The Magic of Branwen
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters nor the Stargate universe. They belong to MGM and whomever else. No money is being made of this (not by me, at any rate). The original characters and the story idea, such as it is, belong to me.
Rating: R for explicit sex scenes and adult themes
Category: slash (J/D), het, First Time, hurt/comfort
Timeline: Season 3, before it started going south, not related to anything. Sometime following Forever In A Day
Spoilers: tiny reference to Hathor
Warnings: depiction of explicit m/f and m/m sex, coercion, BDSM, drug use. If you are squeamish and/or too young to read that kind of thing, turn back now. You have been warned. There's also a lot of gratuitous Danny worship and cuddling. The plot is one big cliché. If you don't like the character of Daniel Jackson, you're probably better off if you don't read this. And so am I.
Notes: The Welsh language used is genuine and, I hope, grammatically correct. Welsh native speakers are welcome and encouraged to point out any errors to me. For anyone interested in the pronunciation I've included sound files at the end of the story.
Many thanks to Mel, who wanted more of Taranis.
There may be a sequel, if I'm asked nicely.
Summary: SG-1 encounters a couple of Celtic deities; Daniel gets in trouble, leading to some interesting fallout.
Jack O'Neill looked at the seemingly impenetrable forest surrounding the gate. "Good morning, campers, welcome to P... uh, Carter?"
"P3X 545, Sir."
"P3X 545, where we find ourselves surrounded by - trees. Friendly trees, as far as I can tell. A bit dense, maybe, but let's not read too much into that. We may look forward to a nice, relaxing afternoon dodging the local Goa'uld, sampling for various heavy metals of extra-terrestrial origin, and let's not forget, making nice with the locals, what was their name for themselves again, Daniel?"
The linguist turned to him long enough to utter the word "Perthynas."
"Per... whatever, who seem to maybe apparently have technology we can use. And if we all behave ourselves and don't go wandering off where I can't see you..."
Daniel raised his eyebrows in an innocent "Who? Me?" expression.
"...Or pick a fight with our friendly local Per-whatchamacallits or their God..."
The rest of his team ignored him.
"...We should be back on Terra Cognita in time for the play-offs." He grinned as he watched his kids perform their duties by the book, Carter and Teal'c securing the perimeter while Daniel verified the coordinates for Earth on the DHD, all the while doing nothing to acknowledge their team leader's antics.
He was damned proud of them. Each one unique, each one irreplaceable. The success of SG-1 had always been the fortunate combination of seemingly irreconcilable parts. The team that none of the paper-pushers at the Pentagon had given more than a month had in fact lasted longer than any other team in the SGC. An alien turncoat warrior, a brilliant feminist soldier/scientist, a geeky genius with allergies and an aging, sarcastic macho had come together to form one of the most cohesive units ever to save Earth. Repeatedly, if he might add.
Daniel looked over to signal that he had their return secured. 'That's my geek', Jack thought. 'Who'd have guessed Chicken Man would ever turn out like this?' Jack grinned at the tall, broad-shouldered man proudly. Dannyboy could now hold up his end in the field as well as any soldier. Looking damn good while he did it, too. 'Oops', Jack thought, grinning to himself. 'We're on a mission, we're on a mission.'
Out of the corners of his eyes, he could see Teal'c and Carter falling back from their flank positions to rejoin them.
"So, Daniel, what was that bit about the Goa'uld again?" 'He really should stop wearing those too-big clothes already. I've seen him in the showers. I mean, what's he thinkin' he's gotta hide?'
Daniel regarded him with a patient 'look-who-hasn't-been-paying-attention-in-the-briefing-again' expression. Jack held his gaze, gesturing for him to get on with it. He couldn't remember that shit, so there. That's what a cultural expert was for. You don't keep a Daniel and stay awake through his briefings. "His name is Taranis", the archaeologist said after a moment with what Jack considered a tone of exaggerated patience. "He's the Celtic God of thunder, often depicted in Earth sources with glowing eyes. He may be a Goa'uld."
Jack had remembered that much. He sighed. "So, which way do we go?" Hey, he could do exaggerated patience, too.
Daniel looked around. Jack, who'd already done a visual recon the second he stepped through the gate, knew that Daniel wouldn't see any obvious paths. Hence the question. "The Perthynas seem to have developed along the lines begun by their Earth ancestors, a community of Celtic tribes that later gave rise to the Welsh", Daniel rattled off something he had already stated in the mission briefing. Classic displacement activity, Jack decided. "Celtic languages are not really my specialty, but I should be able to get our point across anyway."
Jack did not doubt it. If Daniel claimed that something was "not his specialty", it usually meant that he was merely competent. It did not answer his question, though, so he made another "get on with it" gesture, this one more exaggerated.
Daniel scowled at him, then raised his eyebrows to peer at him over the rim of his glasses, which Jack always thought was just too cute. Kinda flirtatious. "It also means that they're probably a warlike people with oral tradition and a heavy emphasis on harmony with nature and magic", the archaeologist continued, still ignoring Jack's question. "The Celts on Earth were superb craftsmen with much knowledge of nature. Some of their legacies aren't fully comprehended even today. If left to their own devices, without the destructive influence of the Roman Empire, who knows what they would have accomplished by now."
Jack tapped his fingers on his P-90. "Daniel. We know all that. All I wanna hear right now is, which way do we go?"
Daniel looked at the grassy clearing surrounding the Stargate, at the impenetrable and apparently undisturbed greenery all around them, then back at Jack out of big blue eyes. "Uh... I have no idea, Jack."
The Colonel sighed. "I knew the games were a write-off. Teal'c?"
"There is no discernable path, nor footprints, O'Neill", the Jaffa reported.
"Maybe the gate isn't frequented by these people?" Carter speculated.
"Uh, the obelisk?" Daniel helpfully pointed out the obvious.
They all stared at the monument in question. Situated next to the gate, it had been the first thing the MALP had spotted, indeed the only thing to be spotted apart from vegetation. It was also the source of all Daniel's knowledge of the inhabitants of P3X 545 since the UAV reconnaissance had yielded nothing but treetops. The inscription on the standing stone had been made recently, or at least had been restored recently, so it stood to reason that someone came here regularly to check on its state. And, most telling of all, there were fresh flowers next to the obelisk.
Daniel approached it, verifying the MALP's transmission as he read the inscription. "Perthynas yr ydim ni. Gwae i rhywun sy yn aflonyddu ein heddwch ni." He barely paused. "We are the kindred. Woe to anyone who disturbs our peace."
It was a continuous source of amazement to Jack how Daniel knew all that shit. That fool language looked like someone with really bad luck at scrabble made the most of their letters and came up with words mostly made of consonants. Yet spoken aloud it sounded, well, beautiful. But then again, even Goa'uld sounded beautiful when Daniel pronounced it. And this language, at least, had recognizable letters. Daniel's reading of choice usually consisted of pretty pictures or chicken scratches.
"It's identical to Welsh, as far as I can tell, apart from the fact that they call themselves 'Perthynas', meaning kindred, and not 'Cymry', meaning community..."
"Yadda", Jack interrupted the imminent linguistic lecture. Daniel obediently fell silent, mouth still open. The sight did some definitely un-PC things to Jack's imagination, things he ruthlessly suppressed with the ease of long practice. Now was not the time for that, nor was now the time to remember the sight of Daniel fresh and damp from the on-base showers, or any of the other definitely non-PC things Jack's memory was wont to conjure when he least needed it.
Carter was waving one of her doohickeys about. "No sign of naqadah, Sir. So there's probably no ring transporter or anything like it here, not that we'd be able to activate it from here, anyway."
Jack nodded absently.
"Daniel", Carter went on. "You mentioned magic. Maybe there is a, well, magical way of showing us where to go. You know, some sort of technology that looks like magic." She kept a straight face as she added that last bit which Jack supposed she'd said only for the record. As far as she was concerned, there was no magic, and she would probably argue that there was a scientific basis for all things explained away by the supernatural. But no one knew where Daniel stood on that. After all, the archaeologist was on record as believing in curses. At least, he hadn't automatically added something along the lines of "and we all know there's a scientific explanation for that" when the subject of cursed artefacts had last come up.
"If that's the case, Sam, then we may have a bit of a problem", Daniel said, interrupting Jack's musings. "There are numerous methods in Celtic cultural tradition of employing magic to indicate directions or of opening passageways. And if the Perthynas want to be left alone, they'll hardly leave a sign by the gate saying 'use this spell to find us'."
"Yet someone came here to tend to this place, DanielJackson. Would they not have had a means of coming here and of leaving again?"
"Teal'c's got a point", Jack said. "Come on, Daniel. We know you can do it. Make with the Open Sesame already; we're on the clock here. The games start in twelve hours."
Daniel sighed and turned back to the obelisk, part of him already immersing itself in the problem while another part rolled its eyes. It was not like hockey really was that important to Jack, either. He'd grumble about the games he was missing until they were back on base, and then he'd forget all about them as soon as Daniel made noises about wanting to go out, maybe even to a place with a remote chance to meet someone. Daniel was only human, after all, and he was fed up with being alone. And just because the one he really wanted was unattainable didn't mean Daniel would settle with being alone till he died. So there. But no, the mere mention of a pick-up place made Jack suddenly want nothing more than grab a pizza and a beer with his good friend and teammate, and before he knew it, Daniel would be shanghaied to an eatery of Jack's choice to be entertained by the older man's offhand sense of humor, and no protest heeded. It seemed as if Jack didn't want him to spend his time with anyone else. As if he was jealous.
But, no, surely that was just Daniel's imagination. Life in general, and his life in particular, just didn't work that way. If he wanted something, he rarely got it. Like Jack. And if he did get it, he was sure to lose it again eventually. Like Sha'uri.
But, the obelisk. There was nothing on it to be seen for the naked eye except for the obligatory knotwork designs and the inscription itself, but that did not mean there was nothing. Maybe a frottage would yield more, or any of the many wonderful means of making the invisible visible to the enquiring archaeologist. He dropped his pack and rummaged through it.
Daniel gestured with the sheet of paper he had unrolled. "I'm gonna do a frottage of the stone surface." Jack stared at him, his whole body a question mark. Daniel gestured again. "Rubbing. It means rubbing. This uh..." He gave up. "This may take a moment."
"Strangers are approaching", the Goddess said, her gaze directed into the otherworld. "Four of them. They have come from the Place of the Gods."
"What are your wishes, Goddess?" the servant asked.
"The skies are blue; Taranis sleeps. The path leads only to this place. Let them approach. They will not find the kindred; there is no need to hinder them."
The servant bowed and left.
Branwen looked back towards the monitors. The strangers wore unusual clothing with strange markings on them. On one patch she read the numeral 1, another sported the symbol for the Tau'ri. Branwen recognized it at once. Three men, one woman; three humans, one Jaffa. They must be the infamous SG-1 she'd heard Taranis grumble about. There was a price on each of their heads. Intrigued, she leaned closer.
One of them had come close to the camera hidden in the obelisk; he was doing something to it, frowning in concentration. He wore primitive devices to correct poor eyesight. This must be Daniel Jackson, then, the Tau'ri who had opened the Chaapa'ai on the First World. Branwen smiled in appreciation. A clever man, and a beautiful one with his flawless skin, deep blue eyes and strong build. Definitely one who would merit closer inspection.
Smiling in anticipation, Branwen switched off the cloaking around the standing circle.
Daniel was halfway through the first sheet when Jack called to him from behind, "That wasn't so hard, now was it?"
Huh? The sheet only showed a random stone surface; no systematic indentations or ridges had become apparent. Daniel turned around, and nearly dropped the sheet out of nerveless fingers.
There was a clear path leading from the clearing around the Stargate, a path that had not been there when they first stepped through the gate. The rest of his team were looking at him with something akin to admiration, and Daniel could feel a blush creeping up.
"Uh, I didn't do anything, guys", he confessed. "Not intentionally, anyway. How did this happen?" He gestured towards the path. "The bushes didn't... move out of the way or anything, did they?" Now there was an interesting thought. If the bushes really did move, it would explain the many myths various cultures had for moving trees -
"Some of them just faded", Sam explained, shattering the nascent theory. "I assume it was some sort of advanced hologram combined with a structured force field to make them feel solid. You must have switched it off."
"Oh." No moving trees. Too bad. Well, they did have a path now. "Uh, are we going?" He gathered his things and moved towards it.
Teal'c automatically stepped in front of him, ostensibly to take point, but really to prevent DanielJackson from heading off into danger as he was wont to. The young man had come to learn much of the ways of the warrior while Teal'c knew him, but occasionally, when his enthusiasm overcame his wisdom, he was still very much like a boy, and it befell the rest of SG-1 to keep him safe.
"It's what we're here for, isn't it?" Jack asked rhetorically. "Let's move out, kids. Teal'c, take point."
"So, what're you doing during downtime, Daniel?" Sam asked him after a while from her position at the rear.
"Haven't decided yet", the archaeologist answered distractedly. They were following a clearly often used path through a densely wooded area, and he kept turning his head in an effort to catch signs of the local civilisation. It also meant that he occasionally missed his footing on the uneven forest floor, and he was trying not to fall flat on his face. "I've got loads of stuff to do, though. I guess I'll stay on base and work on some of the stuff in my in-tray."
"Like hell you will", Jack retorted over his shoulder. "You'll at least make an attempt at getting a life for a change, ya hear? All work and no play and all that. Ah!" he interrupted Daniel's objection before the linguist could even get out the first word. "Your team leader has spoken. You're on leave, that means you'll leave the base. As in, go home. Relax. Do something for your health, like, sleep more than two hours, preferably in an actual bed and not slumped over a desk, and eat a full meal that doesn't come out of a can or the SCG commissary."
Daniel effortlessly ignored him. He'd learned that was the only way to handle Jack when he was in that mood. It was not like the unspoken invitation to Jack's house would lead to anything, much as Daniel wished it. As far as that was concerned, Jack really was as dense as he pretended to be. Daniel turned his best pleading look on Jack. "There's a truckload of clay tablets from P2Y 758 in the linguistics lab, and we'll never get it translated if I don't do my share. I promised I'd pitch in. It appears to be standard Sumerian cuneiform, but the language is not Sumerian. My guess is the writer encrypted the text somehow, and I have no idea how it's been done. It's bound to be important if they went to so much trouble to keep it from being read." He stopped himself before anyone could interrupt him. "So, what're you doing, Sam?"
"I", she said importantly, "am going for a trip."
"What?" Daniel said.
"What?" Jack said at the same time from in front of Daniel. "Daniel, did I just hear Carter use the word 'trip' outside of mechanical or electronic context?"
Daniel was equally astonished. "I think you did, Jack."
"Trip, as in road trip?"
"Yes, Sir." Sam sounded enthusiastic. "I'm taking my Harley out for a test drive. She's turned out a beaut, Sir. I can't wait to test her at high speeds."
Jack shook himself like a dog without slowing down. "The end of the world must be nigh. That sounds suspiciously like Carter plans to have fun during downtime."
"O'Neill", Teal'c's quiet voice came from up front.
Immediately, all banter ceased as SG-1 became fully alert. The trees had been thinning during the last few minutes. Now they had given way completely to form a large clearing, maybe the size of a football field. The path ended in that clearing. In the middle of it stood a rectangular building which, at first glance, looked like a decorative version of a bunker. There were no doors or windows visible, from this side at least, and the outside wall was quite high.
Jack took out his binoculars. "Some sort of fortress?"
"It's possible", Daniel speculated. "The architecture suggests a higher level of development than that of the Celts, who mostly built wood buildings. If these people belong to the same tribe that gave rise to the Cymry on Earth, then they must have been transplanted through the Antarctic gate after the downfall of the Roman Empire, when the Cymry first appeared. They've been here for about fifteen hundred years, undisturbed by rivaling cultures. After that time, I'm guessing their level of technology might be equal to or even surpassing our own."
"Surveillance equipment, landmines, motion trackers, that sort of thing?"
"It's possible, yes." Daniel paused, thinking. "No, make that definite. Taranis, Morrigan and several other Celtic deities were reputed to have precognitive abilities. If the Celtic deities, too, were aliens like the Egyptian, Greek and Norse gods, then they probably were technologically advanced even two thousand years ago. It would certainly help having a camera down the road to be able to tell that they're about to have visitors."
"On our way here, I have seen nothing of Goa'uld design that could constitute such a camera, DanielJackson."
"Maybe it's concealed." Daniel shrugged. "Maybe it's not Goa'uld."
Jack was still looking at the structure. "Hey, there's writing on the wall. Daniel?" He tossed the binoculars over to the archaeologist to watch him fumble with them and his glasses for a bit and then look at the fortress.
"Still no movement on our perimeter, Sir", Carter reported.
"I concur", Teal'c added.
Daniel was frowning and adjusting the focus. "It's no good, Jack, we're too far away. I can only tell that there seems to be a single line of text running across both sides facing us. It probably goes all around the structure. There's also a lot of designs and patterns on it, as would be expected of something made by Celts." He handed the binoculars back, looking at Jack out of big, pleading eyes made even more beseeching by their current lack of glasses.
Jack sighed. He was toast when Daniel looked at him like that. "Teal'c", he said, tossing the binoculars over to the Jaffa. "See anything that looks like, I dunno, automated weapons in the walls, tracking sensors, anything like that?"
Teal'c regarded the structure for a few minutes. "I do not see any of these things. However, the design of this structure is unfamiliar to me, O'Neill."
"Yeah, well, it's Celtic", Daniel interjected. "You've probably only seen Egyptian or Greek architecture before." He turned to Jack. "This is incredible, Jack. A modern Celtic building -"
"Okay, okay, you can go have a look. But we're all going. Carter, Teal'c, take our flanks. Daniel, with me. Use extreme caution. Move."
As they approached, they could verify the lack of doors or windows. The walls were made of what looked like concrete, and it was decorated with colored Celtic knotwork and the aforementioned writing. Jack, remembering his Irish roots, recognized some of the traditional designs, but he didn't say anything. Not point in ruining a perfectly good reputation, after all.
Daniel, next to him, was mumbling to himself in gibberish and walking along with the text, his eyes riveted to it. Jack had to steer him around a large stone or upturned root once or twice as the team followed their archaeologist around the fortress, keeping a respectful distance from the walls.
Finally, they were back were they had started from.
"Okay", Daniel said in that distracted tone he used when he was triple-tasking, which he probably was; thinking in two languages simultaneously, finding the beginning of the text and trying to figure out if and how it would help getting into the fortress. "It seems to be a description of an encounter between mortal and god. 'The young man was like a strong, supple tree, his eyes were wells of deep water, his skin as smooth as a velvety leaf and fair like honey, his hair like finest silk,' and so on." He waved a vague hand. "It's a description of the Celtic ideal for male beauty."
They looked at him quizzically, at his physique and blue eyes.
He stared back. "What?"
Carter grinned, Jack shook his head, and Teal'c had a ghost of a smile on his lips.
Daniel looked over this shoulder, and, seeing nothing there, pouted at them, clearly thinking he'd been had somehow. Then he scowled and went on. "The uh, the text goes on to describe how the man follows a white raven. There's a lot of the usual mythical snares and convolutions. It ends with 'and together they reached the otherworld'. There's also something about 'tears paving the way to bliss', but I may have gotten that wrong. It, uh, might indicate one of the more recent Celtic deities, one that is specifically Welsh. Maybe this is a place consecrated to her."
Jack grimaced. "Her?"
"Yes. Um, her. I'm guessing the text indicates Branwen, a Goddess of love. Her name means 'White Brow', or 'White Raven'."
"Okay, that does it. Daniel, you move one step away from my side, and I'll shoot you. Got it?" Jack did not like this one bit. His archaeologist had a bad track record with Goddesses. Being recruited to 'donate the code of life' during the Hathor fiasco was more than Danny should ever have been forced to go through. And that description was all Jack needed to hear about this particular Goddess's probable taste in men.
"Got it, Jack", Daniel said hesitantly, clearly thinking something about humoring the cranky.
Jack grimaced. It beat him how this otherwise so brilliant man could be so clueless about his own appeal. There he stood with his damn near perfect body and a face models would kill for, just waiting to be "taken to the otherworld" and probably wondering how many turns Jack was away from a loose screw.
"So, how do we get in?" Jack asked, both to get a move on and to distract himself from his own thoughts.
Daniel turned to the wall, then aborted the movement to look back at Jack open-mouthed. Jack grimaced. Obviously, his linguist had not noticed the lack of doors or doorbells during his translation. So much for triple-tasking. "I have no idea," Daniel confessed.
"Could there be a hidden message on how to open the front door?" Carter, with her usual practicality, broke in.
Daniel turned back to the wall in front of him, presenting them with a nice view of his damn near perfect butt. Jack rolled his eyes. "I guess", the linguist said vaguely. "But the point is, there must be a mechanism somewhere. A keyhole, button, slot for a keycard, anything. We don't really have to decipher the message, if there is one. We just have to find the mechanism. I mean, we use keys and doors on Earth dozens of times each day, and nowhere are there any hidden messages about it." He paused as something occurred to him. "Or maybe we... uh, I mean, it's just a thought..." He blushed furiously.
The younger man avoided O'Neill's eyes. "Jack, we want to get in there, right? There might be technology there, not to mention the wisdom of living Celts. So, I was thinking... I mean, I don't claim to be anything like an ideal for beauty, Celtic or otherwise, but I kinda fit the description, so -"
Okay, Jack thought. Maybe not quite so clueless. "No, Daniel. No way. No. N-O."
"You haven't even heard what I want to say."
"I don't need to! I will not let you offer yourself to be - whatevered - by someone who might possibly be a Goa'uld just so we have a way in! No, Daniel! Remember Hathor?"
The archaeologist sighed. "Okay, in that case, let me have another look at the wall."
"To find something that looks like a raven. If we take the inscription literally, the entrance to the otherworld may be concealed there."
Jack shrugged. That sounded plausible. It also sounded like it would take a while. There were probably more than a hundred square meters of wall to be examined. "Okay, knock yourself out. But stay where I can see you."
"Jack, just because I'm the only male with blue eyes on this team doesn't mean Branwen will find me attractive. The Celts were predominantly blue eyed, well, with the exception of the dark Celts. She'd be a very busy love goddess."
Shaking his head despairingly, Jack sank onto a convenient log. Clueless. Completely, utterly clueless.
Well, it was time to get some of his own back, reputations be damned. "You might want to start by that design next to the heart-knot over there", he said casually, pointing at an intricate convolution of red and white lines, "the serpent knot. Seeing as how we might be dealing with snakes and all."
Daniel's look of open-mouthed astonishment was reward enough.
The opportunity Branwen had been waiting for presented itself eventually. Daniel Jackson reached a corner of the building, and, eager to follow a progression of designs, he rounded the corner without waiting for his team mates. It was a matter of seconds to open a concealed doorway, stun the unsuspecting man and drag him inside.
"No sign of him, Sir."
"The stone surface surrounding the structure yields not footprints, O'Neill. I am unable to ascertain DanielJackson's whereabouts."
"Crap." Jack took off his cap, tousled his hair and put the cap back on. "Okay, kids. Find me an entrance into that thing. He said something about a raven. Or find me a place to plant C4. My archaeologist's in there. At the risk of sounding clichéd, there won't be any paving the way to bliss at his expense while I've got one round of ammo left."
Branwan surveyed her captive. Divested of his clothes and the wire-rimmed glas lenses, he looked even more beautiful than her cameras had given reason to suspect. She ran her hand over his nicely developed chest and taut abdomen, admiring the lightly tanned, hairless skin and muscle tone. His arms and legs were long and fine-boned yet sleekly muscled, his skin clear and smooth, signs of excellent health and condition. It would be her joy to test him.
He stirred, vivid blue eyes opening and focussing on her. A tongue snaked out to lick his full lips before he cleared his throat. He tried to get up, but his restraints prevented him. Yet his eyes, as they met hers, showed no fear.
Daniel's first thought as he came to was 'Jack's gonna kill me'. Now, faced with this unlikely scenario, he kept thinking 'this can't be happening' and variations thereof. He was tied to something that looked like a pallet with furs on it, naked. Standing before him was a beautiful woman clad in flowing white robes. Could this get any more clichéd?
"Sut yr wyt ti'n teimlo?" the woman said. "Fi yw Branwen. Mae'n ddrwg gyda fi am -"
"Hold on, hold on", Daniel muttered, interrupting her. "How am I feeling? Okay, I guess, apart from being tied up. And being extremely underdressed. Uh... Yr yd w i'n teimlo yn dda, diolch. Boy, this isn't easy. Good thing I prepared for this. Branwen, huh? Uh oh. Um, could you untie me? Um... Fyddech chi 'yn natod i, uh, Branwen?"
She smiled and shook her head, clearly amused. "Na fyddaf i, wrth gwrs."
Daniel nodded. "Of course not. What was I thinking."
"Caethwas wyt ti yn awr."
Daniel gasped. "Caethwas? Slave? Wait a minute, you can't do that! Nid yd w fi ddim yn gaethwas, Branwen! Gwr rhydd yd w fi! I'm a free man!"
She ignored him and signaled two men who had been waiting in the background.
Daniel frantically translated his usual introduction into this unfamiliar language. "Uh, Daniel Jackson yd w fi. Fi yw yn fforiwr diniwed -"
He did not get any further than "peaceful explorer" when he was untied and brought roughly to his feet. There were two men behind him, each holding one of Daniel's arms. He glared at them, trying to free himself, but they just held fast.
"You are a slave", Branwen repeated. "It does not matter what you were before. Now you are mine."
Daniel shook his head. "I'm not a slave. Please, you don't have to do this. I came here to talk to you, to learn about you and your people."
Daniel fell silent, biting his lip uncertainly. It probably would not be a good idea to antagonize her. He was weaponless and outnumbered, and his current lack of clothes made him feel even more vulnerable. He had to talk his way out of this, and he could do that only if he kept the lines of communication open.
The two men who held his arms forced his feet apart with a sharp kick. Daniel flinched and grimaced. "You don't have to do that."
Branwen ignored him. "Very nice," she said, looking him up and down. "I am sure you will perform beautifully."
His jaw set even as he felt himself blush at the scrutiny. "I'll do nothing of the kind. You can't do this. I am not a slave. You can't make me one. And I certainly won't perform for you."
She smiled. "Oh, but you will. Do not doubt it." She nodded towards an unseen person standing behind him.
Hands grabbed his head, forcing it back until his mouth opened. Fingers pried his jaws apart even further. A thick sweet liquid was poured into his mouth; fingers then pinched his nose closed while hands worked his throat until he was forced to swallow.
Almost immediately, warmth spread through him. He felt his lips go numb as a tingling spread though his body, settling in his groin and nipples. He gasped as the tingling transformed into arousal, and he averted his face as he felt his body respond.
"That is better." Branwen came forward, approaching him until he could feel her body heat caressing his bare skin. "The Llymaid will make you want like you never wanted before. It is very powerful. Soon you will feel nothing but need, and when I touch you, every sensation will be increased a thousandfold."
He closed his eyes, trying to concentrate on his resolve. This could not be happening. He would not allow it to happen. "I'm not here to harm you", he forced out, his numb tongue stumbling over the language. "I only wish to learn about you..." His body was rapidly going out of control, and he could barely keep his thoughts together. 'I will not be made to go along with this', he thought, abandoning speech for a minute to get his concentration back. Biting his numb lip, he concentrated on the slight pain even as he felt his organ swelling without any outside stimulation, hot, itchy pressure mounting between his legs. He became hyperaware of every small hair on his body. He knew with every cell of his skin how it would feel when Branwen touched him, and already there was a part of him that wanted it.
"You yearn for it, slave. Can you feel the need? Soon it will encompass you completely. Do not fight it."
She stepped close to him. He could smell her; feel the air currents and her warmth caressing his front. Her nearness increased his desire fiercely, his organ fully hardening and rising as if to reach out to her. His drugged senses began to swim, his thoughts scattered. He should not give in to this... Need battered him, and he tried to take deep breaths, only to discover that he was panting already. He'd be able to think again once this insane desire went away. He needed it to go away... He needed... He needed.
All resistance melted away, flushed out by red-hot want.
Her hand rose towards his need, hovering in mid-air scant millimeters away from his swollen flesh.
"Yes, my slave", she whispered. "You wish me to touch you. Shall I touch you, just a little, there, where your hunger is greatest?"
He moaned, his hips straining towards her.
She smiled, and her hand detoured, touching his face instead, and still the contact made his erection throb madly. Then her fingers caressed his ear, scraping nails over the whorls and lobes, and his reaction was almost enough to bring him to climax. He moaned again, moving his face against her hand to increase the sensations.
"Oh yes", she said, smiling tenderly. "You are very hungry. It will be my pleasure to discover the secrets your body holds."
Her hand travelled over his neck. So fierce was his arousal that he could already feel his balls draw up to his body in preparation for release, and he hadn't even been touched there yet. His moans were continuous now; he heard them as from a great distance, unable to stop them.
Then the hand brushed his nipple.
His whole body contracted, his hips thrust forward without his will as he heard himself sob in need. Touch, he needed touch, and he needed it between his legs, where the desire burned like nothing he had ever felt before. He sobbed and thrust again into empty air as the tormenting fingers circled and pinched one erect nipple, then the other one, stoking the flames higher. His arms tried to come down, straining against the hands holding him, his slim hands flexing and long fingers curling, wanting, needing to touch himself in the absence of a hand on his shaft.
Soft laughter reached his ears. "Oh yes, how you burn! Just a small sip of the Llymaid, and you are mine to do with as I please. You Tau'ri are easy to conquer, just like Taranis said. You wish me to touch you between your legs, don't you? Answer me!"
He opened his mouth to comply, but all that emerged was a wordless moan. His tongue was numb and thick in his mouth, his brain unable to string together coherent thoughts. All he knew was this burning need. His whole world centered in his throbbing erection and the hot ache in his balls.
"I shall touch you, gaethwas, and you will know a release unlike anything you ever experienced before. It will be my gift to you. Enjoy it, for it will be some time before you are allowed release again. Not until you have satisfied me, if you can."
As she spoke, her hand slid down his chest towards his abdomen, then over his navel and into his pubic hair. He could feel his painfully swollen flesh jerking in anticipation of her touch. His head fell back, and he would have fallen if not for the men holding him up.
Then her hand touched the base of his organ. He could not contain his cry as the aching need transformed into blessed pleasure. Her fingers curled around his flesh, squeezing gently, and then moving up towards the tip. It felt so good that he cried out in rapture. Her thumb brushed the tip, once, twice, making him sob and moan, then her hand moved back down, just the way he needed it, touching him just right. The pleasure was all encompassing. Vision, hearing, everything around him blanked in favor of these incredible sensations. Her fingers touched the base again, that small spot on the underside where he was most sensitive, then firmly wrapped around him to move back up towards the head, squeezed, brushed the tip, moved down, up, down, again and again and again. It was so, so good. He prayed for it never to stop.
Branwen smiled again and signalled her body servant to approach them. Together they brought the Tau'ri to his knees, and Branwen used one hand to hold his head up for her servant, her other hand still stroking.
Something touched Daniel's lips, and he opened his mouth, suddenly desperate to touch his tongue to something warm and wet. And it was warm and wet, tasting of salt and musk, and its scent drove his need to unbearable heights. He needed it to fill his mouth, to brush against his bereft tongue, to envelop him in its aroma. Branwen's hand on his hot hard erection tightened and moved faster, the bursting pleasure rewarding him as he pulled the hot thing into his mouth, sucking on it greedily.
"You were made to do this", her voice came to him as from a great distance. "Your whole body was designed for this. You are a piece of art, Tau'ri, sexual need made flesh. I think I will keep you even if you should prove inadequate."
The pulsating thing in his mouth was leaking and spreading its fluid, and he sucked on it with full-throated abandon, thirsty for more. The pleasure in his loins began to concentrate in his ass as he thrust and flexed his muscles, the woman's hand still stimulating his tortured erection. Then, a new sensation joined the maelstrom as her other hand slid down his back towards his buttocks, parting the flexing cheeks and touching his opening.
He moaned around the flesh in his mouth as the pleasure dissipated and centered again, his balls drawing up tight and his erection hardening unbearably. He was so close to coming he could practically taste his release. Just a few more strokes of those maddening fingers, just a little bit more of that taste.... He sucked hard, thrusting wildly.
Then one finger breached the barrier. There was a small pain, but it immediately transformed to intense pleasure. Deep inside him, a new hunger was born, a secret place yearning to be touched by that finger. He kept thrusting, impaling himself, moving his shrieking cock back and forth in its squeezing sheath of fingers, fluctuating wildly between the two sources of pleasure and sucking on the flesh between his lips.
Then, an intense burst of sensation deep inside him made him lose his rhythm. He sobbed in ecstasy, moving back against the finger that had given him this perfect gift.
"That is what you are meant to experience, 'nghaethwas", the woman said, squeezing her captive's swollen flesh with one hand and inserting a second finger of the other hand deep into his body. "This is your destiny. You shall be rewarded with this sensation whenever you please me. Your punishment will be its withdrawal. The Llymaid will make you yearn for release even while it will keep you from achieving it." She surveyed the captive, bucking and thrusting, out of control, sucking on her servant's flesh as if his life depended on making the man come. What a beautiful specimen, and so very sensitive to stimulation. The blue of his eyes rivalled that of Taranis. His physique spoke of endurance. He would last a while before the Llymaid destroyed his mind. Not that he would need it.
Her servant came at last, obviously pleasured greatly by her new acquisition, spilling his seed into her new slave's hungry mouth. The Tau'ri sucked greedily, bucking and rotating his own body, desperate to follow, but of course unable to achieve release. When the servant pulled his spent flesh free, the captive moaned, his swollen red lips parting in need, seeking something else to suck on. His blue eyes were wide open, pupils dilated, focussed in another world.
She let go of him, removing both hands from his body, just to watch him pant and writhe in the hold of her two servants. His flesh stood up leaking and red, twitching and flat against his belly. She knew she could leave him like that for hours. The drug ensured that his arousal would not diminish until she chose to give him release.
She signaled her two servants to let go of her captive's arms, and he fell forward heavily, sobbing, hands immediately going to his suffering erection, and she let him. His own touch would only increase his torment. She bent down close to his sweating, distorted face. "That will not help you, gaethwas. Only I can release you. Do you wish me to let you come? You only have to say so."
He moaned, unable to form the words. His helpless suffering made her feel almost alive. And then she saw it. There were tears streaking down his face! Her whole being alighted with joy as she saw them. At last! This man would be her perfect toy. This was what she had been searching for all these years. She reached out a slender finger to take a tear onto its tip, and then tasted it.
The resulting spasm of ecstatic pleasure in her own body was the answer to all her prayers. Perfect. Oh, so perfect.
Smiling radiantly, she inserted a thin golden rod into his opening until the crystal on its end touched the gland inside him. "Your reward, 'nghaethwas", she crooned to him as he at once convulsed in orgasm, screaming. She kept the Rhoiwr Gollwng there, watching his flesh shoot spurt after spurt of semen, then contracting in dry spasms as he was spent and she still kept him climaxing. She stroked his face as he writhed in ecstasy, and it was a satisfyingly long time before he finally slipped into unconsciousness, his body still twitching.
And his face was streaked with tears.
Branwen tenderly stroked his sweaty forehead. Oh yes, she would keep him. Daniel Jackson belonged to her now. There was just the small matter of granting Taranis his due of the new slave, and then the Tau'ri would be hers forever.
Sam sighed in frustration. There had to be a way in, but she was well and truly stumped. The building was large, and her instruments showed nothing. Daniel was the expert in concealed doorways; he probably knew a hundred tricks to find them. Pity he wasn't here to free himself.
She stared at the inscription. A hidden message on how to open the door. Great. Now all she'd have to do was read it, then decipher it. Just one small problem - the inscription might as well have been in Chinese for all she could understand it. Her own expertise would come in when they had found the mechanism. For finding it, they simply needed Daniel.
Her radio crackled. "Carter, report."
"I haven't found anything Sir. The walls could be solid for all I can determine. Over."
"Dammit, we know there's a way in! Find it! Over!"
Jack turned his radio off with a sharp click. He was just about ready to force his way in with a judicious bit of C4 applied anywhere on the wall. Daniel had been missing for almost two hours now, and they had not found hide nor hair of him. Jack had eventually owned up to his knowledge of Celtic knotwork, but even so, they had been unable to find anything even remotely resembling a raven. Meanwhile, O'Neill's imagination was merrily painting one horrifying scenario after another until his teeth hurt from grinding them. "You'd better keep your hands off him, bitch", he said to a particularly intricate, somewhat pig-like knot on the wall. "Get your own archaeologist."
When Daniel next woke up, his mouth was dry and his tongue stuck to his palate. He felt weak and hot, almost feverish. Blearily, he looked around.
He was inside a small room, lying on another fur pallet, still naked. His eyes squeezed shut with shame as memory returned. Branwen. God, he had been used like a sex toy, aroused and manipulated for the pleasure of others, and he had wanted it! A man's penis in his mouth, and he had wanted it. Wanted more. Would have begged for more, if not for his numb tongue. And then he'd come at the touch of something up his ass - the ultimate humiliation.
Okay, he had been drugged. That explained what had happened, but it did not excuse how he felt now. His insides were still tingling. He could remember how it had felt with every fiber of his being. That had definitely been the most mind-shattering orgasm of his life. His flesh stirred at the mere memory.
He had always known that there was a deep streak of sensuality running through him, beckoning him towards the fulfillment only another man would be able to give him. He had spent most of his life trying to suppress it. But now, it had awoken. Oh god, how it had awoken.
He wanted more. Even now, his insides hungered with the need to be touched, loved, filled. But... he wanted it not just from anyone.
Daniel rolled onto his side, and for a short, dark moment, he wanted to die.
Then the moment passed, and he opened his eyes again. First, get out of here, then become all traumatized and figure out how to face Jack with this new awareness.
He was hardly able to move, but a burning thirst drove him to a sitting position. There was a jug standing next to him on the floor, clearly placed there so he would see it. His throat clenched with thirst, and although there was a small voice inside him, sounding suspiciously like Jack, which told him not to drink any untested liquids on an alien world, he could not keep himself from grabbing the jug and draining its contents.
And it was only then that he noticed the sweet taste. The world dissolved in a haze of sexual need.
Teal'c patrolled the clearing, taking care to keep both MajorCarter and ColonelO'Neill in sight. While Teal'c might be able to find and open secret doorways designed by Apophis or by other Egyptian deities, these Celtic Gods where outside his range of experience. He had never met nor heard of Taranis before the mission briefing. Either these particular false Gods kept to themselves, or Apophis had kept clear of them while Teal'c was his First Prime. Be it as it may, his experience was better suited to 'securing the perimeter' than to joining the search for something he might not be equipped to find. Teal'c had not admitted it, but these strange knots did not seem to him to resemble anything but, well, knots.
He whirled suddenly as he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him, bringing his staff weapon to bear in one smooth motion.
For a moment, he could see nothing but bushes and leaves. Then he realized that there was something concealed there, and after a moment he could discern a face painted blue and a humanoid form clad in fur and leather.
The figure burst out of the bushes, charging him.
Teal'c fired. The figure dodged and aimed something at him that Teal'c decided was probably a weapon, so he fired again, taking into account his opponent's considerable evasive skill, and this time the fiery charge hit its target. By now, he could sense the presence of another Goa'uld symbiote. And then, he sensed it die.
Teal'c was next to the Jaffa with several quick strides. Confirming the man's death, Teal'c opened his radio channel. "O'Neill."
"Teal'c. I see you. Report."
"I was attacked by a Jaffa. He is dead. His appearance is similar to the Celtic warriors DanielJackson described to us in the briefing."
"RV at my position. Carter, you read this?"
"Yes, Sir", MajorCarter's voice came over Teal'c's earpiece.
"Where there's one, there's usually more. I don't like this, kids. We'll fall back beyond the tree line for now."
"Understood, O'Neill." Teal'c removed everything that looked like a weapon from the body and then went to rejoin his team.
Daniel came back to himself wanting, needing.
As he opened his eyes, he discovered that he was still naked. At least he was alone, so this time there was no one to witness his humiliation. His organ was once more erect, hard as nails, and his body was moving without his volition, writhing like a coiling snake on the blankets and furs that made up his bed. Otherwise, the room seemed to be empty, and - closed. There was no door that he could see. Dimly, he was aware that he should get up and find a way out of here, but it seemed unimportant somehow. Quenching the fires in his loins took precedence. He rolled onto his back, closing both hands over his flesh, gasping in relief as the need became overlayed by pleasure. Hands and hips found a rhythm, and he let his eyes drift closed as the sensations overtook his mind.
But the face and body in his drugged fantasies were not Branwen's.
The next thing he knew, someone was grabbing his hands and holding them away from his body. He'd been so close! Deprivation of his own touch made him cry out; he writhed, trying to turn onto his belly, needing just a little more friction, but there were more than two hands on him now, and they would not let him.
"Shh", Branwen's voice crooned softly. "Do not be afraid, 'gnhaethwas. It will soon be over. You long for it to be over, do you not? You long to come, the way you did the last time. Do you remember how it felt, to achieve the kind of release only I can give you?"
He remembered, and he sobbed helplessly as he lay battered by the desire her words evoked. The place inside him that had been touched so relentlessly now yearned for contact and left him feeling empty, hungry. He moaned, spreading his legs, trying to raise his hips.
"Yes, 'nghariad, soon. Soon you will be filled. But you must wait a little longer."
He tried to tell her that he couldn't wait. The need was tearing him apart, was robbing him of thought, and no words came out, only a pleading vocalization.
Her hand touched his twitching erection. Pleasure sheeted through him at the contact, but now it only served to increase his arousal. His body had learned what it needed, the dark demon was free, and he knew that to be touched there would bring no release. He sobbed with want even as her stroking, squeezing fingers gave him wonderful pleasure. Instead of quenching it, the touches merely made the hunger inside his body grow.
Then another finger touched his opening. His body contorted as he spread his legs further and flexed his buttocks, trying to impale himself on it, hungry, so hungry. The finger entered him, and he sighed in relief, but then it was withdrawn again before it had touched the center of his need. He sobbed, still feeling Branwen's hand on his shaft squeezing the pleasure from his hard hot flesh, feeding his arousal.
"Wait. You will now be prepared for Taranis. I have no wish to have you injured."
Two fingers were inserted into the maelstrom of his need, then three, stretching him, filling him, and still the hungry place inside him remained untouched. He bucked his hips to impale himself even more, feeling like he was about to shatter apart with want if he was not touched deep soon. His eyes were hot with unshed tears.
"So hungry. So desperate. Do not worry, 'nghaethwas bach. You will have what you need. But first, you will give me what I need. And then the God will have you."
For a moment, the hands were gone, all stimulation ceased, and Daniel was held down as he immediately tried to touch himself, screaming with arousal, all control gone now. Then Branwen was back, naked, and straddled his sweating body, balancing herself over his erection, and then engulfing him in her tight wet heat.
He howled with agonized pleasure, moving in and out of her without volition, his body thrusting on instinct. He was feeling nothing but torturous, unending want. And that place inside him was still untouched.
"You are too loud, 'nghaethwas. Open your mouth."
Something touched his lips, and he drew it inside hungrily. It was soft, and it oozed the familiar sweet taste when he automatically sucked on it. Incredibly, his arousal increased as the fresh drug hit his system. It fed his pleasure, making him suck harder and harder to receive even more.
She leaned forward, her warm soft breasts resting on his chest, stimulating his raised nipples. He moaned through the gag; his breath hissed through his nostrils in hard, sharp pants. "Give me your despair", she whispered. "Give me your hopeless yearning. Let me taste your hunger." Her insides clenched around his throbbing flesh, and suddenly the heat in his eyes spilled over and ran down his cheeks.
With a triumphant laugh, she held his face still between her hands and lapped up his tears.
She moaned, her head falling back.
Then he could feel her orgasm around his aching member, the milking contractions driving him wild. He sobbed, the gag muffling the sounds of his despair, as he lay writhing and bucking beneath her, mindlessly sucking on the drugged gag. He felt her tongue on his face as she licked and came, licked and came, while he remained so very close to release, strung out on an endless agony of lust, his helpless movements driving her pleasure.
It seemed to go on forever. Each spasm around his flesh forced fresh tears, and each lap of tongue on his face brought a new cycle of contractions. Certainly he would pass out soon.
At long last, she was satisfied, and she raised herself off his twitching flesh to signal her servants. One of them removed the gag, and Branwen felt a slight echo of desire as she watched her new slave's mouth open and a pink tongue snake out searchingly. Oh, he was delightful! In this short time, he'd even emptied the gag of the Llymaid, and so he would be available for pleasure for many more hours.
She stepped back from him. "My Lord."
Taranis came forward from where he had watched the proceedings. Tall and blue-eyed, his blond hair long and flowing down his back, he was as magnificent as he had been almost two thousand years ago, when Branwen first met him. "He does look delightful, my dear", he said in his deep, otherworldly voice. "I can hardly wait to try him for myself."
Branwen knew it wasn't proper, yet she could not restrain herself from verifying that statement. And indeed, the God's body looked almost as needful as that of her new slave. "He is yours, my Lord."
Then she had to force herself to remain unmoved as Taranis took the slave with his usual ferociousness. He was a God of thunder, and as befitted him, he was loud and unrestrained in his pleasure. The slave, maddened beyond belief by the Llymaid and his prolonged arousal, writhed and panted beneath the God's powerful thrusts.
Each time Taranis approached his climax, he slowed until the urgency passed, then he speeded up again. Branwen knew that he could keep this up for quite a long time. He chuckled as the slave sobbed in agony. "Delightful indeed, my Raven", he panted. "I do believe I shall have to claim him for myself."
Branwen was about to reply when one of Taranis' warriors entered the room, his face averted.
This was unheard of. The Goddess waited, curious to see what would happen to the warrior. The thunder god's temper was spectacular.
"What is this?!" Taranis roared, pulling out of the trembling slave and adjusting his clothes. "How dare you intrude, hassak?"
The warrior prostrated himself immediately. "Forgive me, my Lord", he said quickly. "The strangers from the Cha'appa'ai have killed one of your Jaffa."
Taranis raised his left hand, immobilizing the warrior beneath his might. "You dare disturb me for this... trivial matter! My First Prime must deal with this. I am busy." He released the warrior, who rolled onto his back, moaning and holding his head. Branwen realized with astonishment that the man would actually survive his folly.
"But, my Lord..."
Taranis froze. Branwen held her breath.
"They are Tau'ri." The warrior closed his eyes, clearly expecting to be killed on the spot.
It didn't happen. Taranis simply looked at him and smiled. "Really." He then nodded at Branwen. "We shall resume this later, my dear." And with that, he left the room, the warrior trailing behind him.
For a moment, no one said a word. The only sound in the room was the pitiful panting of Branwen's new slave.
"Oh yes", she said softly. "You're still waiting, aren't you? Not much longer now."
At her signal, one servant took him, and the slave screamed with relief as he felt the servant's organ enter him. Of course, it would not satisfy him. Only the Rhoiwr Gollwng could do that, and she had not intention of giving him release when there was still so much fun to be had. The other servant knelt over the slave's mouth, offering his shaft to be licked, which the slave did with desperate abandon.
It was a pleasant sight; the slave's sweaty, heaving body writhing suspended on the edge of climax, while both servants clearly enjoyed his helpless attentions. They both came at last, and, moving away from him, left him to suffer again in untouched limbo until she signaled two more servants to take what the slave could not help but offer. And even though Branwen had just had the most satisfying climax in more than a decade, she felt herself becoming aroused again at the spectacle. And, by the Gods, there were still fresh tears on his face. What a great gift this man proved to be!
At last, when all her servants had taken him twice and she had had him again herself, the last of his tears had dried on his hot face. He was writhing but weakly now, almost completely drained, his strong physique still keeping him conscious and alive. Most of her pleasure slaves had not lasted this long, their hearts having given out by this point. Not so this one.
She signaled a servant to bring her the golden rod. Then she bound the slave's trembling hands and fastened them to his back, and, showing the Rhoiwr Gollwng to him, she positioned it at his opening. "Take it inside yourself, gaethwas. If you can do that, I will let you come", she instructed, not sure if he could hear her.
But when he weakly complied, whimpering with exhaustion, she felt her chest contract with an unaccustomed emotion as she watched him squirm and slowly impale himself on the proffered rod. When at last it was seated within him, he looked at her out of wide blue eyes, begging her silently to finish it.
Smiling, she straddled him, once more taking him inside herself, feeling his shaft twitch as she wrapped her arms and legs around his sweaty body to hold him still. His hips moved helplessly, his tortured flesh still seeking release, straining against her hold.
"You are mine", Branwen whispered, stroking his hair. "There has been no one like you for many years. Your pleasure is mine, your hunger is mine. Only I can give you relief."
She waited a minute longer, enjoying the feel of his muscular form writhing in her arms, then reached behind herself to activate the rod. She stroked and kissed his face as he emptied himself inside her in continuous spurts, his sweaty face assuming an expression of rapture, his eyes rolling back in his head. And again, she kept him coming until he passed out and even after that.
"Well, this looks like a thunderstorm to me, kids", Jack said from where he was huddling beneath the thick branches of a conifer.
"Yes, Sir." Carter's voice managed to convey that she was really saying, "Oh really, Sir? How astute. Rain, thunder, lightning. Yes, it is a thunderstorm. Well done, Sir." Her expression remained respectful, however, even with a drop of rain slowly abseiling down her nose. Jack gave her ten points for self control while subtracting fifteen points for disrespect towards a superior officer.
A bolt of lightning shot down, cleaving a tree just a few yards away from where SG-1 was hiding. They dove for cover.
"Didn't Daniel mention something about Taranis being a god of thunder?" Jack drawled. "And is it just me, or are those impacts getting closer?"
Carter paled. "I don't think it's just you, Sir", she said, and this time her voice was as respectful as her face.
Jack nodded. "Didn't think so. Let's run for it, kids."
When Branwen next entered her new slave's cell, she immediately saw that something was wrong. He was moving about restlessly on his pallet, his fair skin now bright red and feverish-looking. His breathing, too, was abnormal; it sounded labored, as though he had trouble drawing breath and releasing it.
Her call yielded no response. Cautiously, she approached.
The skin around his eyes was swollen, his lips dry and scaly. His eyes opened and closed without looking at anything. It was clear that he was very ill. Branwen did not even need to touch him to feel the heat radiating off him.
She had never seen anything like it. This was an unknown sickness.
She backed away at once. A sickness was always bad news in an enclosed group of people. She did not recognize the symptoms, which meant that she had no cure. And even though it was unlikely she herself would contract the disease, it was always possible for her to be a carrier.
Sadness rose within her. Even her magic could not save him from something she had not encountered before. The slave would have to be discarded, and quickly, before the illness spread. She could only hope she and her servants had not already become infected.
He was perfect. He was the answer to her prayers.
He had to die.
Suddenly his eyes snapped open.
He managed to focus on her, his lips parted in fast, shallow pants. "What's... happening?" he forced out.
Branwen remained where she was. "You are ill, gaethwas. I am sorry. I cannot help you."
"Let me go." His eyes fastened on hers with intense pleading.
She felt deep sorrow fill her. "I cannot. Taranis will surely kill you. You are not of the kindred."
"Mean you no harm", he gasped. "Please, Branwen. Only came here to learn... Let me... My friends will... help me... please."
Branwen made her decision. "Weision!" she called her servants. "Bring the caethwas outside, beyond the circumference. Leave him in the shade. If you see his companions approach, let them. They may have ways to help him. Wait!" she called as they moved to lift him. "Dress yourselves in protective garbs, and burn them before you reenter the dwelling."
She watched them follow her bidding. And unaccustomed feeling of remorse overcame her. The young man would probably die, and it would be because of her actions. If only he had not become ill. He would have been perfect. Branwen smiled sadly, remembering the feel of his smooth skin, the sounds he made as the Llymaid overcame his will.
There was a flash, followed by crashing thunder.
"Taranis", she whispered. The God was angry... probably because of the strangers. He would not hesitate to kill them for trespassing on the land of the kindred. Now, her act of mercy would only bring the sick slave more torment before he finally succumbed to Taranis's anger.
She remembered his pleading eyes. Blue, so very blue.
She rose and moved to the communication device. "My Lord Taranis, I need to speak to you."
"They are trying to flank us, O'Neill."
Teal'c's voice did not show the strain of running, going to ground, running again, and Jack felt the usual sharp envy. He'd never, ever agree to having one of those snakes anywhere in his anatomy, but being able to do the things Teal'c did would still be nice. "I know", he panted. "Suggestions?"
They scanned through the vegetation, trying to determine the lay of the land. There was the Stargate, clearly accessible from this side, and just as clearly an ideal site for ambush.
Carter had her binoculars out. She, too, was panting, Jack was pleased to note. "There's enough cover. One of us might make it to the DHD while the other two lay down cover fire."
She nodded and moved forward, while Jack and Teal'c scanned the area for hostiles. All appeared clear.
And then, with a sharp grunt of surprise and pain, Carter collided with a force field. "Sir!"
Jack signalled for her to keep going around it.
The Celtic Warrior Jaffa were armed with hand-held weapons that shot long, narrow bolts of energy, lance-like in appearance and just as deadly as the bolt of a staff weapon, as attested by assorted charred greenery. Getting hit would undoubtedly incapacitate the victim critically, so Jack went with the plan that was least likely to get any of them hurt. Go back through to Earth, come back with reinforcements, get out Daniel, retreat. They had tried to ascertain how many of the blue-painted guys were chasing them, and it was probably around a dozen or so.
Piece o' cake.
There was also the minor inconvenience of an aerial craft zipping around over the tree tops. It was disk-like and painted gray, clearly meant to imitate a cloud. Now and then, the craft fired some sort of shock-like weapon which looked and sounded exactly like a bolt of lightening, complete with thunder. It set trees alight and made the earth tremble noticeably. Not getting hit by that thing definitely sounded like a good idea as well.
It took them another fifteen minutes of skulking and dodging bolts of lightning to ascertain that the force field did indeed extend over the entire clearing which situated the Stargate, making it inaccessible.
"Somehow, I'm not surprised", Jack drawled. "So. We go with Plan B."
"What's Plan B, Sir?"
"We make ourselves popular here and at the fortress until we get Daniel back. Hit and run, until we've pissed them off so much that they let him go. Let's keep moving."
Jack signalled for them to move side-by-side, pointing out the positions of hostiles he had made. Teal'c added another, and then they were off again skulking through the bushes.
"I will not let them leave, Branwen!" Taranis thundered. "They violated our lands! There is only one response to that!"
Branwen smiled placatingly. "Revenge, I know, my lord. And so it will be. But for that, you must let the strangers reach the portal."
"And why must I do that?" His tone implied that he clearly thought he 'must' not do anything.
"If you strike them down, my plan is doomed to failure."
He hesitated. "Tell me of this plan of yours."
Branwen smiled again. "When they leave, they will bring back a disease to their world. There is no cure for this disease. They will all die."
A flash of white glowing eyes. "You are certain of this?"
Taranis smiled. "Very well, my Raven. I will let them pass unmolested." He looked at her with false pity. "I am sorry about your new acquisition. He did appear the best of all you've caught so far."
Branwen held her tongue. Her disappointment still rankled, and it seemed unfair that Taranis would reap all the rewards while she went empty-handed. This strike against the First World would reinstate Taranis in his old position among the System Lords, and then he'd be even more impossible to live with. She sighed deeply. All that remained for her was hope that Daniel Jackson would yet live. After all, the Tau'ri had been known to best even the System Lords. "Thank you, my Lord."
And then, suddenly everything was quiet.
The sky cleared as if there had never been a thunderstorm.
"The Jaffa are falling back, O'Neill."
"Curioser and curioser", Jack murmured. "I don't think it's a trap. They could have done that a dozen times over, at more convenient locations. Maybe they've received new orders, to leave us alone."
"Maybe Daniel has something to do with it, Sir."
Jack grimaced. "Yeah, I'll bet Miss White Raven has taken a shine to him, just like every single female all over the damn galaxy. Hope he doesn't end up married."
They went into a huddle beneath another one of those ubiquitous conifers.
"What now, Sir?"
Jack considered. "We'll move back to the structure, stay behind the treeline and observe the building. Sooner or later, someone will have to leave to get supplies, or at least open a damn window. We'll have a better chance of getting inside if we know where that damn thing opens."
"What if they have underground tunnels that lead to the surface a ways off? Or even ring transporters?"
"Then we'll find them. I will not leave here without Daniel, Major. Not unless I absolutely have to."
She nodded. "Yes, Sir. What if this IS a trap, and they intend to take us, too?"
Jack pulled a face. "Well, then they'll have to take us and what we dish out, I guess."
Soon, they reached the clearing and the imposing fortress.
Jack took out his binoculars. All appeared clear. "We'll split up. Equidistant triangular formation. Keep radio contact. Teal'c, move over there, Carter, hold this position. Try to keep both of us in sight. Go, Teal'c."
Jack skulked through the undergrowth, eyeing each tree trunk with deep suspicion. Daniel had mentioned hidden cameras. Daniel. Damn. It was ten hours now since they'd last seen him. Was he already a host? Was he even still alive?
"Stop it, Jack", he mumbled to himself. "This isn't helping."
At that moment, he spotted something pale on the dark forest floor. Something human-shaped.
Trap, his mind whispered. He froze and hit the send button on his radio. "Carter. Teal'c. Come in. Over."
"I am here, O'Neill."
Jack scanned the surrounding landscape, but he could see nothing suspicious. Nothing, that is, except the stark naked form of his missing archaeologist lying unmoving, the perfect bait for Daniel gatherers. "I've found Daniel. He seems unconscious, or worse. It could be a trap. RV at my position, keep your heads up for blue guys. Over."
"As do I."
Wheezing sounds reached O'Neill's ears, and he was horrified to discover they came from Daniel. "He's alive, but he doesn't sound too good", he said into his radio. "I'm going in."
"I see you, O'Neill", Teal'c's deep voice said in his ear. "The area appears clear."
Jack had reached his friend. "Danny. Dammit."
The scientist was unconscious; his bare skin was bright red in patches and pasty white in others. His breath came in choked gasps through a gaping mouth framed by blueish lips. A quick once-over revealed no external injuries and an intact spine, so Jack dared to move him. When he touched the inflamed-looking skin, he found it to be hot to the touch.
"Colonel." Carter was there, already reaching into her pack for the emergency blanket and medikit. Teal'c, Jack noted, was nearby keeping watch.
"He's running a fever, got trouble breathing. His ribs appear fine. See those red splotches?" Jack manoevred him onto the blanket, shifting himself so Daniel lay half upright against his chest. The new position seemed to make breathing easier for his friend. Daniel moaned as Jack shifted him, a dry, weak sound.
"Yes, Sir." Carter ran her hands over Daniel's naked form to check for injuries while Jack looked on with a strange feeling in his guts that had nothing to do with Daniel's plight and everything with Carter's hands on his friend. His handsome, naked friend. "I can't feel any broken ribs, either."
Jack, fighting his instinct to push Carter off Daniel, nodded distractedly. "He was fine just ten hours ago. Is there any disease that could act this fast?"
Carter just looked at him.
He shook his head. "I know - wrong kind of doctor. Sorry, Major."
Carter nodded graciously, hefting her P-90. "They must have brought him here when this condition developed." She blanched. "Sir, they might have infected him with something. That would also explain why the Jaffa retreated. They're hoping to infect us as well, via Daniel."
Jack stared at her, then at Daniel, his inflamed skin and heaving chest. "Damn." Defiantly, his grip tightened. He wrapped Daniel snugly into the blanket, supporting his friend's head against his shoulders. "Well, if that's the case, we're already infected. Too late to do anything about it. We'd better haul ass back to the gate."
"What of the force field surrounding the gate, O'Neill?" Teal'c interjected.
Jack looked down at Daniel. "Something tells me they'll let us go. If their plan IS to attack Earth with bio warfare, they'll have to." He grimaced. "Wait. Carter, remember that scare he gave us on P-wheresit-whatsit two months ago? Collapsing on us and all? I distinctly remember him gasping just like that..."
"You could be right, Sir!"
"Well, don't sound so surprised."
She ignored him. "That would certainly explain the red spots. His respiratory problems might also be caused by an allergic reaction. He carries antihistamines in his vest..." She trailed off. The vest was gone. No antihistamines, no glasses. Not even underpants.
"I got a spare strip of his pills, Major. Been carrying it with me ever since his anal-phallic shock on P whatever." He fumbled the tablets out of a vest pocket, his other hand firmly wrapped about their ailing linguist, ignoring the shocked look Carter gave him.
Daniel wheezed again, a dry tongue trying ineffectually to moisten his lips. He mumbled something incomprehensible. Jack reached behind himself for his canteen. "Easy, big fella. You're safe now. Here, drink this." He gave him a small sip.
Daniel moaned and tried to reach for the bottle.
"Slowly, Danny. You'll make yourself sick. Sicker than you already are, that is."
Carter, meanwhile, had crushed two tablets and mixed the resulting powder with a little water. They made Daniel drink the mixture, gave him more water, then wrapped the still gasping archaeologist in two more blankets to conserve his body heat.
"We're fallling back now", Jack decided. "Carter, Teal'c, put the travois together. We'll carry him."
"O'Neill." The big warrior had been watching the proceedings from his guarding position. "Should you not be ascertaining if DanielJackson has been injured during the violation of his body?"
"WHAT?" Jack felt as if someone had punched him in the gut. "Teal'c, what are you talking about?" The question was out of his mouth before he could stop it. He knew what Teal'c was talking about, just like he knew that the Jaffa was qualified to recognize the signs. The former Special Forces officer and the former First Prime had at least one thing in common, and that was a past filled with unsavory experiences.
Teal'c, of course, had no problem with stating the unspeakable. "DanielJackson has been sexually assaulted, O'Neill. It is possible that he sustained injuries resulting from that."
For a moment, Jack felt like he was about to throw up. Danny. His Spacemonkey. Raped. Then thrown back out like so much trash. Now gasping and shivering in his arms, possibly infected with some Goa'uld-concocted disease, maybe even a bomb in his guts.
Carter was already there. "I'll check, Sir."
Jack rallied. "No." He still absolutely did not want Carter to touch Daniel like that. "I'll do it. Carter, Teal'c, watch the perimeter."
He could see the reluctance in his 2IC's eyes. He could sympathize. Carter WAS the one with more in-depth medical training. "Yes, Sir", she said after a moment, and Jack recognized it as Carter-speak for "I think that's a really stupid idea, but I can see where you're coming from, so I'll do it. But I'm doing it under protest. Sir." Well, she would just have to suck it up. This was non-negotiable.
Teal'c just bowed, then moved away.
Carefully, Jack removed the blankets, shifting Daniel around so he could take a look at his groin.
"Dammit, Daniel." Teal'c had been right, of course. Jack just hadn't seen it because there were red spots all over Daniel. Daniel's genitals and the area around his anus were reddened and swollen; undoubtedly results of sexual activities. And Jack would bet a year's salary that it had not been voluntary. "Damn damn damn", he whispered. Biting his lower lip, Jack ran his hand over the inflamed skin to feel for signs of injuries.
When the probe became more invasive, Daniel flinched and moaned, his eyes opening and closing again, apparently in pain.
"Sorry", Jack whispered. "Sorry."
It felt more than strange to touch another man so intimately, but not as strange as Jack had expected it to be. Somehow, the thought both warmed and saddened him. He knew now that he wouldn't be freaked by it. And still, this would probably be the only time Daniel ever let Jack touch him there - now that he was unconscious, and couldn't object. Damn. And Carter had better keep her hands off the handsome archaeologist, damn it.
Jack frowned. This was getting a bit out of hand.
Suddenly, Daniel arched his back, a hoarse cry issuing from his mouth. "Oh, ie" he forced out, panting, his voice barely there. "Ie! Cyffwrdd â fi... unwaith eto..."
Jack caught him, wrapped his arms around him, both to keep him from flailing about and to ground him. "Daniel! Danny, it's okay. It's me, Jack. You're safe. It's alright. Don't be scared. It's over." He guided Daniel's head to his shoulder, feeling the heat coming off him in waves. After a minute of struggling, Daniel sagged, exhausted, moving his face against Jack's neck. Hiding, Jack thought. Crawling away from the pain. "It's okay, Danny."
"Yeah. I'm here. It's over."
Daniel's voice was barely a whisper. Jack had to strain his ears to hear him. "Please, Jack... I need..." He moaned, and suddenly Jack realized that he didn't sound at all as if he were in pain. Hungry, blazing blue eyes met his for a moment, then Daniel sagged back, unconscious. His body was in an obvious state of arousal, and Jack hastily covered him up.
Jack felt his face grow hot and tight and his gut clench with rage and love. "Oh god, Danny, what have they done to you?" He whispered it fiercely into his friend's hair, his head and heart in turmoil.
Sam was watching the proceedings from a safe distance. She understood the colonel's need to shield his friend from a potentially embarrassing situation, but she still felt she should have done the examination. After all, she was more qualified for field medical procedures.
When Daniel became agitated, she could not keep back any longer. "Sir?" She knelt down next to them, ready to offer assistance.
"I got it, Carter." The colonel checked his hand, the one that had done the examination. "He's not bleeding, so here's hoping it's not too bad. Damn." He grimaced sharply, still not looking at her. "DAMN it. He doesn't need this shit."
To Sam's astonishment, the colonel proceeded to stroke Daniel's sweat-tousled hair with more tenderness than she had ever seen him exhibit towards any of them before. Then her CO obviously noticed what he was doing and stopped the gesture, turning it into an elaborate checking for temperature. "We're getting him back to base ASAP. He's burning up. Whatever it is, it's acting fast."
Teal'c straightened. "The travois is ready, O'Neill."
The hoarse sound brought the colonel's attention back to the man in his arms. "Danny. It's alright. Just stay calm."
"I know, Daniel. We've given you something for it. Relax. Let it kick in. We'll get you home before you know it." And again he moved his hands over the blanket-covered form, long, soothing swipes of Daniel's back, the younger man clearly content to let it happen.
Sam realized she was witnessing something that must have happened before. There was no obvious embarrassment in either man's demeanor. They simply leaned on each other, calmed by each other's presence.
"Jack, they... I..." She could hardly make out his soft words.
"Shh. I know. I know." The colonel's voice, too, was soft and very tender. He did not stop his stroking.
It was all he said, all he needed to say. They would deal with any fallout when they got back. For the moment, it was enough that they were four again.
As Jack had surmised, the force field was gone when they reached the Stargate. They put the base on quarantine alert before they went back through, giving Hammond time enough to evacuate all non-essential personnel to the upper levels. Then, a still gasping Daniel was whisked away on a gurney, SG-1 piling along.
They hovered as Janet examined Daniel, trying to keep out of her way while anxious to hear any kind of verdict. At last, with an exasperated glance at them, Janet firmly closed the curtains around her patient.
"Well, your blood works are all clear", Fraiser told them later. "As is Daniel's, apart from a foreign substance that seems to be more of a drug than an infectant. You called it right, Sam. He's allergic to it."
Sam gestured towards O'Neill. "Well, actually, it was the colonel who called it."
Dr. Fraiser looked at him, a world of scepticism in her eyes. "Really."
"What is DanielJackson's condition, DoctorFraiser?" Teal'c cut Jack's moment of glory short.
"Well, physically he's going to be fine. The antihistamine you gave him probably saved his life. The drug seems to have completely worn off, though it's still present. I'm giving him more antihistamines to prevent a relapse into anaphylactic shock, which is still a possibility. Other than that, there are minor injuries which have been treated." She paused.
Jack shifted uncomfortably. "Doc..."
"There's no indication he has been physically tampered with in any way, colonel, if that's what you're asking. I think we can safely rule out the possibility of Daniel having been used as a means of destruction."
"Doc... " He shifted again. "That's not... exactly..."
Fraiser understood him in spite of his amazing eloquence. "I'll have to invoke doctor-patient-confidentiality on any details, Colonel, as you know."
"There is no need", Teal'c intoned. "We have already deduced that our friend was violated. O'Neill is merely concerned about the effect this deed has had on DanielJackson's spirit."
"THANK you, Teal'c."
"As am I", the Jaffa continued, unperturbed.
Fraiser looked from one to the next. "Well, as I was about to say, physically, Daniel is going to be fine. However, there are, of course, psychological consequences to consider. Whatever the effect of that drug was, it wasn't to impair his memory. He remembers everything."
"Damn", Jack swore softy.
Janet went on, "I'd recommend counseling -" She broke off when she saw the reactions of dismay around her - Sam wide-eyed, Teal'c frowning fiercely, and O'Neill's face hardening.
"Aw, Doc", the colonel said, "is that really necessary? I mean, you know Daniel - he'll get through this on his own. He always does, always has. Surely there's no need to drag a friggin' counselor into this! He didn't have one after Hathor, either."
Sam nodded emphatically. "Besides, Janet, there's no one available but MacKenzie, and I really don't see Daniel talking to HIM about what happened."
"Under circumstances such as these, counseling is mandatory, as you well know", Janet retorted. "In light of Daniel's recent experience with our mental health expert, I agree we would have to bring in an outside expert. However, Daniel is a very private, complicated man, and it'd take even a professional rape counselor too long to get to know him before they could even begin therapy. And taking into account the fact that the three of you are the only persons on Earth he trusts completely, I'm making a recommendation for another form of therapy. It's highly unconventional, and it depends on your participation.
"You all will be his therapists, for lack of a better word. You already know him as well as it is possible to know another human being. Help him. Talk to him. Make it clear that you're there to help him, and make him talk about what happened. Use your knowledge of Daniel, of his preferences, his idiosyncrasies. I'll be in the background, providing you with all the necessary information, but I'll go by your decisions. If the three of you jointly decide to give him something to help him sleep, you'll get it. If you decide to leave to mountain and go wherever, I'll come with you - provided there's no emergency at the base. If you jointly decide he's recovered, that's the final word on it." She looked earnestly at each of them. "Are you okay with this?"
SG-1 exchanged glances.
"It's a heavy responsibility, I agree", Janet went on. "I realize that none of you are psychologically qualified, and I wouldn't be suggesting this if Daniel were any worse off than he is, and if I didn't think that, under the circumstances, an outsider would be more of a hindrance to his recovery. Remember, Daniel will be working with you. He's aware of his situation. He's experienced counceling before. And, most importantly, he wants to be helped. By you. If anybody else tries, he'll clam right up, and it'll be a long, uncomfortable, and probably ultimately unsuccessful therapy."
Again, they looked at each other.
"How hard can it be?" Jack muttered. He still remembered his own counceling, right after the Gulf.
"We will not allow anyone else to further make DanielJackson uncomfortable", Teal'c stated.
"If you can give me a crash course on rape counceling, Janet..." Sam began.
The doctor smiled. "Okay. I'll clear it with the general."
"Sorry about that test ride, Major", Jack drawled, but Sam ignored him. As ususal.
"Hey, Daniel." Jack pulled up a chair next to the archaeologist's bed. "How're you doin'?"
Daniel still looked quite a bit under the weather, but at least the red splotches had faded, and he was breathing without difficulty. There was an IV drip connected to his hand, and, to Jack's practiced eye, Daniel appeared pale and tired. He also wasn't wearing his spare glasses, which was always a bad sign. He did that only when he did not want the world to see him; kind of like 'if I can't see them clearly, they can't see me clearly either'.
"Much better, thanks", Daniel said softly.
There was an uncomfortable pause.
"So -" they both began in unison.
"Sorry", Daniel said, scratching the back of his neck with his un-IV-ed hand. "Go ahead."
"So, I guess Fraiser told you about her little scheme?"
Daniel looked down at his hands. "Yeah."
There was another pause. "Well," Jack prompted, "whaddaya think? You okay with it?"
Daniel peered up at him through his lashes. "I guess." He looked away again. "This is embarrassing", he muttered.
Jack nodded. "Yeah. You know, I'm... Talking's not really my strong suit... But..."
"You know, you gotta talk about it..."
"Eventually", they said together.
Daniel gave him a quick, sad grin. "I do know, Jack. I certainly don't wanna talk to anybody else about this. Janet said you guys already know the gist. In a way, I guess this therapy thing is for you as much as it is for me. You have to be sure I get through this, and I need to know you guys are okay with what happened to me. I realize that. It's just that... it's hard."
"Always is, Danny. We'll take it slow. Hammond has given us two weeks. Soon as Doc Napoleon lets you go, we'll hole up somewhere nice and see what happens." He grinned. "Carter's doing her damnedest to become a qualified therapist as we speak, and Teal'c'll smother you in TLC, Jaffa style, until you won't remember your name." He frowned as he realized that Daniel was looking away, an unhappy expression on his face. "What?"
Daniel watched his fingers play with the rim of his blanket. "Jack... It's not so easy."
Jack made supportive head motions.
"I can't talk about it. Not here." He frowned and bit his lip, a picture of misery.
Jack leaned forward. He thought he could guess what this was about. "Hey." He waited, and finally Daniel met his eyes. "Whatever happened, it wasn't your fault. Okay? However they made you feel, it was forced. None of it was you. They drugged you, for cryin' out loud! How can any of it be your fault?"
For a moment, Daniel's eyes flashed blue fire. "Jack. I know! I know all about the psychology of rape, okay? The feeling of being used, the shame, the feeling of being dirty. Even the guilt. I've been there before, Jack. But that's not it! None of it is! It's a whole new problem, and we won't talk about it here!"
Jack raised his hands placatingly. "Okay, okay. Not here. Got it. But..."
"You won't like it, Jack."
Jack looked at him steadily. "We'll see."
"So, Sam, how's it going?" Janet asked Sam several days later.
Sam took a minute to answer. "I'm not sure", she said at last. "I mean, it's going great. He's exhibiting none of the textbook symptoms on post-traumatic stress. He mainly seems very embarrassed about the whole thing, but he's talked about it, and I think he's going to be okay." She grinned. "He's bouncing back, as the colonel puts it."
"But I'm not so sure that's all there is to it." Sam sighed, frustrated. "I can't put my finger on it. Daniel's settled in okay at the colonel's house. He's eating. He's taking no more showers than usual. He's even sleeping okay, as far as I can tell. Well." She grinned. "There were a few hiccups the first two nights, but that seems to be over. He's told us all about what happened, even the sordid details. It's in my report."
Janet nodded. "It's very comprehensive. You did an excellent job, for a rookie psychologist."
"And yet you think there's something... left out?"
"I don't know, Janet. Maybe. But whatever it is, I won't get to the bottom of it, and neither will Teal'c. Our recommendation at this point is pulling Teal'c and me out of the therapy and leaving to colonel to deal with whatever there may or may not still be on Daniel's plate."
Sam smiled wistfully. It had been a nice time, the three of them gathering around their wounded teammate, to talk and to help. They had leaned a lot about each other. Teal'c, especially, had shared much with them about his experiences, and he had made an enormous contribution to Daniel's recovery. In a way, Daniel's plight had brought all of SG-1 closer together.
But, still, there were the glances between Daniel and the colonel, the air of tension between the two of them, that Sam couldn't pin down. When asked, the colonel had, of course, denied that there was anything worthy of mention, and told her not to worry.
She wasn't sure there was anything to worry about. Besides, the colonel and Daniel had always had a special bond. Almost from the beginning, against all prejudice between military man and academician, they had connected. So she and Teal'c had decided it was time for them to move aside and let that special connection heal Daniel.
Janet smiled. "Okay. I'll talk to the colonel, to get his perspective, and then the two of you are free to enjoy the rest of your downtime."
Daniel sat on the porch of Jack's house, wrapped in a blanket, a cup of tea on the table beside him.
For some reason, his teammates had gotten it into their heads that now was a good time to wean him from his caffeine addiction, so they had decided coffee was still a no-no. No arguments. Daniel felt it was entirely arbitrary on their parts, but as it was the only arbitrary decision they had taken so far, Daniel had not said anything. It could have been much worse, after all. Besides, they let him eat all the chocolate cookies he wanted.
And another thing; for all their constant attention to anything Daniel said or did, he and Jack had not yet had time to talk about what really needed to be talked about.
Daniel had never felt as connected to Sam and Teal'c as he felt now. There was, he once again noticed, really a world of difference between intellectually knowing your friends cared for you and having it demonstrated. He had always considered SG-1 his surrogate family. Hell, Jack and Sam even called him "Danny" and "Sweetie", just like his parents had. And Teal'c was the big brother he'd always wished he had - strong, supportive, tolerant.
It was the bitterest of ironies, Daniel mused, that his little family would now be broken up by the very thing that had brought them to this point.
Well, at the very least, it would be severely shaken. Time would tell if it would survive the upheaval.
Damn. He really needed to talk to Jack. It was the last thing he wanted to do, but he knew he had no choice. The nightmares had gone, but the - other - dreams remained. Hot, lustful, wanton dreams, and all about Jack. Daniel was more aware of him than he'd ever been, and he hungered. Sooner or later, Jack would notice. And then all hell would break loose.
The porch doors slid open behind him, and Daniel knew without looking that Teal'c had come to join him.
For a minute, neither of them said anything. Then, Teal'c's deep voice came from beside him. "What are your thoughts, DanielJackson?"
Daniel hesitated. He had learned a few days ago that Teal'c knew him better than Daniel would have guessed. Evading the question or making up some innocent answer would avail him nothing. "I was just thinking that you are my family, Teal'c. The three of you."
"Indeed. I have had the same thought on occasion." Teal'c paused. "It is a different family, is it not, than the one you would have had on Abydos?" If it weren't for my intervention, was left unsaid yet understood by both of them. "You are my family as well, yet I have another family in the Land of Light."
Daniel supposed that Teal'c was probably going somewhere with this, so he kept silent.
"The Tau'ri word 'family' describes many different groups. Even within this family of SG-1, there are unique groupings. Each one of us has a unique connection to each member of our family. Yourself to me, to MajorCarter. To O'Neill." He paused again. "It is to this last connection that you should now turn your attention, DanielJackson."
'He knows', Daniel thought immediately. 'He's onto me.' He felt his face burn with shame.
"You are a strong man", Teal'c went on. "You have once again suffered greatly, and yet we are confident that you will recover shortly. The damage you sustained will not be permanent. Yet there are consequences that must be addressed. If they are not, they will eventually serve to do more harm than that which was done to you." He came to stand in front of Daniel. "You must talk to O'Neill. You must clean the air between the two of you."
"Clear the air, Teal'c", Daniel corrected automatically, his face still hot. "And it may not be as easy as you think."
"I have never known you to shirk your duty because of concerns for personal comfort. You have always done what needed to be done without regard for yourself, something the rest of SG-1 have had reason to regret on numerous occasions."
Daniel blushed even more at the backhanded compliment. "Thanks, Teal'c. It think. But this is different. It's not just me I have to consider. It's all of us. This will affect SG-1 big time, maybe even break up the team." He broke off, thinking. "I never thought I'd say that, but maybe it's better for all of us if this just stays hidden. Maybe bringing it out into the open would do more harm than good."
"I disagree", Teal'c stated. "You are, once again, disregarding your own needs." His black eyes regarded Daniel thoughtfully. "Perhaps it is time to speak plainly. The events on P3X 545 have -"
"No!" Daniel interrupted him, mortified. "Don't say it, please! It's... it's too soon. I can't face it yet. Please, Teal'c. This is so - terribly embarrassing that right now I wish the earth would swallow me whole. God!" He turned his flaming face down, looking at his hands.
"What is it you fear, DanielJackson?" Teal'c asked very gently. "Is it O'Neill's scorn? His rejection? Trust me, my brother. I have seen the way he looks at you. When you speak to him, you will find that, like you, he has been willing to never speak of his feelings. But now, the time has come for both of you to speak of them."
And with that, the Jaffa turned to walk back into the house.
That same evening, Sam and Teal'c officially left the counceling trio, leaving Jack and Daniel alone in the colonel's house.
"You have three more days, O'Neill. Use them well", Teal'c said with his usual gravitas before closing the door on his way out.
"Planning on it, Teal'c", Jack said to the closed door. "Planning on it."
When he came back into the living room, he found Daniel on his feet, nervously twisting his fingers.
"Jack", he said. "There's something I've got to tell you."
"No. Please. Sit down, and let me say this. It's important."
"Sit down, Jack!"
He sat down. "Daniel..."
Daniel held up a trembling finger. "Jack. Please. I have to get this out in one go. It's the last thing I wanna do, but Teal'c'll have my head if I don't. I'm practically having a heart attack right now, so I'd really appreciate it if you could just shut up and listen."
It was positively painful to see him worked up like this, so Jack made one more effort to stop him. "Daniel..."
"Shut. Up! When I'm through with this, you'll throw me off the team, and you very likely won't want to have anything to do with me ever again, so just don't say anything." He caught his breath. "We talked about all that happened with Branwen, how she drugged me and made me do things, did things to me, and how I enjoyed it, right?" He held up a hand. "No, don't say anything, Jack. I left out one very important point. I left out how I feel about it now the drugs are out of my system. I didn't tell the entire truth about what I'm dreaming about now, either. It's not about Branwen, and they're not exactly nightmares, that much is true."
"Dammit, Jack, will you shut up? I'm dreaming about you, Jack. It's your face I see when I'm having the most seriously kinky erotic dreams I had since I was fifteen. I still want the things Branwen forced on me, and I want them from you. But that's not all. It's way more serious than mere eroticism. It goes way deeper. It's about emotions, about that whole forged in fire friendship thing between us, about the fact that you're the best friend I ever had."
"Jack, I'm trying to tell you I'm in love with you, you big moron! I probably have been for a while, but I've only noticed it a few months ago. And now, Branwen has betwitched me with her potion and her cursed sex toys, I'm thinking about it day and night, and I can't get my body to shut up again, just like I can't get you to shut the hell up!" He fell silent, staring at Jack, panting, red-faced.
"Daniel..." Jack broke off. Then he realized that Daniel wasn't interrupting him. "Daniel. It's okay. That's what I've been tryin' to tell you. It's okay."
Daniel did his guppy impression. "Jack, did you hear me?"
"I heard you. You're in love with me, and you've been having erotic dreams about me. Heard you loud and clear. And I repeat, it's okay." He grinned. "Fact, it's more than okay. It's great. Spectacular. Pick the superlative of your choice. 'Cause I'm on the same page here."
Daniel guppied at him some more. "Huh?"
"Yeah. Only I've been a bit faster on the uptake for a change. It didn't take any alien sex toys for me to get that you're the most desirable thing both sides of any wormhole, only I've been keeping a lid on it for, oh, three years now. Didn't want to scare you."
"I never noticed a thing."
"Course you didn't. I'm special ops. We're not exactly encouraged to wear our hearts on our sleeves." He looked at him in fond exasperation. "Danny. Come here. Don't keep standing over there like you're gonna topple over any minute."
Daniel took a few uncertain steps towards him, and Jack got to his feet and took him in his arms.
Jack sighed deeply. At last. Warm, solid, real, all his. He buried his nose in Daniel's shoulder and inhaled the scent of him. YES!
"Hey", Daniel said softly.
"Hey", Jack responded gravely.
"I take it back. You're not a moron. I am."
"Hey, don't insult my Daniel."
Daniel giggled. He actually giggled. It sounded so cute that Jack had to kiss him.
Daniel kissed him right back. Wow. One hell of a kisser. Things were getting real interesting real fast.
"Hey", Jack said when they resurfaced. "I think I heard you mention something about kinky fantasies... Care to let me in on them?"
Daniel blushed and looked away. "I care. I definitely care. Let's take this to your bedroom, Jack. We need space for this. Lots of space."
"I like the sound of that."
Tangled up in each other, they navigated the stairs. "So, this is the approved form of therapy then?" Daniel wanted to know.
"Jointly decided by you, Sam and Teal'c?"
"Not exactly. Jointly decided by Teal'c and me."
"Well, Teal'c told me in his Jaffa way to get a move on already. I don't know what Carter thinks. She suspects something, though."
"So, you and Teal'c decided to... what? use sexual therapy to get me over my trauma?"
"Something like that."
They opened the door and stumbled through.
"No wonder McKenzie is off my case. He never knew how to treat me right."
The door closed.
Comments? Suggestions? Let me know! Story Index Erique's SG-1 Page Home
Author's notes and Sound Filesllymaid - potion
caethwas - slave; 'nghaethwas - my slave; gaethwas - vocative form
gwas - servant
gweision - servants; weision - vocative form
rhoiwr gollwng - giver of release
taran - thunder
Taranis - Celtic god of thunder, often depicted with glowing eyes
Branwen - Welsh goddess of love
duwies - Goddess; dduwies - vocative form
"Perthynas yr ydim ni. Gwae i rhywun sy yn aflonyddu ein heddwch ni." - We are the kindred. Woe to anyone who disturbs our peace.
"Sut yr wyt ti'n teimlo?" - How are you feeling?
"Fi yw Branwen." - I am Branwen.
"Yr yd w fi'n teimlo yn dda, diolch." - I'm feeling fine, thanks.
"Fyddech chi 'yn natod i, Branwen?" - Will you untie me, Branwen?
"Na fyddaf i, wrth gwrs." - I will not, of course.
"Caethwas wyt ti yn awr." - You are now a slave.
"Nid yd w fi ddim yn gaethwas, Branwen! Gwr rhydd yd w fi!" - I'm not a slave, Branwen! I'm a free man!
"Daniel Jackson yd w fi. Fi yw yn fforiwr diniwed." - I'm Daniel Jackson. I'm a peaceful explorer.
Oh, ie! Cyffwrdd â fi unwaith eto. - Oh, yes! Touch me again.
Page created on 2002-11-08