* * * * * *
The man closed his eyes against the pain and held on to Daniel's hand as if it was his only link to life.
Daniel shifted a bit in the chair.
It was SG-1's chair.
After Sam's turn in the
infirmary before...well, before, Jack had bought the chair and gotten Janet's okay on it.
It was very comfortable-which was the whole point.
It even had SG-1 drawn on the back of it in case there was ever a time a member of
SG-1 wasn't sitting in it.
Now, Daniel sat watch over a man about to lose his life.
The man didn't ramble or make any sound at all, now.
He had asked if Daniel would hold his hand when Daniel'd first arrived, but then he'd
quieted to began preparing himself for the afterlife his people believed in.
For his sake, Daniel hoped it was true.
He liked their beliefs.
Daniel's eyes had begun to blur when he wore his glasses, so they rested on his
Soon, if Janet and Corvores were right, he wouldn't need glasses at all.
It was slightly frightening since they weren't sure what the end result would be.
The man stirred a bit as Jack came in.
Daniel watched a very flushed Sam slip in behind him.
Teal'c seemed to glide in, completely silent.
Curious about Sam's flush, Daniel's eyes took in Jack's wet hair and couldn't fight the grin that lit up his face.
Then, remembering Jack's earlier comments about Sam following them in the locker room, Daniel had to consciously force down a chuckle.
The moment demanded sober vigilance, but his heart was lightened a bit.
Jack leaned over the chair back.
"How is he?"
Daniel whispered back.
"It won't be long now."
Jack winced and ran his fingers through his hair.
"I don't suppose Sam has seen anything like, I dunno, angels or something around him."
Daniel's eyes widened and he looked straight at Jack so
he wouldn't miss the reaction.
"Sam stayed with you. She didn't want to be here with just me."
Jack went deadly still.
Daniel watched Sam cover her flaming face with her hands, shaking in mortification.
Janet walked in, a bit disconcerted to see all three men around her patient.
Gently touching the man's brow while
updating his vitals, she indicated he could have any of them leave if he wished.
He shook his head slightly and closed his eyes as she turned away to speak to the men watching the bed.
"You'll need to be as quiet as possible. Normal speech might hurt his ears and could aggravate the strange sonic burns on his eardrum."
Receiving 3 nods, she turned to leave and stopped.
Surprised and more than a bit curious, she turned to the Colonel.
"Sam says from now on we're to warn her
before showering or doing any other personal act."
The Colonel clamped a hand on Daniel and quietly demanded to know where Sam was standing at that moment.
toward a spot just behind him and watched, bemused, as Jack began walking in a seemingly random pattern all around that area.
Daniel clapped a hand over his mouth to control his snickering as he watched Sam desperately try to
avoid the Colonel walking through her.
Then, as he watched, she tried to move away from him and it looked as if an invisible hand picked her up and slammed her into the Colonel.
Daniel's eyes were as big as saucers as he
watched a very digusted Samantha Carter carefully right herself and close her eyes as the Colonel passed through her again.
"Jack, I think you've punished her enough."
"Oh yeah? How many times has she gotten a nice good look at my exquisitely muscled body...from the
Sam was so red, she practically glowed.
Daniel's eyes twinkled as he answered.
times now. Jack, considering how much I wouldn't want to see it from the outside, that's gotta be punishment enough."
Jack glared at him and then his face lost all outward evidence of emotion as he focused on the man, dying in the bed.
"Daniel, watch him."
A dead silence descended over the infirmary room as Daniel held the man's hand tighter, knowing the man was losing the battle. Daniel glanced at
Janet as she laid her hand on the man's forehead, giving him that much more human contact before he left.
The man opened his eyes, slowly turning his head toward Daniel and then he went still.
Daniel sighed as nothing else seemed to happen.
He glanced over at Sam and narrowed his eyes at the stunned shock on her face.
Ignoring the soberly inquisitive looks the others were sending him, he stood and walked up to Sam.
"What is it? What do you see?"
Sam's eyes filled with tears as she began to sob, and it tore him to
not be able to hear the sound or touch her to make it stop altogether.
Janet's voice catapulted Jack into action.
"Daniel, what's making her cry like that? Daniel?"
Jack turned Daniel so he was facing away from where Sam apparently was standing.
"Danny, talk to us. What did you see? What's going on?"
Daniel sent a distracted gaze to Jack and then turned back to watch Sam.
"I didn't see anything. Nothing at all. Sam saw something though. Something that made her a mess."
watched Sam reach for something he couldn't see, a need on her face that seemed to be tearing her apart.
Janet's face contorted in emotional pain at the horrific sobbing sounds she was hearing.
Jack watched, confused, as
Daniel ran forward a bit and seemed to trace something in the air.
completely taken over the man's voice as he whispered intelligible words.
Janet, stricken and shaking intensely, dropped to her knees next to Daniel and held him.
"I don't understand. What just happened? I can't hear her anymore."
Daniel's hand had paused in mid-air.
"That's because she's not there anymore."
Shock and fear were evident in everyone as Teal'c walked to Daniel's other side.
"I do not understand."
Daniel's voice cracked a bit.
crying and then she was moving forward...trying to reach something it looked like. Then she moved so fast I couldn't see her and I tried to touch her, to stop her, to...."
Janet, wide-eyed and trembling violently, whispered in his ear over and over until he stilled.
suddenly, gently removing Janet and after getting to his feet, he helped her to hers, barely noticing how unsteady she was.
"I need to be alone. I'll be okay...it's just a bit rough."
Jack's face was made of stone, but his eyes were raw with pain.
"I'm going to report to the General. I think we should stay on base for awhile in case she comes back or something else happens."
crumpled a bit, but quickly straightened back before anyone could move to help him.
"I'll be in my office....yeah, I know, I'll call if I need anything. Thanks."
Daniel slowly trudged out of the room, forcing himself to move against the wall of pain
that finding he could see Sam had removed.
He'd lost her twice.
He barely closed the door before sinking to the floor.
He had a feeling there wouldn't be a third time.
* * * * * *
The General looked from one face to the other."Just what exactly happened?"
Jack and Teal'c had gone to the General's office when Daniel had left.
Janet had stayed behind to take care of the recently deceased.
Jack suspected it was also so she'd have a few moments to compose
herself before something else required her in the infirmary.
He was definitely heading back to check on her as soon as he left here.
She'd looked terrified
"To put it bluntly, sir, the man died, Daniel didn't see the man afterwards, Carter saw something that terrified her, she disappeared, Daniel's a wreck, and we're right where we started when this whole mess began."
The General's eyes had widened with each sentence and his mouth opened a bit as he realized his second-in-command had just reached the end of his strength reserve.
"Are there any theories about why Capt. Carter disappeared and whether she'll be reappearing?"
Jack felt fatigue etch itself into each and every pore in his body.
"Lots of theories, sir. No concrete anything and Daniel doesn't seem to think she's coming
back this time. That in itself scares me, sir. It's not like him to just give up, but there was just something very final about him when he left the infirmary."
Jack paused, hating what he was about to say.
"Sir, I think we should go ahead with the funeral. I don't think it's fair to make everyone's grief holds it
breath, waiting for release indefinitely on the offchance she might...might reappear."
Hammond sighed, one hand absently toying with a pen on his desk.
"As much as I hate to say it, I agree with you. If, at some later date, we are able to get Capt. Carter back, we'll do so with all haste, but until that day, she will remain officially
The word hung in the air for a moment and then sank into the soldiers as they squared their shoulders.
"The funeral's all arranged and I hadn't gotten the delaying tactic in place as of yet, so it will simply go as planned the day after tomorrow."
"Yes, sir. I'll go tell Daniel."
The General gave him a hard look.
"I'll want your honest recommendations on what to do with Dr. Jackson, as well as your's and Dr. Fraiser's opinions on his mental health. I know you don't like that, but it is neccessary."
Jack's jaw tightened.
"Yes, sir. I understand, sir."
Hammond's eyes softened a bit.
"Thank you, sir."
Jack left, followed closely by Teal'c.
The General hung his head in his hands, wondering what he was going to tell
Jacob Carter about his little girl.
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