Summary: A member of SG1 gets the stuffing knocked out of him (JoaG's name is up there, what did you expect?)
The beeping of the life monitors had been his constant companion for the past three hours. Cold fingers twitched beneath his, the skin temperature deceivingly different from the flushed cheeks which were turned towards him. In response to a small moan, Jack tightened his grip on the familiar callused fingers.
In his other hand, the soft, limp, appendage lay frightening still. The bed's occupant's supine (Authors' Notes supine means the occupant is lying on his back, unlike prone, which means lying on one's stomach) form had not even twitched an eyelash in response to the doctors' ministrations since SG1's return from their ill fated rescue mission.
He kept staring at the drip that was providing life sustaining fluids into the unconscious forms of his twin souls. He pushed back his exhaustion as the strain in his shoulders became an almost overwhelming agony. How had he come to this? Yet again, his beloved companions were teetering on the brink of death.
The click, click of heels heralded the approach of the SGC's petite, doe-eyed Napoleonic power monger, Dr. Janet Fraiser, Chief Medical Officer, the only person in the SGC who could be on duty 24/7 and still managed to cook, clean, and make time for her adoptive daughter's schooling, activities and mother/daughter bonding.
Colonel Jonathan "Jack" O'Neill, silver haired, fearless leader of SG1, the SGC's premiere first contact team, 2IC of the SGC, and a crappie fisherman to boot, looked up into Dr. Fraiser's limpid, concerned eyes. His chocolate brown eyes pooled with unshed tears at the expression on Fraiser's face.
"Nooooo!!!!" he wailed, unable to stop the flowing moisture which ran down his craggy cheeks.
"It was close, Colonel, but they're going to be alright."
Jack shuddered under the weight of Fraiser's supportive hand on his shoulder, sniffling lightly, and bowed his head in silent prayer as he allowed his tears to turn to ones of joy, as he realized that, yet again, SG1 had battled the odds, and won.
Previously at the SGC
Major Samantha Carter, SG1's brilliant theoretical astrophysicist, planet saver extraordinaire, lover of blue Jello and one hell of a pool shark, shielded her cornflower blue eyes from the mist of hairspray that she used to lacquer her perfect coif.
Teal'c, the former First Prime to Apophis and SGC's lone Jaffa warrior, who had been torn from his home and family in order to free his people from the Goa'uld dominion, and a terrific Jello wrestler to boot, walked by his blonde haired teammate, coughing at the mist enveloping SG1's private, very anally clean locker room.
Their eyes met in the mirror and Samantha blushed appealingly under his scrutiny. "Sorry," she apologized with a sweet grin, showing off her perfect teeth and dimple.
"It is quite acceptable, MajorCarter, do not worry yourself over my discomfort. Even now my primta is repairing my nasal passages and lungs." He canted his head forward a mere quarter of an inch, the Jaffa's way of acknowledging her stunning beauty while ignoring the very prominent dark roots on the willowy woman's hair. Now, had he only arched an eyebrow, he'd have meant that he had been surprised that she had too much make up on. Or not enough. Or she'd said something to surprise him. Or maybe Teal'c just watched too much StarTrek and had a fondness for Mr. Spock.
Samantha's eyes were drawn to Teal'c's gleaming, well-defined muscles, the overhead fluorescent lights highlighting his golden, glimmering tattoo. Samantha gave a girlish giggle as she grabbed a dainty pink washcloth from the side of the basin. Standing on tip-toes, she wiped off a smear of shaving cream from Teal'c's bald, freshly shaved pate.
"I am forever in your debt, MajorCarter," his deep, melodic voice echoing pleasantly in the tiled locker room.
Doctor Daniel Jackson, holder of multiple PHDs, archaeologist, linguist, anthropologist, dweeb, diplomat, coffee connoisseur, all around nice guy and come back kid, entered the locker room. His sparkling, cerulean blue eyes blazed menacingly behind his glasses as Jack's voice preceded him into the room.
"Daniel, how many times have I told you to get your stuff ready the night before we leave?" Jack grumbled, pointing at the tote Daniel clutched in his white knuckled grasp.
Daniel's lush lower lip quivered slightly as his anger swiftly turned to heartfelt shame at his lover's reprimand.
"I'm sorry, Jack," Daniel said softly as he peeked at Jack through lowered lashes.
"It's all right," Jack placated as his hand slithered to Daniel's shoulder, squeezing lightly. "It's only because I care so much, Danny. I don't want you to get in trouble with the General," Jack whispered, ruffling Daniel's still damp from the shower, silky locks.
After a prolonged discussion on today's apparel, they all swiftly changed from their civilian clothes into their desert BDU's after discarding the blue and green uniforms. They were going to a hot, arid, waterless, desert planet, after all. Sam and Daniel both smiled, and Teal'c raised both eyebrows, as they fondly thought of their leader's penchant for stating the obvious. Trees. No trees today. No Sirree.
Jack held the door open and gazed expectantly at his dawdling lover.
Daniel blushed, and smiled shyly. "I'm just going to pack up my backpack," he said, holding up an armful of heavy tomes that he had pulled from his tote.
Jack sighed deeply, wagging his finger at Daniel. Sam and Teal'c smiled knowingly, enjoying the banter between their two teammates.
Daniel waited until the locker room door swung shut before he allowed himself a grimace of discomfort from the throbbing pain radiating from his index finger. Jack would kill him if he knew Daniel had injured himself just this morning.
While Jack had sat waiting for him in the brightly shining Avalanche, Daniel had rushed around the house, trying to find an empty VHS tape. Daniel had vowed never to forget to record Jack's beloved Bass Masters, and in the process of unwrapping the VHS' cellophane wrap that he'd bought at Walmart the day before, he'd slit his finger open.
He'd had to drop the tape and hurried to stem the flow of blood. Sticking his mangled index finger into his mouth, he'd worried that he'd bleed to death before he could either call 911 or get to Jack for help. He'd begun to feel light headed and had needed to lean against the wall for support.
Gasping breathlessly, legs shaking weakly beneath him, he'd gingerly pulled his finger out of his mouth and peered at the injured digit. It had been with intense relief when he'd realized he wouldn't need stitches.
He'd managed to place the tape into the VCR one-handedly and had programmed it, unknowingly leaving traces of blood over the tape and over the pristinely clean carpet.
Needing a moment of comfort to deal with the painful paper cut, he'd rushed into their bedroom and without thought, shoved one more item into his already-overflowing blue tote which Jack always loved since it matched his eyes.
A honking horn had captured Daniel's wandering attention and he'd rushed to the Avalanche, hiding his injury from Jack's intense scrutiny.
Taking a deep breath, Daniel placed the past behind him. He took one last lingering look around SG1's private locker room, a place that was almost as near and dear to his heart as Jack's bedroom (not withstanding the infirmary bed reserved in his name) and scurried to catch up to the rest of his teammates.
The shimmering cerulean blue of the event horizon blossomed into life. Daniel moved into position, knowing that the angle at which he stood caused a reflection in his glasses that highlighted the blazing glory that was his eyes. Even from across the room, Jack heaved a sigh that Daniel could hear. His knees went weak at the thought that Colonel Jonathan "Jack" O'Neill was his lover. Daniel had suffered so greatly in love in his tragic past. Sha're, Sarah Gardner, and all the other women he'd left in his wake. It was only when he'd given into his desire to have Jack as his life mate that Daniel felt complete and whole as if he'd found the missing part of his soul. That, plus maybe the fact that Jack was a man would save his loved one from being snaked, ignoring the fact that Jack had already had a snake in him twice already.
Major Samantha Carter watched her three male teammates' sixes as they tromped up the ramp towards the shimmering blue flux that so matched Daniel's cerulean blue orbs. She sighed at the hardship of keeping her men in line, their hard, taut muscles rippling and bunching as they disappeared through the event horizon. The sighs of the SFs at the beautiful sight that was SG1 was the last sound Sam heard as she followed her teammates to a new and thrilling adventure on the other side of the artificially created wormhole.
Jack entered the darkened ruins where his younger lover and confidante, Daniel, had most recently been spotted. He muttered under his breath at the unsanitary working conditions and the heat and humidity of the dimly lit, enclosed space. Aware that Carter and Teal'c were off collecting soil samples, one of the major responsibilities of the SGC's premiere astrophysicist and lone Jaffa warrior, Jack called for the light of his life by his pet name, a rare opportunity for them to privately express their love for one another. When Daniel didn't answer, he felt a frisson of fear slither down his back. He raised his P90 in his right hand, a zat in his left, and clenched his knife between his perfect teeth.
"Daniel," he gritted out, careful not to cut his tongue on the blade. He moved quietly into the ruins, and made out his lover's figure as he leaned over a bunch of scribbles on the wall. That was when he noticed a gleam in the dim light and raised his zat to fire at the stalking enemy.
"Noooooooooooooo!!!!!" Daniel screamed, throwing himself over the brown lump on the floor. "Wait, don't shoot! It's Lumpy™!"
Jack spit out the knife, the blade landing mere millimeters from the defenseless camel and the heroic archaeologist. "Thank God you're all right, Daniel," Jack finally managed to say when his heart slowed down to a normal pace after the close call.
Daniel rose to his feet, swaying dangerously close to the rock wall and nearly giving himself a concussion yet again. His quick reflexes coming to the fore, Jack dropped his remaining weapons and grabbed Daniel before he could hit his head.
"Damn it, Daniel," Jack exclaimed as he felt the heat radiating through the archaeologist's vest, jacket and T-shirt. He lowered the quivering body gently to the floor, clutching his lover to his manly bosom.
Daniel screamed (not a girlish scream, but the scream of a man in severe agony) as Jack gently touched his lover's right hand. Unsure of why Daniel would react in such a fashion, Jack ran experienced eyes over the form of his writhing, over-heated lover. He quickly spied the purulent green pus oozing from the laceration on Daniel's index finger that looked suspiciously like a paper cut that one would receive from opening a brand new cellophane wrapped VHS tape that had been bought on sale at Walmart the previous day.
"J'ck?" Daniel gasped, tears of pain trickling down his stubbled cheeks which only one short hour ago had been baby smooth as they stepped through the Stargate.
"Daniel, tell me. What happened? I can't help you if I don't know what I'm dealing with. Fer crying out loud, I can't leave you alone for even five minutes."
Daniel knew that the anger was only a cover-up for the concern hidden behind the Colonel's chocolate-covered espresso bean-colored eyes. Before he could reply, the radio on Jack's shoulder squawked to life.
"Hi, Sir." Carter's perky, sunshine-laced dulcet tones echoed in the small room, conquering the tinny quality of the radio.
"Carter, cut the chit chat. Daniel's fallen and I can't get him up."
Dead silence followed his statement and the next sound he heard was Teal'c's eager voice.
"You are having difficulty with DanielJackson? Perhaps I, as a Jaffa warrior, can be of assistance. One of my many duties as First Prime to Apophis was to assist in raising fallen members. Perhaps I can aid you in this"
"Really?" Jack's eyes widened and he grinned for a moment, then shook his head and brought his attention back to the matter at hand. "Hold that thought, big guy. I need you and Carter here now."
Daniel's moans rose in volume as they turned to womanly shrieks (not the kind that sound like a man in severe agony), the sound endowing Jack with superhuman strength. He scooped up his fever ridden archaeologist in his arms, hating the fact that he was causing the younger man more pain.
As Jack exited the ruins and ran for the Stargate, Daniel's long, slender legs bouncing at each step, Jack spied his approaching teammates as they progressed at frantic speed to aid their Colonel and their beloved, stricken, fallen, feverish archaeologist, who couldn't get up.
"I'll dial us home, Sir," Carter shouted coquettishly.
"Make it so," the Colonel answered, hugging the body in his arms closer to his manfully, heaving breast.
As Janet straightened the blankets on her favorite patient's reserved bed, she heard the alarm blare throughout the infirmary, heralding the unscheduled activation of the Stargate. The patients in her infirmary all jumped as the cacophony disturbed their drug-induced sleep.
"Oh crap," she replied as she fluffed the pillows one last time, aware that SG1 was the only team offworld, which could mean only one thing. This bed would soon be occupied by her beloved, stricken archaeologist, accompanied by his over protective Colonel and ready to assist Jaffa, with Sam bringing up the rear carrying coffee, and the never-ending supply of chocolate walnut cookies. Just in time since she was beginning to feel a little hungry.
"Get the crash cart!" Janet shouted. "Oh, and don't forget the intubation tray, the ventilator, the Bair Hugger, the cooling blanket, a foley catheter, multiple IV pumps, an emesis basin and a rectal thermometer." Her eyes twinkled in anticipation as she watched her staff scurry to follow her orders. She snapped on her latex-free rubber gloves and waited with baited breath for the doors to the infirmary to spit forth, yet again, SGC's Head of the Archaeological Department, Dr. Daniel Jackson.
Agonizing screams preceded the sound of clumping boots and squeaking wheels as the anticipated gurney headed her way.
She clapped her hands, ordering her team to attention. "Look lively, folks, we have a live one. And I intend to keep him that way."
Her heart dropped as she made visual contact with the body on the gurney. This injury would test her skills to the limit. Rubbing her latex-free rubber-laden hands in anticipation, she stepped forth to do battle and face the challenge.
Jack sat fidgeting in the extremely uncomfortable, ugly looking molded plastic chairs that lined the hallway outside of the infirmary.
"Give it to me straight Doc, I want the hard truth... are ya gonna have to amputate?"
Janet hung her head and studied her shiny, black patent leather shoes for just a moment, the new ones that she had purchased on sale at the local Walmart the week before, having had feverishly fought off the other vicious shoppers. 'Ya win some, ya lose some,' she thought, admiring their sheen and the height of their heels.
"Yes," Janet replied, giving the Colonel a warm, Southern smile.
"Oh God!" Jack tried to find purchase as he felt himself slither bonelessly to the floor.
Janet bent gracefully, even though she wearing a skin tight military issue skirt, one size to small, compliments of Sam's endless supply of chocolate walnut cookies due to the frequent hospitalization of her teammates.
"Oh no, Colonel," she said, supporting his elbow, "I'm not amputating now, we need to wait 24 hours to see if the drug cocktail that Sam developed will work on the massive, systemic, alien infection Daniel's suffering from. Would you like to see him?"
"Yeahsureyabetcha," Jack replied with more confidence than he felt as he followed shakily behind the diminutive doctor.
The condition of Daniel's body took Jack's breath away. Many lines and tubes could be seen draped across his beloved archeologist's supine (Authors' Notes yes, it means he's lying on his back) body, providing the limp, unconscious, feverish, pale, and now-gaunt figure with necessary fluids and draining his many orifices. He stepped around the various bags, tubes, machines and several bags of chocolate walnut cookies, thinking that Carter sure worked fast. As his hand touched the bed, he made contact with the ice cold mat that Daniel lay upon.
He turned questioning eyes to Fraiser. "A cooling blanket?"
She sighed. "We had no choice, Colonel, his temperature level..."
"Oh God... how high?" Jack interrupted.
"99.9, and with his medical history," and she turned and pointed to the bookshelf nearby lined with Daniel's medical records, "we feared the threat of a febrile seizure."
"I understand," he replied with a trembling voice as he turned back to his beloved lying before him in the bed.
Fraiser pointed to her watch. "I'm giving you 15 minutes, Sir," she said, stuffing a bag of cookies into her pocket and clutching another one in her hand, thinking of the freshly brewed pot of Colombian Roast in her office that had been a gift from Daniel the last time she had pulled her beloved patient's ass out of the fire once again. Well, it was either a thank you for having saved him, or he was getting tired of her filching his coffee from his office the moment he stepped through the wormhole. No man could hide coffee or chocolate from her sensitive, cute, freckled button nose.
Jack moved a familiar looking plastic molded chair closer to Daniel's bedside, carefully avoiding all the medical instrumentation and bags of cookies needed to assist in Daniel's recovery.
Ten minutes into Jack's bedside vigil, Daniel began to stir restlessly, little moans of pain breaking Jack's heart until finally, red-rimmed, fever-ridden, pain-filled eyes turned to look at Jack.
"Hey, you awake?" Jack leaned forward, crushing a bag of cookies under his feet. He kicked them surreptitiously under the bed, hoping that Fraiser wouldn't notice as Daniel grimaced beneath the oxygen mask.
"J'ck? Wrs l..y™?"
Jack hovered in Daniel's personal space, concentrating on his lover's mumbled words. It took Jack a few seconds to make out Daniel's garbled speech, but when he understood his lover's question, he stood quickly, upsetting the IV pole, ripping the IV line from Daniel's body watching in horror as ruby red blood, like drops of tears, speckled the pristine sheets, floor, bags of cookies, medical equipment and Jack's penny loafers that he had purchased just last week at the local Walmart during their yearly shoe clearance sale. 'Ya win some, ya lose some', he thought, as the blood dripped and began to pool under the new soles.
"Lumpy™!!!" he screamed as alarm bells rang through the infirmary (Authors' Notes yes we know that alarm bells won't ring for a ripped out IV, but we thought it would add to the drama). Fraiser ran to Daniel's bedside, leaving a trail of crumbs in her wake.
"Can you fix that?" Jack yelled to SGC's tiny CMO as she climbed onto a stool in order to reach Daniel's bed, pointing to the river of blood and the dangling IV tubing. "I gotta go see Hammond, a member of the team has been left behind," he shouted over his shoulder as he booked from the infirmary, leaving bloody size 12 _ footsteps behind.
"Oh no," Janet cried, "Not Lumpy™!!!"
Janet's cry of distress was taken up by the other staff and patients in the infirmary. The words "not Lumpy™" echoed through Jack's brain as he rode the elevator to General George Hammond's sanctuary.
By the time he had reach Hammond's office, the whispers had preceded him and he found General George Hammond sitting at his desk, head in his hands, mumbling to himself, "Not Lumpy™. Dear God, not Lumpy™."
Hammond lifted his face towards Jack. His blue eyes, so unlike Daniel's cerulean blue eyes, were red rimmed and filled with fear. "I've already authorized a Search and Rescue mission, Major Carter and Teal'c are already gearing up. Go get a move on, Colonel, and I expect you to bring our boy home alive."
Jack saluted (although we know that saluting is not usually required indoors, we felt that this was appropriate in this event). "Your wish is my command, Sir."
"God speed, Colonel."
They discovered the limp, dirty, saliva encrusted, wet, ripped open, stuffing sticking out form of their beloved Lumpy™ mere inches from the Stargate.
"Oh god, Colonel," Sam cried, "We left Lumpy™ without a GOD, he couldn't have made it home."
"That's GDO, Carter," Jack replied.
"Oops," she giggled.
"Carter, focus here, we have a severely injured, mangled friend to rescue."
"Sorry, Sir," she blushed, bending to examine the prone figure (Authors' Notes- Yep, it means he's laying on his stomach, not his back. Ya getting it now?)
"Indeed. Stuffed Lumpy™ looks quite ill," Teal'c said, his gaze raking the surrounding area for hidden dangers. Something had obviously attacked his dear friend and he would defend them all to the death to save those he held close to his Jaffa heart.
"We need to get him to the infirmary ASAP, Sir. He's lost a lot of stuffing and I can't help him here," Sam replied, pressing her delicate hands to his open wounds.
Teal'c carefully picked up the wounded camel, gentle cradling his injured body against his manly, heaving chest.
Hundreds of SGC personnel waited in the gateroom and cleared a pathway as the three members of SG1 carried an injured Lumpy™ towards the safety of the infirmary.
Jack halted just outside the swinging doors and indicated to the big Jaffa to hand over his precious cargo. "I'll take it from here, big guy," he whispered.
Teal'c canted his head, gently passing him the camel who had spent many a night keeping him company in kel-no-reem.
Jack backed into the infirmary, not wanting Daniel to catch sight of the torn and broken figure he held not only in his outstretched arms, but also close to his heart.
"Can you save him?" Jack implored as Janet rushed to his aid.
"No promises, Colonel, but I will do the best I can."
"That's all I can ask for, Doc. Thanks." He leaned weakly against the cold, cement infirmary wall as his beloved was taken into the ICU.
Jack looked down at the neatly stitched, freshly cleaned and bandaged brown furred form lying on the bed beside Daniel's. Janet had said both Lumpy's™ and Daniel's recovery would be slow and arduous with weeks of Physical Therapy sessions looming over the horizon.
Jack had faith in the tenacity of his beloveds and promised to wait patiently for their recovery until he would even attempt even a mere snuggle.
Hammond paced his office, giving a tight smile to the SGC's CMO and Dr. 'no first name given' Mackenzie, Head of Psychiatry, giver of hope, destroyer of dreams, pusher of drugs, jumper to conclusions and all around bad guy. "There has been some talk around the SGC regarding the recent events surrounding SG1's latest offworld mishap."
"I understand your concern, General Hammond, and I am aware that Washington would like some answers, but I stand by my earlier recommendation. I feel it is imperative that we humor *all* of SG1, but especially Dr. Jackson and Colonel O'Neill," Mackenzie replied, tapping his pen against the shiny top of Hammond's desk.
"Will this continue for much longer?" Hammond asked.
"There is no way to answer that question, General. Only time will tell."
Mackenzie set his watch for fifty minutes before entering his seldom used office since Dr. Jackson's unfortunate incarceration in the padded white room. He sat behind the desk and opened the file before him, pen ready, gazing eagerly at his newest patient who lay in a supine (Authors' Notes by now you should know what this means, right?) position on the seldom used couch. The coal black eyes stared at him unblinkingly. Black stitches marred the once-perfect surface, testament to the ordeal his patient had recently undergone. He had a feeling that this patient was going to be a tough nut to crack.
"So, tell me, how long has it been since they all believed you to be alive?"
There was only silence from the small stuffed camel. Mackenzie sighed. It seemed Lumpy™ was as close mouthed as the other members of SG1. Sometimes he was convinced it was all a plot by SG1 to drive him insane, but he dismissed that thought almost as quickly as it appeared in his brain. Surely they could not be that devious.
He clicked his pen once and then twice, waiting. "Don't worry. Take all the time you need to tell me your troubles." He met the camel's unwavering gaze and began to silently count away the minutes until he was free to send Lumpy™ back to his room.