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All In a Day's Work
Taking last watch meant that he was responsible for making certain hot water was ready for the caffeine addicts of the team. What surprised him the most, he thought with amusement, was that Teal'c might drink decaffeinated tea, but he was just as grumpy if that hot water wasn't available first thing in the morning. Need to wean Radar and the Brains off their caffeine, he thought. Not for the first time. Nor was it the first time that he considered the ramifications of following through with the idea. He gave an involuntary shudder. Just one of the three alone without their morning cup of coffee was enough to scare him. All of them together…he shuddered again.
"Good morning," Sam said softly, slipping out of the tent.
She busied herself with the ziplock bag that held a smaller ziplock bag of instant coffee which Radar always provided, as well as individual packets of creamer and sugar. "Gotta love Casey's ideas," she murmured, spooning a bit of the coffee into her mug, then adding hot water.
Along with the coffee and the instant oatmeal the seer carried on any overnight mission, Casey usually managed to bring along candy bars or some other 'treat'. Usually a ziplock bag of trail mix was somewhere in her pack as well. Because, she insisted, MREs were to be avoided as much as possible. It was impossible not to chuckle out loud. "Yeah, she has some good ones."
"I still don't understand why we never thought of carrying this stuff," Sam continued.
"I dunno," he admitted. "Guess the military training had us conditioned to accept the MREs."
"Daniel could have thought of it," she said, almost accusingly.
He hadn't intended to snort aloud, but the thought of Daniel thinking about something as 'mundane' as food struck him as ridiculous. He knew for a fact that the archaeologist had hidden a stash of MREs in his office, surviving on them and coffee during the days and nights he'd worked on some incredibly difficult, and usually very important, translations. Hell, the young man hadn't often eaten anywhere but on base! "Daniel never seemed to pay much attention to what sort of food was available."
Sam smiled. "True. There were times he'd have forgotten to eat at all if you, or Teal'c, or I hadn't made certain he went to the commissary at least once a day."
"Buried in his work," he said. He scanned the area. Rubble from the falling down temple and trees. Lots of trees. And rubble. But nothing else. Nothing. Abso-freaking-lutely nothing. "Easier to deal with his heartache that way."
"I can…could…relate," Sam said softly. She looked down at her hands for a moment, then met his gaze full-on.
He was fully aware that his wife had indulged in the same obsessive behavior. Her expression warned him that talking about her reasons for burying herself in her work wasn't something she was willing to do, at least not at that moment. So he continued with his original train of thought. "He was like that when I first met him…he was constantly getting lost in his work." He shook his head slightly. "But there wasn't the sadness…the damned defeat…in his eyes until Sha're was taken from him."
"He seemed to just…shut down…when she was killed," Sam murmured. "I felt so helpless…I wanted to help him, reach out to him, but I didn't know how. I could only offer to listen, to be there as his friend."
He nodded his understanding. He'd felt the same way…totally helpless. He'd totally hated that feeling. He'd wanted…needed…to help his friend, and had no clue how to reach the man whose heart had been broken into a million pieces. He'd often wondered just how much help he could have been, when his own heart had been just as battered and broken. "Remember how he looked when we got back to the SGC, after he'd rescued us from those aborigines?"
A soft smile tugged at her lips. "I remember."
"I don't think I'd ever seen him that excited, other than the night he went running through the base shouting that he 'had it'." That memory brought a smile to his lips…
"I've got it! I've got it!" Daniel had exclaimed excitedly, waving around the page from the newspaper that just happened to have an article about Orion. Which had triggered the epiphany.
"You've got what?" It had come out as a growl - he'd finally been able to fall asleep. Being awakened by the geek had not been conducive to his mental well-being. He could clearly recall his annoyance with the scientist. And wanting to smack the crap out of the kid.
"I know what it is…what it does…."
And just like that, Daniel had solved the mystery, and provided the needed point of origin. He'd done in fourteen days what a room full of scientists had spent the better part of two years attempting to do. And had jump-started the entire program into full military mode. The plan had been to go to wherever the hell the Stargate led, and blow the damned thing up. Arrogance. Total arrogance. We had no idea what we were dealing with. No clue at all. If they'd known then what they would learn not more than a year later… he shuddered mentally.
It wasn't until he'd been suddenly reactivated that he learned the horrible truth. He could still remember the sheer panic in knowing that two facts were very real: there were more than two Stargates. And more than just one Goa'uld. Two facts that he was slapped with when he met General George Hammond and learned that a Goa'uld had walked through their Stargate. Daniel's discovery on Abydos had made his blood run cold. He could still feel the fear that had raced through him as he stood in that temple, looking at literally thousands of Stargate addresses. How they'd actually managed to avoid a true catastrophe during that year the 'gate had been merely covered and sitting in the silo, he'd never know. The Tooth Fairy had to have been watching out for them, he thought.
His thoughts turned back to his observations of Daniel. "Never thought that one little slip of a woman could make such a difference. Best thing I ever did was convincing him to fly to Tacoma."
Teal'c approached from the far side of the camp, returning from the area that had been designated as the latrine for the duration of their stay. He nodded companionably as he approached the fire.
"I don't think I'd ever seen him so…happy. Not even on Abydos," Sam said, settling beside him. Closer than she'd been able to do before the rules had changed for them. "I'd never seen his eyes so…bright. So full of life."
"Me, either. I have to agree with the consensus at the SGC…none of us had ever met the real Doctor Daniel Jackson until Casey entered his life…and turned his world upside down."
"Or right side up," Sam countered. "Maybe his life had been upside down for far too long."
He studied his wife for a moment. "Probably got pretty twisted when he was a kid and watched his parents killed," he mused. "Didn't help to lose his wife…first wife," he clarified quickly, "the way he did."
"No, it didn't. But it seems that with Casey's help, he's finally been able to put all of that behind him."
Sam reached out, laced her fingers with his. Did she have any clue how much that simple touch meant? Not just because they were allowed to do so now, but because she wanted to hold his hand. "I think Casey was able to help you move forward as well," she said softly.
He examined the place where he held his memories of Charlie. And found that while there was still pain, it wasn't as sharp, not as excruciating as it had been before Casey's little snippets of wisdom. It certainly wasn't as bad since he'd spent an afternoon fishing with his nearly adult son. "Yeah, she did."
"She who did what?" Casey asked, crawling out of the tent she shared with Daniel.
"You did good, Radar," he said. Knowing that it would drive the seer nuts if he didn't elaborate. Always lots of entertainment in that.
"Cool. So what did I do that was so good?" she asked, fixing cups of coffee for herself and her soul-mate.
Taking a sip of his own coffee was the perfect excuse not to answer. Turning slightly to check the perimeter visually left him able to ignore her…by now she had to be glaring at him. He dared to peek. Yep. Lots of glaring going on. "What?"
"I asked what I did that was so good?"
"I dunno…you tell me."
"I am not a mind reader," the seer huffed.
"Oh, yeah. Right." It wasn't easy to hide his grin, but he figured taking another sip of coffee helped.
"You helped Jack deal with the pain of losing Charlie," Sam said quietly, trying to hide her own grin.
It was just as well that Sam had responded; he and Radar could, most probably would, continue to annoy each other all day. Which usually ended up annoying the rest of the team as well. Of course, the rest of the team was usually pretty forgiving. They also usually laughed a lot when he and Radar were trading quips. It seemed that he and she were always teasing one another. It was always in fun, though. Thoughts of a purple teddy bear made him shiver slightly. Okay, mostly in fun. Who'd have thought that little wisp of a woman could be so downright mean?
"Oh," Casey said softly, the glare fading from her eyes. She shrugged slightly. "Wasn't me…I was just passing on the messages."
"You do far more than you think." She did far more than most of the people in the mountain realized. How she bore such a weight on those slender shoulders, without going completely nuts, was beyond him.
The seer ducked her head for a moment, then smiled shyly at him. "Yeah, well, if it all works out for the better, that's all I can ask."
Would Casey ever recognize her worth? Or had Helen Webster so destroyed her self-esteem that she'd never be able to see the value of her abilities? He wondered briefly if Daniel ever struggled with thoughts of strangling that bitch. Figured that the archaeologist just might harbor even darker thoughts about his wife's adoptive mother, given the damage that woman had caused in an innocent child. "Always seems to work out for the good." He glanced at the tent the Jacksons shared - realized that so far the other half of the couple had yet to make an appearance. "Is Danny gonna join us, or did you keep him awake screwing around all night?" A master at looking innocent, he did just that, waiting for the young woman's response.
Casey spit the mouthful of coffee she'd just taken, wiped her chin, her eyes wide. "Excuse me?"
Her reaction was even better than he'd hoped for. "I was just asking where Daniel is."
"He was pulling his boots on…there he is," Casey replied, nodding at the tent she'd shared with her Husband.
Sam was laughing as hard as he was.
Daniel looked around, confusion filling his blue eyes. "What's going on?"
"Jack is being annoying as hell," Casey muttered.
"So what's new?" the archaeologist asked, accepting the cup of coffee his Wife had already prepared for him. He frowned at the wet spot on the ground at Casey's feet.
"Hey, I'm not always annoying!" Better to defend himself now as to wait for Radar and the Brains to start really picking on him. And besides, he knew for a fact that the Jacksons had made love the night before; he'd seen the blue glow from their tent when he'd slipped out to take a leak just before settling in for the night.
"Uh huh," Daniel said. He took a sip of coffee, reached out to caress his Wife's cheek. "So what did he say this time?"
"He wanted to know where you were, and asked me if I'd kept you awake all night screwing around."
Daniel grinned, tossing a glance at his best friend. "Not all night, no."
Once again Casey's eyes went wide, and her mouth dropped open. "Daniel!"
"Well, you didn't keep me awake all night."
The look on Radar's face was priceless. The fact that Daniel had said what he had was so…unusual…not to mention funny, that it was impossible not to laugh out loud - again. He ducked the swing the seer took at him, noting with amusement that his best friend hadn't moved fast enough to avoid her fist. "Well, as long as you're awake enough to get some work done today," he said, when he'd been able to stop laughing.
"We should be finished getting all of the walls recorded today," Daniel said, sipping his coffee.
Well, that was…disappointing. He'd never admit it out loud, of course, but spending the day following Sam around, watching her work with her gizmos, the concentration when she was testing soil samples, had actually been relaxing. It wasn't often he was able to just sit and watch his wife and not be pressed to explain why he wasn't doing something else - like paperwork. And watching Samantha Carter-O'Neill (and that thought made his stomach quiver slightly with unsuppressed joy) was always fun. She was a beautiful woman. But she was also cute as hell when she was concentrating on what she was doing. She had a way of holding the tip of her tongue against her bottom lip when she was totally focused on something. She always ran both hands over her thighs before filling a new bottle with soil from a different spot. He had no idea if it was enough to wipe the dirt from one sample from her fingers to prevent any 'cross-contamination' of the samples or not. Didn't really care. It was just one of the little things that made him happy.
"I have enough samples that I can stay here and run the tests," Sam said. "I put the GPS locations on each bottle…some of the samples were taken only a few feet apart. But the terrain indicated there might be something in half a dozen different places."
"No one can complain that you weren't thorough," Casey said approvingly.
"That's the idea, anyway," Sam smiled.
With the team fully awake and assembled, oatmeal packets were divvied up, the last of the hot water used to reconstitute the dried breakfast cereal, and they ate in contented silence. With the efficiency born of practice, the camp was straightened, and the campfire carefully banked in just a matter of minutes.
Adjusting his sunglasses, as the morning sun was already bright, he clipped his P90 to his vest. "Teal'c, I'll walk the perimeter with you."
The Jaffa tilted his head slightly in acknowledgement.
"Jacksons…keep your hands off each other."
Casey raised one eyebrow. "Seriously?"
"Seriously," he replied, intentionally 'misunderstanding' her. Which earned him a roll of those big, green eyes. The glint in them warned him that she was about to test his ability to remain stoic.
With determined steps, the seer stomped to where Daniel stood. Took his hands and placed them on her shoulders, then put her hands on his shoulders. Looked over and smirked.
"You're a laugh a minute, Radar," he allowed, doing his best not to smile. "You know what I mean."
"No, I don't. Elaborate," Casey said, giving him a 'butter-won't-melt-in-my-mouth' smile.
He heaved a pained sigh. "You and Danny can't get within five feet of each other without doing that groping thing-"
"When have I ever groped Daniel when we're working?" the young blonde demanded, planting her fists on her hips.
"I don't want you to start. Bad habits are hard to break," he continued.
"Uh huh. We need to start weaning you from your naps while the rest of us work, then. That's a bad habit to get into, particularly when the snoring can become downright distracting," Casey countered.
Daniel snorted. "Better give up, Jack," he said, offering a grin with the friendly warning. "You won't win."
"It's not a contest. I'm the team CO. What I say goes," he said calmly.
Now it was Sam who snickered.
He lowered his sunglasses, stared at his wife for a moment. "Something to say, Colonel?"
"No, sir," Sam replied. Then turned her back so that she could chuckle…loudly.
"You are so full of it," Casey muttered. She grabbed the camera and her notebook, plopped her boonie on her head, and headed for the temple.
"Try not to fall asleep, Jack," Daniel said cheerfully. "I have no idea what wicked ideas my Wife might get if she sees you napping."
With Radar out of earshot, he let loose the chuckle that he'd struggled to suppress. "Thanks for the warning." It would probably be wise to heed his best friend. Radar, when properly motivated, was capable of damned near anything.
Falling into step beside Teal'c, he took a moment to examine the surrounding area. Lots of trees and bushes. There was a large open square behind a pile of rubble…he had no idea what the building might have been. He figured that at one time the square had been a garden of some sort. Grass grew nearly waist high from one side to the other. There was probably a huge tangle of weeds hidden in that grass, ready to trip any poor sod who cut through the area.
He could see the path that the Jaffa had worn in the shorter grass that grew around the temple complex. Teal'c must have done a dozen circuits an hour to wear it down that much, and that quickly! He glanced at the warrior. Wondered if he ever got bored. Unless I'm watching Sam, missions like this bore the hell outa me.
There was absolutely nothing to see - at least nothing that he'd not already seen. The ruins didn't look any different to him, no matter from which direction he viewed them. Just a bunch of falling down stones, a few battered buildings still standing. Nothing of interest at all to him. Oh, Daniel could carry on for hours - literally hours - over the importance of any and all ruins. And how 'fascinating' they were. Daniel was a strange man. Daniel was a multi-degreed scientist. Scientists are just strange. He glanced at where Sam was busy working. Some of them had very interesting qualities, though. Like big sapphire blue eyes. And an impish grin. And great legs. And exquisite breasts…and…he adjusted his stride slightly when his manhood twitched at the thought of his wife's naked body. Watch out, airman. You'll wind up embarrassing yourself.
His thoughts continued to wander when he saw Daniel step out of the second building, and hurry into the third, smaller building. There was a man who was so damned smart he was spooky. Modest as hell. But Daniel would fight tooth and nail for whatever he believed in. And he'd seen just how stubborn the archaeologist could be, standing firm against anyone or anything when he knew he was right. He'd been on the receiving end of that stubbornness several times. Damned if the guy hadn't been right every time!
He thought about another of Daniel's traits…one that he admired. One that had saved his life a time or two. The archaeologist would do whatever it took to protect friends. Hell, they hadn't even been friends when Daniel had taken that staff blast to save his sorry ass. That single action had been enough to make him look at the younger man in a much different light, rather than just 'annoying ivory tower intellectual'. The respect that Daniel had earned in that moment only deepened when he'd been out of breath from running to find him on Abydos…as excited as he'd been at the SGC when he'd figured out what the Stargate was and what it could do…
"I have it!"
"You have what?"
"I know how to get us home!"
Those blue eyes had been so full of confidence that he'd not doubted, not even for a second. The best thing he'd ever done, he decided, was offering the good doctor the respect he'd more than earned, even if it was a tad 'late in the day'.
"See ya around, Doctor Jackson."
He could still see the surprise that had covered Daniel's face for just a moment. And then that shy smile that let him know that the archaeologist understood exactly what he'd been trying to say in that simple comment.
Shaking himself slightly, he was surprised to realize that he and Teal'c had completely circumvented the complex. "Think I'll just sit over there," he said, pointing to a grouping of rocks that offered full visual contact with both the Jacksons and Sam.
"I shall continue to patrol the perimeter."
It wouldn't do any good to point out that there wasn't a blessed thing on this planet, other than a few insects and birds. Nothing to worry about. But Teal'c wouldn't let down his guard until they were back at the SGC. He'd tried to get the Big Guy to relax a bit on missions like this…easy, boring, 'cake-walk' missions. It had never worked. Sometimes he wondered if Jaffa even understood the concept of 'relaxation'. Bet they don't even have a word for 'relax' in their vocabulary!
"You do that, Big Guy. Although, if you want to plant it over there with me-" He broke off at the look Teal'c gave him. You'd think I just insulted him or something! "Or, you could just do another perimeter sweep."
Without replying, Teal'c continued to walk, following the path he'd created over the past two days.
"That guy takes his job way too seriously," he muttered. He fully understood the need to be on alert when danger was lurking around every corner, hiding behind every tree, under every bush. But there wasn't anything that could be considered threatening anywhere near the ruins or the Stargate. He'd been on enough missions to know that when there was nothing to do, nothing to see, that boredom could set in, and that's when a man was capable of…and more apt to do…something stupid. Better to find a safe place to hunker down, and just take a nap. Which was exactly what he was going to do.
The thought gave him pause. He checked to see just where Casey was lurking. Good, she's busy. In fact, it looked as if Daniel had given her translating duties for that building. He watched her for a moment. She was just as lost in her work as he'd seen Daniel become. It was a good thing he and Teal'c were on the team. Radar and the Brains could get distracted to the point of not paying attention to anything around them. And there were times that could be dangerous. He glanced around again. But not here. It's boring as hell here.
A quick look to make certain Sam was okay, which she was, and he settled onto a large piece of what looked like a fallen wall. It was butted up against a standing wall. Which made the perfect backrest. He stretched his legs out, and positioned his weapon comfortably.
Teal'c had made another circuit around the temple complex. He let the warmth of the sun lull him…felt his eyes droop slightly. Another check on his 'kids'. Everything was all right. There's Teal'c again…
A A A A A A
He swiped at his cheek. Felt something on his nose. Drops…water…shit, it's raining! Opening his eyelids carefully…didn't need a raindrop straight into the eye…he was surprised to see sunshine and blue sky. He looked up a bit farther…"Radar!"
Casey grinned as she held her water bottle just above his head, emptying the contents one drop at a time. "You bellowed?"
"You are so not funny!"
"I dunno, I thought it was hilarious. It took a full five minutes and half my water to wake you up!"
"That is so not true!"
"Yes, it is," Daniel chimed in. "We could hear you snoring clear over in the temple buildings."
"Actually, they're not," Sam said, chuckling as well.
"Oh, har-dee-har-har." He pulled himself to his feet, and adjusted his ball cap. Which, he noted, was very wet. The drops he'd felt had actually come from his cap. She'd been pouring water onto his hat until it dripped on him! Since he was a notoriously light sleeper, Casey had been careful enough not to wake him before his dripping cap had. He tossed a glance at the seer. She was grinning at him. He took note that Daniel and Sam were grinning at him as well. Okay, that's three out of four laughing at me. Thank goodness for… He paused. What's wrong with this picture? "Where's T?"
Three heads turned from one direction to another. "I haven't seen him since this morning," Sam said. "But I was pretty focused on running those tests."
"Results?" He shook his hat, trying to get as much water out of is as possible. Ran a hand through his hair. Which was wet as well. Thanks to Radar…How the hell did she manage to do that without waking me up?
"Looks like at least trace amounts of naquadah, that alone is worth checking out. But the trinium findings…there are four distinct areas where I found trace amounts, and two areas where the trinium was almost pure," the astrophysicist replied.
Sam's response to his question brought his attention back to the matters at hand. "Sweet!"
Casey was frowning. "If none of us have seen Teal'c since this morning…"
"I watched him do laps around the place," he argued. He knew he'd seen him go around at least three times…well, pretty sure it was three times…
Again they all searched the perimeter visually, looking for any sign of the strapping Jaffa. And again, they saw nothing.
"I think Teal'c is missing," Casey whispered softly.
"Download?" Daniel asked immediately.
"No…but we can't see him…and even with all the trees, we should at least be getting a glimpse of him," the seer replied.
"She's right," Sam said, worry filling her own eyes.
One fisted hand moved forward in a thrust of excitement. "Yes!"
Casey was slack-jawed as she stared at him.
"You're excited because Teal'c is missing?" Daniel asked incredulously, adjusting his glasses. As if doing so would help him to understand his friend's reaction.
"No! Not because Teal'c is missing. Just…it's just…it's been so damned boring, at least something is happening," he explained. Apparently his answer was unsatisfactory, because two pairs of blue eyes and one pair of green eyes continued to stare at him. What's with those accusing expressions?! It's not my fault the Big Guy is missing! That thought made him squirm mentally. He was the team CO. He should always be aware of where each of his 'kids' were at all times. No matter how boring the damned mission had become. "Maybe he just had to go take care of a little personal business."
The stares continued. Okay, so they aren't buying that, eh? It is possible, he thought, a tad irritably. Even though the Jaffa usually managed to wait until everyone was back in camp for the night. He must have a bladder like a freaking camel… The worry of his teammates was starting to affect him. "Let's go find out what's going on," he said.
Casey started for the 'path' that was visible. He managed to catch the back of her shirt. "Get your weapon, Radar," he said quietly. Neither of the Jacksons had bothered carrying their P90s. Even their 9 mills had been left in their tent. That, he thought in a bout of self-defense, was proof of just how benign…and boring!…the mission had been. So far.
With a nod, she scurried toward the camp, Daniel on her heels.
He glanced at his wife. "It's probably nothing."
"He's gonna be pissy if we disturb him while he's taking a crap."
Sam managed to chuckle. "True."
He took note of his gut feelings. Nothing there. The little hairs on the back of his neck were nice and relaxed. So…whatever was wrong, it couldn't be too bad, or his own sense of danger would be kicking in about now.
Sam pulled her P90 from her side and double checked the magazine. "He's okay. Maybe he found something."
"Then he would have radioed in," he replied.
Casey and Daniel rejoined them.
"Okay, let's go. Eyes open." He led the way to the path. Okay, Big Guy, where the hell are you, and what are you doing?
Casey was directly behind him. "Teal'c?" she called.
The team followed the well-trod grass. They were on the 'back' side of the ruins when the first discovery was made.
"Hey, look!" Daniel said, stopping and pushing a small bush aside, revealing a stone wall. Pulling a few more branches and creeping vines aside revealed a large structure, and the way the 'wall' curved, round in shape. "This looks like a cistern. That means there has to be a well around here somewhere. It wasn't unusual to have cisterns nearby, to keep the temple supplied with water. I wonder if there are any pipes that lead from here to-"
"That's Teal'c!" Casey exclaimed.
"Keep calling out, Big Guy, we'll find you," he called in response.
Sam frowned when she saw something glinting in the grass. She knelt down. "Well, here's why he didn't radio to tell us anything was wrong," she said, holding up the small black device.
"Teal'c?" he called again.
"I am here, O'Neill."
The Jaffa's voice was muted. As if…
"I have fallen into a well."
This is one for the books, he thought. Teal'c never did something as…dumb…as falling into a well. That was something Daniel always managed to do, simply by not paying attention to where he was walking. The implications had him confused. Just what could have distracted Teal'c to the point of not seeing a well?
"Ground cover is pretty thick here," Sam pointed out. "My guess is the well was covered and he didn't see it."
He examined the vines, with their numerous leaves and flowers. The theory certainly had merit, seeing as how it was almost impossible to move his feet because of all the ground flora. In fact, in made total sense…
Frowning as he examined the immediate area, he noted that the path veered off about three feet from where they stood. So what had Teal'c seen that had made him wander so far in this direction, away from the path which had been made by the constant patrolling the Jaffa had done?
Dropping to their knees, pulling at vines and moving cautiously, the team began to search for the well where their friend was waiting.
"Hang in there, buddy," he called. "Gotta find the well."
"It is very well hidden."
"That's for sure." That's the only reason Teal'c would miss it, he thought. Although there was still the puzzle as to why he'd strayed so far from that path…
"Found it!" Sam called. The foliage near the hole was disturbed, but not enough to notice if one wasn't looking for something out of place. She turned on her flashlight, aimed it toward the bottom of the deep hole.
They could see the light reflect on the water that flowed in slow, low waves around Teal'c's knees as he moved.
"I am fine."
"Didn't break any bones on the way down?"
"I did not. The fall was unpleasant, but not dangerous."
"Okay, we're gonna have to call home and get someone to toss a rope to us." He glanced over his shoulder. "Radar, go let the general know we need a rope, about…" He paused to look down into the well again, trying to estimate the distance. "Twenty feet should do it."
With a nod, the slender seer took off at a run back towards camp.
"Be careful! Lots of these vines around," he called after her. Didn't need her to fall and break a leg in her attempt to get back to the 'gate.
"We found your radio," Sam said, still holding the light on the Jaffa.
"It was dislodged from my shoulder as I attempted find a suitable handhold to prevent myself from falling."
"How long have you been down there?" Daniel asked.
Teal'c checked his watch. "About two hours."
Two pairs of blue eyes turned to look at him. He didn't need to be told what they were thinking…he could see it in their expressions. If he'd been with Teal'c, or at least awake to notice that the Jaffa hadn't been making his 'rounds', they'd have found him sooner.
"Sorry about that," he said, contritely.
"Do not distress yourself," Teal'c said. "I knew that you would eventually note my absence."
"Well, I should'a been with you."
"Then there is the chance we might both have stumbled into this well."
"True. Although…" Once again his eyes went back to the path. "What made you venture in this direction?"
"I do not understand."
"The path you've worn in the grass is about three feet in that direction," he replied, pointing over his shoulder. "Did you see something?"
"I did not."
"Okay. So…just thought you'd take a little stroll?"
Daniel bit his lip, turned his head.
"I give up. Why'd you come over here?"
"It was not intentional."
Oh, now that had his attention. Something about the thought nagged at him. Attention. Attention? The Big Guy had been distracted? By what?
"It's not important how it happened," Daniel said quietly.
He studied the archaeologist. Yep, Danny knows something. "Wanna share with the rest of the class?" he asked.
"Nope," Daniel responded immediately, and very firmly.
"Still have your weapons?"
"I do. However both became wet when I fell in," Teal'c replied.
"Not a problem. Just don't want to leave anything behind that might bite us in the butt later." Like some civilian archaeological group from some other planet stumbling onto the ruins, and the well…and someone finding the weapon and trying to figure out what it was. He'd learned that nothing was impossible when they were 'out here'. In fact, just about every freaky, unimaginable thing he could think of had happened to them. And a few things he'd not imagined even in his worst nightmares.
Casey was breathless when she joined her teammates five minutes later, a coiled rope slung over her shoulder. "General Hammond said to let him know if we need any help."
"We should be able to handle this." It was his fault Teal'c was down the well…he should have been patrolling along side the Jaffa. Even if there were no threats. He certainly should have at least noticed something was wrong long before now! No way was he going to call for help when his teammate was in trouble because of his screw-up. If he had to pull Teal'c out of that well by himself, he'd do it!
Dropping one end of the rope into the well, he pulled the other around his waist in a loop, so that he could use his full body weight to lift the Jaffa. He said nothing when Daniel grabbed the rope a few inches from his waist.
"Okay, Big Guy, Daniel and I are going to haul you up."
"I am ready."
He began to back up slowly, letting Daniel pull on the rope. He took up any slack; kept the rope tight between him and the archaeologist. He knew Teal'c was heavy, but between the two of them, it seemed that they'd get the Jaffa to safety in no time.
Another step. Sam's hand was on his shoulder, guiding him gently. He had to keep his eyes focused on his feet to make certain he didn't trip over any of the numerous vines. The rope went slack just a bit, he tugged to tighten it. Another step, and another.
Casey was lying down on the ground beside the well, shining her light into the darkness. "Almost there, Teal'c."
Three more steps…tugging the rope tight half a dozen times, and Teal'c was climbing over the edge of the well, clawing for hand holds with one hand, his other fist wrapped tightly in the rope.
Daniel leaned down to offer his hand, which the Jaffa gratefully accepted.
He began to coil the rope as soon as Teal'c had let go of it. "Let's get back to camp and get you into dry clothes."
Sam led the way, Daniel and Casey close behind.
Taking a deep breath, he reached out and caught Teal'c's arm. "I'm really sorry, Teal'c."
A smile flickered over the dark face of the Jaffa. "Do not fret, O'Neill. The predicament in which I found myself is no one's fault but my own."
He shook his head. "I should have been with you. Or noticed sooner." He looked up into serious black eyes when one of Teal'c's large hands landed on his shoulder.
"You have done nothing for which you should be concerned."
"Please put the entire incident from your mind. As I plan to do."
Now that's just confusing as hell!
"Only I am at fault. For not-" Teal'c broke off, and looked distinctly uncomfortable.
For not…what? Paying attention? Once again the question arose as to what the Jaffa could have been thinking about. Teal'c had to have been distracted by something he'd been thinking about, right? Like what? If there was something wrong, something that could so distract Teal'c…Teal'c of all people!…then as team CO he needed to know about it. "Anything you need to discuss? Got a problem that's bugging you?"
"There is nothing to discuss."
"I am positive."
"Nothing that I need to worry about?"
He was totally unprepared for the wide smile that lit Teal'c's face. "No. There is no need to worry yourself."
Not totally convinced, but certain that he'd never get anything out of Teal'c that the Jaffa wasn't willing to share, he began to walk toward the ruins.
"I do believe, however, that during future missions, when there is no threat to our safety, I will limit my patrols to one an hour."
Oh, now I have to know about this! "Any particular reason why?"
"So that I do not risk a repeat of today's events."
And that tells me nothin'! "So what did cause today's 'event'?"
Teal'c stopped, turned to face him. "I would prefer not to say."
Okay, so the Big Guy had been thinking about something personal… He glanced up at the large man beside him. Something personal, and distracting. The face of a certain doctor flashed through his mind. Again he looked at his companion. No way! Teal'c was thinkin' about Napolean? Memories of what had transpired between him and Sam flooded his mind. A few of the ideas had come from the petite doctor, according to his wife. Which meant…Holy Hannah!
"I would prefer that what happened be-"
"Let's just chalk it up to an accident. You found the cistern, were trying to investigate, and the heavy ground cover completely hid any signs of a well. No way to avoid that," he said quietly.
Teal'c looked sharply at him. "Thank you."
"No worries, Big Guy. Sam does the same thing to me," he admitted, his voice low.
"Indeed," he grinned. He clapped his friend on the shoulder. "Let's see if the Brains have finished enough to head home."
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