Genre: drama, angst, h/c
Summary: SG1 rescues Daniel after he’s abducted and tortured for nearly a week. Daniel has trouble dealing.
Warning: Mentions of torture. A bit dark and depressing. (Unlike the sequel)
A/N: This is a prequel that concludes in my SPN/SG1 crossover, “A Very Supernatural and SG1 Christmas” (posted in 2012). I’ve also made some slight changes and additions to that story to blend more appropriately with this one. I don’t think you need to know SPN to read it. Thank you for your support and for reading!
A/N2: Takes place circa season 3 (SG1)
Falling heavily to his knees, the royal priest begged for his life when he realized there was no one left alive to save him. Jack trained his P90 on the center of his forehead. “Where is he?” he demanded soft and dangerous.
“Daniel Jackson.” Carter’s voice was no less harsh. “He was sold to you five days ago.”
“The drudge?” the man dressed in an elaborate gold robe exclaimed in disbelief. “All this for the drudge?”
Jack tightened the grip on his weapon and took a step closer. “I’m not gonna ask again.”
Eyes widening, “He-he-he’s in the purification box,” he stammered.
“Yes, to sweat out his resilience. He was quiet obstinate! He had to be taught—”
A shot rang out and Jack walked away. He felt no remorse—not for any of the bodies that lay at his feet. Compared to what little he knew had happened to Daniel, and what he saw with his own eyes since coming through the Stargate; they got off easy.
SG1 looked for the “purification” box while SG2 and SG3 secured the site and saw to those that were now free. Jack inwardly shuddered at the blank, dull look in their eyes—at the way they did whatever they were told without hesitation. How long had it taken for them to break? How long before the life in their eyes had faded with their will?
Stepping out under the harsh sun behind the building they had just stormed and hadn’t found Daniel in, Jack lowered his sunglasses over his eyes and scanned the horizon. “Come on, Daniel,” he whispered as if a prayer. “Come on.” They had already blown through one miracle finding the wretched planet in the first place. Jack was beginning to fear he’d be forced to leave it without another.
Five days it had taken to locate the coordinates of their friend. Five days since Daniel had trusted the wrong person on another planet, since he was abducted and taken through the Stargate.
Since he was sold.
It was the way Teal’c had said it; the grave, hoarse quality to his voice that made Jack’s heart jolt in his chest. He turned and spotted what held the Jaffa’s gaze. There was a small metal box about the size of a coffin sitting approximately two hundred yards away. It stood out in the otherwise barren landscape with a black bird perched ominously on its roof.
Jack felt bile rise in the back of his throat; then they were running towards it and calling Daniel’s name before conscious thought was even made to do so. The bird was startled into flight and images of what they might find tormented Jack’s mind with every step. Their Intel had only provided a single grisly image of Daniel’s first day of “conditioning” as a new “grudge”—which included ten lashings against his bare back while being strung up in the middle of the yard. That was day one—a fraction of it. He was there five. How many lashings had he been forced to endure? How much torture? How long had he been in that box? How long could one survive in it in these sweltering conditions?
Jack fell hard to his knees next the chest. Their calls had not been answered and they all jerked with surprise and pain when they eagerly moved to lift the lid. The metal was hot; dangerously so. They spared a look at each other and used their weapons to open what they hoped was not their friend’s tomb. The heat that escaped nearly took their breath away…but that was not the only thing that nearly did.
Daniel was lying on his side. His eyes were closed. Bruises and ligature marks covered his face, neck, wrists and ankles. Like the rest of the “grudges,” he wore a white linen shirt and pants with a gold rope belt. Unlike the rest, however, his were covered in dried blood and sweat.
“Does he live, O’Neill?”
Jack hesitated, but for only a moment, before reaching in and pressing his fingers against the side of Daniel’s neck.
For two days Daniel lay in the infirmary unconscious, fighting dehydration and infection. Stitches covered his back from where the whip had left its many marks. A myriad of colors covered the rest of him.
When he finally woke, it wasn’t gradual, it wasn’t with ease. Lying on his side, Daniel jerked awake. Confused and disoriented, he started scrambling backwards until he hit something. Pain lanced across his back, then spiked throughout the rest of his body. A cry escaped his lips.
“Hey, easy. Take it easy, Daniel.”
Recognizing the voice, Daniel stilled. Panting through the agony tearing him apart, he wanted to open his eyes—to see for himself the man, the friend before him; but pain and uncertainty consumed him and he held his eyes shut tightly against them both.
“It’s me. Just take it easy,” he encouraged again softly. “Fraiser won’t be happy if you undo all of her hard work.”
Was he really home? Was it really over? “Jack?” he whispered tremulously.
“Yeah, Daniel,” he told him exactly what he needed to hear, “it’s over.”
He didn’t need to hear anything else, because nothing else mattered—so Daniel let the darkness that had been clawing at him pull him back into oblivion.
The next time he woke there was a lot less pain. The infirmary also seemed to be busier and brighter now that he could open his eyes.
Jack was still there; sleeping in a hard chair with his neck angled in such a way that promised his own pain when he woke. There were chocolate walnut cookies on the stand next to his bed—courtesy of Sam, no doubt. And a…pineapple; Teal’c’s go-to “Get Well” gift as of late.
The brimming dam of constant fear, pain and uncertainty Daniel had been cramming down in his heart for the past week shattered in his chest.
He was home.
Releasing an unsteady breath, relieved tears filled his blue eyes. He was home.
“Hey,” Jack greeted softly, startling him. Daniel hadn’t noticed him waking. Still lying on his side, a tear broke free before he could stop it and slid across his nose. Hoping Jack hadn’t noticed, he swallowed and returned past the sand paper in his throat, “Hey.”
Jack tilted his head, studying him with a frown. The next thing Daniel knew, he was being spoon fed ice chips. Nothing had ever, or would ever taste as good for as long as he lived. After setting the cup of frozen heaven down, “You had us worried,” Jack confessed. Leaning in with his arms across the bed railing, he then casually swiped his pinky across Daniel’s nose—clearing away the tear track.
So much for not noticing.
Daniel swallowed, longing for more ice chips and somewhere to hide. “Sorry.” He shouldn’t have been surprised at how weak he sounded, but he was. He wondered how much he had left of himself back on that planet; at the end of those ropes, in that box….
He blinked languidly and looked up at his friend. “Jack.” He didn’t like the way he was looking at him. There was too much sorrow in his eyes, too much sympathy.
“You zoned out on me.”
An apology was on the tip of his tongue, but it never made it past his lips. There were a lot of things he wanted to say and ask, but for some reason he couldn’t bring himself to engage. He couldn’t stop thinking about that place; the pain, the utter cruelty, the look in the other drudges’ eyes…
Something wrapped around his arm. It was comforting and grounding and he realized his breathing had sped up.
“Daniel,” Jack called to him, calm and soft, “come back to me.”
Slowly the infirmary came back into focus and Daniel got his breathing under control. Sitting next to the bed, Jack was watching him closely. Chin on an arm that was resting across the bed railing, his other hand was wrapped around Daniel’s bicep. “There you are.” He pulled away slowly.
“Here I am.” He would have winced at the hollow quality to his own voice, but he didn’t have the energy. Jack did, however.
“Daniel,” he began, hesitant. Straightening in his seat, he awkwardly gripped the bed railing with both hands. “Uh, listen....”
“Daniel!” Carter’s smile lit of the room. “You’re awake.” Jack moved aside so she could place a kiss on Daniel’s forehead. “You had us worried.”
“So I’ve been told,” he murmured faintly.
“It is good to see you on the mend, DanielJackson,” Teal’c greeted from behind Carter.
“It’s good to be home,” he whispered back roughly.
Carter leaned against the railing by his hip, while Jack reclaimed his uncomfortable chair and Teal’c took up sentry at Daniel’s feet. He suspected it had been their exact positions for the better part of his return.
“Can we get you anything?” Carter asked, failing to keep her voice steady and her eyes dry. He could tell she was having just as hard of a time dealing with what had happened as everyone else was—as he was.
“No,” he answered, unable to hide the exhaustion and weariness from his voice. “Thanks.” Unless she could help him forget….
She nodded, but she still had tears in her eyes. So did he. “Well, uh, you should probably get some more rest, okay? I’ll stop by later if you’re up for company.”
He tried to give her a reassuring smile.
She tried to pretend it was convincing.
Three days later, Daniel was back at his apartment. Everything was in place—nothing had changed, yet everything felt different. His body, for one, wouldn’t be the same for a while. Stitches pulled across his back with every move; the discomfort had become such a constant, he wondered if he’d ever be free of it. Still, it was the pain he held deeper that he struggled with most.
The royal priest was just a man. He wasn’t a goa’uld. There was no technology that Daniel had seen or his team had found that could have altered his brain chemistry, or drained him of every ounce of compassion.
There was nothing to drive him to do what he did—nothing but his own heart.
Standing at the window looking out over his balcony, Daniel heard his apartment door open. He knew he had been quiet and reserved since he’d been back, and though he appreciated his team’s concern—he really just wanted to be left alone.
Just as he was beginning to wonder who had drawn the short straw—“Fraiser sent soup,” Jack said by way of greeting.
Daniel nodded, but didn’t bother turning around to acknowledge him. It was starting to snow and he found solace watching the gentle, slow dance of the snowflakes’ descent.
“I’m really not in the mood to talk right now, Jack.”
“I know,” he accepted softly. “But…that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t help.”
Hugging his arms to himself, Daniel looked over his shoulder at him. “I’m—I’m sorry, are you encouraging me to talk?”
Jack offered him a simple grin with his shrug. “Crazier things have happened.”
Daniel swallowed hard and looked back out at the falling snow. He started to tremble, and shaking his head, bit his lower lip. He didn’t want to talk. He didn’t want to deal. He didn’t want to admit to the hopelessness that had filled him—that still did. “I don’t know why,” he choked out before he could stop himself. “I don’t…it’s not like it’s the first time I’ve been tortured.”
“But this time it was different.”
“Yeah.” He could barely speak past the lump in his throat.
“He didn’t want information.”
“Not that you’d give it. Still, that would have at least given you some semblance of control, something to use against him,” Jack said sagely. “He didn’t want revenge, either. So you couldn’t even annoy the guy with your ruthless stoicism.”
Staring out over the city, Daniel blinked back the tears filling his eyes and hugged himself tighter.
“He didn’t want anything you could bargain for, because what he wanted…was you.”
Daniel squeezed his eyes shut tightly, refusing to let the tears fall.
“But not the you I know,” he continued. “He methodically tortured you, Daniel for the sole purpose of stripping away everything that makes you you.”
“Jack—” Daniel wanted him to stop. He was barely holding it together as it was. All of those hours in that box, on those ropes, the beatings, the mind games, the hopelessness—slowly tearing him apart, piece by piece. It had only been five days, but it had felt like a lifetime. And he was just a man; a horrible, cruel human being…and Daniel had been powerless against him.
“Let me guess, you tried to reason with him. And when that didn’t work, you tried to negotiate for his other “pets.” Because even if there wasn’t any hope left for you…maybe you could find some for them.”
“Jack—” he begged hoarsely.
“But nothing worked,” Jack surmised, “because in his eyes, he had every right to do what he wanted to you. And not only that; the bastard prided himself on his ability to—”
“Stop,” Daniel choked, “just stop.” A tear slid thick and slow down his cheek.
He was right; the royal priest had been torturing people for years and had become quite skilled at it—as he had pointed out to Daniel on multiple occasions. His entourage was rather adept as well. Still, Daniel had fought back…though it had become clear to him in a short period of time, that no matter what he said, no matter what he did—the only way he was going to be allowed to live, was if he let everything that made him who he was…die.
“You’re not alone, you know. Not anymore. We’re here for you, Daniel,” Jack stressed. “We’re right here.”
“I know.” He would have given anything to have had someone to lean on while trapped on that planet. But now, he was just so…tired.
“Daniel…” Jack voice was starting to sound strained, “you know I’d be the first to admit that mankind has its many…many flaws. In fact, if you ask me, we’re one big glorified mess.”
Daniel brushed a tear from his cheek and bit back a retort about him sucking at pep talks.
“But…despite what you might be feeling right now; there’s more good than bad out there, Daniel. At least that’s what…this guy…I know tells me.”
Daniel’s lips twitched.
“Listen, you and I both know that there will always be horrible, rotten things out there.” Jack paused. “But there will always be us, too: the good guys. We’re not done yet, Daniel,” he professed, “and neither is humanity. So don’t go giving up on it or yourself just yet. You made it, Daniel,” he pressed on. “You lived. That bastard didn’t.”
With another tear close to falling, Daniel turned to look at him.
Jack shrugged. “I may have learned a thing or two from you over the years; compelling speeches, for starters.”
“I was under the impression you didn’t listen to anything I say,” Daniel quipped lightly, throat still tight.
“Oh, I do,” Jack started fiddling with…something that was actually rather priceless, “I just don’t like to let on.”
A small smile tugged at Daniel’s lips, and for a brief moment some things didn’t hurt. “Of course you don’t.”
Jack offered him a weak smile back. “So…Fraiser says your electro—thingys and whatnots are still out of whack, and as she has already made painfully clear; she doesn’t want you to be alone right now,” he explained. “You just need some time, Daniel…to…to process, to get him out of your head,” he told him softly. “Some time, some rest, good food and good friends. I thought we’d head up to the cabin this week and get away for a bit. Whatdyasay?”
“Jack—” He really would rather stay home and—
“Daniel,” Jack pleaded with him, “I need you to not give up.”
“I’m not.” Tears blurred his vision again, though. He wanted to believe him; that he just needed some time to feel like himself again, to step through the Stargate again. But in truth, he felt so tired—tired of the darkness, tired of the horrible things, tired of the fight. And he was afraid…afraid that a part of him had been lost—stripped away on that planet. …and afraid…afraid that he didn’t even care if he never got it back.
“Daniel.” There was so much in the way that he said his name. It was like he knew exactly what he was thinking. It was like he knew exactly what he needed. It was Jack O’Neill putting his heart on his sleeve for him. “Trust me, will you? Please.”
Daniel couldn’t think of anything else that made sense to him anymore, and he realized that if he had lost something he needed…Jack would make sure that he got it back. “Okay,” he nodded and agreed thickly, “okay.”
TO BE CONTINUED in the crossover with Supernatural: “A Very Supernatural and SG1 Christmas.” Summary: Just your ordinary Christmas story with ghosts and claw-wielding, flesh-eating monsters. Sam Winchester and Daniel Jackson whump with, of course, protective Dean Winchester and Jack O'Neill. Spoilers for SPN 7x10. Circa season 3 Stargate SG1