SUMMARY: "You were choked to the point of unconsciousness. And why, Daniel, did you think this piece of information wasn't worth telling me?" Prisoners-tag with Daniel h/c.
SEASON/SPOILERS: Season 2. Major spoilers for Prisoners, slight spoilers for events up until then (mainly Sha're).
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a story I believe I wrote in 2006/2007 that for the life of me, I can't remember ever posting anywhere. So since am trying to streamline all my Gen fic in one place here it is. I am not a doctor, but medical stuff had been actively researched and used with some dramatic licensing (but nothing worse than we've seen on the show ;).
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Stargate: SG-1 or anything associated with it. I'm simply borrowing, but I promise to return all in one piece. Eventually.
"You were choked to the point of unconsciousness. And why, Daniel, did you think this piece of information wasn't worth telling me?"
Janet's tone was firm, one hand on her hip, the other clutching his chart. It was apparent she wasn't pleased.
"Um, I was cured?" he tried, the excuse sounding weak, even to his own ears. To be honest, he figured the bruises would speak for themselves and when she deemed them non-serious he'd be out the door and on his way. It had almost worked, with Linea temporarily delaying a full exam, but when Jack let it slip that he'd passed out, Janet wanted to run every test possible.
"You survived," Janet corrected. "Whether or not you were 'cured' is for me to determine. You're here overnight at least."
"Overnight?" he repeated. "But I'm fine. Not even a croak."
"Really?" Janet put down his chart and gently brushed her hands aside the deep bruising on his neck. He hissed, immediately pulling away from her. "Overnight. End of discussion. I need to watch for delayed airway and pulmonary complications."
"Pulmonary complications?" Daniel reached up to his neck. He was fine. Sure, swallowing currently hurt like hell, but he could breathe quite well and as long as nothing touched his neck it didn't throb in time with his heartbeat.
"Is the doc here giving you a hard time, Daniel?"
Daniel almost sighed in relief at Jack's voice. Jack would back him up, right? Help him out and convince Janet he was truly okay and not in danger of suffocating yet again. Once had been enough, thank you, and he didn't ever want to relive those last few seconds of terror just before he completely blacked out.
"Janet wants me to stay overnight because of this." Daniel pointed to his neck.
"This," Janet interjected, "Is extremely deep bruising. Add the fact that you were strangled to the point of losing consciousness, I'd be surprised if there *wasn't* any soft tissue damage. I want a CT scan of your neck." She nodded towards a nurse a few feet away. "Can you get Dr. Jackson a set of scrubs, please?"
Daniel wanted to groan. Scrubs definitely meant he was staying. He gave Jack a pitiful look, silently pleading for his help.
"Look, Doc, Daniel's breathing okay, right? On Hadante, Linea gave him something that fixed him right up."
"Linea?" Janet raised an eyebrow and picked up Daniel's chart again. "The same woman that Sam told me is considered 'The Destroyer of Worlds?' You'll have to excuse me when I want to use Earth medicine to assure Daniel is okay."
A nurse dropped a pair of scrubs onto the bed. "Thank you, Rachel. Can you let imaging know I'd to get a CT scan of Dr. Jackson?" The nurse nodded and left.
Daniel sighed, wincing at the slight movement of his neck. "I'm staying, aren't I?"
"Oh yeah," Jack responded.
"Just get changed, Daniel." Janet opened his chart and scribbled something across it. "I'll be back with a wheelchair."
"Not a wheel-" He stopped mid plea, as she closed his chart and walked away. No use wasting his voice when she wouldn't listen anyway. "This is pointless."
Jack gave him a sympathetic smile. "Vishnor did leave you with some impressive battle scars. At least you won."
Daniel fingered his neck again, this time feeling the ever-so slight swelling from the bruising. It felt a bit warm, he realized. "I'd hate to know what would have happened if I hadn't."
"You and me both, Daniel," Jack answered. "You and me both."
Daniel awoke to wheezing. The room was dark, his brain was muddled and it took him a moment to realize the person wheezing was him.
Janet had run what felt like a million tests and had concluded that while there was no immediate damage, there was some swelling she didn't like and back to bed he had gone, hooked up to a heart monitor and pulse oximeter.
Both those pieces of equipment were not particularly happy right now.
There was a nurse next to him, and he was sure that there was a look of concern coloring her face, but his glasses were gone, leaving him nothing but a blurry object to look at. She started to guide the bed into a more upright position and although he was still wheezing, he was obviously getting enough oxygen because the nurse wasn't howling for a doctor or shoving an oxygen mask in his face.
He opened his mouth to respond, but found it difficult to form the words. Instead, he had no choice but to listen to his ragged breathing. He moved his hand, trying to convey something – anything really – and thankfully, the nurse seemed to get the point.
"Does it hurt?" she asked and her eyes glanced up towards the monitor.
"Okay." She reached away for something a moment, and the next thing he knew she was positioning an oxygen cannula under his nose.
"I'm getting to get Dr. Frasier," she told him. "We'll get you fixed up in a minute."
A minute seemed to stretch forever, but the flow of oxygen assured him that he was still breathing. He tried not to panic. His throat throbbed, almost like every few seconds it was trying to squeeze and release his windpipe. This couldn't be good and wondered if perhaps this was one of the complications Janet had been afraid of.
Janet was there, finally, her white coat a little rumpled. He wondered if she'd been sleeping.
"J…" he tried, but barely managed the sound of the first letter of her name.
"So much for being fine, I think," she remarked and reached into her pocket to retrieve a penlight. She clicked it on. "Can you open for me?"
He complied, and almost panicked yet again when he realized how much harder it was to breathe while Janet examined his throat.
"The swelling increased," she commented, shutting the light off and stepped away. The nurse that first noticed Daniel's distress handed her a chart and Janet studied it carefully, frowning.
"Wh….?" Wow, he almost managed a whole word that time before needing to swallow against the pain. Or should he say, trying to swallow. Swallowing wasn't easy and he moved his hands again, hoping that someone might get the idea and find him a pen and paper.
The nurse tapped Janet's shoulder, and a moment later, he got what he wanted.
"Can't really swallow," he wrote.
"I know," Janet confirmed. "Your O2 stats are decent, however, which means the swelling isn't truly compromising your airway at the moment. I'm going to start you on some medication to help the swelling and I'll put a call into Warner. I think a direct fiberoptic laryngoscopy would give us a better picture of the exact damage."
"A what?" he scribbled and Janet leaned in further to read it.
"We'll thread a pencil-thin, flexible scope through your nose and down your throat. It should get past the swelling and give us a better idea of what's happening beyond it." She patted Daniel's shoulder. "Don't worry, we'll take good care of you, I promise."
As she left, Daniel had no choice but to sigh and wonder why, no matter how hard he tried, he was the one always coming back to Earth bruised and battered.
Jack was in a good mood when he arrived at the mountain. Sure, they'd let the Destroyer of Worlds out into the galaxy again, but he did manage to eat Fruit Loops for breakfast this morning instead of gruel. Therefore, it was a good day.
He headed down for the infirmary, hoping the doc would spring Daniel and the two of them could find Carter and Teal'c and play a little hooky at lunch after the morning's scheduled briefing. After gruel and prison time, team-bonding was most definitely called for.
Which, of course, meant he was surprised that upon entering the infirmary he found Daniel still in bed and hooked up to a monitor. He was further surprised to find Daniel now on oxygen and quiet. An IV shunt had been placed in Daniel's hand, leading to a couple of bags of clear fluid above his head.
"Not a good night?"
Daniel sighed, grimaced, and reached for a pad lying on the bedside table. That immediately made Jack frown.
"Cat got your tongue?" he asked, keeping his tone light. Daniel was still breathing, so that had to be good, right? He absently glanced away, searching the room for Fraiser, behind turning back to Daniel.
Daniel wrote, then slide the pad towards Jack. Jack glanced down.
" 'I can't talk. Swelling. Need test with Warner.'" Okay, that wasn't good. Warner was a surgeon. Why did Daniel need a surgeon?
"Why do you need Dr. Warner?" he asked.
"He needs Dr. Warner because I want Dr. Warner to perform a laryngoscopy on Daniel this morning."
Jack couldn't help jumping a little. Fraiser could pop out of nowhere when she wanted to. "A laryno-what?"
"Laryngoscopy," Fraiser repeated. "We'll thread a small scope down Daniel's nose into his throat in order to take a better look."
Jack swallowed unconsciously. "That sure sounds like a good time. I bet you get the good drugs, Daniel."
"He'll get a local anesthetic sprayed down his throat," Fraiser informed them, and Daniel's look wasn't a happy one. "It'll be a bit strange, Daniel, but it shouldn't hurt. Though if your gag reflex is too great, we may need to resort to a surgical procedure. The good news, however, is that although the swelling hasn't truly decreased, it does appear to have stabilized."
Jack noticed Daniel's mouth set itself into a thin line. Not good.
"So what's the deal? You know what's going on?"
"Not yet, Colonel," Fraiser admitted. "That's why I called for Dr. Warner." She nodded her head up and smiled. "And here he is. Why don't you and I step aside, Colonel, and let Dr. Warner examine Daniel?"
Jack was reluctant to leave, but he couldn't do anything more for his friend, so he gave Daniel a grin and a pat on the shoulder and stepped away.
"Is this serious?" he asked Fraiser once they were out of Daniel's eyeshot.
"Daniel's situation always had the potential to be serious," Fraiser noted, "which is why I was disappointed that neither you nor Daniel – or Sam or Teal'c, for that matter – thought it wasn't important to let me know all the facts about Hadante." She stopped at the nurse's desk and looked Jack in the eyes.
"Daniel's lucky," she continued. "I have every reason to believe that the swelling can be reduced and after a few days Daniel will be fine. The laryngoscopy is a precaution, mainly, in case Daniel's inability to talk isn't related directly to the swelling, but due to further injury. His throat hurts and it'll hurt worse after the procedure. Best thing you can do is go out and buy him some ice cream. I think Sam knows his favorite. No chips though."
"Oh," she added as she started to walk away. "I won't forget about the omission and I do intend to have a discussion with General Hammond about it, sir."
"Wonderful," he mumbled. He cast his eyes back towards Daniel's bed, but Warner blocked his view of the archaeologist.
Damn Hadante. It was once place he hoped he'd never see again.
He was gagging and he couldn't help it. The sensation was terrible, he felt like he couldn't breathe and every second he wanted to vomit.
"This isn't working. I'm pulling out."
Warner's voice followed by bliss as Daniel felt the snake down his throat slide out. He gasped in air the moment he could, still gagging in spite of the scope's removal. He knew he was going to lose it and thankfully someone else must have gotten the hint because a basin was placed in front of him just in time.
He finished, panting, his throat on fire and his heart beating in time with his wheezy breathing. Hands guided him back down on the mattress and he closed his eyes, so incredibly grateful it was over.
"Your gag reflex is too great, Dr. Jackson. Unfortunately I'm going to need to do this while you're under general anesthesia."
Great. Knock him out. He could care less just as long he was wonderfully unaware the next time someone even came near him with that scope.
Warner's face appeared in his line of vision and the older doctor gave him a smile. "It'll take a bit to get things set, so just relax."
Relax. Yeah, right. Everyone was always telling him to relax but in the last few hours, he'd been through enough to do anything but relax. Sure, Janet had told him he'd most likely be fine, but it was the "most likely" part that him more than a little unnerved.
Of course, there was also the incident that had landed him in the first place.
/ "How dare you interfere." /
Vishnor's attack had been completely unexpected. One moment, he had been fine, the next, there was an arm squeezed his throat. He could remember every thought that had gone through his head, thinking of Sha're and how he'd never find her, yet his very last thought wasn't of his wife. As the black spots dancing before his eyes grew, he realized he had figured out just how to get them home and would never be able to share it with his teammates.
When he had opened his eyes and seen Jack's face, he was shocked to say the least. Afraid it wasn't real, he'd blurted out the very thought he'd thought he'd never be able to say.
/ "And this just came to you?"
"No. This came to me while I was suffocating." /
Near-death experiences were no less frightening the second time around. And the fact that this wasn't his first brush with death was even more unsettling. Sometimes it was too much. Often he pledged that the second he found Sha're, he was done and they'd head back to Abydos where life had been much simpler.
So simple that Daniel had grown bored enough to let Jack through the gate when he'd seen that tissue box. And that decision had only started a chain reaction of tragedy.
Daniel opened his eyes and reached up and pinched the bridge of his nose. In addition to his throat pain, he now had a headache as well. That was the problem being confined to the infirmary. He had too much damn time to think.
He was happy when a nurse came and even looked forward to a couple of hours of dreamless bliss. A gurney arrived and he was asked to scoot over.
He watched the lights pass by with disinterest, trying desperately not to think about anything at all.
"He's still sleeping off the anesthesia. You should let me put that in the freezer, sir. It's starting to drip."
Anesthesia? That wasn't right. Jack let the nurse that had greeted him take the pint of Ben and Jerry's out of his hand before it began really dripping on the infirmary floor. Jack had only been gone a couple of hours. What the hell had happened now?
"Anesthesia? Did Daniel need surgery?" Carter asked. He'd found her and Teal'c shortly after he'd left Daniel and the three decided a trip to the local grocery store was needed to help cheer Daniel up.
"Dr. Warner needed to perform the laryngoscopy under general anesthesia," the nurse explained. "That's all I know." She lifted the ice cream. "I'll go put this away for now."
Jack scanned the infirmary for Fraiser or Warner, planning to grab whichever physician he saw first. This was the last time he'd let Frasier convince him Daniel would be fine and that it was all right for him to leave.
Neither Fraiser nor Warner were in sight, so Jack decided to change his focus, heading straight for the bed Daniel was occupying. Out of the corner of his eyes he watched Carter exchange a glance with Teal'c, but the Jaffa simple raised an eyebrow and started to follow him.
Sure enough, Daniel was out cold, monitors attached, oxygen still in place, and an IV line still up and running. Despite all that though, there was color in Daniel's cheeks and Jack took that as a possible good thing - unless the color was from a fever.
He couldn't resist touching the back of his hand to Daniel's forehead, relieved when it was cool to the touch. Daniel stirred as he pulled his hand away.
"Daniel?" he tried.
Two sluggish eyes opened slightly, revealing a hint of blue that didn't have a clue where he was. Daniel opened his mouth, his lips forming what Jack recognized as his name, but no sound came out. A hand groped towards his throat, hissing when it made direct contact with one of the bruises. Carter was the one that pulled Daniel's hand down.
"No, Daniel, don't touch that."
Daniel's eyes turned to try and acknowledge her, but they fluttered shut a moment later.
"The bruising looks terrible," Carter commented, her frown turning into a frown.
"Indeed," Teal'c agreed. "I had believed Linea had healed Daniel Jackson on Hadante."
"Yeah, well, apparently she did a shoty job. Cut a few corners." Jack studied Daniel another moment before turning his attention back towards the main infirmary. "Both of you stay with Daniel. I'm going to track down Fraiser."
He found her reviewing inventory with a couple of nurses and wasted no time in pulling the good doctor aside for a chat.
"Daniel's sleeping" were the first words out of his mouth.
"That is usually what a general anesthetic does, Colonel. I did warn both you and Daniel if his gag reflex was too great we may have to do the laryngoscopy in an OR under a general."
"You did," Jack noted, "But I thought that meant you'd tell me if you needed to resort to that."
"Dr. Jackson was perfectly capable of signing his own consent form, sir, and it wasn't a life threatening procedure." Fraiser's arms were crossed. She may have only been here about a year, but it hadn't taken Jack long to realize that posture meant business.
"I don't care whether it was serious or not. Daniel is part of my team and I like to know everything that goes on when one of my team is involved."
Fraiser sighed. "I appreciate your concern, Colonel, but in all fairness I actually did try and locate you. You had already left the mountain."
"I have a cell phone," he pointed out.
"That you didn't answer," Fraiser shot back. "Listen, sir, Daniel will be fine. I spoke briefly to Dr. Warner after the procedure and while he noticed more swelling and trauma around Daniel's vocal cords, he expects that a combination of medication and rest should both give Daniel his voice back and get him back on his feet. Now, if you excuse me," she gestured to back to the nurse she'd been speaking with, "I have other things to get back to."
She walked away and Jack headed back towards Daniel's bed, where the sight of Daniel retching greeted him. Carter was rubbing Daniel's back and her eyes darted up towards his, flashing him a look of concern. Teal'c stood nearby, his stance that of one guarding an artifact of great importance. Jack figured Daniel would enjoy that irony.
"He woke up and was sick," Carter explained. Daniel panted into the basin in front of him. "You think you're finished, Daniel?"
Daniel gave a terse nod. Jack waved a nurse over who took the basin away and promised to find a doctor.
Okay, my ass, thought Jack. Fraiser was going to hear from him. Fraiser, however, wasn't the doctor who came over. It was Warner, who after a moment concluded the anesthesia had been to blame.
"It was Dr. Jackson's first experience with general anesthesia," he explained. "'We gave him some medication as a precaution, but I suppose it didn't work very well. I'll make a note, Daniel, and get something else to help."
Daniel, for his part, just closed his eyes.
"I guess now would be a bad time to tell you we brought ice cream, huh?"
Daniel's eyes opened again and they shot Jack a look. Jack couldn't help grinning; it was a sign that Daniel was still in there.
Maybe Fraiser was right; Daniel would be just fine.
Daniel was the guest of the SGC infirmary for three more days, during which the bruising around his neck turned a variety of blues, purples, and greens. On the second day, Daniel's voice returned, shaky and horse, but there. Daniel managed to keep solid food down and even the swelling had abated.
However, when the physical hurts began to heal, the emotional hurts reared their ugly head.
It hadn't bothered him at first. If he didn't think about it, it didn't exist and everything was wonderful. Well, perhaps wonderful wasn't the right word, but he was recovering and recovering was good.
So Daniel was certainly a little surprised when he had jerked awake one night, petrified, hands going directly to his neck, sure that he was dead and his waking up was the dream. Needless to say, he hadn't get much sleep after that and it showed.
"Daniel, I'm tempted to keep you another night. You're still exhausted."
Daniel shook his head. "Janet, I'm fine." He winced at the croak that was his voice at the moment. "Please. I sleep better at my apartment. The infirmary isn't home."
Janet eyed him a moment before responding. "I guess I can't argue with that. You'll rest, right?"
"I'll rest," he confirmed. He hadn't said a word about his nightmares and didn't intend to. If Janet heard one word about the fact that every time he closed his eyes he felt that strong arm squeeze his neck, he'd never be released.
"Oh, he'll definitely rest," a voice said and Daniel turned to see Jack push a wheelchair towards his bed. "Ride's here," he patted the back of the chair, "He all set to go, Doc?"
"He is." She gave Daniel one last look. "I want to see you again in two days, okay?"
"Okay," he answered and Janet left him and Jack alone.
"So…" Jack started.
"I can walk," Daniel told him.
"You could, but Fraiser had me promise you'd ride. And since I'm already in the dog house with her and she welds the needles, you're sitting."
He sighed. "Fine. But push quickly, please."
"We'll be topside before you know it," Jack assured and Daniel plopped into the seat, hoping that by the time Jack dropped him off, his exhaustion would be great enough to let him sleep dream-free for at least a few hours.
He needed it.
/ "How dare you interfere." /
His eyes popped open and it took him a moment to realize where he was.
A car. Yes, Jack was driving him home. He must have drifted off, he realized. He blinked and adjusted his glasses, trying to push the cobwebs and remains of his dream out of his brain.
That when he truly saw where they were.
"Jack, this is your house."
Jack pulled the key out of the ignition. "Yep, it is."
"You were supposed to take me to my apartment."
"Yes, I was."
"So again, why are we at your house?"
"Because you don't own a television and I need something to do while you sleep."
"Right," he responded. "You don't need to baby sit me."
"I'm not," Jack answered. "I'm hanging out. In my house."
"Of course." It was Janet's doing, he was sure, but then again, Jack could be pretty damn sneaky when he wanted to as well.
Jack opened the car door. "I'm heading in. Hockey's on at three."
With no vehicle and no other choice, Daniel followed Jack into the house. At the very least, he could count on the hockey game helping him get some sleep.
Sleep didn't happen. He found himself jerking awake every second he closed his eyes. The sensation of not being able to breathe haunted him while the rational part of his brain knew he was safe now, far from Hadante and well on the road to recovery, he couldn't shake the event from his mind.
He felt foolish, utterly foolish, and he wondered if it showed.
"I'm thinking about inviting Teal'c and Carter to dinner here tonight. Figured I'd grill up some steaks. You up to it?"
"I'm fine," he replied, almost as if on autopilot. Fine was a relative term and one that rarely, if ever, accurately described how he was feeling lately.
"Good," Jack said and Daniel thought perhaps Jack hadn't noticed and that things would just be left alone.
"I'm going to head to the store," Jack continued. "Why don't you get some shut-eye? You look like you could use it."
"I'm not tired," was Daniel's automatic response.
The look on Jack's face let him know that Jack had noticed. Big time.
"You're definitely tired," Jack countered. "There's nothing wrong with a nap."
"A nap is for a four-year-old," Daniel answered, "and the last time I checked I wasn't one of those. Please, Jack, I'm not tired. I'm fine. I'll go to the store with you."
"Unless fine has suddenly started meaning exhausted, pale, and shaky, then sure you're fine." He studied Daniel a moment. "I could call Fraiser."
"No!" Daniel's hands flew up. "Jack."
Jack blinked. "Daniel."
A moment of silence fell between the two of them.
"Hadante isn't a vacation spot I'd recommend to friends, especially considering the food," Jack said casually. "And I'd think almost being killed would put it on your no-no list."
"Well, it does," he admitted. "But it's done. I mean, we let a woman know as the Destroyer of the Worlds go free—"
"There's that," Jack said, "which doesn't make the mission report end with its usual high note."
"But I'm fine, Jack. I mean, I'm alive. I got us home."
"You did," Jack recognized. "But again, Daniel, you did almost die. That makes what, three now?"
"Actually it's four," Daniel intoned softly. "I guess I should be used to it, huh?"
Jack shook his head. "Nah." He absently stuffed a hand into his pocket. "Almost dying is never fun. And it gets old pretty fast."
"It does," Daniel said softly. "You know, the first thought that entered my head was the fact that I'd be leaving Sha're behind. But still that wasn't what bothered me most."
Jack raised his eyebrows. "What did?"
"The fact that I've finally figured out how to get us home and I'd have no way to share it and you, Sam, and Teal'c would be stuck on Hadante feeling guilty. Yet, that didn't happen and still every time I close my eyes…"
"It comes back to haunt ya?" Jack finished.
"Yeah," he admitted with a sigh. "I can't…"
"Sleep?" Jack finished.
Daniel nodded. "I need to sleep." He sighed. "This is ridiculous. Stargate travel is dangerous. I know that. This has happened before and it could happen again, right?"
"Right," Jack agreed. "Daniel, no one expects you to be able to brush everything off."
"You do," Daniel pointed out. "Brush it off, I mean." Jack made dying look easy.
"Yeah, well, thus far I've had slightly more practice. Though you are catching up with me." Jack paused a moment. "I'm a soldier. It's part of the job description. You're—"
"A civilian," Daniel answered. "But I'm—"
"Qualified to be out there, yes. If I didn't believe it I'd have pulled you out in a second."
Daniel shifted his gaze. He'd experienced some fairly awful things in his life, lost a lot of sleep over Sha're. Yet, hope kept him going. Now fear seemed to stall it again. "Doesn't change the fact that I can't sleep. How do you…?"
"You don't," Jack said matter-of-factly. "You just concentrate on the fact you're alive. Eventually everything else can fade."
"Alive," he repeated. He let that word sink in a moment. "Takes time, huh?"
"Can't offer up much else. Expect maybe some company at two a.m. Some cable stations aren't half bad then."
"I don't have a cable," Daniel said.
"Again, exactly why we came here instead of your place. So, still want to go to the store?" Jack asked innocently.
Daniel closed his eyes. For the first time in a couple of days, Vishnor's grip didn't immediately hit his mind. Instead, a sudden weariness hit him with a force so strong that he felt his body sag.
Time. Everything takes time. Finding Sha're takes time. All he wanted was the time to find her. Was it too much? Maybe.
But he had the time to find out.
"No," he told Jack. "I'm going to lie down."
And he had friends to help him.