Summary: Daniel pushes Jack away as he runs into a daunting obstacle to his recovery.
"Would you stop pacing?"
Daniel halted and turned, his eyes not quite focused. "What?"
"I said would you just sit down. You're driving me crazy."
Jack frowned and shook his head as he poured himself more coffee. "You've been going at it since three this morning. Aren't you tired yet?"
"Yeah, I am, but I can't seem to sit down, either."
Shrugging, Daniel folded his arms around himself and stared out the window. "I'm sorry. I know I kept you up most of the night. I just can't sleep."
"I get that." Motioning to the table, Jack put a glass of apple juice by Daniel's plate. "It's time for breakfast anyway. Try sitting even if it's only long enough to get it swallowed."
"I'm not upset."
Daniel took his place at the table and leaned back, his hand to his mouth, his blue eyes bloodshot and swollen behind his glasses. Grey shadows smudged the edges of his gaunt face while he stared out at nothing. "Don't lie to me, Jack. You're worried about me."
"What's to worry about, you being so chipper and all?"
"I wasn't trying to be funny."
"Of course, you weren't." Daniel took a deep breath and glanced down at the scrambled eggs and toast and then looked away grimly. "I'm not hungry."
"I don't care. You're eating. You've got pills to take. So eat already."
"Maybe I should go back to my place."
Jack put his napkin down and leaned forward, his lips tight around the words. "Is that what this is about?"
"This little dance you're doing to piss me off. You want to make me throw you out? Forget about it. That's not going to happen."
Daniel got back up and walked to the kitchen. As he poured a cup of coffee, he shook his head. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"First off, you don't need any caffeine. You're jittery enough as it is. Second, you know exactly what I'm talking about."
Making a show of his defiance, Daniel deliberately lifted the mug in a toast and then took a long drink before he answered. "I don't need you to tell me what I can drink."
"Fine. You want your head to explode, go for it. Drink the whole pot for all I care. You can't sleep as it is, so that should fix you right up."
"You're overreacting." Daniel put the mug down and turned away, his body braced forward against the counter. "I just think maybe I should have some time to myself."
"Why? You might as well be by yourself here."
Daniel turned around, his face confused. "What?"
Jack left the table and came into the kitchen, standing next to Daniel but not touching. "You've got all your walls up and guarded." His voice softened as he edged forward. "Let me in, Daniel. Let me help."
"I've done that."
"No, you haven't. You're wandering around lost and you won't let me near you, not where it counts."
Closing his eyes, Daniel rested his forehead against the nearby wall. "I don't mean to."
"But that's what you're doing." He hooked the back of Daniel's neck and drew him closer, the weak resistance brief. The younger man trembled in his embrace as Jack whispered, "It's okay. I've got you."
"I'm so tired."
"You've got it." Gently, Jack guided his friend up the hall to the bedroom and maneuvered him under the blankets. Tucking him in, he took a deep breath. "Now, stay there and try to relax while I make a few phone calls."
"Yeah. Being a previous whacko myself, I've got an edge on finding a new doctor."
"I mean that in the best way."
"God, I love you."
"Now, that's the kind of crazy talk I'm going for."
"General, with all due respect, that's crazy."
The older man frowned and took a deep breath. "Colonel, I understand your concern. It's just that Dr. Rayburn's report is very serious. I can't afford to take it lightly."
"But he only saw him once."
"Based on his test results and his observations, he recommends that we hospitalize Dr. Jackson for treatment. He feels like the level of trauma-induced depression is significant enough to warrant drastic measures."
"Like I said, sir, that's nuts. Daniel's depressed, sure, but he's got good reason."
"No one's debating that."
"This is not how to handle this."
"And when did you get your medical degree, Colonel?"
Jack closed his eyes for just a moment to settle himself and then opened them to focus on his primary mission, to help Daniel. "Permission to speak off the record, sir."
"You know about my son?"
"I've been where Daniel is, at a point when nothing much mattered. I think I can help him. Also, there's some history between Daniel and Rayburn, history that might be coloring his reaction to the doctor."
"I don't understand."
Jack paced twice and then stopped in front of the desk, working over the words, wishing he had Daniel's gift of smooth expression. "After his parents died, it was Dr. Rayburn who treated him for shock. Apparently, his idea of treatment was to drug the kid until he got over it. Daniel doesn't trust him. I think remembering that influenced how he responded on those tests."
Disturbed, the general frowned and leaned forward. "Why didn't Dr. Jackson say something?"
"I don't know. Why didn't Rayburn?"
"Good question. Maybe he doesn't remember him as a boy. That was years ago."
"True. But, the point is, in his mind, this man is linked to the death of his parents. Daniel doesn't need that, especially not now."
"I can see that."
Leaping at the hopeful breach, Jack stepped closer to the desk. "I took the liberty of contacting a Dr. Cowles. He treated me after my son died and I know he has clearance. Let him treat Daniel."
"And what if this Dr. Cowles agrees with Dr. Rayburn about hospitalization?"
Chewing his lip for a moment, Jack sighed in surrender. "Then I'll convince Daniel to go along with it. Otherwise, you'll have a hell of a time getting him in there. The whole SG1 team will be jeopardized."
"Captain Carter and Teal'c don't want to work without him, and, neither do I. You do what Rayburn wants without a second opinion, and I can almost guarantee we'll lose Daniel."
General Hammond nodded, his face solemn. "Let me check out your Dr. Cowles and I'll talk to Dr. Rayburn. I should have an answer by this afternoon."
"Thank you, sir."
"Don't thank me yet. I still have to run this by Mental Health Services and Major MacKenzie. He's the one who sent in Dr. Rayburn with the highest of recommendations."
"Yeah, but you're such a sweet talker, sir, I know you can do it."
"Yes, sir." Smiling, Jack headed out, determined to win the best deal for Daniel.
"And then we tried inducing a particle beam to enhance transmission."
"Sounds illuminating." Both Samantha and Daniel looked up as Jack entered the lab. He waved a hand at the captain to continue and sat down in the chair next to Daniel's. "Don't let me interrupt. You were talking about fixing your transmission, right?"
Sam smiled at the joke and stood up to leave. "I fixed that last week, sir, right after I rotated the tires."
"Hey, I've got this dent in my hood. Some crazy man whacked it a good one. Maybe you should come take a look."
"Jack, cut it out." Daniel glanced up sheepishly. "It's nothing, Sam. Forget about it."
Heading towards the door, Sam paused. "I'll check back later, Daniel. Let me know if you need anything."
"Sure." As soon as she left, Daniel got up and paced the small area.
"Great. For Sam you sit quietly, for me you can't stay still."
"Leave if you don't like it." Anger pushed the words, the tone sharp and biting.
"What's going on, Daniel? I told you I'd talk to Hammond."
"And then you sent Sam to baby sit."
Busted and sorry, Jack scratched his head in embarrassment. "You noticed."
"I'm depressed, not stupid."
"Well, at least you're admitting it."
Suddenly still, Daniel stared at him, his face grave. "I don't need to be treated like some basket case, Jack."
"I didn't mean for it to look like that. We're all concerned, that's all. Besides, tell me you didn't enjoy Sam's company."
Reluctantly, Daniel relaxed enough to sit back down. "I love Sam. You know that. But when she gets nervous, she does tech talk even worse than usual."
"And you're saying...?"
"I didn't understand half of what she said. She's like everyone else right now."
"No one knows what to say so they just talk to be talking."
"What do you want them to say?"
"That's going to be a hell of a short conversation."
"You don't get it."
Heaving a breath, Daniel lowered his face to his hands momentarily before he finally spoke, his voice thicker. "I just want things to be like they were before. Everybody's afraid of me right now."
"No, I'm not."
"Sure you are. We're not afraid of you, we're afraid for you. There's a huge difference."
Lifting his head, meeting his eyes, Daniel's pain twisted his features. "I don't want that."
"Then you've got to stop giving us reasons to worry."
Swallowing hard, Daniel sat back up, his hands under his armpits. "You act like I'm doing this on purpose."
"I know that's not true." Jack moved closer, his voice deep and soothing. "But you don't eat, don't sleep, and look like someone slapped you silly. What do you expect us to do, throw a party?"
"I don't know what I expect."
"You asked me to help you. I want to do that. I've asked General Hammond to get another man in here, a Dr. Cowles. He helped me get a grip after Charlie."
"Yeah. When I came back, I didn't want to die anymore, but I wasn't quite sure how to live, either, especially since my wife left me, too."
"And this guy helped?"
"Well, he can't take all the credit. My inner child played his part."
Smiling weakly, Daniel swiveled his chair towards Jack's. "Inner child, huh?"
"Yeah, he's a rascal, but not really a bad kid once you get to know him."
Sadness replaced his smile as Jack leaned in. "Seriously, I think this guy can help."
"Are you sure Hammond will okay it?"
"Don't worry about that part. If he doesn't, I'll figure out something."
Pausing, Daniel studied him for a moment, his face even more shadowed with suspicion. "What aren't you telling me?"
"Nothing." He said it too fast and bit his lip hoping Daniel wouldn't notice.
Shit. "It's nothing we can't handle."
"We? Now you're scaring me. What's going on?"
Choosing his words carefully, keeping his voice calm, he readied himself for any and all explosions. "Rayburn wants to hospitalize you."
"It's not going to happen."
"Damn right it's not. I'll quit the program first." Clearing his throat and crossing his arms, Jack sat back and kept his mouth shut. "What?"
"Jack, tell me, damn it."
"Well, you're part of a top secret military project."
"So, if they decide you're too unstable, they can lock you away without your permission."
"I know. I'm not saying it's right. I'm just saying stay calm and don't give them reason to think you're any more nuts than they already do. I'm taking care of it."
His face flushed, Daniel closed his eyes and raised a fist to each temple. "I won't go, Jack. You can't let that happen. Promise me."
"I'm doing everything I can, I promise."
Daniel stood up quickly and headed to the door, his hands balled at his sides, his face scowling. "Where are you going?"
"To find Teal'c."
Jack jumped up to follow, nervous and his heart racing. "Why?"
"He's my backup."
Stopping, Daniel turned and spoke with a new fear-driven determination and anger. "Teal'c won't let them take me."
"And you think I will?"
"Yes, if you have to."
The words shredded his heart, the ribbons of blood streaming an icy chill into his gut. "That's not fair, Daniel. I'm working my ass off trying to stop that from happening."
"I know that."
"Then don't drag Teal'c into this. It can only get us all in trouble."
Daniel snorted and shook his head as he headed down the corridor once more. "We're already in deep shit, Jack. Or hadn't you noticed?"
"I will be honored to defend you, DanielJackson."
"For crying out loud, Teal'c. He doesn't need defending."
"Speak for yourself, Jack. I knew something wasn't right with Rayburn yesterday. I just couldn't remember."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
Daniel paced Teal'c's quarters, his tight arms folded around himself, his voice animated for the first time in days. "The questions he asked, the way he handled me, I should've known that's what he was after."
"What?" "I was thinking about it all last night and this morning, trying to remember the details. Dr. Jansen and he had this huge fight about my treatment."
"And they did this in front of you?"
"No, but I could hear it. I was a quiet kid and I listened. A lot. How do you think I learned five languages before the age of seven? Anyway, I knew what the grown ups were up to and when Dr. Jansen took me away from Rayburn, he was pissed. This must be his way to get back at me for losing to her so many years ago."
Jack shook his head as he watched his friend walk back and forth, his nervous energy making his blue eyes sparkle as he talked. "Daniel, would you just calm down a minute?"
"I am calm."
"Yeah, right. Look, do you have any idea how paranoid this sounds?"
"Of course, I do, but just because it sounds that way, doesn't mean it's not true."
"DanielJackson is correct. I have observed that some men do not lose with grace or honor."
Rubbing his forehead, Jack snapped. "Stay out of this, Teal'c. You've got no idea how serious this is."
"On the contrary. I have seen first hand how your government treats those it wishes to study or imprison. This Rayburn has power. If he chooses to hurt my friend in such a manner, I will stop him."
"You think this is a joke, Jack? You think I'm making up what Rayburn did when I was a kid? I know this guy. I know how he thinks."
Holding up both hands in surrender, Jack sighed and backed up against the wall. "Okay, okay. Why don't we just wait and see what General Hammond says? No reason to go crazy until we have to."
Seeing Daniel's hurt expression, he stepped closer. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that."
"You don't know what this guy did to me, Jack."
"You told me what he did."
"Not everything." The words quivered in the air, the shaking breaths behind them suddenly echoing each syllable.
Oh, shit. "What's that supposed to mean, not everything?"
Daniel leaned against the wall, his head back. "Let's just say not everything he did was in the records."
"Leave it at that."
"You started it. So, tell me."
Swallowing hard, Daniel slid down the wall and sat on the floor, his eyes too bright in the flickering candle light. "I told you, I don't remember everything, but I do remember he did things."
"I was just a kid, but I knew the difference between a physical exam and what he did."
Black dots swarmed his vision while his gut heaved. Several deep breaths later, Jack glanced at the stoic face of Teal'c, those proud lips pursed in his version of anger. Moving to sit down beside Daniel, Jack blinked back the bitter sting to his eyes. "I swear to you, he's never going to touch you again."
"You can't promise something like that."
"Yes, I can. I'll tell Hammond..."
A deep shudder ran through Daniel's body as he hugged his knees, his body tense and shaking. "How much credibility would the words of a confused, drugged-out kid have against a man like Rayburn years later? It'd just make me sound like how he wants me to sound, crazy."
Teal'c sat down in his chair as he stared at both men. "This Rayburn deserves death for what he has done."
"The law won't touch him, Teal'c. Even if I could prove what I say, which I can't, the statutes of limitations wouldn't let me do anything to him."
"Your statutes of limitations have no meaning to me. You are my friend. This man is my enemy."
Jack looked first at Daniel, the younger man's head resting forward on his upraised knees, his breathing wet and ragged. Then he met Teal's fiery brown eyes and hissed with newfound passion. "You said it."
"Here, drink this."
Daniel took the cup and sniffed the contents, his nose wrinkled in complaint. "What is it?"
"Something Teal'c gave me. Said it would make you feel better."
"Couldn't hurt." Daniel sipped carefully and then drank the rest before handing the cup back to Jack. He shifted up to sit higher on the bed and took a deep breath. "Where's Teal'c?"
"He's just outside guarding the door. I wanted to talk to you alone."
Shaking his head, Daniel closed his eyes as he spoke softly, the words almost too heavy for his tongue. "This is a mess, Jack."
"Kinda, but we've been in worse." Jack sat down next to Daniel on the bed and cleared his throat. "I have to ask you this."
"Why didn't you say something about Rayburn when you first saw him?"
"I don't know."
"Give it a shot. I mean, why not just go to Hammond at the beginning and ask for someone else? Why sit there and take all those tests and act like he was some stranger?"
Scooting away, Daniel swung his legs over the side of the bed, his back to Jack. He leaned forward, his elbows braced on his knees and his hands fisted in front of him. "I knew I knew him, but I pretended I didn't. It was like he was someone I made up, someone I used to have nightmares about when I was a kid. He wasn't supposed to be real enough to come back."
"To life. In my mind he was dead. I killed him a thousand different ways after I got out of that place. I can remember reading about the Spanish Inquisition and the Aztec and wishing I could send him back in time to those places."
"Remind me never to piss you off."
"After awhile, I came to peace with what happened, or thought I did. Then this happened. Last night it came back to me all over, the impotence I felt then and now."
Jack sighed, his hand palming Daniel's back. "I'm sorry. I wish none of that ever happened."
"I know. The thing is, now I have to make sure no one ever gets a chance to do that to me again." He bit his lip and he moved back onto the bed and closer to Jack, his only tether to the calm. Wrapping his arms around him, Daniel rested his head over his heart. "I know I need help, but not from Rayburn."
"No argument there." Jack stroked his hair, each touch magic as his fingers combed it gently. "Then tell Hammond that. He'll do the right thing if he knows the reasons."
A languid heat spread across his skin and Daniel relaxed into strong arms. His body eased closer to sleep as his words slurred long and lazy. "That stuff I drank is kicking in."
"We need a bucket of the stuff then."
"No kidding. I'm really sleepy."
"Then catch a few Zs while I go talk to Hammond."
Squeezing tighter, Daniel protested. "Not yet. Just hold me."
Jack shifted and drew him closer as they slid down deeper into the pillows. A warm blanket slipped over him and Daniel floated into the swirling grey protection of his friend's safe harbor.