author's note: Hey, what's this? A new chapter? Your eyes do not deceive you. This is, in fact, a brand new chapter. From me at least. This chapter (if you also read Dark Angel, and if you don't then why aren't you?) might seem a bit familiar. And you'd be correct. A large chuck of this overlaps with Dark Angel so it might seem like I'm repeating everything my sister wrote. Which I am, sort of, but from the SG1 side of things so it's still a little bit different.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this chapter and I will try my very hardest to not get uninspired again. It drives me nuts when some of my favorite stories don't get updated for years and here I am doing to that to you guys. I apologize profusely for the long wait and hope that the next chapter won't take me so long to write. Now, enough of my rambling. Go read the chapter!
disclaimer: I don't own Stargate SG1 or NCIS or anything else that may have been inadvertently mentioned or referenced.
Daniel was quiet the entire ride to the hospital. Sam knew from the look on his face and the unnecessary tight grip he had on the steering wheel that he was not only worried, but also angry. She knew exactly why he was worried. One look at DiNozzo would have been enough, but the harsh sounding desperate attempts of him trying to draw enough oxygen into his lungs, was the real kicker. Sam was beyond worried herself and she barely even knew him. She could only imagine how much worse it had to be for Daniel.
Sam shot a furtive glance in Daniel's direction. His eyes were fixed on the road and his knuckles were beginning to turn white from his grip on the wheel. She wouldn't be surprised if he'd forgotten that she was even there with how lost in his thoughts he was. She supposed that maybe she should be a little mad about that, she had been kidnapped too. But she wasn't. How could she be? She knew Daniel, knew that he had been just as worried about her as he had been about Tony when they both went missing. So, no, she wasn't mad. She was actually worried.
She was worried because for as well as she knew Daniel she'd never seen him like this. Most people, herself included sometimes, expressed their anger loudly, but not Daniel. It seemed as if he had this quiet, simmering fury building up and she had no doubt that it would result in an inevitable explosion. Whether the anger was from her and Tony being taken or the state Tony had been in when they rushed him off to the hospital or just the case in general, she really didn't know. Maybe it was a combination of all three. Either way, she really didn't envy the guy behind all of this.
Daniel by himself would be a force to be reckoned with, especially with the mood he was currently in. But Daniel wouldn't be the only one this guy had to deal with. No, because there was her, Teal'c, the Colonel, Gibbs, McGee, Ziva even Tony because Sam had a feeling that despite how bad off he might be the 'very special agent' as he so liked to call himself was not going to back down from this fight. Sam let a small yet slightly evil smirk slip onto her face. This guy really wouldn't know what hit him.
Sam was pulled out of her musings when the car slowed and then came to a stop. She glanced over at Daniel again, but she wasn't even sure if he was aware that they had reached their destination. And it was just a little disconcerting considering he was the one driving. Luckily, he'd at least had the frame of mind to put the car in park and shut off the engine.
"Daniel," she said quietly, reaching over to place her hand over his that was still clutching the wheel.
Daniel blinked and was suddenly back with her. She wondered vaguely where he'd gone. It was so hard to tell these days.
"Sam," Daniel said turning to look at her. "I'm sorry."
"For what?" She asked in surprise. He really had nothing to be sorry for so she really had no idea why he was apologizing.
"At the scene, after we found you guys I never checked to see if you were okay," Daniel answered.
"Daniel," Sam began, but was cut off as Daniel continued.
"I mean I glanced over to make sure you were okay, but that was it. How could I do that? You're one of my best friends and all I did was give you a cursory glance. What kind of friend does that make me? I-,"
"Daniel," Sam said sharply cutting off mid-rant. "I'm not mad that you didn't check on me. Honestly, I can understand that you were a bit sidetracked, we all were. And I know what kind of friend you are; you're the best that anyone could ask for. As for me, obviously you can see that I'm just fine." She let out a breath and gave Daniel a reassuring smile and gently squeezed his hand to get her point across.
Daniel sat there for a moment just staring at her. The look on his face was unreadable, but Sam knew that he was thinking over everything that had been said. Finally, he let out weary sigh and sank backwards into the seat. Sam was pleased to note that some of the tension had left his shoulders and he finally let go of the steering wheel.
"Thanks Sam," he said giving her hand a squeeze in return. "I think I needed to hear that."
"Anytime," Sam replied. Then she turned serious, glancing out the window toward the hospital before looking back at Daniel. "We should probably head in," she suggested. "They might have some news on Tony."
"Maybe," Daniel said, frowning at the reminder of his friend. "But you're right, we should go in."
They both got out of the car and began the short journey to the hospital's doors.
"You know, I was really worried about you too," Daniel commented.
"I know," Sam answered slipping her arm through his. And with that the two friends stepped into the hospital both hoping that there was news on one very special agent. And they hoped that it would be good news.
Upon entering the hospital Sam began to make her way to the front desk only to be yanked sideways. She turned her attention to Daniel, fully intending to give him a piece of her mind for not giving her a heads up before pulling her in another direction, especially as she felt just the slightest bit shaky after everything that happened. She changed her mind, though, when she saw what had caught his attention.
Ducky and another man in a white doctor's jacket were standing just down the hallway discussing something. She assumed that something to be Tony. Daniel practically dragged her down the hallway in his haste to get to them for information on Tony. They'd barely reached the two doctors before Daniel was speaking.
"Where's Tony? Is he okay? I need to see him. She needs someone to check her over."
Sam may have been exhausted both physically and emotionally, but she found herself grinning at Daniel. His words had been so rushed he hadn't taken the time to breathe in between the individual sentences.
"You have to give them time to answer, you know," Sam said nudging him lightly with her elbow. Daniel glanced at her briefly before looking back to the doctors.
"Ah, Dr. Jackson, Major Carter," Ducky said giving them a small smile in greeting. He then turned to the man he'd been speaking with. "This is Anthony's doctor, Brad Pitt."
"Seriously?" Daniel asked his eyebrows rising.
"Yes, seriously that is my name," Dr. Pitt answered.
"I'm sorry," Daniel said. "I think."
Sam bit her lip to keep from laughing because really it wasn't that funny. That and he wasn't sure how Dr. Pitt might take it. For his part Brad just shrugged before answering Daniel's earlier questions.
"To answer your questions, Tony's vitals are doing well. He's right down this hall, room 518. And if you'll come with me, Major, I'll see to getting you checked out."
Sam gave Daniel's arm a brief squeeze before following Brad down the hallway. He directed her to a room three doors down from Tony's. He disappeared for a few seconds before coming back into the room with a clipboard in his hands.
"If you could take a seat on the bed, Major, we can get started," Brad said as he jotted some things down on his clipboard.
"Sam, please," she said as she sat down.
"Sam it is," Brad said nodding.
"Tony's going to be okay, right?" Sam asked before he could say anything else.
"I believe so, yes," Brad answered.
After Sam had disappeared down the hallway with Dr. Pitt, Daniel just stood there. He found himself staring at the door to the room 518 not sure if he could go inside. When they'd found Tony and Sam at that warehouse, well, Tony hadn't looked good. And putting it like that made it a massive understatement.
"He's going to be fine."
Daniel actually jumped at the voice. He'd completely forgotten that he wasn't alone.
"Is he?" He asked turning to look at Ducky.
Ducky gave him a reassuring smile. "Gibbs won't allow him not to be."
"How exactly does that work?" Daniel asked.
"I'm not sure exactly," Ducky admitted, "but it does."
Daniel just nodded before finally moving toward the door. He knocked lightly twice before pushing the door open a bit. He paused in the doorway as it seemed that Gibbs and Abby had been in the middle of a conversation.
"Mind if I come in?" He asked when they both looked at him.
Gibbs only nodded in response so Daniel took it as permission to enter. He slowly walked into the room only vaguely aware that he was being watched by Gibbs. The majority of his attention was focused on the hospital bed where Tony lay. He knew that Ducky thought he was going to be okay, but looking at his friend now, Daniel was finding that just a little hard to believe.
"I don't think I'll ever get used to seeing him like this," Daniel muttered to himself, although considering the size of the room he wouldn't be surprised if Gibbs heard. "God, how much of a trouble magnet can one person be?" He decided to completely ignore the irony of him asking that question.
"Abs," Gibbs' voice drew Daniel's attention away from Tony. He turned and wasn't the least bit surprised to find the silver-haired agents steady gaze fixed on him. "Can you keep Tony company? I need to have a word with Jackson."
Abby only nodded and then she moved to sit on the edge of Tony's bed.
"Jackson," Gibbs said as he walked past him and out the door.
"Please, call me Daniel," Daniel said as he followed the older man out of the room.
Gibbs turned around to face him. "Fine, Daniel, do you know what Tony meant by 'bonzo'?"
Daniel took a moment to really think about it. It sounded familiar, in fact, he felt very strongly that he should know, but he just couldn't come up with anything.
"Um," he eventually said, "his favorite book?" It was more of a question than anything and he could tell that Gibbs was about to lose whatever patience he may have had left, if any, after all that had happened so far. Daniel, unfortunately, had no way of knowing if he was on the right track. However, at the moment, it was all he could come up with.
"Care to elaborate," Gibbs ordered.
"Yeah, just give me a minute, it's been a while since I read the book. I'm trying to remember," Daniel replied. He knew what book it was and he'd even read it a couple of times, but the last time that he'd read it was years before he'd even joined the SGC. He sifted through what he could actually remember about the synopsis before something finally something clicked.
"Okay, I got it," he said. "His favorite book is Ender's Game, said he could relate to Ender. Anyway, there is a character in there called Bonzo Madrid. Well, Bonzo was really a nickname, but-"
"Jackson," Gibbs snapped before Daniel could really get going off on that tangent, "get to the point."
"If I remember correctly Bonzo had it out for Ender. So, maybe," Daniel trailed off as he thought over everything, but he couldn't remember anyone like that from the time that he'd met Tony to now. He shook his head and then focused back on Gibbs. "I don't know, it would had to have been before I was there."
"So, this could be a code. Like he saw the killer and knows who it is," Gibbs suggested.
"Exactly," Daniel agreed. "But if that's the case I don't know who he's talking about. But I know someone that might know. Cambrough. He's known Tony longer and he might know who Tony's referring to."
"That's a start. I know where he's staying. I think it's time we paid him a little visit."
Gibbs stepped back into Tony's room briefly, most likely to let Abby know where they were going. He reappeared a moment later and began heading for the exit without saying a word, something Daniel was becoming accustomed to. So, he did exactly what Gibbs expected and followed the ex-Marine.
Daniel was pretty sure that the trip from the hospital to the hotel where Cambrough was staying would normally take about thirty minutes. They got there in just under twenty. And to finish off the rather interesting ride, Gibbs whipped the car across two lanes of traffic cutting off several drivers. He whipped the car into the closest spot completely ignoring all the honking, shouting, and even a few unkind hand gestures that he'd generated with that maneuver.
"That was interesting," Daniel said after the two of them had sat there for a few moments in silence. "Kinda like the worst possible carnival ride one could imagine, but no too bad." A pause, "I think." And honestly the car ride really wasn't that bad considering some of the things that Daniel had been through. Getting thrown out of the gate or crash landing in a cargo ship were much worse.
Gibbs just smirked that little smirk of his before getting out of the car and walking quickly toward the hotel. Daniel caught up to him just as he was entering the lobby. They headed straight through the large room to the bank of elevators at the back. Gibbs hit the 'up' button and they waited for the elevator to arrive. As composed as Gibbs usually seemed, it looked to Daniel that the other man was more than just a little impatient. When the elevator finally arrived they got on, Gibbs hit the button for the fifth floor, and they rode up in silence.
Daniel supposed that he should probably feel just a little anxious about this meeting. It had been a very long time since he had seen Cambrough and back then he had been almost like a father to both he and Tony. Well, more Tony than him, but still. He wasn't anxious, though. Or nervous for that matter. He actually didn't know what he was feeling at the moment.
He was snapped out of his thoughts when the elevator stopped and the doors slid open. He followed Gibbs down the hallway until they reached the right door. When they did Gibbs proceeded to bang on the door. Loudly. Daniel was pretty sure everyone on the floor probably heard Gibbs' form of knocking. Once the door swung open and Daniel found himself face to face with Cambrough for the first time in over seven years he knew exactly what he was feeling. Anger.
"Agent Gibbs," Cambrough said.
"Cambrough," Daniel said. He might be angry with the man, but that didn't stop him from feeling a spike of satisfaction at the momentary look of shock on the older man's face when he noticed Daniel standing next to Gibbs.
"When. . . . Why," Cambrough stuttered. He obviously really hadn't expected Daniel to show up at his door.
"A bit and because the Air Force assigned the team I'm on to be here," Daniel said, answering Cambrough's half-finished questions. "How 'bout you?"
"We don't have time for this nonsense," Gibbs cut in before Cambrough had a chance to respond. He shot a glare at Daniel, "We have more important matters to attend to."
Daniel was completely unfazed by Gibbs' death glare, he'd gotten enough of them from Jack and some rather ticked off Goa'uld that they didn't really work on him anymore. But, Gibbs was right.
"Uh yeah, you're right," Daniel said. He could deal with Cambrough and all of that later. Right now they had to figure out why Tony had said what he said.
"Then why are you two here?" Cambrough asked once he'd composed himself again. "I thought we had agreed to limited contact after I supplied you with the documents."
"Well, things have changed," Gibbs replied. "Do you know what Bonzo means?"
"Bonzo?" Cambrough looked rather confused. Almost as if he was wondering if he had heard Gibbs right.
"That is what he said," Daniel said.
"Well, it's a character in Tony's favorite book, Ender's Game."
"Yeah, we know that already, but we think that he was trying to give us a message and I think it might have something to do with before I knew him so basically do you know what 'bonzo' means," Daniel said all in one breath.
"Why not just ask Tony?" Cambrough asked.
Daniel and Gibbs glanced at each other briefly. A glance that Daniel knows Cambrough wouldn't have missed. As evidenced by his next question.
"What happened to him?"
"He's unconscious," Daniel replied.
"Unconscious? What happened?"
"He got caught, but escaped. We think there was something in the air that aggravated his lungs," Gibbs said.
"You mean from when he had the plague?"
"Wait a minute," Daniel cut in. "You knew he had the plague and could have died?" Daniel was suddenly a little angrier with Cambrough than he had already been.
"I was aware," Cambrough confirmed.
"And you didn't think to contact me?" Daniel shot back. "It's not like you didn't know where I was since I was placed there by this organization."
"It was felt that you couldn't be informed because we didn't need any worse of a breach than we already had," Cambrough explained.
"That's nonsense and you know it," Daniel said practically jabbing his finger in his old boss' chest. "YOU could have informed me without anyone else knowing." And Daniel knew for a fact that despite the extremely high security at the SGC, Cambrough wouldn't have had any trouble getting him a message without being detected.
"Fine," Cambrough conceded. "I didn't think it would have been a wise course of action at the time."
"And that's still crap," Daniel shot back.
"I understand how you feel," Cambrough said calmly. "If I had informed you, you would have wanted to be there. I wanted to be there. But that wasn't an option. I know he is your best friend, but I couldn't risk the safety of him or you."
"You could have at least informed me after the fact," Daniel said while glaring at Cambrough. "And you're wrong you know, Tony is more than a best friend, he's my brother. I need some air."
Daniel turned and started to walk back down the hallway. He paused momentarily when he heard Gibbs say his name.
"Jackson, don't go far."
Daniel turned back and he could tell that Gibbs wasn't kidding. So instead of heading for the elevators, Daniel changed direction. He pushed past Cambrough into the hotel room and headed for the balcony that he had seen when the door had first been opened. Stepping out into the cool air helped him immensely to clear his head. He could hear Cambrough and Gibbs speaking, but he couldn't make out the words being spoken. After taking a few breaths and letting some of his anger fade, Daniel turned and head back into the room.
"I know you know better than anyone, what it's like to lose a child," Cambrough was saying.
Gibbs just nodded without verbally replying. Daniel was mildly surprised. He hadn't known that Gibbs had had a family. But it actually would explain a few things, like the way he seemed to sometimes tolerate the somewhat childish behavior of his team.
"And I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a child, not having any myself," Cambrough continued. "But Tony is the closest thing I have to a son and I can't stand the thought of him…"
Cambrough's voice trailed off. He obviously couldn't finish that sentence. Daniel wasn't surprised by the fact that Cambrough felt that strongly about Tony. What was surprising was the fact that Cambrough didn't seem to be in control of his own emotions. He was normally very calm and collected. Not unlike both Jack and Gibbs, never really showing how much a situation actually affected them. But this was entirely different.
"Excuse me for a moment," Cambrough said before heading for the bathroom.
Gibbs didn't seem to want to talk and right now that was just fine with Daniel. So he let the silence linger. He was still angry with Cambrough for not telling him about when Tony had had the plague, but he did understand why. If Cambrough had informed him Daniel's first reaction would have been to find out where Tony was and then get there as fast as possible. He would have wanted to make sure that Tony was ok. And Daniel completely ignored the voice in the back of his head, which sounded strangely like Jack that was telling him that Tony didn't know about any of his own near death (or even actual death) experiences.
"Bonzo," Daniel said shortly after Cambrough had emerged from the bathroom. "Any idea what Tony meant by that?"
"Are either of you familiar with the book?" Cambrough asked.
Daniel nodded his head yes. "But it's been a while."
Gibbs just had a blank look on his face. Obviously he didn't know anything about the book.
"So one yes and one no," Cambrough said. "Well, allow me to do a brief refresher. The book, in essence, is about a brilliant young kid who got accepted into a program called battle school. He was the youngest one ever accepted and the people in charge thought he could be the one to lead their army. When he was finally placed in a battle group, his commander, Bonzo was a mean older kid that didn't really like Ender. Later, after Ender was given his own command, his old platoon leader didn't take too kindly to being crushed quite so thoroughly when their battle groups face each other. Bonzo and a group of older kids decided to corner Ender in the shower one day. Ender managed to get Bonzo to fight one on one. Now what you have to understand is that Ender never lost. And his fight against Bonzo was no different.
"Tony always said he could relate to Ender because of how young he was selected for special training. Some of the older kids were a bit resentful and gave Tony a hard time. But it was to be expected because Tony was the best of them all. And as such, Tony managed to hold his own even against them. But there was one kid, Gordon Winchester, he really took a dislike to Tony and tried to cause him lethal harm on more than one occasion. But, like the others, Tony managed to deal with him as well. Tony told me later that he was like his very own Bonzo."
"Didn't Bonzo die in the book?" Daniel asked after Cambrough had finished speaking. Now that Cambrough had given them the basic synopsis of the book it was all kind of starting to come back.
"Yes he did, unbeknownst to Ender at the time it happened," Cambrough said in answer. "However, Tony's showdown with Gordon didn't end in death."
"Then what happened to him?" Gibbs asked.
"He was transferred to a different project. It was decided that he wasn't a very good fit. Although, he wasn't too thrilled with the prospect of being transferred."
"What happened to him after he was transferred?" Daniel asked.
"I'm not sure on that part. Last I heard he washed out, but I'm unsure where he went after that, because once he was transferred he was no longer under my supervision and I had other children to worry about."
"So, then it's possible the message Tony is trying to tell us is that the killer is Gordon," Daniel said.
"Possibly, but then again it could be a completely unrelated circumstance," Cambrough said. He then turned to look at Gibbs. "Any thought Agent Gibbs?"
"I would say that's exactly what Tony was trying to tell us. He wouldn't have tried so hard to tell me that if it wasn't important," Gibbs replied. "Gordon is the killer and he's after DiNozzo."