Just a Small Experiment - Part Eleven

 

After another check on Danny, Sam returned to the infirmary to interview some of the refugees as she’d discussed with Lieutenant Colonel Byron. She made a pass through the thinning throng, her few probing questions to the people she encountered telling her they weren’t quite ready yet for an analytical discussion of the planet they’d come from. She still made sure they were doing fine, and reassured them the personnel at the SGC would do everything possible to ensure their comfort and safety.

Janet walked up to the main staging area as Sam finished her circuit, and immediately came over to her friend. “How are they doing?” the doctor asked, looking around at the crowd that surrounded them.

“They’re still pretty shaken up, nervous about their new surroundings and worried about their friends and families,” Sam replied. “I was going to ask them some questions about their original home, so I could start a search for a new one in our database, but I don’t think they’re quite ready for that.”

Janet gestured for the taller woman to follow her into the examination room proper. “I’m not surprised,” she said as they walked. “To have your life uprooted like that...” She shook her head. “They’ve been very brave, all of them. Every one of them completely cooperative, as much as they’re able. I wish I got that kind of attitude from the people I normally treat.”

Sam laughed. “You wouldn’t know what to do with us if we gave it to you. So, how serious did things get?”

“Well, we have one man in surgery; Doctor Warner is handling that. We kept a woman from going into premature labor, and I just finished setting a little girl’s leg. Everything’s in control on that end, so I thought I’d come back here and help move things along as much as I can.” She paused as she saw a nurse gesture to her from the end of the makeshift white cloth hallway in the examination room. “Oh, I hope we didn’t just grow an emergency in here,” she moaned as she hurried along, Sam in her wake. “The potential for a panic is too large to ignore.”

“And impossible to avoid,” Sam added.

“What have you got, Lieutenant?” Janet asked as she reached the last bed on the left side of the room.

The nurse handed over a medical chart. “The patient has a cut along the hairline above the left eye. I cleaned it up and examined it, and I don’t think it needs stitches, but you should probably double check just to be sure.”

Janet nodded at the brunette then gave Sam a wry smile. “I guess I’ll start back here and work my way forward. Wait here. I shouldn’t be too long.” Sam nodded, and the petite doctor went behind the curtain.

As the auburn-haired woman closed the white divider behind herself, she looked over the lieutenant’s notations on the clipboard. “Hi there,” she greeted her patient cheerfully, stepping over to the side of the bed with only the briefest glance and smile at the man seated on the mattress. She noted that his face was covered in mud and blood, completely obscuring his features, the only clear spot the skin around the cut on his forehead. “My name is Doctor Fraiser. I know that Nurse Williams has examined you, but I’m going to make double sure that your cut is nothing serious then bandage you up.”

She turned around and found the man had brought a hand up and was fingering the recently-cleaned wound, blocking the view of his face. “Now, now,” she chided, pulling his hand away and taking a closer look at his forehead. “No getting it dirty before I’ve had my chance at it.” A brief examination reassured her and she smiled. “Nurse Williams had it right. I’ll just swab it one more time, patch it up with some butterfly bandages, and it should be fine.” Janet reached over and grabbed what she needed, performing her tasks quickly. “There you go.”

“Thank you,” the man said quietly as Janet finished making her own notations to his chart.

The sound of his voice made Janet turn around to give her patient one last reassuring smile, something about it striking a chord deep within her. But her expression froze halfway to completion when she met the bright blue gaze of the man before her. She knew those eyes. She knew them very well.

Or believed she did. Recovering her wits quickly, Janet widened her smile. “If you could just wait here a second, I’ll be right back.” She turned around and left the screened-off station.

“Come in here,” Janet whispered intensely once she was clear of the curtain, grabbing Sam’s arm and pulling at her.

“Wait a second,” Sam hissed back, digging in her heels. “What’s going on?”

“You said you needed to interview one of the refugees, right?” One more tug had the taller woman moving into the examination area.

Sam practically bit her tongue to keep from snapping a sarcastic retort at her friend as she caught her balance. She did spare the shorter woman a wicked glare, though, before straightening with a welcoming smile. Like the good doctor before her, however, she froze when she met the patient’s confusion-tinged gaze. Her face fell, she sucked in a sharp breath, and her eyes opened impossibly wide, not a single word leaving her lips.

It was the response Janet had been expecting. She mentally pulled on her physician’s cloak, knowing she couldn’t afford the luxury of emotions right now. She then gave Sam a sharp nudge to the ribs with her elbow. There was no need to panic the patient, after all.

It was enough to snap Sam back to reality. She pulled herself together as fast as she could, and, blinking furiously, put the smile back on her face. “Um, hi there,” she said to the man staring at her in wary surprise. “I, um...” Words failed her as she continued to look into the familiar eyes and a wave of pain washed over her when she didn’t see an ounce of recognition in the blue depths. Straightening completely, she continued. “My name is Major Samantha Carter,” she said reassuringly. “I’m just here to check up on you.”

“Okay,” the man said slowly, his form gradually relaxing as the two women began acting closer to normal.

“Actually,” Sam continued with a brief look at Janet, “I was wondering about your people and the planet you originally came from. I’ll be looking for a new home for you all, and it would be best if it was as close to the original as possible.”

“Before we worry about that,” Janet interrupted, “why don’t I have one of my nurses show you to the infirmary showers so you can clean up? It can’t be comfortable sitting there in all that dirt.”

The man smiled, and both women felt their heart clench at the sight. “Thank you, that would be nice.”

The majors looked at one another. “I don’t believe I caught your name,” Sam said after a moment.

He looked surprised. “Oh, yes, of course. My name is Arrom.”

“All right then, Arrom,” Janet said quickly to cover up the grief she saw flash through Sam’s eyes and even felt herself deep inside. She went over to a metal storage cabinet in the corner and pulled out a set of folded white scrubs. “Here’s something for you to wear after you’ve finished your shower. The nurse I’ll send over will make sure you have a towel and the other accessories you’ll need. When you’re finished, I’ll have her escort you back here so you and Major Carter can talk in private. Will that be all right?”

“That should be fine, Doctor Fraiser. Thank you again.”

“You’re welcome,” she said in return, then led Sam away from the bed and the curtains that surrounded it. She quickly flagged down a nurse and gave her instructions. Once the woman walked away to take care of her newly-assigned tasks, Janet led Sam to her office and locked the door behind them.

Sam collapsed into one of the chairs facing the desk. “That’s Daniel,” she said breathlessly. “I don’t care what he says his name is, that’s Daniel!”

Janet nodded slowly and sat behind the desk. “At first glance, I agree with you.” she said.

“I just wish I knew why he doesn’t remember us. Do you think whatever caused that cut gave him amnesia?”

“It’s a pretty minor cut, Sam, with no sign of concussion,” Janet refuted. “While I won’t say it’s outside the realm of possibility, things like a little bump on the head causing complete amnesia is more for fiction than reality. It’s something else.”

“But what?” Sam threw herself to her feet and began to pace. “This doesn’t make any sense.” She stopped in her tracks. “Oh my God, everyone’s going to freak out when they hear about this!” she exclaimed. “Things are going to get even crazier around here than they already are!”

“Calm down, Sam, I already thought of that. That’s why I picked Nurse Williams to take care of him. She was only assigned here four months ago, so she wouldn’t know Daniel on sight. We just got lucky she’s the one who took care of him to begin with.”

Sam blew out an explosive breath. “No kidding.”

Janet shrugged. “I’ll take a blood sample later and do a DNA test. That should give us some answers at least.”

Sam sat back down again and ran a hand through her short blonde locks. “It really hurt to have him look at me and not have him know me, Janet,” she whispered, her gaze dropping to her lap. “He was gone, and I’ve been so scared that something happened to him so that I’d never see him again, that there wouldn’t be anything to see.”

“Oh, Sam, I know. I know exactly how you feel. I just can’t let myself feel it right now so I can keep everything under control out there.” Janet’s chocolate brown eyes were filled with pain and sympathy. “You’ll get some answers when you talk to him after his shower, we all will.”

“I need to tell Teal’c and the colonel,” Sam said, suddenly bringing her head back up. “And General Hammond needs to know.”

“Let’s wait until you talk with him. If it turns out this really is just a freakish cosmic coincidence, you’ll have riled everyone up for nothing.”

Sam nodded, the motion a little jerky. “Right, right. Of course. I’ll wait. Do you think he’s done yet?”

Janet gave a short laugh. “Considering the amount of mud on him, no. I’ll go check, though.” She stood and headed for the door. “And Sam?” she said in the doorway once she’d opened it.

“Yeah?” Sam replied.

“One way or the other, things will be fine. Just remember the positives of the situation.”

“I’m too scared to hope,” Sam admitted quietly, then shrugged and motioned for Janet to go.

A few minutes later, Janet returned and told Sam Arrom was just about finished. The two of them went back to the sectioned-off bed where they'd originally come across him just after he'd reseated himself. Now clean, his resemblance to Daniel Jackson couldn’t be denied. "Hello again," he greeted them quietly. "That shower was just what I needed. Thank you." He gave them a small smile.

Janet returned it while Sam struggled to keep her expression at least light. "I'm glad," the auburn-haired physician said.

Arrom took a deep breath and released it, giving Sam an expectant look. "I think I'm ready to answer your questions now. How can I help you?"

"Well, I suppose a good place to start would be for you to describe your home planet, what kind of vegetation grows there, how long the seasons are, the ranges of temperatures, those kinds of things," Sam said, hiding her jumbled emotions behind a friendly, inquisitive tone, the logistics of assimilating the information she was asking for her only defense.

"I see," Arrom said slowly, his eyes dropping to his lap for a moment. When he brought his gaze back up it was filled with apology. "I guess I won't be able to help you as much as I was hoping to. I, uh, I've only been with Shamda's people for two moons. I could describe the village they lived in, and the surrounding ruins and landscape, but not the rest of the details you're looking for. I'm sorry."

Sam and Janet shared a look. "Two moons? Where were you before that?" the physicist asked.

Arrom hesitated, then sighed. "I don't know," he said simply. "I'm afraid I don't remember anything before waking up in the ruins outside of Shamda's village. The people there were kind enough to take me in."

Hope flared up in Sam's heart despite herself. "Really? You don't remember anything?"

"Nothing." A desperate look transformed his features. "I've tried. I've tried so hard. Sometimes it feels like everything's right in front of me, but when I reach out it just... disappears." His shoulders sagged as he released a puff of air loudly. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't be thrusting my personal problems on you, especially after everything you and the rest of the people here have done for us."

"No, don't say that," Sam said quickly. "I want to help you, I do. Maybe there's a way..."

"I can do a more thorough examination and see if there's a medical reason for your amnesia," Janet interrupted before Sam made a promise there was no way to be sure they could keep. "Would that be all right?"

Arrom nodded. "It can't hurt. Thank you very much. I know how busy you and your people are."

Janet smiled. "It's not a problem. Let me take a few blood samples and I can get things going."

"Maybe you can still help," Sam said as Janet began her work. "Why don't you tell me what happened to make you and Shamda's people leave your planet? As long as it doesn't disturb you too much, that is." She shrugged apologetically.

"No, I've had time to calm down, put things in perspective. I didn't really lose that much, after all." Arrom sighed. "It all started about two weeks ago. It was raining off and on for days, sudden heavy rainstorms that had everything a muddy quagmire. The villagers said they had gone through weather spurts like that before, though, so I didn't concern myself with it too much. But then the real rains came, I'd say a week ago. It never stopped. The only respite we had was when the downpour lightened to a drizzle for a time, but the deluge always started again. The spotty storms we had before that had saturated the ground, and the village was in a shallow valley. It didn't take long for the water to start to rise."

"When did you head for higher ground?" Sam asked softly, imagining the situation the villagers had found themselves in.

Arrom considered it. "Well, at first the water tried to head down to the river that flows nearby, but then the river flooded as well. We headed to the Chappa'ai, the only high ground we could get to in the storm, about two and a half days ago."

Sam nodded. "And hoped that the rain would stop so the water level would drop back to normal."

The brown-haired man sighed again. "Exactly. But the storm only got worse. The winds picked up and caused waves that crashed into what makeshift shelters we'd been able to construct. When one of those waves nearly washed away a large group of villagers, including nine children, the decision was made to use the Chappa'ai and leave. The evacuation was chaotic, and when we finally started to think we were safe on the new planet, the Goa'uld attack happened and we were brought here." His bright blue eyes caught and held Sam's own. "These people are nomads, but this is still devastating for them. Wherever they end up, they're going to have to start over and reaccustom themselves to a new environment."

"They are?" Janet asked as she completed the labeling of the vials of blood, catching the exclusion of himself from the sentiment. Arrom only shrugged and looked away.

"Well, I think that tells me a lot," Sam said after a moment. She paused as Janet finished gathering what she needed for the tests she had in mind. "I suppose we can get going and, uh, give you some time to yourself. After all this chaos, you could probably use it."

"I'll arrange for a room where you can stay," Janet added. "I'll let you know what I find out as soon as I can."

Arrom's eyes darted between the two women briefly, then he nodded. "All right. I'll be glad for a chance to rest."

Janet smiled. "Then we'll talk to you later. Just wait here, and someone will come and escort you to your room soon." She gestured to Sam, and the two of them left the cubicle.

* * * * * * * *

“If I wait any longer to tell him, the colonel’s going to kill me,” Sam said twenty minutes later after Janet had taken Arrom’s blood samples to the lab with orders that she would be the one processing them. The doctor had also been asked to check on another patient, but it turned out the nomad woman’s odd symptoms had come about due to the delayed arrival of her menstrual cycle.

“I’m not saying to not tell him, Sam. But what about General Hammond?”

Sam sighed. “I think Colonel O’Neill deserves to be told first. Probably Teal’c, too. We’re more than just teammates, Janet, you know that. They need to know first.”

Janet stared at her for a moment then nodded. “I know,” she agreed softly. “Tell your team. Let Colonel O’Neill come and see him for himself. Then we can tell General Hammond.”

Sam smiled, relieved. “Thanks, Janet.” Her expression turned teasing. “Although I think I’m going to tell the colonel what to expect before he gets down here. I can’t believe you just dragged me in there without any warning!”

“I wanted your instinctual response,” Janet replied with a shrug, unrepentant. “Now go get your team. I don’t think we should put it off any longer.”

It wasn’t long before Sam was standing nervously in front of her team commander’s office door. With one last deep breath, she knocked, entering when she was commanded to do so. “Hi, Colonel,” she greeted the man within, smiling slightly as she closed the door behind herself.

“Carter,” Jack returned with a nod. “What can I do for you?”

“I’ve just come from the infirmary. I was going to interview some of the refugees to find out what kind of planet to keep in mind for their relocation.”

“Yeah, I heard. Byron told me you talked to him about SG-5's mission, and of course Hammond mentioned what you were doing.” He raised his eyebrows curiously. “What did you come up with?”

Sam licked her lips. “Well, I’m sure you’ve heard that the refugees didn’t come from P6C-297 originally,” she began.

Jack nodded. “That was Byron’s big surprise at SG-5's debriefing, yeah. What did our visitors have to say about it?”

“I thought that most of them were still too shaken up to interview properly when I talked with them, actually. I’m probably going to have wait another day or so to avoid distressing them too much.” Sam swallowed hard, finding it difficult to say what she needed to say.

“I notice you say ‘most of them’, Carter,” Jack said, his eyes narrowing as he picked up on her hesitant attitude. “What did you find out up there?”

Sam licked her lips again. “When Janet was through treating the more serious injuries, she was asked to check a cut on the forehead of one of the refugees. I waited outside for her to finish; we’d been talking before that. She suddenly came out and dragged me behind the curtains they’ve drawn around each of the beds, without a word of explanation why. When I got in there and I saw her patient...” Her words choked off for a moment and her eyes locked with Jack’s. “Sir, I saw his eyes and heard his voice. And when he came back after taking a shower it was even more apparent... Sir, Daniel’s in the infirmary.”

Jack’s expression turned suspicious. “The kid’s sick again?” he asked.

The major could see the man was being deliberately obtuse. “Not Danny, sir. Daniel. Daniel Jackson. From all appearances he’s retaken human form and is sitting on a bed in the infirmary.”

“He’s here?” Jack asked, hardly able to let himself believe it. “He’s solid?”

“Janet took blood samples,” Sam said simply.

“Let’s go,” Jack said shortly, jumping to his feet and taking a few steps toward the door.

Sam reached out and grabbed his arm before he could go too far. “Colonel, wait. There’s something you should know.” She waited until his brown gaze met her blue-grey one before she let go of him and continued. “He says his name is Arrom. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on the refugees’ home planet two months ago.”

Jack blinked a few times. “Well, the timing’s right.”

“I thought of that. But you can’t go barging in there, telling him who we think he is and what his past is supposed to be. He doesn’t know anything about our suspicions. Considering everything he said he’s been through over the past two weeks, especially the last couple of days, telling him he might be our lost teammate might be overwhelming.” Sam gave him a pleading look, seeing a tightening around his eyes that spoke of a growing anger. “Janet has blood samples. Let her check the DNA and confirm our suspicions. That way we’ll know for sure before we disrupt anybody’s life any more than it already has been.”

Jack gave her a hard stare, his mouth drawn in a thin, stiff line. Sam never flinched, knowing she was right. Finally, the man released an explosive breath, his muscles relaxing and a flash of hurt rippling across his features before he got himself back under control. “All right, Carter,” he said in a low voice. “I’ll keep it under wraps. But I want to see him.”

Sam smiled. “Of course, sir. That’s why I told you.”

He nodded. “Thanks, Sam. That means a lot.” He took a deep breath and released it. “Well, let’s get going. I’ve got a potential resurrection to witness.” The two of them strode purposefully out of the office.

* * * * * * * *

Janet saw the two military members of SG-1 walk into her infirmary and moved to meet them. “He’s this way,” she said shortly, knowing from the expression on Jack’s face that Sam had told him what he needed to know.

Jack nodded sharply. “Lead the way, Doc. I have to see him.”

“I know,” she said, relieved, knowing by the use of his nickname for her that he hadn’t retreated into the emotionless shell he’d constructed after Daniel’s ascension nor the angry self-recrimination he’d experienced after SG-1 discovered that Anubis had destroyed Abydos. “Now, I’ve set aside Isolation Room 3 for him, and any personnel who might know him on sight have been given tasks that will keep them out of the infirmary for at least a half hour. I want to move him with as little possibility for recognition as we can.” The other two nodded their agreement.

“Remember what I told you,” Sam whispered as the three of them approached Arrom’s bed.

“Yeah, yeah,” Jack said dismissively, then stepped through the curtain, both women immediately behind him.

Arrom had been examining the medical instruments on the cart beside the bed when his visitors appeared, causing him to turn his head suddenly to look at them. He gave them a very small smile. “Doctor Fraiser, Major Carter,” he greeted the pair he had already met. He gazed at Jack curiously.

Jack felt like he’d been sucker punched in the stomach. “Daniel?” he asked involuntarily, his eyes widening. Arrom’s expression changed to confusion.

Janet quickly stepped forward, disguising an elbow to the silver-haired man’s ribs with the motion. “This is Colonel O’Neill, Arrom,” she said in the friendly, almost clinical tone she tended to use with foreign visitors to her domain, ignoring the glare said colonel gave her. “He’s second in command here. We have your room ready if you’d like to settle in.”

“That would be fine,” Arrom replied as he stood, his eyes continually flickering to Jack and his stern expression and pained eyes.

“All right, let’s go,” Jack declared, stepping forward and grabbing the patient’s arm. He led the other man a bit forcefully toward the isolation rooms. Sam and Janet shared an exasperated look before following closely.

“What’s wrong with you?” Arrom asked Jack once the isolation room door closed behind the quartet. He jerked his arm away and stepped back toward the bed.

Jack sighed and looked away. “Nothing. I... I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be rough.”

Janet cleared her throat as the younger man just shook his head and stared at the colonel. “I’d like to apologize as well. This isn’t how I planned things to go.”

Arrom waved a dismissive hand, finally tearing his eyes away from Jack and turning to face the bed. “I’m fine. But I think I should get some rest. It’s been a long day.”

“You’re right,” Janet agreed. “Go ahead and lie down. If you need anything, just press the call button next to the bed.” She pointed to a panel on the wall. “The green button. Either Nurse Williams or myself will take care of it. You can find extra blankets in the cabinet near the door if you need them.”

“Thank you,” Arrom said, glancing at the auburn-haired woman over his shoulder. His glance flickered over to Sam for a moment, and he gave her a brief smile when he saw her concern.

“Have a good rest,” the blonde said. “We’ll leave you to it.” At his nod, she opened the door. Jack was the first one to leave, never looking back, and Janet followed, Sam right behind her.

Janet gave the colonel a stern look once the three of them were in the hallway. “I’m not going to go into it here, Colonel O’Neill, but suffice to say I’m not happy with the way you handled that.”

Jack stiffened and glared at her. “Join the club, Doc.”

Sam frowned. “What happened?”

“I know you told me what to expect, Carter, but when I really saw it...” He sighed, relaxing his tense muscles somewhat. “I guess I didn’t believe it until I saw it, and it was overwhelming. I know that doesn’t excuse it, but it’s all I got.”

“I don’t think there’s any permanent harm done,” Janet said. “Now we need to tell General Hammond.”

“I’ll arrange a meeting. Carter, you get Jonas and Teal’c.”

Sam nodded. “Yes, sir. I should also check on Danny. It’s been a while.”

Jack gave her a lopsided smirk. “Yeah, do that. This just makes that experience all the weirder, you know.”

The blonde shrugged, smiling. “Just par for the course around here, sir.”

“Ain’t that the truth. Go on, Carter. You coming, Doc?”

“Just let me get his file. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

* * * * * * * *

Danny was awake by the time Sam returned to the VIP room, sitting at the table reading one of the children’s books he’d received from Siler a couple of days earlier. He looked up when his guardian entered the room and gave her a smile. “Hi, Sam,” he greeted her quietly.

Sam couldn’t help but return the expression, happy and a little surprised by his initiating the exchange. “Hey, Danny. How are you?”

“I’m fine. You weren’t here when I woke up, so I started reading like you told me to.” There was a tentativeness in his admission that sought out approval for his actions.

“That’s wonderful,” Sam praised him, inwardly flinching at the necessity. She glanced at her watch and sighed. “I’m afraid I can’t stay long. A situation’s come up that I have to help deal with. SG-5 brought a village of refugees here to escape a Goa’uld attack,” here Danny’s eyes grew large, “and one of them looks like a... lost member of the SGC. I, uh, have to help investigate things since he doesn’t remember who he really is.” Her eyes dropped to where her fingers were lacing and unlacing against her stomach. She couldn’t tell the boy it might be her former teammate. It would be like tempting fate to take Daniel away again.

Danny watched her for a long, silent moment. “You think you know him, don’t you? I mean, really know him.”

Sam’s gaze jerked upward at the unexpected insight. “Uh, well...” She took a deep breath. “Yes, I do. I... hope it’s who I think it is, but I can’t jump to any conclusions.”

Danny smiled again. “I hope he’s your friend,” he said simply.

“Oh, Danny.” Sam crouched down next to the boy’s chair and hugged him. “It’s times like this that I’m reminded how much I love you.”

“You love me?” Danny asked with a gasp, his embrace tightening.

Sam pulled back to arm’s length and gave him a shaky smile, her eyes watery with sudden tears. “You bet I do. You are so special; how could I not love you?”

Danny stared at her, dumbfounded. “But what does it feel like to love me?”

The woman’s smile widened. “Oh, Danny, I don’t know if I can describe it. You... make me feel good inside, and I just want to make sure that you’re safe and happy and everything else a child should be.”

“So love is a good thing?”

“It’s a wonderful thing,” Sam declared with a little laugh. “I told you before that I care about you. Love is just caring about you a lot more.” She sighed, still smiling. “When Sabrina gets here, I’ll see if she can describe things better than that. I haven’t always been good at dealing with emotions.”

“Oh,” Danny said softly, turning contemplative, his gaze dropping to the table.

Sam lifted his head with a gentle finger, a little worried about how he was taking her inadvertent admission. “Are you okay, Danny?”

The neutral ruminative expression on his face reassured her he wasn’t reacting negatively, whatever he was thinking. “I’m okay. I... I think I like that you care about me so much. I just... don’t remember being cared about before.”

“I can understand that. I’m sorry if I confused you.”

“You said you cared about me before,” Danny said with a shake of his head. “I didn’t know you could care about me more.” He marked the page then closed his book. The boy looked at Sam again. “May I lay down again until supper?” he asked quietly.

“Of course,” Sam said gently, with understanding. She’d just rocked his world, and he needed to think about it. She’d have to let Sabrina know as soon as she arrived in an hour or so. “You lie down. I have to go to a meeting. I’ll come back as soon as I’m done and we’ll have supper.” Danny just nodded and headed for the bed. Sam helped him get under the covers and, with one last kiss to the forehead, left to gather her teammates.

* * * * * * * *

“So, this man doesn’t know about your suspicions?” General Hammond asked after everyone had gathered in the briefing room and he, Teal’c and Jonas had been filled in on the situation.

“No, sir,” Janet replied. “I thought it best to wait until we had more proof than just a physical resemblance.”

“He doesn’t just look like Daniel,” Jack protested. “That’s his voice, too. Not to mention his attitude.”

Janet gave him a look. “I understand that, Colonel, but it’s still not real proof. I’ve taken blood samples, and I’ll check Arrom’s DNA to see if it matches Daniel Jackson’s.”

Jonas gave her a confused look. “Didn’t you say before that can take twenty-four to thirty-six hours minimum?”

“Can we keep him in the dark and under wraps that long?” Jack asked.

“I have a solution for that,” Janet said. “We have the device we were given by the people of P7T-923. We don’t use it for anything other than the most important cases, due to the limited power source, but I think this qualifies. I can have an answer in around an hour.”

“Do it,” Hammond ordered, nodding his approval.

Jonas looked around the table. “Assuming the DNA is a match, how do we explain this? How did Doctor Jackson get to the refugees’ planet?”

“We know that someone who’s ascended can choose to retake human form. Something’s happened to him to cause amnesia,” Sam said.

“I don’t think it’s as simple as that, Sam,” Janet refuted. “But let’s look at this logically. Assuming it is Daniel, what could have happened to make him forget?”

Sam took a deep breath and considered it. “Well, when we saw him on Abydos, he did say that he was breaking some pretty big rules. Maybe his memory loss is punishment for trying to help us fight Anubis.”

Jonas nodded. “That does make sense.”

Sam blew out a breath loudly. “Well, I think the other option here, if it isn’t Daniel, is that we’ve miraculously stumbled across Daniel’s twin. I mean, I know they say that everyone has someone out there that’s their exact double, but still...”

“There is another possibility,” Teal’c interjected. “This man could be a clone and the original Daniel Jackson was not available to retrieve memories from.”

“Your little Daniel is proof of that theory, Sam, except for the age,” Janet added.

“What could somebody gain from that?” Jack protested. “How could someone benefit from making a clone of Daniel and then leaving him with a tribe of nomads on a backwater planet?”

Everyone shared a look. “That is a valid point,” Hammond said.

Sam frowned. “I suppose his appearance on the refugees’ planet could have been an accident or a mistake,” she said dubiously. “But that doesn’t seem very likely.”

“So how can we determine if he’s a clone?” Jonas asked. “Sam’s Daniel is genetically identical to Doctor Jackson, isn’t he?”

“Yes, he is,” Janet confirmed. “We also know the technology is out there. Look at the Asgard for example.” She shrugged.

“So how about we call up Thor and see if he can tell the difference?” Jack suggested.

“Perhaps the Tok’ra would have knowledge of this as well,” Teal’c added.

Hammond nodded. “Those are both viable options. I’ll send messages as soon as Doctor Fraiser has her results.”

Jack glanced around. “So what do we do in the meantime? If Fraiser’s tests come back positive, what do we do?”

Sam pursed her lips. “I think we should tell him what we know. He deserves to know, and maybe we can help him get his memories back.”

“Assuming he’s the original,” Jonas added.

“Of course,” Sam agreed.

“That should be fine,” Janet said, “but I’d recommend not telling him too much. I’ll double check with the psychiatric staff, but I believe it’s best for someone to remember most things on their own if at all possible.”

“I believe we’ve exhausted our options at the moment, unless anyone has something to add?” Hammond asked, looking around the table. No one said anything. “Then let’s get what answers we can, people. Dismissed.”

* * * * * * * *

Sabrina Marconi was waiting for them when they left the briefing room. “I was told you were in a meeting when I got here,” she said to Sam. “Must be something big if you held it this late.”

“You could say that,” Jack replied.

“Is it anything I need to know about?”

Sam shared a look with Janet. “We don’t know yet,” the blonde said. “Janet has to run some tests.”

Sabrina nodded. “Fair enough. I also hear you have visitors. Why don’t we grab Daniel and head for the commissary for supper, and you guys tell me what you can? This sounds interesting.” She smiled, her eyes twinkling.

Janet’s smile in return was filled with regret. “I’d love to join you, but I really need to run those tests right away.” She looked at the members of SG-1. “I’ll let you know as soon as I have the results.”

“Talk to you then, Doc,” Jack said, dismissing her. She nodded and headed for the elevator.

“The rest of us can go to dinner, though, right?” Jonas asked.

“Why not?” Jack answered, shrugging. Sabrina stared at him when she heard the extreme effort behind the casual tone.

Teal’c gave a solemn nod. “I, too, will accompany you.”

Sam grabbed Sabrina’s arm as the group began to head out. “I need to talk to you alone for a minute first.” She looked at her teammates. “We’ll meet you in the commissary. We won’t be long.”

“Sure, Sam,” Jonas said with a smile. “We’ll make sure there’s blue Jell-O for you.”

“Thanks,” Sam said wryly, chuckling slightly. The two groups then went their separate ways.

* * * * * * * *

An hour or so later, SG-1 had gathered in the observation deck above Arrom’s isolation room, hidden by a large two-way mirror, while Sabrina had her weekly session with Danny. “And don’t worry. I’ll keep an eye on him once we’ve finished with all that clinical stuff,” the psychologist had said with a smile after supper. “You just do what you need to do.”

Sam thought of the tentative smile Sabrina’s wording had brought to Danny’s face, and knew she was leaving him in good hands, even as she looked down on the man who might be her friend and teammate returned to flesh and blood. Arrom was wandering around the room, examining the medical equipment. From time to time he released soul-deep sighs, his expression turning pained for a moment. The team watching could only guess at what he was thinking.

They hadn’t been there very long when Janet joined them. “How’s he doing?” she asked.

“I don’t think he knows what to do with himself,” Sam said, standing with Jonas and Teal’c behind the seats at the counter, her eyes not leaving the form below.

“I take it you’ve got something for us, Doc?” Jack asked, getting straight to the point from his seat in front of one of the inactive microphones.

Janet nodded. “I’ve already told General Hammond. Arrom’s DNA matches Daniel Jackson’s.”

Silence received the news. “So that’s probably Doctor Jackson,” Jonas said finally, his voice barely audible.

“It appears so,” Teal’c responded solemnly.

“What do we do now?” Jack asked.

“We should tell him,” Sam said, hope flaring in her eyes. “Maybe just knowing will help him remember.”

Janet sighed. “Sam, it may not be possible, for multiple reasons.”

Sam looked at her. “I know. But I really think we need to try.”

The doctor nodded. “Let me talk to him first. Each of you can speak with him - individually - when I’m finished. I don’t want to overwhelm him. As it is, I expect him to have a hard time accepting this. I mean, to go from a simple, agrarian life to the technology-filled world he came running to...” She shook her head and sighed.

“Do it, Doc,” Jack commanded quietly, his face a blank mask. “Let’s see what we’re dealing with.”

“At least Janet has medical proof to back up what she’s telling him,” Sam said once the base CMO had gone.

“Well,” Jonas began diffidently, “we know she has proof. Who knows if he’ll understand that proof is real? He’s been living in a society at least a hundred years behind Earth’s, technologically speaking anyway.”

A flash of anger came and went in Jack’s eyes. “Don’t count him out yet,” he grumbled. “Carter could be right and just telling him what we know will be enough to start him remembering.” The colonel’s teammates stared at him for a long, silent moment, hearing the lack of faith behind the words.

The echo of a knock and the opening of the door to the room below cut off any further conversation. SG-1 watched carefully as Janet entered Arrom’s room and closed the door behind herself. She smiled at her patient, who stopped his wandering to look at her.

“Doctor Fraiser,” he greeted her. “Is there something wrong? Nurse Williams was already here with my evening meal, and she took away the tray. The food was good.”

“I’m glad to hear that, but that’s not why I’m here,” Janet replied, stepping over to the table beside the bed and setting down the folder she held. “Remember when I said I’d be running tests on the blood samples I took earlier?”

“You said you were hoping to find a reason for my amnesia, yes,” Arrom answered.

Janet sighed and looked down at her feet for a moment. “I have to admit something to you,” she said when she’d returned her gaze to his. “When I met your gaze after I bandaged your cut, your eyes seemed... very familiar to me. That’s why I brought Major Carter in to see you so suddenly. I needed confirmation. When she reacted the way she did, I knew I had it. Your appearance after your shower, and the sound of your voice as you spoke with the major... it all just strengthened my suspicions.”

Arrom’s eyes narrowed. “What suspicions? You mean you think you know who I am?”

“I know I know who you are,” Janet said firmly, gesturing to the folder on the table. “I truly have sent some of your blood samples to the lab to have various tests done that could provide answers as to the source of your loss of memory, but one sample I used to compare to a DNA profile I already had on file for a man who was declared missing in action a little over a year ago. According to the results, you are that man, Doctor Daniel Jackson.” She straightened to her full height and waited for the man’s reaction.

The brown-haired man stared at her, his eyes wide and his jaw slightly open. To say he was completely blown away was an understatement. “You... you found out who I am,” he said finally, somewhat breathlessly.

Janet nodded carefully, trying to read the jumble of emotions churning across the man’s features. “Yes, Daniel,” she whispered. “And now you’re home.”

“I... I don’t know what to say,” Daniel replied, shaking his head.

“You really don’t remember anything from before two months ago?” Janet asked, her professional mask finally slipping a little and her hope shining through.

“Nothing specific,” Daniel admitted, his gaze falling. “I got the impression that I should have known the language that was carved into the ruins Shamda’s people were living in. I tried, I... kept trying to remember... something, anything. I’d come so close, and then it would just... disappear.”

Janet’s heart broke along with the members of SG-1's at the look of frustrated misery on Daniel’s face. And then a thought occurred to her. “You believe me,” she said, the phrase just as much a question as it was a statement.

Daniel hesitated, then nodded. “You said your test confirmed I was Daniel Jackson,” he said quietly. “You don’t have any reason to lie to me, nothing to gain that I can see. And...” he took a deep breath before continuing, “ever since I came here, a feeling of familiarity has come and gone. This place feels so much more... right than the village ever did.” He took another deep breath and turned away from both his known and unknown audiences. “I just... I don’t... I don’t know what to think. I... I don’t know what to feel.”

Janet sighed and decided to back off, not wanting to overwhelm her friend. “That’s perfectly understandable, Daniel. I’ll go now and give you a chance to think about what I’ve told you. But you should know that you were part of a team called SG-1, and the four of you were very close. When you’re ready, I know your teammates would love to see you, to talk to you, maybe answer some of your questions. Just let me know if you’d like to see them.”

“Do they... know I’m here?” The question was soft and vulnerable.

“Yes,” Janet replied simply. “They know you can’t remember, and they’ll respect your space. However long it takes, they’ll wait.”

Daniel nodded, and his arms came up into a very familiar self-hug. “Thank you, Doctor Fraiser. I’ll let you know. Tell the... members of SG-1...” He swallowed hard. “Tell them I’m sorry.”

Janet blinked away the sudden tears that welled up in her eyes. “They know, Daniel. I promise they know, and they understand.” She glanced at the mirrored wall. “They understand.” When she saw a slight nod of acknowledgment, she silently left the room.

In the observation deck, Sam and Jonas shared a stricken look while Jack stared at the fisted hands in his lap and Teal’c continued to watch the confused man below, a suspicious moisture in his dark brown eyes. “He’s... he’s supposed to want to know all about himself,” Sam whispered. “He’s supposed to want to see us so we can tell him all about himself.”

“That’s a pipe dream, Carter,” Jack said in a low voice, his eyes never lifting from his white-knuckled fists. “This is reality. He doesn’t even know if he wants to know us.”

“Of that you cannot be certain, O’Neill,” Teal’c said firmly. “Daniel Jackson has just been presented with the knowledge of his true identity. He does not have access to the memories that would make that knowledge a reality for him. He must be allowed time to adjust.”

“And just how much time is that, Teal’c? How long is he going to reject us and what we can tell him? How long are those ascended glow worms going to win by him turning away from himself? And how long do we have to watch it happen?” Jack rose suddenly and walked quickly out of the room.

Sam choked back a sob as the door shut behind her team leader, and Jonas reached out to give her shoulder a comforting squeeze, his expression filled with guilt. Teal’c gazed on them both with infinite understanding, his nonverbal comfort almost palpable. Janet slipped in, her eyes widening as she immediately sensed the heavy atmosphere. “What’s going on?” she asked, bewildered. “You’re acting like Daniel’s dead.”

The astrophysicist turned to face her, blinking fiercely to keep control of the tears threatening to overwhelm her. “He almost is,” she said softly. “If he doesn’t remember, if he doesn’t even try to remember...”

Janet sighed. “He’s known who he really is for, what? Ten minutes? Give the man a little time to adjust before you write him off.” She looked around. “Where’s Colonel O’Neill?”

“He left,” Jonas explained even more quietly than Sam had spoken before him.

“Well, that explains the prevailing attitude in here,” Janet snapped, her features twisting into a mask of irritation. “I expected this from him, but I thought the rest of you knew better than that.”

Teal’c’s eyebrow rose. “You believe there is something positive in your interaction with Daniel Jackson?”

Janet pulled herself to her full height and pursed her lips. “Of course I do. When I told him who he was, he didn’t reject it. He accepted what I told him was the truth. Now he just needs some time to get his mind around the fact that he really has an identity of his own, that he has a full life that he can return to. Give him some time, think positively, and he’ll come around.”

“Thank you, Janet,” Sam said with a small smile. “I guess we needed that figurative slap in the face.”

“I was just about ready to make it a literal one, and I might yet with Colonel Negativity. Now why don’t the three of you call it an early night? This has been an emotional day.”

The four of them left with one last, lingering glance down at Daniel, who was lying on his side under the covers of his bed, staring at the far wall. Yet again, they had no way of knowing what he was thinking. They weren’t even sure if they wanted to know.

* * * * * * * *

Sam returned to the VIP room she shared with Danny in a somber mood. She smiled at the greeting Sabrina gave her, her expression widening when she saw the small grin Danny wore when they made eye contact. “So, how did your evening go?” she asked as she joined the pair at the table, dropping into one of the chairs.

“We drew pictures,” Sabrina told her, gesturing at a couple of pieces of paper with colored marks on them.

“That’s great,” Sam enthused. She met Danny’s gaze as Sabrina shot her a worried look at her forced tone. “I’m very glad your night went well.” The boy’s grin widened for a moment then faded somewhat when he noticed the jumble of emotions in her eyes.

“Well, now that you’re back, I suppose I should get going,” the Italian woman declared after an awkward pause. “It was nice spending some extra time with you, Daniel,” she said to the boy before meeting Sam’s eyes. “Walk me to the elevator, would you?”

Sam gave a nod. “Sure,” she agreed, fully aware of what was coming. “I’ll be right back, Danny. We’ll talk then.” Danny swallowed a bit nervously, then it was his turn to nod.

Sabrina waited for the door to close behind her companion before looking at her with an arched eyebrow. “Okay, what happened? What has you so shaken up that you barely have it under control?”

The blonde woman sighed. “One of our visitors turned out to be Daniel returned to human form,” she said softly, not looking at the psychologist.

“What?” Sabrina yelped in a choked whisper, remembering at the last second the boy on the other side of the door. “Daniel Jackson is back?” She shook her head in shock when she received a nod of confirmation. “What happened to him? Is he all right?”

“Except for a cut on his forehead near his hairline, he seems fine. He just... doesn’t remember who he is. He has no memories of anything before two months ago.” Sam’s voice was even softer, a touch of dejection in it.

“Amnesia? Complete amnesia? Does Janet know what caused it?”

Sam shook her head. “Not right now. She said she still has more tests to run. We think it might be part of a punishment from the Others, the ascended Ancients. I’m not sure there’s any way to know for certain.” She sighed again.

Sabrina’s brows furrowed. “There must be something positive going on, or you’d be in worse shape. What is it?”

Sam swallowed. “When Janet told him who he was, that she’d found out because of the DNA test she ran, he accepted it. He’s still trying to wrap his mind around it all, obviously, but he’s trying.” She gave the other woman a shaky smile. “It just hurt when Janet told him about us and he didn’t ask to see us, even when Janet said we were very close. I know he’s still in shock and everything, and we have time... but it still hurt.”

“I’m not surprised you’re hurt, Sam. You and the other members of SG-1 have just gotten back a piece of your hearts. You want to reach out and embrace it, in a way put things back to the way you perceive they’re supposed to be. When Doctor Jackson didn’t just jump at the chance to claim that, well...” She shrugged.

“You’re pretty quick,” Sam said with a smile.

“I’m grasping at straws and making some lucky guesses based on what I know about human nature and what I read about the relationship SG-1 used to have,” Sabrina said dismissively. “It’s that relationship that made me worried about how your Daniel would be accepted, remember? And thinking of him, what are you going to tell him?”

Sam shook her head. “I don’t have any idea, but I know I have to tell him something. I also have to come up with a way to explain Danny to Daniel.”

Sabrina reached out and gave the other woman’s arm a reassuring squeeze. “You don’t have to come up with all the answers in the next couple of minutes, remember that. The world’s not at stake, not even your personal one. Say what comes naturally. Your instincts have been good so far. As for Doctor Jackson, you can put that off until he’s ready to deal with it. Like you said before, you’ve got time. Don’t rush things.” Her arm dropped away as she smiled. “Now really walk me to the elevator.”

“Thank you for the talk,” Sam said as they walked down the hall. “I needed it.”

“I’m glad I could help.” An impish glint came into Sabrina’s sapphire blue eyes. “Hey, I got to find out what your late meeting was all about. Maybe not all the details, but still...” They both laughed. “I will want to hear those sometime soon, since I think this is going to be pretty big in the long run for Daniel, but it doesn’t have to be right away. Get yourselves a bit more settled with the situation, and then we’ll talk. Unless you or any of the others need to do it sooner, that is.” Her smile turned gentle and understanding.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Sam said as they reached the elevator. “We’ll see you soon.”

Sabrina shrugged as the silver doors opened and she stepped inside the empty car. “You bet you will. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.” She gave Sam a wink, then the doors slid shut to end the conversation.

Sam stared at the closed doors for a long moment, gathering her courage to go back to her room and answer the questions she knew her young ward had. She finally went back, composure in place, to find Danny sitting at the table exactly as she had left him, right down to the slightly worried expression. “Waiting for me, huh?” she asked, surprised at the tiny quiver in her voice.

“Yes,” Danny whispered, glancing down for a moment then bringing his eyes back up right away. “Did something bad happen?”

“Well, I... I don’t think I’d put it that way,” Sam stuttered. Thrown into the light of a small child’s perception, she finally truly believed what Janet had been trying to get SG-1 to understand. She smiled a true smile for the first time since her auburn-haired friend had yanked her into Daniel’s presence. “No, nothing bad happened. In fact, something very good happened. My friend Daniel came back when we were expecting that he never would. He’s in an isolation room in the infirmary right now.”

“Is he sick?”

Sam shook her head. “He has a cut on his forehead, but nothing too serious. Janet just wanted to make sure he was okay and that he had some privacy.”

Danny cocked his head to the side. “Is this the man that you told me about before? The lost member of the SGC?”

“Yes, he is,” Sam confirmed, her smile growing wider. “There are a few things we have to work through yet, but everything should be just fine.”

“What things?”

“He doesn’t have his memory,” Sam explained. “He only remembers the last two months.”

Danny frowned. “He doesn’t remember anything else?”

Sam shook her head. “No, nothing before then. We’re hoping that being in a familiar place will help him remember.”

Danny nodded his understanding then hesitated slightly. “Is he going to come here to talk to you?” he asked, fear a definite undertone.

“Probably not for a while,” Sam said soothingly. “I haven’t had a chance to talk to him since Janet told him who he really was. I’m going to wait until he wants to talk to me, and then I’ll go to him in his room.”

“Okay,” Danny said in a whisper, his eyes dropping to the tabletop.

“Danny,” Sam said softly, raising his head with a gentle finger under his chin, “you should know that my friend Daniel used to be a member of SG-1. We lost him after a mission a little over a year ago. Now he’s back.”

Danny’s eyes grew large. “He’s part of SG-1?”

Sam laughed. “Yes, he is. He’ll always be a part of SG-1.”

It shouldn’t have been possible for the boy’s eyes to get any bigger, but they did as a realization struck him. “He’s the person that lit up and floated away after you went to Kelowna and found the naquadria,” he said in awe. “He was sick, then he lit up and floated away.”

“Um, yeah,” Sam said, shocked to the core. The people at the lab had told the children about that? “And now he’s back. He... tried to help us fight Anubis right before we came to the lab and found you, and the other...” she struggled to find a term he’d understand, “lit up people didn’t like it. We think they made him come back and took away his memories.”

“That was mean,” Danny said, his brows furrowing.

“Yes, it was,” Sam replied, managing to keep a straight face at the sentiment. She agreed, of course, but hearing it put so... bluntly was almost too much to take. “We’re hoping we can help Daniel get those memories back, that they... didn’t take them away forever. He said the base felt familiar, so I think we have a chance.”

Danny straightened completely in his chair and got a determined look on his face. “We’ll get them back,” he declared. “We won’t let them keep Daniel’s memories. That would be too mean, and he was doing a good thing by helping you fight Anubis.”

Sam smiled, proud of her boy. A flash of warmth flooded her at the familiar stubborn righteousness in the bright blue eyes he unknowingly shared with her returned friend. She’d see that again in the original pair - somehow she didn’t doubt the man in the infirmary was the original Daniel Jackson - and she’d glory in it. For now, though, she just knelt down and wrapped her arms around little Danny MacDonald. “You bet we will,” she whispered into his ear. “We’ll show those people that you just can’t keep Daniel down.” She pulled back and gave him a kiss on the forehead. “Now let’s get ready for bed. I have a feeling we’re going to be really busy over the next few days.” Danny grinned and nodded, and two of them did just that. Back to Gen Fiction          Back to Part Ten          Go to Part Twelve


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