Jack's thoughts during Points of View after he, Daniel, Kawalsky and Teal'c go through the mirror.
Feels Like Home
Situation assessment. Ten Jaffa, all armed with staff weapons, all very angry that they've found their First Prime dead in a storage closet vs. me, Kawalsky and two MP5s. I'll be honest, it's not the best odds I've ever faced, particularly not since, front and centre spotlighted by the light from the corridor, kneels Daniel Jackson. Who at the moment is acting as a target for, oh I'd say half the staff weapons. As we slowly lower our weapons, no sudden moves, I take the opportunity to give the archaeologist a quick once-over. The most obvious injury is the cut running across one cheek, I'm guessing butt end of a staff weapon. That could be worth a hairline fracture but right now I can't spot anything that would hold us up if and when we decide to blow this joint. He looks ghost pale though, and while it could be the less than spectacular lighting here I can't believe that ten Jaffa in a closet with a dead First Prime and a Tauri contented themselves with the one slap across the face. I catch Daniel's eye to give him my best "reassuring Colonel" face and meet his glassy stare, complete with dilated pupils and inability to focus. Not just the one hit then and it looks like Daniel's going to have one hell of a headache.
Of course, Kawalsky and I are forced onto our knees beside him, mine, as usual, unwillingly. I find myself wondering if my knee is shot in every universe or whether I'm just that lucky. Get out of this one and I'll have to ask Cap-, Maj-, Doctor Carter about it. I'm flanked by the other two so when the Jaffa are drawing straws or whatever it is they do to decide which lucky bastard gets to tell Apophis that his apparently loyal First Prime has been killed, I take the opportunity to ask Daniel how he's doing.
"Uh-huh," he replies after a long pause, an answer that I run against the Scale of Hurting Jackson. He's responded which means he's alive, which when it comes to Danny isn't always a given. Now, if he was completely unharmed he would be apologising, wouldn't matter if they'd faced him down with a Pyramid Ship, he'd still apologise. If he's taken a bit of a knock, nothing life-threatening, he tends to... gripe, whinge, moan, however you want to put it. A moaning Daniel is a happy Jack though, because it means I can stop worrying and get on with saving the planet. Then we have the the "Don't worry about me, I'm fine," line, which of course means, "I'm not fine but I'll be damned if I tell you that until we're out of this mess" and scores about a 6 on the Scale of Jack Worrying About Hurting Jackson. Today, we're down at monosyllabic grunting which translates as "Please leave me alone Jack because all my concentration is being taken up on staying vertical" and about an 8 on the Worry Scale, scoring below catatonia, complete unconsciousness and apparent schizophrenia. So, he's not exactly on top form, and I probably shouldn't ask him to translate anything because I'm not too sure he would be able to see the letters at this point, and if an opportunity does present itself he's not going to be quick off the mark but we'll cross that bridge when we shouldn't throw stones or whatever the hell it is...
I make a point of not meeting Goa'uld face to face. It usually ends in torturing, shooting, drug related enslavement and other outcomes I make a point of ignoring in my social calendar. This time though it's almost worth it just for the look of downright confusion on Apophis' face. If it weren't for the staff's pointed at our heads, I'd be laughing – as it is I settle for a smug smirk. Which lasts precisely until Apophis shoots General Hammond and asks how we've managed it this time. Now I have many talents, don't get me wrong, but to be quite honest explaining one of Carter's science lessons to an unwilling audience when I have what could best be described as a loose grasp of the subject matter, is not one of those talents. Normally though, it is one of Daniel's and so, as much as I know he's hurting, I really need him to do his stuff.
And to be fair, he tries his damnedest, he really does. I can see how much effort it's taking him right now just to get words out coherently in the right order, but the strain shows in the delivery. Daniel Jackson was put on this Earth, ok – not this Earth, our Earth but you take my point; to explain things. He does it with flair and to even I find myself drawn in to listen to him ramble about Ancient Egyptian myths or whatever. Passion oozes out of every word – his sheer, boundless enthusiasm (fuelled by copious amounts of coffee) draws you in and you can't help but listen to what he has to say. Today, bound as he is by what has to be a cracking concussion his usual eloquence is flat and toneless. He knows it too, I can see the frustration boiling in his eyes, quickly replaced by haunted grief when Hammond falls. I want to tell him it's not his fault, that I asked too much of him to try and explain that to a Snakehead with all the patience of a gnat but of course, that will have to wait.
Although I know, boy do I know, that it's not going well and that explanations are falling on deaf ears, I don't truly expect to see Daniel crumple under a zat blast. I can't stop myself shouting a protest, even though a part of me knows that might earn him that second, lethal shot. He just looked so damned helpless, lying there, muscles twitching in what I know from experience to be agony. He tries to get up as pandemonium ensues around us, long fingers scrabbling helplessly on the cold concrete floor. While Apophis is distracted from his killing spree by the timely arrival of the what I can only hope is Thor, Kawalsky and I haul him up, although I have to support him with a hand on the shoulder. I can feel the tremor of aftershocks running through his nerves and in that moment I want nothing more than to be back in our Universe where Apophis is safely dead and Daniel and I at this time would be debating where to go for a quiet drink after work. Teal'c said only our Universe was of consequence and I find myself agreeing with him. The cost for this one was one zat blast from being far too high. But still I can't stop the flush of pride when I realise that once again, we (with some help from our little grey friends) have pulled it off. Love those guys.
Of course the Asgard came, did their stuff, restored a dead General (much to Daniel's relief) and disappeared, no doubt in a puff of cryptic allusions. The hero gets an awkward and frankly slightly uncomfortable kiss from the Damsel in Distress – although my brain hurts even considering any Carter in that role. And I certainly don't want to think too hard about the "Other Carter" "Other O'Neill" relationship scenario – regulations and all. Fortunately I'm saved from that as I touch the mirror and find myself back in a universe where Carter calls me Sir, Teal'c is a Sholva and Daniel immediately demands my attention by crumpling soundlessly to a heap on the floor. I'm forced to admit that it's a miracle he's stayed on his feet this long, and, if nothing else – it feels like home.