Part 3

The cold woke them, the sudden chill of sweat drying rapidly on their skin as the sun went down and all the heat in the room was sucked out through the narrow window.

Daniel picked up a t-shirt and jacket and handed them to Jack. It was of no importance to either of them at that moment who they had originally belonged to, as long as they were warm for, after the heat of the day, the rapid drop in temperature was even more pronounced. It was as if the walls of the cell amplified the outside temperature, rather than shielding them from it.

A mouthful of water went some way to refreshing his him, but what he longed for was a cup of hot, fresh coffee, strong and sweet. And a doughnut, or maybe a Danish, something loaded with sugar anyway.

"Why's it doing that?" Jack asked, his voice puzzled as he flicked a lazy hand towards the walls. The sun was long down, yet within the cell it was still light enough for them to see each other clearly. He looked to where Jack was pointing and blinked. The walls were - glowing, giving off so much light that he could have easily read a book by it - if he had a book to read.

"Mineral deposits in the rock?" he offered adding, when Jack slanted an enquiring look at him "Like - glow-worms?"

"Oh." Jack shrugged and dropped painfully onto the stone slab, drawing up his legs and encircling them with his arms.

That was it, discussion over. Daniel could understand that, he wasn't interested in the 'whys' or 'hows' either, only in the 'whens' - like when were they going to be fed, or see their friends again... or be allowed to go home. He was tired of playing this game. The muscles he had abused during the attack had started to cramp, sending needles of pain through his nerves, and each time he moved the many abrasions on his legs and body chaffed against the rough cloth of his uniform. He wanted to go home, to a hot bath and a good meal and a comfortable bed.

The thought of missing friends carried his thoughts back to the clearing and the pitiful sight that had greeted their arrival, a clear indication that whoever was running the show had a very sick and twisted mind.

"Jack..." he whispered and felt a murmur of acknowledgement vibrate through the man beside him. "I'm sorry about Stan."

A hitch of breath, a rattle of a sigh that could only just contain the grief begging to be released.


"I know the two of you were - close," he continued, trying not to let the bitterness he felt sound in his voice. Jack's friendship with Kovacek had been different to the bond he shared with the other members of his team, Daniel included. They spent off-duty time together, hockey games, fishing, backpacking into the hills - all the things that Daniel would have liked to share with Jack, had he been offered the chance, but outside of the SGC, or the occasional evening out with the whole team, he and Jack seldom spent any of their free time together these days. He wanted to ask why but his courage always deserted him and in the end he decided that it was better not to make a fool of himself and spoil the balance of a team that worked so well together.

"Not as much as we were," Jack confessed softly. His head was tipped against the wall, his eyes closed, his face shuttered. Whatever was behind that curious statement, he was giving nothing away. Unable to do anything else, Daniel let it go.

Minutes sifted away in silence, grains of sand falling through an hour glass, dragging his thoughts with them. There was something he needed to know, something only Jack could tell him at that moment, but to ask would force them both to confront a reality that he suspected neither of them wanted to consider. Yet vain hope was no longer enough, he had to know, and so he summoned his courage and asked quietly "What happened out there?"

"We were ambushed, whaddaya think?"

Okay, he cautioned himself, Ignore the sarcasm. He's probably hurting as much as you are. "I mean... What happened to the others?" Silence. "I couldn't see, Jack," he urged. "I could hear and I could feel - but I couldn't see..." Heard Sam cry out, heard Teal'c fall... In darkness you always suspect the worst.

Jack moved then, leaning forward as he rubbed his hands over his tired face, hunched up so that his head was turned away from Daniel's gaze.

"Teal'c was hit by a zat blast," he said, a weight of misery crushing the words from him. Daniel waited to hear the rest, prompting, when nothing more was said, "And... Sam?"

He felt the shudder that passed through his companions body, even though they were not touching and he felt an answering chill spread across his own shoulders.

Jack's voice was thick with pain now. "One of them had... what looked like an M-16. I tried to give her cover but..."

"Oh Jesus..." Bile burned his throat but he choked it back. "Is she...?"

Of all the responses Jack could have made, all he did was shrug and say "I don't know." Just like that - "I don't know" like it hadn't mattered enough for him to check. Sam might be dead, and Jack... didn't know...

"She was down... I couldn't get to her... We were under fire... I ... had to make a choice..."

Anger flared. What choice could there possibly be? Sam was one of the team, they were supposed to protect one another, watch each other's backs. But Jack had seen her fall and had done - nothing.

"Between Sam and - what?" he demanded.

Grief stricken brown eyes - the eyes that Daniel had come to love so much - stared back at him helplessly, almost - ashamed.

"You, Danny, " he whispered. "I had to choose between her and you..."

Go to Part 4