then hopped off the bed and made a bee line to the closest bathroom.  “Daniel?” he called out as he opened the door.

His lover stood there, happy to see Jack, but didn't move.  He felt so weak for having run out.

Jack took one look at Daniel and locked the door.  Fortunately, there were no cameras in the facilities.  He went quickly to Daniel and pulled him in to a hug.

“Are you okay, Love?” Jack asked quietly.

“Gawd, Jack.  What if it had ... I mean, what if?  I would have died.  You should have let me do it.”

Steadily, Jack answered, “No, and I'm fine.  Junior's back where he belongs, and so are you.  Everything's just how it should be now.”

“I saw it ... sucking the blood out of you.  Jack?  It would have been so easy ...”

“Hey,” Jack interrupted.  He cupped his partner's face as he stood back just a tad.  “Nothing happened.  I love you.”

“I love you so much, but I feel so sick.  It's the one thing I don't think I could handle, Jack.  I just can't ... not after Sha're and Skaara.  Gawd, Jack.  Hold me.”

Daniel fell into Jack's arms, a shiver running through him.  He could handle anything but a Goa'uld invading his lover.

The two held each other for a couple of minutes before heading back to the infirmary to check on Teal'c.

====

“Hi, Teal'c,” Daniel greeted with a smile the next morning.

Once again, SG-1 had been ordered to remain on the base, and, once again, they'd been monitored, so the lovers couldn't do much more than smile at each other.  It was the next day now, and things were looking up at last.

Before the Jaffa answered, General Hammond walked in to check on Teal'c, as well.

“How ya doing, Big Guy?” Jack asked.

“I am well, O'Neill.  Doctor Fraiser says she will release me this afternoon.  I will be ready for our next mission, General Hammond.”

“We'll see what Doctor Fraiser says,” the major general replied.

“He's fine, General,” Janet commented as she joined the group at Teal'c's bedside.  “I just processed the latest test, and everything appears to be normal.”

Teal'c sat up, surmising, “Then I am free to go?”

“Yes, Teal'c, but I do want you to report any unusual feelings or changes in your usual routine, if you happen to notice any, and I'd prefer you remain in your quarters, relaxing for the rest of the day, at least.”

“As you wish, Doctor Fraiser.”

“Daniel, I'm still not clear on how you knew Junior would know what to do,” Janet said.

“Well, to be honest, I didn't know, but I hoped that somehow he would know that Teal'c was being depleted of the nutrients found in the blood, and that all Junior needed was a quick influx of blood from someone else infected,” Daniel answered.

“Like with a vaccine,” Sam added.

“In a way,” Daniel affirmed with a nod.  “Jack was exposed, but survived.”

“Because Ma'chello's toxin doesn't affect humans,” Janet deduced.

“Right, but it still leaves a marker in the system, and that is what the toxin feeds off of,” Daniel noted.

“Doctor, what about you and the colonel?  Is there any risk now?  Um, the color changes that effected you both?” Hammond asked.

Janet responded, “No, I don't think so.  When we got out of the room that was underneath the wall, it cleaned our systems, or should have, just leaving the marker that we had once been there.  I hope.”

The general nodded, then acknowledged, “Well done, SG-1.  Teal'c, I know you're anxious to return to duty, but as Doctor Fraiser suggested, I think you've all earned some downtime.  Take forty-eight hours, and we'll get back to business on Thursday.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Jack stated.

====

After saying goodbye to Sam and Teal'c, Jack and Daniel made their way to the parking lot, and, by silent agreement, Daniel followed Jack to his truck, ignoring his own car.  After the day they'd had, they didn't want to be apart.

As they drove home, Jack kept glancing at his lover.  Daniel was still very pale, and even though he was chatting with Jack about their plans for their downtime, his voice had a weary tone to it.  With a sigh of relief, Jack turned into their driveway.  As soon as they were inside, Jack took Daniel in his arms, noting the fine tremors that ran through the Daniel's slender frame.

Jack knew they'd need to talk everything through later, but first they needed to reassure themselves that the other was there, alive in their arms.  Their kisses quickly became passionate, and soon they'd divested themselves of their clothes.

“Jack, I need you.”

“Upstairs ... no lube,” Jack managed to say between kisses.  He tried guiding Daniel towards the stairs, but his lover wasn't moving.  ~Want ... yeah, me ... oh, yeah.~

“Please, Jack.  Now.”

Daniel looked at Jack, the desperate need evident in his eyes.  He wanted Jack inside him.  He needed to feel Jack reach into his soul, to know that his lover really was present, that he wasn't a dream ... that he was human and not a Goa'uld.

“Love you, Danny.”

Daniel took that for the acquiescence it was, and they sank down to the floor.  With minimal preparation, Daniel impatiently urging him on, Jack slid into his lover's welcoming embrace.  As soon as he felt Jack move inside, Daniel wrapped his legs around the older man as tightly as he could and simply clung to him.  This was what he needed.  To feel his lover inside him, on top of him, surrounding him, keeping him safe, making him whole.

After a couple of minutes, Daniel loosened the hold he had on Jack, allowing the older man to begin thrusting, gently at first, but with precise aim to Daniel's most pleasurable area.

“Harder ... Love ... Jack.”

“Love ... you ... Angel,” Jack panted, continually hitting his lover's prostate.  The sweat began to roll off their bodies as they worked each other thoroughly.  Daniel's fingernails imbedded into Jack's shoulders as Jack pounded away inside of him.  Pain was good, needed even, during this round of their union.

It didn't take long before Daniel reached his climax, Jack following a split second later.  Once again, Daniel wrapped his legs and arms tightly around Jack, refusing to let him move.

“We're forever, Danny.  Love you so friggin' much.  Can't live without you.  I'm here, Angel.  I've got you.”  Jack continued to hold his lover and murmur reassurances.  Eventually, he felt Daniel loosen his grip a little.

“Come on, Space Monkey, let's go snuggle in bed for a while.”

Together, they went up to their bedroom and climbed into bed, settling into their usual positions, Daniel listening to Jack's heartbeat, his leg in between Jacks.  Knowing Daniel's need was great, Jack made sure his arms held his soulmate securely in place.

====

“No! ... Nooooo! ... Jack!  There's a Goa'uld inside you.  Have to ... Nooooo!”

Jack woke up to the sound of Daniel's cries and quickly assured, “Shhh, Love.  No Goa'uld here.  Just someone who loves and adores you to the end of time.”  Daniel shook in Jack's arms as the older man spoke, “It's just me.  You know me, Danny.  No respectable Goa'uld would dare get me.  I'd spit 'em out like Siler's clam chowder.”

“Ewww.  Siler is nice, but his clam chowder is horrible.”

“Exactly.  I love you.”

“Love you, too.  I just ... Jack, I don't want to see anything like that again.  Not ever.”

“Neither do I, and it won't.  We needed to save Teal'c, and we did.  That's the important thing.”

The two remained quiet for several minutes.  Jack massaged Daniel's back and was happy to feel the tenseness ease from his lover's body as time passed.

“Jack?”

“Yes, Love?”

“Let's go fishing.”

“Fishing?  Why?”

“I ... I need to get away from here.  I mean, not here, our house, just ... here.”

“The Mountain.”

Daniel nodded.  The color changing thing hadn't bothered him at all.  That had just been an inconvenience, but he needed to get far, far away from the image of the Goa'uld biting into Jack's arm.

“Hammond wants us back in two days,” Jack reminded.

“Do your thing, Jack.  Please.”

Never one to deny his lover, Jack kissed Daniel's still-damp hair and said, “Okay.  I'll think of something to get us some time.  When do you want to go?”

“Now.”  Daniel sprang out of Jack's hold.  “I'm going to take a shower.  You call Hammond.”

~Wow.  That wasn't a request. That was an order,~ Jack though.  ~Okay, Danny, I understand.  We're so out of here!~

====

“Jack, I really don't think we can spare you or Doctor Jackson at the moment,” Hammond spoke over the phone.

“Sir, George, I'm afraid I have to insist.  Daniel needs some time away.  I'm going to take him to my cabin in Minnesota.  Get him away from Stargates, Goa'uld, and artifacts,” Jack stated, speaking more to his friend then to his commander.  ~Artifacts of the non-colonel variety anyway.~

Jack waited as General Hammond pretended to consider the request.  They both knew that there was never any question about it.  As soon as Jack told the general it was something Daniel needed, Jack's success was a foregone conclusion.  Hammond would grant the archaeologist almost anything, and Jack knew it.

~Everyone knows it, Angel, except you.  Even after all this time, you still don't realize how valuable you are to the SGC.~

“Okay, Jack, five days; that's all we can spare,” Hammond responded.  “I'll expect you and Doctor Jackson back at the SGC Monday morning.”

“Thank you, Sir.”  Victory secured, Jack bounded up the stairs, as fast as his knees would allow him to anyway.  He stopped short when he saw Daniel sitting on the bed, staring at the wall.  “Danny?  Are you okay?”

“I'm fine, Jack.”  Daniel saw Jack's concern increase upon hearing the phrase and smiled.  “No, really, Jack, I am okay.  How are you?  This whole thing hasn't been easy for you, either,” he stated sympathetically.  ~And I haven't been much help. I should have given you more support instead of being consumed by my own insecurities and fears.~

“Angel, I thought we were taking a little vacation together, not you going solo on a guilt trip,” Jack responded.

The older man walked over to the bed, reached down and took Daniel's hands in his, and pulled him up to face him.  They exchanged a look of love before Daniel continued.

“I just ... I mean, you were the one who actually had Junior ...”  Daniel couldn't finish the sentence.

Jack caressed Daniel's cheek and smiled, replying, “Danny, you gave me everything I needed.  You were there with me when I needed you, just like you always are.  Just knowing I have you to come home to gives me so much strength.  I love you so much.”

“I don't know why this has hit me so hard, Jack.  I was fine, really fine, I mean ... until Junior bit into your arm.  Then I ... I don't know, I just lost it.  In my mind, I saw him leap inside your throat, and then your eyes glowed.  When you spoke, it was that mechanized voice.  I knew it was just my mind, but ... I don't know.”

“Danny, I think both of us are afraid of that,” Jack confided.  “Every time we walk through the Stargate, we know it could happen, and if it did, I think it would probably kill us.  It's our worst fear, but it didn't happen.  You saw.  Junior did his biting thing.  I'm me, Mister Gorgeous!”

“Oh, yeah.  Right.  Mister Humble Pie.”

“I'm as humble as they come,” Jack teased.

“Oh, so you ... come.”

“For you,” Jack whispered, pulling Daniel close to him.  “Only for you.”

Jack and Daniel kissed, and then they packed their bags and headed for their Minnesota retreat.

====

Two days later, at the cabin in Minnesota, Jack slipped into his small fishing boat. Daniel followed.  Jack rowed out and down the lake to a favorite spot of his where the view was particularly breathtaking during this time of day -- sunset.

Technically, he was supposed to be fishing, but with Daniel onboard, the only thing Jack wanted to catch was his archaeologist.

“Danny, look.  Have you ever seen anything so beautiful before?”

The sunset was particularly ripe this evening, the oranges and purples of the horizon majestic and engaging.

Daniel sighed in contentment as he viewed the lowering sun for a few moments.  Then, carefully, he stood and walked the few steps it took to reach Jack.  He knelt down and looked in Jack's eyes.

“Yes.  I'm looking at him right now,” Daniel intoned romantically.

“Danny.”

Jack didn't need to catch his archaeologist.  His archaeologist had just caught himself one eager colonel, and there in the boat, under the setting sun, on the lake in Minnesota, they made love.

====

Jack lay down his fishing rod and stretched.  He glanced down at the sleeping archaeologist beside him and smiled.  The book Daniel had been reading had fallen to the ground, his glasses were a little skewed and his mouth was slightly open.  Not for the first time he wished that they didn't have to return to Colorado the following day.  He would have been content to spend the rest of his life in this outdoor paradise, just him and Daniel.

**Some day, Jack.**

**I thought you were asleep.**

**Your thinking woke me up,** Daniel chuckled in their minds.

**Did not.**

**Did, too.**

**Love you, Space Monkey.**

**Love you too, my Silver Fox.  So, have you finished fishing in the lake with no fish?**

“It has, too, got fish.”

Attacking Jack's fish demanded a verbal response in Jack's opinion.  If Daniel was about to start a fight, Jack would be ready for him.

Daniel opened his eyes and gave his lover a skeptical look.  Inside, he laughed, realizing their playful silent game was about to take on a different tone.

“It has?” the archaeologist asked.

“It really has.”

Daniel's expression didn't change, and then Jack gave him a wicked smile.  He reached over and took off Daniel's glasses.

“Jack?” Daniel called out with suspicion.

“Yes, Love?”

“What are you doing?” Daniel questioned, keeping a close eye on the older man.

Jack's grin widened as he replied, “Just proving a point, Angel.”

Daniel realized what Jack had in mind just seconds too late.  In a flash, Jack had scooped him up and tossed him into the lake.

“The lake has got fish, Love.  It's got an archaeologist fish!” Jack exclaimed with laughter.

Daniel shook his head, spraying Jack with droplets of water, and then threatened, “You are so dead O'Neill!”

Jack dove into the water to join his lover.  As they tread the water, they held on to each other and kissed.

“Thank you, Babe.”

“For what?”

“Always making it better,” the younger man spoke appreciatively.

“I love you.”

“I love you, too ... my archaeologist fish.”

“Jack?”

“Yes?”

“The boat is sinking,” Daniel stated calmly.

“Nice try.”

“Jack?  I'm not kidding.”

“Daniel, the boat is not sinking.  I just patched it ... last year.  Besides, it has my favorite fishing rod in it, and it wouldn't dare sink.  I'm much too scary for it to do that,” Jack spoke with confidence.

“Then, you'd better hurry,” Daniel replied smugly.

“Daniel.”

“Jack, listen,” the scientist requested.

“What?”  Jack's face tightened as he heard the gurgling of the sinking boat.  He turned, accusing, “DANIEL, WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?  Oh, for ...”

Jack tried to reach the boat that had moved downstream several yards, but by the time he reached it, the boat, and all its contents had sunk.  He dove down, hoping to retrieve his rod.  When he came back up, he sighed.

“No luck?” Daniel asked.

“Found your glasses, though,” Jack said, holding up the wire-framed lenses, after which he swam over to his lover.

“I tried to tell you.”

“I was distracted, by a fish,” Jack said, trying to act annoyed.

Daniel realized his lover was more disappointed than anything else.  It had been his favorite fishing rod, after all.

“I'm sorry, Jack.”

“What the heck.  It's only a rod.  I still have the fish,” Jack said, smiling.

The older man closed the gap between he and his soulmate.  He placed the glasses back on Daniel's face and then surrounded him with his arms.  They kissed, the fish and his fisherman.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
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