Not Again

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Action/Adventure, Drama, H/C, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  S3 - September 28, 1999
Spoilers:  None
Size:  37kb
Written:  September 20-22, 2010, March 13,15,21,27-28, 2011
Summary:  When SG-1 explores a new planet and becomes faced with a language barrier of sorts, it may cost Daniel his life.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Ali, Navi, Alverine!

Not Again
by Orrymain

Operating by rote, Colonel Jack O'Neill began his proclamation as if the sight were a sin.

“Trees, trees, and ...”  The graying man looked around in surprise and then turned to face his 2IC.  “Carter, there aren't any trees here.”

“I'm sure there are trees here ... somewhere, Sir,” Major Samantha Carter replied with some hesitation in her voice.

“There are supposed to be trees,” Jack complained.

Indeed, there was nothing but open space on the horizon.  There weren't any roads per se.  In fact, looking out, it was nothing but a broad expanse of dirt ground.

Jack gave the woman a funny expression and asked, “Did you misdial?”

Doctor Daniel Jackson was trying not to laugh as he stood off to the left of the Stargate, and while he succeeded, a tiny snort did escape his lips.

“Actually, Sir, Sergeant Davis dialed the Gate.”

“Sure, he did.  Blame it on non-comm's,” Jack challenged mockingly.  Turning back around, he adjusted his sunglasses for a moment before ordering, “Okay, kids, let's get to it.”

Teal'c was a few steps ahead of Jack, with Sam and Daniel walking closer together and a couple of yards behind SG-1's team leader.

“How far is that settlement?” Jack questioned his second.

“Sixteen clicks northeast,” Sam replied as she checked her equipment.

“Crap, Carter, we're going in the wrong direction.”

“I was only following your lead, Colonel.”

“What?”  Having stopped his southeasterly direction, Jack glared at the woman and interrogated, “Are you taking pain in the butt lessons from Daniel?”

This time it was Sam who let out a snort, while Daniel stood agape, staring at his lover in disbelief.

“Move out!” Jack spat gruffly.  He led his team away from the Stargate, again, until he had a cold feeling rumbling in his stomach.  ~Ah, geez.~  A bit apprehensively, he turned and sure enough, Daniel Jackson was still where he'd left him, that being a bit southeast of the circular object.  “Someday, I might just kill him,” he mumbled.  “Stay here,” he told Sam and Teal'c.

“DanielJackson did not appreciate being called a pain in the butt,” the Jaffa surmised.

“Nope,” Sam agreed lightly while watching her commanding officer returning to the statue that was the team's archaeologist.

--

“Daniel.”

“Jack.”

“Hearing problems?”

“No.”

“Listening to a radio broadcast?”

“That's an idea; maybe I should look for one,” the younger man retorted.

“For crying out loud, Daniel, the settlement is *not* going to come to us.  Let's go.”

“Is that an order?” Daniel asked, crossing his arms across his chest in contempt.

“What?”

“I don't do orders, Colonel.  Of course, that's why I'm known as a pain in the butt, and I guess you'd know something about that.”

“Daniel!”

Daniel's expression was firm, like a rock.  He wasn't going to back down, which meant Jack had two choices -- leave his Love behind or apologize.

“Doctor Jackson, I humbly apologize if my reference to you being a pain in the butt offended.  Please do us the honor of completing this mission with us.”

“Sure, Jack,” Daniel responded, a smile on his face as he gently tapped the older man's arm.  “All you had to do is ask.”

~Pain in the butt!~ Jack groaned as his lover walked away.  Accepting his fate for the day, Jack hurried to catch up with his team while lamenting, ~This is going to be one of those days.~

--

A minute later, sensing Jack was just behind him, Daniel quipped quietly, “That's the last time I let you sleep on my side of the bed.”

“What?”

“You've been a sourpuss all morning.  I should have pushed you over to your side and then you wouldn't have woken up on the wrong side of the bed.”

“That's a fairytale,” Jack negated.

“If you're smart, you'll use it as a rationale to explain your attitude this morning,” Daniel suggested, taking note of the distance between them and their friends.  ~Don't want them Sam and Teal'c to overhear this little discussion.~

“There's nothing wrong with my attitude.  All I said is that there weren't any trees.”

“I remember.”

“I like trees.  I was ... disappointed.”

--

“Peace,” Sam announced, having twisted around for a few seconds and seeing Daniel chuckling slightly.

“DanielJackson is no longer a pain in the butt,” Teal'c observed, a humorous glint in his eyes.

“Ah ... no, I guess not ... now.”

====

Approximately an hour from their destination, SG-1 was making good time.  At this point, they were traveling single file, with Teal'c in the lead, followed by Jack and Daniel with Sam bringing up the rear.  The terrain had changed somewhat.  Though there still weren't any tall trees anywhere visible to the naked eye, there were bushes.

The bushes had first been encountered by the flagship team roughly a click back. The vision had caused a few smiles, basically because of their color and shape.

“Okay, where are the oompa loompas?” Jack had asked, looking all around.

“Oompa ... loompas?” Daniel had questioned, wondering what language his partner had just spoken.

“He has to be around here somewhere.”

Seeing Daniel's confusion, Sam had explained, “Willy Wonka, Daniel.  There's a character in the movie who turns into a grape.”

“Oh,” Daniel had acknowledged with a shrug.

Internally, Jack had made a note.  It was time to acquaint his archaeologist with the famous “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” movie.

The deep purple bushes ranged from three-feet to five-and-half-feet tall.  Like a bushel of grapes, the bush was made up of various size round balls.  Jack's inner child had been eager to try popping some of the grapes to see what might happen, but they were too close to their objective to 'play'.

As he walked, Daniel glanced over to the right and caught sight of something disturbing.  He stopped, his left arm extending outward in the colonel's direction.

“Jack,” the archaeologist called out in somewhat of a whisper.  “Jack.”

The colonel did an about face and joined his lover, looking over to the atrocity in the making.

Several yards away, approximately fifteen of the locals, dressed in leather garb adorned with ropes and undefined metal attachments, were in a semi-circle as they faced a young woman.

The female was sobbing.  Her hands were tied behind her and even her ankles were chained.  Her long blonde hair was blowing in front of face, a result of the increasing wind gust on the planet.

SG-1 watched with concern while also guarding their presence.  Thus, they'd spread out a bit, each hiding behind their own grape bush.

Jack pulled out his binoculars and zoomed in to get as much clarity as he could.

“This doesn't look good,” the colonel advised his team while still monitoring the situation.

A man standing before the woman had just nodded to another.  From an apparent well, water was drawn, only steam was flowing from it, and the pail containing it was in was being held by men wearing gloves.

SG-1's leader grimaced.  There was no cover.  If he ordered a charge, they'd have to make their case fast, out in the open.

That's when Jack heard the sound of movement.  He knew exactly what, or rather who it was.

“Why does he keep doing that?” Jack groused as he hurriedly motioned for Sam and Teal'c to follow the team's archaeologist.

Daniel ran quickly, something he could do when he was super motivated, rather than his normal, less expedient pace.

The men saw the stranger approaching, all turning their attention towards Daniel.

“Wait!  Wait!  Uh, wait!” the scientist pleaded as he slowed down, both of his hands outstretched in front of him.  Breathing hard as he stopped, he focused on the assumed leader and greeted, “Hi.  I...I'm Dan...iel Jackson.”  His sprint had been swift, so he was still out of breath.  By now, he sensed his teammates running to catch up.  “We're ... peaceful explorers from Earth.”

Jack cautiously stopped running.  With a nod, he indicated to Sam and Teal'c to spread out.  It would help if a fight broke out.

“Earth?” the man asked, his words more of a challenge than a question.

“Yes, it's a ... a planet.  We came through the Stargate.”  Seeing the vacant stares, he clarified, “The, uh, Chaapa'ai.”

Some of the group looked at one another, evidently still not comprehending what the Stargate was.

“The big circle with the funny symbols on,” Jack interjected, drawing a circle with his index finger and then making a couple of smaller air drawings that represented two of the symbols.

The simple description hit home with the locals, who began to mumble the name.

It was the assumed leader who put forth, “Kykl tou Phantima.”

Daniel echoed the words thoughtfully, his furrowed brow etched with strong determination to make the translation.

“Kykl ... Kyklos?” Daniel speculated, staring at the ground.  He mumbled a bit and then rubbed his thumb against his chin.  Phanti...”  He blinked and looked at the locals, suggesting, “Phantasma?”  He glanced over at Jack and passed on his best guest at the translation.  “If I'm right, it's a variation of Ancient Greek.  Kyklos means circle, and phantasma can mean a lot of things, but I'm guessing it's vision, or maybe even apparitions.”

“Ah,” the colonel acknowledged.  Looking at the men, he stated, “For the record, we're human.  There's nothing ghostly about us.”

The murmuring had reached loud decibels, which had Jack and his team on edge.

“We're friends.  We just want to get to know you; learn about your world.”  As an enticement, and something he truly believed in, Daniel added, “And we want to tell you about our world, about … about Earth.  There's a lot we can learn from one another.”

“Daniel?” Jack called out quietly, concerned about the chatter from the locals, though he hadn't a clue what they were saying.

“I don't know.  It sounds like a variation of Greek, but it's been …. truncated.”

“How do you cut off a language?”

“Well, there's something as rural as Pig Latin.”

“That's not shortening anything.”

“No, not exactly, but a lot of languages go through changes and evolve.  Look at Greek itself.  The Koine …”  Daniel stopped, the unrest of the locals getting his attention.  ~I have an eerie feeling about this.~

All of a sudden, Sam called out, but it was too late.  A local who was standing the furthest from the team, over by the hot well, removed one of the metal objects from his leather top and whirled it towards Daniel.  The impact was strong, knocking the archaeologist three feet backwards and causing him to grunt from the force of the contact against his body.

“Carter, the girl!” Jack exclaimed as he opened fire.

It had been Jack's worst fear.  His team was out in the open with the well the only source of cover, and that was only large enough to protect two people in any direction.  He had no choice.  He didn't know why the people had attacked, but they had, and for all he knew, his true love was dead.

Sam darted towards the girl, firing and downing two of the locals before she arrived at the desired spot.  She pulled the confused woman down, motioning to her to be still.

“Call off the attack before we have to kill you!” Jack shouted.  He'd already killed three of the men and now a fourth was aiming at Daniel again.  ~Crap!~  He couldn't risk his life partner being further injured, assuming he was still alive.  “Stop now!”  When another metal object was on the verge of being loosened, Jack fired.  Listening, he heard his soulmate, which was both good and bad in that the archaeologist was still alive, but it also meant he'd just suffered more injuries.  ~Sorry, Danny: no choice.  I have to take them out.~

Full of anger for the unprovoked attack against his team, Jack emptied the rounds from his MP-5 into the remaining hostiles.

When the firing stopped, the place was a deathbed, a battlefield of lifeless bodies. While Teal'c and his staff weapon had taken out three of their attackers, the rest belonged to Jack.  The colonel looked upon the carnage for only a few seconds before rushing over to check on Daniel.  At the same time, Sam was tending to the woman, while Teal'c walked the area, checking the casualties for survivors.

“Daniel?” Jack called out.  “Talk to me.”

“What hit me?” the archaeologist asked with a weakened voice.

“Just … be still.”

Out of habit, Jack looked around.  He didn't know if other locals might show up, seeking retribution.  He wanted to flee the area, but he had to know Daniel's condition first.

“The ... girl?”

“Your latest princess survived just fine,” Jack announced after glancing over and seeing Sam freeing the woman from her confines.

Daniel grimaced, a combination of Jack's remark and the pain in his shoulder.

“You know, I think you're lucky,” the colonel told his soulmate.

“Huh?”

“Most of these edges are lodged in your jacket, and ...”

“What?”

Jack retrieved an odd item, holding it up over his lover's head.  Daniel couldn't help but laugh a little, except that caused him to wince from a twinge of pain.

“Remind me to send these power bar folks a thank you letter.  This thing is stuck in it like glue,” Jack commented.

“Sir, how's he doing?” Sam questioned urgently as she joined her friends, resting on her knees to do her own examination of the archaeologist.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Jack responded, breathing another sigh of relief.

“It sure could.”  Sam caught Jack's expectant expression and explained, “I can't say for sure what it is, but there's a foreign element on those edges.”

“Poison?” Jack questioned.  His alarm was going off again.  Maybe that was why Daniel was feeling so much pain and why he hadn't even attempted to get up yet.  ~That would make sense.~

“Dilitar,” the now-freed local woman interjected.

“Which means?” Jack asked.

Daniel was struggling to make sense of it. What was the connection between this word and the others that he'd managed to figure out?  There had to be, and of course, he'd already talked about it.

“Truncation,” the linguist whispered.

“Daniel, English,” a somewhat frustrated Jack demanded.

“She ...”  It was becoming harder for Daniel to breathe.  Even though the power bar had deflected one hit completely and his thick BDU jacket had managed to entangle all but three of the spiked edges from breaking the skin of his shoulder of another hit, apparently, that was all it took.  “Dilitirio.  Uh, poison; venom.”

“Snakes?”

“It could be anything, Colonel,” Sam replied.  She was worried they didn't have much time.  “Isthira,” she began, using the woman's name that she'd been given while undoing the ties that had bound her, “We need to know about the poison.  What does it come from?”

Sam pointed to the cyclical metal objects and ran her fingers atop the edges of it.  The woman apparently understood the request, though Jack eyes widened when he saw her put her hands together and move them in a slithering fashion.

“Fido.”

“Fido?  A dog?” Jack queried, unable to put the two concepts together in his mind.

The woman continued to speak, her tone urgent.  She used her hands to explain as best she could, though it was difficult for the Americans to understand; that is, until she stopped and beckoned them forward.

“Fidi: snake,” Daniel whispered, his breathing becoming more labored and his eyelids closing.

“Daniel?” Jack called out in panic.  “Daniel, open your eyes.  That's an order!”

“J'ck, can't cu...cut it out.  Snake, fidi, special.  She knows where the anti-venom is, but you have to go with her.  Thir...thirty minutes she says.  Go!  Sh...she'll sh...show you.”

“Teal'c!” Jack shouted anxiously.  “Carter, you and Teal'c find what we need.”

“Yes, Sir.”

As the trio sprinted away to get the medicine that could save Daniel, Jack looked around and then up.  The sun was pulsating, and the heat rising.

“Come on, Danny.  Let's get over to the grape bushes.  There's a bit of shade there.”

====

It had been a struggle, but a few minutes later, Jack and Daniel found one of the bigger grape bushes that actually did block a bit of the sun.  His weapon propped up by his side and his position the best he could determine to give him a view of the settlement in the distance, the colonel kept watch on both impending danger and his archaeologist.  He had to believe the serum would arrive in time, which meant he had to do his job and remain alert.

“Jack?” Daniel called out.

“Yeah?”

“Eyes.”

“I don't understand, Danny,” Jack spoke, his head moving to his left at the sound of a noise, which he ultimately dismissed as nothing to worry about.

“Want to sit up; sun ... eyes.”

~Maybe this wasn't the best spot,~ Jack lamented.  However, he was afraid of weakening his life partner further by moving him drastically.  “Okay.”

Jack gently pulled Daniel up so that the younger man was relaxed and resting in his arms.  They'd done this hundreds, maybe thousands of times since becoming lovers.  Truth be told, they'd done it often before that as well.  No one would think much of it, except for Sam, but she knew the truth and was helping the couple to play their military game that came as a result of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.

“All dead?”

“We didn't have a choice,” Jack affirmed by his statement.

“The girl?”

“Your princess,” Jack sighed, his face soured.  “Daniel, you're going to have to stop this rescuing the princess routine.  You're gonna get us all killed one of these days.”

“You're jus...just mad th...at I get the ... girls.”

“Oh, listen to you.  I thought you were the shy one.”

“I thought I'd ... try somethin' ... new ... now.”

“Mister Adventure,” Jack chuckled, kissing his Love's forehead.

“Might ... see.”

“I don't care, and you know I don't.”

“Stubborn.”

“About this, you're darn right.  I'd retire in a second if I thought you would, too, but I know you won't.”

“All ttt...alk, O'Neill,” the weakened scientist slurred.

“I'd do anything for you, Daniel.”

“Tell me.”

Jack smiled.  He leaned around a little to make sure the younger man could see him.  Gently, he rubbed the tips of his fingers along Daniel's cheeks.

“I love you, Danny.  Tonight when we get home, I'll show you.”

“You bet you will.”

Jack smiled again, and not even checking to see if anyone was approaching, he leaned in to share a tender kiss with the man who owned his heart.

====

As much as Jack wanted to hear Daniel's voice, he was afraid that talking would drain the scientist's energy, so instead, Jack held his Heart to him and whispered tender endearments along with plans for their future.  The future was some wondrous day when military regulations wouldn't interfere with two men being in love and spending their lives together.

The dream renderings were interrupted by the sound of running.

“Daniel, they're back,” Jack reported, although he noticed that Isthira wasn't with Sam and Teal'c.

“We've got it,” Sam announced as she hurried into position.  “This is supposed to be hot stuff, a little like some of that medicine that we brought back from Simarka.”

As Sam applied the medication, she told her CO what had happened while obtaining the drug.  As they waited for it to work, the teammates continued to discuss the situation.

“Let me get this straight,” Jack began.  “We're in the middle of a civil war?”

“Well, it's some kind of conflict.  Isthira's people are on one side, and the ones we killed are part of the other.”

“They hoard the wealth of this planet, O'Neill,” Teal'c informed the team leader.

“Any clue why they decided to declare war on us?” Jack asked.  ~How do we always get into these situations.  Wait, I know: my well-intentioned but overly compassionate geek.~

“Koine,” came the whisper from the recovering geek.

“Daniel?” Jack asked, happy to see his soulmate's pale expression getting some tone back to it.

As Daniel settled up straighter, life coming back to him, he theorized, “If this is a Greek society, or derivation of it, that civil war might relate to the Greek ages as we know them.  For us, Koine is a dialect of the Greek language that ...”

“Daniel, short version,” Jack interrupted.  ~Geez, I love him, but we're in enemy territory here.~

“Civil war.  I mentioned the wrong side, so they shot, er, threw that ... thing at me.”

“That I can understand,” the colonel responded.  ~Now that wasn't so hard.~

“Sir, we have to help Isthira,” Sam put forth strongly.  With Jack staring her in the face, she reminded him of what she'd said earlier while applying the medication.  “They discovered us, and Isthira knew that time was important.  She intentionally put the drug where we could see it and let herself be captured.”

“Jack ...”

“Yes, Daniel, I know.”  Jack sighed, realizing the woman had saved his soulmate's life.  He owed her for that.  “How are you feeling?”

“Actually,” Daniel began, moving his shoulder and rubbing it a little, “I'm doin' good.  That medicine is amazing.”

“It would be wise to obtain more for DoctorFraiser to review,” Teal'c suggested, giving Jack one more reason to push onward.

“Okay, we go.”

The colonel stood and then watched as Daniel got up.  It was almost as if he hadn't been wounded at all.

“The wound is disappearing,” Sam observed in surprise.

“Very Star Trek,” Jack noted.  He was thinking of the show in which something similar happened to Captain Kirk after he'd been injured.  After a strange ritual by a native woman, that wound suddenly disappeared.  “The episode with the odd yet seductive witch woman.”

“Excuse me?” Daniel queried.

“Never mind,” Jack returned.  “Carter, lead the way.”

====

The team arrived at the edge of the settlement, prompting Jack to look over at his archaeologist.

“I'm fine, Jack.”

Jack nodded and SG-1 moved in closer, searching for Isthira.  They couldn't stop the entire war, but hopefully, they could help her.

====

It took almost an hour to scour the settlement, especially since they had to move slow to avoid detection.  Then they came upon a building that Jack thought resembled a bow tie.  The center portion was a basic rectangular shape, but at both ends were trapezoid additions.  The concrete building featured two long windows that ran along the long center section from the middle door to the two additions.  There were two front entrances, one near the left trapezoid and one in the center section.

Ducking down and walking in a squatted position, SG-1 moved from the side entrance to the center one, gambling brief looks inside as they moved.  Hearing a noise, they retreated to the side of the building, which didn't have any doors or windows.

“I didn't see any doors,” Jack spoke in a hushed down about the interior of the building.

“There were panels on the walls,” Sam pointed out.

“Electronic doors?” Daniel guessed.

“Probably lasers,” the astrophysicist suggested.

“Which means she just can't walk out,” Jack surmised.  “Can you deactivate it?”

“If she cannot, my staff weapon can,” Teal'c stated stoically.

“I made her in the fifth room from the left,” Jack noted, seeking verification.

“I agree,” Sam verified.  “One guard on the outside.”

“There was another inside,” Jack added.

“Many guards were present along the corridor,” Teal'c advised the team.

“They were moving,” Daniel pointed out.  “I only saw the one in front of Isthira's door standing still.”

“This isn't going to be easy,” the colonel sighed.  With guards and others roaming about inside, SG-1 had to move quick.  “We need a distraction to get that guard outside the door away from there.”

“How are we going to do that?” Daniel inquired, his eyes focused on the guard.

“C-4,” the colonel responded, looking over at Sam.

====

SG-1 was moving into position by the middle door.  The plan was for Sam to plant a small amount of C-4 on the front corner of the right trapezoid.  It would create a light explosion that would hopefully draw most of the occupants of the building to that area.

Just as Sam began to move off, Daniel reached out to stop her while saying, “Uh, Jack, I don't think we have time for this.”

Seeing Daniel was sneaking a peek inside the building, Jack did the same.  He saw his Love's concern.  Three locals were walking down the corridor.  One was carrying a neck iron and another an unidentifiable object that looked like it could do some harm to a living body.  Jack knew what Daniel was thinking.  The locals were headed for Isthira's room.

“It's still our best bet,” Jack whispered.  “Carter, get moving.”

“Jack, it'll be too late,” Daniel rebuked, no longer holding on to the blonde.  ~We have to move now!~

“Daniel, it's all we can do.  This place is swarming with those Greek leatherines.”  Jack refocused on his still-present 2IC and ordered, “Carter, as soon you plant the … oh, for crying out loud.  Daniel!  Not again!”  Crossing in front of Sam, he groaned, “I swear I'm gonna kill him myself when we get off of this dang planet.”

Without warning, Daniel had darted back towards the door on the left.  Jack tried to catch up, but his lover was able to get inside the door before he could reach him.

“What do we do now, Sir?” Sam asked when she and Teal'c joined the colonel.

“Stay here,” the frustrated but spurred-to-action officer ordered.

Jack slowly returned to the center door area.  He carefully raised his body slightly to get a look.  He saw his soulmate, once again risking his life in a way that Jack felt was unnecessary.

--

Inside the building, Daniel walked cautiously down the corridor, getting closer to the three oncoming locals.  He actually passed by Isthira's room, pausing to smile at her.  He took note of her reaction, a shaking of her head to indicate 'no' to his presence.  As he walked onward, he passed the guard who was stationed in front of Isthira's room.  He didn't seem concerned at all by Daniel's presence.  Come to think of it, the guard on the interior of the room hadn't responded to him or Isthira's subtle movement of her head.

~It's very strange.  It's like they are basically peaceful unless incited by something.  I wonder why they are at war?  It really doesn't make sense.”  The cultural expert would have continued his pondering except for the fact that the three men were now just a few feet away from him.  “Hi there.”

The locals were stunned by what was to them an unusual greeting.  It was almost the same reaction the original group of men had given.  To Daniel, it reinforced his determination that the locals weren't naturally violent.  It was the language that had incited the first incident.  He had to be very careful about anything he said.

“My name is Daniel Jackson, and I'm from … far away.”

The three men just stared at one another.

“Look, uh, I saw a girl in that room,” Daniel queried as he pointed back at the room in question.  “Who is she?”  Seeing the stares continuing, he considered speaking Greek, but he was hesitant.  If he chose the wrong dialect, it could mean instant death.  “Okay, well …”

Daniel caught sight of Jack out of the corner of his eye.  The colonel was motioning signs that indicated the direction Daniel should go.  Hearing the sound of a staff being prepped for firing, he knew that Teal'c was somewhere behind him.  He spotted an offshoot of the corridor, which he assumed led to the right trapezoid part of the building.

The archaeologist still needed to create a diversion to allow his teammates safe entry into the building.  He hadn't yet passed the locals.  Whatever he was going to do, he had to do now.

“Does anyone here speak English?  No, huh?  Well, listen, it's been nice knowing you, but I really have to run now.”

Without warning, the archaeologist sped by the locals, bumping into one to try to prompt them to run after him.  Daniel ran as fast as he could, feeling good when he glanced back and saw the three were following him.

~Uh, actually, that's more than three.~

Quickly, SG-1 moved in.  Jack took out the guard in front of Isthira's door instantly.

As Sam provided cover, Teal'c ran to Isthira's room and fired his staff weapon at the electronic panel, resulting in a crackling sound.  The  interior guard reached for a weapon, prompting Teal'c to again fire his staff weapon, downing the guard permanently.  Jack then motioned for the Jaffa to free the woman while he and Sam went after Daniel.

--

~Run, run, run.~  Reaching the end of the hallway, Daniel closed his eyes when he realized that he'd come upon a dead end.  ~That's not exactly what I had planned.~

Daniel turned around and stared when a saw one of the building guards smirking at him.  He was removing one of the metallic whirling objects from his uniform.

At that moment, Jack aimed his weapon and warned, “I wouldn't do that.”

The man turned and raised his hand, the object in it, and was about to toss it at Jack.  The other two were already midway through releasing their own whirling weapons from their unusual garb.  In seconds, however, the three locals were dead.  Others quickly ran away, afraid of the strange pellets that moved through the air.

“Daniel, we need to get off this planet.”

“No argument,” the peaceful explorer agreed.

The trio hurried back in the direction they'd come, meeting up with Sam, Teal'c, and Isthira.  Jack motioned for them to follow.

“Wait,” Sam interjected.  “Isthira, the medicine.  We need more.”

Using the same sign language she'd given when Daniel was ill, Sam was able to communicate what she wanted to Isthira.  The local woman pointed and led the way to the left trapezoid.  There, she pointed to a room.

“I knew this wouldn't be easy,” Jack groaned.  He led the charge, surprising two female locals who were in the room.  “Okay, which one?” he asked Isthira while keeping his weapon aimed at the other women.

Isthira's response was to enter the room and retrieve another vial of medicine, giving it to Sam on the way out.

“Thanks, folks,” Jack called out as he backed away.  “Kids, we gotta go,” he ordered with urgency upon seeing a new group of guards running down a corridor towards them.

SG-1 and Isthira ran out of the building, not stopping until they felt they were in the clear.

“Teal'c, double back a ways and see if they're following,” Jack ordered.

“Come with us,” Daniel beckoned.  “You can come through the Stargate with us.”

“Daniel!” Jack objective.

The colonel's rebuke was for naught as he would soon find out.  He watched as the woman smiled her gratitude and then bowed at Daniel's feet.

“Oh, please don't do that,” the scientist sighed as he helped her to stand.  “We're glad we could help you.  We can keep you safe, on Earth.”

With a smile, Isthira backed away.  In a flash, she ran off, presumably to her family or friends.

“Hey!” the archaeologist called after the fleeing woman.

Jack reached out to prevent his lover from giving chase and advised sternly, “Daniel, we rescued her; she's safe.  Now she's going back to her people: her choice.”

“I guess you're right.”

“You bet I am.  As soon as Teal'c returns, we're getting the heck out of Dodge.”

“Why do you always sound like we're in a movie western?”

“Why do you keep acting like you're an invincible superhero?”

Standing to the side, Sam chuckled lightly.  She knew her teammates wouldn't stop until the Jaffa rejoined them, and she was right.

====

Once the flagship team was clear of the grape bushes, they felt safer, though they also remained on alert as they headed for the Stargate at a brisk pace.  Teal'c hadn't seen anyone following them, but that didn't mean there weren't other locals to be encountered.

“Maybe we should …”

“Daniel, don't even say it,” Jack interrupted, knowing full well that his soulmate wanted to try to make friendly with the locals.  “We don't know enough about these people to even say hello.”

“That's why we need to go back,” Daniel argued.  ~There is still so much to learn.~

“Dan..”

“Not now, Jack, but later, with backup.”

Jack looked over at his lover, next to whom he was walking.  He was impressed.  That comment had been a militarily sound one to make, and he wasn't quite used to that, coming from his eager explorer.

“Look,” Daniel continued, unaware that Jack was agreeing with him on the inside.  “All I'm saying is that we shouldn't write off these people just because we don't know their language, so to speak.  First contact isn't always easy.”

“It was a disaster here,” the colonel opined.

“Yes, because of the dialect.  So we try another,” Daniel stated.

“With backup to make sure we don't have to kill the entire population while negotiating,” Jack added, earning him a small smile from his lover.

The two were happy with their stances.  It had been an eventful day, and it was ending on a high note, even with the sadness of the events.  Was Daniel learning more about military protocol and that it wasn't all bunk, or was Jack softening just a little, enough to realize that patience in negotiations could lead to something unforeseen and positive?  Maybe it was both.

====

“We're agreeing on the basics, Daniel, but you're still missing the point,” Jack argued lightly as he opened the door to the country-style home that the two shared.  He walked forward, crossing into the living room, still talking.  “You have to stop running after the princesses.”

Closing the front door behind him, Daniel returned, “There wasn't any time to wait, Jack.”

The colonel was dressed in a powder blue, V-neck shirt that had white stripes across the shoulders.  They matched the white pants he wore as well.  Daniel loved the V-neck look, but he didn't really have time to appreciate the physiological effects of the outfit on his body since the lovers were engaged in this somewhat intense discussion.

“Daniel, when you go out on your own like that, you put all of us at risk.”

“The only one at risk, Jack, was me,” the younger man countered.

Jack groaned at his lover's remarks, and it was hard to do that right now since he was thinking more about the sexy aspects of the man he was facing rather than the mission.  This was in spite of the fact that Daniel was wearing attire which Jack considered to be one of his least favorite looks on the archaeologist: an old brown plaid shirt on baggy, brown pants.

~Good Will: he'll never miss it,~ Jack thought silently about his plan to accidentally on purpose toss this outfit into the giveaway box and take it to one of the local Good Will charity stores.  “Not true.  This team is a unit, Daniel.  We don't leave anyone behind, ever, so when you decide to charge into some unknown situation, we're gonna be there, and you know it!”

Daniel gave a nod of acknowledgement and walked forward calmly, stopping just in front of his lover to reply, “And you know who I am.  I didn't see an option, Jack.  There wasn't time for Plan B; I'm not changing, not when a life is at stake.”

“Daniel, sometimes you're a real ...”

“... pain in the butt,” both men said in unison.

Jack sighed, shook his head one time, and then reached out to caress his Love's cheek.

“I love you, Angel.  You could have died out there,” Jack stated softly.

“But I didn't, and you could have died, too.  It's our ...”

“... line of work,” the couple spoke at the same time, but with small chuckles at the end of their speech.

“Danny, you know that pain in the butt stuff?”

“What about it?”

“There are times,” Jack declared in a leading fashion.

“Yes, there are.”

“Ya think?” the general questioned, mimicking himself.

“Yeah, definitely,” a very turned on Daniel agreed.

With a kiss to start things off, the lovers headed upstairs to revel in their nation of two, both happy to have survived yet another off-world battle.

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