Title:  Oaths And Misgivings

 

Author:  dinkydow

 

Email:  jd3031@socket.net

 

Category:  Jackfic-a-thon challenge, 2004.  Action/adventure, hurt/comfort.

 

Content Level: 13+

 

Season:  Season 1 between ‘The Enemy Within” and “Emancipation”

 

Spoilers:  “The Enemy Within”

 

Warnings:  Jack and Teal’c whumping, some language and situations.

 

Summary:  Colonel O’Neill and Teal’c are stranded off world and must depend on each other in order to survive.

 

Disclaimer:  Nope, still don’t own any of them. Couldn’t afford to if I did and don’t have a mountain to hide them in. Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions do. I wrote this for entertainment and won’t be making any money for it, so please don’t sue. But, if you guys want any help with scripts, or Jack, just give me a holler.

 

Dedication:  To our fighting men and women and the loved ones who have to watch them march in harms way.

 

Author’s Notes:  Here’s another Dinkyfic. Many thanks to Jolene for being my beta. My thanks to Dee for suggesting the Jackfic-a-thon challenge and keeping us all on track and working. I have included the assignment at the end and hope I did it justice.

 

***

 

Colonel Jack O’Neill was so not a happy camper. It’d been a week since SG-1 had gated to the world designated P3-575, one that was supposed to be safe and snake-free, nothing more than a standard recon. NOT!

 

So much for truth in advertising, guess the Snakehead’s never heard about that rule. This god-forsaken hunk of rock was definitely not living up to the travel brochures. The Jaffa patrols had shown up the day after they’d gated there, taking them by surprise. They would’ve caught them still in their sleeping bags if it hadn’t been for Teal’c’s warning.

 

‘It’s my team’s first mission with Teal’c along as a member, the first since Kawalsky died with a snake infesting his head. Sure, I’d asked for dibs on his stereo if he didn’t make it. But it’d been a stupid joke, for crying out loud. Trouble is . . . he hadn’t made it. He’d died. Now I’ve gained a stereo, but at the price of losing my friend, Charlie. Screw the stupid stereo. Why’d it have to be him? I’d give anything for him to be here with me now. We’d been together way back when we were both spooks doing special ops jobs for good old Uncle Sam. He always made it back before, always . . . even when I didn’t. So why couldn’t he have made it this time?’

 

Jack studied his surroundings, which consisted of bare brown rock-covered walls and the dirt floor of the cave they’d found refuge in. The sound of horns coming from outside the cave caught his attention and he flattened against the wall. He stifled a groan when his movement jostled his wounded leg.

 

With any luck, the Jaffa patrol wouldn’t notice their hiding place. He knew if it hadn’t been for Teal’c’s eagle eyes, he would’ve missed it himself. And he’d been frantically looking for a hiding place such as this, as much as he could, given his less-than-dignified position hanging upside down from Teal’c’s shoulder. An up-close and personal view of Teal’c’s backside was not exactly on his list of favorite things to do.

 

Teal’c had left him holed up there while he did a recon of the area. Jack cursed under his breath at his own inability to leave the cave and wondered again why his newest team member had stayed with him. He’d had a clear route to the Stargate; in fact Teal’c had made it as far as the DHD.

 

As befitted his position as team leader, Jack had been covering their retreat from a squad of Jaffa when he’d gone down, shot in the leg with a staff blast. He’d ordered Teal’c to leave through the open Stargate with Carter and Jackson.

 

When he’d realized that Teal’c was running toward him instead of away, he’d cursed him, and bitterly called him every name in the book for not following orders. His Jaffa teammate had merely thrown him over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry and headed off into the barren hills.

 

Since then it had been just the two of them, with no supplies except what they carried. Even his cap hadn’t made the trip. Jack figured it must’ve fallen off sometime during Teal’c’s desperate run to relative safety. He missed his cap though, but couldn’t place the blame for its loss on anyone but the fricking Jaffa patrol that’d had the bad taste to show up and ruin their team’s little campout.

 

The water had run out a day ago. The power bars had gone two days before that. He’d carefully rationed what they had between the two of them but suspected that Teal’c hadn’t been taking his full share.

 

A rustling at the cave entrance had him reaching for the knife at his belt.

 

A whisper drifted to his ears. “O’Neill.”

 

Jack leaned forward. “Teal’c?” His hand tightened around the haft of his knife, just in case. He’d survived this long by never taking anything for granted. He wasn’t about to change that lifesaving habit now.

 

A man-shaped shadow darkened the cave entrance for a moment. Jack stiffened from his position farther back where he sat propped up against the cave wall. A whisper of sound, and then it spoke again.

 

“It is I, Teal’c.” Hardly heard footsteps ghosted toward Jack.

 

Jack slipped his knife back into its sheath. “Took ya long enough. I was beginning to think you’d finally decided to follow orders and got the heck out of Dodge.”

 

Teal’c bent down to avoid the roof of the cave as he crept toward O’Neill. “We are not in Dodge.”

 

Jack huffed in exasperation and muttered under his breath. “We sure as heck aren’t in Kansas.” Then he added in a louder voice. “I meant I’d hoped you finally got some sense and went home. Guess that was too much to hope for,” he grumbled.

 

Teal’c knelt down beside Jack. “I shall not leave you behind, O’Neill. As you refused to leave me behind to deal with an uncertain future on Chulak, so do I offer aid to a fellow warrior.” Teal’c’s dark eyes glittered. “Do you not remember the oath of allegiance I gave to you?”

 

Jack looked away. “Yeah, sure.”

 

“Oaths such as these are not to be taken lightly. I swore my allegiance to you, O’Neill. I could not abandon the man who would aid in the fight against all false gods.”

 

Jack lowered his eyes, uncomfortable with the stubborn light he saw in Teal’c’s eyes. “Yeah, well considering the less than red-carpet treatment they gave you back at the base, I wouldn’t be thanking me just yet. If the NID ever get their grubby paws on you . . .” he shuddered at the thought. “Well, let’s just say that the NID’s idea of a welcome wagon leaves a lot to be desired.”

 

Teal’c cocked his head and reached for Jack’s wounded leg. “I did not see a welcome wagon, O’Neill.”

 

“Nope, you didn’t, and as long as I’m around, the NID will never haul you off in theirs either.” Jack winced as the Jaffa peeled away the rough bandage and revealed the burnt flesh below. He held his breath to avoid the stench of charred meat, his own. Once you smelled the stench of burning human flesh, the memory stayed with you.

 

“Your wound has become infected.” Teal’c retightened the bandage over the wound, not having one to replace it. “I was unable to procure provisions or water. The Stargate remains heavily guarded by Jaffa warriors. I fear we shall be unable to leave this planet for some time.”

 

Jack scrubbed his face with one hand and sucked in a breath as the bandage was tightened against his skin. “Well, ain’t this just peachy.” His other fist hit the ground as he rode out the pain. The loose rock under him shifted with a crunching sound.

 

Teal’c hunkered back against the wall. “I do not understand.”

 

Jack’s fist hit the ground again and several pebbles disintegrated with the impact. “It’s just an _expression.” He paused and panted. “Like saying we’re in trouble, in deep water, in the soup, up the creek without a paddle.”

 

Teal’c raised an eyebrow.

 

“What?” Jack shook his head and squeezed dirt between his fingers. “You mean to tell me that you don’t have sayings like that?” He breathed deeply, letting it out in short puffs.

 

“We are most straight forward in our words, O’Neill. A Jaffa warrior’s entire focus is devoted to serving our gods.”

 

“Ah! That explains it.” Jack looked around the stark rock walls of their cave, hands still clenched at his side. “So, no water?”

 

“I am sorry. Our camp was discovered before I could return to it. Nothing survived.”

 

“Ah forget it, Teal’c.” Jack looked at Teal’c and shrugged.

 

“Why do you wish me to forget such a thing?”

 

“It’s a saying, Teal’c.” He narrowed his eyes in speculation. “Are you making a joke?”

 

Both eyebrows were raised on the Jaffa’s forehead.

 

“No, I guess you wouldn’t be. Look, what I meant was that I know it isn’t your fault, you did the best you could.” He levered himself up and leaned against the rock wall. “We’ll just have to figure out how we’re going to get out of this mess ourselves, that’s all.”

 

Teal’c nodded in understanding. “Indeed. It is often thus for those who follow the warrior’s path.”

 

Jack smirked. “You can say that again.”

 

“Indeed. It is often thus for those who . . . ”

 

Jack rolled his eyes and held up his hands. “Ack! Stop, you don’t have to take everything I say literally, you know.” He shrugged his shoulders and rubbed them against the rough wall of the cave. “Cause, if you do, it’ll drive you stark raving nuts. Not to mention what it’ll do to me, and for me that might be a real short drive, if you know what I mean.”

 

Teal’c frowned and inclined his head. “I believe I understand.” He shifted uncomfortably.

 

Jack leaned forward and beckoned with one hand. “C’mere for a second.”

 

Teal’c scooted forward until he was sitting on the cave floor in front of Jack. He raised one eyebrow and frowned.

 

Jack squinted and then fingered the dark stain on the shoulder of his teammate’s jacket. “What happened?”

 

“I was discovered while returning to the cave.” Teal’c frowned. “He will tell no one of our presence and has been disposed of.”

 

“How bad is it?”

 

“It is of no consequence. My symbiote will heal it in a short time.”

 

Jack’s eyes flashed angrily. “So, just when were you planning on telling me about this little wound of yours?”

 

Teal’c’s eyes turned dark and his frown haughty. “It is not your concern, O’Neill.”

 

Jack thinned his lips to a line. “As long as you’re on my team, it is my concern, mister.” He crossed his arms and lowered his voice. “As long as it says Colonel on this uniform that makes it my concern.” He licked his lips. “How can I make decisions about the welfare of my team when you’re holding out on me?”

 

Teal’c said nothing, but didn’t drop his eyes from Jack’s either. O’Neill sighed and rubbed his hand through his hair in frustration. “Listen, Teal’c. We’ve got be able to trust each other if we’re going to work together on the same team. If I can’t trust you to be up front and honest with me, I don’t want you on the team. What it comes down to is I’ve got to trust you to watch my back, just like I’ll watch yours. Otherwise it just won’t work. Understand?”

 

Teal’c looked troubled. “I have behaved as thoughtlessly as a young Ha’shak pup. I ask your forgiveness, O’Neill. For behavior such as this my old master would have beaten me severely.” He bowed his head.

 

Jack chuckled. “Yeah, well, I don’t know if I’d go that far. Just don’t let it happen again, okay? We’re on the same side here.” He looked at the wound more closely. “Did you clean it out?”

 

“Indeed, it was but a glancing blow. I shall engage in Kel’no’reem after sundown in order to allow my symbiote to better repair the damage.”

 

“Killeen? Isn’t that down in Texas?”

 

Teal’c lifted an eyebrow. “Kel’no’reem. I was referring to the trance-like state all Jaffa use to enable their symbiote to maintain bodily health.”

 

Jack shrugged. “Whatever.” He shifted his eyes and took in the lengthening shadows that crept toward them. “Looks like nightfall’s not too far off. You want me to take first watch?”

 

“No, you are weaker due to your wound, rest and I shall awaken you for the second watch.”

 

Jack eyed him. “Promise?”

 

“I have said it.”

 

“Yes you did.”

 

***

 

Teal’c watched as O’Neill settled back against the stone walls of the cave. The light sheen of perspiration on the Tau’ri’s upper lip along with his pale features added credence to his worry that the wound had become infected. He had seen it happen thus for far too many seasons. Many a young promising Jaffa warrior cut down in their prime, caught in some senseless feud between the gods over worlds they plundered.

 

‘To my own everlasting shame, I helped orchestrate numerous battles where there were no winners, only those who survived to fight another day. These were often meaningless battles waged between gods who put more value on their pride than those who gave their lives in their petty squabbles.’

 

‘Because of the tutelage of Master Bra’tac, I grew to question the unquenchable lusts of my god. Though, until I laid eyes upon the Tau’ri O’Neill, I lacked the courage to act upon my doubts of the absolute omnipotence of Apophis. In that one pivotal moment, I saw something in O’Neill’s eyes that impelled me to abandon everything.’

 

Teal’c watched as O’Neill groaned and shifted in uneasy sleep. His hand reached out to wipe his new leader’s forehead, and then hovered in mid-air. He sighed and then withdrew it, mindful that his touch would disturb such a restless slumber. Because he was without an immature Goa’uld to aid his recovery, O’Neill would require all his strength in the coming days.

 

‘This passionate and charismatic man has continued to stand by me, even against his fellow Tau’ri. How could I abandon such a leader when he fell upon the field of battle? I could not, and will endeavor to aid him in his return through the Chaapa’ai to safety, for in him I see the leader who can inspire others of my people to make their bid for freedom. And if I die in such an enterprise, I die free.’

 

A horn sounded in the night and jerked Teal’c from his thoughts. He crept to the entrance of the cave to survey the darkness. As he watched, the horn echoed again, but at a distance this time. The former First Prime grunted in satisfaction, the search parties had not discovered his return trail. With any luck their hunt would soon be abandoned, leaving them to return through the Chaapa’ai.

 

He crept back to settle down next to O’Neill, sitting cross-legged on the dirt floor. Closing his eyes, he began the rituals for Kel’no’reem. The immature Goa’uld thrashed restlessly in his pouch, demanding that he deepen his meditation, and he complied as he knew from long experience that his body was ruled by the creature residing within him.

 

***

 

O’Neill was dreaming and it looked like it would be another bad one. He was running from something that had glowing eyes. He feinted and dodged, but no matter what tactic he used, it continued to dog his trail. He chanced a quick look back, and realized it had somehow gained on him. Jack fell heavily to the ground and groaned, as he felt something alight on his back. He twisted and cried out as fiery pain struck first at his leg, then at his buttocks.

 

O’Neill jerked awake with a stifled yell as he found himself lying on his side. His eyes widened as his gaze took a dark shadow crouching over him. Jack ducked as a hand shot past his neck. He became aware of something crawling up his back and gasped as the hand came back into view. In the fist wriggled a symbiote hissing its displeasure as its multi-pronged mouth gaped open, flicking droplets of red blood in a hit and miss fashion.

 

Jack whispered and swallowed hard as he eyed the source of his nightmare, Teal’c. “What the . . .?” He shifted to lever himself up onto one elbow.

 

Teal’c said nothing as he wrested his jacket open one-handed as holding the writhing snakelet away from his body. His black t-shirt revealed, his fist jerked it out of this pants, exposing the x-shaped entrance to his pouch.

 

This done, it took only seconds to thrust the symbiote into the pouch. Teal’c withdrew his now empty hand with a sucking sound as the entrance closed on its parasitic inhabitant.

 

Teal’c leaned over Jack, his dark eyes flashing. Jack flinched. “Are you injured, O’Neill?”

 

Jack opened his mouth and then closed it. “What?”

 

“Did my symbiote injure you?”

 

Jack slumped to the floor, his arm stretched out before him. “Oh, umm. I don’t know, let me check.”

 

He pushed himself up into a sitting position and then groaned. One hand snaked to his thigh, and then his buttocks. When he gazed upon his hand, it was bloody.

 

“Crap!” He wiped his hand on his t-shirt and then twisted in an attempt to look at his new injury. “Your fricking snake bit me on the ass, Teal’c.”

 

He stiffened and his eyes widened. “Are you sure that thing is inside your pouch? I mean . . . I don’t have one crawling around inside my head, do I?”

 

Teal’c looked troubled. “It is inside my pouch, O’Neill. I did not anticipate such an occurrence, for this injury I apologize and will take the necessary steps to prevent any recurrence.”

 

As if that were a signal, Teal’c’s shirt bulged about his middle and then ripped, revealing the writhing head of his immature Goa’uld once again. In response, the Jaffa withdrew his knife from his belt.

 

Jack’s eyes widened and he put out a restraining hand. “Teal’c, no!”  When the symbiote snapped at his appendage, he quickly withdrew it, but continued to scrutinize the threat.

 

“Do not come near, I will do what I must.” Teal’c slashed the palm of his own hand, then dropped the knife and grabbed the neck of the wriggling reptile protruding from his belly. He forced the mouth toward his bloody hand until the snakelet began sucking greedily on the crimson blood dripping from his palm.

 

Jack held his breath, afraid to disturb the awful tableau being staged in front of him. The only sound came from the reptile as it slashed and tore at Teal’c’s already bloody hand. After what seemed like hours, but in reality were probably only seconds, Teal’c thrust the protesting symbiote back inside his pouch. Then he sighed and leaned heavily against the cave wall, his hand resting on his thigh. Bright spots of crimson fell upon the green fabric, dotting it dark brown.

 

Jack pulled himself along, inching toward his teammate. “Teal’c?” he whispered.

 

“The danger to you has passed.” Teal’c gasped as he leaned his head against his chest.

 

By this time Jack had wriggled close enough to grasp Teal’c’s injured hand. He turned it over and winced when he saw the damage. However, it at least appeared to be scabbing over.

 

Teal’c didn’t utter a sound of protest, and turned stoic eyes on his leader. Jack hiked an eyebrow. “Mind explaining just what the hell just happened here?”

 

Teal’c pulled his hand away and nodded. “One moment.” He leaned his head against the wall, took a breath, and then pulled his jacket closed over his ripped t-shirt.

 

Teal’c eyed Jack. “Your wound?”

 

Jack raised a hand. “Is not serious.” He propped himself next to Teal’c, leaning to one side. “The explanation?”

 

“My symbiote required nourishment in order to sustain itself within my pouch. As I had not partaken of food or drink for several days, it sought elsewhere for its dietary requirements.”

 

Jack whispered in disbelief. “Teal’c, that thing took a bite out of my ass! Since when does nibbling on my butt meet its food requirements?”

 

Teal’c’s eyebrow rose. “Because of my wound, my body was no longer able to provide adequate protein levels for it. Had I not been wounded, it would not have sought it elsewhere.”

 

“And now?”

 

“My own blood has provided the nourishment it craved. Once I have meditated, my body will be restored to full health.”

 

“But that thing sucked on you like some kind of vampire, Teal’c. I saw what it did to your hand.” Jack shook his head and scrubbed the back of his neck nervously. “Are you okay with this?”

 

Teal’c’s voice grew low and deadly. “Understand this, O’Neill. I shall never be okay so long as I carry this parasite within me. It is but a small part of the price that all Jaffa pay for servitude to the false gods. I would rid myself of it if I could do so. However, I cannot and live.”

 

Jack’s voice grew serious. “Well, there’s that.” He laid his hand on Teal’c’s shoulder. “I’ll take watch so you can do your meditation thingy.” He shrugged at the questioning look shot his way. “I don’t think I could sleep very well right now anyway. If you know what I mean.”

 

Teal’c nodded and bowed. “Indeed.”

 

Jack removed his knife from its sheath and laid it within easy reach. He nodded to Teal’c who settled into a cross-legged position, arms resting on his knees. With eyes focused on the opposite cave wall, the Jaffa’s breathing grew faint and shallow.

 

‘There’s so much I don’t know about this guy, yet I trust him with my life. Why is that? For crying out loud, I don’t even know his last name. Yet, I would trust him at my back, more than some of the people of my own military. How can he live carrying that THING around in his belly? I don’t know if I could do it . . .  and I hope to God that I never have the chance to find out.’

 

Jack loosened his belt and felt inside to his injured buttocks. He craned his head around but due to the position of the wound, he couldn’t get a good look and there was just no way that he was going to ask Teal’c to look at it. From the feel of it, though, it seemed to be a minor wound that had already scabbed over. No blood came back when he inspected his hand.

 

‘There is just no way that I’m going to drop my drawers and ask Teal’c to take a gander at my backside, not while I’m conscious. It’s embarrassing enough as it is. Just how am I supposed to explain this one to Hammond, hmm?’

 

‘It’ll be just my luck to get some sweet, young, wide-eyed female nurse for my post-mission exam. Yep, I can see it now, she’ll want to know where I’ve been wounded and I’ll have to tell her that Teal’c’s baby snake tried to use my butt as an hors d'oeuvre.’ ‘

 

‘It could be worse though. Carter could’ve been here with me, but then I’d never have gotten bitten on the ass by a snake either. God, I hope she made it back to the base with Daniel and they’re both okay.’

 

‘Crap, Jack, what you really need to worry about is how you’re going to get your snake-bitten ass and Teal’c’s back through the Gate to the SGC.’

 

Jack glanced toward the cave entrance and noted the signs of daybreak. He hadn’t heard anymore Jaffa horns for several hours and hoped that meant good news. As far as he was concerned, they couldn’t get off this planet soon enough.

 

A change in Teal’c’s breathing caught Jack’s attention. As he watched, the Jaffa’s eyes blinked.

 

Jack wiped the sweat out of his eyes and tried to ignore how his hand shook. “Good morning, Teal’c.” He winced as his burned leg twinged a warning when he tried moving it.

 

Jack turned to find Teal’c watching him. “Good day, O’Neill.”

 

Jack indicated the cave entrance with his hand. “Haven’t heard a thing all night. Maybe those Jaffa packed their bags and got the hell out of Dodge.”

 

“Perhaps. I shall endeavor to ascertain their position.” Teal’c arose gracefully, mindful of the low cave ceiling. He bent over to check Jack, who in turn took the opportunity to survey his teammate. Nothing remained of the wounds on his shoulder or hand.

 

Jack licked dry cracked lips. “I see you healed up okay.”

 

“Indeed. Your wound however continues to be infected. It shall require additional medical aid.”

 

“And? What’s your point? Because in case you haven’t noticed, we’re not exactly in the middle of Walter Reed right now.”

 

Teal’c sighed. “Walter Reed?”

 

“Never mind. Sorry, I guess I’m just cranky, that’s all.”

 

“You burn with wound fever.”

 

“Yeah, whatever. Weren’t you going out on recon?”

 

Teal’c nodded and then turned to leave. “I shall return momentarily.”

 

Jack settled back against the wall. “Great, that’s just hunky-dory, peachy-keen.” He laid his knife on his lap. “See ya soon.” He waved a half salute.

 

He was alone now, at least until Teal’c returned. And he would return, of that he had no doubt. If he’d had any before, those thoughts had been killed when he’d watched him force his snake to drink his own blood rather than endanger his teammate. Crap, how’d he luck out, getting such loyal teammates? As he shook his head in wonder he decided that he wouldn’t worry about it because it certainly couldn’t be anything he was doing . . . Could it? Nah! Put a lid on it, Jack. You’re thinking too much.

 

To distract himself, Jack picked up a nearby rock with the intention of using it to sharpen his knife blade. He plucked out a hair from his scalp and dropped in on the blade. When it wasn’t sliced in two by its own weight, he grunted in dissatisfaction. He’d been neglecting his equipment, something he would rectify.

 

The rasping sound of knife blade against the rock made a comforting sound one he was well used to. He must have drifted because the back of his head hit the cave wall when he jerked awake.

 

O’Neill rubbed it tenderly. “Ow.”

 

There was a sound at the cave mouth and then a shadow. Jack gripped his knife, ready to defend himself, or go down fighting.

 

“O’Neill.”

 

In an effort to make himself as inconspicuous as possible, Jack shrank against the cave wall.

 

A whisper reached his ears. “It is I, Teal’c.”

 

Jack licked his dry cracked lips and blinked the sweat out of his eyes. “Teal’c?”

 

Suddenly the big Jaffa was crouched over him, a frown on his face. “I bring good news.”

 

“What?” Jack looked confused.

 

‘How’d he sneak up on me like that? I must be losing my touch. Snap out of it, Airman. You’ve got to make it home and you certainly can’t do that if you don’t pay attention to your surroundings.’

 

Though, try as hard as he might, his mind was fuzzy. He wiped at his head and shivered, with the sudden cold.

 

He flinched when he felt a hand on his forehead and his eyes snapped open as he swiped weakly at it. “Leave me alone,” he protested. “I’m fine.”

 

“Your fever worsens.” Teal’c removed his hand and wiped it on his pants. He swiveled in position to gaze at the cave entrance.

 

“The Jaffa are breaking their encampment and should abandon it soon.”

 

Jack nodded but said nothing, instead concentrating on controlling his shivering aching muscles.

 

“Our path to the Stargate should be accessible within hours, O’Neill.”

 

“‘S good. Charlie. I knew you could get us out of here.”

 

Teal’c cocked an eyebrow. “I am not Charlie.”

 

Jack looked up, his eyes glazed. “What?”

 

***

 

Teal’c grew more concerned as he observed O’Neill’s condition. ‘The wound fever worsens. I must seek medical aid for O’Neill. However, if we move too soon, the remaining Jaffa will discover our presence and resume their search.’

 

He settled on his haunches as he considered his options. ‘If they follow established procedure, the Jaffa will vacate this world within hours. As much as I would wish it otherwise, I must wait until then. Were he able, I am certain O’Neill would reach a similar conclusion. However, he is not able, therefore I must make it for him.’

 

Teal’c withdrew a scrap of cloth from his pocket and wiped it across O’Neill’s forehead.

 

“Teal’c?”

 

“I am here, O’Neill.”

 

“When did you get back?”

 

Teal’c settled against the cave wall next to Jack. “It was but a short while ago.”

 

“Oh, must’ve fallen asleep.”

 

“Indeed.”

 

Jack looked at Teal’c with feverish eyes. “How’d the recon go?”

 

“The Jaffa show indications of leaving this world soon. We shall leave soon after.”

 

“Sounds like a plan to me.” Jack’s eyes fluttered. “Think I’ll grab a couple zee’s.”

 

“I shall keep watch, O’Neill.” Teal’c whispered, then took off his own jacket to drape across the chest of his companion. Then he settled back to wait until it was safe to leave.

 

When he folded his hands across his mid-section, his fingers encountered the torn edges of his black t-shirt. The memory of what had transpired made him burn with rage and shame. He stiffened when the larvae within his pouch thrashed in protest.

 

He rubbed his pouch and addressed his inner thoughts to the parasite residing there. ‘Your greed could have cost more than you know. And know this, infant of a false god. I vow to do everything within my power to prevent the death of such a man, for it is Tau’ri such as he who will be the ultimate salvation of my people. If this vow should mean my death, then I die free.’

 

The infant Goa’uld, symbol of his people’s oppressors squirmed violently in its artificial womb, then quieted.

 

‘Indeed, remember that your immediate future and survival depends upon mine . . . and O’Neill’s.’

 

The Jaffa warrior crept toward the cave opening and carefully peered out. Hearing nothing, he looked back at his teammate who was tossing and muttering under his breath in a restless sleep.

 

He moved noiselessly toward his companion, touched him lightly on the shoulder and then withdrew his hand quickly.

 

Jack’s fist shot out, narrowly missing its target. “What?”

 

“It is time to leave, O’Neill.”

 

Jack blinked and wiped at his eyes. “Already?” he looked around him as he tried to get his bearings. “Jus’ gimme me a minute.”

 

Teal’c inclined his head. “I shall give you two.”

 

“Huh? Oh sure, thanks.”

 

Teal’c watched as Jack knitted his eyebrows and place his hands on either side of his body in preparation to standing. Sweat popped out on his brow as he strained to push himself up. Tried . . . and failed.

 

Jack raised apologetic eyes to his Jaffa companion. “Sorry.”

 

“Do you wish my aid?”

 

Jack shrugged and looked down. “If you don’t mind.”

 

“I do not.”

 

Teal’c extended a hand and Jack grasped his forearm for assistance. With little effort, He was aided in to his feet and stumbled toward the Jaffa. Not releasing his grip on O’Neill’s arm, he steadied him on his feet.

 

Jack smiled gratefully. “Thanks, Teal’c. I owe ya one.”

 

Teal’c inclined his head. “Indeed.”

 

“How’s about we blow this Popsicle stand?” The Tau’ri O’Neill smirked as he leaned against his newest teammate and hobbled toward the cave entrance.

 

“What is a Popsicle stand?”

 

“What? Oh, sorry. Just a figure of speech, like getting the heck out of Dodge, blowing this joint, and amscray.” O’Neill used his free arm to illustrate his point.

 

Teal’c shrugged his shoulders, well able to take on the increasing weight from the injured Tau’ri. “I understand.”

 

‘Yes, I do indeed understand, O’Neill. I understand far more than you realize. I wonder if you truly appreciate your worth?’

 

Jack smiled up at Teal’c and motioned with one hand. “Good. Home, James.”

 

Tea’c sighed. “I am not James, O’Neill, but I shall take you home.”

 

 

The End

 

Assignment:
Time frame: Season one or two.
Pairings: None
Jack and Teal'c off-world. Set in an earlier season so that the story somehow touches on them getting to know each other better, building that friendship and mutual respect. Whumping optional.