Following The Leader Series - Part 3: Caring for The Leader
This world is barren, there is no
other word which I can use to describe it satisfactorily. Any life it may have
held has long since departed, although to where is still unclear. However, we
continue to cross this arid plain. MajorCarter has taken many samples and
encouraged several discourses about the absence of life. DanielJackson enjoys
the conversation, unlike ColonelO'Neill. I am not versed in the arts of land
husbandry, so I do not understand the references she uses to explain her theory
about ‘food chains’ and ‘stored solar energy’. However, I do understand that
with a lack of vegetation for prey animals to sustain themselves upon, then
neither will predators be able to survive.
I may not be
able to offer any insights into this discourse, but once again I am grateful for
my alliance with the Tau’ri. Whilst in their company I have been able to
assimilate many forms of learning and begun to understand much that is not
essential to my role of warrior. I luxuriate in quenching my thirst for
knowledge in subjects I do not require to survive - to absorb information for
its own enjoyment. I endeavour to surpass my mentor’s intellect and that would
be a fitting tribute to Bra’tac’s tutelage. However, my gratitude is to my
Tau’ri friends who enabled me to break the chains that kept me bound to my
I am relieved
when we find the chasm that is barring our forward journey. O’Neill must now
make a decision as to whether to return to the SGC, or try to traverse the
obstacle. I have known for some time that he is as disinterested as I with this
mission. I can tell by the frown on his forehead and the slump of his shoulders,
which are normally held so erect when our safety is uncertain. Although to me it
is clear he understands MajorCarter’s theorems, he appears to derive great
pleasure out of making her expand her theories. However, like myself, his
interests are awakened with a surge of adrenaline, where his actions influence
I envisage he
is about to order our return to the Stargate, when DanielJackson notices
something across the divide. Following his line of sight, which can at times be
difficult, as the young scholar gets animated when exited, we can see unnatural
formations in the distance. I am sure that my ears, which are more sensitive
than the Tau’ri’s, pick up our commander’s whispered ‘Ah, crap’, but I am not
sure. I perhaps only imagined it, as it is what I would expect him to say under
such circumstances. However, there is no easy way to cross the chasm at this
location. Although the cliff sides appear easy to scale, the water beneath is
turbulent and swift running. O’Neill obviously concurs, as he suggests we follow
the edge, looking for any alternative crossing locations.
We travel for
a further hour before I spy a bridge spanning the chasm. It is an old and simple
construction, combining wooden boards and ropes. It seems derelict and does not
appear to be a sound structure. O’Neill is swift in his command to belay
DanielJackson. It is something he has become familiar with over the years, the
desire to prevent the younger man from rushing into possibly dangerous
situations. O’Neill will not allow any of his team to come to harm, if he is at
all able to prevent it. It is an admirable trait and has challenged my previous
concepts of the value of life in the chain of command. He will protect the
weaker, at the cost of himself, as unhesitatingly as he protects his own
commanders. This is an idea that the Goa’uld would not entertain. Wishing to
assist him as much as I am able, I prepare to restrain DanielJackson, should it
be necessary. I cannot help but overhear the slight sound of laughter from
MajorCarter as I do so.
traverses the rope bridge, with an ease which belies how the structure moves
slightly with each step. His first journey is to test how solid the bridge is,
to look for signs of frailty, whilst his return journey is to test for strength.
He risks himself by stamping on each board and pulling on the ropes, before he
will allow his team to venture upon it. Once he steps back onto land he turns to
our scholar and smiles at him.
it’s your lucky day, you get your wish. Teal’c first, then you, Carter and me.
Take it slow, keep within arm’s reach of each other, but only one on a slat at a
time. Got it?”
I step onto
the bridge first, as commanded, aware of the others following me. I feel the
bridge swaying with our combined footsteps and note his instructions to stagger
My ears pick
up the sound of screeching, emanating from around us, before I see the hundreds
of tiny flying creatures propelling themselves from holes in the cliff sides.
They are small, fur covered animals, with lengthy tails and they assemble before
flying towards us in our exposed position. I am unafraid of them and feel they
pose no threat, except for their quantity, as they fly around us. However, it is
enough to unsettle us. DanielJackson slips, as he is hit by several, and both I
and MajorCarter struggle to aid his footing. I do not understand how I managed
to unbalance myself, until I slide on something on the wood beneath me. Possibly
it is the waste product of the flying creatures, but I am helpless to prevent
myself from losing my footing and slipping through the ropes.
My descent to
the river beneath is undignified and I am unable to prepare for the awkward
entry into the water. Unsuccessful in my rapid attempts to remove my back-pack,
all I am able to do is wrap my arms around my head to lessen any damage by the
harsh entry. The force shocks my body, particularly my chest and head,
momentarily stunning me. The water is extremely cold, numbing me, despite the
response of my symbiote to my distress. I am unable to breath and my bearings
are confused, as I am dragged further from the light by the weight of my pack.
The undercurrent is strong and, despite my determination, my body is gradually
losing its strength to struggle upwards. Thoughts of my family and my team pass
through my mind as I take my first mouthful of water.
are strong arms around me and I see O’Neill’s encouraging face through the gloom
of the water. There is a flash of metal, barely seen through the poor light, and
my back-pack falls free. I attempt to swim upwards, but my limbs are
uncooperative and I sink further. Yet again, O’Neill comes to my rescue and I
feel his hands on my jacket, pulling me back towards the light above us. My
consciousness is dimming, but I can feel his legs kicking beside me and I try
not to despair. I feel my face break through the surface of the water and a hand
supports my chin above the waves. I cough as I take in several large breaths,
unable yet to speak to voice my appreciation. I am unable to do anything to
assist him. He also needs to refresh his lungs and I hear him breathing in
deeply, replenishing the expended oxygen from his system.
water for a few moments, allowing the current to carry us along while we recoup
our strength. I feel his secure grip around me, holding my head upon his chest
as we float on our backs upon the surface. I rest, feeling secure in his care,
until he starts to work against the current, swimming with me still within his
arms. I am unable to participate, but neither do I struggle. My body may be
weak, but my mind is returning to activity. I realise what a risk he has taken
by diving in after me, although I am not surprised by his actions. Many times
over the past few years we have willingly risked ourselves for the other, but
each time my amazement is as great as the first. It reaffirms my conviction that
my move to follow this man was the correct one.
I am unsure
how long we have been in the river, but I feel the movements of my commander
change as he feels land beneath his feet again. He helps me to struggle out of
the water onto a wide sandy beach and assists me several feet away from the
water’s edge, before we both collapse on the ground.
I can hear the
faint cries of MajorCarter and DanielJackson from above us. O’Neill cannot, so I
inform him about our team-mates and he shouts, gesticulating upwards to them to
reassure them of our safety.
a comin.” He says, before lying back down beside me. “You OK?”
“I am alive,
O’Neill, thanks to you.” I cannot yet raise myself, so I look upwards, where I
see DanielJackson appearing over the edge of the cliff. He is quickly followed
by MajorCarter and they begin a slow, but certain descent towards us.
me and I wonder what has prompted his absence, doubly so as my reactions are
currently impaired. However, as I watch him, I can see he is collecting
materials, from which to start a fire. He returns shortly, with his arms full of
pieces of wood and drops them beside me.
“We’ll have to
wait for the troops. My matches are taking a swim somewhere.” He grins at me and
I am unable to refrain from the slight smile I give in return. It is no ignominy
to relax my emotional control in front of this man. It may be many years before
I feel truly comfortable with showing my feelings around the Tau’ri, but O’Neill
has always appeared to see through my façade, regardless.
there is nothing we can do to dry ourselves, we rest together, regaining our
strength, until our team-mates arrive beside us. O’Neill has to assure them both
that we are in good health. I do not understand why I should be compared to ‘as
right as rain’, but it is a saying I have often heard and I take it to mean I
have no injuries.
is able to light a fire and we draw nearer to its warmth, as the temperature
starts to lower for the evening. MajorCarter and O’Neill are soon conversing in
that strange tone they often engage in, where I think there is more being said
than is apparent. She encourages us to remove our outer clothing and we place
the wet garments beside the fire to dry. DanielJackson is quick to divest
himself of his jacket, despite the lowered temperature, and offer it to O’Neill.
At first our leader is reluctant to accept the gift, preferring the young man to
keep it for himself, but the scholar makes light of our commander’s chivalry.
Next, O’Neill offers the item to me, however, my symbiote will be able to assist
in regulating my body temperature, so I also reject the offer. Eventually he
resigns himself to the proffered item and puts it on himself.
passes over our two remaining sleeping bags and we climb inside them to warm
ourselves and allow our bodies to complete drying. I am about to enter a light
meditative state when I discover O’Neill may be charged with replacing the
back-packs that we have lost. I am distraught that his bravery will cost him
financially, even more so as I do not have funds to replace his losses. However,
he turns one of his relaxed smiles my way and laughingly explains that all he
wishes is to see me safe and sound. I realise then that I have misinterpreted
one of his jokes again. The moment between us is broken, as DanielJackson
attempts to correct O’Neill on something he has said and the Tau’ri share
another joke between them. I cannot always follow their quick changes of
thought, but the few moments I can participate in are enough.
We have soon
partaken of a warm meal and are able to relax, as the evening turns into night.
I am finally able to meditate, knowing that my body is in extra need of rest
this evening, but I am still aware of my surroundings. I listen to the teasing
conversations of my friends. MajorCarter is distracted and gets coerced into
providing sustenance for us upon our return to Earth. I know she was concerned
about us and takes our safety as a personal issue. I am also aware that she
worries particularly about O’Neill, caring about his needs as though he is
unable to take care of himself. I am sure that he would find that thought highly
amusing. Surely he has had to fend for himself through many horrific incidences,
long before MajorCarter became independent of her father’s support. Perhaps it
is a ‘woman thing’ as O’Neill would say, this desire to protect a man that you
She is always
attentive to both DanielJackson’s and my own needs, but the Colonel would appear
to hold a special place in her heart. It is something of which I was already
aware, even before the Tok’ra thought they were zatarcs. However, I am not
concerned over their admissions whilst being tested, as I understand the
significance of those words. We, each of us in SG1, will risk our lives for the
others, as O’Neill has just demonstrated once more. We have formed deep bonds
and, even though I know MajorCarter has particular affection for the Colonel, I
am not disturbed. They would never allow anything to develop between them that
would jeopardise ourselves, or our missions.
I am awakened
from my slight trance by O’Neill, as DanielJackson encourages us to redress in
our uniforms. I am appreciative of the renewed warmth and I am sure O’Neill will
be too. He does not possess a symbiote to ward off the symptoms of ill health,
as do I. It would be unfortunate if he is to become incapacitated, after his act
of bravery, but we will take care of him if it is to be so.
by the following morning it is clear that O’Neill is not well. His body is
shaking with the slight tremors I associate with the Earth condition of a cold.
He sneezes frequently and DanielJackson has to pass over several of his tissues
to aid his condition. Despite his glares, we do not allow him to carry a
back-pack and the climb back up the cliff is a difficult and slow one for him.
It is with relief that I eventually see him climb wearily over the edge.
DanielJackson uses subterfuge to persuade him to rest for a few minutes, before
we commence our walk back to the stargate.
It is obvious
to me that our scholar still wishes to view the ruins, but he puts his desires
to one side, as concern for our leader is paramount in all our thoughts. Our
march back is slower than normal and we elect to stop more frequently in
deference to O’Neill’s condition. He is tiring quickly and MajorCarter quietly
informs us that he is running a temperature. I understand the meaning of that
saying, although it still puzzles me how the Tau’ri consistently arrive at such
ill constructed descriptions. Surely speed has nothing to do with a person’s
I am relieved
to eventually arrive back at the SGC and deliver O’Neill into DoctorFraiser’s
care. We ensure that she takes care of his needs first, whilst we are processed
through our post mission examinations by other nursing staff. We are able to
shower and refresh ourselves, before returning to wait for news of our leader.
We are there many minutes in advance of DoctorFraiser finishing her examination
It is over an
hour later before O’Neill is returned to us again. DoctorFraiser assures us that
he is not seriously impaired and merely requires rest at his home. MajorCarter
volunteers to accompany him and attend to his needs for the next two days and
DanielJackson struggles to withhold his amusement at the arrangement. I know
that O’Neill can be difficult company when he is not well, but I feel assured
that MajorCarter will be able to cope with his varied moods. After ensuring that
O’Neill does not forget his medications, we bid them farewell and I return to my
other duties whilst on the base.
day passes without incidence for me and in the evening I relax with
DanielJackson, so that he can continue my teachings in Earth history. The calm
is disturbed when I receive a telephone call from MajorCarter. We had arranged
to visit O’Neill the following evening, but MajorCarter has had a request to
return to the base tonight. She is reluctant to leave the Colonel until she is
assured that either DanielJackson or myself will be able to attend to him in the
morning. I ask her if he requires our presence tonight, but she assures me he is
already in bed after receiving his medication. I hear her laugh slightly and she
admits that some of the medication Janet has left for him is to ensure he sleeps
through the night. As he has taken no interest in his treatment, he is unaware
of the items he has taken and is unlikely to awaken. I am concerned about this,
as I do not think O’Neill will approve of the subterfuge, if he ever becomes
aware of it. Even though I know his body requires rest to recover its strength,
I am doubtful as to how wise this course of action is.
is unable to accompany me the following morning, as he has to attend a meeting
with one of the other SG teams. They have encountered problems deciphering
symbols on an artefact they have recovered and require his urgent assistance.
Therefore, I request the services of an airman to drive me to O’Neill’s house
and I use my spare key to gain entrance. I shout to announce my presence, as it
is unwise to approach O’Neill silently, but the house is quiet and my senses
sharpen. O’Neill is a very light sleeper and it is most unlike him to be unaware
of my presence in his domain.
curtains are still closed and I quickly stride through the house opening them,
so that I can search the abode more efficiently. O’Neill is not within any of
the downstairs rooms, so I quicken my pace and ascend the staircase to the
upstairs floor. On entering the master-bedroom I can see that the bed is
ruffled, but my friend is not there. I call out again, but once more there is no
reply. I am certainly concerned now and quickly check each room on this floor,
only to find them as empty as the ones beneath me. I suddenly remember that last
night was supposed to be a particularly clear night. Knowing how much O’Neill
appreciates viewing the spectacle of the heavens, I make my way to his telescope
I am worried
when I see my commander, asleep in a chair by his telescope. He is wearing a
coat on top of some lightweight clothing, but he looks very pale. One hand
trails downward and, as I reach down to put it back in his lap, I feel how cold
he is. The nails are an unusual shade of blue and I realise my friend may be
very ill. He has probably been out here all night and fallen asleep, under the
influence of the drugs. I have heard of a condition referred to as hypothermia
and it is supposed to be highly dangerous.
shake him urgently, but all he seems able to do is quietly moan in return.
I place my
hand on his forehead and his skin is unusually dry. He feels as cold as the
frost that still survives out of the light of the sun. His breathing seems to be
slower than normal and I now suspect he needs medical assistance urgently.
Carefully lifting him over my shoulders, I carry his unresisting form back down
the steps and into the house. I then immediately transfer his weight into a
safer position in my arms, as I am concerned about his breathing difficulties.
Holding him in front of me, I hurry through to his bedroom, where I gently place
his limp body down on the bed.
you hear me?” I ask again as I remove his coat, but he seems unaware of me or
I place him
back underneath the covers and exit the room to use the telephone in his
hallway. Once the operator has connected my call to the infirmary, I ask to
speak to DoctorFraiser.
“DoctorFraiser. Your presence is urgently required in the house of
was required back on the base yesterday evening, so ColonelO'Neill was left
unattended. I have arrived this morning to find him on his outside platform and
I suspect he has spent the night there. He is extremely cold and unresponsive to
“Why would he
do such a stupid thing?” Even though her words are harsh, I am aware of the
worry in her voice over the telephone.
“I believe he
was unaware of the sleeping medication MajorCarter gave him and last night was a
clear night for viewing the stars.”
Teal’c.” She sighs. “We can discuss this later, I’m on my way.”
“I will leave
the door unlocked for you.”
Try your best to warm him up, but don’t warm him too quickly. The Colonel
doesn’t have a bath, does he? He only has a shower, which won’t do. Do you know
if he has any hot water bottles?”
“I do not.” I
am not even sure what a hot water bottle is.
“OK. In that
case, body heat would be best at the moment. Can you keep him warm in bed with
him in the recovery position and monitor his breathing. Do you have my mobile
I check down
the list of emergency numbers next to O’Neill’s phone and see it listed there.
“I’ll be there
as quick as I can.”
disconnects and I go to the front door to make sure it is left unlocked. I then
return quickly to O’Neill’s bedroom, where he is still lying in the bed,
unaware. DoctorFraiser has said that body heat is the best aid I can give, so I
divest myself of my clothing, except my underwear, and quickly do the same for
my friend. He does not seem to notice my attentions, which do not allay my
worries. I place his body on his side, as described in a first aid course, and
climb into the bed beside him, carefully wrapping my arms around him. I hold his
unnaturally cold body next to mine, sharing the heat between us, as I pull the
bedding tightly around us.
I am aware of
the passing minutes as O’Neill continues his slow breathing beside me. I talk to
him, hoping his condition will not deteriorate before DoctorFraiser can attend
to him. If he is at all aware of my presence he is not able to show it. Many
minutes later I hear the sounds of a motor vehicle upon the gravelled drive and
my fears allay slightly. The front door opens and three pairs of footsteps hurry
up the stairs towards the bedroom. I crane my neck around and watch as
DoctorFraiser enters, accompanied by two orderlies.
“How is he
Teal’c?” She asks as she quickly starts to check O’Neill’s body. I have seen her
use her penlight and stethoscope many times, although I do not understand all
the information it gives her. She also checks his finger nails, noting the
discoloration. She indicates for me to move aside slightly, as she prepares to
remove his underwear. I am still unsure of a lot of Tau’ri medical procedures
and have never seen a rectal thermometer being used before. I am sure it would
be considered too private a procedure to allow it to be viewed under normal
circumstances. However, this situation is not normal. As soon as she starts to
handle him so invasively, O’Neill surprises me by starting to struggle against
her, his feeble movements uncoordinated. He curses, the words slurred and
I try to calm
his fears, as even in his present condition he is a strong man. The orderlies
are moving closer, preparing to restrain him, but I do not want them to handle
him. I know the Colonel would relax more if he was aware he was with friends.
Perhaps, now he is more responsive, he will hear my words.
is I, Teal’c, and DoctorFraiser. You must cease your struggles, we are trying to
He does not
respond to me, but his movements cease and DoctorFraiser is able to continue her
examination of him.
actually, Teal’c, that he’s struggling. He’s not as far gone as I thought he
Once she has
finished, DoctorFraiser signals for the orderlies and they soon have O’Neill on
to a stretcher, carefully covering him with blankets as I remove myself from the
bed and re-dress.
going to take him back to base, to monitor his recovery, but I think he’s going
to be all right.”
accompany you for the journey.” I will not leave my friend now. I feel as if we
have all let him down and I will not allow it to happen again.
I follow them
out of the house and ensure the door is locked behind me, before climbing into
the military ambulance waiting on the drive. The journey back to the base is a
careful one. DoctorFraiser constantly monitors the Colonel, never leaving his
side. I do not understand terms such as blood pressure, but I do not wish to
distract her attention by asking for explanations.
is expected and we are quickly processed through security, before we descend
into the mountain. I am not surprised that we are met outside the infirmary by
MajorCarter and DanielJackson, both of whom look as pale as O’Neill.
“I had no idea
this would happen.” MajorCarter says and, although I know in part she is to
blame for events, the burden is not hers alone. A mixture of events have led to
this situation and we can all learn much from it.
It was over an
hour later before DoctorFraiser exits the trauma room to update us to O’Neill’s
“We caught it
in time, luckily, and he’s going to be fine.”
happened, Janet?” MajorCarter asks quietly. A look of recrimination adorns her
pills are of a type that would affect his ability to shiver, which means his
ability to keep warm was compromised. As the Colonel didn’t realise he’d been
given them, he wouldn’t have been aware of the risk he was taking. He was
probably asleep before he knew what was happening --- It was very cold and
frosty last night, ideal star gazing weather, unfortunately.”
“I thought he
was already asleep before I left.”
never assume with Jack.” DanielJackson says quietly. “I’ve learned the hard way.
He probably only pretended so you wouldn’t feel guilty and could go.”
“Can we see
ColonelO'Neill?” I ask, eager to see for myself that he is recovering.
“Not at the
moment, Teal’c. I’ve still got nurses working on him to make sure he’s warming
up without any problems.”
problems?” DanielJackson is quick to ask. The young scholar is holding his arms
around him, a gesture we are all familiar with.
always the possibility of shock with hypothermia and we have to monitor his
pulse and respiration’s. They’re settling back to normal now but were slow when
I first saw him. His blood pressure was low and we’re having to monitor his
kidney functions until the danger’s passed. Of course, we’re also watching for
signs of pneumonia, which is another possible complication, but the signs are
all good so far. You can come back and see him this evening if everything
progresses satisfactorily, we just need some space to work round him at the
moment. Now I need to go and update the General, so I’ll see you later.”
smiles at me then.
“You did well,
Teal’c. Without you there, it would have been a lot more serious.”
She leaves us
then and retreats back behind the closed doors. I looked down into the faces of
my younger team-mates and can still see the shock there, especially on
MajorCarter’s. She is not familiar with making errors of judgement and is
suffering the consequences.
“You were not
to know that this would happen.” I tell her, but she still frowns at me. “We
must concentrate on what we have learned, not what has gone wrong.
ColonelO'Neill is alive and we have learned a lesson about the importance of
passing on information.” Her eyes are bright and DanielJackson is staring
blankly at the closed doors, barring us entrance to our friend. I feel it is
time to engage their thoughts on other matters. It is what O’Neill would do. “It
is time to eat. Will you both accompany me to the commissary?”
It is not
difficult to steer them both away from the vicinity and, once we are in the
queue for nourishment, they appear to wake from their dazed expressions. I think
for these two it will be a long day before the evening arrives.
It is late
evening before DoctorFraiser allows us to visit our commander. She tells us he
was awake earlier and quite lucid, so we are now allowed to attend him. His
appearance is much improved from this morning and I am relieved. His skin has
returned to its usual hue and he appears to be sleeping peacefully. There is a
lack of medical equipment attached to him, which supports DoctorFraiser’s
statement that she expects him to make a full recovery. I do, however, note a
nurse working nearby in the ward. I suspect she is keeping a discreet watch on
the patient, but she does not intrude on our presence. Both MajorCarter and
DanielJackson seat themselves in the uncomfortable chairs by his bed, but I
remain standing, where I can obtain a clearer view of proceedings.
We are only in
his presence for a few minutes before O’Neill becomes aware of us and his eyes
slowly flicker open. He reminds me of a child, who wishes to wake up, yet is
still too tired to manage it successfully. He will not remain awake long. His
gaze travels across each of us slowly, as though it takes longer than normal to
process the visual signals.
His voice is quiet and without strength, but we are all relieved to hear it.
“It is good to see you, O’Neill.” DanielJackson and I greet. MajorCarter is
at us and his gaze rests on MajorCarter.
“Why the long
faces? Carter, you OK?”
seems focussed on her jacket and she seems unable to look back at him.
“I’m so sorry,
Sir. This was all my fault.”
been getting into trouble long before I joined the SGC. Don’t take so much on
“No, Sir.” She
argues. “It *is* my fault. I thought I was being clever, not telling you some of
the pills were to make you sleep.”
“Ah, ah, ahhhh.”
He waves a tired hand in her direction and yawns. “To *help* me sleep, according
to Doc Fraiser. Not *make* me sleep. Hell, I shouldn’t have even gone out star
gazing with a cold. Next it will be Danny saying he shouldn’t have spotted those
ruins and Teal’c apologising for falling off the damn bridge.”
I can see my
actions mirrored by DanielJackson, as we both attempt to join in and accept the
blame for this string of occurrences.
it.” O’Neill’s voice is losing its strength and he is obviously tiring quickly.
“Wallowing in all this guilt is gonna drown me and I’ve tried that once
already.” He grins in my direction, but his eyes are already half closed.
“You must rest
O’Neill.” I tell him, concerned that he has not yet recovered from his previous
His eyes close
and he sighs, seeming to settle deeper into the pillows.
“Tell ya what,
“If it makes
you feel any better, you can buy the next *two* meals out and *I* get to pick
the next place.” There is a smile on his face, even though he is no longer
watching for our reactions.
MajorCarter replies, with the first trace of a smile I have seen on her face,
since we arrived this morning.
“Good. Now get
the hell outta here and get some rest yourselves. You all look worse than I do.”
“OK Jack, catch you later.”
pats O’Neill on the shoulder and both young people leave the ward, looking more
relaxed now than they did previously. I elect to remain with O’Neill, keeping
him company. I know one of our other team-mates will return in a few hours to
here, Teal’c?” His quiet voice asks. He does not open his eyes to look at me.
“I had a weird
dream. At least I thought it was a dream.” He yawns again and stretches in the
bed, relaxing afterwards.
“What was this
dream about, O’Neill.”
“I was cold,
freezing, but you were there with me.”
“It was not a
dream. I shared my body heat with you to warm you.”
slowly nods his head in understanding. “There was someone there, doing things. I
--- didn’t like it.”
needed to examine you. You were not aware of your situation.”
talking to me --- didn’t leave me.” He still does not open his eyes to look at
me. I wonder if he is embarrassed by his actions, or by my being witness to his
“As I never
He nods his
head again at me, but does not speak any further. I understand that he finds it
difficult to vocalise his emotions, or admit to feelings of affection. That is
his nature and I accept him as he is, as I know he accepts me. There is a Tau’ri
saying that actions speak louder than words. O’Neill has proved many times how
deeply he cares for us, his team and his friends, and I do not need to hear any
platitudes from him in this regard.
me, therefore, when I almost miss his whispered, “Back at ya.” It reminds me of
another time when we shared private moments. Then his breathing rhythm changes
and I know that he is finally asleep. I study his face and note the lines that
mark the passing of so many traumatic times for this Tau’ri. It is a face that
has seen too much for one person, yet now the lines are smoothed out. It reminds
me of how child-like he can behave when relaxed.
I remember my
relief at his appearance in the water before me, smiling through my darkest
fears, imparting a sense of confidence at my rescue.
know you will not leave us, O’Neill.” I tell the sleeping man. “You did not
leave me then and I am assured you never will.”