Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).
Episode tag for Prototype
Spoilers: Prototype, Abyss, Menace
Challenge Word for JackFic: Silence -January 2006
Genre: Angst, friendship
Warnings: a couple of curses
Summary: Jack gets involved in the aftermath of Khalek.
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Astra for helping me through some rough spots with her beta!
The shrill ring jolted General Jack O'Neill upright from a sound sleep.
His right hand groped for the offending phone.
"O'Neill," he barked while swiping the sleep from his eyes with his left hand.
A glance at the clock confirmed that it was a mere twenty minutes since he had collapsed into bed, 01:05.
His home phone number was a guarded piece of information. If someone was calling him here at this
hour, it had to be important, and it probably wasn't good.
There was just the briefest moment of static, a click, and then the dial tone.
"Son of a bitch!" He resisted the temptation to fling the phone across the room. Instead he placed
it back on the night stand and flopped back onto the bed.
He knew he might as well kiss off any thought of getting back to sleep.
He never had any trouble falling to sleep; it was staying asleep that was the problem.
Once awakened, his mind was relentlessly active. Would the new Jaffa nation survive?
What new threat would the Ori pose? How about Ba'al and all his clones? And this last nasty business with
Khalek, Anubis's fair-haired boy.
It was more than just a little ironic that he was sleeping less now than when he was the leader of SG1. But then
he had had his team, three others to take watch, three others willing and able help, whatever the situation.
It certainly wasn't the same here in DC. While he knew he could count on George Hammond, and he had
built up kind of a rapport with President Hayes, he was pretty much on his own. Jack O'Neill in Washington.
What in the hell had he been thinking? He sighed. He knew what he had been thinking. His knees and back
routinely begged for mercy after strenuous exercise and his past injuries gave him daily reminders that he
was no longer young, verifying that he was not invincible. He even had to use glasses to read. No longer
asset in the field, but a liability, so that was no longer an option. And neither was being in charge of
the SGC. He'd tried that for a year. It was too hard to send others through the Gate, staying behind, hoping
they'd return home intact. And he tired of writing those letters to survivors, most often parents. He knew
firsthand the pain of losing a child and realized that no matter what the age of the daughter or son,
loss went just as deep.
It was hardest waiting for SG1, although he knew every team was just as important as that one. When he
had offered Mitchell "anything he wanted", and Mitchell wanted SG1, he knew the time had come to make a change.
He was just selfish enough not to want to watch his replacement resurrect "his" team.
Retirement was never a consideration. He'd done that before, without success. Besides he wouldn't be sleeping
at all if he weren't involved in protecting the planet from the seemingly endless supply of extraterrestrial
threats. That left him the Office of Home World Security, although that meant leaving Colorado Springs and
what remained of his "family".
He buried his face in the crook of his left arm, trying in vain to block out the streetlight that invariably
penetrated the blinds. Living inside a mountain all those years did have its advantages. The sleeping rooms
were always as dark as tombs. He reminded himself again that he really needed to find another place to live,
this apartment living wasn't to his liking.
His body relaxed and invited sleep to come closer. It obliged him, muting the noise of the traffic outside
and slowing the rush of thoughts in his head. Until the phone rang again.
He picked it up midway through the second ring and bellowed, "WHAT!?"
There was a pause, then a very contrite, "General?"
He recognized the voice immediately. "Damn it, Carter! Tell me that this really important. Better yet,
tell me that you have absolutely no idea what time it is here on the East Coast."
"Sorry sir. Been kind of busy here and I guess I lost track of the time difference."
He could picture her biting her bottom lip. "Forget it. I wasn't asleep," he said. A glance at the clock
showed it was now 01:20. "You didn't happen to try to call here fifteen minutes ago?"
"So, what's up, Colonel?" He turned the on the lamp occupying the nightstand, propped a
pillow behind his neck and settled back against the headboard.
"Nothing special, just thought I'd give you a call, sir."
Lying was never one of Carter's strong suits. Fortunately reading between the lines
was one of his.
"And this couldn't wait until morning? Or let me rephrase that-later morning."
"I'm scheduled to go off world with SG12 tomorrow and I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to catch
up with you before I left."
Even he knew when to be patient. She would get around to the reason why she called eventually. In the
interim, he'd make conversation. "So how's Mitchell working out?"
First name basis. He wasn't surprised. They were the same rank. He was glad Carter didn't have to call
anyone "Sir" on SG1 anymore. She deserved that and a whole lot more. He had done what he could behind
the scenes to get her a command of her own. In the end, he realized that if she ever found out that he
tried to pull strings to get her own team, she'd never forgive him.
"Yeah, him," he said.
"He worked really hard to get the team back together and I think he's a good fit."
"He has his hands full with Gerak and the Council. That's where he is now."
When there was no immediate response, he knew the reason for the call.
"Did you read the report about Khalek, sir?"
"The evil spawn of Anubis? It was a real page turner," he answered. "Nice job on having the recall
device bring him back to the SGC."
"Thank you, sir. But I think Daniel might be having a little trouble with what happened."
Jack remembered that while Khalek had his attention focused on Mitchell, Daniel had flanked him and
drawn first blood. Together they effectively dispatched the "son" of Anubis.
"What gives you that idea?" he asked.
"He's been very distracted---"
"That's his middle name, Carter. He's probably involved in some translation project.
You know how he gets."
"He passed up an opportunity to go to PX1412."
That statement made O'Neill pull himself away from the pillow. All last year, Daniel had pleaded, whined,
and then got downright snarky about his refusal to send a mission to the planet that was purported to
house a mother-lode of artifacts. Obviously this year's SGC budget allowed a trip to "archeology heaven".
"He's left the mountain, sir. He takes my calls but basically he brushes me off. And since both Teal'c
and I won't be around, I thought maybe you.... Her voice drifted off.
"What about Mitchell? Can't he check up on Daniel?
"I'm sure he could, sir. But I really think Daniel needs one of us to talk to him."
He noted the use of the word "us". They would always be a team, no matter how their paths diverged.
"So you think I can just drop everything here and come out there?" he asked.
"Well, sir, you are a general and the chief of Home World Security. A visit to Colorado Springs
shouldn't be a problem for you."
That was true. But Jack didn't like using his rank and position unless he had to. But by the time he
answered, "I'll see what I can do," he had already made up his mind. He'd be on his way come hell or high water.
"Thank you, sir. Well, I better get going. I still need to pull a few things together
for the mission tomorrow."
"Sure. And Carter..."
"Be careful out there."
"Understood, sir. Goodbye."
In one movement he placed the phone on the night stand and swung his legs to the floor. A few
long strides got him to his desk and his PDA. He scrolled through his appointments and decided that
they could be rescheduled or better yet cancelled, especially that meeting with the Russian representative
to the SGC. He made the call to his secretary's desk telling her to clear his calendar for the next few days.
He knew she wouldn't be pleased but he did have plenty of leave. The clock now read 01:45.
He opened a desk drawer and pulled out a copy of the flight plan to Colorado Springs. To fly above
23,000 feet, he would have to file the plan at least four hours before departure. He placed the call to the
Potomac Airfield, a public airfield located within 15 minutes of downtown Washington. Declared as being
within the Flight Restricted Zone established after 9/11, only pilots with special clearance could fly
in and out of the airport. The arrangement suited O'Neill well.
He threw some clothes into a bag, straightened up the apartment and then settled back with the
latest National Geographic. At 05:00 he called for a taxi and arrived at the airfield a half hour later.
As he made his way to the hangar, he was greeted by various people. Here he was Jack O'Neill, his title
left behind in Washington, although he surmised that most individuals knew his rank and position.
The white Cessna Citation 500 Long Wing was waiting for him. The 1974 aircraft had set him back some.
After having to sell his house in Colorado Springs and everything else he didn't need or couldn't use in
DC, he considered the jet a fair trade. After all the years of basically having nothing to spend his money
on and having no reason to save, it seemed like a good idea. Sometimes he would fly sick children from
remote areas to the larger medical institutions on the East Coast. Occasionally he'd transport animals
that couldn't be placed on commercial airliners to and from treatment centers. And sometimes he'd fly
just for the fun of it. But those times were few and far in between.
He completed all the pre-flight checks and at 07:00 he gunned the Pratt and Whitney engines and lifted
off the runway. The acceleration pushed him back into the seat, a sensation he thoroughly enjoyed.
Not the "g's" he'd pull in a death glider or an X303, but the jet flew well enough and today it would
take him home.
* * *
Both the flight and landing at Colorado Springs Municipal were uneventful and within an hour of his arrival,
he was on his way in a rented car to Daniel's house. At least that's where he hoped to find the archeologist.
He parked the car across the street from the gray one-story home. Proceeding to the front door he removed his
sunglasses that had protected his eyes from the autumn mid-afternoon sun.
He rang the doorbell and waited. The second time he held the bell longer. He could hear nothing beyond the
closed door and noticed that all the shades were drawn. He decided to go around to the back of the home. As
he left the red brick walk, the sound of the door opening made him retrace his steps.
Daniel stood in the partially open doorway. Glasses absent from his face, he squinted in
O'Neill's direction. "Jack?"
Jack made his way to the front steps. "Hey, Daniel," he said. He noticed that Daniel scrutinized his
definitely civilian attire of khaki pants and black leather jacket.
"So can I assume that this is not an official visit?" Daniel asked.
"Just happened to be in the neighborhood."
"Yeah, right. I believe it's about 1500 miles as the private jet flies from DC to here. "Daniel's head dropped
for a moment. "Sam called you, didn't she?"
For a moment Jack considered lying, knowing his poker face was pretty good. But if he wanted to talk to
Daniel, the "honest is the best policy" tactic was probably the better approach. Besides, now some bright
blue eyes were fixed on his own, making lying difficult. "Yes," he answered.
Daniel sighed deeply and disappeared into the house.
Jack was left outside. While he had not been invited in, the door remained open. He stepped into the
foyer and paused while his eyes adjusted to the semi-darkness inside.
Daniel sat on the couch, arms crossed. His glasses were now perched on his nose and as always just slightly
askew. Jack sat down in the chair across from him. The coffee table piled high with bric a brac served
as the buffer between them. It was very evident that Daniel was not going to initiate conversation
and that in itself was troubling. Jack leaned forward and picked up an irregularly shaped stone from
the jumble of stuff in front of him. He shifted it from one hand to the other. "New artifact?" he asked.
"Really?" He pretended to examine it carefully and hoping to at least continue the
dialog added, "So it's a rock."
"It's fossilized dinosaur dung."
Jack hastily replaced the piece on the table.
"The operative word is fossilized, Jack." For just a second, Daniel's lips turned upward, then
settled back into a tight line. And that wasn't the only line Jack saw etched into the man's face.
Daniel squared his shoulders and pulled his crossed arms closer to his chest. Jack noticed the bulge
of Daniel's biceps and surmised that he was spending a fair amount of time working out. What a contrast
to those years ago when the archeologist was a mop-headed, "I don't know which end of the
gun shoots", "let's talk about it", idealist. Of course, how could he not be different? The man had
lost his wife, died numerous times, had ascended and descended twice. He had, hell; they all had
experienced things that no one ever should.
Jack settled back into his chair and mimicked Daniel's posture. "Well, this is awkward," he said.
"Here I've come all this way..."
"You didn't have to come, Jack."
"You're right, I didn't have to, I wanted to."
"Sam had no right to call you!" Daniel's arms uncoiled and his palms smacked the coffee table, causing stacks of papers to shift and cascade to the floor.
"She was worried about you."
By now Daniel was on his feet. "I don't need anyone to worry about me. I'm not the same geek you * had *
to take under your wing and protect."
Jack rose from his seat. "Don't be an ass, Daniel. I haven't thought about having to "protect" you
since you stayed aboard Apophis's ship and said "'I'll watch your back'. But I guess I'll always worry
about you. Isn't that what friends do?" He could see that Daniel was taken aback by the words.
He continued, "So what's going on?"
"Nothing," he answered with a shake of his head.
"You refuse to go to a mission you begged me to authorize, leave the SGC and hole up here,
in the dark, I might add," Jack said, indicating the drawn shades with a sweep of his hand.
"And you want me to believe that nothing is wrong?"
"I don't want to talk about it, Jack."
"Well, *I* do!"
Daniel focused his full attention on O'Neill. "This is ...ironic."
Jack shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Can't work with a guy for years without
something rubbing off."
Daniel sighed, "You're right about that."
O'Neill was puzzled by the resignation in the man's tone. He watched as Daniel sank back down into
the sofa cushions and buried his face in his hands. Carter had been correct, something was
very wrong here. Damn. Jack sat down in his chair and waited, unsure of what to say next.
Daniel's voice was muffled behind his hands. "Look, I appreciate what you're trying to do,
but really I'm fine." Then he pulled his hands away from his face and he placed them on his bent knees.
"I just need to sort some things out."
Sort things out? Daniel was a clear thinker and decisive. Even when he did something risky like
beaming aboard the Gadmeer ship right before it was going to be destroyed. Jack had never seen
him so conflicted. Then he remembered what Carter had told him about Daniel's encounter with Khalek.
"He got to you, didn't he?" O'Neill asked.
"Excuse me?" Daniel answered.
"He's got nothing to do with this."
"You can lie to me Daniel, but I think it's a little harder to lie to yourself. Otherwise I
don't think you'd be sitting here. You'd be on PX whatever, doing what you do."
"You're right!" Daniel's tone bordered on vehement. "I should be translating, researching, not..."
He didn't finish, choosing instead to look away.
"Not what?" O'Neill prodded, knowing full well what the answer would be.
"Not killing," he finished quietly.
Jack considered what his response should be. He didn't think that trying to console the
man was the way to go. So he stated the obvious. "You've done it before."
"This was different, Jack." Daniel looked back at O'Neill. "Khalek predicted that one of us would
end up killing. I just didn't think I would be the one doing it."
"He didn't leave you a choice, Daniel. And you can't tell me that you enjoyed it."
Jack continued. "Is that the load of crap he gave you? " Come on, Daniel, you're
a better man than that. "
"That's where you're wrong!" Daniel's index finger stabbed at the air.
For a moment they were back in the anti-grav chamber in Ba'al's stronghold. Except that
things were reversed. Jack searched his friend's face for any recognition on his part and
saw there was none. Daniel's memories of that time were gone.
Jack spoke, his voice loud. "Can't you see that Khalek was playing you? For god's sake he was a Go'auld!
Check that, he was worse than a Go'auld! I don't believe for a second that by killing him you
fulfilled any sort of prophecy made by that son of a bitch!"
"I don't know what to believe anymore." Daniel's fingers went under his glasses and massaged his eyes.
"Oma saw something in you..."
"She saw something in Anubis too." Daniel pulled his hand away from his face,
his eyes now a fierce blue.
"She saw what is good about humanity in you, Daniel. She helped you ascend, not once, but twice,"
"I really wanted Khalek dead."
"Hell, I want every Go'auld and their miscreant offspring dead."
"I know." Daniel's voice was quiet.
Jack's thoughts tracked back through the entire conversation he had had with Daniel.
That odd response Daniel had given him when he had mentioned "having some things rub off after
working together for years." And now this comment. He tried to keep the hurt out of
his voice, but failed. It came out as a statement, not a question, "So, you think I've
corrupted you and pulled you over to the `dark side'."
"No, Jack, god no!" came Daniel's rapid fire response. "This isn't about you." Daniel's hands
grasped the air in front of him then closed into tight fists. "It's about me.
About what I did, about what I felt."
Jack pointed at Jackson. "You did what you had to and if I'm in anyway responsible for
that, so be it. I won't apologize for any influence I may have had over you in this case."
"I'm not asking for an apology."
"I owe you one, Jack."
Jack shook his head, now completely lost. "This is getting a little confusing, Daniel."
Daniel returned to the couch and sat. He motioned Jack back to his chair. He waited until Jack
seated himself, and then leaned forward, his arms resting on thighs, hands clasped together.
"When I was in the Gate Room and Khalek had Mitchell in his sights, I was able to flank him
and get a clear shot."
O'Neill nodded but did not interrupt.
"It was instinctive. At that moment I knew I had to do it. Just like when you killed Reese.
You had to stop her and her Replicators. I didn't understand that then, but I do now."
Daniel paused for a moment before continuing. "I called you a stupid son of bitch."
Jack shifted in his chair. "Been called worse."
"I was wrong; Jack. I'm sorry." Daniel's focus went back to his hands. "I'm sorry too
that I spent all that time being angry at you and that we never really resolved things
before I ascended. After I came back there never seemed like a right time talk about it.
Until this thing with Khalek happened. In fact, before you showed up here, I tried to
call you at home..." His voice drifted off.
That explained the hang-up call. "Like early this morning, say 01:05 on the East
Coast?" Jack offered.
Daniel's head came up and he blinked. "Kinda forgot about the time difference. Sorry."
"You and Carter both," Jack responded. "If you would have stayed on the line, you could
have saved me a trip out here."
"I know. Sor---"
Jack cut him off with, "Enough with the "sorrys" Daniel. All I need to know is whether you're okay."
"Yeah, Jack, I'm okay."
"Great." Jack gaze shifted toward the kitchen. "Got anything to eat around here?
"Not unless you count three day old Chinese take-out."
Jack wrinkled his nose. "Thought I smelled something in here". He eyed Daniel's somewhat
unkempt appearance. "But I thought I'd just be polite and not mention it. You up for some dinner?"
"Any chance we could get into O'Malley's? I'm really hungry for steak."
"I hear they're under new management. I'm sure they know nothing about that incident
four years ago."
Jack stood up from his chair. "Too bad Carter and "T" aren't here."
Just then the phone rang. Daniel said, "I should probably get that." He gave Jack a sheepish
grin. "I've been a little incommunicado lately." He picked up the receiver and said "Hello".
Then followed that up with an immediate, "Hi, Sam."
Jack glanced at his watch. Carter should have been well into the mission with SG12.
"I'm fine, really," Daniel said. Then, "Your mission got scrubbed? And Teal'c is back from Dakara
already? Well, that's quite a coincidence. Jack's here. No, nothing official, he just decided to
fly in. Yeah, I agree, that's pretty amazing." Daniel flashed Jack a smile. "We're going out to
O'Malley's. You guys want to join us? Jack's buying."
"Hey!" Jack said feigning anger. How interesting that Carter and Teal'c were suddenly available.
He should have known he was being conned. And he have to rethink his opinion that Carter was
an unskilled liar.
Daniel hung up the phone. "They'll meet us there in about an hour." He glanced down at his
rumpled clothes. "Guess I should change."
"Good idea. You might consider a shower too," Jack said as he reached for the TV remote.
"You still got cable, right?"
"Yes." Daniel's voice faded as he made his way to his bedroom.
"Cool." Jack settled his lanky frame into the chair. He scrolled through the channels
looking for ESPN. Right this moment, all was right with the world, check that -the universe.
His team, his friends, his family were together again.
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