A/n: last chapter folks! hope you enjoy!
The hours dragged on slowly. Everyone pretended to keep busy, checking computer screens or going over data. But in reality, They were waiting. They had no idea what for, but they waited just the same. Jack paced, back and forth he stalked, sometimes muttering to himself, sometimes glaring at anyone hapless enough to get in his way. Sam fretted nervously, knowing that if her latest scheme didn't work, Daniel was lost to them forever. Teal'c; well, Teal'c was Teal'c. Taciturn to a fault. He spent his time in a modified form of Kel'Noreem. He hadn't biologically needed it for some time now that he was on Tretonin, but he continued the practice, DanielJackson having likened it to meditation.
One of the Juniormost techs, who was assigned to listen to a specific range of frequencies often used by SGC personnel in situations like this, jumped as the background static (which had been threatening to put her asleep) changed to the dulcet tones of Dr. Daniel Jackson. She shoved an elbow into the ribs of the Airman sitting next to her and hissed "Go get the Colonel! I have something!"
He wasted no time rushing over to where the Colonel was pacing and quickly had not only O'Neill but Sam and Teal'c as well following him back to the radio. The Airman removed the headphones from her head and handed them to O'Neill as she stood up to let him take her place. "It sounds like Dr. Jackson, Sir."
Jack grunted an acknowledgement as he sat down in the still warm chair. He frowned as at first all he heard was static but soon, although it felt like an eternity, the loop was repeated. "This is Daniel Jackson, calling SG1. Jack? You can call off the dogs, I'm fine." Jack visibly sagged in relief, eliciting grins from everyone(except Teal'c, of course). He thumbed the switch to audio as he unconsciously leaned forward.
"Where the hell have you been?!" the static crackled through the air until Daniel's voice came through the ether.
"No idea, actually. Met some new friends though, who politely request that you shut off the damn noise." O'Neill waved a hand vaguely at no one in particular and the offending signal was terminated. Daniel's voice came back over the airwaves. "Accipter sends his thanks." At the sound of the name, Jack rolled his eyes and mouthed the name in silent repeat with a cocked eyebrow in Sam's direction. She just shrugged and spread her hands in a 'I have no clue' gesture. The next several minutes were spent trying to coordinate a reunion between Archeologist and the rest of SG1. Daniel instructed his friends to meet him at the coordinates that were being sent over the airwaves. A quick nod from one of the techs told Jack that the coordinates had been received, so he signed off but not before telling Daniel he was in big trouble. Everyone smiled at Daniel's wry chuckle before he too signed off in preparation.
The atmosphere change was palpable. The Airman radioed back to the SGC via the Tel'tak and relayed the good news. Most of the personnel began packing up in preparation for the return back to Earth. Jack started cracking jokes again, Sam beamed in happiness. Teal'c walked around looking quite pleased with himself.
Everyone assembled at the coordinates at the appointed time. Jack fidgeted. Sam literally bounced on her toes. Teal'c stood stock still, hands clasped behind his back and legs slightly apart. "So..." Jack drawled, "what is it gonna be? Transporter beam? Rings? Swirly dust cloud? Camels?"
"Camels, Sir?!" Sam choked out a laugh.
"Haven't had beasts of burden in a while, Carter. We're due. I just hope they don't spit..."
It was none of those. One minute it was just the three of them, the next, Daniel was standing there. No fan fare. No flash of light, no thunderous boom to announce his presence. He was dressed in a simple tunic that was obviously far too large for him and he was barefoot. Sam gasped and without a word rushed over to envelop him into a huge hug.
"Oof. Can't breathe." the archeologist gasped with a laugh. He briefly returned the hug before stepping back and gazing sheepishly out from under long eyelashes at the glaring Air Force Officer. "Hi, Jack." he said, almost shyly.
"Harrumph. So help me, Daniel I am going to stick a shock collar around your neck and set the perimeter for three feet from your desk. If you are lucky, I will move the coffee maker closer." Jack growled before relenting and smiling back at his friend. "You had us worried, buddy."
"Yeah, I know. Sorry. You know how it is, I just got distracted."
"Daniel, you have to stop getting distracted so much. I am too old for this shit." Jack's voice held a tinge of real anger as well as fear. Daniel recognized the difference between anger due to philosophical differences, and anger because he had once again caused his friends worry for no reason other than his own careless disregard for his safety. It was a new concept to him, having people actually worry about his well being. It was hard to wrap his head around that fact. He sought to minimize the damage by introducing Accipter to the gang.
Only there was no alien standing next to him. He whirled around, confused. "Did you see a tall skinny guy standing here? Had feathers instead of hair on his head?"
Sam shook her head. "There was no one else but you, Daniel."
"But he was standing right next to me, I was telling him how General Hammond would love to meet him." Daniel's face showed the confusion and dismay he felt.
Jack, however, was well and truly done. "Forget about it. If he sends us a bill later, then fine. But right now I am taking you home, Mister. Dr. Frasier has already called first dibs on you. I hear she has the stethoscope tucked away in the freezer." Jack gave a tight grin. He quickly shooed everyone back to the command tent and gave orders to break everything down and pack up the two ships.
In short order, they were off, Daniel being told in no uncertain terms he was flying back with Jack. The trip was uneventful, Daniel having feigned tiredness and begged off for a nap. The return to earth was low key, sort of. Gen. Hammond met the Team upon their return at the airstrip adjacent to Area 51, where the two alien vessels were hangared. After a quick handshake and "Welcome home, Son" Hammond told Daniel to report to Dr Frasier the minute he got back to Cheyenne Mountain.
Janet Frasier met them at the elevator with a wheelchair and insisted the Daniel ride the rest of the way to the infirmary, despite protestations. It was a short but thorough examination, with Daniel telling her what little he remembered, going into as much detail as he could about his back injuries as well as the invasion of his brain. She ran several tests but found no evidence of the horrific injuries Daniel insisted he had received.
The next day, everyone met in the main conference room and Daniel relayed his experiences. He expressed frustration and regret that Accipiter had apparently not stuck around for a Meet and Greet. "General, all I know for sure is that the planet is, or was, under Nox authority, that Accipiter and his friends were researching the storms, and that they are descended from birds. I think they might have been the Furlings, although every time I broached the subject, he never answered." Daniel paused, excitement on his face. "I want to go back there, do some more research on the ruins."
"Oh hell no." Jack growled out. "You said so yourself, that not even Accio Peter could track the storms or knew how to anticipate them. I told you, I am not letting you out of my sight for a month. At least."
"O'Neill is right, Dr. Jackson. We spent a lot of time and money looking for you and while I do not regret one penny spent, I cannot justify another expedition to P3X-919 at this time. I'm sorry." Hammond rose, signaling the end of the meeting. With a nod to his subordinates, he left the room, calling for Walter as he did so.
Daniel looked glum, but allowed himself to be cheered up by Sam's assurance that eventually, they'd find a reason to go back. Teal'c suggested Movie Night, offering to provide the pizza and DVDs. Jack chimed in saying Beer was on him and told Sam she could bring dessert. As long as it was apple pie. When Daniel asked what he could bring, Sam told him the vanilla ice cream was his responsibility. Later that evening, they all sat around Jack's cabin, stuffed with pizza and pie a la mode, sipping their beer in companionable silence.
"Daniel," Sam asked at one point. "Do you really think Accipiter was a Furling?"
He shrugged. "At this point, I am not sure of anything. But he was just as aloof as the Nox, although he spoke to me as an equal, or at least as an intelligent being."
"Not as 'the very young', then?" smirked Jack. Daniel agreed with a nod.
"One thing is for sure." he said as he drained the last of his beer. "We will be looking for them. And I wouldn't be surprised if they were to watch us as well."
Teal'c spoke then. "Indeed. The Taur'i have made a name for themselves in this galaxy, and beyond. You have been noticed."
The thought sobered all of them. Not everyone was a potential ally, although they also held the opinion that not everyone was a possible enemy either. Jack just hoped that they never bit off more than they could chew until they were better prepared. "Doesn't change a thing. You are still grounded, Daniel. One month, no gate travel."
When Daniel and Sam both protested, he held up his hand. "I mean it. I am too old for this shit. You wear me out. I need a break and since Siler wouldn't weld an anchor chain to your desk with a nice leg shackle, I had to make adjustments." Jack smiled as he knew after the initial sulking, everyone would find the silver lining. Teal'c had been making noises about returning to visit Bra'tac and Ry'ac, Sam was constantly bemoaning the lack of lab time and he knew for a fact that Daniel had at least 3 papers going that needed editing. The down time would do them all good.
And if that meant he could sneak out early every day and go fishing, so much the better...
A/n: I deliberately left it vague with accipiter fading off into the sunset all shy and stuff. Are they Furlings? I'm not telling. at least not yet. if I get enough positve feedback, I may revisit the Stargate Universe. After Frankenstorm Sandy has passed.