Off The Edge Of My Sorrows
Off The Edge Of My Sorrows Written by Yum@
Comments? Write to us at yumadesign@aol.com

Daniel

"This letter is to Lieutenant Barber's family, explaining that he died in the service of his country. I've spent the last two hours on it. I can't tell them anything about how he died or anything about the work he did here. Only that he's gone. Do you get the point?"

Jack's voice came sharply from the right of me. "Yes, sir! He does."

General Hammond only gave me a glance and I saw his irritation before he tossed his last order to Jack instead. "Get him out of here."

His words rung in my ears. At the time, I couldn't even begin to comprehend the angry look Jack shot me, or the weary sounding voice the general replied with. But sitting here, in the dark, alone in my home, their words reverberated back to me like a plucked wire snapping against my head. But I couldn't feel anger- not towards them, noteven at myself. All I felt was...empty, confused, drifting away like reality was severed from me.

How could I...

"You know it is beyond my comprehension how anybody like yourself, who has so much power, can miss the point entirely!"

My own words shot back at me like an arrow.

With a soft moan, I hunched forward on the couch. How did I...how could I have said all those things?

Hands twitching, my body shook for some reason, vibrating with the same words screaming in my mind. I have to go back. I have to go back. Part of me wonders why I am so insistent. The other part of me is telling it to go to hell.

What's wrong with me?

I stared at my living room like I had for the past hour or so. Since I was ordered to go home and get some rest, I'd caught a ride with one of the Airmen. I was going to drive myself, heading for my office, ignoring Jack as he jogged up to me- probably to lecture me on my words with the General. I'd hurriedly reached for my jacket, the one dumped over a chair since the day I'd left with SG-5, and snatched my briefcase and my keys to make a fast getaway. I didn't have the time or energy to deal with Jack right then, or listen to whatever he had to say, but after dropping my car keys for the third time, Jack snagged them from me and briskly picked up my office phone and got me a ride. He gave me a look which told me to shut the hell up and not even try to protest. So I sat there with a foul looking face, surrounded by all my useless notes which couldn't tell me why the Goa'uld hand device no longer worked. Jack hung up the phone and gruffly told me someone else was going to do the driving and I should just go home for the rest of the day.

It was probably a good thing, too.

I don't think I could have driven home. The roads blurred painfully, twisted when they should have been straight, widened when they were actually narrow. Even as hard as I'd tried to focus, the usual route to reach my apartment was lost to me. So I sat there, ignoring the Airman's humming as he drove, squeezing my hands together to stop myself from screaming at him to be quiet.

This doesn't feel right.

Something was going on. I could sense it, at the edge of my awareness, the only part left not asleep like the rest of my body. Something told me this wasn't normal, this barely suppressed need to...to...I don't even know what it was I needed to do. But I felt tired, yet too strung out to sleep.

I'd staggered into my apartment, swung the door shut with a half hearted nudge with my shoulder and sat down on the couch and watched the sun set, shrouding the living room in complete darkness. And after the sun set, the moon rose, I was still seated, frozen in place on my couch like a carved relief statue out of Petra. Unmoving, just waiting for nature to come in and rip my shell to shreds with erosion, to an unrecognizable pile of dust and rubble that no one would care about as they dig into my corpse to find anything of valu-

...

Where did that come from?

Calm down, Jackson. Now is not the time to apply for a room in Mental Health. You know what happens there, right? People talking to you, but not really saying anything at all. Pity choking you as tangible as a fist around your throat. Just calm...down. It'll be okay. You'll be fine. Just hang in there until tomorrow.

I'm going back tomorrow, back to the light that was too beautiful to even to begin to describe. When my friends go there, they'll see. And they'll understand finally why I needed to go back.

But Barber.

Barber wouldn't be able to see it anymore.

He was dead.

"You know it is beyond my comprehension how anybody like yourself, who has so much power, can miss the point entirely!"

Maybe I am missing the point. Barber's dead. I just don't understand. He was laughing, joking the whole time SG-5 and I were there. When we'd decided we needed the extra week, he'd joked with his CO they were going to have to pay late fees for borrowing me for so long. Even I thought it was funny when Jenkins mimicked Jack stamping an "Overdue" mark on my forehead for when we returned. Barber was still laughing in fact tapping his forehead as he waved goodbye and left to get more supplies and bring back Sam.

How had he suddenly come to throw himself in front of the opening Stargate?

Suicidal. They'd said he was suicidal. I just didn't understand though. How could he be suicidal? He was happy, he was perfectly happy like the rest of us as we examined the light chamber. He hadn't even looked bored like on the first day when I described the text on the walls were similar to the pre-dynastic...pre...

The air stilled all around me. Pre-dynastic what? What was I going to say? I couldn't remember.

"Calm down," I muttered to myself once more and sat up straighter on the couch. I was just tired. I ran a hand through my hair. It felt greasy, filthy. I should have showered again before leaving. Lord knows I probably reeked- disgusting, horrid stench of failure, losing one friend after the other to the Goa'ulds, my wife, my home, stinking of blood and-

Stop it. Stop it!

I pressed the heels of my hands against my shut eyes. God, what was wrong with me! It was like before, in my office, my mind spinning too fast to comprehend or decipher the mystery of the Goa'uld hand device. The artifact was silent, too silent as Teal'c's typing grated my nerves. And Jack's dry comment wasn't helping either. It mocked me, silent, unlike before when it had projected all those scripts on the walls, walls I couldn't get back to until tomorrow. All those writings, telling me things I had yet to translate. Scrolls and scrolls of words mocking me, knowing I couldn't get it to work, to do what I needed. Stupid, utterly-

Stop it!

I'm tired.

That's all.

General Hammond said I looked tired. Makes sense. I hadn't really slept since...

Since...

Since what? Since when?

Oh God, what's wrong with me?

Calm down, Jackson. Calm down. Breathebreathebreathebreathe.

My hands shook as I put them in front of me, clenching them and unclenching them to get myself to focus. Although I couldn't see them since it was so dark. But I knew they were shaking, their shocks coursing all the way up to my arms, rattling even my teeth. I couldn't sit still.

Tired. I'm...tired. That's it. Just go and change, crawl to bed and when you wake up, it'll be time to go back. I took the dinner plate I had set on my coffee table and headed for the kitchen, but it looked so far away. After stumbling a bit, I just tossed the plate, meal, roll and all, onto the dinner table. I'd clean it up later. Or not. I didn't even bother to shower, just kicked off my slacks into the corner of my bedroom, feebly pulled up my sweats, and hobbled over to the bed. With a tug, I yanked out the covers, crawled in the haven of soft darkness and waited for the sun to rise and the new day begin.

* * * * *

I dreamt of voices screaming at me, calling my name, telling me I was too late, too late to do anything. My wife falling over and over again. Her last words reaching me before I could tell her the same. I watched a child grow up to be a boy, a wise boy, a boy I couldn't protect. A boy too far away for me to see, too far away for me to guard. A boy my wife begged me to find and save. And I failed, as I failed her.

Useless. All useless, the ghosts in my dream said.

Spinning, swirling, the white mists surrounded me, reminding me how much more they knew compared to me. Knowledge to win, to defeat the enemy within their grasp and I'm still struggling to even reach for them. I was shown every victory, every loss and they all amounted to the same- the Goa'ulds still out there. I never really won. Because they were still out there. I lost, every single time.

No! I wanted to shout at my demons, arms up as they tried to dig out my heart. No! I haven't lost yet!

Meaningless, they sang. Meaningless. The Goa'ulds lived for centuries, where as I a mere human can only fight with too few years before my own body decay and betray me.

Meaningless.

Useless.

Empty.

For even when I'm gone, they'll still be here.

Meaningless.

One by one, every victory we ever won, shattered into small shards of glass, tumbling into my palms and cutting me. I could only sit there watching my life bleed away, disappearing into a black floor, vacating me and leaving me feeling depleted and empty...

It was the ringing that woke me.

Light scalded my eyelids before I finally opened them. I'd forgotten to close the curtains before going to bed. My alarm clock, another thing I'd forgotten, sat by my end table screaming for my attention as it had for the past hour. I sat up, staring at it but for some reason, its shrill alarm sounded more like sobbing, uncontrollable sobbing.

And I slapped it away.

It died a noisy death, crashing against my dresser, and made a satisfying crunching sound which made up for the throbbing of my now sore hand. The noise was gone.

But the phone. The phone rang over and over again. I never realized how loud it could be, grating in my ears. I sat up grudgingly before I noticed all of my covers were gone, kicked to the floor during my restless sleep.

It rang and rang from outside in my living room. "Daniel! Daniel! Come save me! Save me, too!"

I clapped my hands over my ears. Why was it ringing? What did it want from me?

Something small and tiny inside me was screaming for my attention, too. "Stop, look at what you're doing!"

What was I doing?

I was...losing.

Meaningless.

Useless.

The phone was still screaming. I don't know how, but I managed to stumble out of my bedroom and into the living room, to my counter, and took the phone with two unsteady hands.

"Hello? Daniel? Is that you?"

Someone's voice was calling for me, too. I didn't know who it was. I didn't care. Just one more voice calling for me, demanding something from me I know now I don't have the power to do. I'm only me. Just me. I can't do anything. I've tried, but it's always useless.

I dropped the phone and sank to the floor. My arms flailed uncontrollably until I wrapped them around myself to still the shivers racking my torso. Cold. I'm cold. I shook, arms around myself and I rocked back and forth to generate heat.

Wasn't working. Cold. Why was I cold?

Think, Daniel. Think!

Something was wrong here. Something...Something...

I'm cold. I'm still cold.

Water. Coffee. Make something, do something! And I wouldn't be cold again.

I got up, clawing the walls to straighten out and headed for the kitchen. My head hurt, I was cold, and everything seemed so far away. Couldn't reach.

It came as a shock to me when my hip slammed into the sink. By some luck, I'd reached the kitchen.

Small miracles.

For some reason, it was the saddest thing I'd ever heard. Daniel Jackson, galactic explorer, was finally able to get into his kitchen to make...to make whatever it was he was going to make.

How heroic, how noble.

How pathetic.

Oh God.

I barely was able to keep the pot steady as I filled it with water from the sink. Giant gulps of air didn't stop one pathetic choking gasp from escaping and my entire body heaved with the gesture. Pot on the stove. That's it. Put it there. Turn the fire on. Nice and hot. To fight the cold. To fight the-

The Goa'ulds.

No, no. I mean the cold. Something hot to fight the...

What's wrong with me? This isn't me. It isn't!

Never was, a snide voice said in my head and I gasped.

Who was I kidding?

Bungling around the universe with nothing more than my brains and my prayers to keep me alive. Twenty three languages. What could twenty three languages do to save the universe? Who was I kidding?

Meaningless, the voice whispered in my ear. Useless.

I stumbled out of the kitchen, hands over my ears again. I couldn't think. It hurt to think, because to think meant to remember and I didn't want to remember.

Useless, my voice sang inside. Useless!

Nonono! It couldn't be! I was doing some good. I had to have been doing some good. All those years, all those nights spent on research, on...on everything! The nightmares, the days where life wouldn't relent- they had to be worth something. My work...I couldn't have wasted them. I must have been doing some good. Some good, somewhere. If I wasn't, Jack would have said so. My friends would have said so. They would have kicked me out, left me outside, discarded me. I wouldn't have been with them for so long.

I'm not an outsider! I'm not!

Usssselesssss...

I dropped to my knees, shaking. The mantra I had last night was nothing, just words that couldn't ward off the voices from my dreams, voices I've heard all my life, telling me how alone I was, how no one cared and nor should I. They've all come back to remind me. To remind me I was...

Useless.

The accusation took the last of my strength. I couldn't even lift myself off the floor even to save my life. Arms dangling, head heavy, I couldn't bear to look at my empty apartment any more. The more I tried to think, to rationalize everything that has happened to make it feel right again, the more I feel the same wall of darkness closing in around me. Dark, cold, lonely...

Someone...anyone help me...

I don't know how long I sat there before I had the urge to run far away, to run anywhere but the suffocating confines of this place. I stumbled, staggered, crawled at some point to the door, got as far as the knob and twisted it open when I saw it out of the corner of my eye.

The light.

Streaming out through my balcony window, white columns of energy breaking through the frosted glass and curtains. Light where it was once dark.

There's a hunger inside me. Throbbing, aching, for the light I saw in P4X-347. I'd never seen anything close to it, but the light coming from outside looked like heaven to me.

Nothing. I had nothing left. All that was left was the light, beckoning me, promising me my pain, my confusion would melt away.

I discarded my urge to flee and walked towards it.

Jack

"Maybe I should give him a wake up call, sir?"

"Sounds to me like he could use one."

Wincing, I made the turn on Walker, steering straight for the block of Daniel's apartment.

Daniel, you're walking on thin ice here.

Bad enough he mouthed off at the general. Shocked me right out of my combat boots. Got me to raise my voice sharper than it should have been. But damn if that voice didn't bring back memories.

"The man who would be king."

I remember him dozing off, draped over the throne while I kneeled there all dirty and grubby. And the tone he'd used then, the "I know more than you do, Jack" was as pronounced as it was yesterday. Although, there were a few other things mixed in with it last night. A bit different.

But a shock all the same.

Daniel's a smart guy. He knows it, we know it, but you'll never see him flaunt it in your face. He'll patiently try to explain things to you, sometimes in English if I'm lucky. But hey, at least it isn't any apple and worm analogy like some other brainies I know, right? But back in his office, he didn't have that infamous infinite patience he always carries when it comes to stuff ancient, old or just plain weird. He was one inch closer to biting my head off.

"Maybe it needs new batteries."

Geez, okay, maybe it wasn't one of my better lines, but at least I still had my sense of humor intact. Danny boy looked like he was going to shoot me down with a zat or something. He had that "why do I bother?" expression on his face, the one I usually give, only this time, it was to the fourth power with him.

That wasn't Daniel yesterday.

Of course, Barber's death was a shock to him. He was bounding down the ramp upon his return, all yakky yak yak as usual, well maybe more than usual. The light this, the light that. He went on and one and at first, I really didn't have the heart to interrupt him.

It's been a long time since Daniel actually rambled.

You would think that's a good thing.

But it isn't.

No way.

I think after P3X-888, Daniel sort of tuned down on the enthusiasm bit. I thought maybe he'd just mellowed out, was maybe a bit tired, stressed. But when the silent spell went past the two weeks I'd figured on, and well into a month, I knew something was rotten in Denmark.

Or in Colorado at least.

But then, he got all heroic, "I can save the world by talking" again and beamed up to speak with the alien robot Lotan guy, I figured he got out of his funk all on his own. Great, right? Super.

Wrong.

I cursed as I had to step on the brakes at the unusual traffic I saw before me. Damn. Should have taken the James Lane exit instead. Should have brought a cell phone with me. That way I could at least keep trying to call.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. I was wrong.

I made a face as I saw one of the cars in front of me getting stuck diagonally trying to cut the lane. Great.

This was taking forever.

"You know it is beyond my comprehension how anybody like yourself, who has so much power, can miss the point entirely!"

Damn if that didn't rock me back on my heels. One sharp "Hey!" and I figured he would know when to quit. But it looked like he was only taking a second breath when General Hammond interrupted him and showed him the letter.

Daniel didn't exactly shrink back and stammer his apologies. He stood there, jaw set. You could practically hear the teeth grinding as he stomped away. I only had time to shrug an apology to Hammond for Daniel before taking off after him.

For a guy who hadn't really slept, he sure walked fast.

Didn't bother to wait up for me. Storming past every soldier who was dumb enough not to read the scowl on his face as a "Back off" and got elbowed for it. I caught up with him in time to see his last step into the office falter and him grabbing his jacket off a chair to hide it.

Uh huh. Guy needed sleep all right.

I grabbed his keys after his hands obviously weren't going to cooperate, got him a ride and figured that would be that.

I was thrilled for him. I was. Found something he thought was fascinating, something to write home about, or at least dialing up the Stargate to send a message through. Been a while when the geeky side of him, the archeologist side of him, really got a chance to polish up his tools and get knee deep in dirt.

Before, it was more simply a need for survival.

We went from saving some stranded alien named Marty to having the base in an upheaval when Hammond stepped down. The guy didn't say much about all of it, did his job, went through with the missions, blah blah blah. But it occurred to me it'd been a while since I'd heard him...babble.

I snorted at my own thoughts as I eased up on the brakes as the cars finally began to move. Babble? What an odd word to pin on a linguist.

Daniel does tend to babble though, or at least that's what it sounds like when he rambles on and on about how this thing looks like one thing and means another thing. Enough to make my head spin. Give me wormholes, time loops, and geomagnetic storms any time. Daniel knew way too many words for his own good.

But I relied on the...er...rambling as a gauge on the meter of Jackson Wellness. He talks, he's good, he's quiet, well...

Let's just say I rather have my ears ringing from his rambling than from silence.

After his adventures or should I say misadventures in Chicago, he was a little quiet. Had one or two witty comebacks and all, but other than that, he was silent as a mouse. Couldn't get a squeak out of him about whatever he was studying or translating at the time. He shook out of that particular funk okay. Took a couple of beers, a few insistent phone calls from yours truly, but he came around nicely.

Then...Sha're's kid returned. And he was back to playing a mime again. I was hoping this last mission would have got him back on his feet again. Daniel's not the kind of guy you can just ship off on vacation. His mind works too fast. He needs to be busy in order to be okay. And it seemed to have worked. He looked like he was looking forward to a simple exploration mission with SG-5. Hell, he even remembered the joke I'd made before he left and upped the ante for the bet as he cajoled Carter to come join him. A bet I didn't mind losing if it got him to start laughing again. It was good to see him rambling once more, pouring over some god damn fascinating roc- artifact.

But he was taking it too far.

"You know it is beyond my comprehension how anybody like yourself, who has so much power, can miss the point entirely!"

I sighed, scratched the back of my head as I turned the last corner to get to his place. The sky darkened a bit and started to drizzle. Perfect, just perfect.

"You know it is beyond my comprehension how anybody like yourself, who has so much power, can miss the point entirely!"

What was the matter with the guy? I'd never really heard him talk that way, at least not with the general before. On the arrogance scale, he was head on tied with any Goa'uld I've met. Thank God he didn't have the glowing eyes otherwise it was straight to Isolation with him. I know this...light thing he was describing was fascinating, incredible and...what else did he call it? Oh yeah, amazing, but for crying out loud! Yelling at the man who makes the decisions isn't going to get him anywhere.

He should have known better.

It wasn't like Daniel.

He wouldn't shout back at someone like that.

Nor would he not bother to show up for a mission.

Damn.

Okay, does this mean I'm worried?

No sooner had I gotten out of my jeep, bound across the street for the entrance, and found myself punching the eighth floor button repeatedly before I realized how fast I must have run across to get there.

Okay...guess I'm worried after all.

One quick scan down the hallway and I zeroed in on apartment number three. No sooner had I raised my fist to knock, than I saw the door was not completely shut.

Not good.

"Daniel?"

I was beginning to wish I had the foresight to bring my side arm, all sorts of scenarios were running through my head. One thing which stood out in my head were all the people I'd managed to piss off during my career, especially since I've been in this project. Maybourne was off somewhere getting a tan, but Kinsley, the NID, hell, even Newman and Makepeace. Despite their incarceration, there was always a chance they could pop up for a small cold dish of revenge.

And what better way than by using my friends as the key ingredients?

One reason why I couldn't tell Daniel about my undercover stint. God knows the overeager guy would've wanted to help or worse, my cover could've gotten blown and he'd have been blasted to bits along with it. But I know that alone wouldn't have put a stopper to the targets painted on Daniel. And standing there pushing the door open with just a tap, I was really wishing I'd brought my gun, my rifle, hell, a bazooka if this was what I think it was.

False alarm.

No sooner had I'd stepped into the apartment, than the tingling sensation screaming "Watch out!" was settling to a hum of caution. Place was intact, furniture in order.

Just no archeologist.

I cautiously made my way down the short corridor and saw the phone off the hook. Keys were there, along with his glasses. Okay, obviously he'd come home alright.

So where the hell was he?

The tingling sensation grew to an annoying prickle. Daniel wouldn't leave his door open, my gut argued and I silently agreed. So instead of calling out to him again, I slowly snaked around the shelves, pausing in front of the dining table.

Dinner was still laid out on it. I felt the roll before dropping it back onto the table. Cold, but still soft, so this was a recent meal then. Damn. Kid's been skipping meals again. But it also meant he'd come home, made a dinner, but just hadn't eaten it. And since it was on the table, it meant his meal hadn't been interrupted abruptly.

Good sign, right?

A sharp whistle jerked my eyes forward and I saw the kitchen before me. I'd taken a step forward before I focused on the metal pot, the steam shooting out its spout in a shrill hiss. Just started boiling. Daniel had time to make water, and only recently too. So...he was around here...somewhere.

Slowly, I went through his living room, past the piano and peered through the open doors into the bedroom. It was a mess, but one of those slept in messes. He was here. Obviously okay, right?

Then why the hell was my gut hollering I should have packed my gun?

Frustrated, I thought about the phone behind me. Maybe I should call the base, get some guys over here to check it out. Daniel couldn't have gone far and I didn't like how the place looked despite the lack of chaos. Considering how he was yesterday, I-

Wait a minute.

The balcony doors were open.

The few times I'd been over, Daniel'd always made a point to shut the double doors, complaining how breezy it could get. Jackson didn't do cold very well. Too used to deserts and dry heat to be comfortable dressing in warm layers. Those doors were always shut. Always.

Not good, O'Neill. Not good, at all.

Step by step, I came closer to the partly opened doors and could see the view spreading out before me, the tall buildings and the small lake spanning across the entire window, cut across with the purple rail of the balcony. I came closer and saw a glimpse of flesh colored fingers gripping the balcony rail and I relaxed.

Before I realized the fingers were turned the wrong way, as if the person was standing outside of the-

Shit.

There he was, my wayward archeologist, standing barefoot on less than nine inches worth of concrete ledge, in his sweats, head down towards the ground eight flights below.

Christ, no, Danny. Not you, too.

I gawked at the impossible scene, the one I'd seen in nightmares after bad missions. But damn it, it wasn't a dream, this was real.

Say something, O'Neill. For God's sake, don't just stand there.

"Daniel? What are you doing out here?" That's right. Nice and casual. Yelling out his name wouldn't be good right now. Don't startle him. Watch the hands, make sure they stay on the rail.

Daniel's voice was barely audible above the traffic's noise below. "None of it means anything."

What? I couldn't understand what he was saying. I tried again, nodding back towards his living room. He wasn't looking at me so I risked walking forward a step, off the raised floor, and onto the balcony. "Um...Daniel, w-why don't you come inside here?" Come on, Daniel. Look at me. Look over here, not at the ground. Please.

"I tried." He sounded so tired. His voice cracked. "It just...goes away"

Goes away? What goes away? Keep trying, Jackson. Just keep trying. Don't give up now. Come on...fight whatever it is that's got you here. "Okay...Well, we'll uh..." I was at a loss for words here. This was different than sitting in a dark storage room with a gun pointed at you. There I knew the cause, knew the pain he was suffering. But this...Christ, what was going through his head? Daniel wasn't like this. This wasn't him. Guy didn't go through all that hell and survive just to stand nine inches closer to death. "We'll get it back..." I leaned forward a bit more, but shrank back when I saw his shoulders shake. Shit, what should I say?

"You can't get it back," Daniel retorted sadly. He stilled once more and I leaned forward again cautiously.

"Look..." I said. I wasn't able to keep the desperation out of my voice. Was it like the Machello thing? No, he'd only had the Goa'uld hand device. Was he sick? A disease? "Whatever's wrong, we'll...we'll fix it!" I swear, Daniel. We'll get this right.

His head dropped lower. God, he sounded so hopeless, so resigned. Like he was giving up. "You don't even know what I'm talking about."

"No...no, I don't." I sighed heavily. I wanted to hit the doorframe. What do I say to him? I looked back at his shivering body and literally willed him to turn around. To at least look at me, damn it! I waved my hand. If only I could chance grabbing him without him fighting me. "But...come inside."

I don't know what happened, if he finally snapped out of it on his own or something I said finally filtered in, but he stopped shaking and his head raised. He turned his head, looking over a slumped shoulder at me.

God, Danny.

A single tear was going down his cheek, something he would never normally let anyone see if he could help it. And that alone told me just how little nine inches were from life to death below.

"Jack?" Daniel whispered it in a small voice, but it was enough for me.

Contact.

I took the last step to reach him in one single hop and grabbed his left forearm before he could change his mind and pull away.

Daniel stood there, chest heaving. I think it finally hit him where he was and his breath quickened.

"Yeah," I just said simply. I'm here, Daniel. I tightened my grasp on his arm. He was still looking around and you could see the questions in his eyes. My God, what am I doing here? What's going on? He shivered once more and I drew my arm around and rubbed the other arm.

I've got you, Daniel. I won't let you fall.

Daniel

"Come inside..."

I heard a voice.

It sounded like someone I knew.

Someone who knew me.

Someone who might care.

The light shining down on my face wasn't warm. It paled beside what I'd felt before. And now, it made me feel even emptier, even more colder.

"Come inside."

Who?

Painfully, I turned my head. My eyes ached from tears I couldn't shed, but I felt one burn a trail down my face. My vision blurred as I basked in the light, the poor imitation of what I'd experienced before.

Something wavered out of the corner of my eye, something which solidified to a tall figure, standing there looking at me, beckoning to me to leave the light and go wherever he wanted to take me. My vision sharpened and I saw the graying hair, narrowed eyes of concern and it drew a name.

"Jack?"

In a flash, I felt strength gripping my arm and like a switch, everything blew into focus and I saw-

Oh God.

How? I...oh my God...I was...I'm on...

"Yeah," a deep voice murmured and I felt a hand running up and down my right arm.

Suddenly, the dampness of my sweats soaked through to me. Was it raining before? I was cold and getting colder by the minute. I was...outside? But wasn't I with General Hammond? No, I was home and...the phone rang...I...

"Whoa, easy there, big guy." Jack's reassuring voice filtered through my thoughts and I felt his other arm go around my waist. "Why don't we come inside, okay?"

Inside. Go inside. I wasn't outside, I wasn't alone. Jack was here. But how had he gotten here? I...Why was I outside?

"Just swing your leg over...that's it...easy...easy...just keep your hand on my shoulder. That's it."

I barely had the energy to comply. God, I felt so tired! Jack's hand gripped my clutching one and pried my curled fingers off the rail. I was...standing outside of the rail? Oh God...what was wrong with me? I must be going crazy. No, God no, I couldn't be!

"Easy! Calm down. I got you!"

Jack pulled my hand and placed it on his shoulder. Instinctively, I curled my hand around the solidness of it as I felt myself following his orders, swinging one leg over before he pulled at my waist and heaved me over the railing. The movement was too much and I stiffened, unknowingly squeezing his arm too hard. Jack grunted and we both fell to the floor.

"Shit, you can ease up on the shoulder now, Daniel."

I could have been falling, much further, down to the street. What would have they said? Why was I out here? My head hurt. Was I going...was I going crazy? I wouldn't do this. God there were times I'd really felt like going out here and- But I wouldn't do this. Not to my friends. Not when I knew I'd have them here. I wouldn't do this to them. Jack...

"It's okay. Calm down."

I felt his arm around my shoulders, giving it a squeeze before he hauled me up to my feet again. I wobbled as he guided me back indoors, even taking care to lift me up a bit so I wouldn't trip over the raised step.

Warm air from my apartment scratched through my skin, only reminding me how cold I was before. The room blurred then focused in front of me. I felt so heavy, but I couldn't let Jack take all the weight. I tried to move away from him, only to slam into my piano. The keys screamed out a mangled chime and I clapped my hands over my ears as I staggered away, colliding with something else.

"Jesus. It's only me, Daniel."

I know, Jack. I know.

I felt myself walking, guided by a hand on my back until I was seated on the couch. I shivered once more as I felt Jack walk away. Something clicked and the squealing pitch of a whistle died down. My water. I was making water. I...I was cold. Then I saw the light, I...

God, what was wrong with me?

Jack

Daniel's shaking like a leaf in a storm. It barely registered on him I was leading him to the couch. He lurched once, stumbling away from me and crashed against the piano. The noise proved to be too much for him and he reeled back, hands over ears and banged into me, his shoulder catching me square on the chin as I slouched forward to catch him.

Ouch.

"Jesus," I bit out, resisting the urge to grab my chin. Damn hard head. "It's only me."

"What?" Daniel blinked at me, maybe seeing me for the first time. Forget this. I held him by the elbow, veered him towards the couch and sat him down.

Damn.

He looked so lost, eyes darting back and forth as he tried to make sense of all this. I'll take it as a good sign though. The stunt out on the balcony was just as much a surprise to him as it was to me. I know Daniel, as much as he knows me at times. We've been through a lot of shit separately and together. But he's resilient. Daniel wouldn't do something like this. This wasn't him.

Shaking, shivering, I could literally hear his teeth chattering and his arms go up and around himself, hunching forward.

Okay. He was cold. I could handle that one. I gave him a pat on the shoulder. Doubt he felt it though and went back to the neglected kettle. Shutting the heat off, I grabbed one of those tea bags he had in a jar, tossed it into a clean mug he had on the counter and poured out a steaming stream of water over it. I kept looking back at Daniel. He was still sitting there, looking very, very confused.

"I'm sorry...for being such a headcase!"

Calm down, O'Neill. He's not crazy. Remember the last time? You shoved him into MacKenzie's claws faster than you could say "Kree". Something's doing this to him. Like before. He's not standing on a ledge. You got him back.

Now make sure he stays with you, damn it.

Resolved, I set my jaw and hurried back with the mug. Crouching down in front of him, I pressed it into his hands. I was going to let go and pull back to make a call back to base but his hands shook so much, the tea was sloshing out, scalding him which he didn't even notice. I had to keep my hands over his to make sure the mug stayed up.

"Drink." I put as much of my colonel tone into my voice. I couldn't be Jack. I had to be Colonel O'Neill, get him to listen.

Eyes were still going left and right, arms still shaking. Damn if I knew what was going through his head.

"Daniel, I said drink. Listen to my voice. Come on!"

"I-I..."

You could see he was trying very hard to speak, to say something, but my main concern was to get him to stop shaking. Shock, depression, anxiety- whatever it was, it was making him as unsteady as a loose wire. Swaying toward every breath of wind. He was bound to fall sooner or later- whether off a building, or off his hold on reality.

"Daniel," I said again, as stern as I could be. "Look at me."

"I...I d-didn't...Ja'k..."

I'm here, buddy. I'm right here. I couldn't stop myself and rubbed my palms across his clenched hands, rubbing over the knuckles to get his attention. Weary blue eyes finally lifted up and pinned me.

Help me. Save me. Fix this.

His eyes just bludgeon me with all the pleas. I rocked back on my heels from the assault. God knows where he ever got this faith in me from. As his CO, he'll always second guess me, argue with me, and I can actually live with that...sometimes. But the trust, the faith he has in me, me as in Jack O'Neill, not the colonel, is always humbling and very intimidating.

So I switched back to being just Jack. It's Jack he's calling out for help from, not the colonel. I squeezed his hands around the mug. "Daniel...listen to me. Okay? Do you understand me?"

He gave me a small nod. Good enough. I'd take what I could get.

"I want you to drink this." I raised my hands along with his. He numbly looked down at the mug with an expression saying "How'd that get there?" "Drink it, Daniel. Okay? It'll warm you up. I'm going to go and get you a change of clothes. We'll head back to Cheyenne and-"

Daniel shook his head, slouching forward. Oookay, probably too much information for him. Keep it simple.

I pressed harder on the hands. I think the warmth of the mug finally seeped into him. He wasn't shaking as much, his breathing calmer and his eyes more focused.

"Ja'k?"

There's our boy.

"Here," I said quietly. I looked up at his face and sure enough, his eyes were a little clearer and he was squinting right back at me. I gave him a smile. "Right here."

"I'm...I'm n-not..."

Eh?

"Daniel." I gave his mug a nudge and he finally got the message and unsteadily brought it up to his lips to sip. For the next few seconds, all I heard was the rapid gulping. Either he was dying of thirst, damn, bad choice of words, or he was really, really cold. Could be a little bit of both.

Tea all done, I caught the mug before it tumbled out of his limp hands and set it on the coffee table behind me. Daniel swayed back and forth until I braced my hands on his shoulders. The touch made him look up again.

"Ja'k..."

"Here. Right here, Daniel. Ain't leaving."

"I...I w-wouldn't..." He swallowed.

"Wouldn't what, buddy?" I asked as gently as I could. He was blinking back tears. Damn it. As if the one out there before weren't enough, he was trying to hold back the rest and the effort was causing him to shake again.

"I w-wouldn't d-do that to you...I...I w-wouldn't have j-jumped..."

"I know."

"G-god..." Daniel dropped his face into his hands. "W-what's w-wrong...c-can't think...g-g-going c-crazy-"

"No!" I snapped a little too harshly than I should, shaking him by the shoulders. "Daniel, you're not crazy!"

He didn't hear me, shaking his head as he rocked back and forth. His agitation returning and his shoulders trembling. Shit. Not good. Not good at all. Reach him, O'Neill. You better goddamn reach him!

"Daniel." I pulled his hands away and grabbed his face between mine. He tried to turn away. I'd bet you he was feeling ashamed, mortified of the tears he was unable to stop, terrified of the thought he was going insane again, even when the first time he broke down in front of us was not his fault. I firmly braced his head and forced him to look up. Watery eyes stared at me and I could hear the plea for help in my head.

Christ, Danny.

"Daniel," I repeated, moving my thumb across his left cheek and brushed the last remains of the tear away. "Listen to me. Listen, okay?"

He didn't say anything, but I took his gaze as evidence of him listening. I leaned forward, inches from his face and spoke as clearly and carefully as I could.

"You're not crazy, Daniel. Do you hear me? You're...not...crazy."

"N-not?"

God, you could hear the hope practically lifting his voice an octave higher. I gave him another smile, a little crooked one, and tried to show him just how much I believed it.

"Nope. You drive me crazy, but you're not crazy."

Daniel's eyes cleared a bit, blinking rapidly and freeing another tear. I brushed that one away too, leave him the facade he'd always insist on carrying to show he was okay.

Not crazy?

You could hear the question hanging over our heads.

"No, Daniel," I whispered, still holding his head up to look at me. "Not crazy."

You could see the fear draining away from him. I think it was the only thing which had kept him sort of upright. He sagged forward and I caught him before he fell off the couch completely. He didn't say anything, but I heard him gulping, holding back the utter relief he'd gained from my words.

Whoever's up there listening. For God's sake, don't make a liar out of me. Not on this.

Daniel

Not crazy. I'm not. Like a knife, it parted my confusion, the tightness of my chest loosened. I'm not crazy. Jack said it was...a...a disease?

I didn't care. Alien, mechanical, physical, so long as it wasn't me losing control by some unraveling of my own doing. I felt myself losing the strength to sit there. I just wanted to crawl back into bed, sleep until the nightmare was over. His words made all my doubts go away and I felt very light headed, falling forward until I struck his shoulder. I couldn't stop shaking.

"Easy, big guy. I got you."

Hands left my face and the warmth of reassurance that came with it fled, I tried not to, but I moaned anyway, the emptiness returning like a suffocating blanket.

No. Wait. There was a blanket over me.

I felt the soft fabric covering me, my body now horizontal on the couch. Jack was whispering something, but I couldn't hear. My heart was hammering so loud, it grew to a roar in my ears. Whatever he was saying, he stopped saying it as he moved away, leaving me alone there.

No, wait...

My hands flailed out and for a moment, I had to wonder if I hadn't hallucinated it all.

"Sh...Take it easy. Just went to grab you some clothes."

I felt Jack's hand against my neck, raising me back up again. He tugged away the blanket and I shivered. Cold.

"I know, Daniel. Can you hold up your arms for me?"

"What?" I blinked, trying to see him better.

He patiently held up a gray sweater. "I just want to get this on you before we leave, okay?"

Numbly, I tried to do as he asked. My body didn't feel like it wanted to listen though. I just wanted to sleep. So tired. And cold.

Jack sighed, muttered "Never mind" and rolled up the sweater, looping it over my head before grabbing my wrists to guide them through the sleeves, rearranging the collar until my head popped through. Pretty soon, I could feel the warm wool scratching at my throat, my sleeves folded back up by Jack as he muttered something about shoes.

And suddenly he was gone again.

It was hard to breathe. I knew this was something I could prevent, just calm down and relax, but staring at the vacant spot where I knew, no, thought I'd seen my friend was, squeezed at my chest and I found myself gasping again.

"Whoa! It's okay. I'm here. Sh..."

Jack tapped my forehead with his hand, then my cheek. I tried to turn my face towards him. I was staring at his shirt. The plaid checkered one. The one Sam said I should get as well. She said something about green looking nice. I...

For some reason, my chest filled up with a darkness, one I've always tried to push back. I was drowning in the heavy, leaden feeling of despair. I swallowed, trying to gulp it back, but one sound escaped.

"Ah hell, Danny." Jack cupped the back of my head, pulled it to his shoulder. Gulping, I tried to stop, I really did, but I couldn't. It was so hard and I was so tired. I gave up and just went with the tide. Let it drag me off into darkness, erode me down to nothingness, I didn't care. I was too tired to care anymore.

Jack

"Ah hell, Danny." I pulled him in when I saw him scrunching up his face, trying to hold back the sobs I know wanted to come out. It was like a seizure, a seizure of the heart, as the sorrow he'd felt and which had driven him outside in the first place, returned with little pity. He hunched over, shoulders shaking and a fist up his mouth to hold it back. But it wasn't working.

Gently as I could without startling him, I pulled him towards me, set his head on my shoulder, rubbed my hands up and down his back, and waited. I'd be damned if I was going to let strangers see him like this. After all this was over, when we found out what was wrong and healed him, the memory of exposing his vulnerability would haunt him to a point of secluding himself from us. No way was I going to let that happen. Daniel's pain was his and for some reason, I was always the privileged one to witness some of it and stay with him to weather the storm.

No tears fell, but he shook violently- whether from the chills, or from his sorrow, it didn't matter. What mattered to me was I'd gotten there in time, gotten him off that ledge and to let him use me like a lifesaver.

After a few minutes, he stilled. I thought he'd fallen asleep, but I heard a sniffle.

"You okay, now?" I asked quietly, not pulling away yet.

"N-no..."

"That's alright," I murmured, scratching the back of his head with my fingers. He shivered once more. "Cold?"

"A...a l-little..."

I wasn't really cold. Hell, I'd had the jeep's heater cranked up on my way over here and I could certainly survive on that during the drive back. I shrugged off my jacket, pulling it carefully from under his head and draped it over his shoulders. "How's that?"

He gave another sniff.

"Daniel, think you can walk? I want to get you back to base."

"S-sick..."

"Yeah, buddy. Sick."

"N-not c-crazy..."

"No way in hell, Daniel." I gave his shoulders a shake. "You set?"

I barely heard him. He nodded and whispered "Okay" and stood up shakily with my help. He shuffled, at first the wrong direction until I turned him back towards the door. I was half tempted to haul him over my shoulder and get there faster, but I wanted to see Daniel walk out of there under his own power.

As we passed the counter, I quietly set the phone back in its cradle and snagged his keys and glasses. Pocketing them in my pants, I kept one hand on the small of his back, matching his slow pace out the door.

I wanted to bark at every gawker we passed getting into the elevator and out in the hallway. I know Daniel felt every stare, cringing, nearly huddling inside my barn jacket as the elevator chimed each floor. I know he was dreading going outside, his episode still fresh in his head. So I tugged his arm over my shoulder, looped my other arm around his waist. Once the doors opened to the lobby, I was as loud as I could be.

"Damn, I told you not to drink that for breakfast!" I pretended to grunt as he swayed towards the front door. I chose to ignore the old lady getting her mail by the elevators, but I winked to the doorman. "Wish I hadn't left the party early! I knew I'd miss all the action!" Over and over I pretended to complain as I hauled him out the door, still going as I went for my jeep. Thank God it was still there. I hadn't seen the No Parking sign before.

Daniel wiggled, trying to get free as he sighted my car door, fumbling with the handle, not realizing I hadn't slotted my key into the lock yet. I pulled his hands away and opened the door for him. Daniel fell inside, already curling up against the seat.

Ah damn.

I did a pretty good imitation of the Dukes of Hazzard, leaping into the jeep so fast I might as well have been going through an open window. I clicked my seat belt on and reached over to do his when I heard Daniel.

"T-thanks, Ja'k..."

I ruffled his hair with a tired smile. "No sweat. Let's get you to Doc, okay?"

Daniel tensed and I saw my jacket go around him tighter.

"Daniel?" I reached over and squeezed his shoulder. I could feel the tight cords bunching under my palm.

"Kay..."

I gave the jacket he was wearing another tug, closing it over his collar to trap the warmth in before I turned the ignition and drove off for Cheyenne.

Hang in there, Daniel. You're going to be okay. I promise.

Daniel

I didn't know what was happening. I gave up trying to see long before the elevator doors opened. All I knew was Jack was projecting his voice very loud, to a point it hurt my ears, but I also knew he was doing so for my benefit so I listened for every word.

Jack knew. He understood. I didn't have to say anything and he knew I didn't want to come out, I wanted to just hide in my bed and sleep forever.

I felt his hand pushing me towards the car and I practically tumbled in to hide. Jack's coat was still warm from wearing it, there was a slight hint of the aftershave he wore. It was odd, but it made me feel very safe smelling it around me and I burrowed deeper into the jacket. I wasn't so cold any more.

Next to me, I felt the door shut as Jack got in. The short sounding click of the seat belt told me he was ready to go and I felt rather than saw him leaning towards me.

I had to say something.

"T-thanks, Ja'k..."

He knew. He didn't ask what I meant. The ledge, out in the lobby, everything. Jack didn't ask. He already knew. And thank you sounded so small, so little, so inadequate.

Jack patted my head, a gesture I'm normally annoyed by, but today, the normalcy of the act warmed me inside and out and to my chagrin, I leaned closer to it. "No sweat. Let's get you to Doc, okay?"

I was almost afraid to go. What if Jack was wrong? What if it wasn't some disease? I...

"Daniel?"

No. Jack was right. He had to be.

Jack gripped my shoulder and all my fears vanished. I swallowed hard, shifted a bit to clear away from the comforting presence of his jacket and managed a "Kay..." out of my covers.

Jack grunted, satisfied. I felt the coat around me tucked tighter and I simply closed my eyes to sleep. He withdrew his hand and said nothing more.

The jeep shook and I knew we were driving away. I sat there listening as the streets went by me before I heard Jack telling me to rest.

Too tired to care where we were going, to care why I couldn't stop the heavy feelings in my chest, or about the hot tear going down my face still, I squeezed my eyes more tightly shut and let myself be carried away into sleep. Hopefully, when I woke up, Jack would be there again to tell me what was wrong with me.

Janet

"Doc!"

I was still tending to Layton of SG-5 when I heard the hollering. Turning around, I saw Colonel O'Neill half dragging Daniel into my infirmary.

"What? Colonel-"

"Doc, I was over at Daniel's place before and he-" He stopped, scanning the infirmary. His eyes widened as he recognized every remaining member of SG-5 on the beds. "Crap..."

I nodded. "Whatever it is, sir. It's affecting them all."

"Damn," he murmured, looking down at Daniel. Somehow, he was still standing, a coat over his shaking shoulders, head leaning against the colonel's arm, hand clutching the colonel's shirt to stay upright. I saw half sleepy, dazed blue eyes staring at the ground instead of me. "Doc...Daniel-"

"I know." Gently as I could without rousing him, I pulled Daniel away. He didn't even resist, sluggishly following my guiding hand with his eyes shuttered shut. this compliance alone would have worried me. The colonel helped me set him on the nearest gurney so I could examine him. I yanked at the jacket. Couldn't check him over thoroughly with all the clothing. Tugging the jacket woke him though and his eyes flew open.

"No!"

"It's okay, Daniel," I soothed. "You're back at the SGC. You're going to be okay." I took hold of the jacket and slipped it halfway off his shoulders when he reared up.

"No!"

He fought me every step of the way and I looked at the colonel helplessly.

"Leave the jacket with him, Doc. You don't have to take it now, do you?" He left a hand on Daniel's shoulder as he gazed at me with old eyes.

"Okay," I agreed. Daniel almost immediately pulled the coat towards him again, ducking his head into the collar of it. I could check chest sounds later. The jacket, whatever it was to him, was calming him down much more than any sedative could. I motioned to one of my nurses. "Sir, we have to examine him."

He looked down at Daniel again. "Yeah...sure..."

"Ja'k?"

He gave Daniel a sad smile, a very tired one from where I stood. "I'll be right here, okay?"

"N-not-"

"No." Colonel O'Neill raised narrowed eyes at me. "Not crazy. Right, Doc?"

What does he want me to say? I could feel Daniel's tired and desperate eyes on me as well. I mustered up a smile back towards them both. "No, not crazy, sir. We'll figure out what this is."

The colonel smiled at me before lowering his head towards Daniel again. "See?"

Daniel nodded, visibly relaxing, eyes fluttering shut. I hadn't the heart to pull the coat away just yet. Brushing back the fringe of hair, checking his temperature at the same time, I felt the colonel's gaze on me once more.

"He isn't, Doc."

He sounded so certain, I couldn't help but nod. "Of course not, sir."

"His glasses," the colonel mumbled, fumbling around his pockets until he fished out the folded eyewear. I accepted them as he pressed them into my hands. "He may need them...later..." O'Neill stopped, staring at the empty space where the gurney had been.

"Sir?" I grew concerned as he didn't respond and for a moment, I wondered if I was wrong despite all the test readings from SG-5 and this was contagious. "Colonel?"

"I...he was standing there...on that balcony ledge...Christ..." He sat down in a huff on a seat behind him, breath whooshing out. He scrubbed his hand through his hair, glaring at the floor furiously as if it was its fault. I think the implication of what he saw in the apartment finally hit him. I wouldn't have wanted to trade places with him at all.

The medics were taking Daniel away for a MRI, but I paused in front of the colonel. "Sir...he'll be okay."

"He better," the colonel muttered. "I can't catch him every time."

"Sir?"

He shook his head and rose to his feet. "Nothing. I'll be back, Doc. Gotta...gotta tell the general." He tracked the gurney Daniel was on as it went further away. He turned back towards me and I stiffened at the glare in his eyes.

Fix him.

I could see the command in the gaze and numbly I nodded my head. He paused, gave me a smile as an apology for the demand then reluctantly walked away. He stopped at the door, looked like he was going to run after the gurney instead. Then I saw his shoulders square back and he pushed the double doors open, flinging them apart wide as he stormed out of my infirmary before he could change his mind.

Fix him?

I glanced around my infirmary at the remaining members of SG-5. None seemed to have noticed the newest arrival. Some were sleeping, some were staring blankly at the ceiling.

Fix him?

As impossible as the promise was, I knew I had to piece together his friend.

Because no one could disobey that particular order.

Not from Colonel O'Neill.

Not when it came to his friends, to his extended family.

I straightened up, motioned to my nurses to watch the others and determinedly followed after the gurney. I'd fix him. I had to.

Otherwise, there would be hell to answer for.

Jack

"We go in MOPP 2 and we bring back samples of...the usual suspects." Come on, general. Let us go. I can't just stand here.

General Hammond seemed to consider it carefully as I darted a look over to Doc Fraiser for a second voice in this. She eyed over her shoulder Daniel on the bed and was about to jump in when the general spoke up.

"You've made your case, Colonel. Watch your step."

I would have run out of there, but habit made me say "Thank you, sir" before bolting to grab the others and suit up.

Carter was getting her meters ready. Normally, I would wait by the observation booth until the seventh chevron was dialed up, but I found myself walking to the infirmary. No sooner had I gone through the doors, than Doc came up to me and whispered "He's awake."

Daniel was lying in bed on his side now, covers bunched around him like a cocoon, staring at my jacket draped over the chair across from him. Doc gave me a questioning look, but I only shrugged. None of her business. Daniel needed my jacket, then he got my jacket.

Walking over, I hooked the coat with my finger and draped it over him once more. He blinked at me. He was barely awake.

"I'm going back," I told him.

He blinked at me again and opened his mouth to speak. I interrupted him before he could.

"Don't. Just rest up, okay? Shouldn't take long. I'll be back real soon."

Daniel's eyes watered again. I knew the depression thing rattling inside him was doing it to him, but why did I have the feeling it was also something long over due? All he'd needed was a little nudge, a tap from whatever it was causing this and everything Daniel'd worked so hard to control had come flooding out to drown him.

I peeled off my gloves, the isolation suit for P3X-347 and brushed back -the wetness before it could escape. He sniffed. I know he wanted to tell me stuff, but I also know it would be hard for him to. So I shook my head.

"You're going to be okay," I repeated, crouching down so he wouldn't have to strain to see me. "Just wait for me right here. Okay, buddy?"

Daniel shut his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath. He opened them again, stared at me and nodded, mouthing "Thank you."

I managed another grin. "Sure. You betcha. Just stay okay, all right?"

"Kay..." I heard the faint whisper.

"Chevron one engaged."

Damn. Time to go. I gripped his limp hand. "Be right back."

I hadn't thought it was going to be so hard. It felt like we were back on Apophis' ship, me leaving him behind, those eyes following my back as I walked away. But I had to go, get things fixed, make my team whole again.

With that last thought, I forced myself to focus on the exit and left.

It was the second hardest thing I'd ever had to do.

Daniel...you better stay where you are. Whatever you do, don't jump. Wait for me.


© February 2, 2001 The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.

=P Been a while since I posted anything. Hope that doesn't show here. Anyway, have to thank Cathy for her late night help with this piece and the future parts to this. How I ever wrote without mee beta, I'll never know. =) This is also for Brenna, who was asking for a "The Light" fic since the episode first came out. And this is also to those we call sisters, even when we don't share the same last name, which is why they make probably the BEST sisters of all! LOL...enjoy, gals! =)
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