Razor's Edge

"Daniel?" Jack asked. "You alright?"

"Define 'alright'." Daniel grumbled. "Because I'm fairly certain that I'm not...but I want to make sure we're working with the same set of parameters."

"Come on Daniel...try and look on the bright side."

Daniel glared at Jack for a moment. He looked up at the thin sharp Naquadah based wire that was wrapped around his wrists. His line of sight traveled up the wire to where it looped over a tree branch about six feet up. From there the silver thread traveled back down and formed a tight noose around Jack's neck.

Daniel had to keep his hand above his head to prevent the sharp wire from cutting into both his own wrists and Jack's throat. Both of them were currently on their knees. Jack was kept there by a rope that tied his wrist to his ankles. Daniel was held down by the simple fact that he lack the strength to stand anymore. If, or rather 'when', he passed out his weight would slit his writs and Jack's throat.

"I'm sorry, Jack, you're going to have to help me out on this one." Daniel admitted. "I'm...uh...having a hard time seeing the 'bright side' here."

"Well...at least things can't get any worse."

"And that's supposed to make me feel better?"

"At least it's something."

"Jack, we're going to die here." Daniel pointed out morosely.

"In all honesty I'd rather die like this than of some lingering disease, or Alzheimer's, or something glory less like that after being put out to pasture for getting too old."

"You've got to be kidding."

"What can I say?" Jack tried to shrug. "I like it rough."

"Jack," Daniel chuckled weakly "you're so full of it."

"You're right...this sucks."

Daniel smiled, but it quickly faded. Jack watched concerned as Daniel's eyes shifted in and out of focus. They'd been here for a full night and more than half of the day, it was a miracle that Daniel hadn't passed out long ago. He had not been in the best of shape when they'd been set up like this and he was weakening with every breath.

"So...tell me about this whole Ascension thing." Jack said in a conversational tone.

"You refused the last time I tried to offer it to you." Daniel pointed out. "What's changed?"

"I figure it's the only hope I have of getting back at that son-of-a-snake that did this to us."

"Jack," Daniel smiled sadly "it...um...doesn't work like that."

"No?"

"Achieving Ascension so that you can seek Revenge kind of defeats the whole purpose behind 'reaching a higher level of existence'."

"I knew there was a catch."

Daniel laughed, but instantly regretted doing so. A wave of dizzying nausea wracked his system as he started to succumb to exhaustion. Trying to keep the pressure off the wire was becoming increasingly taxing. With his hands over his head every breath took energy as his rib muscles had to work against the strain.

"Daniel?"

"It...it's getting harder to breath..." Daniel panted.

"Just give Carter and Teal'c a little more time to find us."

"They have problems of their ow..." Daniel stopped suddenly, swallowing hard against a dry throat.

"Stay with me Danny."

"I'm trying."

"I know you are."

Jack watched helplessly as Daniel strained to keep his eyes open and focused. Sweat rolled down his skin as his body raged against the demand his mind was making to stay awake. Jack fought harder against his bindings even though he knew it was a hopeless battle. If he could just stand Daniel would be able to rest.

"Jack..." Daniel struggled to whisper.

"I'm here."

"Thank you..."

"For what?"

"Being such a good friend." Daniel replied with a terrifying finality.

"It's been an honour."

Daniel managed to smile. He tired to rally one last time, however, he simply didn't have the energy. His bright blue eyes rolled back as he slipped from the razor sharp edge of consciousness that he'd been standing on.

Unwilling to watch Daniel die Jack closed his eyes. He grit his teeth against the anticipation of the thin wire cutting into his throat. Jack wondered briefly if he'd manage to bleed to death before it choked him or the other way around.

There was a flash of pain as Daniel finally collapsed. To Jack's unending surprise the pressure around his neck released almost instantly. Confused he opened his eyes. He looked at the scene, unable to believe it. Daniel had passed out, but Teal'c had somehow managed to be there to catch him as he fell.

"It's okay, Sir, we're here." Sam voice came from behind him.

"Now that's what I call timing." Jack said with obvious relief.

"It could have been better." Sam replied.

"I'll take what I can get."

Teal'c lifted Daniel high enough to give Carter enough slack on the wire to get the noose off of Jack's neck. He could feel her trembling as she tried to untie the cord that held him on his knees. Jack noticed the blood dripping from Teal'c's temple, but decided that story time would have to wait.

"Major Carter," Teal'c said sternly "I do not believe that Daniel Jackson is breathing."

"Sir..."

"I'm fine, help Daniel."

Sam left the tight knot at Jack's wrist. Teal'c laid Daniel down and Sam knelt beside him. Her wrists were as gory as Daniel's and sweat caused her hair to separate into messy locks. She pressed her fingertips against his throat and put her ear against his chest. She sat back up and looked down on Daniel critically.

"He's breathing, but barely." She announced. "His blood pressure is probably plummeting, I can hardly find a pulse. We just have to hope he makes it until we can get him home."

"He will not survive Gate travel in this condition." Teal'c said gravely.

"I don't know what I can do..."

"Carter, Daniel carries an EpiPen, use it."

Sam searched Daniel's pockets until she found the epinephrine pen. She had completely forgotten that Daniel had one. He kept the injection pen close in case he went into anaphylactic shock from any number of his vast allergies.

However the adrenaline in the pen would also act to increase his blood pressure, hopefully stabilize him long enough to get home. Sam twisted off the safety cap and sank the tip of the pen into Daniel's thigh. He snapped his eyes open with a sharp gasp as the powerful chemical raced through his blood forcing his system into a 'fight or flight' response. Once the initial rush was over he focused on the concerned face watching him.

"Sam?"

"Hey, Daniel." Sam greeted warmly. "I thought we'd lost you...again."

"Thank you." Daniel panted.

"You can thank your allergies." Jack said with a smile. "They just saved your life."

"What?"

"Colonel O'Neill remembered that you have an EpiPen."

"Jack..."

"Hey...what are friends for?"