Defying the Odds
Categories: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Content Warning: Adult Themes, Mild Profanity, Sexual Content
Spoilers: The original Stargate movie, several 1st, 2nd and 3rd season episodes, The Curse
Author's Notes: This story is quite different in some ways from my usual Daniel/Sam fanfic.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to read any notes at the end of the chapters regarding the differences in the events of this universe's Forever in a Day.
*** IMPORTANT NOTICE ***
Due to this archive's crackdown on sexual content in stories, I have changed all mature-rated scenes that may have been considered by the moderators to have an MA rating. The love scenes in this story have been replaced with the milder ones from the version of the story that had been rated Teen but now also has a Mature rating. I am keeping this version up because of the reviews attached to it. The real mature-rated version can still be found on my Web site at www .stargate-horizons. com (remove spaces). I welcome you to go there and read it, then come back here and review.
The pain bore into Daniel's brain, an agony that he had known twice before but had prayed he'd never feel again.
He had been a fool to enter the tent alone, but all he could think about was Sha're and the child who was her son, the child he had sworn would remain safe. As he stood facing Amaunet, he had tried to stay cool and calm, to not reveal how hard it was for him to look upon the face of his beloved wife and see none of Sha're's soul or spirit. His act did him no good, and now he was held captive by the power of Amaunet's ribbon device as it slowly destroyed his brain. He could have shot her, pulled the trigger and saved himself, but his love for Sha're wouldn't let him. He had feared even an attempt to wound her in case he accidentally hit an artery.
Fighting through the fiery pain, he looked up into the eyes of the woman looming over him, eyes that were cold and cruel, no trace of the woman he loved within them.
'Fight it, Sha're. Fight her!' he cried in his mind, repeating a plea he had spoken aloud moments ago. But she could not hear him.
Daniel's mind then cried out to his teammates, praying that they would come to his rescue, but, as the feeling of death crept into his body, he realized that there would be no rescue. He was going to die at the hands of the creature that had imprisoned his wife, a creature who was now using her body to kill him. And, when he died, his dream of saving her would die with him.
'Forgive me, Sha're,' Daniel silently whispered as a cloud of blackness began filling his mind, taking his vision until there was nothing but the darkness and the pain. In the final moment before the blackness consumed him utterly, the last remnant of his consciousness heard something, a lone sound that shattered the silence in the tent – the sound of a single gunshot.
Colonel Jack O'Neill made his slow way down the corridor. He did not look at any of the people he passed, though he was aware that many of them looked at him. He knew what he'd see if he did look: expressions of sympathy, perhaps some of understanding. In the two and a half years that the Stargate Program had been in existence, they had lost a lot of good people, and there was no doubt that there would be more losses in the future. It was a sad fact of being in the military, of being in a war. But that fact could not stop the pain in Jack's heart nor the thought that this loss was one that was far too great, one that was so terribly wrong.
Reaching his destination, Jack came to a stop. He stood before the doorway for several seconds, preparing himself yet again for what lay beyond. Drawing in a deep breath, he stepped forward and entered the room.
All of the beds in the ICU were empty, all, that is, except for one, a bed that sat at the far end of the room, a bed whose occupant was far too pale and far too still, his only movement the slow rise and fall of his chest as air was forced into his lungs by the machine that was keeping him alive.
Jack gazed at the face of the man he had come to think of as his best friend, seeing the ghost-white skin, the closed, dark-circled eyes. He would give everything he owned to see those eyes open and look at him.
Jack's gaze went to the person who sat in a chair beside the bed. Sam had been crying again. He could see the traces of tears on her face. Daniel's limp hand was grasped in one of hers, her other hand softly caressing the back of his. The sight of that simple, loving gesture almost made Jack flee the room, the pain in his chest going up another notch. Instead, he swallowed the lump in his throat and softly spoke.
After a moment, the major lifted her eyes to his, eyes that mirrored the anguish he was feeling.
"You need to get some rest, Carter," Jack told her. "You were here half the night."
"I'm not tired." The statement was a lie, and they both knew it.
"Sam, even if Fraiser would let you, you can't stay here all the time."
"I can't sleep," Sam said in a small voice. "Every time I try, I have nightmares."
Jack sighed. Yes, nightmares. He'd had more than one of those himself since it happened, nightmares of finding Daniel lying dead in that tent, Amaunet smiling in triumph at his lifeless body, nightmares of Daniel in this very bed, the line on the heart monitor going flat. And what made it all the worse was that those dreams of his best friend's death would very likely come true.
Jack got another chair and set it on the opposite side of the bed, his gaze returning to Daniel's lifeless-looking face. There was silence in the room, broken only by the noises of the life support system and the slow beeping of the heart monitor.
"If only we had gotten to him sooner," Sam said, her voice thick with tears. "If we had reached him sooner, he'd be okay."
Jack closed his eyes and took a slightly shaky breath. He'd already cursed himself a thousand times for their failure to reach Daniel in time. A few seconds, just a few seconds sooner, and Daniel would be all right. But those precious, irretrievable seconds were lost fighting Jaffa, and Daniel was lost with them. No, not lost, not yet. There had to be some hope left. There had to be.
Just then, Janet Fraiser came in. There was an air of sad weariness about her, the expression in her deep brown eyes that of a doctor who knew that all her knowledge and skill was not enough to save her patient.
"Any changes?" Jack asked, already knowing the answer.
There was a long pause before she replied. "He's weakening, sir."
Sam's head shot up, scared eyes staring at the doctor. "But you said before that he was stable."
"He was for a while, Sam, but I already knew that wouldn't last. Even if it did. . . ." Janet paused again. There was pain in her voice when she resumed speaking. "He's already gone, Sam. With brain damage that extensive, there is no hope that he'll come back to us. He would be dead now if we didn't have him on life support."
Tears began falling down Sam's face. "We can't just let him die. I'll use the healing device."
"You and I already agreed that you don't have enough proficiency with it to attempt something as delicate as repairing brain damage. Just the smallest error could kill him."
Sam's voice grew desperate. "The Tok'ra might still respond to our message in time."
Janet nodded. "I know. I haven't given up hope yet, Sam, but you need to understand that, even if the Tok'ra do get here in time, I'm not sure if one of those handheld devices is powerful enough to make those kinds of repairs."
"A sarcophagus could," Jack said. "If we could get him to one, it would heal him."
Jack had already said that very thing to General Hammond, just about begging the man to let them go after one. They knew the locations of at least two. The problem was that both of them were inside Goa'uld palaces filled with hundreds of Jaffa. Hammond, knowing that it would be suicide to even try, regretfully said no.
"How much time does he have?" Jack asked the doctor.
"If he continues to decline at his present rate, it's doubtful that he'll make it through another night."
Sam abruptly got to her feet. With a hasty, "Excuse me," she fled the room. She only just managed to make it to her quarters before completely losing control of her emotions. Her body shaking with sobs, she laid down on the bed. It felt like someone was squeezing her heart to pulp. Daniel was going to die. They were going to lose him, she was going to lose him, her best friend and confidant, the man who had become so precious to her.
"I love you, Daniel," she whispered. "I love you. Please don't leave me."
It was the first time she had spoken the words aloud in all the time that had passed since the day less than one year ago when she realized that the love she felt for Daniel was far more than that of a friend. On that day she had also feared that she was going to lose him. As he lay trapped within the dying body of Ma'chello, Sam had begged him not to leave her, just as she was begging now. She had known then, as she did now, that his death would leave a hole inside her that would never be filled, but it wasn't until after the crisis had passed and she was able to relax that she came to the realization that she'd fallen in love with Daniel.
It really was no surprise that she'd come to feel this way. He was everything she could ever want or need in a man, a wonderful, brilliant, caring person who, right from the start, she liked and admired. As the months passed, those feelings grew, along with love for him as a friend. When did that friendship love become more? Sam didn't know. All she knew was that she had never loved like this before – and never would again. If Daniel died, the biggest part of her heart would die with him.
Jack lifted his head from his hands and looked up at the man who was now standing in the room. Teal'c stood solemnly, his back ramrod straight. Anyone who didn't know him would think that he was unaffected by what was happening, but Jack had come to recognize the signs that spoke the truth of the Jaffa's emotions, the little muscle that twitched in the hard jaw, the frown that changed ever so subtly. And when Teal'c allowed his guard to fall just a little, the emotions could be seen in his eyes, if you looked hard enough, just as Jack could see them now.
"Doctor Fraiser has told me that Daniel Jackson is dying," the Jaffa stated softly.
A sharp, stabbing pain speared through Jack's heart, and it took him a while to answer. "She thinks he won't make it through another night."
"There is no word yet from the Tok'ra?"
"No. Hammond had another message sent, but, if they don't come soon. . . ." Jack turned back to Daniel. "This is wrong, Teal'c. It is just so damn wrong. It should never have happened. What was he thinking going to that tent by himself? Why did he do it, dammit? He should have known better!"
"His love for his wife was great, O'Neill. If I had been in his place, I believe that I would have done the same."
Jack thought about what he'd have done if it had been Sara in that tent. Would he have gone rushing in without backup or any thought for his own safety? He couldn't say that he wouldn't have.
"I just feel so damn helpless," Jack confessed. "Faced with an enemy force, I can plan out a strategy. I can use my skills and training to get myself and my team out alive. But this. . . . My friend is lying there, dying, and there's nothing I can do to save him, no brilliant plan or strategy I can come up with to make this turn out all right."
"I, too, would wish that I had the power to save him," Teal'c said. He looked at the man lying in the bed, sorrow and guilt warring for supremacy inside him. After seeing Daniel disappear into the tent, he had attempted to go after the archeologist, but, at that moment, scores of enemy Jaffa appeared over the rise, and he'd had no choice but to stay and fight. By the time he and his teammates made it to the tent, it was too late to save their friend from the terrible damage that Teal'c had seen wrought by ribbon devices many times in the past. Though Daniel had still been clinging to life, the report from Doctor Fraiser confirmed what the former First Prime had already feared.
Teal'c would have never believed that one such as Daniel Jackson, a man so different from him, would one day become his friend, yet that is what the man was, and now Teal'c was going to lose yet another friend to the Goa'uld.
Feeling old and tired, Jack rose to his feet. "I'm going to go take a walk. You'll stay with him?"
"I will not leave this room until your return, O'Neill."
Nodding, Jack left the infirmary. Since receiving the devastating news from Janet about the brain damage, Daniel's teammates had made sure that he was never alone. At least one of them was always at his side. Though no one had said so aloud, Jack knew that the reason for the constant vigil was that none of them wanted Daniel to die alone. Or perhaps it was that they had all hoped their presence would somehow give him the strength to hold on.
Jack made his way to the top of Cheyenne Mountain. He went down the dirt trail to a little clearing. There, he sat upon a fallen tree. He closed his eyes against the burn of tears, trying to keep them at bay.
"Damn you, Daniel," he whispered. "Why couldn't you have waited? We could have gone after her together. Why did you have to play Rambo and go alone?"
Jack's moment of anger toward his friend faded as quickly as it was born, overwhelmed by the grief. He thought about the first time he met Daniel. If someone had told him back then that he'd come to care about the archeologist like a brother, he'd have laughed in their face. If they had told him that that sneezing, long-haired dweeb would come to be one of the best friends he'd ever had, he would have thought they were insane. But that was before he discovered that the "dweeb" was actually one of the strongest, most courageous men Jack had ever known.
Jack propped his elbows on his knees and lowered his head into his hands. "God, Daniel. I wish it was me in that bed instead of you. I don't know if I can keep doing this without you there to rag on me and tell me what we should and shouldn't do."
The thought of retirement came into Jack's mind. The last time he thought about it was when they all believed that Daniel had burned to death. That time, the unrelenting feelings of grief and guilt were partly due to the low serotonin levels caused by what Nem did to them. There was nothing wrong with his serotonin levels now, yet he hurt just as much he did back then, if not more.
Maybe retirement really was the best thing. Then he wouldn't have to watch any more friends die in the fight against an enemy that they would probably never beat.
An hour passed before Jack gathered the will to go back to the ICU. When he got there, he found Teal'c silently standing beside Daniel's bed, an expression of deep sorrow and regret on his face. The expression vanished the moment the Jaffa became aware of the colonel's presence. No words passed between them as Jack took a seat, his eyes going to Daniel's unmoving form. Teal'c remained where he was a moment longer, then began heading for the door.
"You don't have to go, Teal'c," Jack said.
"Do you not wish to be alone with Daniel Jackson?"
"What's the difference? He can't hear us. He can't see us. He's not even aware of our presence. He's not aware of anything at all. The fact is that he's already gone. His heart may still be beating, but everything that made him who he was is gone." Jack's voice broke on the final word. He leapt to his feet and strode away across the room. "Dammit," he whispered, feeling his emotional control start to slip.
There was a long moment of silence, then, in a very soft voice, Teal'c said, "I grieve for him as well, O'Neill."
Jack slowly turned to the Jaffa. For only the second time since meeting the man, Jack saw Teal'c with his emotions completely unshuttered.
"He was a good friend, Teal'c," Jack said in a ragged voice.
"Yes, he was."
"I don't know if I can say goodbye."
"We will all say it together."
The two men fell silent. Jack returned to his chair, and Teal'c resumed his position on the other side of the bed. A little over an hour later, Sam joined them. She said nothing as she settled in the other chair. She didn't have to. Though she had apparently put on some makeup in an attempt to hide it, it was obvious that she'd been crying a lot, probably all the time she had been gone. On impulse, Jack reached across the bed and gave her hand a squeeze. Anguish-filled eyes met his for a long moment, a spark of gratitude lighting within them.
From the doorway, Janet watched the three teammates and their silent vigil, tears stinging her eyes. She turned away and went to her office. She picked up the file that she had looked at more times than she could count over the past day and a half, her eyes then going to the scans that told the brutal, inescapable truth, the truth that there was nothing she could do to save the man she had come to look upon as a dear friend. The fact was that he should already be dead. He should have died before they even managed to get him back to Earth. She could only attribute his survival to his amazing will power. But that will power could not save him now.
The doctor turned her gaze to the device sitting on a table in the corner, wishing that she had the power to use it. And it would be used. If she was right about Daniel's condition, well before this day was at an end, he would reach the point when all other hope would be lost, and there would be no reason for Sam not to attempt to heal him with it. Perhaps she should go ahead and let Sam try now. No. Not yet. There was still a chance that one of the Tok'ra would come.
Janet left the infirmary and went to General Hammond's office.
"Doctor Fraiser. Please sit," he said. He watched as she settled in the chair on the other side of the desk "I assume that there has been no improvement in Doctor Jackson's condition."
"No, sir. I don't think he's going to be with us for much longer."
Sorrow filled the general's face. "Over the years, I have lost a lot of good men and women under my command, and every one of them hurt, but this time. . . . Doctor Jackson is one if the finest people I have ever had the privilege to meet, and his death will be a loss to all of us, not just to the Stargate Program but to the whole planet. I can't help but think that, without him, our fight against the Goa'uld will be made a great deal harder."
"Sir, does Daniel have any family?"
"I believe that his maternal grandfather is still living, but, judging by a comment that Doctor Jackson made once, the two of them have been estranged for several years. If the reason you are asking is that you believe I should contact him about his grandson, even if I did so, I could not allow him to come to this base to see his grandson."
"I understand, sir."
Hammond studied the doctor. "How are his teammates holding up?"
"Not well, I'm afraid. I don't think that Sam and the colonel have gotten any sleep to speak of, and I don't know if Teal'c has even attempted to perform Kel'no'reem. They spend a lot of their time with Daniel. He is very important to them, and I really don't know how his death will affect them. Back when we all thought that he died on Oannes, they were a mess. Granted, that was due in large part to the abnormally low serotonin levels, but I'm still concerned. They're all suffering a lot of guilt over not getting to Daniel in time."
"It wasn't their fault."
"I know, sir, but that isn't going to stop them from thinking that there was something they could have done differently."
The general looked away. "They are not the only one with that thought, Janet. If I had sent more men through with them, the battle would have gone on for less time, and they could have gotten to him sooner, perhaps even before Amaunet had the chance to use the ribbon device."
"Sir, you didn't know that there was such a large force of Jaffa on the planet. And weren't the two teams you sent with them the only ones available?"
"Yes, but there were other options." Hammond let out a sigh. "But my regret over what I didn't do isn't going to help anything now. The only thing I can do now is try to help Doctor Jackson's teammates through this in whatever way possible."
Sam watched in horror as Daniel took one last breath and the line on the heart monitor went flat, an unending tone announcing that the man she loved was dead.
"No!" she screamed in anguish, sobs choking her throat.
"Sam!" cried a distant voice. "Sam, wake up!"
With a gasp, Sam's eyes flew open. Her gaze went to Daniel, then the life signs monitor. He was still alive. It had been a dream.
"Hey. You okay?"
Sam looked up at Jack, who was leaning over her.
"Yeah," she answered as she sat up and shakily wiped the tears from her face.
"I'm sorry. I should have woke you up as soon as I realized that you were having a dream."
"How long was I sleeping?"
"Not long, maybe half an hour."
Sam got up from the ICU bed beside Daniel's, where Janet had insisted she take a nap when it became clear that neither she nor Daniel's other teammates intended to go to their quarters to get some rest. Sitting upon the next bed over was Teal'c, who had apparently been attempting to Kel'no'reem but was now completely aware.
"I'm sorry I disturbed you, Teal'c," Sam said.
"No apologies are necessary, Major Carter. I had not succeeded in attaining Ke'no'reem."
"Are you feeling okay? I know that if you go too long without doing it, you'll get sick."
"I have not reached that point as of yet."
Sam sat down beside Daniel, who looked the same as he did before her nap. Her eyes then went to her C.O., whose face looked drawn and haggard.
"You should try to get some sleep, sir," she said.
Sam nodded, saying nothing more. There was silence in the room for a few minutes.
"I almost wish we could get our hands on a Goa'uld symbiote," Jack said, breaking the silence. "We could let it heal him, then the Tok'ra could take it out."
The thought of a Goa'uld being inside of Daniel sickened Sam, even if it would just be temporary, but if it would save his life, she'd be all for it.
"If the prim'ta within me was mature enough to successfully take a host, I would give it to Daniel Jackson gladly," Teal'c stated. The others looked at him, knowing that doing such a thing would result in the Jaffa's death. But was it any surprise that Teal'c would sacrifice his life for Daniel? Both of them would do the same in an instant.
At that moment, warning lights began flashing, and words that they had heard many times before sent all three of them jumping to their feet.
"Unscheduled off-world activation."
Sam's eyes locked upon Jack's, hope blazing within them. "It could be the Tok'ra!" she exclaimed. And then she was off, racing out of the room, Jack and Teal'c hot on her heels. They reached the control room just as the wormhole connected.
"Are we receiving a signal?" Hammond asked Sergeant Harriman.
"Something's coming through now, sir." A smile came to Walter's face. "It's the Tok'ra, General."
"Oh, thank God," Sam said. She and her teammates hurried out of the control room and down to the gate room, followed by Hammond.
Any Tok'ra would have been a welcome sight to the three, but when Jacob Carter appeared, the relief was almost overwhelming to Sam. The second he was off the ramp, she was hugging him.
"Thank God you came, Dad. We've been so afraid that someone wouldn't get here in time."
Jacob stared at her, seeing that she was on the edge of tears. He then looked at Jack, Teal'c and Hammond.
"What's happened? The message we received said only that Daniel was in bad shape and desperately needed someone who could use a healing device."
"Come on," Jack told him. "We'll explain on the way to the infirmary."
Jacob was filled in on the whole story. As he entered the ICU and his gaze fell upon Daniel, he could instantly see that it was bad. The archeologist already looked dead, only the rise and fall of his chest and the readouts on the life signs monitor telling Jacob otherwise. His gaze went to the EEG. It was nearly flat, only tiny, occasional spikes testifying that there was still some life left within Daniel's brain.
"How bad it is?" Jacob asked Janet.
"As bad as it can get. The brain damage is extensive and severe. Even if we could keep him alive on life support, he would never wake up. His body is failing. He doesn't have much time left."
"Can you do something, Dad?" Sam asked.
"Selmak and I can try, but you have to understand that these healing devices," he gestured at the one in his hand, "are not nearly as powerful as a sarcophagus."
"Do what you can, Jacob," Hammond told him. "That's all we ask."
Lifting the healing device over Daniel's head, Jacob closed his eyes and relinquished control to Selmak. The other five people in the room watched silently, all of them nearly holding their breath. It seemed like a very long time before the healing device was lowered. Jacob's eyes blinked open, and he looked at them.
"Dad?" Sam said, desperate hope in her voice.
"We managed to heal the damage, but. . . ."
"But what?" Jack asked, afraid to hear the answer.
"We can't be certain if Daniel is still all there. When it comes to severe brain injuries, sometimes, even if we heal the physical damage, what was lost because of the injury never returns."
Feeling sick, Sam turned to the man she loved. Would they ever really get him back? Was his brilliant mind, his seemingly fathomless knowledge, lost forever? Would he even know who they were?
"I'm sorry," Jacob said, seeing how upset his daughter was. "I wish I could do more."
"You saved his life," Jack responded. "We'll get through the rest."
"How long before we know?" Sam asked, trying to think positively.
"He'll sleep for a while," her father replied, "probably a few hours. I guess we'll find out when he awakens."
Janet nodded. "You should leave, all of you, and let him rest."
Sam objected. "But what if he wakes up?"
"I'll check on him every few minutes, Sam. The moment it looks like he might be regaining consciousness, I'll contact all of you."
Daniel's teammates reluctantly left the infirmary with Hammond and Jacob. The Tok'ra went with Sam to her lab. He watched as she lowered herself into a chair and closed her eyes. He could see the tiredness on her face, as well as the signs of someone who had gone through emotional hell. He wheeled a chair over and sat beside her.
"How are you doing, Sammie?" he asked gently.
"It's been hard, Dad. These have been two of the worst days of my life. It hurt so much to know that we were probably going to lose him."
Jacob took his daughter's hand. "I know, Sam. Losing someone you love hurts more than anything else ever could."
The tone of his voice made Sam look at her father. In his eyes she saw that he was not speaking of the pain of losing a friend.
"How did you know?" she asked.
"I figured it out when I was here last time, after that incident with Seth. I listened to you talk about Daniel, saw how your face lit up. I'm your father, Sam. It was pretty easy for me to see."
"I love him so much, Dad," Sam told him, relieved that she could talk to someone about her feelings. "I felt like I was dying when I thought I was going to lose him."
"Does he know how you feel?"
"No. There was no point in telling him. He loves his wife so much. All telling him would have done was make him uncomfortable."
"What about now?"
"I don't know. I can't think about that right now. If Daniel isn't completely okay, he's going to need me to be his friend. I have to put that first. Everything else comes second."
"What he's going to need, Sam, is love, regardless of his physical condition."
Tears shimmered in Sam's eyes. "I know."
Jack managed to stay away from the infirmary for all of three hours. Two of those hours had been spent catching up on some much needed sleep. Jack knew that he needed a whole lot more, but thoughts of his friend wouldn't allow him to rest fully. He would sleep when he knew that Daniel was really okay. He had to believe that the archeologist was going to be all right. Thinking anything else was too hard to take.
Jack scanned Daniel's face, pleased to see that the color had returned to it. He no longer looked like the living dead. Even better was the fact that the life support system was gone. Daniel was breathing completely on his own. He could have been removed from the ICU, but Janet had decided to leave him there because it was quieter.
"You really gave us a scare, Danny," Jack murmured. "You're not allowed to ever do that again. You hear me?" He gave a snort. "Yeah, right. Listen to me ordering you around. Like that ever worked before."
"I don't always disobey your orders."
The raspy whisper nearly made Jack levitate out of the chair. He jumped to his feet, heart thundering in his chest, as Daniel's eyes slowly open.
"Daniel?" Jack queried hesitantly.
"You're. . . . Everything's okay in there?"
"In your head."
"I think so. Why wouldn't it be?" Daniel suddenly became aware that he was lying in an infirmary bed. "What happened to me?"
"You don't remember?"
"No. If I did, I wouldn't be asking."
"Um . . . yeah. Just . . . just wait right there. I need to get the doc."
Jack dashed out of the room and went in search of Janet. It took just a few seconds to find her.
"Daniel's awake! He just suddenly woke up and started talking."
Shooting a command to a nurse to contact Sam and Teal'c, Janet hurried with Jack to Daniel's room. She was thrilled by the sight of the archeologist's eyes open and looking at her.
"Daniel," she said with a smile, briefly glancing at the readings on the life signs monitor. "I can't tell you how good it is to see you awake. How are you feeling?"
"Um, fine, except for a bit of a sore throat. Was I injured?"
Janet's smile turned to a frown. "You can't recall what happened?"
Daniel shook his head. "The last thing I remember is having pancakes and eggs in the commissary with Sam and Jack."
"That was Tuesday morning," Jack said.
"What day is today?"
"I lost two days?"
"You almost lost a lot more than that, Daniel," Janet told him gently.
"Why can't I remember?"
The other two people in the room shared a glance.
"We'll explain everything later, Daniel," Janet answered. "Right now—"
The doctor's sentence was interrupted by the extremely hasty entrance of Sam.
"Daniel!" she cried, going straight to him and taking his hand. The sight of his beautiful blue eyes gazing up at her was too much for her control, and she began to cry. Shocked by the tears, he stared at her, then at the others. Something really, really bad must have happened to him.
Teal'c came walking in. He smiled upon seeing Daniel looking at him with a clear gaze.
"Daniel Jackson. It is good to see that you are well."
Daniel gaped at the Jaffa. Teal'c was smiling, really smiling, not the tiny upward turn of his lips that they very occasionally saw. Daniel began to wonder if he'd died again and gotten resurrected.
"Did I die?"
Everyone else instantly sobered and looked at each other. You could have heard a pin drop in the room.
"Not . . . exactly," Jack finally answered.
"Not exactly? What does that mean?"
"It can wait, Daniel," Janet answered. "Right now, I want to run some tests on you, ask you a few questions." She turned to the others. "All of you out. This will take a while."
The members of SG-1 filed out of the room and went to the corridor outside the infirmary.
"He's okay," Sam murmured with immense relief.
"It sure looks that way," Jack said, feeling like grinning. The grin soon disappeared as he explained to Sam and Teal'c that Daniel couldn't remember a thing about what happened.
Sam's relief faded. "What are we going to tell him?"
"The truth. We have no other choice. He needs to know."
Sam stared at her C.O. "All of it?"
Jack didn't reply, his gaze falling away from Sam's.
A few minutes later, Jacob appeared around the corner.
"I just heard that Daniel woke up," he said as he joined them.
Sam nodded. "Janet's in with him now, conducting some tests."
"Does he seem to be all right?"
"As far as well could tell."
Just then, Janet appeared.
"Well?" Jack inquired.
"I ran him through a series of questions and had him do some simple math and spelling problems, all of which he answered without any difficulty. He seems to be perfectly all right, except for the memory loss, which really isn't unusual. It's common for someone who has suffered a severe trauma to have no memory of the day it happened."
Jacob frowned. "He doesn't remember what happened?"
"No," Jack replied, "which means that we're going to have to tell him."
"Damn. That's going to be rough."
"Yeah." Jack turned to Janet. "Can we see him now?"
She nodded. "He going to ask again what happened, but I'd recommend not telling him everything yet. I'm going to want him to stay on base tonight, but he can go home tomorrow, and I think it would be best if he was told the whole thing in the privacy of his home."
As Janet left, Daniel's teammates turned toward the infirmary, wondering how they were going to tell their friend what happened on Abydos.
As revealed in this chapter, Teal'c did not get to the tent in time as he did in Forever in a Day. The reason for this is that the attack by the Jaffa army came much sooner than it did in the episode, so Teal'c was busy fighting them with the others. A later chapter will explain that Daniel managed to kill both serpent guards protecting Amaunet rather than Teal'c killing one. And then, of course, is one of the biggest changes of all, namely, that Sha're did not succeed in contacting Daniel through the ribbon device.