Chapter 15 - in which Jack shows off a little used ability
The following day, Friday, had been set aside for Jack's next check up with Arrelambros. It was a convenient day in that, if it were necessary for him to remain for a couple of days' observation again, it would have less impact on the S.G.C.'s program than a midweek visit. As it was now accepted that Arcadia was a safe world to visit, Jack planned to take only Daniel and Janet with him.
Unfortunately, S.G.-7 had an unexpected encounter with a Jaffa raiding party on P4X-391. This necessitated a rescue mission by SG-3 and their unscheduled return naturally took priority with Janet. They were not entirely surprised however, when Teal'c decided to tag along.
Demris met them at 'Gate with transport and greeted them warmly. Her smile widened as she looked from Daniel to Jack and back again.
"It is good to see you so bleethe now," she beamed.
The two whom she addressed exchanged embarrassed glances then both looked towards Teal'c. Fortunately he was having a quick word with Demris on his own account. He bid them farewell and headed off through the woods on foot in the direction of the kliniki nearby.
In Mantinea, Daniel left Jack with Demris again and went in search of Ilarion.
"Daniel!" the Minister of Culture exclaimed in delight when the archaeologist appeared in the doorway of his office. "I am glad to see thee again."
"And I you," Daniel smiled.
"Oh, I see thou hast healed thy friendship with Jack... I feel thy happiness." Daniel felt himself flushing, and Ilarion laughed. "Art thou plighted now?"
"Ah no... You forget that it's not permitted - motan - where we come from."
"That is very sad," Ilarion lamented.
"But if you like to call him my yemacca, I won't - er - I won't say you nay," Daniel said, a contented smile lighting his face. "So, how are you and Verenos? And Eleni?"
"Oh, never better," Ilarion grinned. "As for Verenos and Eleni, why not come and see for thyself?"
Daniel followed his friend along a broad gallery to another office at the far end. Verenos was indeed looking very well. He stood up to greet Daniel, who was surprised to note that his belly was hardly swollen at all considering he must be... about mid term. If he hadn't known, Daniel would have noticed nothing out of the ordinary. Still, Verenos was a good six inches taller than himself, so maybe it wasn't all that surprising.
Jack returned - on foot, not in a wheelchair - shortly afterwards and was taken to Verenos's office just in time to see Daniel with his hand resting on the Arcadian's belly and a fascinated smile on his face.
"Oh, hey Jack. Come and feel this!"
"Come on. Put your hand here."
Puzzled, Jack did so, and felt a faint fluttering sensation of something pushing back.
"It is Eleni," Verenos said proudly.
"Eleni - our daughter," Ilarion said.
Jack looked at Daniel hoping, for once, for a less brief explanation when suddenly the penny dropped, along with his jaw.
"'With child'. Yes, Jack," Daniel grinned.
"Nice," Jack said, carefully withdrawing his had as if he'd unknowingly been stroking an alligator.
The other three laughed.
"Yes, that was my reaction at first," Daniel grinned.
"Thy Jack finds it odd," Ilarion said.
"Not odd, exactly," Jack replied, remembering feeling Charlie kicking in Sara's belly, "more... unusual."
Daniel and Ilarion exchanged glances.
"Odd!" they said together, laughing.
"So how did the check-up go, Jack?"
"Fine. Everything's as it should be, so we can head for home now."
"Must ye return at once?" Ilarion asked.
"Well no, but since I don't have to stay, I should go back to the S.G.C."
"Stay a little while and break bread with us," Verenos invited. "We must work until noon, then we will eat. Ye are most welcome to stay as long as ye will't."
Jack and Daniel looked a question at each other.
"We will be happy to stay a while," Daniel answered, "I think "
"...we need to talk," Jack joined in.
" and it will be easier here. Thank you."
Ilarion and Verenos looked at each other.
"Talk?" Verenos said with a lecherous twinkle in his eye. "They want to talk?"
Daniel decided to take Jack to a pretty little area of open parkland that he'd passed in company with Ilarion on an earlier visit. As they walked side by side, their hands collided softly and Daniel took Jack's hand in his.
"Daniel, what are you doing?" Jack exclaimed, snatching his hand away almost automatically and looking around to see if anyone had noticed.
"Jack, we're not at home now. Nobody knows us here. There won't be any fallout, so relax."
And so they walked hand in hand which gave them an uplifting sense of freedom. They came to one of a number of carved wooden seats provided for the park's visitors, and sat down. They were silent for a while, each uncertain of where to begin now that it actually came down to it.
Finally, Daniel seemed to come to a decision, but as he opened his mouth, Jack said quickly, "How come you never told me about those two?"
"Your two friends, one of whom is..."
"Pregnant?" Daniel said carefully.
"Yeah... and do you have to use the 'P' word?"
"Okay. No using the 'P' word."
"It never occurred to me that you'd be interested. I mean, shooting things and blowing up stuff is your thing, and culture and behavior ... stuff, is mine."
"And you're not grossed out by what's-his-name being...?"
"With child? Well, initially it gave me a bit of a creepy 'let's not go there' feeling, but they're just so happy about it that I kind of got drawn along," Daniel said, speeding up with enthusiasm. "Now, I think it's - well, it's interesting. I mean, this is all totally normal to them, along with being accepted as a couple the way we never would be back home. Now I ask you, which culture has the healthier attitude?"
"Put like that, I suppose we're a very uptight nation at that. The Puritan legacy, I suppose."
"Yeah, Jack, and here, i-i-it doesn't matter whom you love. Back home, if you fall in love with someone of the same sex, you have to hide it, o-or it's like the sky falls in on you. In the military anyway."
"So you fell in love with me?" Jack asked with a smug smile.
"Well, more like tripped, actually..." Daniel responded, biting back an impish grin.
"Why? Did you fall in love with me?"
"At first sight..."
"Yeah right," Daniel chuckled.
"Not far off actually," Jack said, staring off into space, his expression a little sad.
Daniel studied him carefully.
"And you've been hiding it all this time?" he marveled.
"In case the sky fell in? Yeah."
"Oh boy... " Daniel sighed. "You made a fucking good job of it, Jack! All this time, I was convinced you were as straight as Uncle Sam could wish."
"And that's why you were hiding it?"
"If I couldn't have your love, I figured it was better to have your friendship than nothing at all."
"And that's what I been giving you lately, isn't it - nothing at all...? God, I'm sorry, Daniel."
"Yes, well, that's all water under the bridge, isn't it? The question is, where are we going to take this now?"
"Well, I know where I'd like to take it," Jack said, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. He laid an arm along the back of the seat, wrapping his hand around Daniel's shoulder and gave him a squeeze.
"If you're thinking of ravishing me here, Jack, think again."
"What, they don't allow rampant al fresco sex?"
"Well, yes, but not in a public park," Daniel informed him, "It's considered bad form. Sex is not a spectator sport apparently."
He paused thoughtfully for a few moments before he went on, "I didn't realize you had an exhibitionist streak."
Jack slowly withdrew his hand then slid both hands between tightly clamped knees. The body language said it all.
"Jack, you have had some experience with same sex relationships?"
"Yes! Some... Just not very recently."
"Oh great! A quick exploratory wank on a back lot somewhere with a school friend!"
"No! Well, yes. But there have been others... I'm just a little out of practice is all."
"When was the last time, Jack?"
If anything, Jack withdrew into himself even further. "In Iraq," he muttered.
"Oh Jeez, Jack!" Daniel exclaimed, wrapping both arms around his would-be lover in a protective hug.
"It's okay. Leroy was my fuck buddy. The theory was that if we were - let's say relaxed - about it, it wouldn't be so much of a problem when the guards took their turn..."
"Oh God, I am so sorry!"
"Don't be. It worked. At least I didn't come away with any internal injuries in that part of my body."
"I'm sorry for raking up bad memories is what I meant."
"Hey, it was bound to come out sooner or later. It's not something I could ever talk about to anyone else."
"What? You didn't get any counseling after... when you got home?"
"Oh yeah, and much good that did! I mean, would you fancy telling Mac the Quack about that bit if you were in my shoes?"
"Well, there you go. The nightmares about Iraq have pretty much quit now, and that part never really figured in them much anyway."
After a slight pause, Daniel asked, "So you're what? Bi?"
"Yup, I guess. I find women very attractive. I loved Sara very deeply - still do. I love Carter too, but in a different way. I mean, she's a beautiful woman - she has a lively personality. She's a great 2IC, but her mind scares the crap outta me!"
"Because she's way brighter than you?" Daniel asked, a little uneasily.
"So... what about me? Don't I scare the crap out of you too?"
"Sometimes. Mostly when you go wandering off on your own when my back's turned! I tell you, you've given me some real heart-stopping moments. See the grey here? That's all down to you!"
"Only doing my job, Jack."
"Ye-eah... Just wish you'd get into the habit of clearing it with me first. And if you mean, do I find your mind a scary place too, well, no I don't. Not so much anyway. I guess it's because you deal with people - which I can understand, and languages - I can do that, too - and rocks that don't actually do anything except just sit there, but Carter she plays about with naquadah, and nintendos and black holes and things that blow up."
"You blow things up."
"Yeah, but I know what I'm doing, and I don't blow up my office on a regular basis. Although sometimes, when the paperwork piles up, that option starts to look good..."
They both lapsed into a ruminative silence for a while, watching tall healthy children playing in the bright sunshine.
"You do languages, Jack?" Daniel asked. "I didn't know."
Jack shrugged. "It goes with the job, but with you around, it's kind of surplus to requirements."
"So what languages do you speak?"
Jack gave a little grin.
"Te amo," he said.
Daniel smiled back broadly and replied softly, "Ana bahebek."
"Egyptian." "Of course it is! ...Ich liebe Dich."
"Ani ohev otcha - Hebrew."
"Taim i' ngra leat," Jack replied with a smug grin.
Daniel looked at him a little warily.
"Ha! Got you with that one!"
"That has to be Irish."
"It is, it is! Lorrnt at me Granny's knee, so it was," Jack said in an accent that would have made a leprechaun wince even more than Daniel did.
"And Jack O'Neill wins the linguistic pissing contest, so he does, so he does!"
Chapter 16 - in which Jack and Daniel are surprised
Over lunch, Verenos asked archly if they'd enjoyed their 'talk'.
"We made a little progress um, yes, it helped," Daniel replied.
"Methinks ye need a little more time together. Alone," Ilarion said kindly. "I feel there is more ye must settle."
The two Earthmen exchanged a speaking look.
"Yeah," Jack responded ruefully. "This is all pretty new still."
"Haven't even got to first base yet," Daniel muttered. Ilarion laughed.
"I do not ken thy words but I know what thou meanst! Love should not be yethwertan. Mayhap we can help you, an ye will."
He proposed that Daniel and Jack remain for a few more days and offered them accommodation. Jack, feeling his responsibility, reluctantly demurred. With a wink at Daniel, Ilarion said he had things he needed the archaeologist's help with. It was enough. Jack happily capitulated.
After lunch, he radioed Teal'c to inform him of their staying on, and asked him to inform General Hammond. Teal'c sounded quietly satisfied with this change in the program and Jack cut the connection before he had time to ask about the cause of the change.
This time, they accepted the chamber they'd been allotted on their first visit. On subsequent visits, they'd insisted on separate rooms.
"Ya know, Daniel," Jack said as they entered the chamber, "these Arcadians are conniving sons of bitches."
Daniel laughed. "I'm not complaining," he smiled.
"Oh, neither am I," Jack assured him, returning the smile. Not when it makes you look so happy, he thought.
Looking back, he couldn't remember the last time Daniel had smiled like that. He'd looked kinda serene after his encounter with the glowy squid woman on Kheb. Before that...? Oh. The Destroyer of Worlds. That was the last time! He remembered the shaft of jealousy that had shot through him that day in the library on Vyus, watching that - that Ke'ra - flirting with Daniel and Daniel responding...
"Are you all right, Jack?" Daniel asked, noting the suddenly grim expression.
"Mm. Are you sure you're not straight?"
Daniel grimaced. He strode across the room, grasped Jack's head between his hands and kissed him - hard - his tongue pushing into the surprised mouth.
"That tell you anything, Jack?" Daniel demanded, stepping back and staring into his lover's face as if reading a graven text.
"Mi amas... y te amo - lo más que la vida..." Jack murmured, leaning in for another kiss.
Daniel chuckled. "You are so busted! Who knew you were such a sap," he said, obliging him with a gentler kiss, and pulling him in closely.
In return, Jack's hands traced firm circles across his back then slid down to his ass, pressing even closer. Both men enjoyed the reaction it caused, and frissons of pleasure tingled outwards, up spines and around buttocks and thighs. Daniel moaned softly and broke the kiss.
"Know what, Jack?" he murmured.
"Too many clothes?"
Boots came off first then, with meticulous archaeological slowness, Daniel unbuttoned Jack's shirt. Jack could've sworn it was a deliberate tease as he followed on, unfastening Daniel's with military speed and precision. Having rid themselves of shirts, Jack avidly turned his attention to Daniel's pants. Not that he got far before Daniel's cock sprang free.
"Daniel! Commando? You...?!"
There was a sharp rap on the door and Ilarion stuck his head around.
"Ah, good," he said, "I am not too late."
Both men froze then looked aghast at the intruder.
"I thought you said sex wasn't a spectator sport here?" Jack hissed.
Ilarion looked a little perplexed, but pressed on regardless.
"I know not what ye haff brought with you, but I thought ye might need this," he said, producing a small stoppered urn. He walked over and handed it to a Jack as Daniel was holding on to his pants. "It is a gift," he said with a grin and turned to leave.
He stopped in the doorway, gave a long playful growl, raising his forearm in a very suggestive way, and then was gone.
"Well, that language I have no difficulty in translating!" Jack exclaimed as Daniel doubled up with laughter.
"Oh dear, the look on your face, Jack!" he howled.
"Yeah, way to kill the moment, huh?!" Jack grouched.
"What is it?" Daniel asked nodding at the urn in Jack's hand.
Jack removed the stopper and poured a glob of a thick oily liquid on to his palm. It was a pale golden color with a slightly iridescent sheen and had a faintly musky smell. Daniel dipped a finger in it and rubbed it between finger and thumb.
"Lube, I guess."
"Well, I doubt he's going to give us anything that might harm us."
"I suppose... Now where we?"
"Round about here?" Daniel suggested, turning to Jack's belt buckle.
He began unfastening it with the same tantalizing slowness while his own pants, now he'd let go, slid down off his hips to rest on his ass. He glanced up through his lashes at Jack's face, swiping his tongue across his lip as he did so. Only half hard after the unexpected interruption, Jack was rapidly hardening again.
"Aw, quit teasing, Daniel," Jack exclaimed, batting Daniel's hand's away.
He quickly finished undoing the buttons on Daniel's pants and roughly pulled them down. As Daniel stepped out of them, Jack let out a low appreciative moan. Pausing only for a moment to admire the sight of Daniel's cock beckoning him, he grasped it with his lubed hand, and Daniel groaned in pleasure.
Suddenly, tease gave way to need. Daniel grabbed Jack by the belt and dragged him across the room to the bed. He pushed him so he sat down on the edge of it. With some urgency, he removed Jack's pants. Taking the urn and pouring some of the unguent into his palm, he gestured Jack to move to the middle of the bed.
As he settled, a little uncertainly for the moment, Daniel knelt between his legs. He looked hungrily at Jack's cock and ran his tongue over across his lips again in a way that purely functional. Then he bent down, licked his way briskly upwards from root to tip, slowing there for a moment to savor the taste. Without warning, he went down on Jack, taking him in whole in one smooth movement. Jack howled, reflexively drawing his knees up either side of Daniel.
"Oh God, Danny! Where'd you learn that triiiiiiiiiii... ahhhhhhhhhhhh...."
Daniel had slid lubed fingers along his perineum. Now, he was sliding them around the ringed muscle. Somehow, Jack managed to relax and felt a silky finger slip inside. It was rapidly followed by the first and second fingers of his other hand, working at his opening.
Daniel was humming now. The vibrations sent delicious thrills through him and he knew he wouldn't be able last much longer. Then Daniel hit his sweet spot, sending him into howling ecstasy. It felt like he'd been shot into orbit as he had the most intense orgasm of his life.
Jack was still gently moaning, "OhGodohGodohGodohGod..." when Daniel released his softening cock from his mouth.
He rested Jack's legs over his shoulders, eager to join his lover in his current mumbling boneless state. He quickly slicked his cock with more lube, aligned it with Jack's opening. He pushed slowly, gently and oh-so-smoothly inside until his balls hit Jack's ass. And stopped, moaning. Didn't want it to be over that quickly.
He pulled back a little way slowly then pushed in again and repeated it. Sensations tingled like fiery fingers all over his skin. No way could he hold out. He pulled out further this time, paused momentarily, then with a grunt, thrust home deeply. Losing control utterly, he pounded into Jack like a mad thing.
With a deep feral scream, he shot his load then passed out.
He awoke on top of a somewhat concerned Jack who was patting his cheek and saying, "Daniel? Daniel! Are you all right?"
"Oh, more than all right, Jack," he murmured, wearing a zoned out look. It was a good look on him, Jack thought.
"You know something, Jack?"
"I don't think that was just lube..."
Chapter 17 - Seven go for a walk in the park and Jack gets a shock
Sam was in the 'Gate Room when Daniel, Jack and Teal'c returned the following day.
"Well, the air of Arcadia certainly seems to suit you three," she smiled as they walked down the ramp with a definite spring in their steps.
Ilarion, seeing the pained way that Jack and Daniel sat down to dinner after a long afternoon's activity, had thoughtfully provided them with jar of lotion that had both healing and anaesthetic properties.
"Oh yes, Carter. We're all feeling pretty peachy," Jack responded. "And what might you be doing here on a sunny Sunday afternoon?"
"Yes, Carter, sunny."
"You don't know it's sunny, sir."
"No, I don't. The point is, Carter, neither do you. When was the last time you breathed fresh air?"
"See! Ya don't know. Come on, grab your things and we'll meet you up top."
"But s "
"Aht! No arguments, Carter. It's for the good of your health, and as I'm responsible for that... partly..., I can make it an order."
"Yes sir," Sam sighed.
It was indeed a sunny afternoon. The four of them descended on Janet's house and dragged her and Cassie out for a walk around Palmer Park. Naturally Cassie's dog came along too. She'd named him Toronto to remind her of the place she was supposed to have come from, but inevitably he rapidly became known as Toto.
The six of them had great fun, several of them rediscovering their inner child. Jack was in his element throwing sticks for Toto to retrieve. Cassie, who'd gone into teenage sulk mode when S.G.-1 arrived, forgot how uncool the outing was and joined in too. Sam, assisted by Teal'c, spent much of her time constructing a dam on one of the small streams that fed the main stream beside the dog run area. Daniel and Janet looked on like surrogate parents.
"I don't remember when I last saw you four look so happy," Janet said.
"Yeah, well, mostly you see us after we've come unstuck somehow on a mission, so you don't tend to see us at our best," Daniel responded ruefully.
Janet murmured agreement.
"I guess, in Jack's case, the absence of pain must help a lot," she added. "Got to love the Arcadians for that."
"Yes, Arcadia has a lot going for it," Daniel said wistfully, thinking that no way could he and Jack walk hand in hand here.
"I was really sorry I couldn't come with you this time."
"Ah, yeah," Daniel said, and promptly changed the subject.
Later, when they'd taken Janet, Cassie and Toto home, Jack treated his team to dinner. The restaurant of choice was The Famous steak house, new to Tejon Street's Restaurant Row. There they dined to the accompaniment of live piano music. The good food and good company left them all feeling comfortably mellow. It was a good day.
Monday saw S.G.-1 shipping out to P4A-935, an ice planet where the inhabitants lived under a huge transparent dome. The civilization was highly advanced in chemical and metallurgical technology, and S.G.-1's brief was to assess the possibilities of setting up a trade deal.
That was the last the S.G.C. saw of its flagship team for two weeks. General Hammond authorized one official and several covert search and rescue missions, all unsuccessful. Constant obfuscation from Administrator Calder effectively tied Hammond's hands. His only possible option, short of declaring war on the misbegotten world, was to break off diplomatic relations.
He was close to tearing the remains of his hair out when an unscheduled 'Gate activation bearing S.G.-1's authorization code sent him scurrying down to the 'Gate Room. The team emerged from the wormhole looking very grubby but triumphant. Behind them came a number of even grubbier looking people, one of whom was nursing a bullet wound.
"Welcome home, S.G.-1," General Hammond greeted them. "It's good to have you back."
"It's good to be back, sir, and do we have a tale to tell!" Jack said.
"So I imagine, Colonel."
"Oh, and we have another parcel-load of refugees to re-home," Jack added. "We're thinking Madrona might be a suitable place for them. For now though, we'd appreciate permission to shower, shave, and get rid of these... clothes."
"Permission granted, S.G.-1," Hammond smiled, wrinkling his nose a little. "We'll debrief when Doctor Fraiser's finished with you."
"Ah, the day just keeps on getting better," Jack grimaced as his C.O. chuckled.
Because S.G.-1 had been absent for so long and subjected to heaven knew what, Janet ran the full gamut of tests and scans. They'd been due for their regular quarterly scans anyway, so Colonel O'Neill really had no need to be quite so snippy about it.
As she scanned through the returns the following day, she noticed something different on one of them. Her first thought - automatic thought - was that Sam had been careless. Then her eye went to the name in the top corner.
"Oh... my... God..." she breathed and reached for the 'phone.
"Okay, what's the panic, Doc?" O'Neill asked cheerfully as he entered Janet's office.
"Er, not panic exactly... Before we start, you might like to sit down."
Puzzled, he did so.
"Now, Colonel, I'd just like to hear your comments about this."
She held out the scan for him to see. His eyebrows rose and he puffed out his cheeks before breathing out in a 'What does this have to do with me?' manner.
"What is it?"
"It's a fetus."
"Yes. You can see the head clearly and there's the left arm and leg - there."
"Erm, doesn't that contravene patient confidentiality?" he asked. "Does Sam know you're showing me this?"
Janet tapped the name at the top corner. Jack recoiled in horror, eyes open wide as he turned pale and his skin felt cold and clammy.
"No... No..." he said softly. "No, there must be some mistake. It's not possible."
"Apparently it is."
"It can't be!"
Even as he spoke, he knew it was - knew who'd done it, too. Abruptly, all logical thought fled before a tidal wave of fear and anger. They'd all been in on it, he'd bet - Arrelambros, Demris, the Zebra woman, that cocky Ilarion and his sidekick. And he reckoned Athnasia had put them up to it. His mind focused on a single thought. They were going pay for making a monkey out of Jack O'Neill!
"Would you excuse me a moment, Doc," he said with a forced composure born of necessity. "I need to think about this."
But he'd already decided what he was going to do. He stood up and marched smartly out of her office. His suddenly cool demeanor, together with her knowledge of his 'black ops.' past and the shadier parts of his mental history, gave her serious concern.
"Colonel...!" Janet called urgently.
Too late. He was out of range.
She hesitated about alerting Hammond to the fact that they had a potentially loose cannon on the base. How to do so without breaching doctor-patient confidentiality was the sticking point. It wasn't quite like saying, "Colonel O'Neill's picked up an alien virus and needs to be quarantined." Or then again, maybe it was.
Reluctantly, she picked up the 'phone.
Chapter 18 - in which Jack wants revenge
Away from the infirmary, Jack found himself running, his mind a turmoil of broken thoughts and feelings. He'd believed that the Arcadians were okay, if a little very - flaky. Yet they'd done this to him totally against his will. Empaths? Bullshit! This was far, far worse than anything the Iraqis had done to him because it had been done under the guise of friendship. They'd manipulated him into a state where he was unprepared - unable to defend himself.
And his 'condition'? That was just plain gross. It was... it was... abnormal. Wa-ay beyond abnormal. There wasn't a word close enough for it in his vocabulary. Yes there was. Unforgivable.
He'd seen much of what Sara had gone through with Charlie. The thought that the Arcadians had deliberately signed him up for the same horrors just made him squirm inside. It had to've been done with malice aforethought, and it was something he really couldn't face happening to him.
And Charlie... In his mind, that gunshot echoed round and around inside his head as he ran. Reliving that terrible moment, he knew he would never have put himself in a position where he could ever go through that horror again. It had almost destroyed him. Without Daniel, it would have.
He passed Daniel who was heading for the elevator too.
"Hey Jack!" Daniel called as Jack swiped his card through the reader, but Jack ignored him.
Daniel and the elevator both arrived together, and short of shoving Daniel out of the way, he couldn't avoid sharing the car with him. He pressed for Level 19.
"What the matter, Jack?" Daniel asked, reaching for the control panel but holding back from hitting 18. Something didn't feel right.
"Nothing's the matter. I'm fine," Jack snapped, his breathing ragged.
Recognizing the Daniel-speak for 'I'm anything but fine', Daniel was suddenly worried. As the car reached Level 19, he followed Jack out.
"Stay away, Daniel! You don't wanna get hurt."
As a way of discouraging Daniel, he realized this was the totally the wrong thing to say. He shrugged and set off at a run again. He stopped when he got to room 19A3-210 - the Armory.
"Airman, I want a P-90, two spare clips and four packs of C4," he ordered as Daniel reached the Armory, momentarily distracting the sergeant.
"What are you doing?" Daniel demanded, concern showing in his voice. "Our next mission isn't till next we"
"This is none of your fucking business, Daniel. Airman, I said P-90, two clips and four C4 - stat."
"Yessir!" The airman reached for the requested items.
"Belay that order."
The sergeant looked from one to the other in indecision. Daniel took Jack's arm and pulled him around to face him. The murderous rage there shocked him.
"Fuck off, Daniel - just go the fuck away - okay!"
Daniel instantly realized that shouting back wasn't going to help.
"Jack, I'd have to be blind not to see that something's very wrong here," he said gently, staring compellingly into Jack's blazing eyes.
It was enough. The caring voice pulled him back from the fugue state he was heading for and an abreaction set in. His face crumpled in distress as a harsh cry burst out. He laid his arms across Daniel's shoulders and buried his face in Daniel's neck, silently shuddering against him. Daniel held him close - soothing, rubbing his back and murmuring softly as he gestured to the sergeant to leave.
"I can't leave my post," the man protested.
"Get. Out. Of here. Now," Daniel said in low voice that carried a surprising amount of menace in its tone.
"Yes Doctor Jackson, sir!" he said and left in some haste, closing the door behind him.
"Want to tell me what that was all about?" Daniel asked as Jack regained control of himself and pulled away.
"I - I can't..." he said painfully, pressing his hands to his face as if to cut himself off from the world.
"Yes - you can. You don't have to go through this - whatever it is - alone."
Jack gave a derisive laugh at that.
"What? That's funny?"
"Anything but, Daniel."
"I'm... I'm... They've " Jack bit his lip. "No, no, I can't say it," he ended quickly, shaking his head against reality and looking away, unable to acknowledge the awful truth.
"Say what? Who?" Daniel asked, mystified.
"The Arcadians. Th-th The 'P' word," Jack spat out grimly, his face set like a graven mask now that he'd recovered his composure.
Daniel ran that through his memory, then his eyes opened very wide.
"Yes! Just don't say it!"
"Okay. Not gonna say the 'P' word. You sure about this? There hasn't been a mistake... somehow?"
"No. The Doc. showed me the returns from our last set of tests."
"It couldn't be something - or someone - else..."
"No, Daniel. It isn't like those implants Togar put in our heads. It's about as big as my hand already. There's nothing else it could be," Jack said with finality. "Those fucking bastards have planted a clone inside me somehow."
"Well, it wouldn't be a clone. The Arcadians aren't like the Asgard. All children have D.N.A. from both parents. They don't use clo ohh... Oh God!"
"Daniel? You okay? You've gone white as a sheet Daniel?"
Daniel suddenly doubted his legs' ability to support him. He leaned back against the wall, then slid gracefully to the floor. Jack joined him.
"Daniel, talk to me. And breathe, dammit!"
"I'm... I'm... okay, Jack, really. It's just a bit of a shock, that's all."
"Ya think! And that's my shock you're talking about."
"Not just yours."
"What do you mean?" Jack asked sharply.
"I mean, I think I'm the fa er, other parent"
"Oh...! Oh Christ, Danny, what're we going to do?"
"Ah... well, I'm thinking we should be gone from here P.D.Q. before the cavalry arrives..."
"Er - Yeah. Wanna hand up?"
"No. I'm good, thanks."
Daniel opened the door and found himself facing half a dozen S.F.s with MP5s leveled at him.
"Stand aside, Doctor Jackson," Captain Brecker ordered. "Colonel O'Neill, I am authorized to take you into temporary custody until the present situation is resolved."
"Ah, is that really necessary, Captain?" Daniel asked calmly and holding his ground. "The - um - 'situation' as you call it, has already been resolved. Colonel O'Neill is a little unwell and I'm - erm - just taking him back to the infirmary."
"Can't let you do that, sir. My orders are to take the colonel to a holding cell."
"Er yes, but Doctor Fraiser's going to want to see Jack anyway, and it'll be easier for her if we go to the infirmary rather than have her come to him, especially with all the refugees to deal with. If he, er, has another - um - episode, she can sedate him. Okay? You could come with - just to be on the safe side..."
Daniel could see that Brecker was wavering.
"Look, I can clear it with General Hammond if that will make it any easier."
"Just a moment, Doctor Jackson," Brecker conceded.
He radioed Major Lowell, head of base security and updated him.
"The isolation room. Yes sir ... Of course, sir ... We'll provide an escort," he confirmed.
"And would you stop pointing your weapons at us, please," Daniel said crossly. "We're unarmed. What do you think we're going to do...?"