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Hardwired, pt 1 - by iiiionly

Colonel Jack O'Neill bolted upright in bed, swearing volubly as his feet hit the floor, jarring his spinning head.  For cryin’ out loud, he had enough nightmares of his own, thank you very much, without turning his brain into some kind of POD storage unit for someone else’s. 

How the hell had that archeologist managed to hardwire himself into his brain again?
This had to stop.  This time around Jack O'Neill flatly refused to let Dr. Daniel Jackson drive him crazy.  He'd had a whole year to work on his ability to just say no, and he would do it too - the very next time the kid was in trouble.

Starting tomorrow, Jack told himself as he pulled on discarded BDUs over his sweat-soaked shorts. 

All right, the day after tomorrow, since according to the clock on the night stand it was already three-plus hours into tomorrow. 

Daniel's nightmares weren't getting any better; if anything, they were getting worse.  And short of someone like Teal'c physically restraining him, O'Neill was incapable of leaving the archeologist to sweat it out alone.

The first time it had happened he'd been in his own house, in his own bed, sleeping the sleep of the truly righteous.

He'd tucked a flesh and blood Daniel in himself that first night back after hauling the archeologist home from Vis Uban.  The kid had been exhausted, had literally been asleep before his head hit the pillow, and Jack had stayed for several hours just watching him sleep. 

Probably would have slept there himself, except the General had ordered him home.

Uselessly, as it turned out. 
O'Neill had woken that first night, just after 3:00 a.m., with his heart pounding as if it would beat its way out of his chest.  He'd slogged to the bathroom and splashed water on his face before he’d realized he was wide awake and his heart was still galloping like undomesticated equines. 

It had taken several long moments staring at his reflection in the bathroom mirror to reconcile the intense physical reaction of his body with the calm, unclouded reasoning of his mind. 

Until an analysis of what was different had had him throwing on whatever clothes came to hand, scooping up his keys, and racing out of the house to make the twenty minute drive back to the Mountain in a record eleven minutes.

Jack had come off the elevator at a dead run, swiped his card through the reader, and flung the door open just as Daniel sat straight up in bed, gasping for air, soaked in a cold sweat.

The scenario had repeated itself, almost as precisely as if he'd been reliving the continuous Fruit Loops circuit, for the last five nights. 

Except O'Neill, after the second night of racing back, had refused to leave the base.   Consequently he was only next door instead of ten miles and twenty minutes away. 


Tomorrow he would start saying no.

Tonight he slammed out of the adjacent quarters, swiped his card through the reader next door, and sluiced through the darkness, switching on the bedside lamp as he dropped down on the edge of the bed.

"Daniel."  Jack grabbed the younger man by the shoulders.  "Daniel, wake up!"  He shook him lightly.  "Come on, this is getting old, kid, we’ve got to fix this." 

The blue eyes snapped open, wide and wild. 


They banged heads as the archeologist surged up quicker than Jack anticipated.

"Jack?"  Daniel pressed the heel of his hand to his forehead, squinting at the Colonel.

"Got it in one.  You awake?"

"Yes."  Daniel slumped back against the headboard.  "Sorry." 

He reached automatically for his glasses, glancing at the clock, though he hardly needed to.  The nightmare had come like clockwork, same time, same channel, for the last five nights.

Jack waited out the drowning man impression, then the still-shaking-like-a-leaf-in-a-hurricane piece, and finally the segment on where-do-I-look-since-I-refuse-to-meet-Jack's-gaze. 

"Daniel?"  We're so going to have to talk about this.  Sooner or later.

That brought the archeologist’s gaze shooting back to the Colonel.  The lean jaw clenched tight, probably to stop the chattering teeth. 

Hmm, it still worked, though Daniel refused to acknowledge the sub-vocal message by more than the startled look.

"Go back to bed."  He scooted past the Colonel, slid to the edge of the bed, shoved his feet over, and dropped his head into his hands.  "I'm going to get in the shower."

"Good idea.  It'll warm you up."  Jack slumped sideways.  "Mind if I use your bed?  Since you're not going to."

"Feel free," the archeologist mumbled, pushing himself up. 

The sound of the shower lulled Jack into a light doze.  The special ops Colonel, however, was still on full alert and opened his eyes as Daniel padded quietly back into the room. 

“Feel better?" 

Sweat-soaked scrubs had been exchanged for BDUs and a t-shirt.

Daniel glanced over as he pulled a chair out from the table.  "I'm fine, go back to bed," he repeated, almost convincingly.

Jack shoved the pillow back up against the head board and rolled over, sliding up to lean back against it.  "I need you to talk about this, Daniel."

"There's nothing to talk about."

"Ya, know,” the colonel crossed one foot over the other knee, “I actually bought that for the first - what . . . three . . . four nights?"  He waved a dismissive hand.  "Not so much now."

"Too bad."


"I said," Daniel enunciated clearly, "too bad." 

"I heard you the first time.  Too bad what?"

"Too bad you don't believe me; I'm not going to argue with you.  So go back to sleep, or go back to bed."  Just leave me alone.

"Like that's going to happen," O'Neill responded to the unspoken thought.

Daniel only sighed and reached for the artifact he'd been working on until a couple of hours ago.  He'd finally given into the exhaustion circling in his head like buzzards circling prey and gone to bed around 1:00 a.m.

Jack had effectively locked him out of his office at night, so Daniel had begun bringing work back to the VIP suite he was currently calling home, knowing full well the Colonel was likely to ban that sooner or later. 

The man had a mother bear complex that would have looked good on a grizzly.

"How's this for an option?  You can't sleep, so I have Doc Frasier pump you full of drugs until you can't do anything but sleep."

"And I get to live the nightmare in a continuous loop?"  Daniel looked over at the man on the bed.  "I don’t think so," he returned pointedly.

Jack shrugged.  Okay, so Daniel had his number already; nothing new there.  Daniel had had his number forty-eight hours into their initial acquaintance, too. 

"You've got to sleep," he scowled.  "You can't keep this up indefinitely.  And put that damn thing away!  Am I going to have to have you strip-searched before you leave your office to make sure you're not bringing work back here?  Talk to me, Daniel."

Sighing again, Daniel pushed away the artifact but kept the pen he'd picked up, clicking it tensely.

Jack got up, crossed the room, and took the pen out of his hand, slumping down across the table from him. 

"Are you remembering anything?" he asked quietly, reaching a hand to cover Daniel's nervously dancing fingers. 

He could still feel left over tremors from the nightmare occasionally pulsing through his friend.

Daniel blinked, shook his head, and pulled his hand back, wrapping his arms around his chest.  "No."  There was a slight hesitation.  "But occasionally I’m getting . . . flashes . . . or something."

The self-hug rang all sorts of alarm bells. 

"Flashes?  Flashes of what?"

"Pictures, I guess."  Daniel frowned.

"Flashes of pictures?" Jack pressed, though he kept his voice low and non-threatening.  "What kind of pictures?"

"Just pictures.  Like snap shots." Daniel closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose.  "A house on a lake - with trees.  Sand - nothing but hills and hills of sand.  The Stargate - with an open event horizon."  He took a deep, shuddering breath.  "Pyramids.  Like snap shots," he repeated, shrugging. 

Unconsciously he raised a hand to his temple, massaging the nagging ache.

"Headache again?"

"Not too bad this time."  Daniel immediately dropped his hand to the table.

"Did you take something for it?"

"Yes," he replied, exasperated.  "I took some Tylenol."

"Good.  What else are you seeing?"

The answer was slower in coming this time.  "A room.  A room with lots of books and a . . . fish tank, I think."

"And you don't recognize any of them?" Jack questioned.

Both Frasier and Mackenzie had decreed information should be given to Daniel only as he asked, on the supposition that when he was ready to handle it, he would ask.  Except there hadn’t been a single question in the five days he'd been Earth-side; a thing that bothered Jack almost more than the missing memories. 

A Daniel not asking questions was like Abydos without sand.

"Anything else?" the Colonel queried again.


“How is why an answer to anything else? Do you recognize any of the pictures?”

“The Stargate, none of the rest.”  And again.  “Why?  Do you?”

Clearly there was going to be no answer forthcoming to his own question.    

"The house is probably my cabin in Minnesota.  We used to go there fishing on long weekends."

"And the sand?"

"Probably Egypt, considering you’re seeing pyramids too.  Though it could be Abydos.  You grew up in Egypt.  Abydos was the first planet we went to after you opened the Stargate." 

Who'd ever know if he cheated a little and fed the archeologist just enough information to make him ask questions?

"I opened the Stargate," Daniel said in surprise.  "Oh, you mean I dialed out somewhere."

"No, I mean you figured out how to make the Stargate work," Jack corrected patiently, and offered a quick synopsis of the story of Daniel's rainy day in academia and subsequent recruitment by Catherine Langford.  "Any of this ringing a bell?"

"No . . . So I came here?"

Perfect.  Right where the Colonel wanted him, asking questions finally. 

"Yes.  You translated the cover stone on the spot, informed the guys working on it that Stairway to Heaven was a Led Zepplin song and their translation was inaccurate and flawed; it was gateway, not stairway.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Okay, so I made up the Led Zepplin part, the rest is true.  Then they showed you the Stargate.  That one took a little longer.  A whole two weeks."

Misunderstanding the sarcasm, Daniel's eyebrows went up.  "Thought they'd made a bad bargain, huh?"

Jack smirked.  "Well - not exactly.  Carter and a team at the Pentagon had been working on the thing for more than two years, so we didn't have really high expectations.  You practically blew us out of the water when you, uh . . . informed us, two weeks later, that the Stargate glyphs were actually pictures of constellations and various combinations of the glyphs were addresses to different planets. "

"No way."

"You don't believe me?"

"No . . ." Daniel replied uncertainly.

"I can show you the official reports in the morning."  He stopped and waited.

Daniel, obviously trolling his non-existent memory, shook his head fretfully.  "You're sure you've got the right guy?"

For a moment Jack just stared at the archeologist, then threw back his head and laughed until tears rolled down his face. 

"Oh, I hope and pray you get your memory back, because I am so not going to let you forget this!  Geez!  I may even get a guffaw out of the Jaffa with that one!" 

He straightened, wiped streaming eyes, and tried hard to contain his laughter in the face of Daniel's bewildered consternation. 

"Sorry," he gulped, without apparent contrition.  "I can't help it!"  And he was off again, laughing so hard he had to hold his aching side. 

"Thanks!" Jack gasped.  "I was probably drunk off my ass last time I laughed this hard and I was probably with you.  So really, thanks, Daniel.  I needed that."

"You're welcome, I'm sure," the archeologist replied, somewhat less than graciously.

Several deep breaths later, O'Neill grinned at his companion.  "I admit I haven't actually seen them, but I understand your face is on wanted posters all over the galaxy.  A bounty hunter for the Goa'uld told us you're on the top ten intergalactic wanted lists just for opening the Gate for Earth.  Not to mention you've managed to piss off more than your fair share of System Lords.  So . . . where were we?"

"I'm still here.  You apparently went off on a little side trip."

"Yeah, well, it's 3:30 in the morning.  I haven't slept more than a few hours at a time in several days, so I'm a little punchy.  I'm sorry."  Jack yawned, covertly studying his friend.  "Look, I know you've figured out you're a bright guy.  Why don't you believe me?"

The archeologist crossed his arms on the table and put his head down.  "Don't know.  Nice bedtime story though."

Jack let him slide almost to the edge of sleep again before asking quietly, "So, what else? . . . Daniel?" he prompted, just in case the kid actually had gone to sleep.


"Tell me."

"A room."

"The room with the fish tank?"



"Just . . . a room . . . with windows . . ."

"With windows?  Not in the Mountain then?"

"The infirmary . . . I think."

Oh, crap.  Maybe this hadn't been such a good idea after all.

"Because . . . ?"

"Because there's lots of machines . . . beeping . . . swishing . . ."

"What else?"

"A body."

Okay, it was still possibly salvageable. 

"Yeah, we spend a lot of time in the infirmary.  SG-1 has special reserved beds," Jack said lightly.

"I don't think so."

Oh, yeah right, O'Neill.  This is what you get for trying to be smart.  Way beyond salvageable

"This is what the nightmare's about, isn’t it?"

There was a long silence before Daniel finally asked, "Why?"

O'Neill sighed.  "I’ve been in it a time or two now, and while I admit it’s not particularly a place I want to go, I will, if we need to.”

"Why?"  Daniel repeated.

“Why don’t I want to go there?  Or why will I if we need to?”


"Because," Jack said, unable to keep the hard edge out of his voice, "I'm still pissed about it, a year later.  But that’s neither here nor there.  We need to fix this and I need you to understand I’ll do whatever I have to do in order to see it through.”

"You're pissed at me?"  Daniel moved his arm and tilted his head.

"Yes, Daniel, I am.  But what happened between you and me needs to be discussed when you're in full possession of your senses, because I can't promise it won't end up in the gym with me beating the crap out of you."

"Another self-defense lesson?"

The Colonel’s eyebrow flew up in an excellent imitation of Teal'c.  "Now isn't that an interesting memory to recover."

"No memory," Daniel sighed, plainly hearing the hurt wrapped around the anger.  "It was just a pre-programmed response.  Honest, it came out automatically.  I wasn't even thinking."

Jack slumped forward to plant his elbows on the table, burying his face in his hands.  "Who's in the room?"

"No one."

"Well, that's just wrong,” Jack returned emphatically, “at least one of us was with you the entire time.  We never left you alone."

A long moment of silence filled up the room  


"Daniel?" He could hear the tension beginning to build in the archeologist again. 

"I don't think there's much I'm afraid of . . ."

"Oh, how I wish there was," the Colonel muttered.  "That would be a hundred and ten percent true,” he agreed out loud.  “You have absolutely zero instinct for self-preservation.  And while we're on the subject, this is not a good thing.  So let's work on instilling some this time around so you don't end up in the ether again any time soon."



"If that’s true, why would a room in the infirmary give me nightmares?  I'm not afraid of dying.  And besides, it looks like I didn't even die?  Did I?"

"Do you want to know what happened?"

"Do I?"

"I'm sure you will sooner or later.  So the question becomes, do you want to know now?"

"You think knowing will stop the nightmares?"

Jack rubbed his gritty eyes.  "I'm not a shrink; I couldn't even beginto guess at the answer to that question.  But here’s another one.  If it stops the nightmare, is it worth it?"  He dropped his hands to the table top, lacing his fingers loosely.

"Probably,” Daniel said, unconsciously hunching his shoulders, “if it really stops it."

Well, he’d opened up this can of worms, Jack thought, sighing as he scratched his head.  Frasier would probably tear him apart limb by limb if she found out.

When he began, he kept his voice flat and emotionless, finishing with, "So when you asked to me to tell Jacob to stop, I did.  Within a very few minutes it was over . . . and you were . . . gone.  No body, no nothing, just - gone."

"I'm sorry," Daniel said finally, after another long silence. 

He would have had to be deaf, dumb, and blind to be unaware of the underlying anguish in the flat delivery.  He let silence fill up the space between them again, unable to dredge up words of comfort for either of them. 

Theoretically he was aware radiation poisoning would be a slow and painful dying, but an intellectual understanding could not synthesize a memory.  And because it could not, Daniel thought it probable the nightmare would continue to plague him either until the memory returned, or at the very least, until he could gain some measure of control over his life again.

Currently he was at the mercy of whatever mood yanked him down hardest and fastest, unable to master any kind of disciplined order in his mind.  That, more than anything, was driving him crazy.

"I've been thinking," he began hesitantly, after several minutes of blank silence.

Jack looked over at him.

"I understand why the Air Force won't let me go back to archeology, but I've found a couple of decent, small colleges on the internet, with good language programs.  I could probably get a job teaching.  They'd let me do that, wouldn't they?"

"Oh, for cryin’ out loud, Daniel.  Trust me; you don't want to go back to teaching.  You'd end up with a bunch of teenage debutantes decimating French or cajoling Latin verbs.  We have so got to get you back through the Stargate again."



"I think you mean conjugating."

"Yeah, whatever.  You'd hate it. And doesn’t that word mean . . ."  Jack looped a finger in the air, entirely unhelpfully.

“What?” Daniel frowned.  “Oh.  No, that’s conjugal.”

“How’s that different?”

“One has a T and one has an L.  Did I teach before?”

"Yes, at the Oriental Institute in Chicago.  Mostly though, I think you were working on your own research.  Just teaching to fill in what grants didn't cover in the way of basic necessities."


"Yeah.  Kind of funny when you think about it; my folks still live there.  I would have been in Iraq when you were there."

"Why are you listed as next-of-kin in my personnel file?"

"What?"  Jack did an about face inside his own head.  "How did you come by that information?"

"I looked it up."


Nobody had stopped to consider the information on file in the base computers.

"On my computer in my office."

"Those files are restricted."

"Really?  Even from the party whose file it is?"  Daniel pushed off the table and sat up, rubbing the back of his hand across his eyes wearily.

"Don't pull that innocent crap with me.  You had to go through several layers of security to get into your file."

"It's my file.”  Dr. Jackson slumped back in the chair.

"Uncle Sam doesn't look at it quite the same way.  Don't do it again.  You want something, you ask me."

"Would you have given it to me?"

"That's beside the point.  I'm not fooling around here.  Don't do it again."

"First of all," the genius pointed out, "I don't need to do it again.  Secondly, I didn't go into anyone else's file."

"That's not the point."

"Well, then, what is the point?"

Jack sighed.  "Why didn't you ask me?"

Daniel rubbed at his forehead again, echoing Jack's sigh.  "Other than figuring you wouldn't give it to me?  Mostly because I didn't know what questions to ask.  I have no point of reference; no beginning or end.  Who am I?”  He paused to try and organize some of the thoughts floating around in his head.  "You can only tell me who I am from your subjective point of view.  I'm not the same person to Sam or Teal'c.  I knew my file would give me facts and I thought maybe it would jar something loose."

"And did it?"

"No, but it wasn't entirely an exercise in futility.  At least I know where to start asking questions.  Like why are you listed as my next-of-kin?"

"Well, if you read the whole file, you know your parents were killed in a freak accident when you were pretty young.  They were both only children and you were their only offspring.  Your mother's father is still alive, but you sent him off to live with the giant aliens he kind of sort of introduced us to."

"So, no siblings."

Had he ever managed to sidetrack Daniel Jackson, Jack wondered idly.  "Hey, Carter would be offended."

"No relatives at all." 

"Besides Nick?  No, although my mom tried to adopt you a couple of years ago.  I refused to let her, since it meant the inheritance would have to be split.  Hey, are you even listening to me?"

"I was married?"

Jack closed his eyes, seeing in his mind's eye the little slot on the standard form that in Daniel's file read - Spouse:  Deceased. 

"Yes."  Obviously his answer was superfluous.

"How could I forget something like that?"  Daniel hunched over the table again, burying his face in an elbow.

Jack sighed deeply.  "Daniel . . . Sha’re loved you . . . beyond measure!  The two of you were like . . ." He struggled to find an appropriate parity.  "I don't know . . . like cake and candles, the 4th of July and fireworks.” 

Appropriating Daniel's self-comfort trademark, Jack wrapped his arms around his chest. 

"Look, if it's any consolation, I don't think you've ‘forgotten' so much as you've had your brain scrubbed." 

At exactly what point, he wondered, had he lost control of this Q & A session?

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Jack snorted.  "Your buddy Oma did a number on you." 


"Oma Desala," the Colonel responded wearily.   "You met her on Kheb a few years ago.  She's the one who helped you ascend.  It may be when you descended, she . . . ah . . . did a little realigning of your brain cells."


"Well, I suppose it could be because you were . . . uhm . . ."  Jack found his hands waving emptily in the air.  He snatched them back and tucked them under his arms again.  "You were . . . maybe breaking the rules and . . . maybe she stopped you.  We don’t know why you descended," he rushed on before Daniel could interrupt with more questions, or his own guilty conscience kick into high gear.  "We don't know if you're here by choice or if you were kicked out.  But if you were kicked out it's a good bet they don't want you to remember.  And even if you weren't kicked out, at the very least, they probably don't want you to remember what you learned while you were with them."


"Oh, for cryin' out loud!  How should I know?  I'm just guessing, and this is really Carter's theory, not mine.  I want to believe you came back of your own free will."

"And if I didn't?"

"It's now four o'clock in the morning and neither of us has had more than a few hours sleep in the last five nights.  I'm not prepared to discuss philosophical differences at four in the morning." 

As Daniel made no immediate response to this, O'Neill allowed himself a measure of guarded relief.

"Obviously I must have been here already if you knew my wife."

Oh, shit.  Maybe he should forge ahead with the philosophical discussion after all. 

Jack said nothing, merely waited, recognizing full well Daniel wasn't done.

"Was it someone on the staff here?"

"No," he responded woodenly.

"Then where would I have met her?"  Daniel raised his head again.  "Surely not - off world?  I was married to an . . . alien?" 

That earned a twisted smile from the Colonel.  "Yeah, actually, she was.  But you should know, at least from Vis Uban, not all aliens are non-humans.  Sha’re was probably a descendant of some long ago Egyptian Pharaoh.  You thought it likely Abydos was originally colonized by transplanted Tau'ri Egyptians.  There’s solid evidence for the hypothesis that many of the planets were originally colonized with humans from Earth, or Tau'ri, as Earth humans are called by most of the rest of the galaxy.  Seeded, so to speak, by both the bad guys and the good guys."

"Galaxy," Daniel breathed softly.  "Most of the rest of the galaxy.  I know I came back with you through the Stargate, but it doesn't seem real.  What did you say her name was?"


"That's beautiful," Daniel sighed wistfully.

"She was beautiful.  You were meant to be together, Daniel.  Even if it wasn't destined to last a life time."

"What happened?"

"She died." 

Daniel just looked at him. 

Jack sighed again.  "All right, she was killed during a mission that went very, very bad.  And Frasier is so going to have my head if I give you worse nightmares than you're having already.  Why don't we let this particular ghost lie dormant a little longer?  At least until you remember this on your own.  I don't think it's a good idea to be telling you this stuff when you don't have any perspective on it . . . do you trust me?"

"Is there some reason I shouldn’t?"  Daniel put his head down again.  "I'm tired."

"Now there’s a surprise.  I'm exhausted and I've probably slept more than you.  Will you at least try to go back to sleep?"

"No.  But you can go back to bed.  I'm fine."

"Dammit, Daniel!"  Jack smacked his hand down on the tabletop, causing the linguist to jump nearly out of his seat.  "That's another habit that needs to be broken before you start it up again.  You cannot tell me you're fine when you're not!"

part 2


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