Out of the Fire, Into Our Souls

Author: Orrymain
Author Email:  marciastudley1@comcast.net  (Feedback welcome)
Author Website:  http://orrymain.com
Category:  Slash, Angst, Drama, H/C of the Mental Kind, Missing Scene/Epilogue, POV - various, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  2/3 June 1999
Spoilers:  Out of Mind, Into the Fire, Hathor
Size:  78kb
Written:  August 16-19,27 2003  Revised:  October 12, 2003  Revised Again:  January 18, August 9,22, September 1, November 13,21,25, 2005  Revised for consistency:  January 20, 2007
Summary:  After yet another nasty experience with Hathor, Jack and Daniel come to a major realization about their love and their future.  In doing so, they make a pact that will forever be a part of their universe.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:
1) 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.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “The Pact”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Gail, Allexandrya, QuinGem, Linda, Claudia!

Out of the Fire, Into Our Souls
by Orrymain

JACK

“First of all, I regret to inform you that everyone on your team, Doctor Daniel Jackson, Captain Samantha Carter, and a Jaffa named Teal'c, are all deceased,” a man with a commanding presence announces.

The man is graying at the temples.  I can't help it.  I notice things like that these days as my own hair turns gray.  A brown-haired woman dressed in white is standing next to him.  They are trying to be sympathetic.

Sympathetic?  My mind is still trying to grasp what these two strangers are telling me.  Daniel is dead?  Danny?  I can't think straight.  They *have* to be wrong.

“The year is now 2077,” I hear the man say, but his words won't settle in my  mind.

No!  Danny!  What?  They are asking me questions, but I can't think about those right now.  Later, maybe, but right now all I can think about is Danny, My Danny.  They give me clothes as they remove me from this cryochamber where they say I was frozen.  Why would I care?  I can't do this.  My mind can't comprehend what I'm being told.

The man's name is Trofsky.  He's a major general, and he takes me on a tour of the SGC of the future, an SGC with more personnel and more teams, wearing uniforms that are unknown to me.  The uniform of the future.  Too stiff.  I like my old uniform better.  We walk to the Stargate, and I slowly amble up the ramp.  My mind cries for my love, my Angel.  I can't do this, so I push Jack to the back and let the colonel take charge, distant and detached.

How could this have happened?  I sigh, as I recall the cataclysmic event.  We were on a mission to a planet supposedly ruled by the Goa'uld, but ... crap!  That's all I remember.  Once we walked through the Gate, my mind draws a blank.  Trofsky says they want to plug a device into my mind so they can try and find out what happened and maybe learn about something that might help defeat the Goa'uld.

The woman in white from earlier, her name is Raully, tells me that, “It's like a high-tech version of hypnosis,” with my thoughts displayed holographically.

What the heck.  My soul, my Danny, is gone now, and nothing matters.  There's nothing to hide anymore.  'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' are words without meaning.  Go on.  If you learn about Danny, I'll affirm my love for him with pride.

Ouch!  It hurts when the device is implanted, but right away, I recall the Nox, their belief that humans are very young as a race, and their ability to become invisible.

Danny was so awed by the Nox.  Danny.  Lya still communicates with him sometimes.  Communicated.  Oh, Danny.  No, my mind can't cope with the anguish, so the colonel takes charge again, suppressing the ache in my heart.

I remember the Asgard, watching Thor's ship, the Biliskner, on Cimmeria and meeting the little gray aliens after they uploaded the language of the Ancients from my mind.

Danny worked so hard to keep me sane.  I thought I'd go crazy, but he reminded me there was the language of our hearts, not just our minds.  No, can't think about that now.

My mind goes to Ernest's Planet.  I see my lover on the hologram, so enthused and happy.  I didn't even know I loved him then.  He was my best friend.  He sparkled, acting like a kid in a candy store for the first time.  He wanted me to understand what it all meant.  His eyes leaped into mine with an energy and anticipation I hadn't felt in a long time; and with an intensity I had never felt.  It was so important to him that I grasp his words.

“Jack, this is a true universal language,” my shaggy-haired geek had proclaimed with an enthusiasm I've rarely seen in the universe.

He was so happy on Ernest's Planet, like a kid who had the world's best playground all to himself.

Ah, Danny, I can't go on without you.  You filled my soul with life.  Danny, you are the only true universal language for me.  I can't take anymore of these memories.  I lapse into unconsciousness for a moment, and finally, gratefully, they stop, turning off the image.  I'm sorry, Danny.

At last, they leave me alone.  All I want to do is go back into that cryochamber and let them freeze me into eternity.  I feel half froze already, and I'm ready to go to nothingness because I feel like nothing without him.

Vehemently, like a hard slap, my lover envelops me, telling me not to give up.  I feel him.  His heart is still beating within me.  My soul is still alive.  Danny?  They said Danny was dead.  Something's not right about this place.

**Okay, Love, I hear you.  I'll find you,** I resolve, though I'm certain that wherever he is, My Danny can't hear me, but he will.  Oh, yes, he will.  **Soon, Danny.**

The colonel in me gains my freedom, and I confirm my fears.  It's all an elaborate facade.  I exit the SGC and walk straight into a Goa'uld mother ship.

~Sweet!~ I antagonistically think to myself as I become fully aware of the stage I've been playing on.  I'm looking for Danny, but I find Carter first.  Yeah, she's okay, and she asks about Daniel.  “I don't know,” is all I can tell her, but my soul says he's here, and I'm going to find him.

SAM

I woke up in this modernized SGC, naked and wrapped in some thermal blanket.  I was freezing cold.  Listen, if I'm going to wake up in my birthday suit, I'd really rather it not be in the SGC.

Doctor Raully tells me SG-1 didn't make it, that I'm alone in 2077.  Okay, that's not what I wanted to hear.  The colonel, Daniel, and Teal'c are about the only family I have, along with Janet and Cassie, of course.  Holy Hannah, they're all gone.  What am I going to do now?  I wonder if Dad is still alive; I mean, he's a Tok'ra.

Okay, Samantha, might as well use your mind.  I never did get that life the colonel kept telling me to so, well, I guess I should be grateful I didn't leave behind a husband and children.  My life is my career.  Focus, Girl.

I agree to the use of this device that will help my mind to remember.  Something's not right, though.  Raully says something about Apophis.

“Isn't he dead?” I have to ask.

She says yes, but they are still fighting the Goa'uld.  Okay, I guess I'll go along with that, for now.

On the holographic screen, my memories of our fight on the Goa'uld mother ship are displayed.  I focus on the hyper launch into space and then finding the gliders with Daniel covering my six.  Daniel.  For an archaeologist, he's a good fighter.  Or was.  I never doubted his ability on the team.

I'm tired.  I need to rest.  Good, they're done for now.  Sleep.  I want to sleep.

“Carter!”

Colonel O'Neill wakes me, tells me we've been captured by the Goa'uld.  Holy Hannah, it's all been a lie.  I knew something was wrong, and now the truth is staring me in the face.

“Daniel?” I ask, concern for our friend in my voice.  I want him to be alive.  Please tell me, Sir, that he's alive.

He doesn't know, but I see the fear in his eyes.  He won't say the words.  He doesn't need to.  I understand.

The colonel doesn't look good.  He's tired and pained.  I wonder about what memories they forced him to relive, believing we, his 'kids', were dead, and Daniel.  Oh my lord, he thought Daniel was dead.  No wonder he looks so pale.  He's holding his feelings inside.  I can see the colonel is fully in charge, shoving Jack deep inside.

I dress and, as we leave to begin our search for Daniel, I try to reassure him and say, “We'll find him, Sir.”

He looks at me, trying to keep his feelings in check.  It's not protocol, but SG-1 isn't the usual team.  I put my hand on his forearm, a sign of support.  He knows that is all it is.

I've known about Colonel O'Neill and Daniel for a long time, since Hadante.  I didn't discuss their relationship with them very much, but I always tried to help them when I could.

Painful memories explode in my mind as we walk through the fake mother ship, a result of the implant still in my temple.  The colonel warned me not to think about what had happened on the ship when we were last on one, but it was too late.  The pain is horrible, but quickly, I gather my courage and we continue our search.

Then we turn a corner, and he stops dead in his tracks.  I hear a whispered “Danny” as his eyes focus on a column of the ship.  I recognize the place.  These ships are all built to the same plan.  Obviously, the Goa'uld lack imagination, and the spot we're standing in now is where Daniel ... 'died'.

I hadn't known it at the time.  Well, I didn't want to admit it, anyway.  I should have asked, but time was vital and ... I guess I didn't want to hear the words right then.

We had been fighting the Jaffa, and Daniel was covering our backs.  He had cried out, “Jack!” and when the colonel came back, all he said was, “He's staying behind.”

I'll never forget that look on Colonel O'Neill's face, and now, I see it there again, that same sadness and desperation.  He's lost in the memory of whatever happened in that spot between he and Daniel.  I don't think he realizes I'm standing here next to him now.  His eyes are riveted to the floor of that column, and then I hear it again, softly, “Danny.”

“Sir, let's keep going.  Daniel must be here somewhere,” I say with a small smile on my face.

He looks at me, grateful to be snapped out of that torment, but doesn't move.  He tells me, “I left him behind, Carter.  I left him to die, alone on that ship.”

The colonel doesn't usually open up to me.  I have to give him hope.  I respond, “But ... but Daniel didn't die, Sir.  He's here, and we need to find him.”

The colonel nods, and we're off again in our search.  Come on, Daniel, don't let us down.  I need you, too.
 
DANIEL

“It's okay, Doctor Jackson, you're in the SGC.  You're going to be fine,” a strange voice tells me.

**Jack?** my mind calls out.  My subconscious knows how much I need Jack.  Whenever I wake up, he's the first thing I need, the first person I seek out.  **Jack?**

My attention is drawn back to the voice.  Who is that, and how do they know my name?  I gasp for air and look for Jack.  Where's Jack?  I'm naked and cold, but there's no Jack.  Listen, uh, nothing personal, but if I'm going to bare it, it's going to be for my lover, not for you, whoever you are.  I really want my clothes.

They sit me up on a hospital bed, a thermal blanket covering my lower body, but nothing for my shivering torso.  I want some clothes, please.

They've attached some monitoring device to my chest.  I feel something different around my face.  Something ... something's wrong.  I raise my hands to my face and feel, sliding my hands to my hair.

It's different; it's ... it's ... NO!  Why?  They ... they cut my hair.  I've always had my hair long, and they've cut it.  It sounds like such a small thing but it isn't.  My hair is part of me, and I feel violated.  Who are these people?  Why did they do this?

The man is named Trofsky, and he tells me I was sent through the Stargate already frozen and placed in a cryogenic chamber until they had sufficient technology to revive me.  He says everyone else is dead, and it's ... 2077?

**Jack?  No, you aren't dead; you can't be.  I still feel you in me.  Where are you, Love?**

Our silent communication is a mystery to us.  It works when we're near each other, but ... gawd, there's no response.  He's not here; not close enough.  My heart is breaking, and I don't care if that's a cliché or not.

I let General Trofsky and Doctor Raully put this implant on my temple that is designed to stimulate memory.  It's some form of Tok'ra technology.  I go along with them, my mind needing to focus on something other than my lover and my new haircut.

I remember Sokar, Heru'ur, and Hathor, although my memory is not of her rape of me, but of Jack.  You see, Jack is so much in my soul that our memories are united.  It's his pain and torture at Hathor's bewitching that I recollect for Trofsky.  Hathor wanted Jack to carry the larva Goa'uld, the children, children of my seed and hers.  How disgustingly twisted is that monster?

I don't want to remember anymore.  I just want to get out of here.  I want Jack.

I pull back into myself, withdrawing from life.  Jack has worked so hard to get me to leave behind my issues of abandonment, to leave my shield of armor that protects me from pain in the past, but ... Jack is ... he's dead, so what does it matter?

Finally, I sleep, dreaming of My Jack making love to me.  Please don't wake me up.  I have no reason to awake again.

Then something amazing happens, something that gets my heart to beat again.

Jack ... Jack is standing there.  I feel his touch.  It's ... it's real?  No, they said he was dead, but ... but, yes, those are his shining chocolate eyes staring down at me with longing.

“I don't understand,” I say, and then my brain starts working again, and I ask, “What year is it?”

It's a hoax, we agree.  It's the same year it was yesterday and last night and this morning.

Sam is there, too.  She's happy to see me, and I'm happy to see her.  It appears the reports of our demise were premature.  Actually, they were complete lies.

“I have more questions, but that can wait,” I say, after which my lover helps me up, his hand against my bare back, delivering a silent message that makes me shiver all over again.

Sam watches the hallway as I dress, Jack staring at me.  We don't say anything.  We start to leave, but Jack stops me.

“Carter, give us a minute,” he requests.

She smiles and nods, continuing her watch for the Goa'uld as Jack takes my hand and walks me over to a corner away from the entrance.  He looks at me with regret as he says, “No time, Danny.”

I don't know what to say.  We just need to stand there, touching ... for just a minute.  He pulls me into a tight embrace.  We both hang on, squeezing, wanting it to be more.  We can't go further, or we wouldn't stop; and we both know it.  It's not safe.  We just need this minute to touch, tactile reassurance, I guess you'd call it.

His hands cup my face and his eyes reach into my soul as he says, “Don't ever die on me, Danny.”

We smile.  He reaches down, pulls both my hands up, and kisses the center of each palm.  Gawd, I can't describe the sensation I'm feeling.  It's ... it makes me quiver.

“I love you,” he says quietly.

I smile, take his hands, and kiss his palms, just like he did mine.  I tell him, “I love you, too, Jack.”

It's all we have time for now, except for one last thing.  Our hands joined, we lean our foreheads together in an affirmation of our unity.  My eyes are closed, soaking in his love, his courage, and his strength.  We're ready now.

Sam leads the way, and we realize just how detailed this fake place is when we enter the gate room and begin to closely examine the area.

“I don't understand,” I say.  “Who would have spent enough time on the base to be able to reproduce it in this kind of detail?”

Then, we get our answer as she materializes, and my heart stops from dread. It's Hathor.  Like a snake, she slithers up to me, calling me her beloved.  My skin crawls from disgust.  Please leave me alone.

The rape floods my mind as I silently cry out, ~Jack, please keep her away from me.~

When she finally walks away, I try not to collapse and walk up the ramp as far as I can, shooing her away like the insect she is.

**Jack, be careful,** I plead as I watch her threaten my Love.  I see him gathering his strength to deal with her.  ~No, Jack.~

The devilish vixen pulls out a symbiote, dangling it like a toy.

~NO!~

She taunts me and Sam, and then she goes to My Jack.  My soul is crying.  I know what she's intending, and I can't deal with it.  She raped me, and now ... now she wants to ...

~No, please no.  Sha're, Skaara ... no!~

“Our friend here is ready for a host.  Tell me, which one of you shall it be?” Hathor questions, holding the symbiote as if it were a grenade ready to explode us into pieces.

I feel myself hiding inside of my skin.  I can't live through that.  I can't lose Jack, or Sam.  No, someone stop this nightmare.  My mind is racing, screaming.  I'm fading, losing the battle to maintain rationality.  My head hurts.

The witch approaches me again.  I won't look at her.  I want to throw up. She actually thinks I'd want to mate with her.  I decline her invitation unemotionally as my mind retreats a little further to safety.

She taunts Sam some more, and then she stands in front of Jack.  I think I will vomit.  No, Jack, don't let her, but I see it, feel it ... he's going to protect us, Sam and I, and let her ... put that demon in him.

**Jack, no, please no.  I need you.**

His game face is on, but I hear his response.

**I love you, Angel.  Never forget that.  Be safe, Danny.**

I'm gone, checking out as numbness overtakes my mind and body.  Raully interrupts for a moment, the symbiote fleeing, but I can't move.  I see the symbiote disappear into Jack, and like a zombie, I stare at my lover lying on the ramp.  It's a freakin' nightmare.  I want to move, but I can't.  I don't even remember being escorted out of the gate room.

**Goodbye, Jack.  I'll love you, always.**

My body is in shutdown mode, my mind blanking, and my organs doing nothing but the bare minimum to sustain my life.  Color fades from my body as I realize that once again, I am alone.  She's taking him away from me.

It's my fault.  I never should have fallen in love with him.  I'm a curse.  Everyone I love gets hurt or dies.  My parents, Sha're, Skaara, and now, My Jack.  My fault; all my fault.

JACK

That witch.  She's responsible for all of this, and now she's touching Danny, tormenting him with delusions of sex appeal.  She wants to know if he remembers how good they were.

“I really try not to,” he drones without a hint of emotion in his voice.

I'm going to kill her if she touches him again.  I may kill her anyway.  She hurt him bad before.  I will *not* let her do that again.  Okay, she wants a body for that snake, she can have mine.  It's the only way to save him, and I have to save him.

**Danny, you have to live.  I'm doing this for you.  It's what I want, for you to live, Daniel.  Do you hear me?  Daniel?**

Look at him.  He's shut down, doing that self-hug thing.  He's standing there, lost.  He's scared.  I want to hold him and tell him everything will be all right.

**No, Danny, don't give up.  You can't give up.**

I look at Carter, desperate to communicate something to her.  I have to try.

~Get him out of here.  Keep him safe.  I'm counting on you, Carter.~

She doesn't have the telepathy thing going like Daniel and I do, but she watches me, looks at Daniel, and then back at me.  She gives me a brief nod, an acknowledgement not to worry.

Okay, witch, do what you must, but you are one marked Goa'uld.  I don't know when or how, but you are *so* gonna die.  No threat; just a promise.

The snake invades my neck, and I fight to hang on.  Daniel is physically here, but his mind is no longer in the building.  He's left for eternity.  I have to fight this -- somehow.

Suddenly, as I'm about to become one with the snake, Raully is telling me she's a Tok'ra.  She does something; says the cold will kill the symbiote.  She urges me to hang on as the chamber closes, locking me inside.  I don't understand, but I have hope.

SAM

Daniel is practically catatonic.  I can't get him to say anything.  He's sitting on the floor, his knees to his chest.

“Daniel, we're going to get out of here,” I say in an effort to comfort him, but he says nothing, absolutely nothing.  “Come on, Daniel.  You know the colonel.  He's not going to give up.  He'll find a way out, and he's going to be angry if he finds out you gave up on him.”

Still nothing; not even a sigh or groan.  I pace the floor, desperate to get Daniel to respond.  I promised the colonel I'd take care of Daniel, and I will.  Then I hear a whisper.  He doesn't move, his voice monotone as he speaks.

“He's what he never wanted to be, Sam.  They snaked him, like Sha're and Skaara.  He's gone, in the one way he never wanted to ... die.”

I rush to him, kneel and fold my arms around his neck.  He's still in there, and it's up to me to convince him we still have a chance to save the colonel.

“Daniel, we're SG-1.  We don't stay down. You don't die, and Colonel O'Neill doesn't become a host.  It's not in the manual,” I say sternly.  Calmer, and with a small smile, I add, “We just have to think of a way out of here, and then find him.”

“He's a Goa'uld,” my friend mutters in despair.

It's so soft, not even a whisper covers it.  It's like only his lips moved.  There's no life in his eyes, either.

“Daniel, something of the host survives, remember?  And we know about Cimmeria now.  Daniel, please listen,” I beg.

But he's gone again, his eyes dark and devoid of emotion and his skin pale.  I hold on to him, but he doesn't even know I'm there anymore.

The Jaffa come, motioning us to follow.  They pull Daniel up.  He's a robot, doing whatever they tell him.

Colonel Makepeace suddenly appears in the hall with a team, and they open fire.  I push the guard closest to us, and fortunately, Daniel's reflexes have him ducking out of the way.  The rescue team gives us BDUs, and we change. Daniel is functioning better now.  His concern for the colonel starting to overtake his fear, now that the Marines are here.  I think he feels a little hope finally.

“What about Jack?” he calls out to Makepeace when the colonel tells us to leave with him.

I hear the desperation in Daniel's voice.  The Marines are losing the battle at the Stargate, and Colonel Makepeace won't let us search for our CO.  The hope starts to fade from Daniel again, draining like water running down a sink.

We get to the Gate.  It looks clear, so we make a run for it, but then a force field stops us.  We open fire, but the barrier prevents our weapons from doing any damage.  Columns with Jaffa manning large staff weapons seem to grow out of the ground.  The Jaffa open fire on us as we retreat.

As we are running, Daniel a few feet behind me, a blast lands near me.  I hear Daniel groan as he falls to the ground.  Quickly, I turn around and run back to him.

“Daniel, let's go,” I order, pulling him up.

The look on his face will haunt me for years to come.  I think he wanted to stay there and die, but I won't let him.  I promised Colonel O'Neill.

DANIEL

We're running from the Gate, gunfire exploding everywhere.  I'm hit, and I fall to the ground.  I'm not surprised.  Gawd, it doesn't even hurt.  I'm still too numb to feel anything physical, operating on automatic.  Nothing compares to the ache in my soul at losing Jack.

Sam urges me on, but I'd rather stay here.  Just let me be, Sam, but I know she won't, and I won't let her die with me.

We go to the Tok'ra tunnels.  Colonel Makepeace asks about my injury.  I don't care about my injury; I don't care about anything, so I get ... snarky ... that's what Jack calls it.

“It's just a deep bleeding gash, but it'll be fine,” I tell him brusquely.

Makepeace just keeps going, and I follow.  I wasn't expecting anything more anyway.  It doesn't matter.

Sam thinks we can get to the field generator that operates the facility and shut it down.  I want to go with her, but she won't let me, says I'm hurt.  It's okay, Sam; I want to die anyway.

Colonel Makepeace agrees to let her go back alone while everyone else tries to regain control of the Stargate.  He hands me a Beretta.

~Thank you,~ I say silently.  I play with the weapon as if it were a toy, waving it up and down, staring at it intently as I do so.  I wonder if he heard me say I want to die.  He doesn't know he just gave me my escape.  Did I say thank you?  ~Thank you.~

I follow the clueless colonel, but as we travel the tunnels, I lag behind.  No one notices.  I'm good at being invisible when I want to.  It's something I learned after my parents died.  Eventually, I slump to the floor, holding the solution to my pain.  It's cold, hard steel in the palm of my hand.  Emotionless, I take off the safety and put the gun to my temple.

**Jack, I love you, always and forever.**

I can't cry.  My finger is one with the trigger.  One more second, and the ache will be gone.  One sharp loud bang, and no more pain, ever.

Bang.  A loud bang.  I imagine it in my mind, pulling the trigger, my brains splattering over the tunnel walls and floor.

“I'll never forgive myself, but sometimes I can forget -- sometimes,” Jack had said about Charlie's death.

“Something of the host survives,” I had deduced about Sha're while talking to Sam last year.

Bang.  A loud bang.  Pulling the trigger, my brains splattering over the tunnel walls and floor.  One second: that's all it would take.

“You have to live, Danny,” my lover had communicated to me before making his sacrifice.

“I'll never forgive myself,” Jack had said.

“We're SG-1,” Sam had stated with strength and conviction.

Bang.  A loud bang ... pulling the trigger.

Cimmeria and Thor's hammer thundering in my mind.

“Live, Danny.”

Words -- over and over, the words explode in my mind.  My words, Jack's words, Sam's words -- too many words.

I drop the gun, and I listen to the tapping noise it makes as it lands on the floor.  I'm lucky it didn't fire.  I'm shaking.  The voices in my head are only now subsiding after their war of words and flashes of memory.

I can't die without making sure.  I have to know, have to find out, need to see him for myself.  I can't take the chance of leaving him with another memory like Charlie's death.

What do we have?  What do we know?  Jack always says we have to ask those questions in tight situations.  Okay, well, I saw that snake lunge into my lover.  I heard him moan in agony, and felt his pain as his soul cried out to mine.  I couldn't do anything but stand there.  I can now, though.  I can make sure, and then I can ...

My mind stops.  I won't think anymore; I can't.  I get up off the floor, pick up the Beretta, and put the safety back on.  Then I hurry to catch up with Colonel Clueless.

Oops.  Just as I rejoin the group, we're surrounded by Jaffa and are captured.  Okay, this isn't what I had in mind, but if it has to be, okay then.

They line us up like a ducks in a shooting gallery.  I'm ready.  Like Teal'c, I die free.

~I'm sorry, Jack.  I don't want to live without you.  I tried to fight.~

JACK

The chamber is cold.  I'm freezing.  I see Carter telling me I'm going to be all right, and the symbiote is dead.  I thank the heavens I'm not a host, and then I hear Hathor.  In stealth-like fashion, I sneak out of the cryochamber and move up behind her.  She's using the ribbon device on Carter.  My thoughts are not on what she is doing to my 2IC, but on the way she was touching My Danny and what she did to him the first time we met the witch.  She's so dead now.

I grab her from behind.  I wanted to break her neck, but held back for Carter's sake.  In that moment, holding that witch's life in my hands, I thought of all the pain she had caused.  I don't care about me, but what she did to Daniel, I can't forgive or forget.

She raped him.  I didn't think he'd ever get over that, but he cried in my arms, spilling out his guilt, pain, remorse, anger, and fear about what his Sha're was suffering at the fate of Apophis.  He cried until he fell asleep, my arms wrapped around him.

We were on the roof.  I held him as tightly as I could, and he had a clinched fist on my shirt.  I was already in love with him, but he didn't know that then.  He was my heart and my soul, and I was hurt and angry for him.  For every tear he shed in those hours I held him, I shed even more the next day, after he had gone back to his apartment.  I never told him that.

Now, Hathor is going to die for doing that to him.  It's ending right here, right now.  I knew it would end this way when my lover backed up that phony ramp, shooing her away, remembering the pain of our first encounter with that monster.

You've messed with the Tau'ri for the last time, you witch.  You're dead.

I whisper so only she can hear, “This is for Daniel,” and I throw her into a frozen death.  It's over.

~She won't hurt you any more, Danny.~

I'm shaking, still cold from the freeze and angry over all that witch has done to hurt my soulmate.  She had told me that when the snake took me over, she was going to make me kill Daniel, that the Goa'uld would force my hands to murder the only one who gives me life.

My Danny.  He's so full of compassion.  I bet he would have found a way, somehow, to forgive her, but I can't.

~Forgive me, Daniel, for killing in your name, but no one hurts you, ever.  I won't let them, Danny.  Forgive me, Love.~

“Carter, where's Daniel?” I ask, wanting and needing to hear that he's safe.

She explains about the barrier, but I don't really listen.  I got the information I wanted.  Daniel is safe; he's with Makepeace and the Marines.

**Danny, I'm coming.  Please, Angel, hang on.  It's almost over now.**  My mind sends the message over and over.  **C'mon, Daniel, hear me.  Answer me, Daniel.**

There's nothing but my own thoughts in my brain, and I worry about the man who is my everything.

We can see the Stargate up ahead, and I see him, with a bunch of Marines, all waiting to be killed, one by one, in front of our eyes, unless Carter reveals herself.

“Don't listen to him, Sam,” Daniel calls out, not yet knowing I'm with our teammate, and I'm still me.

He's ready to die, my brave Daniel, kneeling there so calmly even though a zat is aimed at his head.

Aw, Danny, look at you.  You thought I was gone, didn't you?  Thought our forever had been ambushed by that crazed redheaded snake.  Well, think again, Dannyboy.  I'm too far-gone over you to let some snake keep us apart. It'll be over soon, Angel.  I promise.

DANIEL

Jack?  I must be seeing things ... and ... sounds like him.  No, I must be imagining this.  There's My Jack, walking across the meadow, and I can hear him.  It's ... He *is* My Jack.

“You heard me.  I said kree!” my lover barks at the Jaffa.

My voice is soft, hesitant, when I first utter his name out loud -- “Jack?”

How can it be him?  I saw Hathor put a snake inside him.  Oh, Jack, please be you.

JACK

He's standing there, using nothing but sheer willpower not to fall.  His leg is injured.  Carter told me about the explosion and the gash it caused to Daniel's leg.  She also said he withdrew, barely acknowledging her presence.

“He looked so lost, Sir.  I haven't seen him like that since Hathor ...”

She hadn't been able to say it, and I didn't want to think about it either.

“He was like a zombie, Sir, just did whatever they told us to do.  I'm really concerned about him,” the captain had told me with misty eyes.

“Don't worry, Captain,” I had confidently told my 2IC during our walk to the Stargate.  “I'll take care of Daniel.”

“I know, Sir.  I just thought you'd want to know how he was,” she had responded almost apologetically.

I had to say the words, so I did:  “Thank you, Carter.  I appreciate your looking out for him.”

“I love him, too, Sir,” she had replied.

I had looked at her and smiled, knowing she got my message as I had gotten hers.  I appreciated her help, keeping Daniel safe for me, and I knew she'd always do her best when I wasn't there.  Now, though, I was here, and I would take care of my lover.

It was a like a short-term loan.  I had entrusted Daniel to her, but now, he was mine again, and she knew it.

Suddenly, a glider soars out through the Gate.  The war zone explodes, and the good guys win.  I love being one of the good guys!

I watch my lover cross the meadow as fast as he can, his limping from the leg injury delaying his progress.  He's afraid he's dreaming.  I see it in his eyes and his demeanor.  I want to take him into my arms, but I can't, not yet.

Holy Moly, it's the general.  I bet there's quite a story behind that.  He must have been with Teal'c in the glider that flew through the Gate, aiding our rescue and defeating the attacking Jaffa.  He doesn't usually come through the Gate.  He looks pretty pleased, too.

I'm curious, but that story can wait.  My first priority is standing only a few feet away from me now.

~Danny, it's going to be okay.~

DANIEL

I feel numb standing here.  Jack is alive and apparently unharmed.  I don't understand what's happened.  I'm glad, but I still feel numb.  I saw the symbiote go inside him.  She made me watch, helpless to protect my heart.  My Jack is my heart.  My soul.  I don't know whether or not I can believe my eyes.  It ... it could be a trick, another vicious game by Hathor.

Bra'tac, Jack, and Sam stand to my side, and here comes Teal'c and General Hammond.  I wasn't expecting to see the general here.  He must have been with Teal'c in the glider.  Must be quite a story behind that.  I'd like to hear about it, the next time I can ... feel.

JACK

No one says anything.  The six of us exchange looks and then turn to walk towards the Marines and the Stargate.  My Danny, he looks so void of life, so empty.  On top of everything else, I know he feels violated.  She didn't technically rape him this time, but she cut his shiny hair, chopped it off, and that is just another kind of rape and violation of my lover.

I can't resist.  I'll whisper it; saying it silently isn't enough right now.

“You're beautiful, Danny,” I say as we turn and walk near the others.

He needs me, and I have to touch him, so I do something others have come to accept from Daniel's best friend.  I ruffle his hair and place my arm  around him with my hand on the back of his shoulder, letting it stay there for several seconds; it's all I dare.  He smiles, a big grin.  It's the first real sign that he's in there, safe.  We'll be fine now.  I just need to get him home to our nation of two.

DANIEL

It's real.  He's real.  I feel his hand on my head, mussing my now-short hair.  His hand touches my back.  He's telling me it isn't a dream.  I want to believe that.  I do.

“You're beautiful, Danny,” he tells me, daring to speak the words aloud.

I grin.  I can't help it, and I, too, need to respond verbally.

“I love you,” is all I can say, whispered so that no one will hear, as I melt inside, my soul warm from his words and touch.

I know what he wants.  I want it, too, but it's going to be a long time.  I place my arm briefly to his waist.  I had to touch him. I need this, if only for a moment.

It takes a long time to get things situated on Hathor's Planet, and once we get back to the SGC, Little Napoleon rides herd.  I don't normally call Janet that, but at the moment, it seems to fit.  We're in for the full treatment, poking and prodding of every part of our bodies with her needles and probes.  I just want to go home, home to the arms of my lover.

**I need you, Jack,** I say as loudly as my inner voice will allow.

He's talking with the general and Makepeace, but suddenly his head snaps towards me.  He looks into my eyes.  I hear his response.

**I know, Angel.  Soon, I promise.**

The general's questions call Jack back to their conversation.  I sit quietly on the infirmary bed, hunger in my soul for my Love.

JACK

**I know, Angel.  Soon, I promise.**

You know it's okay, but you don't know.  That little abandoned boy that haunts your soul isn't sure I'm real, even now.  Danny, I can't stand this.  Fraiser is hovering over all of us, wanting to make us feel like pincushions.  Not only that, but Hammond is demanding answers, and I can't put him off.  I'm sorry, Love.

SAM

Janet is running us all through the grinder.  I'd expect no less from her. She's not only my best friend, but the most professional woman I know.  She also cares about every member of the SGC, especially SG-1.  The regs would say she cares too much.

The Air Force is like that.  Protect your team, work together as a unit, but never let it become a family.  SG-1 has ignored that, and Janet is part of our extended family.  Her concern emanates from her as she watches us.

She's keeping a close eye on Daniel as he sits there, totally still, doing what is requested of him, but without any light shining in his beautiful blue eyes.  I'm concerned, too.  He's shut down, only slightly more focused than he was when Janet and I found him after Hathor abused ... no raped is the word; she raped him.  He looked like death when we found him, sitting helplessly on the bed.

I'm so angry that Daniel has had to go through that nightmare, and now has had to relive it with this new nightmare.  He's a good man, and he cares so deeply about people.  No one should have to live through this kind of horror, especially not him.

He's afraid to look at the colonel.  I understand why.  He's afraid he'll give in to his innermost desires, and that would effectively end the colonel's career.

Janet is going to hold us here a long time; she already told me that.  I know what Daniel needs.

Taking a big breath, I am honest with myself.  I don't understand the colonel and Daniel, how they fell in love or why.  They are so different, but they are my family, and I ... well, I'll do what I can to help them because I love them both.

The colonel is trapped by General Hammond, who is understandably anxious for a full report about everything that happened on the planet.  As he talks, Janet's running tests on him.  Covertly, he sneaks looks at Daniel, and when he does, I see the concern in his eyes.  He knows what Daniel needs, and something tells me it has nothing to do with Janet's happy pills.

Think, Sam.  You're a captain in the United States Air Force; you're supposed to be smart.  You want to help them?  Well, then think of something!

JANET

Daniel is in a near-catatonic state.  He does what I ask, but nothing more.  The sparkle is gone from his expressive eyes.  It's as if no one is home inside.

I saw him look over at Colonel O'Neill earlier.  They exchanged smiles, but that was the only sign I've seen of any emotion from him.

To be frank, that exchange between them jarred me, but I'm not sure why.  The colonel keeps looking over at him, but that's normal.

Jack O'Neill is always looming when one of his team is injured, especially Daniel.  He's very protective of him, and it seems to be mutual.  Whenever either of them is hurt or sick, the other lurks nearby like a bee to honey.

I look at Daniel, his face blank.  He's a brave, passionate man.  It's so sad how his beautiful wife is still out there somewhere in the galaxy, playing host to a Goa'uld.  Maybe that's why he's so silent now.  Maybe watching the symbiote be put inside the colonel reminded him of Sha're.  Poor thing.

Sam keeps watching Daniel, too.  She's deep in thought right now, but her eyes are focused in his direction.  Now she's looking at me, still pensive.  I wonder if something is wrong, so I go to her and ask, “Sam, are you okay?  Is there anything you haven't told me?”

“Ah, no, Janet,” she answers.  “I was just thinking about something.”

Now there's an obvious statement, but I let it go.  I need to continue my testing.  SG-1 is too important for us not to be thorough with the examinations.

SAM

Thinking, but not coming up with anything.

~Come on, Captain,~ I urge myself, desperate to find a solution.  Oh ... well, yes, maybe.  Okay, be calm.  “Janet, don't you think it might be a good idea if Daniel were some place a little more private?  He's been through a really tough time.”

“You might be right, Sam.  I'm concerned about how withdrawn he's been since he got back,” my friend agrees.

“You're swamped, Janet.  How about if I take Daniel to his office for a while?” I ask, ready to spring into action with her consent.

“No, I don't want him that far away,” Janet tells me.  She thinks and then says, “ISO Room 3 is clear.  Take Daniel in there.  I'll be in to check on him and run some more tests in a while.”

“I'll stay with him,” I volunteer, unable to refrain from smiling just a little.

“Not long, Sam.  We still need to run some tests on you, too,” Janet replies, making me cringe slightly.

“No escape, eh?” I ask.

“Not a chance,” Janet tells me.

That's okay, though.  Let me get Daniel.

JACK

The general and Makepeace are still talking about everything that happened on the planet.  Can't this wait until later?

What is Sam doing?  I see her walking over to my lover.  She speaks to him, but Danny isn't saying anything back.  His head is down.  She is trying to reach him with her smile, but he's not buying it.  She gently tugs on his elbow, motioning him off the table.  He lets her lead him, like a puppy on a leash.

**Angel, it will be okay.  I promise.**

He briefly looks up and gives me a little smile, but he's doubting himself and his sanity.  I have to get to him.  I watch them like a hawk as Makepeace finally talks about the explosion that injured my limping lover.  Good, we're almost done here.

Sam looks at me and mouths, “ISO 3” with a smile.  That's my second.  I give her a subtle nod and return my focus to the general and the talkative Makepeace.

Ten minutes later, I've had enough.  I need to know Daniel's okay.  He's out of my sight now, and the separation causes my heart to ache.  

Janet finally taps Makepeace on the shoulder.  His turn to go through the standard post-mission exam.  One down, one to go.  I look at the general, about to speak, but he doesn't let me say a word.

“Go on, Jack.  Check on Doctor Jackson.  We'll finish this later.”

How does he do that?  I don't care.  I just thank him and quietly sneak out before Little Napoleon can pull me back.

I enter ISO 3 and see Carter sitting next to Daniel on the bed, holding his hand.  He looks uncomfortable.  My Danny loves to be touched ... by me, but he's not good with others, not even Sam.  He loves her, though, and never pushes her away, knowing she needs to touch him sometimes. This is one of those times.

Good.  She sees me and smiles.

“Thank you, Carter.”

Daniel looks up, hearing my voice.  He smiles as Carter releases his hand.  She walks by me, looks back at Daniel and then over to me.

“He'll be fine,” I say with an air of confidence.

“Yes, he will, Sir,” she acknowledges knowingly.

DANIEL

Sam is holding on to me, thinking if she doesn't that I'll shatter like broken glass.  She might be right.  I need Jack.  Where is Jack, Sam?  I want to ask her, but I know the answer.  He's back in the infirmary.

Wait, he's standing there now, smiling at me.

“He'll be fine,” I hear my Love say.

Oh, that's me he's talking about.  If you're fine, Jack, I will be, too.  

**Tell me you're fine, Jack.  I need to know it.**

After Sam leaves us alone, he takes my hands in his strong callused ones.  I love his hands.  They've done so much, made me feel so much.  He pulls me up, into him, our bodies rubbing together, and then he's devouring my mouth.  His tongue is dancing with mine.  Yes, Jack, yes.

I throw my arms around his neck, caressing it, just as his arms wrap around my waist, stroking my back, pressing my butt, pulling me more into him.

“I need you, Jack.  Show me you're alive; that you're not a snake.  Make me feel it, Jack.”

JACK

I'm here, Angel.  I'm real.  It's okay.  I'm saying it with my hands, my fingers, my lips, and my tongue.  I've got him so close I think we'll be inside each other any moment.  It's not a tender hold I have on him, but possessive, tight, and hard.  He needs to know this isn't a mind game or a trick, and I'm going to make sure he does.  Go on, Danny, feel me.

This is so not smart.  I know better.  We're on the base, but there's not a working camera in ISO Room 3, not anymore.  Being Special Ops teaches a guy a few things, and I know just when to put them to use.

I feel Daniel turning into Jell-O, his knees giving in to the exhaustion and emotion of our ordeal.  He puts his head on my shoulder, one hand still caressing my neck, cheek, and hair.

I rub his back, place kisses on his forehead, and whisper assurances to him softly.

“No snake?” he asks tentatively with a vulnerability that cries out to me.

“No, Angel.  There was a Tok'ra spy among them, and she saved me, killed the snake.”

“No snake,” he says again, only this time it wasn't a question, just a release of suppressed fear.

“No, Love.  Just me, and I'm all yours, always yours,” I tell him with a certainty like no other.

“Love you, Jack, love you so much,” he says to me.

My eyes are watering as I feel his passion and desire.  What did I ever do to deserve this precious love Daniel gifts me with so completely?  I take his hand and kiss his palm.  I pull back out of our embrace to look into his eyes.  I need him to see me, to focus.

“I love you, too, Daniel.  You're my beautiful angel, my falling star,” I say from the depths of my soul.  I kiss him and whisper into his ear, “La Mio Bello Stella Cadente.”

My Italian isn't so hot, but we need another language to speak in sometimes. I learned some on my own, and now Daniel's teaching me, too, slowly.  We talk in Latin sometimes and even Arabic when Daniel's nightmares overtake him, but what we're sharing now is a special language that speaks to our very souls.

I kiss him some more.  Maybe it's not Daniel I'm trying to reassure now; maybe it's me, needing to feel him, My Daniel, as much inside me as he could be, here, at the SGC.  Geez, what he does to me.

DANIEL

I can't get enough.  His touch.  His scent.  He feels like Jack; sounds like Jack, but I need to know for sure.

“No snake?” I ask in desperation.

He explains he's fine, but all I hear is that he's free, that he's My Jack.

He's speaking Italian to me.  I love him so much.  I don't know what's worse in Jack's long line of nicknames for me -- Space Monkey, Angel, Plant Boy ... I don't care.  As long as he's kissing me like this, he can call me anything he wants.  Just don't stop kissing me, Jack, not yet.

There's a knock on the door, an unwelcome intrusion invading our reunion.  He pulls away, sorrow on his face.  He still has my hand, keeps it his until the last possible moment, until the door opens, which it does very slowly.  Oh, it's Sam.  She knows the truth.

“I'm sorry, Sir, Janet is ready for you,” our friend says quietly.

Sam looks at me, her eyes full of apology.  She knows what Jack and I were doing, or at least has an idea.

“Great, my turn for show and tell,” Jack says a bit sarcastically.  He talks like that a lot.  It's who he is.  He still hasn't moved.  He's standing here, just looking at me.  **Danny?**

**I'm okay now, Love,** I promise him, and I hope I am.

“Sir, I can stay with Daniel for awhile.  Janet's released me,” Sam tells Jack.

She thinks she needs to take care of me.  I sigh softly to myself.  Sometimes I'm so pathetic, my need for Jack consuming me.

“Give me a minute, Carter.  Tell Doctor Fraiser I'll be right there.”

Sam smiles at me as she answers, “Yes, Sir.”

He's holding me again as he  looks deeply into my eyes, so deep I think I might faint from the intensity.

“I love you, Danny.  Fraiser's probably gonna want to keep you here overnight, but maybe we can outmaneuver her, and then I'm taking you home, and I'm going to show you just how alive we both are.”

“Jack, I was so afraid.  I couldn't do anything.  I watched her put that ...”

JACK

“Shhh, Danny.”

My Love.  He's going to feel guilty about something that isn't his fault, something he had no control over, but that's Daniel.  He carries the burdens of the world on his broad shoulders.  Lucky for me, while he worries about the world, he lets me worry about him.  I carry his burdens and protect him while he protects everyone else.

“It's okay, Angel.  I know.  It's not your fault.  There wasn't anything you could do except stay alive, and you did that,” I tell him, and I'm grateful for that, too.  I pull back and cup his face, gazing into his sexy blue eyes.  I want him to feel this, to know just how thankful I am.  “Thank you for staying alive, Daniel.”

I kiss him.  He's trembling.  This whole thing has been such a torture chamber for him.  I run my fingers through his soft hair.  I'm used to it being longer.  My hand automatically reaches for hair that's not there anymore.

“She ... she cut it.  Why did she do that, Jack?  Why?” Daniel asks me, his voice trembling.

“I don't know, Danny,” I answer honestly.  Who knows what makes a monster like that tick, but I do know one thing, and I'm quick to tell my lover what it is.  “She's never going to hurt you again. I made sure of that.  I promise you, Danny, she's gone for good.”

I kiss him possessively.  He's mine, all mine, and I want him to know it, know that I want and need him as much as he's telling me the same.  When we come up for air, we lean our foreheads together, a symbol of our hearts being one.

“It'll grow back, Danny.  You can grow it back.  I bet it won't even take that long,” I tell him, but my voice sounds funny.  Geez, it squeaked.  There's a tear in my eye.  Danny loved that shaggy hair of his.  “It'll grow back,” I whisper again.

He puts his arms around my neck again and leans into me, demanding my lips and tongue surrender to him.  No problem, Danny.  I surrender. They're yours.  Do what you want.  I go happily.

“You've always wanted me to cut it anyway,” he says softly.

I've teased him about his hair from the beginning, about it not being military.  How I wish I could take it all back now, every joke and every loving taunt.  That mother witch put that tone in his voice, a tone of fear and submission.  I wish I could kill her again.

“Danny, listen to me, whatever you do, do it because it's what you want.  Daniel, don't let that snake win.  Grow it back, leave it short, or do something in between.  I don't care what you do, as long as you do it because it's what you want for you.  I love you, Danny.”  I take a breath and as seriously as I can, I tell him, “I've teased you, but I've loved your long silky hair.  You're beautiful, so beautiful to me.”

I start to choke up.  I'm exhausted, an emotional wreck.  I've been Colonel O'Neill too long, and now I only want to be Jack and make love to my Love.

DANIEL

He says I'm beautiful.  Is that something you say to another guy?  Sure, he's beautiful to me, too.  My Jack.  He's always knocking himself, but look at him, with his sexy and suave silver-gray hair, chocolate brown eyes I can get lost in, and strong hands that make me shiver from the warmth of their touch.

Stop, Jackson.  I can't do this, or I'll never let him walk out the door.  He needs me to be strong.  I can do that ... I can be the tough-as -nails archaeologist.  I can, I can, I ... I can.

“Maybe ... maybe I'll shave it off and be bald like Teal'c,” I tease, trying to disarm him.

I surprised him, and he laughs.  So do I.  I love his laugh, and how his eyes shine when he chuckles.

He kisses me and says, “If that's what you want, Love.  You'll still be beautiful to me.”

“It'll save on shampoo, Jack.”

“... and less hair in the sink,” he teases back.

I've done it.  Somehow, I've done it, but you'd better go.  Funny, but I can't do more than think that thought;  my voice won't let me vocalize it out loud.

Soon, though, Janet will come looking for him, and we both know it.  He thought it at the same time.  Another sweet kiss, and now he's gone.  I'm alone.  Sam will come soon.  Jack won't let me be alone.

It's okay.  I'm okay now.

JANET

It's been a long shift, but finally, it's over.  I was the most concerned about Daniel.  His physical injury was limited to the gash in his right leg.  I injected him with an antibiotic and cleaned the wound with saline hetadine.  I followed that with lidocaine to numb the area and then sutured the wound.

Amy is preparing the oral antibiotic he'll have to be on for the next ten days or so, and he'll have to come in to have the sutures removed next week.

When SG-1 first walked in, I thought we'd have to get Doctor MacKenzie to come by.  Daniel was pale and withdrawn, but now, he's a bit more animated.  I think the colonel has something to do with that ... that's Colonel O'Neill, not Makepeace.

Jack doesn't know I saw him slip out earlier.  I knew he went to be with Daniel in the ISO room I set him up in.  But if there is one thing I can be sure of around here, it's that when Daniel gets hurt, Colonel O'Neill will be nearby, and vice versa.  They have quite a friendship.

The rest of SG-1 is remarkably unscathed by the events on Hathor's Planet.  I released Sam, Teal'c, and the general several hours ago, but I want to keep the colonel and Daniel overnight for precautionary reasons.  I am their doctor.  I know what is best for them, don't I?

I wasn't even going to try and keep them apart, but Daniel is giving me his best puppy dog eyes with the pouty lips.  He's working that combination for all it's worth.

They may call me Little Napoleon, but I am a woman, and that Doctor Jackson is one cute hottie, and darn it, I am a woman, after all.

At the same time, Colonel O'Neill is doing his best “We'll behave, Janet” spiel, trying to look innocent.  Jack O'Neill may be a handsome devil, but he's definitely not innocent!

I give him my best evil “You better, or I'll use the big needle next time” stare and give in, but I make him promise to give Daniel the sleeping pill.  He needs rest, and he's stubborn, fears sleep sometimes almost as much as the Goa'uld.

So, what's a doctor to do?  I release them to the care of each other.

JACK

Daniel's been resting for a while.  He doesn't want to go to sleep; he wants to go home, but his body protested, and he finally closed his eyes about thirty minutes ago.  Janet wants to keep us here overnight.  Nope, not going to happen if I can help it.

He's so beautiful, there in his slumber.  The nightmares are going to start soon if I don't wake him up, but not yet.  I could watch him lay there forever. My Danny.

Here comes Napoleon now, and Daniel wakes up as if on cue.  Easy, Love, no Goa'uld here, just Janet.

I was right.  She wants us to stay.  Look at my Love.  How can anyone resist that look?  Ha, not even Napoleon.  She's wavering.  I can see her weakening at the knees.  I'll give her some of the O'Neill charm, and we'll be out of here in no time.

Yes, that did it!  She hands me care and feeding instructions for one Doctor Daniel Jackson, and makes me promise to make sure he takes a sleeping pill.  Whatever it takes to get out of here, but sorry, Doc, I know exactly what Daniel needs, and he's going to get it as soon as we get home.

DANIEL

Finally, we get to go home.  I want to touch him, feel his neck, and make sure there's nothing there but My Jack's skin.  I want to be under his skin, his body a warm blanket on top of me.  I want him inside me until I cry in ecstasy and can't take it anymore.

Take me home, Jack.  Show me we're alive and this isn't some freakin' hallucination.

JACK

We walk closely together down the halls, standing side by side in the elevator, and are almost like magnets in the parking lot as we walk to my truck.  Daniel's car will stay here; he won't need it, like there is a chance in Hades he'll be anywhere out of my sight in the near future.  He's limping, but it's not impeding his pace much.

We walk in silence, our shoulders brushing together occasionally.  As nonchalantly as possible, my fingers hook his for split seconds at a time.  I feel him jolt with electricity at the touches, his body wanting more than I can give at the SGC.

Silence reigns as we drive through the traffic, headed to our home.  I don't know if Daniel thinks of it that way yet, but our one-year anniversary is in a couple of days, and I have a few surprises for him.  I want him to know that this is as forever as he wants it to be.

I promised him we'd get Sha're back, and I intend to do my best to make sure that happens.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little afraid about what might happen if we do get her back.

Did I say “if?”  It's not what I meant.  I meant when ... “When, Danny, when.”

I see him next to me, staring out the window.  I've been holding his hand from the moment we left the base.  It's not the safest way to drive my Ford truck, but we both need to touch.  It's times like these I wish we lived closer to the Mountain.

He's cold, shivering a little as he looks out at nothing.

“Danny, I love you.”

I just want to make sure he's still in there.  He doesn't move, still focused on the blur of the outside world, except I see a lone teardrop slowly down his cheek.  I raise our joined hands up and wipe the tear away.

“It's okay, Angel.  We're almost home now.”

DANIEL

“Angel.”

I've shaken my head at that word for months now, since Jack first started using it.  It was Christmas, and we were decorating the tree.  I hung up an angel ornament that I had  found at the bottom of one of the boxes Jack had in his garage.  It was pure white with little cotton wings and a golden halo.

When Jack saw the angel on the tree, he got a little lump in his throat, and I knew then without him saying another word.

“Jack, I'm sorry.  It was in the box,” I had told him.

He smiled and told me, “No, it's okay.  Sara's dad gave that to us, actually to Charlie, for his first Christmas.  He said it would be Charlie's Christmas angel, and she'd always watch over him.”

I moved to take it down, but Jack's hand stopped me.  

“Leave it, Danny.  I promised you we'd remember, your parents and Charlie, so we will, and ... she did watch over him.  He loved the holidays.  The last year he was with me and Sara for Christmas, Charlie put it on the tree himself.  He knew the story.  As he hung it on the tree, he said, 'Everyone should have an angel, Dad'.”

Jack was crying, and I held him in my arms to comfort him.  “I'm so sorry, Jack,” I responded.

“He's right, Danny.  Charlie was right.  Everyone should have an angel, and I have to be the luckiest man alive, because I have the best angel ever.  I have you.”

He kissed me, and shed a few more tears, and a short while later, as we stood back to review our decorating of the tree, he put his hand on my face and said, “Merry Christmas, Angel.”

I couldn't say anything except, “Merry Christmas, Love.”

I didn't know he'd keep using the nickname.  I have to admit it's better than Plant Boy.  Jack loves nicknames, and right now, he can call me whatever he wants.  In fact, 'Angel' sounds as sweet as my beloved chocolate.

I squeeze his hand.  My voice won't work, but I look at him and smile.

Finally, we're home.  We don't turn on the lights.  Why bother; we aren't staying downstairs anyway.

Jack helps me up the stairs.  I could have done it alone, but it was an excuse to fondle each other along the way, not that we ever need an excuse.

Jack places Little Napoleon's meds on the side table.

“She wants you to take this; made me promise you'd get at least one good night's sleep.  Ah, and it's an extra strength sleeping pill,” Jack informs me.

“Jack?”

I don't need a pill. I need him, My Jack.  He knows that.

JACK

I take the pill bottle and demonstratively toss it inside the drawer of the side table.  My Danny lights up like the lights on Broadway.

I know what he needs, and it's not sleep, not yet.  He needs me and him in our bed.

I walk over to my lover and kiss him tenderly.  Our passion will explode soon, but right now it's soft and sweet.  He needs to be held; heck, I need to be held.

He's trembling in my arms, his face nuzzling into my shoulder.  I kiss his neck, and then pull back.  I need to see his eyes.  They're misty.  He's coming back finally.  He's getting ready to leave Hathor's Planet.  My hands cup his face, and I kiss his watering eyes.

I reach down and grab hold of his purple tee, and pull it over his head.  I kiss him again, rubbing his back as I drop his shirt to the carpeted floor.

His hunger ignites, burning my body, and together we explode in our need for each other.  We ground ourselves with our lovemaking, and tonight it's hard and fiery.  He wants me in him, and I do as he asks, my hardness thundering inside him, his body arching, fingers scratching into my skin.  

He wants proof this is real, and I'm giving it to him with all I've got.  He screams my name as I do his.  In the bliss of euphoria, I collapse onto him. We're sweaty and messy, and neither of us is moving.  I stay inside him for a minute as we calm, and then regretfully withdraw.  We miss the fusion, but it won't be long until we do an encore.

I bring him over to me and he lays on my chest, his hand playing with my graying chest hairs.  It's not long before he falls asleep, satiated and in peace.  The nightmares will come soon.  I kiss the top of his head and caress his back.  When the nightmares threaten, I'll be right here.

DANIEL

“The year is now 2077.”

“You're like a queen bee.  You create the Goa'ulds!”

“... you will take the lives of your friends.”

“My Beloved, I like you better without all this.  Jaffa, kree, cut this, now!”

“It's just a deep, bleeding gash.”

“So, everyone I ever knew basically is gone?”

“Cut this, now!”

“Do you not remember the joys that we once shared in one another's arms?”

“Would you die for us?”

“Our friend here is ready for a host.”

“Be safe, Danny.”

“It is time that you become our chosen one.”

“Since you are to be our first Pharaoh you will honor us by being the one to contribute the code.”

“I beg of you to show mercy.”

“Cut this, now!”

“Surrender now, or your friends will be killed one by one.”

“Ready for a host.”

“We have indeed missed you, our beloved.”

“He's a casualty.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOO!  Jack!  JACK!  I need you ... Jaaaack.”

I feel someone calling my name.  I feel panicked.  My breathing is rapid, my pulse even faster.  Hands.  There are hands on my back and my head.  Hathor?  Where am I?  I want to die.  No, it's his hands.

“J'ck?”

“Shhh, it's okay,” Jack tells me.  “Everything is fine.  We're home, Love.  You're safe.  The wicked witch is dead.  She'll never hurt you again.  Love you, Danny.  Shhhh.  I'm here; not going anywhere.”

I raise my head and look at him.  There's love and reassurance on his face.  I'm safe.  I settle back onto the security of my Jack pillow, but I'm still restless, the voices of my nightmare still lingering in my mind.

He's holding me snugly, but I can't breathe.  I need air.  I need space.  The voices are haunting me.

JACK

Right on schedule, Daniel begins to jerk in my arms.  His hands start to move, and his voice murmurs words and phrases I can't quite make out, but I know it's nothing good. I awake my Love and try to comfort him.  He's trembling again, but settles back onto my chest.

I pray he goes back to sleep, this time without fear of another nightmare now that he's had one, but he's tense, his muscles tighten. His breathing is hitching, and before I can react, he bolts up.

“Danny?”

“I ... I need air,” he tells me, almost gasping for breath.

He stumbles into his navy blue sweatpants and rushes, make that hobbles, out as quickly as he can, out the door.

I take it slower.  I put on my brown sweats and pick up Daniel's sweatshirt.  I know where he's going.  He'll be cold.

I stop by the kitchen and put on the coffee.  He'll want some later, and then I climb up the ladder.  He's at the edge of the deck, shivering under the darkness of the night sky, his arms wrapped around his naked torso.

I stand behind him and wrap my arms around him, planting a kiss on his shoulder before resting my chin there.  My hands caress his abdomen, using the soft cotton fabric of the sweatshirt to warm him.

“Thought you might want this,” I tell him, handing him the warm sweatshirt.

“Thanks,” he says softly, making no move to take the item from me.

“Daniel, put it on,” I order, my command voice surfacing.

I don't need Fraiser lecturing me about Daniel getting a cold from standing half-dressed on my roof deck.  He does as I ask, and then I tighten my hold on him, keeping my hands under his sweats, touching his smooth skin.  Minutes pass.

“I just stood there, Jack,” he finally says quietly.

“What could you do, Daniel?  If you had fought, Hathor would have killed you, or worse, on the spot ... or maybe done something to Carter.”

“I heard you ... when it ... entered you.  Jack ...”

I wish I could hold him tighter, but if I do I'll break his ribs.  I remember what he means.  It wasn't pleasant.  I didn't want to say anything, but I know I cried out.  I'm sorry, Love, sorry I wasn't stronger for you.

“Danny, you stayed alive, and that's the most important thing.  I needed you to do that, and you did,” I reminded him.

He tenses, even more than before.  I kiss his nape.  There's something he hasn't told me yet that is eating at him.

“Danny?  What is it?” I prod, hoping he'll confide in me sooner rather than later.

“I ... I didn't want to live without you,” he admits, staring down at the wood deck.

“I know.  I wouldn't want to live without you, either,” I admit, and I wouldn't.  He's my everything, my Danny.  ~There's more,~ I tell myself, though I have no idea what he's thinking.

“I wasn't going to, Jack,” Danny tells me in a whisper.

My heart stops.  Even my hands stop their caress for a moment before I regain control and continue.  He needs to know he's safe.  I need to stay calm.  We're okay.  Focus on that, O'Neill.

“I'm listening, Daniel, if you want to tell me.”

He chuckles half-heartedly, “If I don't, you'll just hound me until I do.”

He's right; he knows me so well, so I admit the truth to him, saying, “Yeah, I would.”

“Makepeace gave me a gun.”

I know what's coming now, and I so don't want to hear it.

“Jack, I thought you were gone, and I didn't think I could go on ... I couldn't ...”

He's shaking, tears escaping.  I turn him to face me, and my hands touch his cheeks, my fingers massaging his fair skin and drying the tears as they fall.

“Danny, I love you.  I know what you went through.  I know what that moment is like, but you couldn't do it.”

I say a prayer to the heavens and the heavenly hosts that watch over my Love that he's safe and with me now.

“Danny, it's okay, I'm here, and we're both alive.”

“I almost did it, Jack.  I held it ... my finger was on the trigger,” he says, quivering.

I'm crying now, too.  The desperation in his voice tears into my soul.  Oh, Danny.  Thank you for not killing yourself.

He's crying into my shoulder, and I'm crying into his.  I don't think I've ever hated anyone as much as I do that witch Hathor.  I half wish she were alive, just so I could kill her all over again.  How many times have I wished that since this nightmare began?

We stand there, comforting each other, for quite a while.  There's nothing to say, only gratitude that we're both still here.  I don't know if Daniel's crying for himself, or for me, wondering what I would do, if I'd found him dead in some Tok'ra tunnel.

That's the thing: he knows what I'd do.  I would do what he almost did.  It's why he's shaking, and me, too.  We don't need to say more, not really.  It's in our hearts, our souls.

DANIEL

I had to tell him.  Jack and I, we don't keep secrets from each other, especially not something like this.  What if I had pulled the trigger?  I can't bear to think about the pain that would have left Jack in.  Charlie haunts him still.  Oh, Jack, I'm so sorry I was so weak.

“You weren't weak, Danny,” he tells me.

I pull back and look at him.  I didn't realize I had said that out loud.

“Daniel, you're the strongest person I know.  You battle back no matter what life throws at you, and you never get bitter.  You just keep going. You survive,” he says, and I see admiration in his eyes.

I don't say anything.  I'm numb again, and I slide back into his arms.

“Danny, listen to me, we ... we haven't really talked about this so maybe now is as good a time as any.  I've said it before, that you're my life.  You know how I feel; at least I've tried to show you.

“Crap, Danny, I'm no good with words, but you brought me back from death's door on Abydos, and you keep me going now.  But the truth is if some Goa'uld takes you away from me, I have no reason to be here anymore, and I wouldn't want to be.”

I pull back again and look in my lover's eyes.  He's serious.  I start to say something, to speak, but his fingers cross my lips, silencing me, making me wait for him to finish.

“Daniel, when you thought I was gone, you didn't want to go on, right?” he asks me.

I nod, a lump in my throat.  I didn't want to.

“Okay, then you know how I feel,” he tells me softly.

I didn't think I had any more tears left, but my eyes water again, and I nod.  I have no voice.  His hands are wiping my face, and when he talks again, his voice is cracked as he says, “You didn't do it, though.  Why?”

I want to look down, but his hands stop me as he begs, “Tell me, Danny.”

“Because ... Charlie ... I ... I had to know for sure, Jack.  Had to see you.  I couldn't ... Jack ... had to make sure, first.”

He kisses me, devouring my mouth, his tongue dueling with mine.  We're like suction cups, fighting for each other's tonsils.

“Love you, Danny, more than life,” he says when we come up to breathe.  “And that is the factual truth.  It's how I feel.  It's not easy to talk about, Daniel, but it's ...”

He stops again, shakes his head.  My Jack doesn't like to talk, especially about emotions and feelings.  He leans his head onto my forehead.

“If you die, Danny, I will die, too.  One way or another, I will follow you, because my life is you.  My heart beats because yours beats.  Blood flows through my veins because yours flows through you.  You have to stay alive, safe, for both of us.”

“Works both ways, Jack.  You know that, don't you?” I ask him, needing to make sure he knows this goes both ways.

He's not sure.  He's thinking about Sha're.  I can't think about that now.  I only know I need Jack like I need the air that I breathe, so I tell him.

“Jack, you're my air.  If you die, I suffocate.  If you get lost to me, I get lost, too.  Where you go, I, too, follow you.  Do you understand that, Jack?  That I love you so freakin' much that you're inside me, that you're part of me?  Jack, you're in my soul.  I love you in ways I never knew it was possible to love someone.  You can't die, Jack.  You can't.”

It was a crazy thing for me to say, or Jack.  We risk our lives almost every day with what we do, and here we are, declaring ... declaring what?

“Jack?”

My eyes ask for confirmation.  What are we saying?

JACK

I'm not good at this.  I hate this.  How the heck did we get here?  Okay, O'Neill, say it, get it over with, and go back to joking about Oz.

“We stay or go together ... in ... everything,” I stammer out.  Crap, I never stammer, but this is serious.

“So, I guess that means, we'd better, uh,  do a good job of watching each other's sixes,” Daniel replies.

I actually smile, and so does my lover.

“I always watch your six, Daniel.  I love watching your six.  In fact, I insist on watching your six.  I was thinking about doing an up close and personal examination of your six right now.  I mean, we need to make sure we're in full working order.”

“I think that could be arranged,” my lover tells me with a gleam in his eye.  “I would go as far to say it is encouraged, should be done often, frequently, all the time.”

We laugh, our eyes still misty, but finally there's freedom from Hathor's Planet.

“You know we have an anniversary coming up week,” I remind my soulmate.

“Oh?  You mean six months since we've watched hockey?” the smart aleck geek teases me.  Geez, I love him.

“Smartie pants,” I reply in a silly tone.

“You keep telling me I'm a genius,” he responds.

“You are, and so much more,” I readily admit.

Crap, I'm getting sappy serious again, just as we were getting out of that.  I'm hopeless when I look at Daniel, but he saves me.  He knows.

“If we buy gifts, we'll be certifiably sappy.  It would be a terribly romantic thing to do.”

“So, no gifts,” I say.

“Agreed, no gifts ... except ...”

“Oh yeah, except for that,” I confirm, knowing there will plenty of lovemaking during our celebration.

We were both full of crap.  I had already spent several hundred dollars on a lousy bottle of wine, and I hate the stuff, but My Danny, he loves it, and I'm giving it to him for the anniversary.  So, sue me, I'm a romantic sap.

I take my partner who gives life to my soul to our bedroom.  We undress and climb back into bed, intending to make hot and fast sex, but as we lay next to each other, eyes locked, we realize that's not what we need right now.

“C'mere, Snuggle Bunny.”

My Danny smiles.  We're on the same page.  We usually are.  His head lays on my shoulder, his left leg wraps over mine.  We're happy, alive, together, and right now, we just want to feel each other.  He raises his head and leans up to kiss me, his tongue demanding entrance into my mouth.  He really doesn't need to demand.  My mouth is his for the taking.

We spend the next little while just kissing, touching, fondling I'd guess you say, but it was all very gentle and tender.

I feel his breathing even out finally.  His caress of my chest ceases.  I kiss the top of his head, and keep my fingers running through his hair.

It's different.  The last time we were together like this, Daniel's hair was long.  My fingers would get lost in all that hair.  He loved it so much.  Now, it was short, because of that snake, but she didn't win, because he's more precious to me than ever.  His hair is still soft and silky, and my fingers easily slide through the strands.

My fingers glide slowly down, my head tilts towards his, and I say aloud, “My beautiful Angel.  I love you, Danny,” and then sleep takes me willingly, because I know when I wake, Danny will be right where he is now, safe in my arms and my soul.

DANIEL

We made a pact, I guess you could say.  We'd already decided it individually, maybe without even realizing it, but we needed it to be spoken between us at least once.  Whatever happens to My Jack and I, will happen together.  It's a scary feeling, to be that wrapped up in another person, but when that person lives within you, there's not much of a choice.

We want each other.  We always want each other.  I smile just thinking about that.  As quickly as we can, we go to the bedroom.

“Our bedroom,” Jack says.

He says 'ours' for everything here.  I still feel a little unsure about that.  I like being here, though, in Jack's house.  It's more home to me than my apartment.  I'm only there a couple of days a week now, and, maybe I shouldn't admit this, but when I am, I want to be here.

We're naked and in ... 'our' bed, but instead of the fast pace of earlier, we suddenly meld together with our hearts.  I love sex with Jack, but right now, I just want ...  I want ...

“C'mere, Snuggle Bunny.”

Oh great, he's starting to use that nickname a lot now, but I don't care.  He's right.  I love to snuggle.  Maybe it's because I never did it before Jack, not even with Sha're.  I feel ... safe in Jack's arms, and I feel loved in a way that takes my breath away.

I guess it's funny, that My Jack, the big bad hard-nosed colonel, is such a romantic, because he loves to snuggle, too.  We do it far more than we'd ever admit to.  Between the snuggle fests and the hot sex, we don't have a lot of time for anything else.  We aren't complaining about that either.

I want to kiss him, so I do, and we do that for a long time, just kissing, softly, sweetly.  I love how he tastes; love his scent.  I love to feel his skin on mine.

My head returns to its favorite place, a spot just there, right there, on My Jack pillow.  His arms go around me again.  He strokes my back.  His fingers are like magic to me.  I sigh in a happy contentment that twenty-four hours ago I had thought I'd never have again.  I feel his lips on my head, his fingers in my hair.

He says he likes it, my short hair, says I'm finally military.  I swat him in the arm lightly, and he laughs and slaps my butt.  I'm not sure what the message there was, or maybe I do.

“It doesn't matter, Danny.  Long or short, she didn't win. Who you are isn't determined by how you look, and that includes the length of your hair.  I told you.  You're beautiful, inside and out, so you do what you want.  Grow it long, and I get to tease you about looking like a hippie again; keep it short, and I get to tease you about being military.  I win either way.”

“Jack, sometimes you are incorrigible,” I chuckle.

He laughs, and I feel him rifle through my hair, and then he kiss me again.

“I just love you, Danny, and that's forever.”

“Love you, too, Jack,” I sigh happily.

My eyes close as I revel in the closeness of Jack.  I love him so much.  My mind flashes through our time together.  He began almost as an adversary, and yet, he became my best friend in a matter of days.  He's still my best friend.  He's my lover, my partner, and my soulmate.  No, he's my soul.  I love you, Jack.

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