by Nel

Pairing: Jack/Daniel
Disclaimers: Dude, not mine.
Rating: R
Category: Angst, action/adventure
Season: Season 2
Series: Part 2/6 in the Surrender series, sequel to Surrender.
Summary: Regrets come to haunt Daniel when a mission goes wrong
Author's Notes: I didn't mean to write a sequel. I didn't. But then I started thinking of what I'd write *if* I'd write a sequel, and then I suddenly had another fic on my hands...

Thanks to Danvers, who is solely responsible for keeping my ego at the level it has risen. *smooch*

Also, to Kel, who I tricked (sorry, babe *hugs*) and Suz who does so not suck, not even the slightest. Just the opposite, in fact. :D

{{ }} are flashbacks.

And people: All bets are off.

Added notes: Well, gang, it's been almost a year and I haven't updated. I'd like to say that I'll finish it, and I really do want to, but the SG-1 groove isn't really around anymore. It might be finished some day, but it might also not be. If anyone is dying to know how it ends, send me a mail and I'll tell you (coz I do know, it's just the whole 'writing-it'-thing that's kicking my ass). I'd just like to say that I'm sorry and that I have learned not to post any more WIPs. Nel, June 7th 2006


I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Edgar Allan Poe, Dream within a Dream


Something was lurking at the edge of his mind, something he was supposed to remember. Remember, or regret? The two seemed to have run too close together for comfort lately.

Oh yeah, he was supposed to remember the reason he’d gotten himself and Jack killed.

There was so much blood everywhere, and no matter how hard he pressed against the hole in Jack’s stomach, he couldn’t seem to stop the blood from pouring out of him. So many many regrets, and nothing to do about them now.

Jack’s face was pasty and still, and for a panicked moment Daniel thought that he’d stopped breathing. //Maybe that’s good. The pain must be bad, the longer he stays alive-// Daniel ruthlessly shut down that voice in his head. It had no place here. There was a time and place for practicality, but that time had passed and frankly, it didn’t have any right to come forth now.

There was still a chance. He closed his eyes from Jack’s blood drenched clothing and pressed harder still against Jack’s midsection. There was always another chance. They’d been so close to dying so many times; hell, they’d even actually died and still managed to come back. They’d make it this time. They would. //But what if we’ve run out of chances?//

“God damn it, Jack, don’t do this to me, you bastard,” Daniel hissed under his breath. Noticing the make-do dressing he’d put on was drenched red already, he quickly pulled his jacket off, ignoring the chilly air, and put it over the dressing instead. He pressed so hard against the wound that he wasn’t sure if he was doing more harm than good, but he just couldn’t help himself. It wouldn’t end like this, not as… *meaningless* as this.

Hearing a loud *snap* his head flew up and he tensed, putting his hand //-god, so much blood on my hands since before, please don’t make me live with having Jack’s as well. Please.// to his gun. He jumped then relaxed when a rabbit bounced by, and returned his attention back to Jack.

The dusk had turned to night, and the darkness made the pine trees around them turn into shapeless silhouettes that at any other time would have given Daniel the creeps. He was somewhat preoccupied right now.

He put his hand to Jack’s face and felt that icy fist of fear squeeze his heart just a little tighter at the clammy chill of Jack’s skin. It was reaching a point where it wasn’t the face of a dying man he was touching, but a dead one.

He had to get to the gate and get them home. Jack was running out of blood. Daniel ignored the voice that whispered it was already too late, and started to stand.

“I’ll be right back, okay?” He patted Jack’s cheek carefully. “Don’t go anywhere.”

As he carefully made his way to the edge of the wood, he could feel the anger of the sheer pointlessness of this bubbling up. It was as though all this time spent fighting with the Goa’uld had made them forget that the Goa’uld weren’t the only bad guys around.

They’d let their guard down. They’d been fooled by the ‘friendly native’ routine and once the crowd had turned against them, it’d been too late.

Teal’c had been relatively close to the edge of the horde and with years of hand-to-hand training from Bra’tac he’d been able to mow his way out of the friendly turned blood crazed crowd. Sam had been close by, so she’d covered his back and made it out as well.

He squeezed his eyes together. Then it’d all turned to hell.

{{ He could see Jack fighting like an animal in the middle of the mob, slashing his knife around, as Daniel spun himself, using his elbow like it was a lethal weapon. Damn it, how could they have been so naïve as to have put their weapons down, even if it was just for a second?

“Carter, Teal’c, get outta here! Get help!”


Daniel kicked himself for not recognizing a cult when he’d seen it; all the signs had been there, he’d just managed to completely miss them.

Jack gave a vicious kick to a shrieking woman; the gentleman routine had been abandoned once the people started foaming at the mouth. “Carter! Run!”

Getting a fist in his stomach, Daniel briefly doubled over, but still managed to stay on his feet and block the next hit coming his way. The people might have outnumbered them, but what they gained in numbers they lost in mobility. They could barely move without punching one of their own – not that they seemed to care much.

He managed to knock down a particularly tall man with more fat than muscle just in time to see Sam go down under a huge wooden club. Daniel could hear the crack of the club hitting her head from where he was standing. “SAM!”

He couldn’t see her, DAMN IT, he couldn’t see her, couldn’t see the damage, //omygod, is she dead, did they kill her?// and he kicked and bit and struck all around him until he’d actually managed to form a small circle of space.

Teal’c; Teal’c was picking Sam up, throwing her over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry, easy like she was a rag doll //she isn’t moving, I can’t see her moving// and Daniel managed to focus again. Teal’c would get her to safety, now it was up to him and Jack to get there as well.

He received a fist right into his jaw but managed to block the next one. With his teeth still rattling, he checked on Jack. There were less people standing now; SG-1 didn’t come cheap. If they could only fight them off for a while- }}

Daniel came back to the present with a snap. He didn’t have time for this! He could daydream later, when they were back, when they got back to the SGC.

There was just the small matter of the natives guarding the gate. They weren’t organized, but there were a lot of them. //Inbred, probably.// Daniel’s eyes narrowed. Either he’d get Jack out or die trying. He didn’t have many choices left.

Quickly, he turned and snuck back to Jack.

“I’m back, sorry I took so long.”

Jack hadn’t moved an inch since Daniel left him, and fearing for the worst, Daniel checked for his pulse. Releasing a breath, he felt it: small and thready. Okay, so, positive thinking. Jack’s heart not beating very strongly meant that it couldn’t pump out that much blood. He looked at his jacket, which was now soaked through too. How many pints could Jack have lost? Five? Six? How much blood could the human body manage without?

God, what he wouldn’t do for a sarcastic comment right about now.

Scrubbing his face with the hands that were now covered in dried blood, his mind flashed back to the moment that would always be etched into his memory.

{{ He could see something black and familiar close by; someone had picked up one of their P-90s. Fortunately, they didn’t seem to understand the use of it, as someone used the butt end to try and rearrange Daniel’s face. He stopped it and tore it out of the attacker’s hands, but not before getting a nasty cut on his forehead.

Ignoring the pounding pain in his head and the wetness that was running down his face, he yelled, “Jack! I’ve got a P-90!”

In the middle of a slash, he could see Jack turning towards him and giving him a tight, brief smile. Then the smile froze and his eyes seemed to scream to Daniel. Then he was dropping his knife and falling down and Daniel couldn’t see him any more, just the ecstatic faces of the people trampling on Jack and that was it, Daniel was done thinking, done reasoning and he spun around and started firing his P-90. }}

He was hallucinating. He had to be. Because there was no chance in hell he was hearing the gate dialling. Was he? //God, please. Please. Don’t be evil. Save Jack. Don’t be evil. Not this time.//

{{ Blind for everything, he ran to the place where he’d last seen Jack. It was only 10 feet away, but every step felt as though he was running through mud. Then he was finally heaving body after body away, searching for that green camo jacket.

And there was so much blood and the knife //this isn’t a knife, it’s a fucking *sword*// that was sticking out of Jack’s stomach was huge and Jack was groaning, and he could hear the gate engaging but they wouldn’t make it, more natives were coming, he could hear their yells. He had to get them somewhere safe.


He looked down to see Jack clutching at the knife.

“No, don’t touch it, Jack, leave it be.”

“Get it…out. I am, not, dying with, this thing, in me.”

Gritting his teeth together and ignoring the added wetness that seemed to be coming from his eyes, he grabbed the handle and yanked once, hard. The knife slid out with a sickening slick sound and Jack turned white, but didn’t lose consciousness.

“Go… home, Daniel.”

“I intend to.” He looked around for somewhere to hide and wondered if they’d make it to the wood before the natives got there.

“Leave me.”

“Shut up, Jack.” Daniel started hoisting Jack up into sitting position, slowing when he moaned.

“No, you *have* to get home. Leave me. You have to… have to…” He struggled when Daniel tried to lift him up.

“Damn it! Jack!”

Jack grabbed Daniel’s neck and brought their faces close together. //God, his eyes are so scared…//

“You have to find Sha’re, can’t do that, if you’re, dead.”

This time Daniel could barely see for the tears running angrily out of his eyes. “Shut up. Shut up shut up shut up.”

But this time Jack had passed out. }}

It *was* the gate. Daniel didn’t dare think that Teal’c had gotten Sam to safety. It was probably some System Lord coming to make sure they were really and truly dead.

Then he heard the familiar sound of several P-90s firing. //Thank you, god. Thank you.//

“We’re going home, Jack,” he whispered to the unconscious figure. “We’re going home.”


“…and considering the large loss of blood-“

“Is he going to be alright?”

They were in the infirmary: Daniel sitting on a bed, not being able to stay away any longer, Sam lying in a bed with a huge bandage around her head, and Teal’c standing next to Sam’s bed with an arm in a sling.

Janet was standing between the two beds, looking ready to fall over. Daniel could understand why; she’d been in surgery for thirteen hours and before that, she’d had Sam and Teal’c to tend to. Daniel had made do with a nurse; he seemed to have gotten away the easiest. The only thing bothering him was that there was a sticky feeling to his hands that didn’t seem to go away no matter how hard he scrubbed them.

The fact that Janet had come back from surgery looking serious hadn’t helped.

“I’ll be honest with you. It doesn’t look good.”

Daniel looked down. This couldn’t be right. They came through. They *always* came through.

“What about the healing device?” He looked imploringly at Sam.

Sam turned hopeful eyes to Janet, who responded with a firm, “No.”

Sam frowned. “Why not?”

“Why not? You’ve told me that thing gives you a splitting headache after you’ve used it.” Daniel’s eyebrows rose and he glanced at Sam who looked uncomfortable. This wasn’t information he’d had part of. “I’m not going to let you experiment when you have a serious concussion. I have one critical patient, I don’t need two.”

“What of the Tok’ra?” Teal’c had been very quiet since the return of the rescue mission, even for him, and Daniel suspected that there were some guilt issues there. When Jack got better //good, that’s ‘when’, not ‘if’.// he’d have to have a talk with Teal’c. Sam probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him.

Daniel rubbed his eyes. He’d try and get some sleep if it wasn’t for the fact that every time he closed his eyes, he saw Jack’s face. “General Hammond sent a message, but we haven’t heard back yet.”

Janet nodded. “We’ll just have to manage ourselves.”

“Can we see him?” He didn’t want Janet to say yes. Janet didn’t let you visit people when they were critical, she didn’t want any disturbance around them. If she said yes… Daniel swallowed.

Janet looked at him with eyes brighter than normal. “Sure.”


Tubes. Tubes everywhere. Wires. Blood going into Jack and still he looked so pale. Daniel sat next to his bed, hands gripping the bed railing hard, knuckles turning white. He wondered what the railing was even for. Jack wasn’t going anywhere. Not anymore.

He didn’t real feel anything, mostly he just felt hollow. The only sensation that still got to him was that disgustingly sticky feeling to his hands. He looked at Jack and remembered two weeks ago when he’d gone to Jack’s place and ruined the last good thing in his life.

Two weeks. It felt like two years. Just this day alone felt like it’d lasted a week. And it wasn’t going to get any shorter, because Jack was dying. No Tok’ra coming to the rescue, no one to manage the healing device. They’d run out of chances.

Two weeks ago, Daniel had thought that he’d reached rock bottom. He’d been so very very wrong.

Yes, Sha’re was gone again, but that slim hope was there, because she’d still been alive. Even if the chance was one in a million Daniel would take it because it was there, and how many times *hadn’t* SG-1 beaten the odds?

Not enough times.

It reminded Daniel of Greek mythology. Hubris. You thought you were better than the gods, you paid a high price. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge that made you pay every time for your crime of arrogance.

Yeah, they’d thought they were better than the gods alright. Daniel started laughing, and he couldn’t stop a hysterical edge from sneaking in. //Oh god. Oh god, what am I going to do?//

Jack had been so polite to him after that night. So correct, so polite, never starting an argument. Never inviting Daniel home.

Never touching Daniel.

And Daniel had done nothing to change that behaviour. He was the cause, after all. He was the one who’d fucked up.

Why hadn’t he understood that he was the one that had to make it all work again?

It seemed so very trivial now. So trivial, so small, so frustrating, and all Daniel could think was that he’d give anything, *anything*, to just be able to speak to Jack one last time, to say what needed to be said. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I used you. I need you. Please don’t leave me.”

And when Jack’s EEG flatlined, he pressed himself against the wall, making room for Janet and the nurses and he watched as they worked CPR, as Janet fought and cursed and cried and lost.

And he walked out of the room, feeling so numb he was surprised that his feet were able to move at all, and when Teal’c intercepted him, Daniel couldn’t understand the words that came out of his mouth, so he just kept walking until he reached Jack’s office. He opened the door, and looked around.

Jack’s leather jacket was hanging on his chair, and Daniel picked it up and took a deep breath. Leather, sweat, cologne. Jack.

It was strange, his eyes were hurting and he seemed to have trouble breathing. Panting like he’d run a race, he sat down ungracefully on the floor, hugging the jacket tightly against him.

He’d just sleep for a bit.

He lay down carefully on the cold concrete floor, still gasping for breath. Sleep would make things okay. He’d wake up and things would be okay. Things would be back to normal.

Things would be okay.

The End

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