This is yet another WIP that I am working on. I've got several chapters done and I had posted it some time ago in a Yahoo group, but I was going to wait until I either wrote the complete story or got my other WIP fics done before posting it here. But I am suffering from a horrible case of writer's block (for several months now) and I'm hoping that I will get inspired to get back into writing if I start posting this story here.
A warning goes with this fic. Not only is it a Jack/Other fic, but people will die in this story. None of the main characters will die (I am still not up to that task), but there will be some deaths.
Finally, I really don't like the title of this story. I'm sure it will change, just as soon as I find one that I like. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to send them on to me.
Special thanks to Diane for her fantastic beta skills and to Neith's-Arrow who not only inspired this story, but gave me some great insights and thoughts on which direction to take it.
Summary: Wounded and separated from their teammates, Jack and Daniel find shelter with natives who may have a bigger problem than they do.
He was just standing there, staring off into the horizon. She tried to see what he was looking at, but all she could see was the barren landscape of the desert they were currently standing in. Dirt, rocks and a few bushes dotted the ground, as she followed his gaze, but there was nothing spectacular as far as she could see, so it must be the sunset that had captured his attention.
And it was a beautiful sight. She stood there for a moment, watching the sun setting in the distance with its fiery rays splashing colors across the sky. She watched as blue faded into purple, red and orange, while the top of the sun shone through the gaps of the mountains in the distance. It was a beautiful sight in all its glory, but Sam Carter wondered if Colonel O'Neill was really seeing it.
"Colonel?" she asked tentatively.
He jumped and turned his head slightly toward her, but quickly turned back to the view. "I'll be there in a minute Carter," he replied gruffly.
"Yes sir," she said, almost automatically. He wouldn't look at her and this worried her. He was grieving, she knew this, but she didn't know how to help him.
She looked back toward the Stargate, hoping for some help from her teammates, but Daniel was staring off into the distance, lost in his own grief, and Teal'c really wasn't the type to help out in situations like this. She was on her own and she had absolutely no idea what to do.
"It's a beautiful sunset, isn't it?" She wanted to help him, but he was so aloof, especially at times like this, and she had no idea where to start.
He didn't respond. He just glared down at the ground for a moment, then trained his features into a blank expression as he nodded. He still hadn't looked at her and Sam decided to keep her silence before she really pissed him off.
She stood next to him, watching as the sun slid down through the sky. It sank gracefully down behind the mountains, while leaving traces of colors to highlight the mountaintops. It was symbolic in a way, the setting sun making its way to darkness, while Colonel O'Neill and Daniel dwelled in the darkness of their own grief.
The darkness settled over the landscape, while Sam dug into her pack to find her flashlight. She pulled it out and turned it on just as Daniel came up to stand next to her. "Jack," he said, sadness weighing heavily in his voice. "Maybe we should…"
"Let's go," the Colonel growled, anger having replaced his sadness. He stalked over to the Stargate and stopped to wait for the familiar sounds of the chevrons whirling into place, while Sam stared at him in surprise. He still had his back to her, and Sam was starting to get seriously concerned. She turned to see what Daniel made of this behavior, but he just shrugged and walked over to the DHD leaving her to wonder just what happened to Daniel and the Colonel when they were stranded with the natives.
She walked up to stand next to her commanding officer, glancing over at him as she did so, only to end up staring at him as she saw a single tear roll down his cheek. The Colonel still refused to look at her, and Sam now knew the reason why. He was too proud to let anyone in to see his grief. But it was there, a tangible emotion that was threatening to break Sam's heart. She hated it when her own emotions got in the way, but watching the infallible Jack O'Neill weep just seemed to be too much for her. She went back to looking at the Stargate in an effort to give him the privacy he so obviously wanted.
The chevrons lit up, while the event horizon billowed out at them, and Sam chanced one more glance at the Colonel. He was looking at something in his hand, something that was beige, with a deep red and green design on it, before he turned one last time to look toward the mountains that were now lost in the darkness. He whispered something, then turned and walked toward the Gate. Sam felt like an intruder, as she stood there watching his pain, but she shook it off and followed the Colonel's lead. They were heading home, but for once Sam didn't want to go.
Darkness was his friend. Well, most of the time, anyway. The darkness that surrounded Jack O'Neill now meant safety. Enemies would not be able to find him in the dark. He could hide out in plain sight all night long and no one would be the wiser. On the other hand, darkness brought out the cold, as well as fears of what could not be seen, and this particular darkness held a touch of panic for Jack, despite his initial thoughts of safety.
He sat in the darkness, quietly reflecting on the circumstances that had brought him to this point. He had been standing next to Daniel in a temple, which was really a glorified pyramid, but who was he to quibble with Daniel when he was in his geek mode? They had been standing there next to a statue of some god, with Daniel telling him all about the statue's history, or at least what he had figured out from his readings, when a rumbling noise made its presence known. The rumbling seemed to be coming from somewhere up above, but Jack didn't care to take the time to try to figure out where the noise was actually coming from. He had been way too interested in getting out of the place entirely.
They didn't make it out.
The ceiling came down on them in a matter of moments, with bricks, rocks and everything else raining down on them, blocking their exit. Jack changed directions in mid stride, dragging Daniel with him when a particularly large boulder barely missed them as it landed in their path. They headed straight for the wall closest to them, pressing themselves up against the stones, and ducking down to cover their heads to hopefully survive the cave-in.
Jack didn't remember anything after that, at least nothing until he woke up a few minutes ago, groggy, disoriented, and dealing with a massive headache, trying desperately to see in the inky blackness of the mess he had ended up in. More importantly, he so hoped he wasn't alone.
"Daniel?" No response, which was very disheartening, but not devastating, not yet anyway. Jack had been knocked out; it only stood to reason that Daniel had been too. With that thought in mind, Jack reached down to find his flashlight, switching it on to put some light on the matter.
Damn thing didn't want to work. He shook the flashlight, then switched the toggle a few more times in hopes that it would turn on, but no such luck. He was going to have to find Daniel's flashlight and give that a try.
In the meantime, he had another ace up his sleeve. "Teal'c," he said after finding and pressing the button on his radio. "Teal'c, you out there?" No response. "Carter! Come in, Carter." Nothing happened, which really didn't surprise Jack all that much. The other two members of his team were probably too far away to reach.
"Daniel? That you?"
"Yeah. You okay?"
"As well as can be expected," Jack told his friend. "What about you?" Daniel didn't respond right away, he just groaned, which added to Jack's worry. "Daniel?"
"I think my arm's broken."
Jack waited, but aside from another groan, Daniel didn't add to the list. "That's all?"
"I think that's a lot, don't you?" Daniel grouched. Jack grinned into the darkness; at least Daniel was well enough to be grumpy.
"I guess," Jack replied. He hoped that was all that was wrong with his friend. Jack knew from his own impromptu inventory of injuries, that he had a nasty headache, bruised ribs, if not broken, and various aches and pains that were making him miserable. "I can't see a damn thing. Does your flashlight work?"
"Hold on," Daniel said. Jack waited, hoping that something would go right. Light would make getting out of there a lot easier.
Apparently an easy escape was not on the agenda. The slight panic Jack had been dealing with since he had woken up in the dark, grew to full blown terror when Daniel said, "There you are." Jack heard bricks being moved and other noises that indicated Daniel was on the move, but he couldn't see anything. The darkness was complete. He turned toward the sound of Daniel's voice, trying to see past the darkness, but still nothing.
Oh God, not this.
"Hey," Daniel said, as he jostled Jack when he sat down next to him. Jack didn't respond. He turned to face forward, trying desperately to calm himself down. He needed to think clearly, and panic was a sure way to get him on the wrong track. "As well as can be expected, huh?" Daniel continued on. "There's blood on your face." Jack pulled back from Daniel's touch, flinching from the pain. But Daniel had figured it out. "Oh God. Jack?"
Jack didn't turn toward Daniel's voice. He just responded as if nothing was wrong. "Yeah?"
"You're blind, aren't you?"
Well, so much for hiding the truth from his friend. But he still tried to act like it wasn't a big deal. "Brilliant deduction, Daniel. What was your first clue?"
"Well, I think it was when I shined the flashlight in your eyes and you didn't even blink," Daniel said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Or maybe it was because I've been waving my hands in front of your face for a few minutes now and no reaction." Jack just sat there, not really knowing what to say to Daniel. He leaned his head back against the wall, willing his eyes to start working, while listening to Daniel rustle through his pack. "Your flashlight works," Daniel said, as he continued doing whatever he was doing. "We'll be able to use it when my batteries die."
Jack nodded, wondering what he was going to do now. He had always taken his sight for granted, using it even in the dead of night, as he wandered through enemy territory, or through a silent house in search of a midnight snack. But now that his sight was gone, he didn't have the slightest idea of where to go from here, or how to get out.
This was not the first time, he thought desperately, while Daniel gently probed at the cut near Jack's temple. He had been blinded by a Jaffa grenade during that fateful mission on Apophis' ship. But Teal'c had been there to tell him the blindness was only temporary. Jack worried that maybe this time, the blindness was permanent.
"I think we are really trapped this time," Daniel was saying, as he cleaned and bandaged the cut on Jack's head. "It looks like we are in a pocket of space… that statue we were standing next to fell over us and it looks like the top of it is rammed up against the wall, providing a shelter from most of the stuff that fell on us." He fell silent for a moment, and then said, "Kind of ironic, isn't it? An alien god protecting us." Jack had to agree with that last statement. He had spent way too many years fighting against alien gods. To have one protecting him just seemed odd.
"Do you see a way out?" he finally asked. He had to wait a moment while Daniel looked around, but he finally got an answer.
"No. We are surrounded by tons of bricks and mortar." There was silence for another minute, before Daniel continued on with his narrative. "I can't see anything that might help. It looks like every rock in the temple is piled up on top of that statue."
"If that was the case, the statue wouldn't have held up under the weight," Jack said, his mind working on a solution to their problem. "What about the wall behind us? Isn't this wall an outer wall?"
"Yeah, I think it is," Daniel replied thoughtfully. "Maybe if we can break through it, or better yet, have Sam and Teal'c blow it up…" He stopped at that, and Jack just shook his head.
"I already tried reaching them on the radio," he told his friend. "No dice. We'll just have to figure out a way on our own and hope they start digging in the right place."
"You don't think they'll be back in time to help, do you?"
Jack didn't have an answer for that one. "I don't know Daniel. Maybe they heard the cave-in, maybe they didn't. We're just going to have to do this one on our own until they get here."
Daniel didn't respond, which was fine with Jack. He didn't really want to think about the fact that Teal'c and Carter had gone off to search for the UAV that had gone down during the initial observation test. Daniel had wanted to study the temple and Jack was all for hanging out in the temple over trekking through the desert that surrounded the place. He found himself wishing he'd had the foresight to insist that they all go after the UAV.
Daniel suddenly got up and started crawling away, causing Jack to panic slightly at being left alone. "Daniel?"
"I'm going to see if I can start digging through some of this rock," Daniel responded. Jack could hear Daniel moving bricks and rocks around, as well as a few grunts and groans, causing Jack to wonder if Daniel had been lying to him when he'd said he was okay. But the noise calmed Jack, and he settled down, realizing that he was okay as long as he could hear Daniel working.
But Jack wasn't the type to sit around and wait for others to do the dirty work, so he got up and started to crawl over to the place where the noise was coming from. He moved tentatively and very slowly, hoping that he wasn't making things worse, as some bricks fell to the side when he made his way over them.
Daniel, apparently had other ideas. "I can do this, Jack," he said. "Go back and sit down."
"I can help, Daniel. I may be blind, but I'm not helpless." The fact that Daniel even believed this had Jack's blood boiling.
"I know that Jack, but you'll be better off sitting back down." Jack stubbornly continued to crawl over the rocks toward Daniel's voice, then stopped and yelped when one of the bricks cut through his hand. "See?" Daniel said, sounding like an exasperated parent. "Come on. Go back and sit down and let me look at your hand."
"I'm not a child, Daniel." Daniel grunted at that remark, but wisely kept silent. The tinkling sound of bricks started up once again, and Jack let Daniel lead him back to sit down next to the wall. They sat there in silence, while Daniel broke out the first aid kit again. Jack used the silence to work on a scenario for escaping their prison. Coming up with a solution was a hell of a lot better than sitting there doing nothing.
Daniel finished with his makeshift bandaging, having wrapped something around Jack's hand and tying it off with a flourish. Jack winced when Daniel tied it a tad too tight, but he was damned if he'd complain. Daniel's treatment of him a few minutes ago demanded that Jack prove that he wasn't helpless, and Daniel's next words made him all the more determined to beat the crap out of his friend.
"Just sit tight and try not to touch anything." Anger moved in, as he heard Daniel move away, causing Jack to reach down and grab the first thing his fingers touched. He hefted the brick and threw it in the direction where the noise of Daniel's movements came from, hoping he would get lucky and hurt the guy. He heard the rock land on more rocks, and exasperation took over as he heard Daniel chuckle. "You know," Daniel said. "I've always wanted to say that to you." Jack sat there and stewed over the gall Daniel had, as he glared out at the darkness. "But now that I did get to say it…" Jack waited for the admission, but was surprised when Daniel said, "It really does feel great!"
"Whatever," Jack muttered angrily, not the least bit interested in Daniel's enjoyment. Instead, he turned his attention to the problem at hand. An image of Indiana Jones breaking through a wall on a statue came to mind and he figured anything was worth a try. "Can we use the statue to break through the wall?"
"Yeah, you know, like in that movie."
"You mean like Indiana Jones?" Daniel asked, surprise evident in his voice. "You've seen that movie?"
"Yeah, a couple of times." Jack decided at that moment not to elaborate on the subject any more than he already had. He was not about to give Daniel more ammunition to use against him, so he said, "Will we be able to do it here?"
"I don't think so." Jack wished once again that he could see, as he waited for Daniel to make his assessment. He hated feeling so helpless. "There are a lot of rocks piled up on it… We wouldn't be able to move it at all." Jack waited, hoping Daniel would come up with something, than sighed when it became apparent that Daniel didn't have anything to add to that.
"We've got to do something, Daniel."
"It's pretty hopeless, Jack."
"There's always a solution," Jack told him, as he reached into one of the pockets in his vest and wrapped his fingers around the cool surface of a grenade. He pulled it out and sat there, holding the grenade in his hand, while wondering if he had the courage to go through with it.
"We'll end up dead," Daniel predicted.
"Or end up getting out of here," Jack countered. He knew the odds were pretty high that they'd end up dead, but he'd much rather die trying than to sit around and wait for death to sneak up on him. "Help me out here, Daniel. What's our best option?" He waited for a response, then tried again after a few minutes of silence. "Daniel?"
"I'm thinking," Daniel grumbled. Jack waited, knowing that Daniel was with him on this. It was just a matter of figuring out the most strategic option to give them a fighting chance to survive the fallout. "I suppose if we put the grenade over there and hide out under the statue, we might be able to survive…" He stopped at that, and Jack waited quietly, listening to the silence that accompanied the darkness. Daniel had to come to terms with the plan, just as Jack had done. Daniel sighed heavily, then grabbed Jack's arm and pulled on it to help him up. "Let's get this over with," he said.
Jack settled in next to the wall of rocks that Daniel had led him to, curling up into a ball in hopes of protecting himself from the blast. Daniel sat down next to him, then took the grenade from Jack's hand. "In case we don't make it out of here, Jack…"
"I know Daniel," Jack responded quickly, "Me too."
"Get ready then," Daniel advised. Jack tensed up, ready for whatever, feeling Daniel do the same next to him as they faced the consequences of their decision with determination.
Even though he was expecting it, the explosion still took Jack by surprise. He huddled in the darkness as the roar of the explosion vibrated across the floor and sent rocks raining down on him. Pain shot through his body a split second before he passed out, his mind registering the pain and a deep sadness that filled his mind.
At least they had tried.