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Written for the SG Tourney on LJ - and it won! Nice surprise.

Episode tag for Lifeboat.





Shh. Be quiet. Stay quiet.

“What?”

Hide.

“Why?”

They’re gone now. All gone.

“Gone where? Who?”

“Daniel? You awake?”

“Huh?”

“Open your eyes.”

Something tapped his cheek several times and he obeyed, lifting heavy eyelids. White ceiling above, curtains surrounding him. Oh. Infirmary. Same old, same old.

Jack’s face swam into view, then blurred out. Daniel blinked and tried again. This time his vision stayed clear.

“Sounded like you were dreaming,” Jack said. “How are you feeling?” He settled on the edge of the bed.

Daniel rubbed at the bridge of his nose, mulling the question over. “Confused,” he said finally. “Why am I here?”

“Don’t remember?”

“Sorry, no.”

“Let’s just say you haven’t exactly been yourself for a few days.”

“Who have I been?”

“Long story. How’s your headache?”

Daniel rubbed at his temple. “I feel like I have a nail in my head.”

“Yep, know the feeling. Doc says you’re gonna be fine though. You just need some rest.”

“You gonna tell me what happened?”

“Get some sleep. Once you’re a little more with it, I’ll explain the whole story.”

“My head really hurts.”

“So stop talking already.”

“Okay.” Lethargy overwhelmed him, dulling the intense throbbing in his head and he closed his eyes, drifted for a time, flirting with sleep.

Stay quiet.

~o0o~

Daniel sculpted a volcano from his mashed potatoes and sent a spoonful of peas cascading over the top. “So,” he said softly, “you’re saying my mind was taken over by all these consciousnesses and I wasn’t even aware of it.”

“Sorta.” Jack shifted on his chair, looking distinctly uncomfortable. “You know me and science stuff. The doc or Carter can probably explain it better.”

“Why me?” Daniel set down his fork and pushed the rollaway table back. He’d lost his appetite.

Jack shrugged. “Damned if I know. I mean, I’m the good-looking team leader after all. You’re just the science nerd.”

Daniel flashed him a glare but his heart wasn’t in it. He felt suddenly chilled to the bone. He lay back, drawing the covers up over his chest.

Jack touched his shoulder. “You okay?”

“Peachy.” Daniel flopped an arm over his eyes as though by doing so, he could blot out the whole sordid story. “First Machello, then his little Goa’uld killers, now you’re telling me I had a whole boatload of people floating around in my brain.”

“Ship,” Jack put in. “It was a spaceship, Daniel, not a boat.”

“Semantics,” Daniel snarked back. “Stop interrupting my whining. I’m on a roll here.”

“Have to admit,” Jack said, a little too cheerfully to Daniel’s liking, “it was kinda creepy. Like something out of The Exorcist. I kept waiting for your head to do a 360.”

“Ha-ha.” Daniel dropped his arm and glowered at Jack. “They’re gone, right?”

“All resituated. I have to tell you though, I think Fraiser was hoping to keep the kid. Cute little guy. Took quite a liking to the doc.”

Daniel groaned and shifted onto his side. “Too much information, Jack. I’m never gonna live this down, am I?”

Jack patted his shoulder. “Not if I can help it,” he replied smugly. “Get some rest. Doc says you can go home tomorrow.”

~o0o~

Jack headed into the infirmary the following morning, hoping to catch Daniel before he headed home for the day. Doctor Fraiser had given him the clearance to be released but wanted him to have a day of downtime before he rejoined the team on any away missions.

While Jack was relieved that Daniel’s recovery from his possession had been swift and apparently with no lasting complications, he still couldn’t get the image out of his head of the terrified, confused look on Daniel’s face when he’d managed to fight through the control of the others and resurface for just a brief moment. It reminded him too much of when Daniel had been infected by Machello’s bugs and they’d shipped him off to the nuthouse. He hoped that seeing Daniel now he was recovered might help banish both the memories and the guilt.

Daniel’s bed was empty when Jack strode over to greet him. “Where’s Doctor Jackson?” he asked a passing nurse.

“Doctor Fraiser discharged him about an hour ago,” she replied.

“An hour ago?” Jack checked his watch. “It’s only 7 now. Did he cause that much trouble overnight?”

She smiled. “No, he was a sweetie, as always, but he was in one heck of a hurry to get out of here and Doctor Fraiser figured he could rest just as well at home. She organized for a driver to take him to his apartment.”

“Okay, thanks. I’ll swing by and see him later.”

“Colonel O’Neill to General Hammond’s office.”

“Damn!” Jack pushed aside the need for a morning cup of coffee at the command from the intercom and headed for Hammond’s office.

~o0o~

“How’s Doctor Jackson doing?” Hammond asked when Jack entered.

“Well on his way back to his annoying self when I saw him last night, sir,” Jack replied with a smile. “Seems he was in a hurry to get out of here this morning, so Doc Fraiser discharged him early. Thought I’d swing by later and see how he’s doing.”

“After you complete your report on this mission, of course,” Hammond said.

“Oh, of course, sir, absolutely.”

“Thought you’d agree with me. That’s all.”

Jack caught up with Carter as she headed into the commissary. “Hey, Carter.”

She smiled at him. “Sir, you’re here bright and early.”

He tried for an affronted look. “Aren’t I always?” At her amused look, he shrugged. “Wanted to catch Daniel before he went home but he’d already gone.”

“He’s okay, isn’t he?” Sam asked, a small frown forming.

“According to Doc Fraiser, he’s as good as gold. Why?”

“I don’t know. I stayed on base last night… just checking over the transference protocols we used,” she replied with a little defense in her tone and Jack stopped himself from ribbing her for pulling yet another all-nighter. “I saw Daniel this morning. He was heading off like the hounds of hell were after him.”

“Probably just in a hurry to escape the clutches of Fraiser and her nurses,” Jack said.

“Probably.” Carter didn’t look convinced.

“What?” Jack pressed.

“It was as though, for a minute there, he didn’t know who I was.”

“He’s still recovering. Took me a while to get rid of the headache.” Jack frowned at the memory.

“He was kinda cranky, like he didn’t want to talk to me. Pretty much pushed me aside to take the elevator on his own.” Sam poured them both coffee. “I don’t know, sir. He just wasn’t himself.”

Jack grabbed some oatmeal and followed Carter to an empty table. “After what he went through, that’s not surprising. I’m gonna go see him later.”

“Okay. Let me know how he’s doing. Better yet, why don’t we all go, seeing we have a day off?”

“Good idea,” Jack agreed. “We’ll get together for dinner later as well.

Carter smiled and nodded. “Works for me, sir.”

~o0o~

He couldn’t sit still. Daniel roamed the living room again, pausing a moment to run his hands over the statue standing on the coffee table. He liked the feel of the cool rough stone beneath his fingers. As soon as he’d set eyes on it, he knew he had to have it. He’d bought it at a market, hadn’t he? Where? Egypt? No, not Egypt. He supposed it didn’t matter.

His head was still aching a bit and Janet had said it would take a little time for him to recover fully. Turning, he gazed around his apartment. Strange, it was almost as though he didn’t belong here. As though he was an intruder, spying on someone else’s private life.

He walked out onto the balcony and gazed down at the street below. Suddenly, a chill swept over him and he shivered, feeling unaccountably uneasy. Something bad had happened here, he was sure of it. He frowned. No, nothing had happened because Jack had come. He’d wanted to end it, end his life but then Jack had been here. He felt almost angry at the vague memory but had no idea why.

A car pulled up in front of the apartment building and Daniel groaned as he saw Sam and Teal’c exit the vehicle, then Jack. He wasn’t in the mood for this. All he wanted to do was be alone. He didn’t feel like talking to anyone or to have people hovering over him.

He’d just pretend he wasn’t home. He walked back inside and headed into his bedroom, sitting down on the bed, straining to hear the knock at the door. Even though he was expecting it, he still jumped a little when the sharp rap sounded. He felt a little foolish when he realized he was holding his breath.

“Daniel? You in there?” That was Sam.

“Of course he’s in there. Where else would he be?” And Jack.

“Perhaps he is sleeping,” he heard Teal’c say. “We should not disturb him.”

Good thinking, Teal’c.

He heard his front door creak open. He was sure he’d locked it. Footsteps approached the bedroom. He lay back and closed his eyes.

“Daniel?”

“Hmm?” He feigned waking up, blinking slowly before raising himself slightly to look at Jack. “Jack? What are you doing here?”

“Hammond gave us the day off so we came to check on you.”

“I don’t need checking up on,” Daniel replied, feeling irritable at the blatant intrusion. “Janet said I need to rest.”

A frown formed on Jack’s forehead. “Okay... What’s wrong?”

“Nothing!” Daniel climbed off the bed and stalked past Jack into the living room. Sam and Teal’c stood by the front door, looking uncomfortable. Good!

“Thought we’d go get a bite to eat,” Jack said, following him out.

“Did you break in?” Daniel asked, turning and glaring at Jack.

Jack shrugged, looking unperturbed by the outburst. “Would’ve if I’d had to but the door was unlocked.” He shook a finger at Daniel. “You should be more careful. You want to get something to eat?”

Quiet!

A spike of pain speared through Daniel’s right eye and he winced. “No.”

Good.

“We could get pizza, watch a game on the TV,” Jack suggested.

“What part of ‘no’, don’t you understand, Jack?” Daniel forced his hands into fists and had to fight to keep them at his sides.

“Colonel, maybe we should go. Let Daniel rest,” Carter put in.

“Thank you,” Daniel said.

“You sure?” Jack asked.

“Positive. I’ll be fine tomorrow.”

“Okay.” Jack walked past Daniel, raised a hand as though to pat his shoulder then obviously thought better of it and let it drop. “See you back at the base tomorrow.”

“Fine.” Daniel watched them go then walked over and locked the front door. He could really do with a cup of klatchen right now. “Klatchen?” He shook his head. “Coffee,” he enunciated carefully. Being possessed had really screwed with his brain.

Coffee was probably the worst thing he could have drunk. He’d lain in bed and tossed and turned for hours, finally getting up before daybreak and heading out to sit on the balcony. He watched the sun come up with leaden eyes and a fierce headache and by the time he headed for his car, his mood was darker than when he’d gone to bed. Of course, it wasn’t until he got down to the parking garage that he remembered being driven home. A string of invectives, both English and foreign, fell from his lips as he pulled his cell phone from his pocket and punched in Jack’s number. “Jack, I need a ride,” he said as soon as the phone was answered.

“Sorry, no Jack here,” a bubbly voice said.

“Colonel Jack O’Neill,” Daniel said slowly and loudly.

“Nope. This is Crystal.” Crystal hung up without a goodbye and Daniel felt like screaming with frustration. He knew he’d dialed the right number.

Slumping back against the concrete wall, Daniel took a moment to think. He stared down at his phone. There must be a way to get hold of Jack.

You don’t need him.

“What?”

Just me. I’ll take care of you.

Daniel rubbed at his ears and stared at the phone again, wracking his brain. “Of course! Idiot!” Opening the phone, he scrolled through the address book for Jack’s number.

~o0o~

Daniel had been morose and silent the entire drive to the mountain. Jack tried to lighten the mood with inane conversation and when that failed to get a response, shrugged mentally and turned the radio on.

“You mind?” Daniel said, leaning forward to turn off the music.

“Still got a headache, huh?” Jack asked, relieved to at least be getting something from Daniel. “Maybe you should take another day.”

“I’m fine.” Daniel slumped back in his seat and stared out the window. Jack forced back a groan of frustration and kept driving.

~o0o~

“Daniel!” Sam strode over the minute he exited the elevator. She gave him a bright smile. “Feeling better?”

“No!” Jack interjected before Daniel could speak. “He still has a headache.”

“Do not,” Daniel replied.

“Do too,” Jack responded mulishly. “Gotta go,” he added hurriedly. “Report to Hammond. Catch you kids later. Carter, you want to take me through that scientific babble on the new UAV you’ve been working on in plain English?’

Carter rolled her eyes. “Yes, sir. No problem.” She linked her arm in Daniel’s as they headed for the labs. “So, you’re really feeling okay?”

Daniel forced a smile to his face and pulled his arm from hers as gently as he could. “Yes, I’m fine. Jack’s just being a jerk.”

“He has his moments,” Sam said, “but he was really worried about you. We all were.”

Daniel sighed and tried not flinch when she gave him a hug. “I know and I appreciate it, really. I’ve got go.”

“You want to take a look at what we picked up with the new UAV?” Sam asked. “We found some ruins.”

He suppressed a groan. “Sure, why not,” he said anyway.

I don’t like her. She wants to take you away.

“Daniel?”

“Hmm?”

Sam frowned at him. “You sure you’re okay? You’ve gone really pale.” Reaching out, she took his arm. “Here, sit down before you fall down.” She touched his forehead. “You want me to call Janet?”

“No!” No!

~o0o~

Security alert, Major Carter’s lab.

Jack was about to knock on Hammond’s door when the klaxons sounded. Spinning on his heel, he raced down the corridor toward Carter’s lab. He barreled in through the open doorway, already scrabbling for a weapon he didn’t have and came to a halt as Daniel pointed a screwdriver at him then slowly pressed it against Carter’s neck. Carter was pulled up tight against Daniel, his free arm wrapped around her throat. One of her hands gripped his wrist, attempting to push the weapon away from her but to no avail. Jack could see the bloody indent in her flesh where the point had dug in.

“Daniel?” Jack took a step closer but stopped when Daniel pushed harder on the screwdriver and Carter let out a small gasp. He held up a hand to hold back the security detail he could hear at his back. “Daniel? What the hell is going on here?”

Daniel stared at him blankly for a moment then clarity returned to his eyes. “Jack? What... I don’t—“ Then his mouth curled into a snarl. “Leave us!” he shouted though the voice seemed somehow not Daniel’s.

Before Jack could say anything more, there was a flash and sizzle of lightning and both Daniel and Carter collapsed to the ground. Teal’c handed the zat to a guard and joined Jack at their teammates’ sides. Carter was already struggling to sit up, one hand rubbing her throat and she gasped for breath.

“I’m okay,” she wheezed, pushing Jack toward Daniel, who lay unmoving on the floor. Staggering a little, she accepted a hand up from Teal’c and hit the intercom button on the wall, summoning medical help in a hoarse voice.

Jack knelt beside Daniel who was beginning to regain consciousness, his eyes slowly fluttering open.

“Daniel?” Jack tapped lightly at Daniel’s cheek. “You with me?”

Daniel nodded and coughed. “Not me,” he whispered.

“What?” Jack frowned. “Why the hell did you attack Carter?”

Daniel shook his head. “Not me,” he said again. “They left someone behind.”

~o0o~

Daniel was deeply unconscious by the time Doctor Frasier arrived. After taking a quick check of his vitals, she supervised while orderlies lifted his inert body onto a gurney and he was wheeled to the infirmary.

She’d sedated him when he’d become combative and eventually had to restrain him. He now lay shifting fretfully in the bed, his eyelids flickering restlessly as though he was consumed by a nightmare from which he could not escape.

Jack had remained with him, as he had in the isolation room just days before, ordering Carter to have her throat injury checked out, though it looked superficial thankfully. She’d been unable to come up with any reason why Daniel had attacked her.

“He said they left someone behind,” Jack said as Hammond joined them at Daniel’s bedside.

Janet shook her head. “We checked and double-checked. All the souls were transferred to Pharrin.”

“Are you positive, Doctor?” Hammond asked.

“It is unlike Daniel Jackson to attack anyone if he were of sound mind,” Teal’c added.

Jack looked at Carter. “You okay?”

She was still as white as a sheet but she nodded then winced and touched the small bandage on her neck. “I’m fine, sir. I know Daniel’s as fit as the rest of us these days... but there was something superhuman in his strength.”

“I’ll run some more tests,” Frasier said, “see what I can find out.”

Jack went back to sitting at Daniel’s bedside but was off and running the moment he got the summons to Hammond’s office.

~o0o~

He didn’t bother knocking on the door, which was open. His concern went up a notch when he saw Doctor MacKenzie and Major Samuels standing in front of the General’s desk.

“Come in, Jack,” Hammond said anyway.

“Thought Doc Fraiser might have some news,” Jack said, giving both MacKenzie and Samuels a barely concealed glare.

“Not yet,” Hammond said, “but we do have a problem.”

“So I see,” Jack replied.

“As I was saying, General, Doctor Jackson may not be military,” Samuels said, “but he must be held accountable for his actions.”

“And as I was saying,” MacKenzie added, “Doctor Jackson is obviously suffering from a mental breakdown. He needs to be admitted to the military base psychiatric unit for further study... tests.”

“Oh, you’d love that, wouldn’t you, Doc?” Jack snarled. “You too, Samuels, anything to get rid of SG-1.”

Hammond held up a hand. “That’s enough, Colonel. Both Major Samuels and Doctor MacKenzie make valid points, however I’m not going to make any decisions until I hear what Doctor Fraiser has to say.”

“General?”

Jack spun around and grinned in relief at the sound of Fraiser’s voice. “Nice timing, Doc!” His smile faltered at the serious expression on her face.

Fraiser gave him an apologetic smile. “I have good news and bad,” she said, entering the office.

“Go on, Doctor,” Hammond said.

“I can tell you that Doctor Jackson is not responsible for the attack on Major Carter.”

“Yes!” Jack pumped the air with his fist. “So... what’s the bad news?”

“One of the souls was left behind. I don’t know how it could have happened. We ran thorough checks but it seems one of them was able to synchronize their vitals, brain and neural readings precisely with Daniel’s. We had no idea she was still there.”

“She?”

Fraiser nodded. “She surfaced when we were running more scans. Her name is Galea. She’s the one I spoke to earlier who, at the time, just seemed confused and had no information. Seems she has a crush on Doctor Jackson. Believes they’re soulmates.”

Jack rolled his eyes. “Not the first. So, we get her outta Daniel and into Pharrin,” Jack said.

Hammond turned to Fraiser. “Can Pharrin be safely woken from his suspended animation?”

Fraiser nodded. “He may be a little confused so I’d advise going gently with him, sir.” She aimed the last at Jack. “With so many souls within his consciousness, he’ll be struggling for control. I’m hoping it will only be a day or two at most before the others can be revived to care for him.”

“Why not leave the… girl in Doctor Jackson for now?” Hammond asked.

Jack was already shaking his head before Fraiser spoke up. “Now that she’s the only soul remaining and because Daniel obviously recognized the need to submerge his own consciousness for safe-keeping, as he did before, she has far greater control. I have Doctor Jackson sedated but if we don’t act soon, Pharrin may be unable to take her.” She shrugged. “Once she realizes what’s happening, she might decide to take her own life, and Doctor Jackson’s as well. That’s a risk I don’t want to take.”

“Me neither,” Jack said firmly. “Sir,” he added to Hammond.

Hammond nodded. “Do it!” He turned to MacKenzie and Samuels. “I don’t think you’ll be needed for this, gentlemen. Dismissed!”

~o0o~

“Absolutely not!”

Martice was coming through, Jack figured and he took an involuntary step back – not in honor of the sovereign but because the guy just was so overbearing.

“Look, she’s in our friend, like you were. You were all willing to jump into Pharrin,” Jack said. “You getting along okay?”

Pharrin’s features softened immediately and he smiled. “We are doing our best,” he said.

“Pharrin?” Jack asked tentatively. With this many folks crowding the guy’s brain, he figured it was safer to check.

“It is I, Colonel. Some wish to have more control than others.” He winced and rubbed his forehead. “I will learn control, though it will be easier when I am not hosting quite so many souls. At least I will have more time with my son than I ever did when…” He gave a sad smile and nodded. “We will accept her. She is one of us and deserves our help and support. In time, she may accept her path. Once the others are revived, we may find someone she is better suited to than myself.”

Jack had to ask. “If she doesn’t accept her path?”

Pharrin shrugged. “She will be a minor voice among many I am learning to... control. Better she is here with her kindred than you losing your friend.”

Jack reached out and shook Pharrin’s hand. “Thank you.”

~o0o~

So now Jack sat in the infirmary watching Daniel sleep. He’d been assured by both Pharrin and Doc Fraiser that the final soul had been transferred into Pharrin but frankly, he wasn’t prepared to accept it until Daniel opened his eyes and—

“Jack?”

“Daniel?”

“Stop thinking so loudly, I have a headache.”

“Nail in the head kinda thing?”

Daniel opened his eyes… at least partway. “Didn’t we already have this conversation?”

Jack nodded. “We did but you weren’t totally yourself then.” He leaned forward and squinted at Daniel’s face. “You sure you’re in there alone this time?”

Daniel nodded then winced and raised a hand and rubbed his forehead. “I’m sure. No voices.”

“All right. How about we go fishing when you’re feeling better?”

“I hate fishing,” Daniel replied, closing his eyes.

“Yes!” Jack crowed triumphantly. “You’re back.”

His only response was a loud snore.

End

October 2013

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