STORY STATUS: Completed 9/14/06
ARCHIVE PERMISSIONS: Ask first. I'll probably say yes.
DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for fun and I sure as hell didn't get paid for writin' it. No copyright infringement intended.
WORD COUNT: 1532
I open my eyes slowly and my mind races.
Oh crap! Tell me that escape wasn't just a hallucination.
The light dims and I recognize the ceiling I'm now staring at. Dull, infirmary grey. I'm home. It wasn't a dream.
I hear Carter's voice. I don't need to look to know Teal'c and Jonas are here too. I stay quiet and listen to them talk. God, I missed them.
Okay. I've heard enough. Much as I'd love to just listen to them talk just to hear their voices, I don't much care for the subject. Time to let them know I'm awake.
"Hey, I'm trying to sleep here."
They all turn and look at me. Even Teal'c is smiling. That's a rare sight. He should do it more often.
"Sorry, sir. Glad to see you're okay." She says softly.
I don't think `okay' is quite how I feel right now. I don't even have the strength to return the smile.
"Listen, that was a good idea you had there."
"Actually, sir, we all contributed."
I know that, Carter. Daniel told me. Of course, I can't tell them that. They'll think I'm nuts, or that I imagined him being there.
She walks over by my side. I honestly believed I'd never seen any of them again. "Do you need anything, or. . ."
"Water." Feeling a bit parched here. Course, that tends to happen when you don't get anything to drink for . . . God only knows how long.
"Sure." She turns and walks out. Teal's, who is still smiling, and Jonas follow her out. I wonder, briefly, why they are leaving, and realize Doc probably gave them a time limit. I'm sure she'll be in here soon.
Something about Carter's tone and body language tells me something is bugging her. I can't put my finger on it just yet, and at this point I'm too tired to care. Hopefully, once the whole withdrawal from the sarcophagus thing is done, I'll remember to talk to her about it.
Daniel appears as Jonas leaves.
"I always seem to be saying good-bye to you."
Still got that knack for understatement, I see. "Yeah. I noticed that." Not my decision. "Why don't'cha ya stick around for a while?" Convince me I'm really not just imagining this.
"I can't, really."
Can't, or won't. Okay, that was mean. I don't really care at this point. I never claimed to be a nice guy. Besides, I didn't say it out loud and I'm fairly certain ascension doesn't make people telepathic.
"You just did." You promised you'd stay with me until it was over. And you did. What's a few more hours . . . or days? Well, I guess Oma and all her glowy buddies would frown on that. Bastards.
He shrugs. "Special occasion."
Humph. Not really sure I'd call it `special'.
"Christmas?" Though I'm almost certain I didn't miss that one. I couldn't have been there _that_ long.
"Groundhog day?" Although my `experience' was much more painful then Bill Murphy's.
"No." He closes his eyes and shakes his head. He hasn't changed.
"I've got my journey, you've got yours?"
"Something like that, yeah."
Ya know, I never cared for philosophy. I just nod at him.
"Look, I know you don't think so . . . right now. I mean I know you have your doubts, but . . . ah . . . because you've been through something no one should have to go through. I guess what I'm trying to say is, you're gonna be alright."
He sounds so damn sure of that.
"How do you know?"
"You're just going to have to trust me." He smiles. Not a big broad grin, just a small knowing smile.
"I can do that." I'm not nearly as sure as he sounds, but he's never lied to me before. Maybe he knows something I don't.
"You gonna be okay?" I'm sure he will be, but I have to ask. He may be all glowy now, but I still feel the need to protect him. Even though I can't, and, honestly, he doesn't need me to anywhere near as much as he used too. Oma better be watching out for him.
"I'm gonna be fine."
I'm not so sure about that. No one should have to see what was done to me, done to a friend. I find it hard to believe that being ascended has changed Daniel that much to the point where this wouldn't bother him. If it had, he wouldn't have risked the wrath of the `others' to be there for me.
He turns towards the door. My gaze follows his. Carter is back with my water. In an instant, Daniel's gone again. No poof, no flash of light. He's just . . . gone.
Carter walks over and sets the cup down on the stand. "Here you go, sir."
She touches my hand, giving a gentle squeeze. "Goodnight." The she turns and leaves.
I watch her go then look up at the ceiling. I can't see Daniel anymore, but I can still feel him. "Thanks."
A short time later, Janet comes in and stands beside me. "How are you feeling, sir?"
I'm not sure how to answer that. There's no doubt I'm happy as a pig in mud to be out of that place, but so much of me was stripped away I'm not sure I will ever be able to get it back. Despite what Daniel said.
"Good, Doc. Just glad to be home."
She scowls. She's not buying it. I never could fool her.
"The truth please, Colonel."
What the hell does she want me to say? "Peachy, just honky dory. Can I go home now?"
That usually gets at least a smile out of her, though she tries to hide it. Not this time. Most likely, she's not happy with my tone of voice. There's no hint of a whine or kidding tone. My voice sounds flat, even to me.
"Sir, I know you'll never tell us everything that happened there, but I'm here if you ever want to talk about it."
"Not freaking likely, Doc."
"Sir, please, don't push me away. Or any of us. We're your friends. We will be here for you if you let us. You know this won't be easy. You helped Daniel get through his withdrawal. Let us help you. You can't do this alone. This is one battle you can't fight on your own, not if you intend to win it."
I stare blankly at the ceiling like she isn't here and I didn't hear a word she said. I have to deal with this on my own, my way. Like I always do. I can't drag them into this.
"Please, Colonel, even if you don't want to talk about what that bastard did to you, don't push us away. We can help you. Stop being such a stubborn ass and let us in!"
"You don't know shit, doc!" I spit the word like it's vile. "Go away and leave me the fuck alone!"
I turn and glare at her. The anguish and anger and helplessness in her eyes stops what I was about to say and makes me turn my head towards the ceiling again. I remember that look all to well.
My mind drifts back several years to the last time I saw that look on the face of a woman I cared about. The face of the woman I loved more than life. It's the look that was on Sara's face as I walked out of our house for what was supposed to be a suicide mission. I never told her anything about it, but she knew. It still tears me up that I did that to her. If I'd just let her in, helped her, and let her help me, we'd still be married today. I'm sure of it.
God! I was such a bastard. Still am. I can't hurt anyone like that again.
A gentle hand wipes away a tear I didn't realize had begun to roll down my cheek. Then it smoothes my hair in that comforting way that always lets me know the Doc is here, even when I'm not lucid enough to be fully aware of my surroundings. I can't look at her again, not right now. Her fingers slide down my cheek and lightly touch my hand. She starts to move away, but I grab her hand and hold on tightly as my eyes close.
I don't know what I ever did to deserve having people like the Doc and my teammates, and even Hammond, in my life. Especially the way I acted after Charlie died, but I can't loose them now.
It won't be easy. Hell, it's going to be a long hard road. The withdrawal symptoms will start soon. Ya know, this whole `drugged out strapped to the bed' thing is really getting old. And I _know_ that's what's coming. The hallucinations will start and Frasier won't have any choice but to try and sedate me.
Despite that, I know Daniel was right. My friends, my family will be here for me.
This time, though I can never tell them everything that was done to me, I won't push them away.