Title: Menace Within

Author: Devra

Email: paravati@optonline.net

Category: Angst, Hurt/Comfort

Pairing: none

Spoilers: Menace

Season: 5

Rating: PG-13

Content Warnings: language

Status: Completed

Summary: Jack and Daniel need to finish what they started in the gateroom after Reese was "neutralized"

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. We have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the authors. Not to be archived without permission of the author.

Author's notes: I needed a conclusion to the ending of Menance. In my universe this is how it turns out. Feedback is a welcome guest in my home.

"Dr Jackson, Dr. Jackson".

Sgt. Siler's voice over the intercom into the gateroom awakened Daniel from his living nightmare. Reese's body was still lying prone in front of him.

'I promise' how many times did I tell her that? 'I'm your friend', 'I won't let them hurt you', 'I promise'. Like I stuck record, the phrase of 'I promise' kept replaying in Daniel's mind.

"Dr. Jackson", Sgt. Siler called again.

Daniel looked in the direction of the control booth and waived his good arm in acknowledgement. He needed to get out of here. Out of the gate room, off of this level, out of SGC, away from everyone. The only problem was the base was on lock down and he had limited options in where to hide. The searing pain from his arm accompanied his entrance back into reality. He managed to slowly bring himself into a standing position using the wall for support.

"Dr Jackson, do you need the assistance of a medical team", came Siler's voice.

"No, I'm fine", Daniel replied and made his way out of the embarkation room. He managed to step through the opening in the door that had been cut and sidestep the cleaning crews gathering up Reese's "toys" for further examination by SGC's group of scientists.

His vision was starting to gray out and he felt himself start to waver, but he refused to take the path to the infirmary. He wasn't in the mood for Janet's "inquiring minds want to know" spiel. He just wanted to lock himself in his office and forget these days ever happened. Forget that he lied; forget the look of condemnation that was Reese's last look in his direction. Forget that she died thinking that "her friend" betrayed her. Forget that he couldn't keep his promises. Forget the anger that clouded Jack's face when he called him "stupid son of a bitch". Forget that he lost control. Forget the tears for someone he had known less than one week. Forget that after all this time, Jack was still a soldier first and his friend second. Forget that after almost six years, Jack still believed that violence was the answer to every dilemma. Forget all the promises he made to all the people in his life...forget the promise to Kasuf to return to Abydos with Sha're alive. Forget he promised to protect her, protect Reese. He laughed to himself; 'I did a great job of protecting both of them'. At that moment he was hit full force with the understanding that his tears were as much for himself as they were for Reese.

Daniel found himself in front of his office door. He entered locking the door behind him. If he couldn't hide, at least he could lock out the immediate world. Awkwardly opening his desk drawer with one hand, he located a bottle of painkillers left over from a previous injury. Popping two in his mouth he swallowed, chasing them down with a sip from a cold cup of coffee that had been sitting on his desk. He lowered himself gently onto his office couch cradling his arm, grimacing as he felt the bones grinding as he leaned back. Resting his head on the back of the couch he closed his eyes waiting patiently for the painkillers to take effect.

Jack was sitting in the briefing room going over the day's events with the General and his team members..."you stupid son of a bitch", okay with two of his team members. He was tuning Carter out as she was explaining the testing on the replicator pieces. "You stupid son of bitch" was the only thing that he was hearing and the look of accusation in Daniel's eyes was the only thing that he was seeing.

"Colonel" General Hammond said forcefully "Colonel".

"Sorry sir"

"I'm a little concerned that all of your team is not present for this debriefing. Dr. Jackson, he was alright after his run in with the robot in the gateroom?"

Carter and Teal'c looked at him expectantly. Jack realized that he did not how Daniel was physically, all he could hear was his voice "you stupid son of a bitch" and all he could see were the tear filled eyes. "Daniel's fine sir, none the worse for wear".

Jack's conscious had eventually forced him back to the gateroom after the incident. Daniel was gone. He checked Daniel's office and upon finding the door locked, Jack then searched for Daniel in the infirmary, commissary, Sam's lab, Teal'c's room, and as a last resort the holding cell that the robot had been kept in, all to no avail. Jack figured that he would find Daniel when Daniel wanted to be found.

"Okay. Tell Dr. Jackson that since he didn't deem it necessary to attend this debriefing that I will expect some type of report on my desk within the next 24 hours. The base will remain on lock down until such time it is determined that the replicators are nonfunctioning and cleanup has been completed". General Hammond nodded his head in Major Carter's direction. "That is all, dismissed".

The General left the room and Sam turned to Jack. "Are you sure Daniel's okay? The cameras were destroyed in the room and we had no way…"

"Carter, he's fine 'you stupid son of a bitch'...actually he is probably more than fine". Jack said a little more firmly than intended. He jumped up from the chair "Look, if it will make you happy, I will go check on him".

"O'Neill, why are you reacting so strongly to MajorCarter's question?

Jack scrubbed his hands over his face and then through his hair. "Long day Teal'c…which I am sure will be leading into a long night. Sorry Carter."

"That's okay sir. I'm going to start testing the replicator pieces." Before leaving the briefing room she glanced at the Colonel "Are you okay, Colonel?"

'You stupid son of bitch' "Peachy Major. Come on kids, let's go do our jobs". Rubbing his hands together he ushered the two members of his team out of the room.

Daniel awoke with a start. 'Bad dream…no bad reality'. He groaned attempting to find a comfortable position on the couch. The painkillers had taken the edge off for a while allowing him to rest, but the pain had returned with a vengeance. Daniel made the mistake of trying to lie down but it was a bad idea. Left arm, with the pain radiating from shoulder to fingertips did not make for any type of comfort. Coughing, he pulled himself back into a sitting position on the couch. He swallowed a few times to quell the nauseous feeling that had started to develop in the pit of his stomach. 'Remind me never to take painkillers on an empty stomach'. Getting up slowly he knew now would be a good time to visit Dr. Fraiser. He was able to proceed three steps from the couch; he lost consciousness before he ever hit the floor.

Now Carter's question if Daniel was okay started the replay of the scene in the gateroom. 'You stupid son of a bitch'. He tried to picture Daniel in his mind, any injuries. Jack couldn't see past the angry words or the tear streaked face. Leaving the briefing room, Jack had all intentions of finding Daniel, he really did. First Jack got waylaid by the cleanup crews and then the repair crews. Standing in the hallway by the infirmary, the repair crews were questioning the order in which work should be done. He was listening with half an ear because at that moment Sgt. Siler had stopped by the infirmary to ask the CMO about Dr. Jackson's condition.

Jack dismissed the repair crews with a wave of his hand and turned to Siler.

"What about Dan…Dr. Jackson, Sergeant?"

"Well sir, when I came back on duty in the control room, he seemed a little unsteady on his feet leaving the embarkation room and he was holding his arm against his body. I asked him if he wanted medical assistance, but he assured me he was fine. So I was just checking with Doctor Fraiser on how Dr. Jackson was doing."

"I don't know Colonel, how is Dr. Jackson doing?" Dr. Fraiser asked with a voice dripping with sarcasm. She knew Daniel hated the infirmary and would only go if dragged there by a member of SG-1, never of his own volition.

"Umm, no, I was going to talk to him now. "

"I think that is a wonderful idea Colonel O'Neill. I would appreciate your bringing him by for a visit. Thank you for stopping by Sgt. Siler, it has been very enlightening. Colonel, now would be a good time to go". Dr. Fraiser gave the Colonel a look that promised very large needles on his next physical.

Siler gave the Colonel a meek smile and hurried back to his post in the control room. No way did he want to stay in the path between an upset Colonel O'Neill and his archeologist.

Colonel O'Neill leaned against the corridor wall. 'Think O'Neill, think' but Daniel's litany of 'you stupid son of a bitch' echoed through his mind.. He pushed himself off the wall and took off down the hallway at a run. 'Daniel's office door was locked. Danny NEVER locked his door, never'. Jack was so ashamed; ashamed of the friend he had become. The reason he didn't question it before, he realized that he really didn't want to face Daniel again. He knew on many levels that this incident in the gateroom was the culmination of many months of floundering friendship on both his and Daniel's part.

"Daniel…open up. I know you are in there. Shit, Danny, please." Jack banged on the archeologist's door. Jack had the key to Daniel's office, he knew he could break down the door, but their friendship was on thin ice as it was, breaking down the door to Daniel's sanctuary would do nothing to help. Pulling his key ring from his pocket, he fumbled until he found the correct key and inserted it into the lock. Jack opened the door slowly, "Daniel?" Even though the room was bathed in darkness, the light from the hallway illuminated what Jack did not want to see the sight of Daniel's unconscious form on the floor. He pushed the alarm button calling for a stat medical team. He hurried over to Daniel feeling for a pulse. Jack had to wait a few moments for his hand to stop shaking before he could locate it. Rapid and weak, but there…at least there was a pulse.

The paleness of Daniel's face made Jack cringe, as did the sight of Daniel's swollen, discolored arm. Laying a hand on Daniel's forehead, Jack was surprised at how cold it was to the touch. 'Shock, oh god, he must be in shock'. Jack grabbed the blanket off the couch wrapping it around Daniel. His only response was a groan from Daniel.

The medical team with Dr. Fraiser in the lead arrived at the same time as Teal'c and Carter.

Janet bent down to take vitals.

'You stupid son of a bitch'

Standing up, Janet yelled "Double time folks, Dr. Jackson's in shock…let's move it"

'You stupid son of a bitch''You stupid son of a bitch'.

At this point in time, Colonel O'Neill was certain that those six words were going to be engraved on his headstone when he died.

"Colonel O'Neill…."

"Sir…" Carter shook his arm "Janet…"

"Sorry", Jack's heart was beating so fast, he was positive everyone in the immediate vicinity could hear it.

"What happened. How long Colonel?"

"I don't know, I found him like that…I'm guessing about", Jack looked at his watch "three hours since the robot was taken down".

Janet's look was so contemptuous that O'Neill took a step back. The medical team transferred Daniel to the gurney; Janet issuing orders as rushed to the infirmary.

Jack attempted to follow them only to have his way blocked by Teal'c and Carter.

"Why did you feel it was necessary to lie to us about DanielJackson's condition, O'Neill?"

Carter was the first one to ask the question "Sir, what the hell happened in the gate room between you and Daniel?"


Teal'c placed his massive hand on Jack's chest. "I do not believe it would be in your best interest to continue to deceive both MajorCarter and myself, O'Neill".

In a hurry to get to the infirmary, Jack knew he was never going to be able to get past this impenetrable force without the truth in one form or another.

"We argued…actually Daniel argued…Daniel was upset, very upset…look guys can we discuss this down at the infirmary? "Carter, Teal'c look…I mean I know you mean well, but this is actually between Daniel and me".

"Sir," a look of unabashed astonishment was on his 21C's face. "I don't believe Janet would be in complete agreement with that statement."

Teal'c steadfastly held his position "Did you not wait to see if DanielJackson was injured?"

With a sigh the Colonel answered "Obviously not".

"Your lack of conscious in the area of DanielJackson has become most disturbing, O'Neill".

"Yeah, I know, alright…I'm trying to get to the infirmary now to change that" Jack was impatiently tapping his foot. 'Didn't they get it, he needed to be with Daniel like yesterday'.

"I don't believe one visit to the infirmary could change what has come between you DanielJackson"

Carter laid a hand on her CO's arm a look of pity settling on her features. "You know sir, I believe Daniel was correct a number of years ago when he called you an ass". Daring him to take retribution for what she had implied, the two members of SG1 stood motionless facing each other. Jack broke eye contact and whispered, "and 'a stupid son of a bitch'."

Dropping her hand she shot Colonel O'Neill a questioning glance "Excuse me sir?"

"Nothing Carter, let's go".

Jack did not have two feet out of Daniel's office when he heard an airman calling his name. Ignoring him he continued down the corridor following Teal'c and Carter. The airman physically reached Jack when the three stood at awaiting the elevator doors to open. Reaching his tolerance, Jack turned to the poor unsuspecting enlisted man, letting loose a tirade of unrepeatable language followed by "What the hell do you want".

Carter had to admit the kid had guts...he looked right into Colonel's O'Neill's face, saluted him and said in a firm, but quivering voice "General Hammond demands your presence in his office at this moment, sir. I think his exact words were immediately sir."

Jack turned to Teal'c and Carter for support, but they had already entered the elevator. Neither of his teammates had the inclination to make eye contact with him or made a move to counteract the closing doors.

Defeated, Jack headed to his General Hammond's office.

General Hammond stood in the briefing room hands clasped behind back gazing thoughtfully through the glass window to the Stargate. The robot's body had been removed from the gate room so the story that had played out there would have to be retold by his 21C. Not by the man lying unconscious in the infirmary. Sgt. Siler had mentioned his view of Dr. Jackson's condition in the gate room and the recent hurried phone call to the infirmary had confirmed it.

'Shit, when had it come to this.' Rubbing his hand over face, eyes softening upon reminiscing of different times. Images of SG1 returning home sometimes limping, other times supporting one person, occasionally angry, tearful, happy, every gamut of emotion had been played out on that ramp, but they had always returned as teammates. 'What the hell happened, when had that changed?'

"General, sir, you wanted to see me?"

"Yes Colonel O'Neill" General Hammond went into his office followed by Jack. The General sat placing his hands on the desk.

Colonel O'Neill went to sit.

"Excuse me Colonel, I don't believe I asked you take a seat".

"Sorry sir", replied a chastised Colonel as he resumed his standing position across from General Hammond.

"Colonel O'Neill, I want you to give me the names of your teammates."


"Humor me Colonel".

"Okay sir, Major Samantha Carter, Teal'c and Dr. Daniel Jackson".

"If SG1 were offworld and one of your teammates were sent to diffuse a volatile situation with an inhabitant of said planet what would procedure dictate."

"Well sir, I would make sure the situation was under control, secure the area, check out the physical state of said member of my team and depending on the situation and condition, head back to the Stargate, visit to the infirmary, you know all that other stuff." Jack answered with a shrug of his shoulders.

"I'm glad you think this is so funny Colonel. Now explain to me why an offiworld situation is so different than the situation that occurred today at SGC". Standing up, General Hammond slammed his open palms on his desk with such force that his morning's coffee cup shook. "Colonel, I want you to look me right in the face and give me some explanation as to why you felt no compunction other than to 'secure the area' on checking the teammate that was sent in to diffuse the situation."

"He's an adult sir, if Daniel…"

"If he was offworld and injured, would you leave him there expecting Dr. Jackson to find his own way home? Well you know something Colonel, in the truest sense of the word, today you left one of your team behind. Dr. Jackson is a vital member of YOUR team and least you forget you are his CO. When the hell did you stop caring?"

With a voice raw with emotion his 21C stammered "Sir, it's not that…".

"If you want to retire, hell Jack just do it. But your indecision or whatever you want to call it, whatever this problem is, it's ripping your team apart, painfully and slowly. And that young man lying in the infirmary is the end of the road. Do…you…understand…me? Dismissed".

Janet tried to maneuver Daniel as gently as possible while her team wordlessly cut away both his jacket and shirt. The fact that Daniel had never regained consciousness and his vitals were all over the place kicked her anxiety up more than a notch. An IV was started and after performing a cursory examination of Daniel's arm stat set of x-rays. Even though his skin was clammy to the touch, his body temperature was elevated and also warranted stat blood work. . She elevated the arm, just by the angle and discoloration she had surmised that it was broken, the x-ray was only to confirm the extent of the damage. Janet raised the foot of the bed, a precaution with shock patients. She increased his oxygen and stepped to the side of the bed to probe for additional injuries. Janet gently pressed the shoulder of his injured arm. She stepped back in surprise when Daniel's eyes flew open and he made an attempt to sit up. The nurse taking Daniel's BP at the time guided Daniel gently back down. Daniel whimpered and attempted a one arm crab walk up the bed to get away from Janet's probing fingers.

"Daniel, stop. Please lie still". The x-ray technicians approached with the portable machines and Dr. Fraiser gave instructions. They started to go to work, but she held up her hand telling them to pause a moment.

Daniel gazed at her wide-eyed and panic stricken. Janet gave him an encouraging smile.

"Know where you are?"

"Infi…how did I get here?"

"Colonel O'Neill found you."

Daniel glanced around the room. It took Janet a minute to register what he was looking for.

"Jack is probably out with Carter and Teal'c. Want me to send him in when we are done here?"

"I don't think he will want to see me."

Janet filed that response away to be addressed at a later time. "Daniel what happened to cause these injuries?"

"I miscalculated my abilities and failed". Even through his pain, Daniel's eyes took on a hooded appearance which in Daniel language meant 'don't want to talk about this', Janet let the conversation go and went about finishing her examination.

"What hurts?"

"Arm", Daniel thought awhile and added "Headache" Daniel eyes started to drift close.

"Daniel, stay with me a few more minutes. After the x-rays are done I can give you some pain meds".

Daniel opened his eyes, but Janet could see the effort it was causing him. "Daniel…how many fingers am I holding up".

He squinted and took a guess, a wrong guess, but what the hell. There was a one in five chance he would be right. After shining her pen light in his eyes, the pupils were dilated a condition of a shock victim, but Daniel was having difficulty following the penlight. Sighing, Janet wrote in her chart adding a mild concussion to his list of injuries.

"Daniel, listen to me. We are going to take an x-ray of you arm, then I am going to take some blood work and give of pain meds to make you feel a little better. I need to take the x-ray's first okay.

Daniel shook his head in agreement.

After the meds kick in I am going to splint your arm, it's going to hurt, but after it is immobilized you will feel better. I have placed a call to the orthopedic doctor to have a look at your arm. Then we will make a decision. Okay."

She gently smoothed back his hair and softly rubbed his good arm. "Let's get you started."

After the x-rays were completed Janet put them up to read and grimaced. 'God, the ulna and radius sustained comminuted fracture. Shit, Daniel's looking at surgery, possibly more than one, pins, wires and a few weeks of Physical Therapy. The pivot joint by the wrist also sustained injury.' An MRI was warranted, but she was going to let Dr. Brinson, the ortho doctor make the call. She went to find the rest of SG-1.

"How is he Janet", Carter asked.

'God if I had a dollar for every time SG-1 asked that about Daniel, I would be a millionaire by now'. "Well, we've stabilized his vitals. "Daniel sustained a comminuted fracture of both the ulna and radius of his left arm. There is also some type of residual damage done to the pivot joint by the wrist. I'm almost 100% positive that Dr. Brinson, the ortho doctor is going to perform surgery. But he is going to have to take into account the fact that Daniel is a little shocky right now, his temp is elevated and he suffered a mild concussion."

"What type of fracture is a commuter fracture?" asked Jack.

"It's easier if I show you than explain. And Colonel, it's called a comminuted fracture. Follow me."

Janet led them to her office and turned on the light behind the x-rays still on the board. Using her fingers she pointed to the injured area. "See this, these bones are shattered, there isn't a crack in the bone, the bone or in this case both bones of the lower arm are shattered into multiple pieces. They are no longer attached to the pivot joint of the wrist."

"Ow…looks painful." Jack shuddered. "Can we see him now".

"Yes, but he's asleep so don't stay long".

Janet followed SG-1 into the infirmary and watched them as they stood over Daniel's bed.

Sam smoothed back the blankets on her younger teammate's bed. She glanced at the Colonel but his eyes were unreadable and Teal'c, well was Teal'c.

An airman entered the infirmary quietly and walked over to Dr. Fraiser. After they conversed in hushed tones Janet walked over to Sam and told her that she was sorry, but that General Hammond had requested her presence in her lab. The General wanted to continue testing the replicators to make sure they no longer posed any threat and asked that Teal'c assist with the cleanup.

"Thanks Janet, let me know what the orthopedic doctor says. I'll be in my lab". Reluctantly she tore her eyes away from Daniel and left the infirmary.

After his teammates departed Janet said, "General Hammond requested that you stay here and clean up the mess you made in the infirmary, he said you would understand. I know it is none of my business, Colonel, but what happened in the gate room".

Jack sat in the bedside chair "The actual incident that took place between him and the robot, I have not a clue. What happened later, between him and me, well Janet, that's really for Daniel and me to work out."

Astonishment in her voice, Janet asked, "Did you break his arm Colonel?"

Leaning his head back "Shit, is that how bad our relationship has deteriorated, people think I would actually hurt Daniel?"

"Colonel, if I am even contemplating asking the question, what do you think?" She checked Daniel's IV and left Jack with his head resting in his hands.

Sitting by his sleeping teammate's bedside Jack felt like screaming. 'Shit Daniel, General Hammond wants this fixed.' Jack rubbed his hands across his tired eyes. 'I want it repaired to, but I can't fix it when I don't know how it got broken in the first place. You know Daniel, you and me, we are like a broken clock, even we are right twice a day which lulled us into forgetting about the other hours we didn't work.' Jack realized that it was not one incident that ended their friendship, but a quiet chipping away of the "foundation" that their friendship had been based on.

The ortho doctor did agree with Dr. Fraiser and surgery was scheduled for early the next morning. Surgery went well, but there were promises of more surgery and extensive physical therapy sessions when the surgeries were completed. SG-1 was placed on downtime and Jack spent a lot of time sitting by Daniel's bedside. Daniel was polite, but in the long run, just really seemed to ignore the Colonel in attendance. He wasn't rude, just treated the Colonel like the stranger he had become in Daniel's daily existence. Actually, Daniel didn't treat the Colonel any different than he began treating everyone else; it was obvious to those who knew him best that he had just folded up into himself. Daniel never apologized for his words to the Colonel and Jack never apologized for neutralizing the robot. It became added to the list of other problems that the two teammates felt if they ignored, would just go away.

Daniel was given three week's recovery time after the first surgery, before the second surgery and PT would commence. On the morning of Daniel's release Jack stood in the door of the infirmary listening to Doctor Fraiser give him some last minute instructions. Daniel was just standing and listening; he was quiet, too quiet, which sent a chill up Jack's spine. He wasn't even making eye contact with her, just looking somewhere over her left shoulder. Colonel O'Neill had his own list of instructions from the good doctor and General Hammond. Unbeknownst to Daniel, Jack was taking him away for awhile, to try to put back together the broken pieces that had become SG-1. Jack intuitively realized that if he and Daniel were on the right track, Sam and Teal'c would fall into place.

"Come on big guy…I'm your ride let's go".

Daniel quietly followed Jack out of infirmary, down the hall and they stood on opposite sides of the corridor awaiting the elevator to take them outside. Daniel slowly closed his eyes. 'Tired, I'm so tired.' Hugging his injured arm to his body Daniel knew it would possibly be months, before Janet would clear him to go anywhere near the Stargate. Noticing his withdrawal and attributing it to his injury Janet had tried to get him to take medication for depression, but Daniel turned her down. The antibiotics and painkillers were enough for him to handle.

Jack pulled gently on Daniel's jacket, "Earth to Daniel…. Elevator is here."

Daniel gave Jack a small smile and the two entered the elevator to the surface. A Daniel who talked constantly was enough to make a sane man crazy, but a Daniel who was pliable was scarier. Daniel followed Jack to his car and got in the SUV with no questions asked. Daniel buckled in and immediately closed his eyes. Jack was starting to panic; maybe his shooting of the robot in the gate room would be Daniel's proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back".

Jack drove, it was early morning and the traffic was light. He glanced over to Daniel and was surprised to see that Daniel really was sleeping. Daniel's soft casted, left arm was almost ineffectual in its use and Jack smiled halfheartedly at Daniel's attempt to wrap his arms around his body. His look turned to concern as Daniel grimaced and whimpered in his sleep. At the next light, Jack reached behind his seat and pulled out a blanket he kept in the car for emergencies.

As soon as the weight of the blanket hit his lap, Daniel opened one eye, pulled the blanket up to his shoulders with his right arm and mumbled "Th'ks Jack" and returned to sleep.

Jack needed sustenance…anything edible would do just fine. 'God almost 2 hours on the road and Daniel is still sleeping.' He wasn't sure if he should worry or not. Passing by one of those 24-hour donut stores, Jack did a U-turn and pulled into the parking lot. Inside he purchased coffee for him and Daniel (Janet be damned) and chocolate donuts. Pulling his wallet from his pocket a piece of paper fell to the ground. Picking it up Jack smiled…Janet's instructions that she had handed to him this morning, he never even read it. Opening it he scanned it quickly. The usual, times for medication, things to look out for, her cell, home and office number (Jack snorted, like he didn't know that) but at the bottom Janet had scribbled a little hand written note "Colonel, A very fragile package has been handed over to you for safe keeping. Please handle with care. Janet". Jack folded the letter placing it back in his pocket 'I'm going to get one chance to make this right'.

Inside the SUV he waved the coffee under Daniel's nose. 'Not sick, kid, just caffeine depleted, ' Jack thought as Daniel opened his eyes.

"Hmmm…" Daniel made an awkward grab for the coffee.

"Wait". Jack laughed. He placed the coffee in Daniel's right hand. The look on Daniel's face was orgasmic, as he smelled the coffee. "Wow, thank you Jack."

"Lookie what else" he waved the bag of donuts in front of Daniel's face.


"Do they make any other kind?

After a few minutes of what Jack hoped would be considered companionable silence, Daniel asked "Jack could you do me a favor?"

"Ask away".

"Can I have another coffee?"

"Daniel…finished that already?"

"Almost…" Daniel mumbled stuffing a chocolate donut in his mouth.

Jack left the car shaking his head and came back with another coffee for Daniel. Daniel grabbed it like a drowning man to a life preserver. "I left you two donuts," he said savoring this coffee as much as the first.

"Thank God I wasn't gone longer".

Licking the chocolate off his fingers, Daniel inquired "Jack, where are we going?"

"Trust me". The smile that had formed on Daniel's face disappeared with those two words, followed by dead silence. Dead complete utter silence. Jack now understood the terminology 'the silence was deafening'. Jack glanced over to his companion and witnessed the man physically withdrawing. Coffee went in the cup holder, he turned towards the window, pulling the blanket to his shoulder, and he closed his eyes.

'Oh shit…' Jack thought…"Daniel". Jack leaned over and shook Daniel's blanket covered leg. Daniel twisted in his seat to look at Jack. Daniel blinked at Jack a few times reminding Jack of a look a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car would have. Jack looked directly into Daniel's eyes, taking in pupils so enlarged, very little of the blue iris was even visible. Becoming very aware at that moment that Janet's morning medication must still have a hold on Daniel.

"Trust you Jack?…You expect me to trust you?" Daniel asked incredulously.

"Yes" Jack answered quietly.

Head bowed Daniel softly said, "Why should I?". Pulling up the blanket and leaning against the door, Daniel mumbled, "just drive". With a sigh he closed his eyes.

In early afternoon, Jack reached their destination. Daniel didn't even awaken when Jack shut off the engine. He unloaded the car, leaving Daniel sleeping in the front seat. On his last trip inside, he used the cell phone to call Janet. He was curious and a little concerned over Daniel's behavior. She laughed, "I gave him some heavy duty painkillers before the trip, as well as, his antihistamines, and a sedative. I'm surprised he is even walking."

"So doc, you drugged him?"

"No offense Colonel, last night he issued quite a verbal notice to me that he wasn't going anywhere with anyone so… I didn't think he would have gone with you willingly without someone running interference. And I was elected. Oh by the way, have a nice vacation and if you need me feel free to call", Janet said ending the connection.

Jack threw the telephone on the counter and went outside to wake Daniel. He found Daniel leaning against the side of the car surveying his surroundings. "Nice", he said looking at the house. Pushing off the car he entered the house with Jack at his heels. Not talking, Jack was going to take his communication cues from Daniel. Daniel gave himself the tour of the house and stopped in front of one of the bedroom doors. A quick glance through the open door showed Daniel's duffel bag was on the floor beside the bed. "My room?".

"Yes", Jack answered "Unless you would rather have the other…"

"No this will do fine"; Daniel answered with a shrug of shoulders. He walked into the bedroom and proceeded to close and lock the door behind him. Leaving a dumbfounded Jack standing slack jawed in the hallway. Jack went to take a deep breath to shout Daniel's name…then thought better of it. Jack made a fist to pound on the closed bedroom door…then thought better of it. Running his hands through his hair, Jack spoke to the closed door "Daniel, I will be back in awhile, I'm going to the store to go get some supplies."

Daniel heard the car door shut and Jack drive away. The room was dark with the shades drawn and cool almost to the point of being cold and Daniel shivered. Lying in a fetal position on the bed left arm cradled tightly to his chest, Daniel just wanted to be left alone. Why couldn't they just leave him alone? Jack had left him alone plenty these past few weeks, months, years why couldn't he just continue to let him be. Daniel must have drifted again, because the smell of cooking food combined with his need to use the bathroom, as well as his desire for a painkiller brought him to consciousness.

Jack was in the kitchen cooking and he listened quietly as he heard the bolt on Daniel's bedroom open. He smiled as he heard Daniel's feet pad on the wooden floors on the way to the bathroom. He held his breath when he heard the bathroom door open, hoping, praying, that Daniel would not go back to the bedroom and lock himself in. Though his back was to the kitchen entrance, Jack was aware of Daniel presence in room.

"Smells good, Jack"

"Thanks, have a seat it's ready to be served".

Daniel sat at the little kitchen table. Turning to put the dinner on the table, Jack's heart broke when he saw the man he once could call his best friend sitting with eyes downcast and shoulders slumped. Jack placed the bowl of fresh stew in front of Daniel and bent down, just a little in an attempt to make eye contact. Daniel looked up and gave Jack a little half smile. Jack smiled back asked "Juice or water to drink".





"Okay, juice".

As Jack was lifting his fork to eat Daniel abruptly left the table and went into the bedroom. 'Shit', Jack thought angrily throwing down his fork. Jack jumped when he heard Daniel return to the kitchen. He looked up as Daniel smiled sheepishly placing two pill vials on the table between them "My pills…I forgot to take them."

The two men ate dinner, not speaking and avoiding eye contact. Jack realized that this was reminiscent of his married life with Sara before the divorce. The co-existing became worse than the fighting. The fear to speak, afraid a torrent of emotions would erupt. It became easier just not to say anything at all. Eyes down, Daniel finished before Jack, put his bowl in the sink, took his pills, found his coat and went out the front door.

Jack finished in the kitchen and went to follow Daniel. Coffee cups in hand he stood at the open front door. Jack's eyes filled with out-of-character tears. Daniel's whole demeanor sitting on the porch was one of destitution. 'Damn it Danny, you look like you lost your best friend.'

"Daniel…coffee?" Jack asked stepping out onto the porch.

"Thanks", Daniel said turning towards Jack. He took the offered drink and lifted his cup in acknowledgement of his gratitude. "Thanks for dinner…it was good. You cook it?"

"Thank you and yes…not only do I do take out and barbecue, I do cook".

"After five years Jack, you never fail to surprise me".

'Wow Danny…I'm not taking the bait on that one', Jack thought.

"Nice place, rent it just for this…for me" Daniel asked

"No. This actually belongs to me. I haven't used it in quite a while."

"Oh…Teal'c and Sam made your cabin seem kinda…rustic. This isn't what I expected".

Jack laughed "Okay, rustic is a nice way to describe that cabin. I bought that one while you were at Abydos. This house" Jack used his hands to encompass the area "was built by a relative of Sara. She didn't want it after the divorce so I bought out her share."

Daniel put the coffee cup down and stretched out his legs "Why don't you use it anymore?" He looked at Jack expectantly, as if daring him to avoid the question.

And in typical Jack O'Neill fashion, he sidestepped the question. 'Okay Jack, that's it…I'm tired of baring my soul to you and I'm judged and left an emotional wreck while you walk away unscathed. I don't have the energy or desire to drag the answer out of you' Daniel got angry with himself, wishing he could voice these thoughts. What he did say was "I'm turning in the for the night, these painkillers really knock me for a loop and I'm finding it hard to stay awake. Night, Jack". Daniel got up abruptly and went into the house, slamming the door behind him. Jack gripped the cup so hard his knuckles were turning white For the second time that day, Jack was left confused by Daniel's actions. Jack felt like he had failed Daniel somehow, but he wasn't exactly sure why. When the night air became too cold, Jack went into the house. Passing Daniel's room, he was well aware that Daniel was still awake by the telltale light under the crack in the door. With emptiness in the pit of his stomach, Jack continued to his room, hopefully sleep for the night.

The late morning sun coming in through the windows awoke Jack. Jack had tossed and turned the majority of the night, ultimately falling asleep as the sun rose. Glancing at his bedside clock. 'Shit, 10:30, I wanted to get up early, earlier than him, make some breakfast'. Lying in bed Jack was aware of the absence of noise in the house. 'Maybe Daniel was still asleep'. Jack got up slowly, throwing on a pair of sweats, and was able to peak inside Daniel's bedroom through the open door. 'Bed is all made up'. Jack went into the kitchen to find a note on the kitchen counter, "Got up early. Going for a walk…didn't want to wake you. Coffee is freshly made. Enjoy. Daniel"

Chuckling to himself, Jack wondered how many more solitary activities Daniel could do in the three weeks they were in this cabin together. Just to make sure that Daniel really didn't up and leave, Jack walked into Daniel's room, just to make sure pieces of Daniel were still there. Jack was starting to get a little apprehensive; the room was too clean, almost pristine in appearance when out of the corner of his eye he noticed Daniel's journal on the night table. Jack breathed a sign of relief, Daniel never when anywhere without his journal. Jack went to exit the room, but he did a back step eyeing the journal. 'Do I dare…' With almost a life of its own, his hand reached out to grab it before his mind comprehended what he was actually doing.

Jack turned to the entry from yesterday …*God, the winter here's cold, and bitter and it's chilled me to the bone, I feel like I haven't seen the sun for weeks…too long too far from home. I'm starting to believe that Earth was never my home and in my heart Abydos is the place where I belong, my family home, my hearth. I feel just like I'm sinking and I am trying to claw for solid ground. I'm being pulled down by the undertow of my life and no one notices. Maybe they notice; maybe they just don't care. I never thought I could feel so low, and sometimes when the darkness of night comes I feel like letting go. I think it would be better that way. I have never felt so isolated in my life as I do now. I've seen the look in Jack's face, where everything we say or do hurts us all the more. When I look at Jack, I feel like I'm looking at the face of a stranger and I can see he doesn't understand me anymore either. But maybe he never did…maybe that "no foundation" remark two years ago wasn't off the mark. Maybe stupid me just didn't want to face it then; maybe I have no choice but to face it now. God, I'm going down for the third time and there is no one on shore to …

"Jack…what are you doing?"

Jack looked up in shock. The revelations made in that journal and the fact that its writer had discovered him reading it scared the shit out of Jack.

Daniel's eyes were huge and his breathing was coming in short gasps. The realization that Daniel was going to bolt came to him the same time Daniel actually turned to run. Dropping the journal Jack took off after him. Daniel had the front door open when Jack came up behind him and slammed it shut.

"Let…me…go…Jack" Daniel's labored voice came through clenched teeth. Jack grabbed Daniel's arms, completely forgetting about his injured arm, in an attempt to turn him around to face him. Daniel hissed in pain as Jack made contact with his arm.

Jack in a motion of surrender threw his arms in the air. "Danny I'm sorry".

Never turning around to face Jack, Daniel rested his forehead against the door. "Sorry for hurting me or sorry I caught you reading my journal. You had no right. No right at all."

"Daniel, I…", Jack responded softly.

"What gave you the right Jack. Tell me what gave you the right to start caring now!" Daniel turned around with a mixture of hurt and anger reflected on his face. He eyes were bright with unshed tears. "Where the hell have you been for the past two years of my life. God I needed you then, not now. Now when it's too late. Is this whole thing…this vacation…this time away… because Hammond gave you an ultimatum to pull the team together or SG-1 will fail to exist. Come on Jack, answer me…what gave you the right?"

"I'm terrified that something is not right."

"It took you this long to figure it out Jack. Why do you care, afraid you would lose me as a friend?" Daniel snorted "You've been there done that. But I think you are really afraid you would come back from this little...little jaunt without it being all better and all of SG-1 would be gone. What the hell do you want of me? What are you really afraid of? Answer me!" Daniel was now almost nose to nose with Jack.

"I'm afraid you are going to do something you would regret..." 'Please Daniel deny it…please let me have misunderstood the words in the journal.'

"Why would that bother you Jack?" Daniel took a step back leaning on the closed door. "Because you would miss me? I seriously doubt that."

Jack went to protest, but Daniel pressed a finger to Jack's chest poking him. "I know why! You are afraid you would feel like a failure. A failure as a friend, a failure as my commanding officer…you would have failed in your ability to protect someone you promised to..." Daniel ceased poking Jack and dropped his hands at his side. He bowed his head and softly whispered "You would know what it feels like to be me Jack". The impact of those words destroyed the wall that Daniel had carefully erected around himself the past two years. The wall that had developed a crack in its structure when Reese was shot was now shattered. There was no longer a barricade between Daniel and the world around him.

Now it was Jack's turn to look for somewhere to run. A pat on the back, an occasional hug, a squeeze on a shoulder was all the tactile stimulation he could give. Fighting, that Jack could handle, arguing Jack could handle, system lords and Jaffa he could handle, but the man standing in front of him who needed his best friend back in his life, that Jack couldn't handle. Jack's inability to comfort and communicate with his wife in her time of need had cost him his marriage, now his inaction towards Daniel was probably going to sever any chance at keeping the best friend he had ever had. In seconds Jack flashed back to the time on Ra's ship when someone he barely knew, saw something in this hard-assed Colonel worth saving and risked his life to make it so.

Back in the present, Jack took a step forward, a deep breath and gathered Daniel in his arms. Daniel's emotional floodgates opened as soon as Jack made physical contact with him. Jack wrapped his arms around Daniel while Daniel laid his head on Jack's shoulder tears running unchecked down his face. Daniel slipped to the floor his weight forcing Jack to accompany him down. Daniel buried his face in Jack's shirt sobbing and held on for dear life, as Jack again became Daniel's lifeline, Daniel's person on shore, Daniel's friend, and Daniel's family. The leap of faith that Jack took spoke volumes to Daniel, and became the first step in attempting to close the gap in their lives.

Daniel opened his eyes slowly. He was stretched out on the couch in the living room covered with a blanket. Jack was sleeping sitting up next to him, feet on the coffee table and one an arm resting on Daniel's shoulder. Late afternoon light was filtering in through the windows and there was a fire in the fireplace taking the chill out of the air. He blushed, remembering his breakdown, thinking he did not believe it possible for one person to harbor that much sadness within himself. Physically, he felt tired, spent, his eyes burned and his arm was making it known that it was time for a pain pill. Daniel smiled, mentally he felt at peace with himself…as a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Maybe he hadn't lost all the pieces to his puzzle of life. Daniel attempted to make himself a little more comfortable, but an involuntary moan escaped his lips 'Shit, it really was pain pill time'. Jack woke up immediately moving his arm to touch Daniel's hair, "You okay?"

"Yeah", gritting his teeth he pushed himself into a sitting position. "I think it is time for one of Janet's magic pills.

"I'll get it for you".

"No Jack, I really need to eat something before I take them".

Jack looked at Daniel in mock surprise "Do my ears deceive me, is the great Dr. Jackson, telling me he is hungry? The man who survives on coffee and chocolate alone. Come into the kitchen…I'll find something." Standing and stretching, Jack took hold of Daniel's hand and helped him up.

Jack reheated the stew from last night and brought the bowls over the table. He placed the pain pills and antibiotics next to Daniel's setting. "Jack…I want…"

Jack put up his hand to stop Daniel from continuing, "I know, big guy." Starting to eat, Jack looked at a subdued Daniel sitting across the table from him. "Daniel, did I ever tell you how much Charlie loved coming to his house…and how special it was to him…and to me?"

Daniel raised his eyebrows in a look of surprise. "No Jack you never did".

"Well you see….

Three weeks later:

It was the best of time; it was the worst of times. 'God, how that quote summed up our weeks here.' Jack took a sidewise look at Daniel. Both men were sitting on the porch wrapped in their jackets enjoying the dwindling daylight.

They had talked…sometimes into the early morning and they argued. They got drunk a few times and almost came to actual blows at other times. They fished, hiked, stayed up late, slept later and tried to fix something very important in their lives. They talked to SGC every few days, but didn't invite them to the house, played chess, and watched old westerns and science fiction movies. Jack firmly believed he sported even more gray hair after one argument that had taken place early in the morning and Daniel just left, walked out, and didn't return until later than evening. Tired, hungry and repentant. Jack had worried all day, searched for him and was one step away from calling the SGC to help search when Daniel walked through the front door. Jack grabbed Daniel into a bear hug and called him "Spacemonkey". He hugged him a little tighter as he felt the wetness of Daniel's tears soak through his shirt.

The incident with Reese and replicators was still almost an untouchable subject. It really encompassed the difference between the two men. Right now that pain was still to raw to be touched upon, so by unvoiced mutual consent, they left that wound covered.

"Last night Daniel", Jack said taking a drink of his beer.

Bowing his head and rubbing the back of his neck, "Yeah, I know." Sighing, he still didn't look in Jack's direction when he uttered, "We're better Jack, right. We…"

"We lost our way for a while Daniel, but we are family. We will do what families do."

Daniel tilted his head in Jack's direction waiting for him to continue.

"We'll fight, and make up, hate each other and love each other, curse at each other and cry, go through rocky times, but in the end we will always be there for each other."

"Thank you Jack", Daniel said lifting his beer in a mock toast.

Mirroring the salute with his beer, Jack answered "You know something, Danny, the pleasure is all mine."