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Never Leave Your Wingman Chapter 6/11

The cave was just as before; the elders were already seated at the long table, this time not bothering to cover their wings with cloaks. 

 Trestin bowed to them.  “The visitors have returned as we hoped.”



 Baronen rose, his auburn-colored wings folded behind him.  “Your friend has undergone the transformation?”

 “You know we wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t,” Jack countered, avoiding the man’s direct gaze.  “I don’t like being tricked into doing what people want.”

 “Your heart was set, and I knew you would not return and help us unless one of your own would benefit.”

“So you put Daniel through hell to get what you wanted.”

“We are desperate,” Trestin explained, his voice rising. “Will you not do whatever is necessary to help your friend?  So must we do whatever is necessary to help our people.”

“I’m not going to someone into a… a… gargoyle to—”

Baronen’s wings ruffled menacingly as they unfurled, his eyes narrowing. 

 “Sir,” Carter interrupted before anyone else could speak, “this isn’t helping.  Let me.”  She turned to Baronen.  “We need the technology you used on Daniel if we hope to have any chance of reversing this condition.”

“You are asking to take it with you?” Baronen asked. 

 “Yes.  We’d like to take it back to our planet where we can study it and hopefully find a cure for your condition,” Carter tried to placate them.

“That is not possible,” Marona said, crossing her arms.

“Why not?” Jack demanded.

“Do you think we would trust you to come back and share a cure with us?  You cannot stand to be near us—you would not return.”  Marona shook her head. 

“How are we to find a cure, then?” Teal’c asked.

“Return with your friend.  You may do your work here while we educate him,” Baronen offered.

 “Whaddaya mean ‘educate’?” Jack asked, feeling the situation slipping out of his control.

“He is… difficult, yes?  He cannot control himself,” Baronen replied.

“That’s an understatement.” 

“We have learned how to control our urges for short periods of time. This we can teach him until you are able to find a cure.”

“Oh, fer—”

“There is no other way,” Trestin stated.  “He will only get worse.”

“No wonder Nirrti gave up,” Jack snipped, the urge to punch something growing by the minute. 

“Sir, I don’t think we have any other choice.”  Carter’s voice was calm but her eyes were pleading. 

“Not unless we search the place and just take it,” he growled, knowing it was pointless; he wouldn’t risk lives by crossing these people. 

Apparently, they ‘these people’weren’t so sure, as suddenly a host of winged creatures descended from the blackness above them.  In seconds they were surrounded by several dozen of the gargoyle-faced people. 

“I do not believe that would be a wise choice, Colonel Jack O’Neill,” Trestin advised. 

 “Whoa.”  Jack held up his hands in a placating manner.  “We’ll do it your way.  Let us go back and get Daniel.  We’ll also need to bring some of our people to study whatever it is you used.”

“That will be acceptable,” Baronen agreed. 

“One more question.”  It was one Jack was sure he already knew the answer to.  “You said your people can’t go through the Stargate. If we bring Daniel here, and we can’t reverse what you did to him, he’ll be stuck here, won’t he?”

“We would welcome him as one of our own,” Baronen replied. 

Not gonna happen in a million years.

~oOo~

SG-1 and SG-2 exited the wormhole to find Hammond waiting for them at the base of the ramp. 

“Welcome back, people,” he greeted them.  “Were you successful in procuring the technology we need?”

“Not exactly, sir,” Jack reluctantly replied, handing his P-90 to the SF.

“The inhabitants wouldn’t allow us to bring it back, but they did offer to let us study it there,” Carter explained. 

Jack was sure Hammond wouldn’t be keen on that idea, and the scowl on his face confirmed it.  “And Doctor Jackson?”

“They requested that Daniel Jackson return with us,” Teal’c stated. 

 The scowl deepened.  “I’m concerned that sending our people there would put them at risk from these creatures.  Didn’t you say they couldn’t travel through the ‘gate?”

“Yes, sir,” Carter replied, “although, if I had the opportunity to study the DHD, I might be able to figure out how that’s done and reverse it.”

“It also means that, if we can’t find a cure, Daniel would be stuck there,” Jack added. The ‘gateroom was gradually clearing, leaving SG-1 and the general alone in the room.  “Shouldn’t we be discussing this in the briefing room, sir?” 

“We’ve had a development since you left on your mission,” Hammond said, lowering his voice. 

That so did not sound good and Jack braced himself for bad news. 

“The NID are here.  Somehow, they found out about Doctor Jackson’s condition, and have orders to take him into custody.”

“Son of a—”

“How did they find out, sir?” Carter interrupted his rant before it got going.

 “I don’t know, but my guess is we have a leak,” Hammond replied. “Their representative is in my office now while his agents are in the infirmary to assess Doctor Jackson and prepare him for transport.  I have a call in to the President, and I've been able to delay their departure until I hear back from him.  I suggest you go down there now and see what you can do to further delay the process.”

“We’d be happy to, sir.”  Jack took two steps towards the door when the klaxons went off.

“General Hammond,” Walter’s voice came over the intercom, almost drowned out by the blaring of the alarm. All of them looked up to the window of the control room.  “You’re needed in the briefing room.”

Jack led the way up the stairs, Hammond, Carter, and Teal’c following.  A red-faced man in a suit was waiting for them. 

“He’s escaped!”  The man strode up to the general and waved his arm. “He attacked my men and got away.  Do something!”

Crap.  Daniel was incredibly dangerous in his present state, but Jack was even more worried about the danger his friend was in from the NID.  “Sir, permission to go after Daniel.”

“Granted.  I’ll make an announcement—”

The sound of weapons firing drew them all to the window.  Below, at the entrance to the ‘gateroom, Daniel was struggling with an SF. Another lay unmoving nearby.  Jack watched, rooted to the spot, as Daniel lifted the airman and tossed him across the room like a rag doll.  The man collapsed in a heap. 

 Pulling himself away from the scene, Jack bounded down the stairs to the control room, his team on his heels.  Leaning over Walter, he grabbed the microphone and called to his friend. 

“Daniel!  Stop!”

Icy blue eyes set in an angry face turned in his direction; Jack hardly recognized this as creature as his friend.  Daniel opened his mouth and let out a cry of rage that reverberated off the walls. 

More SFs entered and Daniel leaped at them, knocking some down with his wings, while grabbing the weapons of two others as they pointed them at him, tossing them against the walls simultaneously. 

“Close the blast doors!” Jack ordered.  The heavy metal doors slid shut, halting the advancement of any more SFs.  “Sir, let me go down there and talk to him.”

 “You’re crazy!”  The NID man had followed them and was standing at the back of the control room.  “He’s out of control.  If he can’t be zatted or tranquillized, he needs to be put down before he kills someone.”

“He’s not an animal that you can ‘put down,’” Hammond countered. “He’s a valuable member of my command and will be treated as such.”  He turned back to Jack.  “Are you sure it’s safe, Colonel?”

“I know how it looks, General, but I don’t think Daniel will hurt me.” At least I hope not.  “Let me try to calm him down—I know ‘our’ Daniel is in there somewhere.”

“Very well.  But I want you to get out of there immediately if he doesn’t respond to you.  In the meantime, I’ll have a tranquillizer gun rounded up.”

“Thank you, sir.” 

~oOo~

 The blast door slid open and Jack found himself facing a wild-eyed Daniel.  He took two steps into the room and paused, holding his open palms out to show he carried no weapons.  Daniel, wings partially extended, scrutinized him closely from the center of the room.  

“It’s me, Daniel.  I’m not gonna hurt you; I just wanna talk.”

Daniel snorted.  “Not… going back.” 

“I don’t blame ya, buddy.  Look, we’ll work this out—we went back and talked to the people that did this to you and they’re gonna let Carter look at the technology.  You know her, she’ll figure out how to reverse it and we’ll get you back to normal.”

“Normal?  Was never… normal.”

Jack fought the urge to laugh out loud.  “No, I guess not.  But we still want the ‘old’ Daniel back.  The one who could think outside the box, whose gift for languages and diplomacy made us so many allies across the galaxy, who reminded us every day of what was really important. I want my friend back.”

 Daniel’s features softened, his brows knitting together in concentration.  “I thought… you didn’t like… that person.” 

 “You thought wrong,” Jack took a couple of steps toward Daniel. “Come back to the infirmary and let Janet take care of you.  I promise we won’t let the NID take you away from us.”

Daniel closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, and for a second Jack saw past the gray skin, the ridges, the bulging muscles and wings and saw only his old friend.  He stepped closer and reached out a hand, letting it fall gently on Daniel’s shoulder.  Jack could feel the tremors pulsing through Daniel’s muscles.

Daniel opened his eyes, the intense blue gaze meeting his.  He shifted his focus to Daniel’s forehead, still not completely trusting his friend. 

 “It’s… hard.   I have to… to fight it or it just… takes me over.”

 Jack risked a quick glance at Daniel’s face which was etched with pain.  “I promise, whatever it takes, we’ll fix this.”

 Daniel slowly nodded his head and Jack moved closer, pulling Daniel against his chest and wrapping his arms—or attempting to wrap them—around his friend—who was now a couple of inches taller than him. His fingers brushed the smooth, golden brown wings and he found himself staring at them as he hugged Daniel. 

A grinding sound pulled his attention away from the wings.  Daniel’s head snapped up as the blast doors slid open and airmen began pouring into the room. 

“Stop him at all costs!” a voice shouted over the intercom.  Jack looked up to the control room to see the NID agent at the microphone. He could see Hammond grab the microphone away, call to someone standing out of sight, followed by two SFs appearing and pulling the protesting agent away. 

Jack felt Daniel’s hands grip his upper arms tightly.  “No… no…” 

The airmen weren’t backing off, in fact, they were filling the room, surrounding Jack and Daniel. 

“Take it easy, Daniel.  I won’t let—”

 Suddenly, Jack was spun around so his back was against Daniel’s chest.  Daniel wrapped his arms around Jack’s torso, pinning his arms to his sides, and unfurled his wings to what must have been their full extent.  Realization hit home just as Daniel launched them both into the air. 

Jack had flown more times than he could count, but never like this. The floor of the ‘gateroom faded below as Daniel took them higher and higher into the silo.  Shouts of ‘hold your fire’ echoed upwards as they ascended the giant cylinder.  Jack turned his gaze from the floor to the darkness above his head. 

Over the whoosh of wings, Jack shouted, “Daniel!  What are you doing?”

 There was no answer as Daniel took them higher and higher.  What had been a pinhole of light was growing steadily larger.  Oh, crap. Jack ducked his head—the only thing he could do to protect himself in his current position—and waited. 

Daniel let go with one of his arms and Jack found himself being held by only one.  He risked a glance upwards and saw Daniel’s arm extended over his head, palm up.  Jack couldn’t believe he was really going to do it—he was going to try to force the top of the silo to open.  Holy buckets.

A grinding sound, followed by a brightening of the light, sent relief flooding through Jack.  Someone—probably Carter—figured out Daniel’s plan and was opening the silo.  Closer and closer—he could see it now, standing wide open, and he was about to fly through it. 

One more giant flap of Daniel’s wings and he pulled them in, wrapping the ends around Jack’s body.  They shot through the opening and were suddenly in the open air above the mountain.  It was crisp and cold, and for a moment it took Jack’s breath away.  Then Daniel’s wings unfurled, spreading wide, and they glided like birds on the air. 

Just like Jack imagined.

 ~oOo~

TBC



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