Planet of Beauties
Author: Orrymain and special guest co-author, Claudia!
Category: Slash, Angst, H/C, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating: NC-17 light
Season: 5 - November 26, 2001
Spoilers: Brief Candle (minor)
Written: March 26-28, April 3, 2004 Revised: March 29, 2008
Summary: Jack and Daniel have female problems and end up sharing a brain. Can Sam restore them to their natural selves before they die?
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
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) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Quingem, Drdjlover, Linda!
Planet of Beauties
by Orrymain and Claudia
“Just what we need -- more trees,” Jack complained as SG-1 walked down
the steep stairway that led away from the Stargate.
Stargate Command's flagship was on a basic recon mission on PR2-990, a lush, green planet full of trees. It was a bit rainy, sprinkles falling plentifully, but the skies were sunny and bright, its clouds light and fluffy, something Jack wasn't sure he understood, but didn't want to question, afraid that his second-in-command might provide a prattling lecture he wasn't interested in at the moment.
The UAV indicated life on the planet, the nearest town being about thirteen klicks (eight miles in civilian terms) northwest of the Gate. The four-member team observed the planet's surface as they walked and every now and then either Sam or Daniel stopped to examine something more closely.
About two klicks out from the town, Jack was still droning on about the trees.
“You know, just for once I'd like to see something other than ... now that works.”
Daniel looked at his lover, who suddenly looked like a gaping fish. He turned to see what was so fascinating, and that's when he saw them, some twenty-five beautiful, no make that gorgeous, voluptuous, well-proportioned women. They were waving and smiling, heading for the team.
“Jack, put your eyes back into your head.”
Daniel closed his eyes for a moment. He let out a groan when he opened them again and saw that his partner was still ogling the oncoming group of females.
When the two groups, met up, Daniel began his usual speech.
“Hi, we're peaceful explorers from the planet Earth. I'm ... I'm Daniel Jackson, this is Major ...”
Jack stepped forward, totally ignoring his soulmate. “I'm Jack O'Neill. They work for me. Take me to your leader,” the older man laughed.
“Quiet, Daniel. I've got it under control,” Jack said, as the women herded him towards the town.
Sam veered over towards Daniel as they walked. “You know what this reminds me of?”
“Great.” Daniel sighed as they walked, finally entering the town. It looked like a 1940's-style French village, with small cobblestone streets and tiny homes and shops. It was quaint and pleasant.
The women led their visitors to a large hall. Daniel was sure it would be a meeting room, but when they walked in, it was full of colorful and comfortable furniture. Pillows and cushions were everywhere. Lanterns were hung emitting some kind of psychedelic lighting, and there was music. Daniel didn't recognize the language, but it was almost hypnotic.
“Jack.” The older man ignored the pleas from Daniel. “JACK!
“I think we need to talk.”
“Excuse me, girls. He's a bit ... nervous around beautiful women.”
The next thing Daniel knew, ten women were surrounding him, pawing at him.
“No, thank you. Really, no. Please ... gawd. I don't mean to be rude ...” As Daniel tried to fight his way free from the mob, he noticed that Jack seemed to be enjoying his doting females. Sam wasn't sure what to do, and Teal'c stood in the background, observing all.
His anger mounting, Daniel pushed his way free of the pawing women and left the hall. He stood outside and inhaled the fresh air. He was furious with Jack.
~Okay, Jack, so I'm jealous, but I have a right to be. You're just standing there, ogling those women, letting them touch you anywhere and everywhere. You didn't even notice when they started touching me. And that hurt Jack. You know I hate people touching me.~
“Would you like a drink?” a soft voice came from behind him.
Turning around Daniel saw that one of the young women had followed him out and was offering him a drink of something. Common sense and experience told him he should refuse the offering, then he thought of Jack enjoying the attention of all those women and felt like being reckless.
“Thank you,” Daniel spoke softly, accepting the goblet and taking a sip. It was sweet and tasted a little like raspberries. “My name is Daniel.”
“I am Castalia.” She smiled shyly at Daniel and watched as he finished his drink. “Come.”
Putting down the goblet, Daniel followed her into one of the homes. ~Why am I doing this? I know I shouldn't. I don't want to. I want to go and get Jack -- wrench him away from all those women. So why am I still following Castalia ... oh gawd ... into her bedroom? Jack's going to kill me. I knew I shouldn't have taken that drink.~
Sam turned away from the disturbing sight of beautiful women fawning all over her CO.
“Teal'c, I'm going to check on Daniel. You watch the Colonel.”
The Jaffa acknowledged her words with a slight nod, and she left the hall. She stepped out into the street expecting to find Daniel sitting on the stone steps outside the hall.
“Daniel?” Sam looked up and down the main street but saw no sign of her friend. ~Oh, Daniel. What trouble have you found this time?~ She clicked her radio on. “Daniel, come in.” But static was the only response. She clicked it again, “Colonel O'Neill?” ~Something must be blocking the signal.~ She went back inside, telling Teal'c the bad news, that Daniel was nowhere in sight. Together, they pushed their way through the circle of women surrounding the Colonel.
“Sir.” Jack wasn't paying any attention to her. In fact, he looked as though he was completely out of it. “Teal'c, let's get him outside.”
The Jaffa nodded, and taking Jack by the arm, ushered him outside.
“Wha...what's going on?” Jack blinked in confusion and pulled his arm away from Sam. He looked at his 2IC and Teal'c, then realized that Daniel was nowhere to be seen. “Where's Daniel?”
“We don't know, Sir.”
“Do not fear. Your friend is with Castalia.”
“What!” The last vestiges of fog cleared from Jack's brain, and he glared at the woman standing in front of them. Jealousy was beginning to bubble up inside him at the thought of his lover with someone else.
“Where is this ... Castalia?” Sam asked, seeing her CO on the verge of doing or saying something he shouldn't.
“She resides at the end of this street,” the woman pointed. “But your friend will be well and happy. Castalia is one of our best.”
“BEST WHAT?” Jack paused his words. He didn't really want to hear the answer, but with vigor, he added, “Oh, I don't think so.” Jack prepared his P-90 as if going to war, turning to march down the street.
“Teal'c ...” Sam motioned towards Jack, and the Jaffa followed the angry Colonel.
“What is your name?” the Major inquired.
“I am Rafia. Castalia is my mentor.”
“Your mentor. Um, you said Castalia is one of the best. Best at,” Sam gulped, “what ... exactly?”
“The joining. What exactly happens at this joining?”
“The two merge. Castalia will have all the knowledge. It is how we learn.”
“What happens to Daniel?”
“Your friend will be merged. His knowledge is absorbed.”
“His body will be taken to the Heapla.”
“What is a heapla?”
“The place where the bodies are kept.”
“Look, Rafia, these bodies. They are alive?”
“We do not worry about such things. We live for the joy and the knowledge.”
“You take their minds and leave them to die? Is that what you're saying?” Sam's concern had quadrupled in seconds. This was definitely not good.
“We merge. What they've learned becomes one with us.”
“No, just their knowledge.”
“So these bodies ... they know who they are?”
“But do they know ...”
“All they've learned has been absorbed.”
“Okay, Rafia. This is very important. How does the joining happen? What is the joining?“
Sam was becoming frustrated. She needed answers, straight answers, and now. “And what happens, specifically, in the unification?”
“The bodies come together, and the seed is passed. In that instant, the knowledge passes as well, and Castalia will have another.”
“Our village will grow.”
“Holy Child.” Sam backed away from the woman and ran as fast as she could to the house at the end of the street. She had to make sure this joining or merging or whatever it was didn't happen, or the Daniel they knew and loved wouldn't exist anymore.
Meanwhile, as Sam learned about the joining from Rafia, Jack and Teal'c were approaching the moderately-sized home at the end of the street.
~I may kill him first, then her.~ Jack's thoughts were jumbled. ~She had better not have hurt him.~ His silent thoughts ranged from jealousy to anger to fear. ~I'll die if something happens to him. I'll kill her, then I'll strangle him myself.~
Jack banged on the door, but there was no response. He motioned at Teal'c, who went to the back of the house. Jack again rapped on the door. Not getting a response, he yelled, “Daniel? Daniel open the door!”
“O'Neill, there is no back door to this house.”
“They're not answering. We're going to break down the door.”
“Are you sure that is wise?”
“Wise or not, if Daniel is in there ...”
Jack saw his 2IC running full speed to reach them. His Daniel alarm was now on red alert.
“Sir,” Sam gasped, out of breath.
“What is it, Carter?”
“We have to ... we have to get Daniel out of there. There's some rite. Sir, just get him out ... NOW!”
Jack didn't need any further explanations. He saw the look in Sam's eyes, and he'd never seen that kind of panic from her before. Without further hesitation, he broke down the door and ran inside, Teal'c and Sam close behind.
And as the rest of SG-1 were figuring out the problem about to unfold, Castalia guided Daniel over to her bed and motioned for him to lie down.
~I don't want to lie down. Okay, Jackson, just turn around and leave. Five steps to the door. You can do it.~
Daniel managed to pause for a moment, but he couldn't make himself turn around. It was like his body had been disconnected from his brain. One gentle tug from Castalia, and he found himself moving to the bed and lying down on it.
~Okay, you can't move, try talking.~
'Castalia, stop. Please stop.' ~Okay, I said that in my head, why didn't the words come out?~
Castalia bent over him as she slowly began undressing him. As she undid the buttons on his shirt, Daniel began to panic.
~Gawd, why can't I move. No! Stop! Gawd, it's like Hathor, all over again! Jack, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I didn't know. I should have known. Please help me!~
When Castalia began kissing his chest, it was more than Daniel could cope with. After calling for his lover one last time, his mind closed down.
Hearing his lover's desperate plea sent a chill down Jack's spine. It also told him where in the house Daniel was. **I'm coming, Danny. Hold on.**
The seconds it took for Jack to run up the stairs seemed interminable to him. Reaching the room he knew Daniel was in, he stormed inside.
The sight of Castalia straddling his partner, laving and kissing the chest that belonged to him made Jack's blood boil. In two strides, he had crossed the room and hauled the woman away from Daniel. He pushed her against the wall and held her there.
“You stay away from him, or I swear I'll kill you.” Cold fury emanated from the Special Ops Colonel, and the woman justifiably trembled.
“O'Neill,” Teal'c placed his hand on Jack's shoulder, a silent request for him to release the woman for now.
“Sir!” The fear in his 2IC's voice penetrated Jack's anger, and he rushed over to his lover. Daniel was lying on the bed, his eyes were open, but unfocused. He didn't seem to see or hear anything going on around him.
“Daniel? Daniel, do you hear me? It's Jack. I'm right here. Daniel, look at me!”
“Sir, we may have been too late.”
“NO!” Jack screamed in rage. **Danny, talk to me!** Getting no response, Jack turned to Sam. “Carter, how do you reverse this thing?”
“From what Rafia said, you can't.”
“There's a way. There has to be.” Jack marched over to Castalia, who sat confidently on the floor of her room. Jack grabbed her by the shoulders, yanking her up to a standing position. He pinned her to the wall. “You tell me NOW how to fix him.”
Castalia shook her head. “His knowledge is lost to him.”
“Then give it back.”
“I'll kill you.”
“O'Neill,” Teal'c said with a warning. The Jaffa hadn't ever seen Jack so enraged. It was worse than on Euronda or K'tau, or any other incident Teal'c could recall.
Jack released the woman, returning to Daniel's side. Sam moved out of the way.
“Sir, um, can we ... talk a minute?” Jack didn't want to move. “It's important, Sir.”
Jack followed Sam to another part of the house, leaving Teal'c to guard Daniel and the woman. “Okay, Carter, what is it?”
“Sir, Rafia said that the seed had to be passed. She implied that Castalia would be pregnant. Now, I ... uh, um ... Sir, it didn't look to me like Daniel ...”
Jack smiled. He had hope again. “He shut down. Carter,” Jack actually grabbed his 2IC's shoulder in excitement, “Daniel turned himself off, like with Hathor.”
“But his body ...”
“Didn't have time. He'd still ...” Jack looked back at the room. “Stay here.”
He walked back inside, ordering Teal'c to take the woman out, and to close the door. Seeing Teal'c's quizzical expression, Jack said, “I have an idea. Don't ask.” Once they were gone, Jack examined his lover more closely.
“Danny, I know you. You shut down, didn't you? Listen to me, Love. Hear me. She didn't get a chance to do anything. You're, uh ... still ripe for the pickins.”
Daniel didn't respond, and Jack pondered what to do. He knew he had to find a way inside Daniel's mind. He had a choice. He could take care of Daniel's “need” and hope that it reawakened his lover, or just let time pass. He wondered, too, if he did take care of Daniel, if the seed passed to him somehow, if perhaps, he'd get Daniel's knowledge. He didn't want Daniel's brain, he wanted his heart and soul, the man he loved.
“I have a fifty/fifty shot, Angel. I love you so much.” Jack leaned down and kissed his lover as passionately as he could, and then he reached down and as he kissed the young man, he worked and stroked his lover's erection, an erection that had been nothing more than a bodily response. Soon, Daniel's release ejected and Jack swallowed it all. He continued to kiss his lover, and massaging Daniel's groin, and slowly moved up to lay beside him.
What would happen next, he didn't know. He just prayed with all his heart that somehow, Daniel would come back to him.
In the kitchen of the small house, Teal'c, Sam and Castalia sat silently waiting. Every now and again, Sam and Teal'c would exchange looks, each wondering what was going on upstairs. Sam looked at the sullen looking woman sitting opposite her.
“Castalia, tell me how exactly, knowledge is passed through the act of joining.”
“I will tell you nothing.”
Sam sighed. No matter how many times she and Teal'c had questioned the woman, she refused to answer them. Not only was Sam anxious to find a way to help Daniel, she wanted to know what kind of technology allowed such knowledge transfer to occur.
“Where is Heapla?”
Castalia simply looked away to stare at the fireplace in the next room. Sam sighed and looked at her watch. Over an hour had passed since they'd left the Colonel alone upstairs with Daniel.
Teal'c glanced at his teammate. He was beginning to feel uneasy at their lengthy stay in the house. Just as he was about to inform Sam of his concerns, he heard the sounds of people in the street outside. He moved to look out of the window.
“MajorCarter, I believe we are about to come under attack.”
“What?” Sam jumped to her feet and joined him at the window.
“There is a large number of people coming this way. They do not look friendly.”
“It's a mob, Teal'c. Keep an eye on them, I'll get the Colonel and Daniel.”
Sam rapped on the door loudly. “Sir? Daniel? There's a large group of people heading for the house. They don't look friendly. Sir?”
There was no response. Slowly, Sam opened the door. She saw Jack sitting on the bed, holding Daniel's limp body in his arms. Sam's heart skipped a few beats. “Sir? Daniel ... he's not ...”
“He's here. He'll always be here.”
Sam saw Daniel staring at her, but his eyes were vacant, empty. “Daniel?” There was no recognition, nor any response. The body was alive, but Daniel was gone. Sam closed her eyes, and looked away, trying to regain her composure.
“Sam, by the Stargate, there were writings. We need to translate them.”
“Sam?” the Major repeated. The voice was her CO's, and he rarely called her by her given name, and why would Jack be talking about translations? She was still trying to work through the reality of the situation, when Jack's voice spoke again.
“We need to find the answer, or we are lost forever.”
“He is here. Sam, bring the writings. Do whatever you have to do to get them.”
“Sir, the mob ... I don't know if ...” Sam continued to speak as if talking to her commanding officer. Was Daniel in there, with him? It was too confusing, and she hadn't had time to process it yet.
“It is our only hope, to translate the writings. The answer must be there somewhere.”
“We need to get out of here.” Sam urged.
“No, we cannot go.”
“But, Sir ...”
“Carter, if I go, he dies. I won't let that happen. We must stay. You and Teal'c can save yourselves. We will be together, forever.”
For the first time, there was an individual thought expressed. ~They are together, somehow, sharing the same body? Holy Hannah!~
Sam didn't know what to do, nor did she understand exactly what had happened. Sam returned downstairs and found Teal'c forcefully holding Castalia as she struggled to get away.
“MajorCarter? Where are O'Neill and DanielJackson?”
“They are ... they aren't coming, Teal'c.” Just then, the mob began to shout for Castalia's release. “Bring her with you over here.”
Sam opened the door to face the crowd. They were outnumbered. They would not win in a fight, but she couldn't leave Jack and Daniel, either.
“Okay, that's enough. We have Castalia, and we will continue to keep her with us. Leave us alone, and she'll be all right.”
“You must give us back our queen.”
“Queen?” Sam asked, shocked by the statement and the potential implications of the word.
“You must tell us the secret about the joining and the passing of knowledge. We want our friends back the way they were.”
Castalia looked at Sam in surprise. “What do you mean, your friends? It is only Danyel who ...”
“No. They are both affected now.”
“That cannot be. The knowledge, it is only for me.”
“Sorry, Castalia. The Colonel seems to have Daniel's knowledge now.”
Teal'c was curious, but refused to inquire about the specifics.
“He cannot. It is impossible. You must show me.” Castalia turned to the crowd and uttered words in their native language. Neither Sam nor Teal'c knew the words, but they watched as the female mob backed off, apparently returning to their homes, at least for now. “You must show me.”
Sam nodded, and led Teal'c and Castalia back up to the bedroom, where Jack and Daniel were.
“Sir?” Sam opened the door and peered inside. Jack and Daniel were sitting exactly where she'd left them, the Colonel's arms still tightly holding onto Daniel's body.
“Sir, Castalia wants to see you both. She might be able to help.” ~I hope she wants to help, but I don't really trust her.~
There was no response from either figure on the bed, so Sam just pushed the door open, allowing Castalia to enter.
“You had no right to do this to us, Castalia. We wanted only to be your friends.”
Sam thought how odd it was that even when it was the Colonel's voice speaking, there was no question of whom those words had come from. Daniel's quiet condemnation succeeded where she had failed. For the first time, Castalia had the grace to look ashamed.
“I am sorry, Danyel.”
“Just fix it!” And that would be the Colonel, Sam decided, hearing the impatience and latent anger in the tone.
“I am sorry. This has never happened before. The process is not meant to be reversed. It cannot be undone.”
“Sam, please. We need the writings. I don't know how long we have.” Sam noticed the Colonel's hold on Daniel tighten.
“Teal'c, we need to go back to the Stargate, but I don't think it's a good idea to leave them alone."
“I shall ensure that no harm comes to them.” Sam looked at Castalia, suspicion evident in her face.
“Carter, we don't have a choice. Please, go.”
“Okay. We'll be as quick as we can, Sir... Daniel.”
“I do not understand how you shared the seed. It is not possible with two of the same unit.”
“There are ways, Castalia.” Daniel's essence spoke.
“STOP BEING NICE TO HER.” Jack's essence yelled at Daniel's.
“I do not understand. You should have ... joined. You should not retain your ... separateness. You are both ... here?”
“Yes, we are.”
“Can you separate your minds, or are you one?”
“Listen, lady ... Jack, let me work ... Oh for ... Shush ... Danny, you're giving me a ... I need to think ... headache. There's too much junk up here. How the heck do you ... Jack, be quiet ... But ... I need to think, and you're clogging up our brain.”
Castalia watched in shock. Instead of being merged, Jack and Daniel seemed to be separate individuals inside the one body. But she was confused. Earlier, they were not this strong. It seemed as if they were growing in their ability to be separate. This was truly new ground.
Sam returned. “Teal'c is right behind me.”
“Bring the writings here, Sam. Show them to us.”
Teal'c heard the request as he entered. He carried the large stone carving toward the bed, placing it on the floor. Jack's body looked down at it.
“Teal'c, you need to raise it. I can't see the bottom.”
“There is nothing to put it on, O'Neill ... and DanielJackson. Can you not move?”
“No, not if ...”
The Colonel took over. “Daniel's body is dying. It was never meant for this environment. If we lose contact, it may sever the hold we have. We can't move. You have to find a way, Teal'c.”
“There is a wagon ... in the back of the house. It is large, but it carries great things.”
Teal'c nodded. He retrieved the wagon and with Sam's help, using the wagon, they were able to rig a support for the stone and keep it close enough for their friends to see.
After an hour, Jack and Daniel spoke. “We will die here.”
“Daniel, there has to be something. Maybe we should take you both back to the SGC.” Sam was beginning to panic. She couldn't imagine what Janet could do, but she couldn't let them give up.
“I was sure the answer would be here. I'm sorry, Jack.”
“Danny, keep trying.”
“I'm so tired, Jack.”
“Carter, Teal'c, take that ... woman, and leave us alone for a few minutes.”
“Sir, I really don't ...”
Once downstairs, Sam glared at Castalia.
“I've had enough of this. You are going to explain in detail to me, how this joining process takes place.”
Castalia sighed. “As I told you, I cannot. The secrets of the joining were lost a long time ago. We administer the Yaktaka and the joining takes place.”
“It is given to us by the gods.”
Sam glanced at Teal'c. It was beginning to sound like these people really didn't know much about the process.
“How do the gods give it to you?” Teal'c demanded.
“Every summer solstice, it comes through the circle of water.”
Sam and Teal'c exchanged a long look.
“Teal'c, have you ever heard of anything like this before?”
“I have not.”
“So it's not Goa'uld technology?”
“I do not believe so, although many Goa'uld would be eager to attain such a weapon.”
Castalia looked at Teal'c in confusion. “The joining is not a weapon; it is a holy rite.”
“That may be,” Teal'c told her gravely, “but in the hands of some, it would be used as a weapon. Knowledge is valuable and can be used in many ways.”
Castalia looked shocked. Sam was beginning to feel a little sorry for her. It looked as if the people of this planet were being used as pawns by a more advanced alien race.
“Danny, we have to keep fighting.”
“I can't, Jack. I'm so tired.”
Jack felt strange. It was his voice talking for both of them, but clearly, Daniel was there, talking back. This strange unification was difficult to understand.
“I'm tired, too, and when we get home, we'll take a nice, long vacation, but right now, we have to work.”
“Jack ... I'm so sorry. It's my fault ... again.”
“No, Love. It's not.”
“You should ... let go of my body.”
“No, I won't do that.”
“NO! Now stop arguing with me, and read this blasted ... stone.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too. Read.”
“Castalia, do you have more of this Yaktaka?”
“Show me,” Sam ordered.
The woman stood and moved to the kitchen. She took out a case of small bottles. “This is our sacred juice. Knowledge comes from within.”
“Teal'c, watch her. I'm going to take some of this back to the SGC.”
“Are you sure it is wise to go to the Stargate alone?”
Sam looked at Castalia for the answer.
“You will be safe.”
“I'll be back as soon as I can.”
Sam hurried to the Stargate, taking the foreign substance to Janet for analysis. While Janet and her staff studied it, Hammond sent through three SG teams to guard the Stargate and the home where Jack and Daniel were. Hearing the sensitive nature of the issue, however, he ordered the teams to follow the orders of Sam and Teal'c until further notice.
“Stimulants. Lots of stimulants. Some of these chemicals I've never seen before, Sam, but every single one of them that I do recognize is a stimulant. Sam,” Janet leaned up from staring through the microscope, “our brains aren't able to handle this kind of an intake. The intensity of these compounds is tremendous. I'm surprised they aren't dead already.”
“Janet, is there anything you can think of?”
“Sam, what do you want from me? I'm a doctor, and I'm doing the best I can, but this ... You're telling me that Jack and Daniel are sharing a mind in the Colonel's body because of this, and I haven't the slightest idea what this is other than a ... drug.”
Sam sighed. She was running out of time and hope.
“Have you figured it out yet?”
“Yes, but Jack it doesn't make sense.”
“It says that this is a protected planet, an Asgard protected planet.”
“You're right. That doesn't make sense.”
Jack waited for his lover to respond. “Danny?”
~No, Danny! I won't let you leave me.~ Jack clung tightly to Daniel's body and tried to use their silent communication to contact his lover.
**Danny? Please answer me.**
Jack couldn't stop his tears from falling into Daniel's soft hair. Daniel's silent voice sounded so weak. The Special Ops Colonel was terrified he was losing his lover.
**Hang in there, Danny. Please, hold on.**
**So tir'd J'ck. Should ... let ... me ... go.**
**No! I swear, Danny, if you leave me, I'm following you. Remember our pact. You are me, Danny, I can't and I won't live without you.**
**Love ... you, Jc'k.**
**I love you too, Angel. Please hang on.**
Sam stood in General Hammond's office. They'd contacted the Tok'ra who had never heard of this planet or this type of technology. Both Sam and the General had become annoyed at the Tok'ra's enthusiastic interest in the technology and apparent lack of concern for the Colonel and Daniel.
“I've tried contacting the Asgard, but couldn't get through. And the Nox haven't responded. We've gotten a sort of ... 'we're on vacation' automated response beacon from our attempts to contact them.”
“What about the Tollan?”
“They say they don't know anything about this technology.”
“Sir? You think they're lying?”
“I don't know, Major. They are such a suspicious race. I got the impression that they think its a ruse to gain access to some of their technology.”
“Sir, I'd like permission to contact Narim, the Tollan I've ... befriended.”
“The one you gave the cat to?”
“Yes, Sir. Maybe if he heard from me ...”
“Permission granted, Major.”
Sam nodded and proceeded to send her message. Narim invited her to Tollana to discuss the situation. They walked along the pond in front of the Council Chambers as they spoke.
“It's not a trick, Narim. Colonel O'Neill and Daniel are ... sharing the same body, and Daniel's body is dying. Please, you have to believe me. We aren't after anything.”
“Samantha, this puts us in a difficult position.”
“Narim, you can't let them die because of some holier than thou stance about technology. Look, you don't have to show us what you're doing, or even tell us what it is. We'll ... trust you. But please. Don't let them die because of ... politics.”
Narim looked into the blonde's blue eyes. He cared for her greatly, and he could not believe she would deceive him. “I will take it up with the Curia.”
“Thank you. Narim, time is important here.”
“Wait here, Samantha.”
Sam took a breath and prayed. She hoped when Narim returned, it would be with good news.
**Jack, the writing. All this ... we're too young. We aren't meant to know it, and ... I'm sorry, Jack, I don't even understand most of it. I've tried. I'm so ... tired.**
**I understand, Love. It's okay.**
**My body. It's dying. I can ... feel it slipping away.**
**Not yet, Angel. We have to wait for Carter.**
**I can't stop it. I'm here, with you.**
**Try, Danny. Listen, ever since I was a kid, I've always heard that stuff about the brain being so powerful, more capable than we know. We use, what ... ten percent of our brain power? Concentrate on staying alive, mentally and physically. We'll do it together. Think life, Danny. We can do it. We're together.**
**Unbeatable ... together.**
Sam turned around at the sound of Narim's voice. She saw he was smiling and hope flared in her heart.
“The Curia has agreed to help. They are making the necessary preparations as we speak. However, I must warn you that we have never come across something like this before. We are relying on a great deal of theory and supposition. We cannot guarantee the outcome will be successful.”
“Narim, we have nothing to lose. Without you're help, I'm afraid there isn't much hope. Our doctors don't know how to combat this at all.”
“Colonel O'Neill could release Doctor Jackson. Doctor Jackson would die, but the Colonel would certainly survive.”
Sam looked at Narim and shook her head. “The Colonel would never do that. He'd rather die himself than lose Daniel, or any member of his team.” She knew that was the truth, but especially with Daniel.
Narim smiled. “It is that which finally swayed the Curia. And also the fact that it is Doctor Jackson's life at stake. The Curia has a great deal of respect for him.”
Sam smiled. ~Is there anyone you don't win over, Daniel?~
“Come, Samantha. It is time for us to go, if we are to have any hope of saving them at all.” Sam looked up to see a group of three people heading towards them.
Jack clutched his lover's body to his chest even more tightly. Daniel had been silent for some time now, and Jack was desperately hoping that his lover was still there, but just unable to respond.
**I love you, Danny. You're my heart and soul. These last few years have been the happiest of my life. Even Sara didn't make me as happy as you have. I love you, Angel, so friggin' much.**
Daniel felt like he was simply disappearing. There seemed so little of him now. There didn't seem to be anything left, except one feeling. His love for Jack. ~Jack.~ He focused on the name; it was his lifeline.
“Colonel, Daniel ... you remember Narim.”
Jack nodded. “What are they doing here, Major?”
“Colonel O'Neill, we believe we've found a way to restore you and Doctor Jackson to your original states, but as I told Samantha, there is risk involved.”
“Danny?” There was no response. “He's ... dying. Do whatever you need to, now.”
“Do not let go, Colonel, not even for a moment.”
One of the Tollan asked, “We require the Yaktaka.”
“I shall get it.” Castalia returned to the kitchen, Teal'c at her side, and took out more of the substance to give to the Tollan.
As one of the Tollan hooked up a device to Jack and to Daniel, another took the Yaktaka and inserted one vial into a machine they had brought with them.
“Narim, it does have Richack in it. This should work, except ...”
“Except for what, Cretchen?”
“There is also Menito. The amount is small, but it may interfere. We have no way of knowing if the compound will be effected.”
Narim looked at Jack and Daniel. “We will proceed.”
The device hooked up to the lovers looked similar to IV tubes, but more complex. There were four openings on each device, and each had a tube that plugged into the device affixed to each man.
Cretchen took out a substance he had brought with him. He saw Sam watching. “This is called santurine. It is a ... cleanser of sort for the body. We will insert a small amount of the Yaktaka. This trains the santurine.”
“You mean it tells it what to look for?”
“In a sense, yes. Once the process is completed, we insert that in specific intervals into the santurinum -- the devices we have attached to your friends. If we are very lucky, the santurine will cleanse their bodies of the Yaktaka, and if we are luckier, they will return to their original genetic makeup.”
Sam nodded and watched as Cretchen and his assistants carried out the process. It was slow and tedious, the intervals for the liquid needing to be precise, calculated on each man's age and chemistry.
“Um, how do you know what their genetic makeup is? Or how long to wait?”
Cretchen looked at Narim, so Sam did, too.
“Samantha, anyone who comes to Tollana has their ... profile stored in our databanks. Before coming here, we accessed those records.”
“Oh. The Colonel isn't going to be real happy about that.”
Narim smiled. Jack O'Neill was never happy about much where the Tollan were concerned, and Narim knew it. Still, he believed Jack to be honorable and worthy of their efforts now, and was pleased, he had been able to convince the Curia to help.
He also admitted that had it not been for Daniel being affected as well, that the Curia might not have agreed to assist. He wondered, too, which alien race had developed this technology. He certainly would not want to be in their shoes when the Asgard caught up with them.
“And now, we wait,” Cretchen explained, dismissing his assistants to return to Tollana. Only he and Narim remained to see the results of their activities.
An hour passed with nothing happening. Neither Daniel nor the Colonel had moved. After another half an hour, Cretchen was starting to worry.
“Narim,” he said softly. A silent communication seemed to pass between the two Tollan, and Sam could tell from their expressions that things weren't looking good. Just as she was about to ask them what was going on, a small movement on the bed caught her attention.
“Colonel?” She leaned forward and gazed into her CO's confused looking eyes.
Slowly, Jack struggled to awaken, his eyes fluttering open and then closing again several times. Even with his eyes closed, he knew he was holding Daniel in his arms, his lover's body was unmistakable. It was surprising though, given that they weren't alone. He could hear voices, one sounded vaguely familiar.
~Ah, Narim. That's who it is. Narim? What's he doing here?~ Slowly, Jack forced his eyes open. His first glance was at the pliant body lying in his arms, then he slowly looked up to see the concerned looks of his teammates and the two Tollan.
In an instant, it all came flooding back. “Daniel?”
There was no response from his lover, and he looked anxiously from Sam, to Teal'c, then to Narim, and finally to Cretchen. “Why isn't he awake?”
“He has more to overcome, Colonel. The stress on his body and mind was far greater than on yours. But the fact that you are awake is a good sign. Have you retained any of Doctor Jackson's knowledge?”
Jack searched around in his mind for Danielish knowledge. “I don't think so.”
Somehow, the loss of Daniel's knowledge made him feel completely devoid of life. He felt so empty. At least when Daniel's knowledge was in his brain, he had felt something of his lover. **I'm nothing without you, Danny. Please be okay.**
“It should be safe for you to release Doctor Jackson now, Colonel.” Cretchen finished checking the instruments attached to the two men.
“As you wish. Narim, there is nothing more I can do here. Would you stay with the Tau'ri? I would like to talk with Castalia.”
Downstairs in the living room, with Teal'c continuing to stand guard over the woman, Cretchen questioned Castalia more in depth about her knowledge of the Yaktaka and the joining process. He wanted to make sure he hadn't missed anything. Although what he had told Jack had been the truth, at the same time, he had expected Daniel to respond on some level in his own body. He feared they had been too late -- that Daniel's mind was lost forever.
“Carter, could you ...”
“Yes, Sir. Narim, let's join the others for a while.” The two walked to the door, but before leaving, Sam stopped and said, “Sir, I'm sure he'll be all right.”
Jack nodded as his 2IC left them alone. “Danny, I miss you. You have the most incredible brain. Geez, how do you keep all of that stuff straight anyway? And I thought having the knowledge of the Ancients downloaded was something. That was nothing compared to this. Oh, okay, maybe technically, Love, but you know why this was different?”
Jack held Daniel securely. He wouldn't let go, not ever. “It's different because your brain wasn't just facts and figures, historical detail and theories, and ... junk like that,” Jack let out a small gust of air, “but there was heart in that knowledge. Feelings, beliefs, values ... all the things I love you for. Everything was tempered by experience and awareness. Angel, how do you do it? How do you process that data and remember to care as deeply as you do?”
Daniel's body was warm against Jack's chest. Being careful not to let go, Jack turned Daniel to rest against his right shoulder, nuzzling into his neck. Daniel loved to do that, and Jack no longer cared what image they presented to Narim or anyone.
“Danny, I need you. I know you know that. I know you know that if you ... die, I'll be right behind you. I just want you to know that I have no regrets, not a one. I wouldn't change a thing ... except to give us more time together on Earth. I want out, Danny. I'm sick and tired of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' of lying and hiding our love, of not being able to hold you like this whenever I want to. We need to start thinking about that.”
Jack sighed. “I know, Love. You still have things you need to do. I won't stand in your way. I won't even talk about retiring yet. But one day, one day we'll be free.”
Minutes passed. Jack said nothing. “Danny, I'm sorry. When we first got here, I saw you were jealous, and I ... I'm so sorry, Love. I like it when you go nuts like that. I played it up. I saw you looking at that one blonde, and I decided to rev you up a little. A game ... geez, just a game, Danny. We always play games like that. Come back, Danny,” Jack began to cry, tears falling. “Please come back so we can ... just come back.”
Narim and Sam joined Teal'c, Castalia, and Cretchen downstairs. Cretchen was pacing back and forth, deep in thought.
“Cretchen,” Narim looked at the pacing scientist. “What is it?”
“I'm missing something. The stimulants ... compressed ... release ...” Cretchen muttered to himself, oblivious to the others in the room. He was rather reminiscent of Daniel, Sam thought.
“Joining ... merging ... transfer ... ah!” Cretchen brightened as he found the missing piece to the puzzle. He looked around the room, a slight blush coloring his cheeks. “I, ah ... need to speak with the Colonel.”
Sam and Narim stood, too, but he motioned them back down again and disappeared up the stairs.
“Do you know what he's thought of?” Sam asked Narim curiously.
“No.” He smiled., “Cretchen is our top scientist, and like you and Doctor Jackson, most of the time he is light years ahead of the rest of us.”
Jack heard the faint knock on the door, and a moment later Cretchen was standing in front of him.
“Colonel, I ... ah ... I believe there is another step necessary to allow Doctor Jackson's knowledge to be returned to him.”
Cretchen blushed furiously. “I believe the santurine has combined with the Yaktaka to bind Doctor Jackson's knowledge. Before his knowledge entered you, you ... ah ... joined?”
Jack studied the man for a moment. He had nothing to lose. He didn't trust the Tollan, but Daniel's life was at stake, so he nodded, thinking he knew where this was headed.
“The, ah, joining must be done in reverse. Your seed must ...ah ...”
“Enter Daniel?” Jack guessed.
“And my knowledge won't be transferred to him?” The last thing Jack wanted was all the knowledge he had from his Special Ops days passed on to his lover. It was bad enough that he'd had to teach him some of it.
“No, the santurine will prevent that. I shall leave you alone now.”
Cretchen left, and Jack looked down at Daniel.
~Gawd, Angel. How are we going to do this? It's going to feel like I'm raping you. And you'd hate me saying that wouldn't you. I can't bear to lose you, Danny. I sure hope Cretchen is right about this.~
Still never letting go, Jack repositioned their bodies. He looked in Daniel's eyes for some sign, a permission, anything, but they were empty. He had to do this. He had no choice.
“I love you, Danny, more than anything. I'm sorry, Love, that we have to do this.”
The only way to do what was needed, considering Daniel's current state, would be for Jack to enter his lover, and that's what he did. Daniel was like a zombie as Jack worked himself in and out, hating himself with each movement and yet knowing this might be Daniel's only chance.
He couldn't look at Daniel. It was too painful to see the limp body. It still felt too much like rape. Jack closed his eyes and remembered their last time together. He saw Daniel's eyes, tasted his lips, and heard the cries and moans of their love. Deeper and harder he went into his mind ... and with his body until he collapsed onto Daniel's chest.
Instead of grunts and shouts of pleasure in the aftermath, Jack cried, the tears falling on Daniel's chest. “I'm so sorry, Danny. Gawd, I'm sorry. I didn't know what else to do. I love you, Angel. I love you.”
Jack let himself go. Nothing had happened. Daniel was lost, and his last memory would be of rape. Jack couldn't take any more, so he let his emotions out.
And then he felt hands ... fingers pressing into his back.
“Danny?” Jack lifted his head, and saw life ... his lover's life. Beautiful blue eyes were staring him.
“Jack, did we just ...”
“Oh, geez, Danny. Danny, are you okay? Talk to me?”
“Tell me some ridiculous theory. Use that brain of yours.”
“Daniel, don't argue with me. Show me you're in there.”
“Cretchen, what is going on in there? It's been an hour,” Sam commented, concern in her voice.
“It was ... an issue of ... completion. They should be fine.”
“But how long do we wait?”
Cretchen shrugged. He had thought it would just be a few minutes. Why it was taking so long, he didn't know.
Daniel was confused, but he could see the tears streaming down from Jack's brown eyes. “Jack? What is it?”
“Please, Danny, tell me one of your theories -- anything.” Jack laid his head back down. In an interesting twist of their normal pattern, it was now Jack who anxiously wanted to hear Daniel's heartbeat as he talked.
Daniel could hear the desperation in Jack's voice. Hugging Jack to his chest, he looked across at the window, trying to think of something. ~Okay, a theory. Why does Jack want to hear about a theory? Gawd, it doesn't matter. Why can't I think of anything?~
“Hey,” Daniel suddenly caught sight of the stone that he'd last noticed by the Stargate when they first arrived on this planet. “That's Asgard writing. 'By the treaty of Ravenok this planet and its inhabitants are under the protection of the Asgard.”
“Danny?” Jack looked hopefully at Daniel. “Tell me more. Tell me one of your myths about Thor.”
“Okaaaay. Thor was the son of Odin, the chief god in the Norse pantheon, and Fjorgyn. He was associated with thunder, the sky, the law and fertility. He righted wrongs using his hammer.”
As Daniel spoke he began remembering what had happened. Now he realized why Jack was so anxious. He began counting to ten in Arabic, then German, then Spanish, Japanese, Egyptian, Russian, Italian and finally Latin.
Tears were flowing down Jack's cheeks now. He kissed Daniel deeply, then buried his face in Daniel's neck. Daniel rubbed soothing circles on his lover's back and whispered quiet reassurances.
“I'm okay, Jack. Really, I'm me again.”
**I raped you. You weren't conscious. I didn't want it to be like that, but I couldn't lose you.**
“Jack.” Jack's nose stayed firmly buried in Daniel's neck. “Jack, look at me.”
Slowly, Jack moved his head and looked into his lover's eyes. “Jack, you did not rape me. You made love to me. It was what I needed. It's what I need again. Please, Jack, make love to me again.”
Daniel wanted to replace Jack's memory of making love to his unconscious body. If they waited until they were back on Earth, Jack's memory of an unconscious Daniel beneath him would become ingrained. If they made love again, now, with Daniel as a fully conscious, willing and eager participant this would be the memory Jack would carry with him from this place.
“Thank you, Angel,” Jack cried into Daniel's neck when they were done, their bodies still trembling from their orgasms.
Protectively, Daniel held his lover. “I love you so much, Jack. You saved me. I love you.” Daniel placed a kiss on Jack's damp silver-gray hair and rubbed his chin against it.
“I was scared, Danny. I don't think I've ever been that scared, except when I saw Charlie's body after he shot himself.”
“It must have been horrible, Jack, holding onto me all that time.”
“I couldn't let go.”
“I love you, Jack.”
“Hold me, Danny.”
It was a real reversal. Daniel had comforted Jack many times, but it was usually Daniel who made the requests to be held. Daniel loved that they had arrived at a place in their relationship where Jack could also ask for what he needed, trusting Daniel to give it ... and he did, for quite a while.
“Honestly, Major Carter, I do not understand. At most, it should only have taken a few minutes. I ... I assumed there was no chance of failure. Perhaps, I miscalculated.”
“No, no miscalculation,” Jack smiled as he and Daniel finally appeared in the living room.
“Daniel?” Sam asked hopefully.
“DanielJackson, are you well again?” Teal'c asked, taking several steps toward the pair.
“Yes, I'm fine. Really. Thanks.”
Sam smiled, looking down for a moment, giving a silent thanks. After a few moments, she looked at her friends as they thanked Cretchen and Narim. She saw their smiles and expressions. ~Oh, my~ Sam recognized those looks. ~So that's why Cretchen was so secretive. They had to ... oh my ...~
“Carter, are you okay?”
“Sam, you're blushing,” Daniel added.
“I, uh ... I'm just glad you're okay.”
Sam turned and walked to a corner of the room. Her friends had just made love. She wasn't all that comfortable with the intimacy angle of their relationship, and she felt she'd never understand it, but she'd seen those looks before, sometimes on “easy” missions, sometimes at the SGC when the two had disappeared for unknown reasons, suddenly to reappear within a minute or two of each other.
She smiled, too, remembering a funny time when she had to stop by Jack's house at a request from General Hammond to deliver some reports. She had been delayed, and it was late at night. Jack had answered the door wearing only jeans that were zipped, but not buttoned, and then Daniel, not realizing someone was at the door, appeared wearing only his boxers, saying “Jack, where'd you go?” The young man had died of embarrassment, and Jack had barked, “Carter, this had better be good!”
Standing in the corner, listening to Jack and Daniel talking with the Tollan, Sam took a cleansing breath. She couldn't help but notice Cretchen's timid looks as he talked with them as well. ~Yep, no doubt about it, they had sex, and apparently, it was exactly what the ... Tollan ordered.~
Hearing a noise out the window, Sam looked and saw a bunch of voluptuous women walking down the street. ~Sorry, ladies, but not even a planet of beauties like you can separate the Colonel and Daniel. I have a hunch those two are the real thing -- forever. I envy them that.~
Wiping the tear from her eye, Sam joined the group as they talked about the unusual experience, and reveled in the joy of being alive.
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