Remote Control

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  S7 - April 22-23, 2004
Spoilers:  Heroes Part 2, Resurrection
Size:  40kb, short story
Written:  February 13-16,21,28, 2011
Summary:  Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c head to Los Angeles to assist Agent Barrett with an urgent situation.  Meanwhile, a worried Jack recoups at home.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s):  “The Truth about Heroes: Janet's Song”
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Classic, Candice!

Remote Control
by Orrymain

Jack and Daniel were in their bedroom, still in the process of dressing and preparing for the new day.  It was Thursday of what had already been a very long, hard week.  Having put on his pants, Jack was about to slip his green shirt over his head.

“Still hurting?” Daniel asked his husband, giving a nod to the man's bandaged abdomen.

“Not so much.”

“So, about a seven then.”

“Five,” Jack corrected.

“That means it's at least a six,” Daniel countered.

“Danny, I've had a lot worse.”

“Yeah, I know.  I'm sorry, Babe,” the younger man sighed as he walked over and gave Jack a kiss.  “The memorial was ...”

“Yeah,” Jack interrupted, not really wanting to relive the difficult tribute to Doctor Janet Fraiser, who had died in the line of duty a few days earlier.

Janet's colleagues and SGC personnel had participated in a rather long and touching service in the gate room of Cheyenne Mountain yesterday and some of her closer friends had agreed to have a more informal get together, a wake in essence, at the Jackson-O'Neill home tomorrow night.

“What time are you due in?” Jack asked about Daniel's schedule for the day.

“Actually, I'm late, but ...”

Seeing the weary shrug of his husband, Jack pulled him in for a tender embrace.

“I miss her, Jack.  It's still so new.  I can't go near the infirmary because I keep hearing her telling me to not drink so much coffee or make sure you aren't misbehaving.”

“Maybe that's why I've ...”

Daniel nodded as his Love's voice trailed off.  Jack had taken a few days off to recuperate.  Normally, he'd tough it out, but for some reason, he just needed time to get his act together.

It wasn't just Janet's death, but Jack feared that if he walked the halls of Stargate Command and ran into filmmaker Emmet Bregman and his probing crew, he might just deck them all.  He had no tolerance for frivolous tripe, which is pretty much what he thought about the documentary that was being filmed at the Mountain.  The thought behind the piece was that it would be a good history of the Stargate, how it began, the people behind it, and its importance to the government, should the Stargate become public knowledge.

“I'd better ...”  Daniel's sentence was cut off by the ringing of his cell phone which was situated on the nightstand.  Picking it up, he announced, “It's Sam.”

“I thought she was going to spend the day with Cass.”

“Me, too,” Daniel said as he took the call and put the call on speaker so Jack could hear.  “Sam?”

“Daniel, General Hammond wants us to go to Los Angeles,” Sam stated, getting straight to business.

“Los Angeles.”

“Look, we don't have a lot of time.  The general has sent a car for us.  It'll take us to Peterson.”

“Ah, what about Jack?”

“We can handle it, Daniel.  Um, maybe he can call Cassie and talk to her later.  She ...”

“Sam, maybe Teal'c and I can handle whatever this is.”

“No, I ... Daniel, I need to go, and Cassie needs time to herself right now.  Just ask the colonel to check in on her later.”

“Okay.  See you soon,” Daniel acknowledged, disconnecting the call.

“You'd better get dressed.  I'll work on a cup of coffee,” Jack stated, heading downstairs.

====

A few minutes later, Daniel entered the kitchen, smiling at the Danish and fresh coffee that was waiting for him.  He chuckled at the supply of power bars that were packed in a Ziploc bag and were ready to go.

“Thanks, Babe.”

Jack was about to respond when he turned and saw his husband's outfit.  He'd been making progress on his husband's often bland apparel choices.  What he saw now was a definite setback in his opinion.

“Plaid?”

“Matches my mood,” Daniel explained, which made sense to both men.

“I'm feeling good, Angel.  I think I'll ...”

“No you won't,” Daniel refuted.  “You're not going anywhere today, so just ... sit down.”  He smiled.  “Power bars for breakfast?”

“I know you, Daniel.  You'll get involved in whatever this mystery is and you won't stop to eat.  Carter's too distracted to ...”  Jack groaned.  “Crap.”

Daniel laughed, “It's okay, Babe.  I know they're still under orders to make sure I eat.  I love you for it.”

“Taking care of you is my job.”

“Mine, too ... with you, I mean,” Daniel proclaimed, “which is why you aren't leaving this house today.”

Both men smiled at their protective natures.  Then they nodded and sat down for a quick and light breakfast.

====

“Don't forget to call Cassie later,” Daniel reminded upon hearing the knock on the door.

“I love you,” Jack declared, leaning in for a kiss.

“I love you, too,” Daniel replied.  He ran his hand along Jack's cheek.  “I really do, Jack.”

“You'd better go before the airman knocks down the door.”

A quick kiss later, the archaeologist walked out of the living room.

“Daniel!” Jack called out as his husband reached for the doorknob.  “Be careful.”

Daniel smiled and nodded before heading out to discover what the deal was with the mystery mission.

====

On the plane, Teal'c sat quietly in a meditative state, while Sam stared at a book she'd brought with her.  Daniel had been silent for most of the flight as well, but finally, he got up and went over to sit by the major.

“That must be a ... an interesting page.”

“What?”

“Sam, you've been staring at that page for most of the trip.”

“Oh,” the woman sighed, closing the book and putting it back into her backpack.  “It's still hard to concentrate.”  Sam let out another sigh, glancing once or twice at Daniel as she fidgeted a bit.  “I never had a lot of friends, Daniel.  I know you've had issues; I know how hard it was for you, but it was hard for me, too.  I was always the smart kid, paraded in front of classes.  I was the Air Force brat.  Geez, I had so much to prove.”

“The hormone speech,” Daniel mentioned with a sly smile on his face.

“The colonel will never let me live that down, but why should he?  I sounded like some gung ho Amazon woman.”

“Ah, I don't think so,” the archaeologist negated with a hint of amusement.

“Janet was the best friend I had.”  Sam looked at Daniel and clarified, “The best woman friend.”

With an understanding smile, Daniel reached over and took Sam's hand, holding it gently and supportively.

“It's not that I don't have friends, but she was special.  She knew what it was like in the military.  I never had to pretend with her.”

Quietly, Daniel continued to hold Sam's hand while she let spew inner feelings she hadn't yet been able to share with another living soul, except for her boyfriend, Pete Shanahan.

“Pete's easy to talk to, but he didn't know Janet that well.”

“I knew her very well,” Daniel reminded softly.

“Careful, Daniel, or I might cry all over your shoulder.”

“It's a broad shoulder.”

“Yes,” Sam affirmed with a nod.  “Yes, it is.”

Sam leaned against Daniel, who put his arm around her.  He massaged her arm, trying to comfort her.

“I shouldn't be doing this, not before a mission.”

“Sam, we don't even know what the mission is.  I mean, ah, we get a phone call from Agent Barrett requesting our help, and that's all he says.  We're on a plane, thousands of miles above the ground.  There's no one else on the plane except for Teal'c and the flight crew up front.  Sounds like a good time to me.”

“I'm so glad you're not military.”

“Me, too,” Daniel agreed without hesitation, his tone getting Sam to laugh.

Sam straightened, wiping her eyes as she nearly chortled, “Oh, Daniel.  You make everything sound so simple.”

“Nothing is simple, Sam.”

Taking a breath, the blonde nodded in agreement.

“What did you tell Warwick?”

“I haven't decided yet,” Sam admitted.

“You said you wanted to kick butt this year in their space race,” Daniel reminded.  “You love it, Sam.”  He smiled as he cajoled, “I'll talk Jack into another diplomatic visit.”

“The colonel will love that.”

“He loves their food,” Daniel chuckled.  “Do it, Sam.”

“It's not for a few months yet.”

“Practice,” Daniel encouraged.

“I'm so glad you're my friend, Daniel.”  Unsuccessfully keeping her eyes from watering, Sam admitted, “Janet and I used to fight over you.”

“Oh,” Daniel responded, feeling curious but not sure if he should ask.

“Sometimes when we worked out, we'd have competitions.  You'd be our prize.”

His eyes rolling upward, Daniel scratched the side of his head, not sure how to respond.

Sam laughed, “The loser got the colonel.”  Well aware of her friend's uncertainty, she actually giggled.  “Relax, Daniel.  Look.”

Daniel watched as Sam reached into her backpack and took out her purse.  She opened it, revealing a soft, furry rabbit's foot key chain that had a photo of Daniel placed at the top.

“I won you last time.  This is what Janet had to carry,” Sam sighed, pulling out a plastic key chain in the shape of a brown gorilla which had an unflattering photo of Jack in its slot.  “Cassie gave it to me last night.”

“That ... looks like Jack,” Daniel mused.

“You both keep us motivated,” Sam whispered.  “Kept,” she sniffled.  “It's so hard, Daniel.  I haven't felt like this since I lost my mother.  We were like sisters.”

“I know, Sam.”

Sam leaned against Daniel one more time.  Part of her felt so weak for letting down her guard, especially since she'd done it a couple of times in the past year.  Yet, she needed the emotional support.  She didn't know if it was a lack of strength on her part or if it was just the fact that she was a woman.  All she knew was that she was glad to have Daniel for a friend.  She could cry around him, and right now, that's what she needed to do.

====

The plane had landed and SG-1 was getting ready to disembark.

“You okay?” Daniel asked.

Sam smiled, her most genuine smile in days, as she answered, “I'm as okay as I can be.  Thank you, Daniel.”

The archaeologist nodded, feeling like he had helped his friend.  Thinking about it, he felt a bit better, too; at least, he felt more confident about getting through the day, and with an unknown mission at hand, that's how he needed to be -- confident.

====

Exiting an old brick-constructed warehouse in an industrial part of Los Angeles, California, Agent Malcolm Barrett felt pleased that SG-1 was arriving.  More specifically, he was happy that Samantha Carter was coming.  Truth to be told, he liked the major and hoped to reconnect with her during this emergency situation.

The government officer watched as Daniel exited from the driver's side of the vehicle, but his eyes quickly diverted to Sam.  She was dressed in a smart black pantsuit and looked as beautiful as ever to him.  However much he wanted to make the situation personal, he couldn't, not yet anyway.

“Major Carter, Doctor Jackson, Teal'c, glad you could make it,” Barrett greeted.

With that, it was down to business.  Barrett beckoned the elite military team to follow him.  As they walked, he explained that the building they were entering was an abandoned facility that served as the home to a rogue N.I.D. sleeper cell.

“Still haven't got them all?” Sam inquired.

“No, not by a long shot, Major.  Their ties run deep. They seem to have infinite resources at their disposal.”

~Too deep,~ Daniel thought silently as he observed the slew of activity around him.

As Sam and Barrett continued to talk about the N.I.D., Daniel took note of the multiple ambulances waiting to transport several bodies being taken out of the building on stretchers by various emergency teams.  He understood more than ever why his team wasn't told to wear their uniforms for the mission.  Eventually, Barrett got around to explaining what had happened at the warehouse.

“At approximately 0800 hours this morning, we intercepted a 911 call and moved in just after local authorities arrived.  We've been in lockdown mode ever since.”

“Wait a minute,” Daniel interjected.  “Someone from a top secret, not to mention illegal N.I.D. operation, called 911?”

“It got ugly,” Barrett replied as he looked upward.  “Come on,” he urged, taking them inside the warehouse.  “We got a call from a panicked male voice.  We think it was from the cleaning staff.  The call was cut short.  Thus far we've counted thirty-two casualties, which includes a six-man security contingent.”

~Ugly is the word for it,~ Daniel observed silently about the carnage he saw inside the warehouse.  He was lost in his observations until he heard the agent state that he knew who was responsible for the deaths.  “You know who did this?”

“Yeah,” Barrett confirmed, walking away.

~I guess he's taking us somewhere important, but an answer to my question would have been nice.  Human nature.  It's the shorthand of our communication.  We ...~

Daniel sighed.  He was rambling in his personal thoughts, which he also knew was a way to keep him from thinking about other things, specifically the loss of Janet.

SG-1 followed the man deeper inside the building until they arrived a metal door with a guard in front of it.

“Open it,” Barrett ordered.

Daniel was surprised by what was revealed when the door was pushed to the right.  There was a large area inside and right in the middle was a large glass enclosure.  It almost looked like the bedroom of a dollhouse except that the peasant-looking doll with long red hair that was staring at them was alive.

“It was her,” Barrett told the flagship team.

~Her?  That woman?~ Daniel thought.  ~Okay, well, I guess it's possible, but her?  She looks like peasant doll.  Why is she in a cage?~

Questions began to consume the inquisitive cultural expert.

====

Sometime later, Daniel was in what was being referred to as the artifact room, trying to puzzle through what he knew so far.  He'd been shown a videotape of the 'dollhouse' woman, whose name he now knew to be Anna, apparently murdering a man.  She looked cold and harsh on the tape.  There were other tapes, but no one had had a chance as yet to review them.

SG-1 had also been shown several artifacts and relics, none of which they'd seen before.  Teal'c recognized one object as having belonged to Sekhmet, a Goa'uld who was once loyal to Ra.

While Barrett left with Sam to explore another part of the warehouse, Daniel and Teal'c remained to search the artifact room.  At one point, the Jaffa left to make a scheduled check-in with Hammond.  Though the major general wasn't overseeing the operation, he still wanted to know the status of his team.

As he continued to review the relics, Daniel's cell phone rang.  He smiled as he saw the moniker displayed on the screen.

“Hello.”

“Okay, so I shouldn't be calling you, but I was worried.”

“About me?” the archaeologist asked as he continued to study the objects with great curiosity.

“No, about Carter,” Jack snarked.  “Can you talk?”

“I've been doing it for years.”

“Snarky, snarky,” Jack accused lightly.

“Yeah.  I mean, Sam's with Agent Barrett and Teal'c's been helping me with something, but he stepped out for a minute.”

“Good.  How's the mystery?”

“Oh, it's a ... a mystery,” Daniel responded.  “Actually, there's some mythology at play.”

“Do tell.”

“Well, ever heard of Sekhmet?”

“One of Zeus' sweethearts?” Jack mused.

“No,” Daniel answered flatly.  “Actually, at one time she was a powerful ally of Ra's.”

“Ah!  Our old buddy the sun god.”

“You haven't forgotten.”

“Like I could.”

“Anyway, the story goes that Ra used to send Sekhmet to rule planets in his stead, quell rebellions, oversee mass executions. You know, fun stuff like that.”

“How come we haven't heard of her?”

“Ra supposedly banished her for plotting against him.”

“Makes sense,” Jack responded.  “Why is this important?”

“Well, we ran across some relics.”

“So?”

“I've never seen them before, Jack.  It looks like the N.I.D. had something ... odd going on here.”

“How odd?”

“People were murdered here, and the only two ... survivors are a German Nazi criminal named Keffler and a woman in a glass box named Anna.”

“Okay, you lost me.”

“Jack, I'm not sure what's happening, but I have a hunch it's not good.”  Hearing footsteps, Daniel advised, “Look, Jack, I need to go.”

“Keep in touch, Danny.”

“Did you call Cassie?” Daniel questioned.

“Next on my list.”

“Bye,” the archaeologist spoke, putting his phone away just as Teal'c entered the room. “Did you reach General Hammond?”

“He has been apprised of our situation,” Teal'c reported.

“Okay, well, let's ... see what's over here,” the archaeologist suggested as he shifted another part of the room.

====

~I wonder who she's dating?~ the N.I.D. agent pondered as he headed for the artifact room to check on Daniel and Teal'c.  ~She's a beautiful, intelligent woman.~  He continued to think about Sam all the way to his destination.  Once inside, though, he was back to the matter at hand.  “What have you found out?” Barrett inquired after joining the two SG-1 teammates.

“Most of the artifacts are related in some way to Sekhmet.  I'm guessing they were found on Earth, possibly in an Egyptian tomb or crypt of some kind,” Daniel answered.

Barrett was curious about an object that seemed to stand out more than the others.  It was an ark that had the eye of Ra engraved in the middle and a scarab in each of its four corners.  Daniel surmised that it could have been a gift from Ra to Sekhmet, but neither he nor the others had a clue what was inside since they couldn't open it.  A tad playfully, Daniel demonstrated for Barrett that the scarabs turned.  This caused them to believe the scarabs acted as a combination lock of sorts.

“Any luck with the scientist?” Daniel asked Barrett.

“No.  No, not exactly.  You know the girl, she may be on tape killing everybody, but I'm pretty sure that guy up there is not innocent.”

“Yeah, what about that girl?” the archaeologist queried, still not sure at all what to think about her.  ~She doesn't look like a murderess.  Okay, so that's not a valid point, but still ...~

“She hasn't said anything since we locked her up.”  Barrett paused and then admitted, “ I was kinda hopin' that you'd give it a try.”

“Uuuuumm ... me?” Daniel asked, wondering why he'd been elected to talk to the girl.  ~Why me?~

“Heard you had a knack for this type of thing,” Barrett responded hopefully.

“I do?”

“Sam says you do.”

“Oh, okay.”  The scientist was a tad befuddled by his appointment as chief interrogator.  ~A knack?  This isn't exactly a negotiation or some diplomatic problem.~  A light bulb went off in Daniel's mind.  ~Gawd, it's because I talk so much.  If I just keep talking, she'll tell me what we want to know, just to shut me up.  Jack would have a field day with that.~  He paused thoughtfully for a moment and then told himself, ~Jackson, you've got to stop rambling so much, especially when you don't know what you're talking about.  You're paid for this kind of talking.~

With a heavy sigh, Daniel shook his head, cleared his mind of nonsense, and went about his task.

====

Leaving the holding room where he'd just spoken with Anna for the first time, Daniel paused.  He mumbled as he replayed her words.

“'He is the one who made me.'”

Anna had spoken those words after Daniel had asked her who Keffler was.  Keffler was the man being held on the upper level of the warehouse.  To Daniel's knowledge, Barrett and Sam had already had at least one round of intense questioning with the man.

~Made her?~

Walking swiftly, Daniel sought out Sam to talk over what he'd learned.

====

“The Attack of the Clones on LA?” Jack questioned, part amused and part fearing it could be true.

“I don't know,” Daniel admitted.  He'd just left Sam and Barrett, relaying to them what he'd learned from the mysterious could-be mass murderer.  “Anna swears she didn't kill anyone, and she did say that Keffler made her.”

“Daniel, it's in your voice.  What else?”

“Earlier, Agent Barrett showed Sam a lab that reminded her of a horror chamber.  There were canisters of partially developed fetuses inside.”

“Ewe.”

“Yeah.  There's a connection, Jack.  I ... I feel it, but I don't know what it is.  It's just all very ...”

“Odd,” both men said in unison.

“What's your next move?” Jack asked his archaeologist.

“Talk to Anna some more.  I think she holds the key, but she just can't remember.”

“Good luck,” Jack expressed.  “And before you ask, Cass is dropping by in a few minutes.”

“Good.  I'll talk to you later.”

====

“Hello,” Daniel greeted Anna, who was sitting on her bed in the glass cell.  ~She's drawing again,~ he noted, his hands in his pockets while observing the woman.  ~Okay, let's try an actual question,~ he decided.  “Anna, how long have you lived here?”

“Since I remember,” came the response from the mystery woman.

Slowly, Daniel walked around the cage as he examined, “Yeah, how long is that, exactly?”

“I don't know.”

“You ever had a birthday?” Daniel questioned as he made his way to a spot that was behind the woman.

Turning slightly to face her interrogator, Anna didn't respond, but for the first time since this latest discussion had begun, she paused her drawing.

“You know, a birthday -- cake with candles on it, funny hats, pin the tail on the donkey -- that kinda thing?”

“He gave me this paper and some new charcoal.”

“Who, Doctor Keffler?”

“He always gave me paper, but once, once he said it was my birthday,” Anna explained.

~Okay, this could be even more odd.~  Uncertain what it could signify, Daniel probed, “Just once?”  With Anna's affirmative nod, he asked, “Have you ever seen anything outside of this room?”

“Just pictures.  I've read a lot of books which describe the world outside: the mountains, ocean ... the sun.”

“But you've never experienced them first hand?”  After Anna shook her head, Daniel focused on her sketches, which were often very detailed and focused on beasts and alien technology.  “ What about these?”

“Those are the things I see in my dreams,” Anna sighed.  “Flashes,” she added with a shrug.  “They just come to me.”

“They mean anything to you?”

“Just that they scare me,” the woman admitted.

“If they scare you so much, why do you hang them up everywhere?” Daniel asked.  ~It's obsessive, like she can't help herself.~

“I don't want them there.  He hurts me if I ... take them down. They're important to him.”

As he watched Anna sketch a scarab beetle, Daniel had an idea.  He wondered if she had a drawing of an ark, and sure enough, she did.

====

“Daniel, you aren't telling me something,” Jack stated, an unhappy edge to his voice.  He'd sensed something in his gut and just had to call his lover once again, even though the phone calls were highly unusual on missions that separated them.  ~Of course, most of the time when a mission separates us, we're out of cell phone range.~  He almost chuckled as he thought, ~Yup.  Off-world definitely won't ping the cell towers.~

“One of the artifacts was a chest, or rather an ark,” Daniel responded.

“You mentioned that.”

“One of Anna's sketches looked just like it and ...”

“And what?”

“I realized the scarabs were like a combination.”

“Great.  Did it open it?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Daniel.”

“Jack, it's being handled.”

“I can be there in ninety.”

“Stay right where you are.”

“Then don't hold out on me,” Jack demanded, getting slightly irritated that his soulmate wasn't being completely up front with him.

With a reluctant sigh, Daniel confided, “The ark is a bomb.”

“As in bang?”

“Big bang,” Daniel corrected.

“Barrett's on it, I assume.”

“Actually, uh ...”

“Daniel!”

“Bill's here.”

“Lee?”  Jack bolted out of his chair.  “Daniel, are you telling me that sniffling coward is there?”

“Jack, calm down.”

“I'm calm,” Jack lied.  “What is Doctor Lee doing there?”

“He's trying to disarm the bomb with Teal'c.”

“I'm catching a plane.”

“So we can both die and leave the girls alone?” Daniel argued, thinking about the couple's beagles.  “Jack, it'll be okay.  Teal'c and Bill will figure it out.”

“How long?”

“Ah ... maybe sixteen hours.”

“Why not take the thing over the ocean and drop it?”

“They considered that, but Teal'c doesn't think that's an option.”

“And blowing up Los Angeles is?”

“It wouldn't be the whole city, just a few blocks.  Well, okay, that's being optimistic.  Maybe just the county ... or a couple.”

“Comforting,” Jack responded sarcastically.  “Danny ...”

“Jack, there's a lot going on.  Sam and Barrett made a huge discovery.”

“Tell me.”

“Anna's a hybrid.”

“Like a car?”

“Something like that.  The artifacts we found date back to the day of Napoleon.  Apparently, they were recovered by Nazis and eventually ended up in Keffler's unique collection.”

“Daniel, how does that make the girl a Prius?”

Daniel sighed, “According to the records Sam found, Keffler spliced human ovum with DNA taken from a Goa'uld.”

“The girl in the glass bubble.”

“Anna,” the archaeologist confirmed.  “And Keffler used the nanite technology from Area 51 to age her.  That's why she's only had one birthday.”

“Ow!” Jack exclaimed, his mind going to the planet Argos and his rapid aging experience.  “Can't you get anything from the girl to help?”

“I tried talking to her, making a connection that she could understand.”

“One of your many talents.”

“I told her about Shifu and what I learned from him.”

“Don't reach for the rainbow?” Jack questioned.

“You always word things so ... so ...”

“Succinctly?”

“Not what I was looking for,” Daniel negated.  “I thought it I could make her feel like we had something in common, she might trust me, so I told her that he used his abilities to show me that all the knowledge and memories passed on by the Goa'uld genetically came with a terrible burden and how it was wrong to seek it for any reason.”

“Did she buy in?”

“She started to, but I think I blew it.”

“Talk too much?”

“Gawd, you can be annoying.”

“I'm right,” Jack surmised with a hint of glee from the response he'd just received.

“She asked me a question, and I got a little short with her.  She told me I was like Keffler.”

“What was the question?”

“How many birthdays I'd had.”  The younger man sighed, “Jack, I was telling her she could trust me, and then I cut her off.”

“Sticking to priorities.”

“Yeah, well, I can't make that mistake again.  That's why I'm in the office now.  I'm going to watch more of the security tapes and see if I can learn more about Anna's relationship with Keffler.”  Daniel heard the frustrated groan on the other end.  “Jack, there's nothing you can do here.  We've faced a lot worse than this.  How'd it go with Cassie?”

“I got her laughing, and Bij and Katie had her eating out of their paws.”

With a chuckle, Daniel responded, “I'm not surprised, I knew you would lift her spirits.  I'll call you later.”

“Danny?”

“Me, too, more than ever.”

The cell phones disconnected and Daniel began his project.

====

Daniel let his head roll around his shoulders.  He'd been working for hours.  As he paused now, he realized he was hungry.

~Pizza,~ the archaeologist thought, trying to visualize a large piece that would make him feel full.  ~Hey, the power bars.~  Smiling, he reached into his backpack that he'd retrieved from the rental car earlier.  ~Thanks, Babe,~ he sighed contentedly while biting into a bar.

====

Two power bars and a bit of pacing around the office just to rejuvenate his focus later, Daniel was once again all in on his video project.  As he watched the tapes while gripping a couple of videos in his hands, Barrett entered.

“Heard you were in here,” Barrett stated.  “What are you doing?”

“I noticed most of the tapes were labeled 'Anna'.  It's not just security video footage, it's actual documentation of the research.”

“Anything useful?”

“No, just something she said when she was talking, that I reminded her of Keffler. Figured I need to learn more about how he dealt with her before I pressed her too much.”

“What are the chances you'll find out how to deactivate the bomb from her in time?” the agent.

Hesitantly, Daniel stared agape at Barrett as he droned, “I don't know.”

“Just trying to get as much of the area evacuated as we can, just don't know how big the blast in going to be.”  Barrett saw the archaeologist's fixed stare and advised, “No pressure.  I'll leave now.”

~You do that,~ Daniel thought.  ~How'd I get this job anyway?~ he asked as he resumed watching the videos.

====

After a frustrating interview with Keffler, Sam and Barrett were in the middle of discussing the evil scientist's future when, all of a sudden, Daniel stormed right in between them, headed full steam into the room where Keffler was being held.

“Daniel!” Sam exclaimed in surprise and then quickly followed him, as did the agent.

Angrily, Daniel leaned across the table, putting the palms of his hands flat on the tabletop as he accused, “You let her out, didn't ya?”

“You must be Daniel Jackson,” Keffler responded smugly.

“Daniel, what's going on?” Sam inquired, concerned about the fire in her friend's eyes.

“He can control when the Goa'uld comes out.  It's not just random, he's got himself a little remote control.”

Pulling out an object from his pocket, Barrett asked, “This?”

A brief glance at the device later, Daniel affirmed, “Yeah.  He uses it to shock her.  He can either make the Goa'uld personality appear, or he can kill her with it.”  Looking at Keffler, he interrogated, “Why?  Were the other scientists going to shut down your research or maybe report your little science experiment?”

“You have no proof of that.”

“You used that device to bring out the Goa'uld personality; then you let her out of her cage.  You murdered thirty-two people.”

“Speculation.”

“You can control her with that.  If you didn't want the other scientists dead, why didn't you stop her?”

====

Walking purposely towards the holding room where Anna was, Daniel heard a familiar sound.

“Jack, I don't have time.”

“Hey, how about a 'hello' first?”

“Look, I know you're worried.  To tell you the truth, so am I, but I came within an inch a few minutes ago of strangling Keffler.”

“Must be bad.”

“I'll tell you when I get home,” Daniel stated.  Then he stopped walking and closed his eyes for a second.  “He's responsible, Jack.  He killed innocent people, and he doesn't care.  He's a ... a sociopath.”

“Danny ...”

“Hey, thanks for the power bars.  I needed them.  I really have to go.  Later.”

“Dan...”

The archaeologist didn't hear his lover's final syllable.  He was going full speed once again toward his objective.

====

Sometime later, Sam and Barrett heard the call over the loud speakers.  There was trouble in the holding room.  Guards reported hearing a loud “No!” followed by shouts about a fire.  Immediately, the two ran into the main warehouse and into holding room.

The fire had already been extinguished by N.I.D. agents, though two of the men were on the floor, unconscious.  Daniel, too, had been knocked out.

~Daniel!~  Sam hurried to her friend, noticing that he was coming to.  She kneeled down.  “You okay?”

“Where is she?”

“She won't get far,” Barrett vowed.  He clicked on his radio.  “All units, this is Agent Barrett.  The female prisoner is currently unaccounted for.  Secure all exits.  Repeat.  Secure entire perimeter and begin a full sweep.  Target is armed and dangerous.  Use extreme caution.”  His orders concluded, he told Daniel and Sam, “We'll find her.”

After the agent left the area, Sam helped Daniel up and asked, “What happened?”

“Oh, she ... she ... we were meditating.  I think Anna was making progress, and then Sekhmet came out.”

“The Goa'uld.”

“She started throwing things onto the floor and then she used one of the candles to set fire to the drawings.  The place just ... it went up in flames.”

“How'd she escape?”

“One of the guards went inside to get her out.  She's strong, Sam.”  Daniel paused a moment before continuing.  “She overpowered him and then got the other guard and me.  Sam, we have to find Anna.”

“Malcolm's looking,” Sam reminded.  “Maybe there's a clue in there,” she suggested, over at the glass cell.

“Yeah,” Daniel groaned, reaching behind his neck to rub it a little.

“You sure you're all right?”

“I'm fine.”  As they walked over to the cell, he questioned, “Have Teal'c and Bill disarmed the bomb?”

“Not exactly.”

“What does that mean?”

“Bill ... miscalculated.”

Just as they stood at the doorway of the glass box, Daniel delved deeper into Sam's vague response via a simple, “Sam?”

“He sped up the countdown.  We have less than a half hour now.”

“Oh, that's ... good to know.”  As the two scientists began to look through the debris, Daniel requested, “Don't tell Jack.”  He caught a glimpse of Sam's confusion and elaborated, “Bill's not exactly his favorite person.”

“South America?”

“He blames Bill for not ...”  Daniel sighed.  “He just isn't fond of him.”

“Daniel, I promise.  If we aren't blown to smithereens, I promise not to tell the colonel that we almost were.”

The archaeologist chuckled at Sam's expression and then, just as he leaned down to pick up Anna's scorched sketchbook from her chair, replied, “You're right.”

“I am?”

“He'll just read about it in the report,” Daniel put forth, suddenly becoming lost in thought.  Something about the pad had set his mind to pondering another possibility about Anna.  “I don't think she's acting as the Goa'uld.”

Once again, a confused Sam was surprised when her teammate raced out of the glass housing.

“Daniel!” the major exclaimed, taking a gun from one of the still unconscious guards.  ~This is why the colonel turned gray.~

====

Daniel hurried to the basement where Teal'c and Doctor Lee were working on the bomb.  He held out the partially burned drawing pad.

“I think it's the deactivation code,” Daniel stated as he made a deliberate move to place the pad where the other two men could view it.

Not saying anything else, Daniel turned and left the room.

====

Hearing shots, Daniel made his way towards them as he called out anxiously, “Anna!”  Climbing down a ladder, he found the woman, catching her just as she was falling to the cold floor.  “What did you do?”

“You couldn't help me,” the dying hybrid told Daniel weakly.

“I'm so sorry,” the mournful archaeologist spoke, sadness and anger both residing within him as he felt the life drain out of Anna's body.  ~Stupid, senseless waste.~

“Daniel!” Sam called out almost a minute later as she climbed down the ladder .  She saw Keffler's body and paused, making sure he was dead.  “What happened?”

“I guess she killed him, and then she used the bio-toxin on herself.”

“She was going to die anyway, Daniel,” Sam advised her friend.  “We realized earlier that the Goa'uld was overwriting the human DNA.  Anna was going to be gone very soon, overtaken by the Goa'uld.  Implanting her with the bio-toxin device was probably the only kind thing Keffler ever did in his life.”

Daniel just nodded.  Sam's words made sense, but death was hard, no matter whose life was lost.

“Are you okay?” Sam inquired, worried about Daniel's.  “I should give the guys some help with that bomb.”

Once again, Daniel just nodded.

“Daniel?”

“I'm okay, Sam.  I'll be there in a minute.”

Once the sounds of Sam's footsteps had faded, Daniel drew his legs up to his chest and buried his head on his knees.  He needed a minute to center himself.  It wasn't really Anna as much as it was the ache he felt from the loss of Janet.  Giving himself a minute to grieve yet again, Daniel then stood, took another look at Anna's lifeless body, and finally headed for the room where his colleagues were working on deactivating the bomb.

====

“Jack?” Daniel called out as he closed the front door behind him.  “Babe?”

“Hey!” Jack exclaimed cheerfully as he bounded down the stairs.

The newlyweds kissed, touched, and lightly fondled for several minutes as they greeted each other.  They never liked being apart, in spite of their independent natures.

“Geez, I missed you,” the colonel expressed in between kisses.

“Missed you, too.  You don't know how much.”

Several minutes later, their need for immediate closeness subsided temporarily, replaced more by the need to take a few deep breaths and just relax in their reunion.

“I wish I could have come home last night,” Daniel lamented as the couple walked to the sofa in the living room.

“Tell me *why* you couldn't do that again?”

“N.I.D.  They wanted to go over everything a couple of times and Sam didn't want to go until she was sure Agent Barrett was okay.  He was ... knocked out by Sekhmet, or Keffler.  We don't really know who did what.”

“Agent Barrett?” Jack asked in surprise.

“Oh, come on, Jack.  You know they dated before.  It didn't take, not like it has with Pete, but she cares about him.  He's a good friend to her.”

“Yeah, and I'm guessing it was a good distraction, too.”

“Yeah.”

“What calamity did that idiot Lee cause?”

“Excuse me?” a surprised Daniel questioned.

“Daniel, I may not know what he did, but I'll swear he did something.  Now you can tell me, or ...”

“Fine,” Daniel interrupted, telling his husband about the bomb and how the countdown had inadvertently been increased.

Jack's blood pressure nearly tripled from its norm.

“Babe.  Jack.  Stop!” Daniel ordered, using his hand to force the older man to look at him.  “Anyone could have done the same thing.”

“Daniel, that man is a menace.”

“He's smart, Jack, and he's one of the best minds we have at SGC.”

“Now that scares me,” Jack stated firmly, not a hint of a joke in his eyes or tone.

“Jack, let it go.  Don't you want to know the rest of the story?”

“Yeah,” Jack sighed.  He pulled his Love in for a kiss.  After, he just stared into Daniel's beautiful blue eyes.  “I was scared.”

“I know you were,” Daniel acknowledged, running his hand soothingly along Jack's cheek.  With a small, loving smile, he repeated, “I know.”

Jack and Daniel sat back once again.  Daniel would finish his tale, telling Jack about Keffler's battle with Sekhmet and how Sekhmet wanted full control, not content to share time with the human half of the body she shared, and was willing to use the ark bomb to try to achieve her goals.  All of the nightmare details would be shared.

Then the lovers would complete their day with a wake for their dear friend, Janet, leaving behind the ghoulish world of Goa'uld hybrids and sinister scientists.

Finally, after their guests were gone, the two would reaffirm their nation of two, the strongest bond that could exist between any two people.  Just like always, no matter what doom was going on around them or in their individual worlds, the universe of Jack and Daniel would go on forever.

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