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by Christi


Talking Daniel down, as it turned out, was the easy part. It quickly became clear that while the seriously life-threatening part of Daniel’s alien-induced withdrawal had passed, he still had the oh-so-cheery effects of generic, everyday Earth withdrawal to weather.

Thanks to the whole incident with the Doc and the gun, Hammond wasn’t real keen on letting Danny boy work through it all by himself. Which was how Jack had ended up locked in Daniel’s quarters, stationed in front of the door, waiting out the long, rather gross process with him. But it was all right. He had a zat in case Daniel went around the bend again and his knitting to keep him busy.

For a few hours, all Daniel did was sleep. It was a good thing – in Jack’s experience, there were very few things that couldn’t be helped by a little sleep. It was waking up that was the problem. And eventually, Daniel did wake – jolting out of bed and straight to the toilet in a stunning and disgusting display of heaving.

Just the sound was enough to make Jack wince.

“You okay?” he asked as soon as there was a lull in the gagging.

Daniel managed to groan, which really, Jack took as a good sign. “Yeah, that’s about what I thought.”

“I think I’m going to die,” Daniel mumbled as he scrambled a little closer to the door between the living quarters and the bathroom, leaning against the frame.

“Nah, the doc says you’re in the clear. You just sort of wish you could die now.”

“Because that’s so much better.”

Somehow, after the scare he had given all of them a few hours ago, Jack couldn’t find a witty retort to that. “Daniel. It is.”

Daniel’s reply was to throw up again. When he returned to his slouching position on the doorframe, he squinted at Jack in disbelief. “Are you knitting?”

Jack just looked at him strangely. “Don’t be ridiculous, Daniel. You’re in withdrawal. You’ve got a raging fever. Must be hallucinating.” He then proceeded to knit a few more rows.

“I do? I feel freezing.”

“What, you’ve never gotten the chills either?” With a sigh, Jack took pity on him, put the knitting aside, and stood, carefully wrapping a blanket around his friend’s shaking shoulders. “That should help.”

Daniel pulled it close, wrapping himself in as close to fetal position as the cramps in his stomach would allow. “Thanks. I’m sorry I pulled a gun on you earlier.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Jack replied. “What’re a few death threats between friends?”

It made Daniel start to laugh – until he grimaced. “Oh, God. No jokes, please.”

“Right. Sorry.”

For awhile, the only sound in the room was the subtle click click of Jack’s knitting needles as he worked his way around the circular needle he was currently using to make a new hat – cleverly black and inconspicuous in pattern so that it could replace his current hat without anyone being the wiser. He knew Daniel was starting to feel like his old self again (well, plus a fever, violent tremors, and intestinal distress) when it was Daniel who finally broke the silence. And of course, he chose the subject Jack least wanted to talk about to seize on.

“Before…when you…well, you said you knew what this was. That you knew what it’s like. How…?”

On one hand, that was something Jack did not talk about. Ever. No exceptions. So, he tried to evade the question.

“It was a long time ago, Daniel. A lifetime. Several, in fact.”

“I don’t care,” was Daniel’s slightly petulant reply.

On the other, he remembered all too well what it was like just to want to think about something – anything – besides the chaos going on inside your own body. And chances were that Daniel wouldn’t even remember this anyway. So, pointedly not looking up from his knitting, Jack tried to explain.

“I…well, in some ways it’s not so different from what got you here. I fell behind on a mission. Got captured. The interrogator there thought that shooting his hostages up on heroin and then using their newfound addiction against them was a great scheme.” And really, it had been. “Anyway, when I finally broke out, I was only about half-alive, but it was the withdrawal that really killed.”

He didn’t look up because he was sure that Daniel would try to say something, when really, there was nothing to say. When Jack finally heard the sound of retching instead, he felt a distinct sense of relief instead of the usual revulsion. Which, of course, immediately made him feel guilty.

When the heaving stopped again, Jack walked slowly over to the open door, peering in sympathetically. “Done for now?”

He would have sworn that Daniel whimpered. “Zat me. Please?”

“Oh, you really don’t want to add the aftermath of a zat blast to this, trust me,” Jack contradicted. “But come on, let’s get you back into bed. You can puke into a bucket just as easily there and be more comfortable doing it.”

Step by slow step, they managed to cross the room and get Daniel onto the bed, huddled under covers and yet still sweating profusely. But the softer surface did seem to comfort him some, and he relaxed a bit into the mattress. “Thanks,” he muttered.

“No problem. Try and get some sleep – it’ll help.”

The advice seemed unnecessary, however, seeing as Daniel’s eyes were already drooping. “I can’t believe you’re knitting,” he muttered as he dozed off.

“Just sleep, Daniel,” Jack commanded as he settled back into his chair.

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