Following The Leader Series - Part 4: Needing The Leader
Notes: This is another POV in my
‘Leader’ series. It is my first Danny POV, so feedback would be appreciated and
will be replied to. However, no flames please. I can burn my own toast without
any help, thank you.
I WILL NOT
I cannot. No
way. He cannot die.
I will not let
I WILL NOT
God, he looks
so pale, blood seeping across his uniform, yet still so powerful. He struggles
to hold the pain in, his face screwing up with the effort, as he refuses to give
“Jack? Hang on
Jack, I’m getting you out of here.”
He groans back
at me. A sound I hardly hear over the chorus of enemy chants, the rhythmic
thumping of feet accompanying the voices, nearly surrounding us. Under better
circumstances I would have enjoyed listening to the sound. Deciphering the
words, working out the root of the language, discovering their history and how
it relates to Earth, if at all. Now though, it’s just an audible reminder of how
much trouble we’re in. How much trouble Jack’s in, if I can’t get us out of
Where are Sam
and Teal’c? They should be back by now. I don’t think I’m enough on my own to
protect us anymore – to protect him. I could run for it, Jack’s tried to make
me, many times, but I’m not going. God, how could he possibly think I’d leave
him? How could he ask, or try to order me? Doesn’t he know how much he means to
my parents die, their lives crushed out of them in front of me, in scenes that
replay many times during my nightmares. It’s the only time I see their faces
clearly anymore, in my dreams, not whilst I’m awake. Whilst I’m awake they’re
just vague illusions, but during the night they appear in crystal clear images:
their eyes; their lips; the feel of their arms around me. No one holds me
anymore, except for Jack and Sam. Teal’c cares, but he’s not the tactile type.
Most people would think Jack isn’t either, but I know differently. Sam’s like
the sister I never had and her holds are gentle and caressing, feather-light.
Jack though? There’s nothing gentle about Jack. His words are coarse and his
hugs are like being held by a bear. The strength and rough-house caring that is
I look down,
to where I’m crouching on the ground, where he lies on his side, cursing,
moaning, trying to raise himself.
Daniel, gimme a goddamn hand-up!”
now, oh yes, he’s good and angry. Angry that I’ve stayed with him and worried
that my stubbornness is going to get me killed. He should be lying still,
conserving energy, letting me protect him. He’s losing so much blood, but anger
and worry over me is giving him another boost of energy.
Daniel.” He curses again as he forces himself to his knees, biting back a groan
as the movement jostles the arrows poking out of him. Ugly caricatures of human
cruelty. Evil shards defiling something special, something I hold dear.
Something called my friend – Jack.
Possibly Native Americans, gauging by their skimpy leather loin-cloths. Red
Indians. Who cares what colour they are, as Jack would say. Something we’d never
expected. I can’t say who their ancestors are, as we haven’t been introduced,
but they’re certainly not friendly like the Salish, Tonane’s people. I don’t
even know what we’ve done to upset them. Are we on holy ground, or something?
Did we break some local taboo? The native Indians of American history were
highly spiritual, but we haven’t been given a chance to explain ourselves, or
retreat away from their lands.
on his haunches, joining me in looking over the rocks we’re hidden in. He turns
his back to me and steadies his P-90, showering the area behind me with ammo. I
hadn’t even noticed the natives creeping up behind us, but Jack did. I guess all
the noise from in front might have been a deliberate distraction, designed to
get my attention whilst they surprised us from the other direction. Not Jack
though. He could take on this lot and swallow them for breakfast, as an
hors-d’oeuvre to the main event. He’s shaking now though, his arms unsteady as
he protects me. I don’t even have the time to check his wounds, as a group of
determined locals whoop and holler as they charge from the front once more.
I’ve become a
very good shot over the years. My parents would be horrified at how many lives
I’ve taken since joining the SGC. They’d have been amazed at the things I’ve
seen, of course, but at what price? The price will be Jack if I don’t manage to
keep the natives at bay. My baretta hasn’t got the same calamitous effect as his
P-90, but I’ve never been able to manage that gun effectively. Jack says all you
have to do is point and shoot, but I’ve never found it that easy. I’m selfishly
relieved when he swivels round beside me and helps to sweep the charging aliens
away. I still cringe each time I see any being flung off their feet like that.
The force of the impact sending them flying backwards, to land with a
bone-jarring thud on their backs. Their life’s blood spilling from unnatural
holes in their bodies. However, the price will be Jack’s life if we can’t keep
everything have changed so quickly in such a short time?
<<<One minute I was studying
some strange groupings of rocks. Piles of rocks, man height, nothing unusual
about the rocks and large stones themselves, just the fact that they’d been
placed there by hand. The land is rocky and wooded, not very well lit by a
winter’s sun and quiet, or it was. Too quiet. I should have realised. I should
have watched Jack. Thinking back I could tell Jack was ill at ease, his hyper
senses on alert with the unnatural quiet. His fingers playing with his weapon,
his feet never still, as his gaze roamed constantly around the area, trying to
pin down the source of his unease.
I’d been too busy investigating the stones, picking them up one by one, looking
for any signs of writings, or markings. Suddenly I was forced down to the ground
by a push so hard on my shoulders, I’d been momentarily stunned as I hit the
managed to say before the loud retort of Jack’s weapon had sounded, spraying the
near vicinity with life-taking bullets.
grabbed me by my vest. The vest that he was always trying to make me fill with
ordnance, but I insisted on filling with notebooks and video tapes instead. I
was being dragged away, his strong grip pushing me towards the tor we’d seen a
few minutes earlier. I’d hardly been able to get to my feet before I felt,
rather than saw, the wooden flint-tipped arrows whizzing through the air by us.
Whoever the natives were, they were good with their aim, and I felt one go
through the sleeve of my jacket. It missed my arm, thank goodness, but it made
me agree with Jack’s obvious desire for more speed. Then he’d spun around,
jerkily, pushing me further on ahead of him, as he’d steadied himself to cover
I wish I
didn’t have to rely on people like Jack for safety. I’m a civilian, an
archaeologist, an anthropologist, a linguist. I live to see the beauty of what
people can be and the majesty of what they can achieve. The determination that
can make a simple people build cities from mud and clay and build temples to
reach to the skies and their Gods. Putting their hopes and fears into solid
form. Their hopes for their lives and their fears for their deaths.
I see only
wonder and awe around me, but Jack? He’s been places and done things I could
never imagine in my worst dreams. His past is peppered with darkness, but not
like the accidental horror of my parents’ death. No. He’s endured the repugnance
of the worst that man can become. It’s not as though he’s told me much about
where he’s been, or what he’s done. He doesn’t want to burden anyone with what
he sees as his sullied soul. I think he fears it will rub off on us, or some
other such foolish idea. He forgets that when he talks in his nightmares I can
understand him. I speak each one of the languages he moans in whilst asleep. He
doesn’t realise he does this, or that I’m aware of it. He might suspect, but
he’ll never ask. It would be too disturbing for him to know how much of his soul
he bares whilst sleeping. It would only hurt him and I couldn’t do that. One
day, maybe, we’ll have a big discussion about it, but not yet.
Please God let
us have that discussion, let us live through this day. Please let me get him
back alive. How much longer before Sam and Teal’c get back?
<<<I was aware of his frantic
footsteps, following me as I climbed up the tor and then ducked behind a rise in
the rocky outcrop. Only when he collapsed after me did I hear his groan of pain
and look at him. Two arrows were sticking out of him, blood leaking down his
uniform, turning the green BDU’s a sickly dark shade. One stuck out of his back,
in his right shoulder-blade and one in his front, beneath his right collarbone.
He was curled up on his left side, still clutching the weapon that had saved our
lives. Two more arrows stuck out of the middle of his back-pack, projectiles
that would surely have killed him by now, if not for the pack’s protection.>>>
Why are we
constantly the ones being hurt? I’ve seen each of my friends hurt so many times
and sometimes so badly. Teal’c’s lucky and seems to avoid the frequency of
injuries that plague the rest of us. Even when he *is* hurt he’s able to heal
himself a lot quicker than we can. Sam seems to attract the alien take-overs and
the mad computers, but Jack? His body’s covered with so many scars, it’s
frightening. It’s mind-numbing to think of one person being put through so much
pain and yet still coming back for more. He always comes back to protect us, to
protect me. I don’t understand why he thinks either so little of himself, that
he constantly puts himself in the way of danger, or that he thinks we’re so
valuable that he can’t lose us.
just answered my own question. I can no more lose him than he can lose me. We’ve
both lost so much over the years, but now we’ve found something worth holding
onto again. One day one of us is bound to lose, but please don’t let it be
Sam and Teal’c
should be back by now. They’ve been gone half an hour, to collect samples from
the river we heard in the distance, so they can’t be long. Jack doesn’t like to
split the team up, but both Sam and I convinced him we’d be safe here. The MALP
didn’t spot anything. The UAV didn’t spot anything. We didn’t spot anything. So
what was the danger? The danger now is Jack bleeding out beside me. He struggles
to remain kneeling upright and I can see his eyes clouding over, even as he
continues to scan the area around us. I try to force him down, but he stubbornly
refuses to relinquish control, groaning at the pain I inadvertently cause by
pushing against him.
The first sign
of anything unusual was the pile of rocks I’d found. Thinking back on it now,
they probably have some sort of religious significance for the populace and I’d
played with them, handling them like toys. Oh God, I may have killed Jack. I’m
the likely reason the natives suddenly turned on us. Why does everything I touch
turn to loss? My parents? Sha’re? My beautiful wife, my lover and friend,
despoiled by the parasite that took her from me. Jack is my family now. He’s
picked me up when I’ve been down, too many times to mention. He knows what it’s
like to feel loss, to feel so down that the only way is up. But who do you turn
to for that first hand up? Jack and I turn to each other. Despite the fact that
we’re probably as opposite in everything we do or say that it’s possible to get
– yet we care. I care now. I care as he topples over beside me, tears of pain
leaking out of his eyes as he struggles to raise himself again.
Jack, you’re making it worse.” Please stay still. Please let me be enough to
--- too many of them ---” He gasps as an arrow catches on the rocks behind him,
balling one hand into a fist as the other refuses to let go of the gun.
are the distinctive sounds of a staff weapon and a zat gun. I poke my head back
up, baretta at the ready again, but I can see the natives running away from the
blue streaks that light up their comrades as they’re attacked.
happening?” Jack’s barely holding on to consciousness. His attempts to raise
himself on his elbows only part-way successful.
“It’s OK. It’s
Sam and Teal’c. They’ll be here in a moment. I can hold the natives off until
I fire again,
as another native appears over the distant rise, but Teal’c and Sam are there
and somehow the Goa’uld weaponry instils fear where ours do not. They shriek and
run like Beelzebub himself is after them and, for once, I don’t care. I care
about Jack. He’s lying back down on his side again now, eyes closed, body
turning limp, as he’s finally unable to ignore the pain and he drifts away.
Please God, don’t let him drift too far. I can hear Sam and Teal’c running
across the ground towards us and I quickly remove my back-pack, astonished to
see three more arrows poking out of it. I only hope they haven’t damaged
anything in the medikit, although as we carry a kit each, it’s not a problem.
shower of gravel as two sets of military boots land beside me and Sam’s in-drawn
breath is loud in my ear.
“How is he?”
she asks as she kneels beside me, inspecting Jack, the evidence of his injuries
upright for us all to see.
“We must break
off these projectiles, before we attempt to move him.” Teal’c says as he reaches
forward with his belt knife and proceeds to cut away Jack’s vest and jacket. The
thick fabric gives easily in the strong Jaffa’s hands.
fabric around both wounds is removed, leaving a shoulder bare of anything bar
his own blood, as it continues to spread around his tanned skin. Sam looks
hesitant, as she inspects the injuries up close. I can’t tell how far the arrows
have embedded themselves, but there’s no sign of the flint tips, so I can only
assume they’re buried inside his bones. I feel sick at the thought. How could
Jack keep going through that kind of pain and still be more concerned about me?
Teal’c offers, as he moves past Sam to examine the arrows further. His voice
shows no sign of distress, but the muscles quivering in his face give a hint of
the turmoil going on in his mind. Jack is his friend, just like he’s mine and
Sam’s. Jack took him from virtual slavery, giving him independence and the
ability to plan his own future. You can almost see the reverence in his eyes
when he watches Jack and, without him, I’m sure Teal’c would leave the SGC. It’s
not for Earth, per se, that Teal’c fights the Goa’uld. Not that he wouldn’t be
fighting them now anyway, but no, he fights alongside us because of Jack. Now he
kneels beside his saviour and places both hands, side by side, on the arrow in
Jack’s chest, taking a strong, firm grip. It’s a sickly sight, because it’s
coated with blood. I watch as he pauses, bracing himself for an action he knows
he has no alternative but to perform. One hand is as tight as possible against
Jack’s chest. Keeping that one as steady as he can, Teal’c uses force with the
other to snap the length of wood off.
Jack moans and
thrashes wildly with the pain, kicking Sam harshly and she falls backwards
awkwardly. Teal’c and I hold him steady, because he still has the other arrow
pointing dangerously out of his back.
“Jack?” I ask
him as he breathes rapidly.
“Fuck, what a
bitch.” He doesn’t open his eyes, but I think he knows what we’ve done.
for the pain, O’Neill, but I must also attend to the remaining projectile.”
gimme a minute here, OK?”
profusely and his hands flex in their all too familiar response. Sam meanwhile
has crawled back and is collecting our medikits together out of our back-packs.
She extracts a dose of morphine from one and checks the needle for air bubbles,
before injecting it straight into his thigh.
opens his eyes and stares at her.
Sir.” She stares back, without apology. Jack hates medication with a vengeance,
which is probably why she didn’t warn him.
needles.” He slurs as the drug quickly starts to take effect on his weakened
system and his eyes close once more.
MajorCarter, I should have realised O’Neill might waken. I should have let you
attend to him first. Did you injure yourself?”
“No, I’m fine,
Teal’c. It’s OK. The Colonel’s just got one heck of a kick on him. It should be
a lot easier on him now.”
and repeats his previous actions on the remaining arrow. This time Jack moans
quietly, but doesn’t wake up. As soon as Teal’c’s finished, he moves out of the
way and Sam quickly takes his place. She packs the areas around the arrows with
gauze and bandages as tightly as she can. There’s still a good three inches of
wood sticking out, both front and back, but it will be easier to carry him back
to the gate now. Thank God we aren’t too far from it.
“I am sorry we
could not render you assistance any sooner, DanielJackson. It was only as we
were returning that we were aware of your situation. The natives were most
stealthy in their movements.”
“I’m just glad
you came back when you did.”
you radio for help?” Sam asks as she binds around the arrow stumps, trying not
to jar them.
just happened. We were too busy running and firing to have time to use them.
Jack got hit straight away, I think, covering me.”
Sam nods in
understanding. There’s nothing one can say about Jack’s usual protective
“Why did the
natives attack you?” Teal’c asks as he stares out over the tor, slipping into
bodyguard mode now he’s finished his task with Jack. We haven’t heard anything
off the natives since they were frightened away, but I don’t know how long that
“I wish I
knew. I think I touched something sacred to them, those piles of stones, but I’m
not certain. There are no markings or symbols on them anywhere, but we were
attacked just after that.”
perplexed why our Goa’uld weapons are far more successful in repelling the
natives than yours.”
about this too. The locals didn’t seem particularly bothered by the sight of
their own blood, or their own dead, whereas the blue lightening sent them
running away in fright. A lot of Earth’s Native Americans believed everything
had a spirit, a ‘manitu’ of its own and would often imbue god-like personae to
the different aspects of nature around them.
thought the electrical discharge was lightening, come down from the skies. If
they allocate deities to the forces of nature, they may believe we’re protected
by the lightening god and think they’ve offended it.”
return to the stargate should go unhindered.”
says as she packs everything away again. “I’m finished. Let’s get him home.”
I watch as
Teal’c reaches down and gently pulls Jack over his shoulders into a fireman’s
lift. He makes sure the injured shoulder is uppermost and carefully avoids
catching the arrows with the hand he wraps around Jack’s neck and shoulders for
support. Sam passes me her zat and collects the staff weapon and Jack’s P-90 for
herself. She passes me a quick encouraging smile and jumps down in advance of
Teal’c, ready to protect them. I’m left to collect Jack’s back-pack and follow
them back down to ground level, taking up the rear position. I keep as good a
look out as I can for the natives, even though I’m lacking the rest of the
team’s military training to be as efficient as they are. However, I know Sam and
Teal’c are on full alert too and I don’t see any sight of the natives on our
short walk back to the gate. I’m sorry for the dead ones we have to step through
on our way out. They gave us no choice, and I do want to live, but what we did
here will always leave a sour taste in my mouth.
Sam dials up whilst I face the other way. There’s no way I’m going to allow any
further danger to Jack, but it’s only a few quiet moments later that the OK
comes back and Sam urges us through before her.
pounding with relief once we’re all back on the ramp at the other side and I can
already hear the tannoy announcement for a medical team. Sam and I help Teal’c
carefully lower Jack to the floor, noticing how the blood is already seeping
through the bandages. The General only just manages to get down before Janet’s
flying through the doors with a medical team. I often wonder how she manages to
get here so quickly, the infirmary’s hardly just down the corridor, but right
now I’m just relieved to see her. I’m so busy watching Janet as she assesses
Jack, that I barely hear the General’s query as to what happened.
They looked a lot like Native Americans.” Sam says as Janet places an oxygen
mask on Jack. “Took us all by surprise. The Colonel took two arrows before he
and Daniel could get to safety.” She then turns to Janet and explains about the
morphine, to which the doctor nods.
and we watch silently, as the orderlies carefully lift Jack onto the gurney,
leaving him on his side so as not to jostle the arrows. He hasn’t moved once
since Sam gave him the morphine and I don’t know whether to be relieved or
worried about that. Janet gives us a slight smile and quickly orders her team
out of the room and away from our sight. All I can do now is walk on auto-pilot
to the infirmary and our own post-mission medicals.
I know Sam and
Teal’c are as worried as I am about Jack, but I can’t spare the time to think
about them, as we pace around the gurneys in the infirmary. The medicals are so
much a part of normal procedure, that I don’t even give them a thought as we’re
processed through the system. A injection here, a swab there, all it does is
remind me of what they’re doing to Jack. We go for our showers and I think of
the nurses sponging the dust and blood off him. We go for a meal and I think of
the anaesthetic flooding Jack’s body. We wander about the corridor together
outside the OR and I think of his immobile body on the operating table. I think
and think and think about --- nothing and I wonder what Jack’s thinking whilst
he’s unconscious. We *are* still supposed to dream, aren’t we? I’ve been through
that room several times, but I can’t remember if I dreamt anything, or not.
“Do you dream
when you’re in surgery?” I’m surprised I’ve asked the question out loud.
know.” Sam says, trying to smile through her own worries. Her hair is still
slightly wet from the shower and running her hands through it has left it
“I am sure
O’Neill will recover from his injuries.” Teal’c states, seeing straight through
All I can do
is nod at them. They’re both as quiet as I am, caught up in their own worries,
but at least we’re all worrying here together. I could pass the time counting
the minutes dragging by. I could count them in over twenty languages, going
forwards or backwards. I could go through the alphabets in the same languages,
forwards or backwards. Whatever I try to do though, the sight of Teal’c breaking
off those arrows still superimposes everything else. I remember Jack spinning
around as he pushed me ahead of him. Was that when he got hit? First in the back
and then in the front as he protected me? Why does he keep doing that, putting
his body through so much pain for us?
turn into hours and we’re still waiting outside the doors that separate us, just
a short distance from our friend, when Janet finally re-emerges. As usual, she’s
changed out of her scrubs. I think she does it deliberately, to leave any signs
of the horrors she’s just seen out of sight of worried team-members. She smiles
at us, but it’s not the relaxed smile we’ve seen on other occasions. This is the
reserved smile that says he’s still with us, but not out of danger yet. My heart
sinks. I see the same recognition on Sam and Teal’c’s faces and I see Janet’s
acknowledgement that we know.
“We’ve got the
arrow-heads out, but they were both deeply embedded and caused a lot of bone
damage. We’ve had to remove several tiny fragments and it’s going to take a
while for the areas to re-grow, just like in any other fracture. Other internal
damage was amazingly minimal and we’ve already replaced the lost blood volume.
What I’m really concerned about is infection.”
I hate that
word. Infection: disease-causing, contamination, invasion, penetration,
transmission, communicable. Infecting Jack. How?
examination, those flint tips are very dirty and I fully expect bacteria to have
entered his system. I’ve taken samples and I’m putting him on antibiotics, but
only the next few hours will tell us the extent of anything to worry about.”
I’ve heard all
that I’m interested in hearing for now and can hardly wait for the OK to go and
see him. My feet are actually itching with the need to move.
“He’s in the
main ward.” Janet says, looking towards me, and Sam and Teal’c quickly follow me
into the area.
perfectly still, apparently peacefully sleeping, his hair freshly cleaned and
looking as ruffled now as it always does. He’s in one of those dreaded hospital
gowns, the ones that will earn the nurses more than a few complaints later on.
He’s also wired for sound, as he’d say, as I see all the monitoring equipment.
Janet’s certainly taking no chances, until she knows for certain what’s
happening inside him.
Sam joins me
in one of the plastic chairs, but Teal’c prefers to stand guard. I’m not sure if
he hates the chairs, as they’ll be a tight fit anyway, or just prefers looking
down on people. Anyway, Janet does another check over Jack and then leaves us
alone. Well, alone that is except for the equipment and the nurse that’s
hovering in the background. I know the readings on the monitors will show up on
her nurse’s station too, so she’s still keeping an eye on him without intruding.
shoulder’s heavily bandaged and a sling is keeping his arm in place. I guess
Janet doesn’t want him moving his shoulder accidentally before he comes around
properly. How they’re going to keep him immobile afterwards is another story.
They don’t call him the bane of the infirmary for nothing.
We must have
been here for a few hours. I’m not really sure how long, as I think I left my
watch in the shower. Wherever it is, I really don’t care, each minute gone is
just another minute until I see those brown eyes open again. Hopefully they’ll
be free of pain this time. I must remember to collect his watch for him at some
point, take care of it until he needs it again. I don’t care how long I’ve been
sat here. Time’s relative, isn’t it? Relative to what? Relative to how long he
decides to drift wherever he is until he returns to us, to me. SG1 are the only
relatives I have now, but Jack? He’s the relative with the capital R.
rumbustious, reclusive, redoubtable, resilient, raucous, retrospective,
reactive, reliable. Recherché - rare.
through several cups of coffee, although I’m not sure who brought them to me, or
what happened to the cups afterwards. I’m caught here, frozen in time until he
moves. Come on Jack, I plead. Recumbent - that’s not him. Restive – that’s Jack,
he’s always moving, never still. Even in a silent room, in a still meeting, you
can hear him moving on the inside. There. I’m sure. A slight lift of the
eyelids. It’s not much, but it’s the answer to my prayers.
“Jack? Come on
Jack, are you in there?”
His eyes don’t
fully open and he doesn’t seem aware of anything. He seems too content to lie
there in that semi-awake state, free from pain and knowledge, but I don’t
begrudge him that. Not after what he went through on that planet, protecting me.
Janet’s soon here and she’s trying to persuade him to wake up, but he doesn’t
respond to her efforts either. After a few moments she gives in. Resistant,
that’s our Jack too when he wants to be. His eyes slowly close again and I try
my hardest not to be down-hearted about it. We’re nearer to getting him back now
than we were earlier and I’m patient --- sometimes, anyway. At least when it’s
important. If Jack wants to take a week to wake up, I’ll wait. Only please don’t
make it that long.
around to us.
be long now. He’s coming out of it nicely, just taking his time.”
beside me. Sometimes knowing so much about medicine for a non-medical person
must be difficult. I’m glad my knowledge stretches to using a Band-Aid and no
further. What I don’t know I can’t worry about. Teal’c’s a different matter. For
so many years he was restricted to learning only that which served his master.
Now he soaks up information like the proverbial sponge, even though
unfamiliarity with the terminology slows him down.
wanders into the infirmary a few minutes later. It’s the first time he’s had
free to check up on Jack and he’s obviously concerned about how he’s doing.
Janet has a word with him and the General asks if he can have a quick briefing
with us about the mission.
here.” I reply and Sam pats my shoulder. There’s no way Jack’s going to wake up
alone, if I can help it. I’m half waiting for Hammond to order us all, but he
nods his head instead and I’m quickly left alone at Jack’s bedside.
I watch as he
starts to move and his eyes flicker open. The nurse disappears, telling me she’s
going to get the Doctor. Jack’s automatically trying to raise himself upwards,
the movements hindered by his lack of co-ordination and the sling on his arm. He
doesn’t even seem to be aware of his shoulder as he moves about.
are you doing? Lie still.”
slurs, his eyes glazed over, as he slowly turns his head my way.
Jack. Now lie down.” I’m on my feet beside him now, trying to force him gently
back down on to the pillows. Already he’s swinging his legs out of the bed and
my heart-rate’s increasing with each movement. Why does he always pick moments
when there’s no help around to cause trouble?
“No --- gun
--- Where’s gun?”
strikes me. He doesn’t realise he’s back on the base. He still thinks we’re on
the planet. He’s leaning forward now, into my arms thank God, but he’s swaying
and I hope he doesn’t fall off the bed.
gone. Sam and Teal’c got rid of the natives. You’re safe now.”
his head against my chest, but he moves back to look up at me.
safe. Now we’ve got to get you back into this bed, or Janet will have my hide.”
It seems he can only manage one word sentences and I’m grateful to see a flurry
of white, as our CMO appears on the other side of the bed.
“I see you’re
up to your usual tricks, Colonel.” She greets, helping me to ease him back down
in the bed. He’s completely non-resistant and his eyes close as his head meets
There is a
slight sheen on his forehead now and Janet’s quick to check his temperature. She
tutts and adjusts the dial on the IV.
running a slight temperature, but the antibiotics should kick in soon. Why don’t
you go back to sleep? You should feel much better later on.”
Jack opens his
eyes to me once more, as Janet tucks the sheets in around him again.
we’re all OK. Go back to sleep. We’ll be here when you wake up.”
His eyes close
again and Janet smiles at me, as he drifts away to wherever he goes in his
he’d probably get an infection, but I’m sure the antibiotics will deal with it.”
“What if they
don’t?” I can’t help asking, brusquely, worriedly. I can’t look her in the face,
as I continue to watch my friend, who lies so peaceful beneath us.
try something else. Don’t borrow trouble Daniel, when there’s no reason to
assume the worse.”
It’s just that he’s ---.”
important to a lot of other people too, you know. Even though he doesn’t realise
“Yes.” I can’t
help laughing slightly at what she’s said. Jack’s nowhere near as dumb as he
likes to make out, but sometimes he can’t see the wood for the trees. He spends
so much time taking care of us, that he makes it very difficult for us to take
care of him in return. It never even crosses his mind that we would *want* to
take care of him. He’s certainly going to need taking care of now though, with
his arm out of commission. His right arm at that. Oh I know he can shoot a gun
with his left, just as good as his right, but manage a knife and fork? That’s
one of those little domestic things that’ll get overlooked as soon as he’s out
Sam and Teal’c
return in a few minutes and we fill them in on Jack’s latest escape attempt. Sam
laughs, but the action is designed to cover her concern.
“Then we shall
remain here until O’Neill is sufficiently recovered to be left unattended.”
The next few
hours pass in a blur. Teal’c tried to get me to go for something to eat, but Sam
ended up bringing me a sandwich back instead. I think I went to the bathroom. I
guess all that coffee going in had to come out sooner, or later, but I don’t
really recall when. I’ve been sat here so long, I think I’ve become moulded to
he opens his eyes again. This time there’s more awareness in them. He’s still
running a slight fever, but Janet’s confirmed it’s responding to the drugs and
doesn’t seem too worried. I’ll stop worrying once we’ve got him out of here and
back home where he belongs.
“Hi kids.” He
whispers, as he looks us over. “You look like you’re at a wake. Who died?”
O’Neill. We’ve been sat here for hours, worrying ourselves sick over him and he
brushes it all under the carpet with a dozen words.
“No one has
died, O’Neill. We were merely concerned as to your health.”
fine, now help me sit up.”
about, trying to find the control to the bed-head, which is currently dangling
off the side. He’s obviously as weak as the proverbial kitten and his hair is
still plastered to his forehead with sweat.
“Ow! Crap!” He
says as he suddenly realises why it’s not such a good idea to make any sudden
movements. “Damn cocktail sticks.” He moans, staring at his shoulder. “I mean,
how many times do damn aliens have to perforate me?”
down will you?” I scold him as I adjust the bed, until he tells me it’s OK.
He shuts his
eyes and it’s at this time that Janet comes back in. She’s been watching us for
a minute, giving us a bit of time together before she intruded. She’s probably
ticked so many things off her checklist just watching us and I’m not surprised
she does nothing more than scan the monitors.
better now, Colonel?”
what?” He asks, as he opens sleepy eyes to her.
“You were hot
before, running a fever, but it’s coming down now.”
“Oh --- yeah
---” It’s obvious he doesn’t remember anything about the last time he woke up,
but that’s hardly surprising. He’s barely got the energy to keep his eyes open
now and they keep sliding shut, despite his best efforts.
going to be with us for a few days. We got the arrow-heads out, but they did a
bit of bone splintering and we’re going to have to keep your shoulder immobile
until it heals again.”
“Where are the
understood Jack’s need to know what’s going on whilst he’s in the infirmary. I
know he doesn’t like to lose control and maybe this is just a part of that. By
understanding what’s being done to him, he doesn’t feel left in the dark. He can
monitor his progress, give names to procedures and file them in his head
“You can see
the x-rays later, you don’t really need any bed-time reading right now.”
He moans, as his voice gets steadily quieter. “The guys are round to play.”
“I do not
think you are strong enough for recreation at the moment, O’Neill.”
“We can play
“Yes. Get some
sleep Jack. We’ll be here when you wake up.”
sleepy eyes at me once more. “Getting that feeling of déjà vu, here Danny.”
Maybe he remembers something after all. “Go and get some rest. I can see the
eyes from here.”
“I don’t have
bags under my eyes.”
over towards me and starts to inspect my face, giving Jack a puzzled look which
he fails to focus on completely.
get him outta here, will ya?” Jack gives his best command face, but it’s lacking
anything like his usual vigour.
Sir.” “We have attempted to many times, O’Neill.”
“I’m fine.” I
defend myself, feeling as if I’m being ganged up on. I have the crazy desire to
stamp my foot, only my legs are having problems with pins and needles as I stand
“Yeah, and I’m
a monkey’s uncle.” Jack says with a smile on his face, as his eyes close for the
final time during this encounter.
checks the monitors once more and smiles at us. Her silence is all I need to
hear now. Jack’s back and I didn’t lose him after all.
space-monkey’s uncle.” I tell him, hearing Sam’s slight laughter as she and
Teal’c follow me out.