Just a Small Experiment - Part Fourteen 


The next morning, Sam was in her lab working on the search for a new planet for the refugees that were still at the SGC, Danny on a computer just out of arm’s reach and out of the way. They’d shared a pleasant breakfast in the commissary, where Jack had joined them and told his 2IC about the new arrangements for Daniel. Sam was extraordinarily pleased with the development, both for what it meant for Daniel and for what it showed about Jack’s acceptance of the whole situation.

The two of them hadn’t been at their tasks long when a deferential knock sounded on the open door of the room. When Sam looked up she was shocked to see Daniel standing in the doorway. “Well, hi, Daniel,” she greeted the brown-haired man, her face lighting up in delight. “What brings you here?”

Daniel returned her smile and moved into the room, coming to stand at the end of the lab table next to Sam and glancing curiously at the small boy who was staring at him intently. “I… I had something of a breakthrough last night, and thought I should share it with you.” He shot a quick look around the lab, his brow creasing in thought as Sam’s expression brightened even more. “I’ve… been in here before, haven’t I? I’ve been here a number of times.”

“You definitely have,” Sam told him with a laugh. “We worked together a lot.” She looked at Danny for a moment and gave him a reassuring look, and noticed that her comment had somewhat relaxed the wary tension in the way he was holding his frame.

“We… we shared… drinks together… coffee?”

“I’ve never tried so many different kinds of gourmet coffee as I have since I met you,” Sam confirmed.

Daniel blinked. “I drank a lot of coffee?”

The blonde astrophysicist fought back a bark of laughter. “Yes,” she said simply. She cleared her throat. “So what was this breakthrough you said you had? Did you remember something?”

Daniel’s smile returned, although not quite as brightly. “Jack set up some of my things in a room some time yesterday afternoon, and there was a picture of a dark-haired woman on the stand next to the bed. I didn’t know her at first sight. I fell asleep reading one of the books that had been in the room, and I dreamed about the woman - and then I woke up and knew her name was Sha’re.” He took a deep breath and released it, neither he nor Sam noticing Danny taking an extreme interest in the revelations.

“Oh, Daniel,” Sam whispered. There were so many bad things that could go along with that memory; she could only hope they hadn’t hit him yet.

“I know she’s dead. I talked with Teal’c after I woke up, and… I started to remember things as we talked.”

“I’m sorry, Daniel. I wish you could have started with a happier memory.” Sam reached out and squeezed his arm, giving him a small sympathetic smile.

Daniel smiled in response, grateful for the sentiment. “They weren’t all bad. Sha’re and I had a lot of great memories, too.”

Sam gave his arm another squeeze and let her arm fall back to her side. “Did you remember anything else?” She fought hard to keep the eagerness out of her voice.

“Some,” Daniel confirmed. “And I’ve found that more bits and pieces are coming to me the more I wander around and talk to people I knew before.” His smile brightened. “Actually, the longer I stay here in your lab the more comfortable I feel. It seems natural to me.”

“I’m so glad,” Sam said, nearly bouncing in her seat with excitement. “You belong here. Like I said before, we worked together a lot. Sometimes we were in your office, but most of the time it was here.”

Daniel nodded, then let his eyes drift back to Danny. “Um, Sam, I know I don’t remember everything about you, or about the time we spent together, but something about a child doesn’t really fit. Am I totally off base?”

Sam’s eyes widened for a moment, realizing the moment to tell her friend about her ward had come sooner than she’d been expecting. She reached over and rubbed Danny’s back then gave the man on her other side her attention. “No, you’re right. I didn’t have a child while you were here. We found Daniel here two months ago at an NID lab in northern Colorado, in the mountains. I’ve become his guardian, and he lives with me.” She smiled at the little boy. “And I’m so happy that he does.”

Danny returned the expression shyly. “I am, too,” he whispered.

“Wow,” Daniel murmured, then frowned. “NID… I don’t feel good about that for some reason. I’m getting a few fuzzy thoughts that are pretty negative.”

“I’m not surprised. The NID is a civilian-run organization that plays watchdog to top secret projects like ours, and they haven’t always been the most ethical of groups. We’ve had our share of run-ins with them.” Sam scowled lightly at the memories.

Daniel’s eyes closed in thought. “They… tried to take Teal’c once, didn’t they? Something about a giant bug…” His eyes snapped open and he shot a wide-eyed look at Danny. “Oh, I don’t think I should have said that in front of him.”

Danny gave him a reassuring smile, evidence of his returning memories putting the child completely at ease. This was Sam’s friend and a member of SG-1; everything would be fine. “I know about the NID,” he said softly. “It’s okay.”

Sam nodded, surprised at how fast Danny had warmed up to Daniel but putting it aside to deal with later. Sabrina would want to know about this one, that was for sure. “Danny knows all about our missions. You can talk freely in front of him.”

“So what was he doing in an NID lab?” Daniel asked.

“Um, I think I should explain that later,” Sam told him, unconsciously rubbing the boy’s back again.

“Why?” Daniel asked, narrowing his eyes. If the child knew about everything, why would talking about where he came from be a problem?

Sam took a deep breath and gave Danny a soft look. She should have seen that question coming a mile off. She returned her gaze to her friend and smiled gently. “There are some pretty traumatic memories for Danny. It would be best to talk about later, maybe after I put him down for a nap. Is that all right? It’s not that I don’t want to tell you.”

Daniel smiled, relieved there was a good, logical explanation. He didn’t want to feel like Sam was hiding things from him. It was important to him that he could trust her. “I understand. We can talk about it later then.” He aimed his smile at the boy. “I don’t want to make you feel bad, Daniel.”

Danny returned the expression. “Thank you.” He knew the man was sincere, and something about him made Danny want to trust him right away.

“So you remember about Teal’c getting stung by that giant bug?” Sam asked after a brief pause.

“I’m starting to,” Daniel agreed. “With a little time, the memories should sort themselves out. That’s what happened with Sha’re and Anubis after I spoke with Teal’c.”

“Anubis?” Sam asked, surprised yet again.

Daniel nodded. “I wanted to know why Oma would put me in this situation, with no memories presumably as punishment for interfering, yet I was beginning to remember. And since everything seemed to happen because of Anubis, I needed to find out about him. Teal’c was kind enough tell me what I wanted to know.”

Sam blinked. “Then your memories are coming back pretty quickly.”

“I guess.” Daniel shrugged. “There are still a lot of holes, but they’re filling in slowly but surely. Once Doctor Fraiser told me who I really was, things started to click. I just needed time to sort everything out.” He smiled at Sam. “Thank you for being willing to give me that time. I’m not sure you can understand how much I appreciate it.”

“Anytime, Daniel,” Sam whispered in return. “I’m just so glad you’ve come back. I don’t think you can understand how glad I am, that we all are.”

The two friends share a fond look, then Sam rose to her feet and engulfed the brown-haired man in a warm embrace. Daniel heartily returned it. They shared another smile once they pulled apart.

Daniel cleared his throat after the gaze went on a second or two too long. “Well, I think I’m going to get going. I should tell Jack about what happened last night.”

Sam blinked again. “You mean you haven’t told him yet?”

Daniel shook his head. “Not yet. Doctor Fraiser brought me my breakfast this morning - to give me one last chance at a calm morning before everyone finds out I’m back she said - and then I came here. As much as Jack was great about getting me moved out of the infirmary and into a private room, there’s something about my first couple of interactions with him that made me hesitate about going to him first.” He sighed. “But I don’t want to leave him out. He deserves to hear about my progress from me.”

“That would be best,” Sam assured him, knowing just how true that was.

“Then I’m going to go.” The man couldn’t hold back a half-smirk. “This should be interesting.” His expression turned into a gentle and slightly tentative smile. “Will you come by to talk after Daniel here has been put down for his nap?”

Sam nodded. “You bet. You’ll be in your quarters around two this afternoon?”

“I’ll make sure of it.”

They shared one last smile, then Daniel left.

Sam looked at Danny. “I guess you were right. We’re not going to let anyone keep Daniel from getting his memories back.”

Danny gave her a tiny grin. “Not anyone,” he repeated with a sharp nod.

Sam gave him a brief, tight squeeze, and the two of them went back to their projects.

* * * * * * * *

Daniel paused outside Jack’s office to take a deep breath and release it. The man inside had proved to be causing a confusing bundle of emotions and memories for him, at least the memories that were clear. He somehow knew there were more coming that would muddy the waters even more, which made laying a new foundation with Jack even more important. He wanted to be sure there was something solid and recent to balance out everything that was coming.

The brown-haired man knocked on the closed door, then entered when he was bid to do so. He saw Jack sitting behind his desk, frowning slightly as he looked over some papers in a beige file folder. Closing the door behind himself, he took an extra step into the room and waited for the other man to look up.

It didn’t take long. Surprise transformed Jack’s features when he realized who his quiet visitor was. “Daniel,” he greeted the younger man after a couple of beats. “You’re out and about, I see.”

“I needed to stretch my legs,” Daniel replied with a shrug. “And I thought walking around might help with my memories.”

“Not a bad thought,” Jack agreed. The two were silent for a long moment before the colonel spoke again. “So, is there something you needed from me? Not that you couldn’t just come for a visit, but…” The look in his eyes was a little wary, reading the slight bout of nerves his friend was apparently suffering from.

“Nothing I need, exactly.” Daniel sighed and squared his shoulders. “I remembered Sha’re last night,” he said simply.

Jack blinked. He hadn’t been expecting that. And certainly not so soon. “Okay,” he said in return, stretching out the word. There had to be more to it.

Daniel’s eyebrows rose. “You knew?”

Jack shook his head. “Nope, can’t say that I did. But I get the feeling you’ve got more to say. Just what did you remember?”

“At first I just remembered her name,” Daniel said with another sigh. “More came back when I talked with Teal’c.”

“So you know…”

“That she’s dead? That Teal’c killed her to save me? Yes.”

Jack dropped his gaze to the desk for a moment. He was hoping that one wouldn’t come back for a while. “Are you okay?” he asked as he brought his eyes up again.

Daniel nodded. “As things keep falling into place, I’m finding myself at peace with them. There’s a shock that comes with the more traumatic memories, of course, but it fades relatively quickly.”

“Do you remember why Teal’c shot Sha’re?” Jack asked, his eyes narrowing slightly.

“Um… Actually, that’s a bit fuzzy,” Daniel replied, surprised. He hadn’t thought about that yet. His discussion with the Jaffa had revolved around Anubis. “I know she was taken, and Teal’c had something to do with it… And Sha’re was… hurting me… which is why Teal’c was forced to kill her…” The brown-haired man gave the man sitting across from him a questioning look. “Why haven’t I remembered what was wrong with my wife? That doesn’t make any sense.”

“I don’t know about that,” Jack said thoughtfully, sitting back in his chair. “I wouldn’t want to remember if I were you, at least not right away. That whole thing still gives me the creeps.”

Daniel’s expression turned exasperated. “Don’t be an ass, Jack,” he snapped, making Jack sit up sharply at the familiar tone. “Stop dancing around the subject and just tell me what you know. I want to remember, no matter how bad it is.”

Jack blinked at him and had to fight back a wide grin. Oh yeah, Daniel was back. “Apophis chose her to be the host for his queen, Amaunet,” he explained. “It was really the Goa’uld that was attacking you when Teal’c shot her, not Sha’re.”

“Oh.” Daniel frowned slightly. “I think I’m starting to remember that,” he said after a long moment. He sighed.

“I’m sorry,” Jack said a bit awkwardly.

Daniel shook his head with a small smile that told Jack he was grateful for the sentiment but it was unnecessary. “Some things make a little more sense now,” the brown-haired man said softly.

Jack sat back and watched his friend, uncertain what to say next. Finally he just released a loud breath and leaned forward to lean on his desk. “Look, I don’t know what to say to you, Daniel. I guess I really shouldn’t say much, since you’re supposed to remember things on your own.”

Daniel shrugged. “There’s nothing else to say, Jack.” He took a deep breath and released it. “I’ve also started to remember things about Anubis. That’s mostly what Teal’c and I talked about last night.”

“Hold on a second,” Jack said, holding up a hand, palm out. “You talked about Anubis last night? Why do I get the feeling this wasn’t just you reminiscing about the good old days?”

“Don’t start, Jack, and don’t get upset with Teal’c,” Daniel said firmly. “I was trying to figure out why Oma did this with my memory, and everything seemed to point to Anubis. It seemed like the best way to work things out, and Teal’c agreed.” He closed his eyes and blew out a breath. “I think it worked out pretty well,” Daniel said as he refocused on Jack. “I remember more about SG-1 and the things we did before I ascended. That should be a plus, shouldn’t it?”

“Depends on what you remember,” Jack said, unsuccessfully fighting back a small smile.

Daniel found himself returning the expression. “Something you want to hide?”

Jack grinned for a moment then sobered. “Actually, I think I should tell you something a little more personal. Some of the memories of things that happened… some of the things that happened between you and me… some of the things I said… that I did…” Jack’s voice trailed off as he found it difficult to articulate what felt he should warn the younger man about. There had been some tough times and some nasty confrontations that they’d shared. And he didn’t even want to think about when he’d gone undercover and told Daniel their friendship had no foundation. But he just could not find the words.

Luckily Daniel saved him from needing to solve his dilemma. “Jack, you don’t have to tell me anything. I’ve already got the feeling we had our ups and downs - and that they were some pretty spectacular ones. We’ll deal with those memories as they come… as long as you’re willing.” Blue eyes searched brown carefully.

“I’m willing,” Jack told him earnestly.

“Then we should be just fine,” Daniel replied simply. He glanced at the clock on the wall. “I think I’m going to go get myself some lunch. Did you want to join me?”

Jack’s smile returned. “That sounds good. I could use some pie.” He stood up and headed for the door.

Daniel shook his head as he smiled. “For some reason I’m not surprised to hear you say that.”

“And did I mention that you owe me fifty bucks?”

Daniel just rolled his eyes as he followed the other man out of the room.

* * * * * * * *

Soon after Daniel had left the lab, Danny finished his language lesson and chose to draw until lunch when Sam offered him the choice. When the time came, Sam closed down her computer with a satisfied sigh and moved behind the little boy who looked like he was putting the finishing touches on his drawing.

“I think it’s time to get something to eat,” she said gently. She shared a soft smile with Danny when he looked up at her, then glanced at the fully-formed picture in front of him as he started to clean up his supplies. The upper left-hand corner was filled with an amazing recreation of the SG-1 patch, and five people stood together in the center of the paper. She recognized herself in the middle, while Jack and Jonas stood to her immediate left and right, Daniel just beyond Jonas and Teal’c on the other side of Jack.

Sam smiled. Danny had drawn another wonderful picture of SG-1 and… Sam blinked. He’d drawn SG-1, all of SG-1. It served as a timely reminder - and gave her an idea. “What do you think about asking Jonas to join us for lunch, Danny?” she asked thoughtfully. It was about time she reassured the Kelownan that he still had a place at the SGC, and SG-1 in particular.

Danny gave her another smile. “I’d like that.”

“Then that’s what we’ll do. Let’s go find him.”

Guardian and ward made their way to level eighteen and Jonas’ office, finding him once again working on the tablet SG-1 had brought home from Abydos. He looked up at the knock on the door. “Oh, hi, Sam. Hi, Daniel,” he greeted them with a smile.

The two visitors returned the expression. “Hi, Jonas,” Sam said. She gestured at the tablet. “Are you making any headway?”

Jonas shrugged. “Some. I’m not sure if I’ve found any answers, but I’ve managed to translate some of the text.” He gave a little sigh. “It’s a bit of an uphill struggle.”

“Then why don’t you take a break and join Danny and me for lunch?” Sam offered. “We haven’t had a chance to talk lately, at least when there wasn’t a crisis to solve.”

“Me?” Jonas blurted involuntarily. “But what about…” He snapped his mouth shut and dropped his eyes to the carved stone in front of him.

Sam flinched at the aborted sentence. “Jonas, you’re still my friend and teammate,” she said gently. “Yes, I am overjoyed that it looks like Daniel is back with us. But that hasn’t made me forget how important you’ve become to me, to everyone here.”

Jonas shook his head as he brought his gaze back up. “Sam, I know better. Daniel Jackson means more to the SGC and SG-1 than I do. And now that he’s back, everything can go back to the way they should be. I’ll do what I can to help, of course, whatever’s needed, if only because I owe everyone here whatever I can give for taking me in when I left Kelowna under some pretty horrible circumstances.”

“You are my friend,” Sam repeated firmly. “You are my teammate. Nothing has happened that changes that.” There was a silent moment filled only with the two adults staring each other in the eye, the child next to Sam watching them carefully. “Now come on,” the blonde physicist said finally. “Lunch is calling. Work can wait.”

“All right,” Jonas conceded with a tiny smile. If one looked close enough, it could be seen that the shadows in the man’s blue-green eyes had retreated somewhat. “I wonder what they’re serving,” he pondered as he rose and joined the other two in heading out of the office.

“It’s the SGC commissary. I don’t think it matters,” Sam replied with a twist of her lips.

Danny just giggled as he took Sam’s hand, happy that things looked like they were working out for his favorite team.

* * * * * * * *

Sam, Jonas, and Danny walked into the commissary and found Jack, Daniel, and Teal’c sitting at a table in the far corner. From the amount of food still on their plates, they most likely had just sat down. Jack saw the trio enter the room and waved. “I’m glad to see the rest of my team made it,” the colonel said expansively. “Grab your food and come sit with us.”

Jonas started a bit at the declaration. “Did Colonel O’Neill send you to get me?” he asked Sam as they grabbed trays and got in line.

“No, asking you to lunch was my own idea. I didn’t know the others would be here.”

Jonas said nothing more as the trio got their lunches and joined the others as requested. “Glad to see you out and about,” Jack said to the Kelownan as he sat down next to Teal’c and diagonally across from Daniel.

“Sam invited me to lunch,” Jonas replied with a shrug, only meeting the colonel’s gaze briefly before looking down at his tray.

“Then good for you, Carter,” Jack commended his second in command seated to Daniel’s right and directly across from Jonas.

“Thank you, sir,” Sam said with a restrained smile. “Danny and I thought it was a good idea.” She let her smile bloom fully as she looked to her right at her ward, who blushed.

Jack noticed Daniel shooting Jonas subtle, curious looks as the group began eating. “Oh, crap, I think I forgot something,” he said suddenly, making everyone look at him. He gestured at man sitting across from Sam. “Daniel, that’s Jonas Quinn. He’s a member of SG-1. Now, don’t worry if you don’t remember much about him; you met him right before you… left.”

Daniel gave the older man a small smile. “You can say ascended, Jack. I know about that.”

“Yeah, well, it’s still awkward,” Jack muttered.

“It’s good to meet you again,” Daniel said to Jonas. “Hopefully I’ll remember you soon.”

Jonas gave him a shaky smile. “Yeah,” he said softly, the horrible images of what happened on his home planet the first time SG-1 visited flashing through his head. He couldn’t help but wish Daniel wouldn’t have to remember that, even if it meant Jonas himself would never be recalled. “I’m glad you’re back, Doctor Jackson. You’ve been missed.”

Daniel’s eyes narrowed briefly, the man catching the mournful undertone then letting it go. “So I’ve been told,” he replied lightly.

“Jonas Quinn speak the truth,” Teal’c added. “You have been missed not only by the members of SG-1, but by all of the SGC and many of our allies.”

“You’re just a popular guy,” Jack said.

Sam merely gave Daniel a smile of agreement as she squeezed his arm briefly.

Teal’c then turned his attention to Jonas. “While we could never truly replace you, Daniel Jackson, we were fortunate to find another worthy warrior in Jonas Quinn.”

Jonas sat up straight at the remark, blinking in surprise. His mouth opened and shut a couple of times, yet no words came out.

“I think you’ve left our teammate speechless, T,” Jack said with a smirk.


The meal went on, the mood light and the conversation casual. It was definitely something they would all look back on later as a true team moment.

* * * * * * * *

Danny happily laid down for his nap that afternoon, even falling asleep with a smile on his face. Sam shared the child’s upbeat mood; lunch had been wonderful. It felt great to have Daniel sitting next to her once again, and Jonas had seemed to begin to understand he still had a place with them. Yeah, life was good.

She took one last look at the clock in the VIP room she and Danny were using and quietly slipped out to head for Daniel’s room as she promised earlier. The thought of the explanation she was about to deliver sobered her somewhat, but she was sure things would be all right. The whole situation with Danny had come about because of the NID. Daniel’s flash of memory had given him enough insight to know what that meant. Besides, Danny’s arrival had turned out to be a blessing.

Once Sam reached her destination and gave a nod to the SF stationed there, she rapped shortly on the door and went inside, just as she’d done numerous times in the past. With Daniel’s propensity to working late nights - and her own - he wasn’t unfamiliar with staying on base overnight. If he wasn’t in his office, she knew where to find him. She’d slip inside after a soft knock and check if he was sleeping, and if he was she merely slipped out again. Daniel had done the same, although not nearly as often; his manners and sense of propriety usually kept things to knocking unless there was something he was especially excited about. Everything that had happened that day had taken Sam blissfully back to the past and happier days and made it easy to slip into old patterns.

The door had barely shut behind her when she came to a sudden, shocked halt, her eyes widening dramatically. Just stepping out of the suite’s bathroom was a nearly naked Daniel Jackson, hair wet and sticking up all over the place and only a towel around his waist between him and complete immodesty. He had frozen in place at the sight of his unexpected visitor, giving Sam more than enough time to reflexively look him over. When had Daniel gotten so… buff? Did the Ascended have some kind of weight training regimen on that higher plane of theirs? Gone was the awkward scholar she’d known, and in his place stood this sculptured specimen of manhood, his crystal blue eyes sparkling in the artificial light of the room and his skin beginning to flush slightly.

It was this last observation along with a somewhat embarrassed clearing of the throat that brought Sam back to her senses, making her jump a bit and spin around so her back was to the man who had just come out of the shower. “I’m so sorry!” she blurted as she bore a hole in the wall with her mortified gaze, fully back in the present. “It’s just that I used to… I was only… I didn’t mean…”

“It’s okay,” Daniel said finally, cutting off her stammering explanations. He went over to the bed where he had laid out a set of BDUs along with some undergarments and picked them up. “I was in such a hurry to let you know about my new memories when I woke up this morning that I forgot to take a shower, and I didn’t realize it was so late when I got back from lunch and talking with Jack.” He smiled, although Sam couldn’t see it. “Just let me get dressed and we can talk. I’ll be back in a little bit.” He went back into the bathroom and closed the door.

At the sound of the click, Sam released a loud breath and rolled her eyes. What in the world had she been thinking, just walking in like that? Not that she hadn’t enjoyed the sight, a rebellious part of her mind commented. She quickly shushed it and shunted the memory replay to the back of her mind where she hoped it would just fade away. She was supposed to be rebuilding the trust they had shared before Daniel had ascended. What in the world was he going to think now? At least he hadn’t asked her to leave. That was a plus.

It wasn’t long before Daniel came back into the room fully dressed. “So,” he said as he walked over to the bed and sat down, drawing out the word as he watched his visitor.

“I am so sorry,” Sam repeated, turning around and stepping to the end of the bed. “I should have waited for you to invite me in when I knocked, and not just…”

“I should have locked my door,” Daniel cut her off with a smile. His eyes narrowed slightly as he considered her. “I take it we were pretty comfortable with each other. I… think I can sort of remember that. The feeling, anyway.”

“Yeah, we were,” Sam confirmed. “But that doesn’t excuse me doing it now. You barely know me, and here I come traipsing into your room…”

Daniel waved to cut her off. “You know I’m starting to get some memories back, and we all had a good time at lunch. I think you’re allowed to get caught up in the good feelings. And I’m not about to die from a little bit of embarrassment that I’m already pretty much over. We don’t need to make a big deal out of this.”

Sam took a deep breath and released it. Looking at him, she could see that he was telling her the truth. His blush had almost completely faded, and his voice was as steady as the gaze he had leveled at her. It had just been an accident, and he knew it. It was time to let it go. “Thanks for being so understanding,” she said, again ignoring the little voice in the back of her mind that requested a repeat performance at a later date. She’d deal with that later. Much later.

“We’re friends,” Daniel said simply, then cleared his throat and patted the bed beside him. “Now why don’t you take a seat and explain to me how that little boy came into your life?”

“I suppose I should start by explaining something,” Sam said as she did as requested. “While there are some very traumatic memories for Danny, there’s another reason I didn’t want to go into details about where he came from.”

“Another reason?”

Sam nodded. “It’s part of the story; it won’t take long for you to see what I’m talking about.” She took a deep breath and released it once again. “Soon after the last time we saw you when you were ascended, the colonel got a call from a Doctor Maxwell MacDonald, who was working with a secret rogue NID lab in northern Colorado. They had managed to get a hold of genetic material from a number of SGC personnel, and with a stolen piece of alien technology they produced clones of twenty of us.”

Daniel gave her an odd look, his brow creasing suspiciously. “Us? Does that happen to include the members of SG-1?”

Sam gave a short laugh. “You were always quick. Yes, the four of us were cloned: you, me, Teal’c, and Colonel O’Neill.”

“And Jonas?”

“Jonas didn’t join the team until after you’d ascended.”

“Ah,” Daniel said, nodding his understanding, something clicking in the back of his eyes. “Go ahead, keep going.”

Sam swallowed. “When we got the information from Doctor MacDonald and found the coordinates he’d hidden in the files, we hurried to the lab to shut it down and save the children. The rogue agents fought to the death, unfortunately, and when Jonas got to the basement where the children were kept he discovered that they were dead.” She cut herself off suddenly, the memory of Jonas’ message over the radio echoing in her ears. The news had affected her deeply, and even now still struck her with horror.

Daniel reached over a placed a gentle hand on her arm. “If this is too hard for you, you can stop. I can wait to hear the story.”

The blonde woman shook her head. “No, no, I’m all right. It’s just… they were kids. And they were left down there…” She squeezed her eyes shut for a moment then sighed as she reopened them. “But Jonas found a trail of small bloody footprints leading out of the room, and he found Danny in a utility room. We ended up bringing him home with us.”

There was a long moment of silence. “Danny’s a clone of me, isn’t he?” Daniel finally asked.

“Yes,” Sam said softly and simply. “But he doesn’t know he’s a clone.”

“That would be the main reason you didn’t want to tell me this in your lab earlier,” Daniel concluded with a nod of his head.

“He doesn’t have any of your memories; he’s just a little boy that shares your DNA.”

“It’s all right,” Daniel said quickly. “I understand.” He paused for a beat. “And now you’ve taken him in.”

Sam relaxed at the gentle tone. “We brought in a psychologist, Doctor Sabrina Marconi, considering everything Danny had been through. We wanted to know what we could do to make sure he had the best chance at having as normal a childhood as possible. She said that a member of SG-1 needed to take him in since those were the only people he trusted. I ended up being the one to do it.”

Daniel smiled. “It’s made you very happy. You said as much earlier, but I can tell it’s true just by looking at you.” He paused and straightened, considering what he’d just said. “I really can.” He shook his head. “It amazes me how much keeps slipping into place.”

“I’m just grateful that your memories keep coming back,” Sam said with a matching smile.

“Me too.” Daniel gave a short chuckle then sobered. “Sam, I do have another question about what happened at the lab.”

Sam blinked. “Um, go ahead and ask, Daniel.”

Daniel licked his lips. “You said Danny had traumatic memories from the lab. What did you mean by that? They didn’t hurt him, did they?”

Sam’s brows furrowed and her gaze dropped. “Not directly,” she admitted, almost with reluctance. She sighed. “The cloning process wasn’t perfect. It left the children with under developed systems and a weak, degrading DNA structure. But the people running the lab isolated them, so it was thought they were safe from contamination.” She looked up in time to see Daniel roll his eyes. She couldn’t help but smile briefly. “I know, naïve. But they didn’t take into account the possibility that one of their own would circumvent the rules and work around the kids while they were sick. The man infected them, and the flu virus came into contact with the weakened DNA, causing a rapid degeneration that killed the children.”

“That doesn’t sound like a pleasant way to go,” Daniel commented, his expression one of controlled disgust.

“No, it doesn’t,” Sam agreed in a whisper. “I’m just glad I didn’t see the aftermath.”

Daniel shuddered and blew out a loud puff of breath. “So how is it Danny survived?”

Sam gave a slow shrug. “A whole lot of luck. Doctor MacDonald had recognized the early signs of the DNA degradation, before the children were exposed to the flu virus, and created a serum that would reverse it. But the people in charge of the lab refused to put it into use. Sabrina said that was the first time MacDonald realized what kind of agency he was working for, according to his diary. He tried to secretly give the serum to the children during a normal examination, but he was only able to inject Danny before he was caught. He was no longer allowed direct access to the kids, at least not without the medical doctor they had on staff present. Everything came crashing down not long after that.”

Daniel shook his head. “I have to wonder why he picked Danny out of all the kids there.”

“I know. Sabrina hasn’t mentioned any reason, but there had to be one.” She sighed again. “I can only be grateful, I guess.”

“I also have to wonder why the people in charge would let all their test subjects die after going through all the trouble of creating them in the first place. I mean, it doesn’t make any sense.”

“This was one heck of a long-term plan,” Sam explained. “They were hoping this batch could be successfully brought to maturity, of course, but another batch was going to be developed five years after the first. Most likely they were going to use what they learned from this run to perfect the next.” She let her head fall back to stare at the ceiling as she blew out an explosive breath. “I just can’t get over the fact that they just locked all the kids into their bunkroom when it became obvious they were dying.”

Daniel blinked. “They did what?”

Sam brought her head back down and met his gaze once again. “One of the children reported feeling ill a few hours after being infected. A blood sample was taken and run through a piece of alien technology that allowed nearly instantaneous results. And that’s when Doctor MacDonald and the M.D. found out what was going on. It was quickly decided that this experimental batch was a bust, and the children were later locked in the bunkroom after their normal morning routine of going to the bathroom and getting dressed right after they got up. Apparently that’s when they saw the signs that the rest of the kids were suffering from the same symptoms as the first child.”

The brown-haired man’s eyes widened. “So Danny was locked in a room filled with nineteen dying children?”

“Yeah,” Sam confirmed, subdued. “According to the records we’ve gone through, the children had been organized into four-person groups - correlated to the corresponding SG teams most likely, except for the base personnel, of course - that did all their activities together. So most likely, Daniel laid in his bed and was forced to watch the people he was closest to die in one of the most horrible ways imaginable.”

Sam dropped her head and closed her eyes as she stated her conclusion, caught up in her sympathy for the little boy that had stolen her heart. And so she didn’t see Daniel tense up sharply at her words, his gaze turning blank as he stared at the closed door. In fact, it took the sudden vice-like grasp of the arm closest to him to snap the physicist out of her sorrow. She gasped as she saw the hand that had shot out to take a hold of her in a white-knuckled grip.

“Daniel?” she asked, her tone thick with worry and confusion. She gasped again when Daniel started to shake. “Daniel!” she cried, trying to break the man’s trance. She failed. “Come on, Daniel, talk to me. Tell me what’s going on. Are you getting back some more memories? Oh, Daniel, please! Please talk to me!” There was still no response.

Sam could only watch helplessly as her friend’s breathing became short and shallow and tears welled up in the crystal blue eyes. She was afraid to move - not that she was sure she could withdraw her arm from the hold it was in - and afraid to touch him or say anything more. She just wished she knew what in the world was going on.

“Mom! Dad! No!” Daniel finally cried, tears spilling down his cheeks.

And Sam knew what memory Daniel was getting back.

Her own mind filled with the scene from the New York Museum of Art, and her own eyes filled with tears. Oh god, why this memory? Why now? Placing a gentle hand over the one still fiercely locked onto her arm, she spoke. “Daniel. Daniel, come back to me, please. It’s just a memory. I’m here for you, Daniel. Just come back to me.”

Daniel started to blink furiously as the quiet words reached some part of him, the rapid movement of his eyelids causing more tears to stream down his face. “I know, Sam,” he whispered, the words barely audible. “I know. Just like you were… then…” His brows creased with confusion, and further blinking brought him closer to the here and now. “This doesn’t make any sense,” he muttered, bringing a sharpened gaze down to his lap but making no move to remove his hand from Sam’s gentle hold. “It’s almost like… it happened twice, or… more.” He shook his head. “One time I was alone, out of the way where no one noticed me, even when I yelled, and the other times you were there with me, comforting me when the stone fell again and again…” He finally looked the woman next to him in the eye. “What’s going on, Sam? Why is this repeating in my head over and over again? It’s just as painful with every replay.”

Sam’s watery eyes overflowed at the rare admission of the hurt Daniel was feeling, and she swallowed down a large lump in her throat before answering. “On one of our earlier missions, our team was caught in a virtual reality machine and split up into pairs, Teal’c with the colonel and me with you. That memory was the one chosen for you to relive.”

“Why would anyone ask someone to relive such a painful memory? What was the point?” Daniel held up a hand and stopped Sam from answering, squeezing his eyes shut once again as he tilted his head slightly to the side. “The Keeper,” he whispered after a long moment. “He was looking for something emotionally charged to provide entertainment for the people of the planet since they’d been stuck inside the virtual reality for around a thousand years.” He opened his eyes once again. “Disturbing, but at least it makes sense.”

“We managed to free the people,” Sam told him as she shifted his hand into the hand of the arm it had been lightly resting on, knowing that information would be important to him.

“I think I remember that,” Daniel mused, considering it. “It’s falling into place.” He locked gazes with Sam. “Thank you. Thank you for being there for me then, and thank you for being here for me now. I don’t know how I would have handled that memory returning if I’d been alone.”

Sam gave him a shaky smile then reached out and drew him into a one-armed hug, never letting go of the hand she still held. “I’m glad I could be here for you,” she breathed next to his ear. She was rewarded with a tightening of the embrace that she immediately returned.

They drew apart a few moments later, their hands still interlocked. “That was really something,” Daniel said.

Sam smiled. “No kidding.” Then the expression faded somewhat. “But I can’t help but wonder why you didn’t react this way about Sha’re and those memories. Those are a lot more recent.”

“Well, I haven’t actually gotten the memories of Sha’re’s kidnapping and death back,” Daniel explained. “I know they happened, every part of me knows those things happened, but I haven’t remembered the actual particulars yet.” He sighed. “I’m not looking forward to that.”

“I don’t blame you. When it happens, don’t be afraid to come to me - or any of us - if you need to talk.” Sam gave him a sincere gaze with a bit of pain behind it. “You withdrew from us when it happened, and I’d hate to see you do that again.”

Daniel saw the truth of that in her eyes, and just how much it had really hurt her. “I’ll do my best. I just can’t guarantee what my reaction’s going to be. I don’t want to hurt you again.”

Sam shook her head. “It’s more about you, really,” she tried to assure him. “You went through all that alone, and I want you to know you don’t have to do it that way this time.”

He smiled with appreciation for her concern. “I understand.” His shoulders slumped with a puff of breath. “I can’t believe how tiring this has been.”

“I can imagine,” Sam said, giving his hand a light pat. “I should probably give you some time to adjust and get some rest, maybe even take a nap if you need it. We can get supper together later if you’d like.”

“That sounds like a good idea,” Daniel agreed. “Both the rest and the meal. Should I come to your lab when I’m ready?”

“That’ll probably work best.” Sam stood with one last squeeze of his hand before releasing it. “I’m going to go check on Danny before I get back to my search for a new home for our guests.”

“Is that what you were working on this morning?”

Sam nodded. “Someone else took care of the interviews I was trying to conduct when we came across you in the infirmary and got me the information I needed to carry out the search. It shouldn’t be too long before we have them settled on a new planet.”

Daniel smiled. “That’s good news. They took me in when I needed it, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I want the best for them.”

“So do I, for the same reason.” Sam blinked when she realized how that might sound. “We’d do this anyway, of course.”

“Of course,” Daniel repeated, smiling.

Sam smacked his arm at the hint of teasing in his tone. “I’m going now. Get some rest, and I’ll see you in my lab before dinner.” She just shook her head and turned away to hide her own smile, leaving the room to the sound of low chuckling from her friend. Yes, things were going better than expected, and as the blonde physicist reached the elevator she sent up a prayer to whomever was listening that they stayed that way.

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