Daniel woke without opening his eyes. He spent a moment trying to piece together the shattered places in his memory. He had no idea how much time had passed since he had first visited Tekis's planet. In some ways it felt like had only been hours, in others it seemed like years.
"Teal'c I have never understood this game."
"It is not complicated, O'Neill."
"I didn't say it was complicated, I just said I don't understand it."
Opening his eyes Daniel looked over towards the familiar voices. Teal'c and Jack had set up a game of Oware using the next bed over as a table. Daniel smiled, he had showed Teal'c the African strategy game a few years ago and he had taken to it immediately. As for Jack he was no better at it than he was at chess.
Daniel looked around the infirmary, just glad to be back in a familiar setting that wasn't going to change at any minute. He had a throbbing headache, but it was easy enough to ignore. Teal'c noticed that Daniel was awake and alerted Jack.
"Good morning, Sunshine."
Daniel just gave a weary smile in response. Teal'c gave Daniel a shallow bow before collecting up the Oware game and left. Jack swiveled his chair around to face Daniel and watched him expectantly. The bridge of Jack's nose was a frightening shade of purple that winged out under his eyes.
"Did...um...did I do that?"
"That's what they tell me." Jack shrugged.
"Sorry about that. I was afraid that if I stopped to explain what I was doing that...well..."
"Where'd you learn to throw a punch like that anyway?" Jack asked as his gingerly touched his nose.
"I learned from the best."
Having been reminded Daniel looked around and spotted Sam on the next bed over, locked in sleep.
"She's just resting." Jack assured. "A slight concussion, but nothing serious."
"She fought like a wildcat."
"You expected anything less?"
"No." Daniel chuckled.
"How much of it do you remember?"
"The last part is somewhat clear, the rest is just bits and pieces, none of them really make any sense."
Jack eyed Daniel suspiciously for a moment. Daniel knew the look well. It was the one Jack gave him when he still didn't believe everything was alright.
"What game did Teal'c just leave here with?"
"Daniel..." Jack said sternly.
"It was an Oware game. Satisfied?"
"I'll ask again in an hour."
"How about going and getting some sleep and asking me tomorrow?"
Jack took a breath to protest, but then nodded. It had been nearly twenty four hours since he'd last slept and it clearly showed. He got up and put his hand on Daniel's shoulder.
"It's good to have you back, Daniel. You were a real pain in the ass to deal with the other way, not that you aren't still trouble, but this is definitely better."
Stifling a yawn Jack looked over at Sam one last time before leaving. Daniel tried to go back to sleep himself. However, he'd slept all day and simply wasn't tired anymore. The still nagging headache didn't help either.
Struggling to sit up Daniel just watched his heart monitor for an hour. When Sam stirred he switched his attention to her. She woke slowly, clearly dealing with a headache as well.
Eventually her aqua eyes fluttered open. She looked confused for a moment. Daniel watched while she took in her surrounding and put her own memories into order. She turned to face Daniel and smiled.
"Hey, Daniel. How are you feeling?"
"Headache, how about you?"
"The same." Sam smiled ruefully and sat up. "I am getting tired of waking up in here."
"Tell me about it." Daniel rolled his eyes. "I think I've spent more time in the infirmary than in my own home, maybe even more time that I have off world."
Sam chuckled, but her mirth quickly faded. She was looking at him strangely, like she wanted to ask something. However, she just shook her head, instantly regretting doing so as he headache flared.
"Something wrong?" Daniel asked.
"It's none of my business."
"I mentioned Emily at some point, didn't I?" Daniel sighed.
Sam just nodded.
"Daniel, you don't have to tell me."
"It's alright." Daniel forced a smile. "Do you remember David Ames?"
"Emily was his daughter." Daniel's eyes lost some of their focus. "She was murdered."
"Murdered?" Sam repeated in shock.
"In her own home, I found her...there was blood everywhere. Everyone thought I'd killed her. Looking back I can't blame them, I was seventeen, basically living on the street, and in my panic when I found her I got blood all over and put my fingerprints on everything."
Sam listened to the story quietly. She hadn't wanted to bring this up, but the tone in his voice when he had called her 'Emily' was haunting. Daniel took a deep breath and continued.
"Her father, he was the only one who believed me. I wouldn't have made it through without him, I wouldn't be where I am today, I wouldn't even be alive. Just months before his daughter's murder he saved me from my own. He was a cop, one night he happened to be in the right place at the right time, and stopped a gang from beating me to death.
He treated me better than anyone every had, like I was worth something. Before the murder he helped me get back on my feet, after he was the only thing that kept me off my knees."
"Who killed her?"
"We never found out. David spent most of his energy clearing my name. Which eventually he did. He had the files sealed so that it wouldn't affect the rest of my life. If only it was as simple as locking a piece of paper in a filing cabinet. This whole experience has brought that memory back so vividly."
Daniel sighed heavily and laid down on his side facing Sam. He looked so young again, which was surprisingly disconcerting. He flashed her a reassuring smile.
"I'm so sorry, Daniel. Is there anything I can do?"
"You could tell me another story?" Daniel chuckled.
"To help me sleep. It worked before."
"You...uh...you remember that, eh?" Sam flushed.
"Of course...you tell the best stories."
"Alright," Sam smiled "but just one, and then you have to promise to sleep."
"Once upon a time..."