Written for: Faith (gelasius on LJ) who wanted to see a Season 3, 4, or 5 story with an appearance by an Advanced Ally (Tollan, Tok'ra, Asgard, etc)
Notes: Thanks to Captain Tiv over on OS for help with the plot bunny! And also thanks to my Beta's Purpleshrub & Aurora!
Jack sat on the cargo bay floor of the teltak, and once again broke down his P90 as he angrily reviewed the events of the last few days. A Tok'ra spy had gone missing, and the SGC had been asked for help. Jack would have been happy to tell them just where they could take that request; the trouble was, the spy was none other than Charlie, the little boy created by an alien race to warn the SGC of an impending attack. The boy had been sent to the Tok'ra to save his life but of course it wasn't that simple. With the Tok'ra, nothing was ever simple.
He seethed internally, replaying what Anise had told them – Charlie and Mil'a, his snake, were the logical choices for this mission. The Goa'uld that they wanted to spy on was one that took children on as a host and who also liked to surround himself with other Goa'ulded children. Charlie's mission was to find out why the snake had suddenly began to break off all ties with his fellow system lords, then report to his findings to the Tok'ra high council. He was several weeks past due to return, and the Tok'ra felt it important enough to find out what had happened. Of course, they didn't have any other operatives to spare, so that's where SG1 came in. Their mission objective was simple enough – to locate the boy and extract him.
So here they were, waiting to sneak into the stronghold of a snake playing at being a boy-god, one of Hathor's brats, according to Daniel. Damn, but he was glad that bitch was dead, frozen and shattered to pieces, good and dead and never able to make more baby snakes. He'd lost count as to how many times he'd disassembled and reassembled his weapon, trying to keep his anger at bay as he kept turning over the same thoughts in his head. He was angry that the Tok'ra would put a child in danger like this and he didn't care that Charlie had a four hundred year old snake in his head for company, he was still a kid. Damn it all to hell; it was just like Charlie's mother. She created him just to use him, and now the Tok'ra were doing the same thing – they saved him just to use him. And what made it worse was that it had been his call that put Charlie in this position in the first place. He'd trusted Jacob, and he desperately wanted the boy to grow up. He had not considered the consequences of a successful blending and what his life would be like with the Tok'ra.
"We're making our final approach," Daniel said quietly at the entrance.
Jack nodded as he stood, putting the last piece together on his weapon. He followed Daniel out to join the others in the front of the ship.
"Plan still a go?" he asked the Tok'ra piloting the ship.
"Nothing has changed. I will drop you off, then remain in orbit around this planets moon for twelve hours. I will then return here to pick you up."
"Alrighty then, kids. We all packed up and ready to go?"
"Yes sir," Sam answered as she also stood up, adjusting her vest. Daniel nodded and Teal'c merely tilted his head.
"Then let's get to it,"
The walk was rough going, taking a bit longer than the four hours they had estimated due to wet weather. By the time they had approached the stronghold they were cold and wet. The structure was imposing. A thick stone wall surrounded it, sheltering smaller structures within the walls.
Outside of the walls were stands of trees and small huts scattered here and there. They observed the comings and goings for awhile as they determined the best place of entry. There were two main entrances, one through the stone wall then another leading into the main building itself. Both were guarded by several armed Jaffa.
"What's up with those guys in the robes? The Jaffa aren't giving them a second look," Jack asked quietly.
"Those are servants, O'Neill. They live in the shadow of those they serve and spend most of their time tending to those inside. They are beneath notice," Teal'c answered confidently.
"I think I should go inside there and take a look," Daniel said after a moment.
"What?" Jack asked in disbelief.
"Teal'c just said, they don't pay attention to any of the servants. I can do that," and he gestured to a group of buildings clustered together, "Steal one of those robes and walk right on in." he said, offering Jack a half grin.
"I don't like it. One of us should go with you."
"Well, Teal'c is the only one besides me that can speak Goa'uld but I don't think he looks much like a servant. Besides, the tattoo is a dead giveaway," Daniel said as he stood, pulling off his pack and shrugging out of his vest, "It'll be fine…I know how to grovel with the best of them," he said, smiling in a way that Jack supposed was reassuring. He took a breath to argue, and then let it out as a slight sigh, noting the look of determination on Daniel's face and ultimately agreeing with him.
"Fine. But in and out, Daniel, or we're going in blasting, you got that? You got thirty minutes," Jack said with deadly intent.
"Got it," Daniel said with a nod as he checked his sidearm and tucked an extra clip into his shirt.
"Be careful Daniel," Sam said, reaching out to touch his shoulder, and he nodded.
They watched as Daniel slipped out of the trees towards the back of a small hut. A few minutes later, Jack watched as a robed man who carried himself like Daniel made his way towards the castle. Jack held his breath as he watched Daniel approach the first set of guards, watched as he bowed and entered the compound. One down, he thought to himself and then shifted slightly as he saw Daniel just as easily enter the palace with no questions asked.
Daniel followed along with the first group of servants he found himself in, keeping his head low as he tried his best to look around. In no time, he found himself in the kitchen, where a large tray of food was pressed into his hands and he was shoved out a side door. He pretended to know what he was doing as he followed along with others who also carried trays.
As he walked, he tried to memorize his path and was momentarily taken aback when he realized he had stepped into what amounted to an indoor courtyard. Dozens of children were gathered in the center of the open space; some of them played games and others danced.
They were all barefoot, dressed in short tunics, and he walked past them, moving in front of a raised platform. There he saw one child lounging on a divan, watching the others at play. His hair was a mass of dark curls, his eyes lined by kohl and he wore a golden circlet on his brow, keeping the hair from his eyes. This must be the Goa'uld Ihy, Daniel thought. The food and celebration suddenly made sense, as Ihy was traditionally a deity connected with music, food and drink.
He lowered his eyes as the Goa'uld turned to speak quietly to a Jaffa, and kept them downcast as he hurried to the table and set down his burden, moving now to follow the others out of the courtyard. Suddenly, Ihy clapped his hands, and everyone, including the servants, stopped in their tracks and faced the platform. The Goa'uld's gaze swept around the room, and Daniel wildly wondered if he'd been spotted, but Ihy scarcely glanced his way. He clapped his hands again and everyone immediately dropped down to their knees, heads bowed low to the ground. Daniel was a split second too slow as he dropped down too, pressing his face against the floor in imitation of the others, hoping no one had noticed his slowness.
Moments later he heard the telltale sound of Jaffa's booted feet on the floor, and he watched in his peripheral vision as they dragged someone between them. The prisoner offered no resistance and fell to his knees before Ihy.
"Spy, have you reconsidered my offer?" Ihy's voice was distorted by the symbiote within, yet he still managed to sound young and pre-pubescent; a disturbing combination.
"I am your loyal servant. Please master, forgive me for my transgression, I did not intend any harm. I merely wished to further our cause--" His plea was interrupted by a scream as the Jaffa applied a pain stick to his back. Daniel fought back a shudder and the urge to step in, because while the voice that spoke was most definitely that of a Goa'uld, the screams were those of a child.
Daniel dared to lift his gaze and he froze, realizing with horror that it was Charlie. Oh God, how glad he was that he had convinced Jack to let him go by himself. He clenched his fist tightly, and looked down, staring at the floor as he tried to block out the sounds of screaming.
"What Goa'uld do you serve?"
"My lord, I serve only you," Daniel heard Charlie's breathless answer.
"Lies!" and again more screams until it became eerily silent. Daniel dared another quick look and saw Ihy standing in front of Charlie with his hand outstretched; a hand which held a ribbon device. Daniel shuddered inwardly, remembering the pain that caused and turned his gaze down to stare at the floor, once again grateful that Jack wasn't here.
Daniel eventually lost track of time, but finally he heard the Jaffa walking out, the metallic sound of their boots almost masking the pained whimpers of the child they dragged with them. Another clap of hands and the servants stood. He hopped to his feet and followed them out; thankful that they were taking the same passageway the Jaffa had taken. The Jaffa turned down one corridor and the servants continued on, presumably back to the kitchens. Daniel hung back until he was behind the others, then double-backed to see if he could catch up with the Jaffa. He saw them disappear down some stairs, and he lingered in a darkened corner until he saw the Jaffa return and disappear down the hallway.
He carefully followed the spiral staircase down into a darkened hallway. Cocky bastard, Daniel thought to himself of the Goa'uld as no guards were left posted. Daniel walked down a few corridors, until he came across several locked doors, with bars across them. He peered into each one until he found one with a small body huddled on the floor. He tried the handle, but it was locked. He whispered, "Charlie? Charlie, I need you to wake up." He cursed softly under his breath when the boy did not stir. "Mil'a?" he asked, but again no response. He quietly made his way back up the stairs and out of the building to rejoin SG1.
"Dammit Daniel, what the hell took you so long?" Jack whispered, his expression fierce.
"I ran into the head Goa'uld…Ihy," he said as he glanced at Teal'c.
"He's here?" Jack frowned, understandably upset. "Godamn Tok'ra! Why don't they ever tell us these things?"
"Sir, they might not have known," Carter said.
"No Carter, do NOT try and fix this for them. If they didn't know, they should have said so!" he spat out, angry and turned to Teal'c, "What can we expect in terms of guards now?"
"Ihy will be very well protected, but it is possible that the bulk of his forces are elsewhere. He is known to have several planets under his rule."
"Daniel, what did you see?"
"He's got a least two, maybe three dozen Jaffa that I saw inside. I'm not sure if there's more. But I did find Charlie."
"Yeah…he's locked up inside a cell," he watched as Jack's face clouded and he hesitated only a moment before adding, "They've been torturing him. I couldn't get him to respond to me, but I'm pretty sure he's still alive."
"Yeah. Looks like he'd been made, but I don't think they know he's Tok'ra. At least, they didn't ask him about the Tok'ra when they were uh…asking him."
"Huh…well, that works for us, I guess." Jack took a deep breath, thinking for a moment.
"The Goa'uld Ihy is known for his arrogance. He will believe himself safe on this planet. I do not believe there will be many more Jaffa than we have previously observed," Teal'c offered.
Jack considered what Teal'c said and quickly came to a decision.
"Alright, Teal'c and Carter, you can plant some C4 up on that ridge-" he said as he gestured with his hands. Covered in trees, the ridge was several kilometers away, overlooking the stronghold.
"A diversion. You intend to accompany Daniel Jackson to retrieve the Tok'ra?" Teal'c finished for him.
"You got it. Give us thirty minutes before you blow it and then I want the two of you to get the hell out of there. With any luck, we should be able to walk out of that place with no one the wiser and meet up with you at the pickup point."
"You think it's going to be that easy?" Daniel asked doubtfully.
"You got any better ideas?" Jack asked.
"Yeah..no, not really."
"Well sir…no, me neither."
"I do not. I would suggest however, that Major Carter and myself wait for you, to provide cover in the event the Jaffa are alerted to your actions."
"Teal'c, you and Carter aren't going to particularly be of any help if those Jaffa get on our ass. You'd never make it back here in time and I don't want either of you to go up there on your own."
"Sir," she began to protest but Jack held up a hand.
"No, if we don't get there in time, you guys go back with the Tok'ra and tell the General the mission was a wash."
"Yes sir," Carter said reluctantly.
"Alright Daniel, how about you and me go find me some of those spiffy robes like you're wearing."
Jack and Daniel followed a group of servants into the palace and made their way towards the kitchens and Jack marveled at how easy it was to get inside. They quickly made their way down to the dungeon and Daniel directed them to the cell that held Charlie. Luckily, the boy was still there, though he had not moved from the position he was in when Daniel first saw him.
As Daniel stood watch by the main entrance, Jack applied an explosive compound to the door and blew the lock. He swung open the door and knelt by the boy, gently turning him over. He saw a trail of dried blood from his nose and one of his ears and thought they must have used a ribbon device on him. Daniel hadn't mentioned that.
"Charlie?" he whispered, patting the boy on his cheek until eyelids fluttered open.
"Colonel O'Neill?" the boy asked in a small voice, sounding very much like a snake.
"Let me talk to Charlie," Jack demanded as he felt anger flow through him.
"I cannot. He is asleep…I would not subject him to this place," Mil'a replied. Jack stared at him, searching his face to see if he could find any sign of Charlie. In moments, he felt some peace at the idea that Charlie had not been exposed to this.
"Fine. Think you can walk?"
"I have healed most of the serious injuries," the Tok'ra said, sitting up carefully. "Did my people send you?" he asked.
"Yeah, something like that. We need to hurry." Jack put an arm under the boy's shoulders and helped him walk as he heard the first of several explosions – Sam and Teal'c providing the diversion they needed to escape. The sounds of running feet and screams in the distance told Jack their countdown had started.
"We cannot leave…we must destroy Ihy's lab," Mil'a said as he pulled away from Jack.
"What's the hold up?" Daniel whispered as he peeked through the door, and then approached them. Jack gestured for him to be quiet.
"My mission was to spy on Ihy, to see why he suddenly broke all ties to the Goa'uld. I found out that his scientists have developed a poison that can kill any human that has reached puberty. He intends to strike one stronghold at a time to subvert the surviving population of children."
"But they're just kids," Jack said.
"He may be small Jack, but he's still as much of a megalomaniac as the other Goau'ld," Daniel said with certainty.
"He intends to set himself up as the ultimate father figure to an entire generation of future Jaffa," Mil'a said.
"Damn," Jack cursed under his breath, glancing up at Daniel then back at Charlie.
"So you understand we cannot escape until we destroy his work."
"What's to prevent him from starting over?" Daniel asked.
"My capture was a direct result of removing that possibility," Mil'a said, with haunted eyes.
"You killed his scientists?" Jack asked, eyes narrowing suspiciously.
"Yes. Unfortunately I was caught before I could complete my mission. They believe me complicit but not the actual culprit."
Jack sighed and scrubbed a hand through his hair. "You know how to get to the lab from here?" he asked.
"I believe so. Are you armed?"
"Then come, we must go up the stairs," the boy said, leaning heavily on Jack.
The laboratory was as easy to get into as the stronghold itself and Jack began to wonder when their luck was going to run out. Ihy, in his arrogance, had not changed the security codes that had been assigned to Mil'a. He helped the boy move to a terminal and watched as he used the interface. Daniel hovered near the door, keeping watch.
"I have set the self destruct for the facility. We must leave now as everything contained within the lab walls will be destroyed." He stood, then stumbled and Jack held out a hand to steady him.
"You ok?" he asked, reaching out a hand to steady the boy.
"I guess I'm not as healed as I thought I was," he said tiredly as he leaned against Jack. Daniel took point as Jack helped Mil'a walk.
The explosion from inside the stronghold provided the perfect diversion as dozens of servants poured out, terrified that they were being attacked from within. The trio made their way quickly to the line of trees on the east side of the stronghold and Jack was grateful their luck was still holding. He hoped that Sam and Teal'c were already well on their way back to the pickup point.
After about twenty minutes or so, it became clear that the Jaffa had fanned out and were searching all of the woods nearby, not just the area where the explosions came from. Jack and Daniel had traded off helping the boy walk as they tried to avoid Jaffa patrols. Mil'a seemed to get weaker with every step, his exhaustion slowing him down and Charlie had yet to make an appearance, for which Jack was profoundly grateful. When it was clear that Mil'a was more stumbling than walking, Daniel hoisted him up over his shoulders and continued walking.
Several hours passed. They'd paused for a water break and Daniel was drinking deeply from his canteen, sweat pouring from his face. He watched as Jack checked Charlie's pulse.
"How's he doing?"
"Asleep, I think. It's kinda hard to say but I think he looks better than he did."
"That's good. How long do you think the Jaffa are going to be out here?"
"Once they find out he's missing, I think it's safe to say they'll be out here indefinitely."
Daniel grimaced, putting away his canteen and wiped his brow with his hand. "I hope Sam and Teal'c are ok."
"I'm sure they're fine. Probably pissed at us for not being where we're supposed to be."
"You ready to go?" Jack asked.
Daniel nodded and bent down to pick up Charlie once again, but before he could, the boy opened his eyes.
"I am feeling better now, Dr. Jackson. I think I can walk on my own."
"You sure?" and Mil'a nodded so instead Daniel offered him a hand up. He stood, tested his legs for a minute then smiled, looking for all the world like a little boy.
"Let's get a move on."
Daniel walked close to Mil'a, so he was able to reach out when the boy stumbled and fell to his knees. As he reached down to help him up, the boy looked up, and his eyes widened in surprise.
"Look out!" he shouted. Daniel whirled, pulling out his sidearm as he saw the Jaffa point his staff weapon. But he wasn't quick enough; the staff discharged and caught Daniel in the upper arm. The force of the blow pushed him backwards, and he fell hard.
Jack swore under his breath, leveled his weapon and shot, watching as the Jaffa fell forward on his face.
Mil'a crawled over to Daniel, who was writhing on the ground, clutching his arm.
"Oh God!" he hissed through clenched teeth as the boy reached out to touch the wound, trying to stop the bleeding.
Jack quickly surveyed the area, looking for more Jaffa. Finding none, he knelt down next to Daniel, taking over from Charlie. He pulled a pressure bandage from his vest pocket and did a quick job of wrapping the worst of it, grimacing as Daniel fought to remain silent. He tucked the arm close to Daniel's body and used his belt as a temporary sling to immobilize it. He patted Daniel's cheek softly to signal that he was done.
"Can you walk?" Jack asked quietly. Daniel nodded, face pale, and Jack helped him stand. Despite his assurance, Daniel listed to one side, panting as he fought to control the pain, and Jack knew he was going to have to help him walk.
"Charlie, you doing ok?" Jack asked as he slipped an arm behind Daniel's back and slung his good arm over his shoulder.
"I am fine, Colonel O'Neill. I believe we need to hurry as the weapons fire will surely call attention to us. Perhaps you should give me his weapon," Mil'a suggested. Jack balked at that, disturbed deep down at the idea of giving a child a gun. But the look on Mil'a face and the sound of his voice reminded Jack that this was no child and that they had no choice. He was going to have to help Daniel walk and that limited his ability to shoot effectively.
Silently, he slipped Daniel's sidearm out of his holster and handed it to the Tok'ra who reached for it with hands still covered in Daniel's blood. His own hand trembled and Jack clamped down hard on his emotions. He knew he'd have nightmares about this for a long time, but only after this mission was over. Right now, he needed to help Daniel stand so they could resume their trek.
About another hour into their walk, Jack's radio crackled as Sam reported in.
"Major, I thought I gave you an order," he responded.
"Yes sir…we ran into several Jaffa and thought it best to lead them on a bit of a wild goose chase. We saw you from our position up on the north ridge about an hour ago. Teal'c thinks we'll catch up to you in about another half hour."
"Understood," Jack said.
They continued to walk in silence and Jack noticed that Daniel had his eyes half closed, as he concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. Jack purposefully slowed his steps, taking the chance that Jaffa were not nearby. They walked for an hour until Jack heard sounds coming from behind them.
"Sir!" Sam called out, grinning as she pushed her way through a heavy growth of trees, Teal'c close behind her. She sobered immediately on noticing Daniel's condition.
She helped Jack settle Daniel down on the ground and began to check out the injury. She pulled off the bandage and saw the bloody wound, almost cauterized but still oozing. She pursed her lips as she began cutting away the cloth.
"Daniel, I'll give you something for the pain as soon as I'm done here, ok?" Daniel groaned and bit his lip as she adjusted his arm, and she felt something give. She muttered a curse then an apology to Daniel.
"Sir, I think his arm is broken," she looked up at Jack, gesturing to Daniel. She worked on pouring disinfectant on his arm and winced as Daniel kicked his leg out, suppressing the pain.
"What? I didn't think he fell on it," he glanced over at Mil'a who had seen it happen.
"There are times the force of a staff blast is enough to shatter bone," Mil'a said.
Jack turned to look at Teal'c, who nodded his agreement. "Shit. How much more time before that ship gets back here to pick us up?" he asked.
"The ship will be here in less than two hours. It will take us longer than that to get there."
"Yeah Teal'c, tell me something I don't already know," he sighed as he turned to look at Daniel, watching as Sam worked on his arm. Jack had considered rigging a stretcher to carry him so that he wouldn't have to walk, but either way, the going was going to be too slow.
"Sir, I'm going to need to help here stabilizing his arm," Sam said as she injected Daniel with some morphine for the pain. They waited a few minutes, long enough for the medication to work before Jack helped Daniel sit up and held him steady as Sam gently splinted his upper arm, applying several pressure bandages as she worked. Then she tucked his arm against his chest and wrapped it so it was effectively immobilized.
"That's the best I can do sir, not knowing how bad it is. I gave him some antibiotics because his temperature is slightly raised. He lost a lot of fluid due to the burn, but I think he's okay for now."
Jack grunted and then gently nudged Daniel.
"Daniel, we're going to need you to walk again, alright?"
Daniel merely nodded, eyes half closed as Jack helped him stand. They made better time than they had expected, but still, they missed their ride by an hour.
As evening progressed, Mil'a watched as the team took turns securing the camp and caring for Daniel, who had finally lost consciousness. He remembered how Jack had walked over to him and asked for the gun back, his eyes haunted as he waited with outstretched hand for Mil'a to pass the weapon over. He had meant to protest, but Charlie had insisted this was for the best. It was not the first time he and his host had not seen eye to eye on something and now it seemed the boy had more to do.
"Jack?" he asked in a little boy's voice.
Jack looked up and frowned, moving to stand next to him.
"Charlie?" he asked suspiciously.
"It's me Jack. Mil'a told me it was ok to wake up now. He…he doesn't want me to tell you, but I think I should. I want to help."
"Tell me what?" he asked quietly as he knelt before the boy.
"He doesn't want me to go back there…he's afraid for me…but," he hesitated, "But we know that Ihy keeps a ship in there."
"If we could get to the ship, we could fly away, couldn't we? I can lead you there" he said, voice trembling slightly.
Jack glanced at Teal'c who tilted his head.
"We could steal the ship under the cover of darkness, return here and pick the others up," Teal'c offered.
"Where is it? How hard is it to get to it? Dammit," Jack cursed as he realized the enormity of what they would have to accomplish to even get back inside the stronghold. Jaffa patrols were still out and about the area and Teal'c had observed more Jaffa walking in from nearby villages. They were running out of options. He gestured to Sam and Teal'c and they put their heads together to try and work out a plan.
Jacob was weary, having just completed another mission, successful this time. He'd come back with some Intel that gave the Tok'ra just enough to keep them ahead of the Goa'uld. He hated this constant running and hiding, but Selmak urged caution when he spoke to the council. He was distressed to find out that Mila's and Charlie's mission had not gone well and was not surprised to hear that SG1 had volunteered to rescue the boy. The council was in session and he waited impatiently to speak to Anise to find out what had happened.
"What's the latest news with SG1?" he asked.
"I wish to offer my condolences, Jacob. We fear that SG1 was not successful in their mission objective."
"What do you mean? Don't you know for sure?"
"There were several explosions near and inside Ihy's stronghold. Feymier had no choice but to break orbit and return to us as the Jaffa had begun to launch their ships."
"What? I can't believe I'm hearing this. You left SG1 and the boy behind?" Jacob's angry question was shared by the normally coolheaded Selmak.
"Selmak is well aware that we can no longer risk any more of our fellow Tok'ra as we once did. Our numbers diminish more and more each day, especially since we allied with the Tauri. They understood and accepted the risks, Jacob. We did not just leave them behind."
"You left one of our own behind. Or doesn't he count?"
"You know that Mil'a is well loved and respected member of the council. He will be missed, but he too understood the risks."
Angrily, Jacob turned around and walked out. He knew what he had to do. He just prayed he wasn't too late. For once, Selmak stayed quiet and let Jacob work through his anger alone.
The ground was still wet from the rain that had effectively kept them trapped for a full day. They had managed to build something of a shelter to keep the worst of the water off of Daniel and they huddled underneath their ponchos for the better part of that first day. Thanks to the painkillers Sam was giving him, Daniel remained unconscious throughout most of that time, waking only to eat and drink what he could stomach.
One good thing came of all that rain; Charlie had time to describe the route to them, so they had a pretty good idea how to reach the ship. He was to stay behind with Sam and Daniel. Mil'a had approached him shortly before leaving to thank him for not putting the boy in danger – now that he was awake, he desperately wanted to help in any way he could and it was hard for the Tok'ra to convince him that his safety was paramount.
"I don't like it Sir…" Carter said once again as she passed him her extra clips of ammunition.
"I know Carter, but it's not like we've got a whole hell of a lot of choice here." He glanced over at the sleeping Daniel, glad he was still out of it, and then over at Charlie, deeply asleep as well.
"But Sir…" she tried once again, "What happens if you don't make it?"
"Damnit Carter, will you just stop with the negativity? We stay here, Daniel dies and probably us too, eventually. We do this, we have a 50-50 chance of getting out of here alive."
"Odds are less than that Sir," he heard her murmur under her breath, but she turned away at the sound of Daniel moaning softly in his sleep.
He placed a hand on her shoulder, telling her quietly, "Failure's just not going to be an option, you got that?"
"Yes sir," she said as she prepared another morphine injection for Daniel.
Jack and Teal'c stood up, adjusted the packs onto their backs, and left without looking back.
After several hours, Sam was startled by the sound of footsteps approaching. She quickly raised her weapon and prepared to fire.
"Sam?" A voice called out softly.
Sam frowned, squinting her eyes against the darkness and called out just as softly, "Who's there?"
Another rustle and a figure appeared from within the trees.
"Dad?" she asked incredulously, lowering her weapon only when he smiled broadly at her.
"How's it going, kid?"
"Oh God, Dad! I can't believe you're here!" She said as she rushed to him, and he folded her up into a hug.
"Selmak?" a sleepy sounding voice asked from their left as Charlie sat up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "I don't understand…the Tok'ra council wouldn't approve-"
"Hey kid, let's just say the Tok'ra council and I had a bit of a disagreement." A pained moan caught Sam's attention, and she let go of her father and moved back to Daniel's side.
"Please tell me you've got a healing device with you."
"On the ship." He said as he approached and knelt down next to Daniel. "What's wrong with him?'
"Staff blast to his arm…shattered the bone, we think. He's got some bad burns and an infection. She reached for Daniel's fingers, holding them lightly in her hand. "I think he's got circulation problems too…his hand is always cold."
"How long has he been like this?"
"Today makes the second day," she said as she prepared another syringe. "This is the last of the pain killers, "she remarked.
"I parked right where you guys were supposed to meet Feymier. Where are Jack and Teal'c?"
"Oh God…they went back to try and steal a ship…" She quickly reached for her radio and called into it, angry at herself for letting her exhaustion dull her reactions.
"Col. O'Neill, come in sir. Teal'c?" she paused before trying again. She flicked a worried glance to her father, murmuring, "They only left a few hours ago…they couldn't have gotten very far."
Still waiting, she absently tucked the blanket up over Daniel's shoulders and called out again. This time her radio cracked.
"What's going on, Major?"
"Sir, you and Teal'c need to come back. My dad's here. His ship is at the pickup point. We just have to walk there."
"Jacob? Well, talk about great timing. The pair of you get Daniel back to the ship. We've got a bit of a situation here and ah…we'll get back to you as soon as we can. He got that healing thing to fix Daniel up with?"
"Yes sir…sir, what's wrong?" She asked.
"Just got a bit of a Jaffa problem. Nothing to worry about. T and I are just laying low until the patrol wanders off. You guys get to it. We'll report back in an hour."
"Ok sir. Be careful." She turned to her father then, resting a hand lightly on Daniel's head. "Dad, it's not going to be easy getting Daniel back to the ship, unless you want to get the device and heal him here?"
Jacob shook his head.
"No, we'd better take him to the ship, it's safer that way. Can he walk at all?"
"Probably…though he's going to need some help."
Jacob nodded, then turned to talk quietly to the boy who had watched the exchange with wide eyes, surprise still showing clearly on his face.
"Does it surprise you this much that we Tauri don't abandon our children?"
Charlie ducked his head, perhaps in shame and Jacob sighed. He reached out a hand to touch the boy's chin.
"Are you alright?" A nod was his only response. Jacob ruffled the boy's hair, knowing the boy would enjoy the contact even as the Tok'ra would feel embarrassed by it. He stood and moved back over to Sam as she tried coaxing Daniel awake. She helped him sit up and Jacob slipped in beside him, supporting him.
"Hey Daniel, we're going to take a little trip. Now, you're going to need to let us help you up. Ready?"
Daniel nodded, bleary eyed and confused. He groaned deeply as they lifted him into a standing position. Jacob nodded to Sam, telling her, "Alright kid, let's get this show on the road."
Sam took point, Charlie behind her and Jacob, supporting Daniel, trailing behind them both.
"Where…where's Jack?" Daniel finally had the presence of mind to ask as they approached their goal.
"He'll be along in a bit, Danny. Don't worry about it. I'm going to fix you up good as new as soon as we get back to the ship." Jacob worried, feeling the fever raging in the young man's body. He knew this would have to be taken in several stages…first killing the infection and then working on the arm. There were limits to what the healing device could do, and Jacob hoped that it would be enough…not only to save Daniel's life, but to save his arm.
"Goddamn Tok'ra," Jack cursed once again as he pressed himself against the tree he used for shelter, praying for rain or something to get these damn Jaffa off their tails.
"It is indeed a Tok'ra who has come to rescue us from this planet, O'Neill," Teal'c reminded him.
"Well yeah, but its no thanks to the Tok'ra that we're in this mess to begin with," he growled, wiping the sweat from his face.
"The Jaffa patrols lessen…They too feel the weather changing."
"Thank God for small favors." he said and then the sky opened up. He added the planet and its fucked up weather along with the Jaffa and Goa'ulds who take kids on as hosts to his litany of curses as he and Teal'c carefully picked their way through the veritable monsoon back to the original rendezvous place.
"Carter?" he radioed.
"We're about five minutes from your position. How's it going?"
"My dad and Charlie are taking turns fixing Daniel up, Sir. The arm's turned out to be a bit tricky."
"Alright. See you in a bit."
When they reached the ship, he pulled off his soaked jacket and shirt, taking the dry shirts Sam offered him and Teal'c. He pulled it over his head and made a b-line for where he saw Charlie working the healing device on Daniel. Daniel looked a lot better now than the last time he saw him, his face no longer looked so pale, though he still had dark circles under his eyes.
"How come he's asleep?" Jack asked.
"I'm not asleep Jack…I'm just trying really hard not to pay attention to what they're doing to me. I can feel the bone grow back and it's just really…weird." Daniel said as he cracked an eye open to look at him.
Jack grinned, even though he winced at the thought and fought back a shudder.
"You took long enough to get here," Daniel complained, closing his eyes again.
"Sorry…T and I decided to take the scenic route back."
Satisfied his friend would be fine, Jack turned to Jacob. "Hey, think you can get us the hell out of here? I'm past sick of this place."
"Good to see you too, Jack. And you're welcome, by the way." Jacob turned to Teal'c and offered him a smile.
"You want to do the honors?"
"It will be my pleasure," Teal'c said as he moved towards the pilot seat, Major Carter joining him.
Jack sat down close to them and watched them work. He saw Charlie falter and sway slightly, Jacob supporting him.
"Hey, he alright?" Jack asked quickly, unable to fight the concern he felt.
"I…this is careful work…the bone needs to be re-grown, just so…" Mil'a said as he took a few deep breaths.
"I can take over from here," Jacob said, helping the boy to his feet.
Charlie stood, looking blankly around for a moment before his eyes settled on Jack. Jack patted the space next to him and watched as he took him up on the offer.
The boy rested his head against Jack's shoulder.
"I think they forget."
"The Tok'ra. I think they forget that this is just as important."
"You've lost me, kid."
"This…" he gestured one hand towards Daniel and Jacob, then over to where Teal'c and Carter were, "Helping others is important and we shouldn't ever forget that. Thank you for showing Mil'a…he never could understand what Mother had taught me."
Jack bit back the harsh words, accusing words he wanted to tell the snake inside the kid, for putting him in danger and for subjecting him to this nightmare. But he knew that he couldn't, because despite it all, the snake did have Charlie's best interest at heart. Charlie was created to help, to warn Earth of impending danger. It was in his nature and it made sense that he'd jump at the chance to help on this mission. He gave the snake a lot of credit for sheltering the boy, certainly more than his 'mother' ever had. Sense of family might be something new to Mil'a, but it was certainly something he was learning and learning well.
Jack reached an arm and pulled the boy in close for a hug, rubbing his shoulder.
"Anytime kid, anytime."