Broken Friends

Chapter 32

General Hammond resisted the urge to pace back and forth in front of the gate. It had only been seconds since SG-1 dialed in and he had ordered the iris opened before heading down the stairs, but he so truly and deeply wished SG-1 would return with good news this time. The event horizon rippled and admitted the four members of the team to the gate-room – all of them still walking.

“Welcome home SG-1. How did it go?” he greeted them while scanning their faces for signs of his preferred answer.

“Success, we think,” Jack replied, receiving a not too pleased look for his vague verdict.

“I need to see Fraiser before we're sure,” Daniel jumped to his rescue and clarified, “We did manage to get the wishes undone, but afterwards Pembi-Keran offered to heal me with a Goa'uld healing device. It seems to have worked, but I want Janet to have the final word this time. Also, we should probably all be under watch for a while to make sure there aren't any new…complications. I did have to wish for the other wishes to be undone, so even if Pembi-Keran said there wouldn't be any side effects...” He let the implication stand on its own. Hammond nodded and called for the attention of two SFs standing close by.

“Escort SG-1 to the infirmary and inform Dr Fraiser that they are to be placed in isolation under guard. Dr Jackson can fill her in on the details.”

The team handed over their weapons to a couple of other guards and allowed themselves to be escorted through the halls of SGC with unusual willingness. Not even Jack grumbled about the prospect of being stuck in an isolation room for an unspecified time. As the general watched them go he reflected that the very fact that they weren’t making a fuss coupled with the insightful initiative by Daniel, was a good indication that this was finally actual good news. He could not however halt a slight worry emerging regarding Daniel's healing, and back in his office he waited impatiently for the reasonable time to pass before he could call the infirmary and check up on Dr Fraiser's diagnosis.

Janet looked up from a tray of needles when SG-1 and the two SFs stepped into the infirmary.

“General Hammond has ordered SG-1 to be placed under isolation observation, ma'am,” one of the SFs said, ripping of a sharp salute to accompany the words. Jack rolled his eyes and leaned on the door frame.

“Just a precaution, Fraiser,” he assured her, pouring oil on the instantly troubled waters of her mind. “Daniel had to make a wish to get rid of the wishes we made that backfired. Just need to be sure his don't go south too.”

“I want you to examine me as well,” Daniel added. “Pembi-Keran used a Goa'uld healing device to heal my back, after I wished for Jack's healing wish to disappear.”

“Okay.” Janet smiled with relief. “We'd better just do an MRI at once, Daniel. That'll give us the best view of your spine. The rest of you can wait in ISO-room 4.”

The two SFs escorted the three dismissed members of SG-1 to the appointed isolation room. Jack’s carefree acceptance of his incarceration was changed in a flash when he realized he wouldn’t be allowed to accompany Daniel to the MRI. The only reason he hadn’t grumbled earlier was that the hassle of being kept under watch was greatly outweighed by the prospect of Daniel possibly finally being fine without any kooky magic side effects. Not being allowed to be there when he found out bugged Jack, and made him unable to sit still as they waited for Daniel to join them.

“What is the matter?” Teal'c asked when Jack repeatedly paced back and forth in their medical cell.

“Nothing,” Jack responded in a mutter and plunked himself down in a chair, only to begin tapping his fingers on the metal table between them. Sam leaned forward.

“I’m worried about Fraiser’s diagnosis too. Pembi-Keran did seem to know what she was doing though, and he had no problems walking afterwards. The science theoretically checks out as well. A naquada serum could actually work; I might even look into it for a human application. Better not talk too loud about it yet, though. Anyways, we all saw that the device lit up and Daniel says he felt her healing him.”

“That doesn’t mean she actually fixed him completely. Remember when Nirrti pretended to heal Cronus? Could be P-K did something like that just to look better after the fiasco with the wishes. I wouldn’t trust her goody helping out attitude anymore in the light of that.”

Sam and Teal'c both considered the colonel’s pessimistic outlook.

“You have a point,” Sam finally gave him, with a disappointed air as she continued. “With that perspective we might have to be a bit more apprehensive about the data base as well. Her actions does put a bit of doubt onto the Jihnnsai’s openness.”

Jack nodded grimly, but quickly abandoned the worry of a possible ally probably turning out to be a bust again – to return to his foremost concern of Daniel’s wellbeing. With all the ups and downs of the past weeks Jack just wanted him to finally be okay, or possibly to exact revenge on the Jihnnsai if he had been mislead again.

Four episodes of pacing and three of drumming on the tabletop later, the heavy steel blast door cracked open and retracted into the wall to admit a slumping Daniel. Jack halted in the middle of a step and spun to face him. Sam rose from her seat and Teal'c took a measured step forward from the corner he had chosen to occupy. Six anticipating eyes took in the archaeologist stopping just inside the door as it slid closed with a dull clank.

Daniel met his friend’s scrutinizing with a solemn look. His arms snuck themselves up from his sides and wrapped themselves around him in that way were it almost seemed as if he was trying to hold himself together.

Crap – and a few other, more unspeakable, profanities passed through Jack’s mind, causing him to bite down hard as Daniel shyly met his eyes and instantly diverted from the connection.

Sam stepped forward, but her compassionately extended arms made Daniel step back and swallow hard. He bumped into the door, and that was when he couldn’t take it anymore. Releasing the convulsive clutch of his arms on his midsection he bent over and exploded, barely able to breathe from an almost spasmodic outburst of laughter.

“Got…you!” he spluttered out between the attacks as he slid down the door to sit on the floor.

Jack was the first to catch on and his angry facial expression switched from plans of vengeance to infuriated tenderness. He crossed the distance to the cause of the emotions playing on his face in a couple of long strides and hunched down in front of Daniel. Tears welled up in his brown eyes to match the laugh induced ones in the blue orbs that met his.

“Brat” he muttered affectionately and slid his hand around Daniel’s neck to pull him into a hug.

When Daniel’s laughter had settled to a wide mischievous grin, Jack helped him to his feet and they both took a seat at the table. Sam joined them as well while Teal'c just took another step closer.

“So you’re really okay, Daniel?” Sam inquired hopefully, and received a happy affirmative nod.

“Yeah. Not a sign of the injury on the scans. Guess we just have to wait out the wish, but I think we’re good.”

“Did you and Fraiser settle on how long we’re gonna be in here?” Jack asked now that the question of Daniel’s back had been resolved. Daniel shook his head and shrugged.

“Just until she’s sure we’re not experiencing any side effects.”

“And how long is that?”

Jack received another shrug.

“Well, it took a few days before it showed last time, so…”

“A few days?! And we don’t even have anything to do.” Jack threw out his hands to encompass the barren room and add emphasis to his complaint. Daniel sniggered.

“Calm down, Jack. We can ask them for some books and stuff when they bring us something to eat. Janet’s going to be in now and then too, to take some tests and so on. We’ll be out before we manage to get really bored.”

Jack huffed out a moaning sigh and stretched in a lazy teenager kind of way, twisting to find a good position in the uncomfortable metal chair. Daniel didn’t even attempt to stifle the new attack of laughter bursting out of him. The others joined in, even Jack, and the team shared the first truly relaxed moment they’d had in what seemed like a very long time.

The hours ticked away slowly. When someone finally came in with some food they almost desperately asked for some entertainment, which arrived shortly. The things brought to them testified to their close friends out there on the base. First there was a pile of books, accompanied with a bunch of files containing odd photos and scans of finds from all over the galaxy in need of translation.

“That’s for me,” Daniel said and jumped up like an excited kid to accept the items.

Next was a laptop, of course without any ability to connect to the base’s network but containing a selection of files from the Jihnnsai data base. Sam felt her calling and accepted the computer and accompanying notepad for scribbles.

Finally a couple of SFs rolled in a TV and an X-BOX setup. Jack did a fairly close impression of Daniel’s reaction to his work as he bounced up with a roaring “Yes!” Teal'c’s reaction was more demure, but he immediately come out of his corner and helped the colonel plug in the machines to start up a game of Halo.

As Daniel had predicted, time winded away faster once they had gotten something to do. Janet’s interruptions for testing were a welcome contact with the outside world, but SG-1 actually enjoyed it just being the four of them for a while. They were together, no one was hurt, and eventually even both Sam and Daniel abandoned their work and to join in a virtual – and, for a change, completely harmless – firefight. By evening a couple of bunk beds were wrangled into the isolation room and the hangout turned into a sleep over camp as they all got tucked in and talked themselves to sleep.

“You know, I never went to camp,” Daniel mumbled sleepily into his pillow.

“You missed something,” Sam enlightened him, in an almost equivalently lazy drawl.

Jack snorted a laugh from the bunk under Daniel’s.

“Don’t worry, Danny. You’ve gotten the full experience from off-world, except with the added suspense of fighting megalomaniac alien snake heads and constant deadly peril.”

His dry comment earned itself the last laugh of the day, before the dark room fell silent and one by one SG-1 drifted away to sleep.

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