It had been six days since Machello’s land mine had left Daniel. Five since Jack, Janet, and Teal’c had been released from their land mines, but Teal’c remained in the infirmary until his Goa’uld larva was restored to full health. A state which annoyed the crap out of him because Teal’c felt working out in the gym and performing his kel’no’reem would be a better use of his time. Instead, he had to perform it in the infirmary—where there were way too many people and meditating was damn near impossible.
And Daniel still didn’t feel right, but he didn’t tell anyone. He was too afraid of getting doped up again by MacKenzie. That man was too quick to jump to conclusions that made less sense than a Goa’uld killing machine no one could see once it got inside you. Machello was one brilliant and sadistic son of a bitch. The Goa’uld deserved it. They didn’t.
The fact of the matter was that Daniel had had a day and a half to develop his symptoms into a full-blown psychotic episode. Jack and Janet had simply gotten sick, too loaded up with those little killing machines to do anything other than lay on the ground suffering from tremors and hallucinations. They hadn’t experienced the full range of psychosis. What fun they had missed.
Daniel took a few more Tylenol and sat back in his office chair. He was working on the latest translations left in those Goa’uld tablets found in Machello’s lab, trying to find anything that could help them locate other land mines the late scientist had invented. It was boring. And nerve-wracking. It’d be easier going into a firefight with Jaffa. At least something could come from it. Daniel felt like he was achieving nothing but spinning his wheels like a hamster.
He kept hearing echoes of the hallucinations. Logically, he knew that what was happening was a form of post-traumatic stress. It made sense. Maybe what he needed was time off. He didn’t trust himself to go into the field. There was no valid reason he could give Hammond. PTSD wasn’t going to cut it since they all suffered varying forms of it and had to keep going regardless. Which made taking breaks as often as possible mandatory, but how could he sell that to the General without it coming off as a personal bias?
Daniel sighed as realized he’d been reading the same tablet for fifteen minutes and didn’t remember any of it except “… diagnosis from central chamber affect is inconclusive…”
Whatever the hell that meant. There was no corresponding material to put it with. The rest of this particular tablet was empty. Just sigils that were part of Machello’s private code that Daniel couldn’t decipher. Daniel moved to the next tablet but over the next hour, he kept nodding off. He figured a nap was due. Sleep sometimes gave him answers, and why not? Refresh the brain. It needed its downtime too. He just hoped he didn’t dream of those corpses like he had the last six damn days. Maybe a nap would be different. He rested his forehead on his arms and was out like a light.
Jack opened the door to Daniel’s office and found him napping. He hesitated, then closed the door after stepping inside. He kept his hand on the doorknob as he decided whether or not to wake him up to tell him they couldn’t go home for another day. He walked over to see what Daniel had been working on and found the pictures of Machello’s inventory on the computer monitor.
For cryin’ out loud. Hammond had told him he didn’t have to work on it until he was fully recovered. Daniel hadn’t said it, but Jack knew the man would say he was fine. Jack knew because it’s how he felt, too. He was fine. Just a few odd hallucinations that Fraiser called halo after-images. They’d take a while to go away because they were a form of PTSD mixed with the leftover traces of those damn bugs. That it might be a temporary form of brain damage that would heal.
Daniel hadn’t said it but Jack had an idea that he was suffering more than he or Fraiser was. Being in MacKenzie’s snake pit had also had a type of paranoia attached to it. Daniel wouldn’t say anything for fear of being thrown back in there. Jack didn’t care how put-together someone was. Go through something like that and it’s only natural to develop a severe aversion to admitting anything psychiatric.
Looking down at him, Jack’s hand twitched with the need to touch him. Stroke his hair or his back, wake him up, tell him to get to the VIP room to sleep. But he had a small sofa in this lab of his so that was probably good enough. At least, that was his excuse for touching him. Jack placed a hand on Daniel’s back. The result was Daniel waking with a start, sitting straight up, and looking around wild-eyed. Oops.
“Hey, hey,” Jack said hurriedly. “It’s just me. Why don’t you crap out on the couch for a while? You’re probably sick of that VIP room anyway.”
“What?” Daniel asked blearily. Jack’s words quickly caught up. “Oh. Right.” But he shook his head. “I’ve been sleeping there for almost a week. It’s fine. A bed’s a bed.”
“Even though it’s the room you had the hallucinations in?”
“I had them here, too, remember?” Daniel asked getting to his feet.
“Right,” Jack said. “Look, I just came by to say we’re stuck in here for another day. Our endless lab results will have timed out by then.” Daniel frowned in confusion. “My terminology, pay it no mind. Point is, Fraiser says we’ll be good to go home. She wants us all to get some extra downtime so our systems will recover from this nightmare.”
Daniel blinked a few times. “That’s, uh, actually an idea that I had. I wanted to bring it to General Hammond but I was afraid it’d come off as self-serving.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “It is self-serving, and that’s the point. C’mon. I’ll escort you to bed.”
Daniel rolled his eyes. “I think I can manage walking a few decks by myself.”
“That’s not the point, dummy.”
Daniel eyed him as he put on his fatigue jacket. Sudden intuition hit him. “You miss me,” he said, a small smile forming on his lips.
“Shut up,” Jack said quietly, then hurried to open the door so Daniel didn’t say anything else.
“You miss me,” Daniel said again, only softer as he passed him out into the hallway.
“Shut up. I never said,” Jack said, closing the door. “Now stop it.”
Daniel smiled all the way to the elevator, whereupon Jack decided he could go to bed by himself and veered down another hallway. Daniel’s smile stayed on his face even as he laid his head on his pillow and went to sleep. Deep down, Jack was just all kinds of shmushy.
The warm feeling stayed with him through sleep. For once, he didn’t remember his dreams. Progress.