Summary: Daniel struggles to control the emotional aftermath of his rape.
Disorder and chaos.
How could Jack live with so much mess? Vegetables mixed in with the fruits and spices? Jesus.
Daniel sorted the canned goods and put them neatly back on the shelves in the right spots, tomatoes nowhere near the peaches. The spices he alphabetized and put in another area completely. Standing back, anxiety decreased a fraction as he gazed at the neat rows, everything ordered the way they should be.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"Just cleaning up the mess."
Daniel closed the cabinet doors and then washed his hands, ignoring Jack's worried expression as his groggy friend stepped closer. "I cleaned out and organized the refrigerator, too. Why aren't you sleeping?"
"You're kidding. Why should I be sleeping at three in the morning?"
"I didn't mean to wake you."
"Daniel, you need to come back to bed."
"I'm not finished."
"What are you going to do next? Refinish and wax the floor?"
"Clean the oven."
"For crying out loud, this is crazy." Jack's voice tightened, the words tense and fearful.
Daniel wiped his hands and folded the towel neatly to hang it on the rack. Walking into the living room, his heart pounded too hard as he took off his glasses to clean them on the edge of his T-shirt. "I'm not crazy because I like things in their right places."
"It's the middle of the night and you're doing the manic maid routine. What's going on?"
"I couldn't sleep."
"And?" Jack stood in the doorway, his arms crossed, his eyes narrowed with concern.
"And I needed to do something. I tried to translate some of those last glyphs we got, but I couldn't."
"What do you mean you couldn't?"
"I mean, I couldn't. I couldn't concentrate. Then it took me an hour to decide whether to work on the kitchen or dust and redo your bookshelves. The kitchen won."
"What's wrong with just sleeping?"
Daniel frowned, his forehead furrowed as he crossed his arms. "I can't."
Jack moved to his side, his hand at the small of his back as he spoke quietly. "Daniel, listen to me."
"You're just a little wound up, that's all. You need to try to relax. Come back to bed and I'll give you a massage and one of those little pills Dr. Frasier said to use if this happened."
"I don't want any more pills."
"One pill won't hurt."
"The antibiotics make me sick to my stomach, and I don't need a sleeping pill."
"Maybe I do then."
Daniel looked up, Jack's face drawn and haggard. "I'm sorry. Maybe I just need to go home."
"That's not what I want and you know it." An arm wrapped around his middle and drew him closer. Dropping his head on Jack's shoulder, Daniel allowed the embrace, relaxing against the firm chest. "I just hate seeing you so wired. Take the pill tonight and things will be better in the morning."
"They make me fuzzy."
"I can't think straight. Everything's fuzzy."
Stroking his hair, Jack shook his head, his voice soft and teasing. "Hate to break it to you, Daniel, but you're not thinking too straight as it is."
He wanted to protest, but didn't. Recognizing the truth, Daniel shrugged and pulled away. "You're right. I'm just tired, but every time I try to sleep, it starts all over."
"You know what I mean. I no sooner get to sleep and she's there again. Only this time it's worse."
Daniel walked over to the sofa and slumped down. His head fell back and his words struggled up from his throat. "Now it's not just Hathor and the Goa'uld. Rayburn's there, touching me, talking to me, telling me what a beautiful boy I am." A fist slammed into the cushion as the rage washed up over him. "I'm fucked, Jack. No matter what I do, I'm seriously fucked."
The space beside him dipped as Jack settled in and drew him into his arms. "You're not fucked. He is."
"Wonder if the bastard has any trouble sleeping?"
"Well, if he didn't, I'll bet he does now."
Daniel drew back and stared, his lover's eyes blazing with anger and promise. "Why? What have you done?"
"Nothing. At least nothing yet. Frasier and Hammond are pulling strings to open an investigation of Rayburn and everything he's done since he started in practice. Believe me, he's going to know he's got the whole SGC on his ass before it's over. It may take awhile, but they'll find something to hang him with."
Taking a deep breath, Daniel choked back a laugh. "Come on, Jack. Do you really think that they didn't already know?"
"What are you talking about?"
"The government had to know about him, and yet they let him get clearance. A man like that doesn't just fuck over one patient. He loves power, power over people who can't defend themselves. That's a heavy psych profile. Do you think the people in charge didn't already know what he did to get off?"
"And you call me cynical." Jack sat back, his eyes focused on him as he took a deep breath. "Believe what you want, but we're going to get this guy. He's not going to go around abusing people if the general can do anything to stop him."
"How do you know that?"
"Because I know Hammond. You didn't see what I saw when you told him what happened."
"What do you mean?"
"You were so involved with the story, trying to keep it together, you didn't see his reaction, not really. I'm telling you Hammond's going to make sure Rayburn never gets a chance to hurt anyone again."
"And if he doesn't?"
"Then we'll go to plan B."
Jack ran the back of his hand tenderly up the side of Daniel's face and leaned closer. "Don't worry about Rayburn. He won't touch you again."
Closing his eyes, Daniel gradually shifted and lay his head in Jack's lap, his thighs for a pillow. His body grew heavy as his breathing slowed and his lover caressed his cheek and combed his hair with gentle fingers. In his head he counted off things to do later, making a mental checklist of everything to keep himself busy while feverishly building the walls against those invasive memories ready to ambush him any minute.
"What if Dr. Cowles asks me about us? What do I say?"
Startled, Jack put down his coffee and focused on Daniel. Fatigue etched his face with dark lines and shadows, the pain of the last few weeks aging his youthful features. "What do you think?"
"I don't know. That's why I'm asking. I need to know if he's a shrink first or if he's military. How much of what I say is going to be confidential?"
"It's all supposed to be confidential."
"Yeah, I know what it's supposed to be, Jack. But what is it really?"
Shrugging, Jack rubbed his face with both hands, the weariness pulling at his muscles. He needed to sleep, but Daniel's insomnia and nightmares made that impossible. Both guilty and selfish, he wished he could knock the man out with a cup of Teal'c's magic brew. He took several deep breaths to clear his head before he finally spoke. "I told Cowles a lot of things before. As far as I know, none of those things ended up in MacKenzie's reports."
"But how do you know for sure?"
"I don't, but I know nothing's been said about it."
Daniel worried his bottom lip while he stared off, his eyes hollowed out, his body pulled in on itself. "What things did you tell him?"
"You said you told him things. What things?"
Standing up, Jack took his cup to the sink and emptied it, not sure how much he wanted to say, not sure if it wasn't time to say it all. "Things about you mostly."
Turning, Jack leaned back against the counter, his arms crossed. "You have no idea how hard it was to leave you on Abydos."
"I don't understand."
"Do you think I just now realized how much I care for you?"
Uneasy, Daniel looked away, his face twisted with confusion. "What are you saying? Are you saying you've been in love with me all this time? What about your wife?"
"Yeah, that's what I'm saying. As for my wife, Sara and I were pretty much finished before you came along."
Touching his forehead, Daniel stayed quiet several long moments. When he did speak, his voice trembled. "Why didn't you say something before?"
"You had Sha're. What was there to say?"
"Damn it, Jack. You could've told me."
"I didn't see the point of embarrassing myself. Besides, I have to admit I was a little confused."
"You know, baffled and bewildered. I didn't have a clue what was going on. I mean it's one thing to fantasize about Kowalsky being buck-naked after working out and another to want to be with you for real." He stepped back to the table and sat down, his voice more calm, but his body still tense. "I've always thought of myself as pretty straight, and then I met you and that changed. I'm hardcore military, Daniel. You can't imagine how unsettling it is to have your self-image rocked like that."
Lifting his head, Daniel's blue eyes misted over. "Yeah, I can actually. I just wish you'd told me sooner."
"Me, too. I just didn't think I could."
"And you told Cowles all this?"
"Some of it. I sort of hinted that I found you attractive and that it scared me to care so much about what happened to you."
"And what did he say?"
"He said I might be bisexual."
It caught them both off guard as Daniel snorted and did an impression of Jack's voice. "Ya think?" Sobering, the younger man settled back and took a deep breath. "So, if he asks me, I should tell him the truth?"
"I wish we could tell everyone the truth."
"Me, too, but I guess it's a start. He's a shrink. I doubt if he'll be too shocked that I'm in love with you."
"Stranger things have happened."
Daniel stood up and headed to the bedroom. "I'm going to shower."
"I love you, too."
The simple nod and smile filled the morning with the most hope he'd seen in ages.
"Idiots." Daniel fumed and paced the small space of his lab, his face flushed with anger.
"Settle down. You know the drill. It was procedure."
"Fuck procedure. I forgot my ID. So what? Like they don't fucking know me."
Jack stood in the corner of the office, his muscles tight, but controlled. He watched with growing concern as his friend slammed his fist into the file cabinet. "Why are you so angry?"
"I come in here almost every fucking day, past the same guards, past the same faces. All of a sudden they're going to hold us up just because I didn't have a little piece of damn plastic?"
Eyes narrowed, Jack kept his distance and shrugged. "It's high level security. Be thankful they didn't do a strip search."
"Fuck you." His breathing labored, Daniel steadied himself against the wall and shut his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose under his glasses. "I'm sorry. I've got a headache."
"I figured. Just sit down and I'll get us something to drink."
"I don't want anything."
"Then just sit down. You're about to blow a gasket."
Reluctantly, Daniel jerked out a chair and dropped down to the table, his arms crossed, his face grim and closed off. "I just hate bullshit, Jack."
"I know, but you build up a tolerance after awhile." The older man settled in the chair next to his and spoke more quietly. "You want to tell me what's really going on?"
Daniel looked up and took a deep breath as he shook his head. "Nothing. I don't have the energy to deal with all this right now."
"Nothing." Avoiding his eyes, Daniel worried the edge of the table and frowned. "Guess I overreacted a little."
"Maybe, unless there's something you're not telling me."
"I don't know, but this isn't like you."
"Maybe you don't know me as well as you think."
"Or maybe you're hiding something you don't want me to know."
Daniel stood up again, his arms still crossed, his body tight as he moved to the far corner. "You're not going to like it."
Biting his lower lip, Daniel shook his head. "Promise me you won't go off half cocked and do some kind of crazy vigilante act if I do."
Frustration building, only years of training kept the table safe from a severe pounding. "Just tell me."
"While you were off making arrangements for the temporary pass, I heard Smothers and Patterson talking."
"Smothers said I looked like I needed to get laid. Patterson said too late."
"Yeah, the Hathor bitch already took care of it."
Daniel closed his eyes again, his voice straining over the words, each one more stretched as he pushed his whole body back harder into the corner. "Said it surprised the hell out of him that she'd want to fuck a fag like Jackson when she had plenty of better choices."
"Patterson said that?"
"They all know, Jack. They all know what happened."
Standing up, his rage barely contained, Jack stepped closer, his hand on his shoulder. "They don't know shit, Daniel. They're idiots."
"I think I said that."
"I knew I heard it somewhere." Squeezing gently, his eyes stinging from both hurt and anger, Jack whispered, "I'm sorry."
"You didn't do anything."
"But you shouldn't have to hear that shit."
"It's how people are."
"Not all people."
"If they find out about us or even suspect, it'll be even worse."
"I know." Jack touched his arm and guided him back to the chair. "Have a seat. You're shaking."
"I can't help it. I keep hearing them laugh."
Smothers and Patterson would be digging latrines on a fucking ice planet by nightfall.
Pushing aside his own anger, he waited until Daniel fell into the chair and took a seat beside him. "You've got your first meeting with Cowles in a few minutes. Are you going to be okay?"
"Well, that's the big question."
Worried, Jack took Daniel's hand. "Forget about those assholes. Just concentrate on the main points. It wasn't your fault. You didn't ask for what happened."
"No, but I didn't fight it off, either."
"Then what about me? I almost ended up with a junior like Teal'c."
"But you didn't."
"Only because Carter and the others got there to stop it. What? You think you're supposed to be Superman just because you can leap through a stargate and are smarter than most of the known universe?"
Daniel pulled his hand away, his face twisted. "I didn't say that."
"Look, you got hurt, really hurt, but it wasn't because you wanted it to happen. It's time to let that go."
The words choked, coming out too raw and too wet. "I'm trying."
"I know, but you've got to figure out a way to get past the guilt thing."
"Yeah, the part of you that's confused because you think you had some kind of choice, that it was about sex. It wasn't."
Pain etched his face with shadows, long lines and thin creases. "I spent years studying her, reading every entry about Hathor and all her incarnations. Then all of a sudden, there she was in the flesh, wanting me, touching me." A tear ran down his cheek as he struggled to finish without breaking. "A part of me wanted her."
"We all did."
"But she chose me and I was flattered."
"You were drugged."
"Was I?" His head lifted and blue eyes met brown. "I've never been so turned on."
"Daniel, you were under the influence like the rest of us."
Rubbing his forehead with both hands, Daniel squeezed his eyes shut and spoke in a hush. "I tried to stop her, but nothing worked. Her touch controlled my body and I couldn't do a fucking thing to stop any of it."
"And that's what you have to remember."
"I can't get it out of my head, Jack. Her on top holding me down and that thing inside me. I still feel it. That's why I can't sleep."
Jack leaned in closer, resting his forehead against Daniel's, his voice trembling. "It'll get better."
"God, I hope so."
Jack lowered and cradled Daniel's head to his chest as he rocked slowly, his own prayers for deliverance growing polished with practice.
No windows, not even a fake mural or decent art print to look at.
Daniel hated the SGC sometimes, hated having no windows like normal buildings where he could stare out and distract himself from the people and world around him. So he paced instead.
"You mentioned you wanted to get back to work soon. Why is that so important?"
Daniel stopped moving for just a second and then resumed pacing, only six steps before turning, over and over. Hands tucked up under his armpits, he ground his teeth before he answered. "What we do here isn't just exploration. We're trying to keep the Goa'uld from taking over earth. I've seen what they can do first hand."
"With your wife?"
Ignoring the question, he rubbed his right temple as he spoke, the pounding growing stronger. "I've been part of the team from the beginning. The Goa'uld system lords are spreading out, trying to find new worlds."
"Dr. Jackson, how do you feel about your wife being taken by the Goa'uld?"
"How do you think I feel?"
"That's what I'm asking."
Air thinned in his lungs as he flashed on seeing Sha're as Ammonet that first time on Chulak, holding the hand of Apophis. "I hate the bastards. I hate that I couldn't do anything to stop it. I hate myself for failing."
"That's a lot of hate."
"Yeah." His hands shook as he crossed his arms around himself again and sank down into the chair, his head bowed, his eyes closed. "Every time I go through the gate, I pray I can find her, pray I can find some way to bring her back to me."
"From what I know of the Goa'uld and their hosts, that's not very likely."
"But it might happen."
Jerking his head up, Daniel only met Dr. Cowles's light blue eyes for a moment before looking away. The older man's calm expression unnerved him, the kindness in his face unexpected and unwanted. "But you think it's just wishful thinking."
"Yes, well, what I think isn't the issue."
"You're right, it's not."
"Is hoping to find your wife the only reason you stay with the Stargate project?"
Sitting back, Daniel swallowed hard before he managed the words he didn't want to say. "No. I've grown attached to the people in my team."
"Anyone in particular?"
"I have to ask you something before I answer that."
Dr. Cowles didn't wait for the question, but spoke firmly. "What you tell me is confidential. The only exception is if I thought you were a danger to yourself or someone else. Everything else is private."
Saying it out loud to a stranger strained his reserve and he didn't look up as he spoke. "I love my wife, but I'm also in love with Jack O'Neill."
"And how does that make you feel?"
"Worthy of punishment?"
"Shit." Leaning forward, his elbows on his knees, Daniel rested his face in his hands. "I didn't deserve what happened."
"No one says you did."
"So why do I feel like this?"
"Like it was some kind of major payback for wanting someone I don't deserve, someone I'm not supposed to have?" Getting up again, Daniel stretched out his arms and braced himself against the wall, his body shaking. "In my head I know that's bullshit. I do. But I keep getting ambushed every time I try to sleep. Hathor would've enslaved the world starting with Jack and I helped her."
"But not willingly."
"If I didn't love him, it wouldn't hurt so much."
Cowles put his pen down and leaned back in his chair, his voice softer. "You don't want to love him?"
"No, I don't. I swear I don't, but I can't help it. Because of me, he's taking all these risks now. I don't want to ever hurt him like I hurt Sha're."
"How did you hurt your wife?"
"I didn't save her. I can never save anybody, not my parents, not Sha're, hell, not even myself." His fist hit the wall hard, his knuckles transmitting the painful impact up his arm to his shoulder. He didn't care, didn't give a fuck how much he hurt himself. None of that mattered.
Impotence made him crazy.
"I have to get out of here."
"Dr. Jackson, we're not finished."
"Yes, we are. For today we're finished." His eyes blurred, the sting threatening to undo him. "I have to get out of here."
"I'll see you tomorrow then. Call if you need to talk."
The words sounded at his back, but Daniel never heard them.
"Colonel, could I see you?" Dr. Frasier called out as she stepped up next to Jack in the corridor.
"You tell me."
Jack stopped and took in the anxious eyes, the serious expression alarming. "What's wrong?"
"Daniel never came to see me after he left Dr. Cowles office.
"Was he supposed to?"
"Yes, and he knew that. He stopped by just before the appointment. Said he'd be back for the exam and blood work just as soon as he was finished."
Glancing down at his watch, he noted the time and asked, "Did you check his lab?"
"Yes, but he wasn't there, and according to the guards, he hasn't left the base, either."
Clenching his jaw, the slow build of panic barely contained, Jack touched her arm. "He's around here somewhere. You know Daniel. He's probably stumbled on a stray artifact or something."
"Normally, I'd agree. Right now, I'm worried."
"Why? It's only a few minutes after his appointment."
Dr. Frasier stuffed her hands into her pockets, her face grim. "Dr. Cowles called. He said Daniel was upset when he left."
"Upset enough for Cowles to call and mention it."
Taking a deep breath, Jack nodded, his mind running through the list of places Daniel might go. "Teal'c."
"Yeah." Turning, he spoke over his shoulder. "Don't worry, he'll be fine."
"Get him to the infirmary, Colonel. Today. That's an order."
Moving fast and efficiently through the complex, he made it to the Jaffa's quarters in record time to find Teal'c standing guard duty outside. "Colonel O'Neill, do not enter."
"What's going on, Teal'c?"
"DanielJackson needs to be alone."
"I need to see him."
"When he is ready."
Jack listened carefully, but heard no sounds of destruction from behind the door. Running his hand through his hair, he paced several times before he spoke again. "Did he say why he needed to be alone?"
"He did not."
"I want to do something."
"You are doing something. You are waiting."
Surrendering, Jack sighed and leaned against the wall, relieved to have found his friend, but still worried. "Why did he come here?"
"He calls it a refuge."
Jack nodded, the idea of Daniel struggling to find peace in solitude fitting. For most of his life, the younger man relied on himself to get through a wealth of heartache. Loving Jack didn't change that habit overnight.
"Maybe we should knock and see if he's ready for company."
"He said to wait. I will do that."
Jack's argument stalled when the door opened and Daniel stepped out. "Sorry."
"Are you okay?"
Bloodshot eyes stared at him, Daniel's face red and swollen. "Not really. But I will be."
Stepping to his side, Jack whispered, "What happened? Why did you come here?"
"Yeah, I wanted to get myself under control before I spoke to anybody else." Avoiding his eyes, Daniel turned to Teal'c. "Thank you."
"You are welcome. I will be with Captain Carter if you wish to speak again."
As the Jaffa turned to leave, Daniel gripped his arm. "Tell Sam, it's okay."
"I do not understand."
"She's been avoiding me. Just tell her that it's okay. I didn't know what to say to her, either."
Teal'c's head tilted slightly with comprehension and then he nodded. "I will tell her."
As soon as the Teal'c left, Daniel motioned for them to walk. "I'm supposed to see Frasier."
"She's not happy."
"Tell her to stand in line."
After several moments, Jack asked, "So, what happened?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
Daniel stopped abruptly, his eyes intense, his face no longer passive. "Leave it alone, Jack. When I'm ready to talk about it, I will. In the meantime, don't ask."
"That sounds like an order."
"Damn military rubs off."
Walking away again, his shoulders less slumped, Daniel didn't smile. "Don't remind me."
"The wound is finally healing." Dr. Frasier pulled off the latex gloves and washed her hands. "I'm afraid it's going to leave a scar though."
"Doesn't matter." Slipping off the edge of the table, Daniel picked up his pants to dress. "How much longer do I need to take the antibiotics? They're making me sick to my stomach."
"Another week should do it. Is that why you're still not gaining any weight?" As she wiped her hands and tossed away the towel, he remained quiet, his face sad and withdrawn. He pulled on his T-shirt and grabbed his jacket preparing to leave. "Daniel?"
"You want to tell me what you're thinking?"
"Then sit back down."
"I said sit down."
Reluctantly, he followed orders but avoided her intense stare. "I'm fine."
"Your numbers are all off and your blood pressure's too high. You're exhausted and not eating. That's not fine, Daniel, not by a long shot."
"It's just temporary. As soon as I can get back to work, it'll get better."
Stepping closer to the table, Dr. Frasier kept her voice steady and calm. "That's not going to happen. You won't be returning to work until I'm sure you're able. Right now I'm not convinced that I should even let you go home with Colonel O'Neill."
Daniel jerked his head up, the words too threatening to ignore. "What?"
"I should keep you in the infirmary until you get some sleep and I'm sure you're eating again."
"I told you the antibiotics make me sick."
"But that's not the reason you're not eating."
Guiltily, he shrugged and worried the buttons on his jacket. "I know. I'm just not hungry."
"You still have to eat."
"And what about sleeping?"
Squeezing his eyes shut against the bombardment of wicked flashes, he shook his head. "I can't."
"You have to. Either take something to relax enough to sleep or I'm going to keep you here under observation." He stiffened under her touch, but didn't pull away. "Daniel, I know it's hard, but if you want to get better, you have to trust me and the others."
"I don't like being drugged."
"No one does. The medication isn't that strong, but it will help you get some sleep. You'll think more clearly once you've rested.
His throat constricted around the words, the confession scraping and resistant. "You don't know what it's like to be so scared, so powerless."
"Is that what it feels like in your nightmares?"
"I can't stop her or what's happening."
"But it's a dream. It's over."
"It feels too real."
"I know, but I swear to you, it'll get better. It's only been a few weeks. You've got to take care of yourself in the meantime."
Nodding, accepting the words, but not sure if he had the energy to do it, Daniel whispered, "I need Jack's help. Don't keep me here."
"Then do what I ask."
Dr. Frasier nodded, her face still serious. "All right. I want you back on Wednesday. I'd better see an improvement by then."
"That's only two days."
"That's the deal."
Tilting her head, Dr. Frasier patted his shoulder. "Let the colonel take you home. Take a nap and eat. You'll feel better."
Instead of reassurance, anger swelled his chest. "Don't patronize me."
Getting off the table, wanting to kick out the wall, he headed for the door. In his mind the world thundered and lightning cracked down his spine. "I'm not a child. I can take care of myself."
"Then prove it, or let someone help you. Either way, I expect you to be better or you'll be staying here until you are. Do you understand that?"
"I'm not in the military. You can't hold me against my will."
"I don't plan to. You want to work in the program, you'll do what you have to."
Anger deflated by the truth, Daniel jerked open the door and headed down the corridor. Jack fell in step beside him, his face anxious. "What's going on?"
"I'm going home."
"Home home or my place?"
"For now your place is my home."
"Works for me."
Getting into the elevator, Daniel pushed the button for the surface. "I'm sorry about being such a pain in the ass today."
"You're supposed to say I'm not a pain in the ass."
"Sorry. Didn't pick up the script."
Shaking his head, Daniel leaned back and crossed his arms, his face haggard. "Let's just get home, okay? I'm tired."
"Me, too. Maybe we should take a nap or something."
"As long as you don't do any more cleaning."
Smiling slightly, Daniel used both hands to rub his face. "I don't know. That hall closet needs work."
"For crying out loud..."
"I'm just kidding."
Confused, but recovering nicely, Jack grinned. "Oh, I forgot you did that."
"Funny. Me, too." Taking a deep breath and meeting dark eyes, Daniel spoke softly. "Let's just go home and try to forget about all this for awhile."
"Okay. On the way, I'll stop and pick up something for dinner."
Biting back his protest, Daniel nodded. "Make it something simple, rice or pasta. Nothing spicy."
"You've got it."