This story is a work of fan fiction based on the Showtime series, Stargate SG-1, and is not intended to infringe on the copyright of Showtime, Trilogy, MGM, or any other PTB. I don't claim the characters or concept, there's barely any setting anyway, so I only claim the part of the setting that I created, and I do claim the story. Does that cover everything? Oh, yeah, I don't make a profit (and don't ever intend to) from writing this.
Ratings/warnings: PG-ish for language. Smarm and h/c alert. Minor "Fire and Water" reference.
Notes: This is the second in a series (sort of) of little "toss-offs" I've been sending to the Sgfic list. Basically, it's a spur of the moment story that I attach to the end of an email. Expect lots of smarm and h/c, and very little plot. Plot devices, on the other hand, abound. It's pure self-indulgence.
Blood and Guns
The explosion rocked the room, knocking Jack forward toward the Stargate. He sprawled across its threshold, thinking fleetingly that he was glad Daniel hadn't had time to engage it. Then logic intervened and informed him that something really wrong had just happened, and he'd probably be significantly less glad as soon as he got up off his butt, figuratively speaking, and figured out what it was.
Putting thought into action, he stood shakily, blinking against the haze of dust and debris that clouded his vision. He could hear the sounds of people stirring, but the air hadn't cleared enough to let him see or breathe, and he had to force down a choke before he could manage to call out.
"Sam? Teal'c? Daniel? Everyone okay?"
Sam, who had been beside him a few moments before, emerged from the haze, rubbing her left elbow with her other hand. She had a tiny trickle of blood running down her temple and was coated in dust, but otherwise didn't look that much the worse for wear.
"I'm fine, sir. What happened?"
"I don't know, Captain. Daniel, Teal'c, you all right?" Jack continued to scan the settling dust as he started down the steps of the altar-like platform where this planet's Gate rested.
"I am well, Colonel O'Neill," Teal'c's voice emerged from the chaos, "but Daniel Jackson appears to be hurt."
Daniel had been by the DHD. Jack navigated from memory since sight was still mostly useless, shoving down the shiver of fear that tried to run up his spine. He had to deal with the situation at hand--find out how badly Daniel was hurt, assess the threat, and get his team home--and he didn't have time to give in to fear. He hurried toward Teal'c and Daniel's probable location, snapping over his shoulder, "Carter, find out what that explosion was, now."
The order turned out to be pointless, however. As Jack neared the DHD, he found the answer to two of his questions. The explosion had obviously come from the DHD itself. The center crystal was a jagged hole with smoke still pouring out of the center. Teal'c knelt at its base, leaning over the prone figure of the only unaccounted for member of the team. The Jaffa looked up, his frown deeper than usual and his hands, when Jack dropped beside them and got a clear look, covered in blood.
"How bad is he?" Jack asked sharply, reaching for the first aid kit he carried in one of his BDU's many pockets.
"His injuries seem quite severe, Colonel O'Neill."
Jack swallowed heavily as he focused on the anthropologist. At first glance, all he could see was blood, but when he forced himself to look with his eyes instead of his emotions, he saw that it wasn't quite that bad. Almost, but he'd seen worse. He kept that thought firmly in mind. He'd seen worse, and some of those men had survived.
The exploding crystal had blasted its way across Daniel's chest and face, carving through his skin like butter. Trails of blood trickled and, in a few cases, poured in crazy patterns, looking like some sort of horrific tribal markings. The blond hair had begun to turn red, and little furrows of pain already marked the anthropologist's forehead and mouth.
"God," Jack breathed, reaching out hesitantly to touch the side of Daniel's face that wasn't as torn up. "Carter, get that med kit and get over here now!"
Teal'c had ripped off the tail of his shirt and was pressing it against one of the worst of the cuts. It seemed like a futile effort, like a child sticking his finger in a swiss cheese dam, but Jack popped open his small first aid kit, pulled out gauze strips, and followed suit.
Sam fell to her knees beside them, making a soft sound like a moan as she caught her first glimpse of their teammate.
"Oh, Daniel . . ."
"Give me that kit and get to work on the DHD. We need to be home five minutes ago, Captain." Jack knew he as being terse to the point of snapping, but Daniel didn't have time for politeness, and he trusted his people to understand that and react accordingly. Working swiftly, he pulled the bandages out of the med kit and began to try to stop the blood, so focused that he barely noticed Teal'c doing the same.
He kept his attention soley on the task at hand, not letting himself acknowledge either the fact that this was his friend he was working on or the anger that was threatening to choke him. It was a pointless anger, with no enemy to be directed toward but fate, and the logical part of his mind knew that. He couldn't see Daniel hurt and not feel this incredibly intense rage. The fact that Jack had no one to take his anger out on simply made it worse. Daniel was one of the gentlest, kindest, most innocent people he knew, one of the few he could honestly say didn't deserve any sort of pain--and god knew, he'd already had more than his share, if he had deserved any.
"Hang on, Danny, we'll get you home and fixed up in no time," he muttered, pausing for a second to brush a strand of hair out of the younger man's face and remove the frames of his glasses from his face. God, if that glass has gotten into his eyes . . .
"I don't think so, Colonel," Sam broke in diffidently. She crouched down beside them again, running a hand through her dust-covered hair. "It looks like the DHD was booby-trapped. The insides are gutted--I don't think the wiring was in there before the explosion. It looks more like someone put some sort of primitive explosive device in there and rigged it so that it would go off when the hieroglyphs were pushed."
Jack turned to stare at her, his rage growing so that he could hardly grind the words out. "This was deliberate?" Then he shook his head. He'd deal with that later. Right now, Daniel was bleeding to death, and they had to get him medical attention immediately. "Can you fix it?"
Sam shook her head in unconscious imitation of Jack, her eyes glistening from more than the dust. "I'm sorry, Colonel. Not without the parts. We're stuck here."
Jack closed his eyes for a second, not trusting himself to respond. "Here" was, by what little reconnaissance they'd done, a primitive backwater of a planet. The people SG-1 had run into had been unfriendly and suspicious and certainly hadn't seemed smart enough or advanced enough to provide the medical assistance Daniel needed. If they couldn't get home, Daniel wouldn't make it; the team didn't have the supplies to treat him here, and he was bleeding too profusely to last much longer without some sort of help.
"Then we'll just have to find the parts. If someone rigged a bomb, then it's only logical that the same person must have taken the parts you need. If we can find them, can you put the thing back together and get us home?"
Sam nodded. "If we find the parts, and they're all in one piece, I can fix it. But we don't have much time."
"Tell me something I don't know."
"Colonel O'Neill, I will look for the DHD parts." Teal'c said quietly, his deep voice not showing the tension that Jack could see in his face. "The wires and crystals would be too big and heavy to carry far. Perhaps they are hidden nearby. If not, I will find the person who has them."
"You do that, Teal'c. And, Teal'c?"
The Jaffa paused as he was gathering weapons from the various spots they'd been dropped at.
"When you find the people who did this--they only have to stay alive long enough to tell you where the parts are."
Jack turned back to Daniel and the bandages, only nodding briefly when Sam said softly that she would try to clean the debris out of the DHD. His attention was focused once again on the youngest member of their team.
For the moment, at least, no one else in the universe mattered as much as Daniel--although, to be honest, that was somewhat true under the best of circumstances. Jack didn't have much of a family beyond the military, but it was difficult to form the tight bonds of a true family with other military personnel because of their need to keep things at least partially professional, because of the need to keep some distance to survive the almost inevitable loss, and because of the warrior code that they all lived by that required the suppression of emotions. Not that deep bonds couldn't be formed, but the absolute level of trust that came from being willing to let down your guard completely rarely occurred.
Daniel, on the other hand, had none of the inhibitions that were drilled into a person by military culture and all of the loneliness Jack felt himself. The young anthropologist's innocence and enthusiasm had worked its way past Jack's defenses and left the soldier wondering how he'd managed to fail to guard his own heart. Daniel trusted him--Jack hadn't realized how much until Apophis had taken Sha're and Daniel's instictive reaction had been to beg him for help--and Jack had responded to that trust with an affection that frightened him when he acknowledged the depth of it.
As if responding to Jack's thoughts of him, Daniel stirred and moaned, his hands clenching into fists in reaction to the pain. Jack stroked his hair soothingly, hoping that his touch would provide some sort of reassurance.
"You're going to be okay, Daniel, just take it easy."
"J-jack?" The hoarse gasp didn't sound much like Daniel, but it still brought a sense of relief to the older man.
"Yeah, I'm here, buddy. Lie still, okay? You really don't need to move around right now."
" . . . happened?" Daniel's voice was ragged. Jack wondered if some of the shards had gotten into his throat. If so, that meant they had even less time than he'd thought.
"The DHD exploded. We're trying to fix it now. Don't worry, we'll be going home soon and we'll get you taken care of. Doc's gonna be real happy to see the mess you got yourself into."
" . . . hurts . . ."
"I know, buddy, I know." Jack continued stroking, wishing he could do more.
Jack looked up as Teal'c approached, feeling a sudden surge of hope. If Teal'c had returned this quickly, it might mean that he'd found what they needed. The Jaffa wasn't alone; he was all but dragging a man--one of the natives, by his dress--by the arm, pausing to glare at him ferociously when the man dared to protest.
"This . . . man . . . has something to say."
How Teal'c, who never changed his tone of voice, managed to convey so much contempt in so few words, Jack would never know, but there were times when he envied the ability.
The man glanced at the DHD, at the Stargate, at Jack, at Sam, even at Teal'c--anywhere but Daniel. His hands were knotted into the roughly woven cloth that served as his clothing. He took a deep breath, shook a lock of greasy black hair out of his eyes, and then glared at Jack defiantly.
"I see you've found our handiwork."
Jack got the impression the man was trying to sound proud, but there was a hint of uncertainty in his voice as well. Jack really didn't care what kind of emotional crisis he was undergoing, however. Daniel was hurting, dying, and this bastard was responsible for it. It was only the fact that Daniel had, at some point while Jack wasn't looking, opened his clenched hand and latched on to the tail of the older man's jacket that kept Jack from tackling the man and choking the life out of him. That and the need to find the DHD parts.
"We'll be needing the parts you took out of the device." Jack kept his voice calm, reminded by the hand on his coat of how important it was not to appear upset. He let his eyes speak for him. By the sudden pallor of the man's dark complexion, they were sufficient.
"We're willing to work a trade," the native said, squaring his shoulders in a gesture Jack would have found brave, under other circumstances. The man still refused to look at the stricken anthropologist, and that fact alone infuriated Jack almost beyond his ability to control it. The coward wouldn't acknowledge the results of his "handiwork."
"A trade." Jack's voice was one step above a whisper.
The native's voice grew stronger. "Yes, a trade. The rocks and cords we took out of the crystal, in exchange for your fire weapons."
"WHAT??" It was out before Jack could control it, and Daniel whimpered softly, reacting to the tone, Jack thought, more than the words. He really wasn't sure how much Daniel was processing; he'd started trembling--whether from pain or shock, Jack didn't know--and his brow was creased even more from the agony he was experiencing.
"We've been at the mercy of whatever gods or demons decided to descend through the altar for too long." The native glared at his captors, anger outweighing fear for the moment. "You come here and kill or steal our children, our livestock, everything we own. We made a decision when you four came--we weren't going to let this opportunity pass. If we had your fire weapons, we could fight back. We'd stand some chance against your kind. Give us the fire weapons, and we'll return what you need to leave. But you'll never find them on your own, no matter how many people you kill, so don't even think you can threaten us. We won't give in."
Jack stared at him, his astonishment reflected on Sam and Teal'c's faces. He could almost admire the man for his audacity, if nothing else, if it hadn't been for Daniel lying beside him, suffering.
"You want our guns?" He could feel his voice rising. Very gently, he loosened Daniel's hand, lying it down on the floor and patting it absently before he stood. The native tried to back away as Jack advanced on him. "You want our guns?" Jack grabbed the man by the chin, forcing him to look at Daniel. "You did this, because you wanted our guns?" The man flinched, trying to turn away, but Jack wouldn't let him. "This man did nothing to hurt you. I don't know what happened here before we came, but I do know we did nothing to you. Daniel's not even a soldier, damn it, he's a scientist. Did you even think that the people you caught in your little trap here might be innocent? Might have nothing to do with the things that happened before? Did you look at him before you put this little surprise in here?"
The native jerked away. "Would you like to see my son's grave? My little boy who was killed by the demons that came through the altar last year? We are not going to lose any more children!"
Jack let him go, feeling as if he'd been kicked in the stomach. Sam and Teal'c were frozen, staring from one man to another, apparently not knowing how to interfere or if they should. It was a whisper from Daniel that broke the tableau.
" . . .jack . . . ?"
Jack crossed back to kneel beside his friend, touching his hair again reassuringly. "I'm here, Daniel. We're almost home, buddy, just hang on a little longer."
" . . . 'kay . . ."
Jack looked at the rest of his team. It was his decision, his responsibility. If he gave the word, they'd tear this civilization apart to find the parts they needed; if he gave the word, they'd hand over their weapons. Part of his conscience rebelled. This society wasn't ready to handle anything more advanced than bows and arrows, and the few guns they had would have as much effect on attacking Jaffa as a bee would launching an assault on a Marine unit.
On the other hand, Daniel trusted him. He believed that Jack would get him home and healed, Jack could tell from the way his voice had calmed after Jack had promised him they'd be going soon. It took Jack exactly the same amount of time to look from Daniel to Sam to Teal'c and back to Daniel as it took him to make his decision.
"Give him the guns."
"Sir . . ." Sam started, but he stopped her with a glance.
"Later, Captain. Give him the guns."
It seemed to take forever for the native to hurry away with the guns and return with the DHD parts, and then for Sam and Teal'c to put the device back together again. Jack sat with Daniel, checking the bandages from time to time, but mostly just stroking his hair and talking to him softly.
"Daniel, buddy, you're going to be fine, you know that, right? Even though it hurts like hell right now, the doc'll fix you right up, and then we'll be back to work before we've had to get a decent vacation." Jack fell silent for a moment, then continued quietly, "You know, you're gonna have to quit this. I'm really not sure how much more I can take. I mean, last minute rescues and returns from the dead are great in the movies, but in real life, they kinda suck. I'm too old to keep going through this. You think you could be a little more careful from now on? Maybe duck next time?"
"Colonel? We're ready to try it." Sam knelt in front of them, touching Daniel's hair gently before looking up at Jack. "He's going to make it, sir."
"Of course he is. Dial home, Captain." Jack stood. As carefully as he could, he lifted Daniel and cradled him against his chest. Maybe he should have let Teal'c do it. The Jaffa was certainly stronger than Jack had ever hoped to be. Somehow, though, he couldn't let go. Daniel moaned, one bloody hand clutching at Jack's jacket again, a tear sliding helplessly down his cheek. "It's okay, Danny. We're going home."
The Gate burst to life and SG-1 went through, leaving only a legacy of blood and guns.