Category: Crossover with Stargate SG-1
Series/Sequel to: Perfect
Pairing: Aiden Ford/Daniel Jackson
Summary: After Aiden's encounter with the Wraith could things ever return to the way they were before?
"You're in a good mood this morning, Ford," John observed after Teyla and Sergeant Harmon had left the table. "What have you been up to?"
"Up to?" Aiden replied warily.
"Yeah; if I didn't know any better I'd say you got laid last night," John teased. If he'd had any idea how accurate his words were he wouldn't have said them. Aiden's blanch, however, alerted him to the fact that he'd been right. "Shit!" he said to himself. Aiden didn't meet his eyes as he tried to steer John away from the topic of his love life.
"Actually, I went over to the new quadrant and checked out my new digs. Slept like a baby there, too."
"Your new digs?" John asked. "You're not planning to move out there?"
"Maybe not permanently, but if I'm going to spend the next few weeks scouting and managing the transition..."
"Yeah," John said with a sigh. He glanced across the room to where Daniel and Sam were talking. He couldn't help wondering... His attention snapped back to Aiden when he stopped talking.
"I'm sorry; what?"
"I asked if you thought I shouldn't move out there. The place is sweet," he said with a smile. John couldn't help but smile back. Aiden's humor was infectious and as welcome as a breath of air.
"I'd really rather have all the essential personnel close to the command center," John said tentatively.
"...And we both know that I'm essential in name only," Aiden replied, his smile gone. John started to protest but Aiden cut him off. "Besides, it makes sense to have some essential personnel out there, too. In case something happens. We put a command post in the new science wing; we should have one near the residential area as well."
"I'll take that under advisement," John said evasively. Aiden frowned.
"I'm a grown man, John," he said exasperatedly. "I know you've gotten used to looking after me, but I'm not going to need hand holding forever."
"You don't need it now, do you?" John asked. Not my hand, anyway... He stole another glance at Daniel.
"Something on your mind, John?" Aiden followed his glance.
"No; no, I just thought of something I need to discuss with the colonel," John lied. Aiden sat back, unsure as to whether or not he believed John's excuse, but John didn't give him the chance to question him. He rose and picked up his tray. "Finish your eggs," he commanded before he walked over to where Sam and Daniel were sitting. Aiden watched him suspiciously.
"Good morning, colonel," John said affably when he reached them.
"Colonel Sheppard," Sam returned.
"Daniel," John said.
"John," Daniel replied, his eyes on Aiden. "What's up?"
"Can't a guy just say hello without arousing suspicion?" John asked innocently. "Have a good day," He said with a wink. Daniel and Sam exchanged an amused glance as he strode away.
"What was that all about?"
"I think that was about yanking Aiden's chain," Daniel replied. He rose and, with one last glance at Aiden, he went to dump his tray. Sam followed.
"You don't think he suspects anything, do you?"
"Oh, John more than suspects," Daniel said. "He solicited my help with Aiden."
"And you--. Oh."
Later that morning, Daniel made a monumental discovery. It wasn't the key to a universal language that Daniel had hoped for but it was a document that chronicled the collaborative effort of the Ancients, the Nox, the Asgard and the Furlings to create a universal language to facilitate communication across the galaxies. Daniel rushed to Elizabeth with the news and within an hour a meeting was convened to discuss a possible mission to a planet that might be the home world of the Furlings.
Aiden was busy scouting out the new personnel quarters and missed the excitement. When he returned to the main concourse of the city, he noticed that the personnel seemed to be abuzz with news of something. He was curious to know what was going on, but he was also famished and regretted not taking something to eat with him as Carson suggested. Aiden entered the dining hall and went to the counter. After collecting two sandwiches, a drink, some fruit and a leftover brownie, he found a table near a window. When none of his usual dining companions joined him, he began to worry. He relaxed a few minutes later when Rodney entered the dining hall arguing with Radek Zelenka. The two men didn't stop arguing as they gathered trays and loaded them with food. Rodney turned and noticed Aiden and headed over.
"Mind if we join you?" he asked.
"Sure," Aiden said. "What's going on?"
"I'm trying to convince my colleague here that I've got more important things to do than look at some gizmo that can translate languages when I'm up to my neck in work of far greater importance," Rodney said.
"And I'm trying to explain to my colleague that such a 'gizmo,' as he calls it, could be of great significance if we were able to harness its abilities. Think of all we might learn--."
"He found it?" Aiden interrupted excitedly. "Daniel found the universal language key?"
"You've heard of it?" Rodney and Radek asked in unison.
"Yeah! Where is it?"
"No one knows," Rodney said. "Dr. Jackson found a document that describes the creation of the universal language...thing on a planet inhabited by something he called 'Furlings.' We're running a dialing sequence now to try and locate that planet."
"So he can go there?"
"No, so he can--." Rodney slapped the com link in his ear. "Yes?" He rolled his eyes impatiently. "I'm on my way." Rodney stood and began to stuff food into his pockets. Aiden frowned when Rodney reached out and snagged his brownie.
"I'll need a quick burst of energy. It seems as though we've got a mission." With that Rodney took off, stuffing Aiden's purloined dessert in his mouth as he headed for the command center. Radek looked at Aiden and shrugged before he rose to follow, abandoning his soup but taking his coffee and sandwich. Aiden stared into space for a moment, torn between duty and curiosity. In the end, he decided to stay put. Like it or not, he had a job to do.
Daniel and John were the last to come through the gate. Elizabeth awaited them, anxious for word of their discovery. Rodney's glum expression had not boded well. One look at Daniel confirmed her fears.
"What did you find?" she asked.
"Lots of rubble," John said as he unhooked his pack. "...Lots and lots of rubble."
"The Furlings' planet is dead," Daniel agreed. "There's no sign that they've inhabited that city in several millennia."
"Where do you think they went?"
Daniel shrugged dejectedly.
"I wanted to find out but I was outvoted," Daniel said with a glare at John.
"There was nothing there but ruins," John spat. From his tone it was clear that this was a continuation of an argument that had begun on the other side of the gate.
"Colonel Sheppard is right, Daniel. There wasn't enough of anything to study, really," Sam said. Daniel opened his mouth to argue when claxons sounded. Elizabeth and John turned and ran up the steps to the command center with Rodney, Daniel and Sam close behind.
"What's going on?" Elizabeth demanded.
"There's some sort of problem in the new science wing," the technician reported.
"What sort of problem?" Rodney asked as he practically pulled the man from his chair. "Move! I'll find out myself." He sat down at the console and did a quick assessment of the systems. "Oh, this is bad. This is very bad."
"What?" John asked.
"It's in the biomedical lab that has been testing that gaseous substance we found on PX4-734," Rodney said. "The tank must have sprung a leak. Life support systems have been compromised."
"What does that mean exactly?" Elizabeth demanded.
"It means that whoever's in that lab is breathing potentially harmful gas," Sam said reading over Rodney's shoulder.
"Is there anyone in there?" John asked as he signaled for a team to mount a rescue.
"Yes, one person," Rodney said. "We need to send in a hazmat team to evacuate the lab. I'm trying to shut off that entire quadrant of the city."
"How many other people are in that quadrant?" Elizabeth asked.
"It shouldn't be too many, four or five at most," Rodney said. "Most of the people assigned to that area are on leave, remember? We sent them home while the renovations were underway and they--."
"Aiden's out there," Daniel said unexpectedly
"That's right," John agreed. "He's out there scouting the quadrant." John tapped his com link and tried to contact him.
"So how many does that make?" Sam asked as she tried to calculate the number of people in danger. Elizabeth tried contacting that area of the city and got no response from anyone.
"Rodney, I need to know exactly what those people are facing."
"I can't tell you, Elizabeth. They were testing the gas to determine its properties. It irritated our lungs when we found it, but it didn't do us any long term damage, according to Carson. Then again, on the planet our exposure was limited. I see three people on the life signs detector."
"Lieutenant Ford!" John shouted. "I'm not getting an answer. I'm going in."
"I'll go with you," Sam said. Daniel followed them to the transporter, where they were met by security teams carrying hazardous materials gear. John and Sam began to suit up. Daniel didn't see a spare suit and he was about to complain when Sam grabbed his arm.
"We'll bring him out," she said. Daniel nodded.
"Be careful," he said as the team went into the transporter. A moment later the team stepped out on the other side of the city. The air was foggy, and John clicked on his com link to report back to the command center.
"Things don't look good here," he said. "The gas seems to have escaped the lab and spread through the area. Let's split up and get our people," John said as he pulled out his life signs detector. He saw three stationary dots and prayed that Aiden was all right. "All right, we got three people," he announced. Sam took two soldiers and went for the one about fifty yards straight ahead. The remaining people split into two groups to retrieve the others as John spoke to Rodney.
"Are you sure there are only three people out here?"
"That's all I see--wait," Rodney said. "There are two people in the lab. One dot just became two and--. John! They're moving your way. You've got two people coming out of the lab."
"What?" John peered down the misty corridor and saw nothing. Then he heard faint coughing and began to move. He and his two men reached an intersection just as the coughing turned into a raspy hack.
"Here!" someone shouted.
Aiden appeared out of the fog carrying a scientist over his shoulder. He released her into the waiting hands of the two Marines before he collapsed in John's arms.
"Let's get them out of here!" John shouted.
"It was bloody foolish, man. You might have been killed," Carson insisted. Aiden tried to sit up and was promptly pushed back down by the nurse at his side.
"And Dr. Baumgarner might have died as well," Aiden said hoarsely. "I couldn't wait till help arrived. When I heard the alarm I did what I had to do to save her."
"And compromised your already weakened system in the process," Carson said, shaking his head.
"I'm not that important," Aiden said in a raspy voice. He began to cough and Carson and the nurse sat him up. Aiden quickly calmed and Carson rubbed his back soothingly as he sent the nurse to fetch some water.
"I don't like hearing you say such things," Carson said quietly. "You're very important to us, Aiden. Don't ever think otherwise."
"Sorry, doc. I didn't mean it that way," Aiden replied weakly. "But Dr. Baumgarner is someone whose contributions might save us all someday."
"Dr. Baumgarner is someone who might have gotten a lot of people killed today," Carson snapped. "This is not about her. It's about you! You took an unnecessary risk, Aiden, and I think we both know why."
"I guess I was wrong," Aiden said with a mild shrug. "Not that it matters. I would have done it anyway, Wraith enzymes or not."
Carson shook his head. The nurse returned with the water and Carson ordered Aiden to have a drink and then get some rest. He let the infirmary to report to Elizabeth and wasn't surprised to find Teyla and John in the hall. If Daniel's presence did surprise him, he didn't show it.
"You can go in now, but only for a few minutes. He needs his rest," Carson said as the trio rose to their collective feet.
The medications Carson had given him made Aiden feel woozy, so he was only vaguely aware of his visitors as they approached his bedside. He heard John's voice before he was able to focus on his face.
"Hey Ford; how are you feeling?"
"Swell," Aiden deadpanned. "The doc says the gas was in a high enough concentration that it could have eaten through my esophageal lining. Do me a favor; next time you guys find some potentially nasty gas on a planet, leave it there."
"You should try not to speak," Teyla said calmly. She reached out and took hold of his hand. Aiden smiled and gave it a squeeze.
"That gas was good for something after all," John quipped. He looked over at Daniel, who stood at the foot of the bed. "You can come closer, doc. His bark is probably worse than his bite."
Aiden lifted his head and squinted as Daniel moved to the head of the bed. Daniel placed a hand on Aiden's shoulder and Aiden immediately relaxed.
"Hey," Daniel said softly. Aiden smiled and closed his eyes. John patted Daniel's shoulder.
"Doc, do you think you can hold the fort for a while? Teyla and I have a meeting to attend," he said with a wink. Daniel acknowledged the gesture with a smile and he soon found himself alone with Aiden.
"You're quite the hero," Daniel said as he reached out and lightly stroked Aiden's cheek. Aiden's eyes opened.
"I took a calculated risk," he said with a shrug. "I figured there were enough residual Wraith enzymes in my system to get us out of there alive." He began to cough and Daniel handed him the water to soothe his sore throat.
"And you were right."
"It's too soon to tell," Aiden said with a twinkle in his eye. "I feel like crap."
"You look like hell, too," Daniel said lightly. "Aiden, I--."
"I know and I'm sorry. I'm always making you worry about me," he said.
"That's not what I was going to say. All right, it's not all that I was going to say," Daniel said at Aiden's doubting look. "Listen, you rest up and get better. We can talk later."
"Speak for yourself," Aiden rasped. Daniel smiled and gave his shoulder a squeeze. "Don't go."
"I'll be here," Daniel assured him.
"How's the patient?" Elizabeth asked when she encountered Daniel in the hall hours later.
"He's going to be fine. What am I saying?" Daniel said, stretching out the kinks in his spine. "He is fine! He looked like hell, he sounded like hell and he was pretty out of it when I first saw him. He took a nap for about an hour and a half and woke up as good as new. By the time Dr. Beckett released him he was ready to climb the walls out of sheer boredom."
"I'm glad to hear it. Carson told me that Dr. Baumgarner was in serious condition," Elizabeth replied. "I was afraid that Lieutenant Ford would be even worse off."
"No; something good apparently came out of Aiden's exposure to the Wraith enzyme. He still has an extraordinary capacity to heal; at least that's the doctor's take on it. He released Aiden with orders to use cough drops."
"Where is he now?"
"He's in his quarters. I'm heading there now. I just needed to collect the stuff I dropped when the alarms went off."
"Give him my best, will you?" Elizabeth gave Daniel's arm an affectionate squeeze and walked on. Daniel went to the command center and gathered up his pack and other abandoned gear and headed for the officer's quarters.
Under other circumstances, he might have hesitated to go to Aiden's room, but at the moment he didn't really care. He knew he could rely on John's discretion and supposed that Teyla could be trusted as well, even if she didn't know about his relationship with Aiden. Sam and Elizabeth also had his support, so Daniel approached Aiden's room with confidence. He started to knock on Aiden's door when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Allow me, doc," John said. Daniel frowned when John turned to go into his own room, but Aiden's door opened even as John's closed. Daniel blinked a moment and then went in. He let the door close behind him and then pushed a button to lock it.
"Took you long enough," Aiden said from his bed. He was stretched out comfortably, wearing only his boxers and socks.
"I stopped to speak to Elizabeth. She was worried about you." Daniel said as he set down his bag and pulled off his shirt. He draped it over the chair and sat down to undo his boots. "She sends her best, by the way."
"Cool; but right now I'm only interested in your best," Aiden said bluntly. Daniel shook his head reproachfully as he rose to pull off his pants. He went over to the bed and straddled Aiden's hips. Aiden rolled his eyes and tugged at Daniel's tee shirt.
"You can have that, but that's all I'm taking off. You have to rest tonight."
"I got a clean bill of health!"
"Humor me," Daniel said, leaning in to kiss him.
"Can't we negotiate?"
"You can have me in the morning--if you behave."
Aiden smiled and pulled Daniel into another kiss.
"If you want me to behave you'd better move," he said. Daniel moved to lie beside Aiden and pulled him into his arms.
"Yes, doctor," Aiden said.
He laughed when Daniel smacked his ass, but he was out like a light in just a few minutes. Two hours later, nightmares haunted his sleep. He didn't awaken as he'd done the previous night, but Daniel held him and spoke gently to him nonetheless. Aiden settled once again into a deep sleep and he awoke the following morning feeling well rested.
"Ah! Oh my God! I can't believe I ever gave this up. I can't believe I ever gave you up! Daniel!"
Daniel smiled and covered Aiden's mouth as he came.
"You bit me," he complained several minutes later when the couple lay in a post-coital tangle.
"You shouldn't have put your hand in my mouth," Aiden countered. "Cause and effect, man!"
Daniel shook his head and poked him in the ribs. Aiden squirmed, sending a frisson of interest through Daniel's groin, but it was too early for that, and possibly too late, Daniel thought as he checked his watch.
"We should probably get up," he said sadly.
"Speak for yourself," Aiden said. "I'm on twenty-four hours' sick leave."
"I thought the doc gave you a clean bill of health!"
"He did, but after--you know... Let's just say they insist I not go back on duty until I've been thoroughly checked out. And that policy is strictly enforced. But I should get up. It's past 0700," Aiden said, reluctantly sitting up and trying to get his bearings.
"I don't think the colonel is going to come looking for you this morning," Daniel replied, reaching up to run a hand down his back. He felt Aiden stiffen.
"He knows about us?"
"John guessed, almost from the beginning. In fact, that's why he urged me to speak with you. He's never pried directly, but when he saw me outside your room last night... What?" he asked when Aiden started to laugh.
"Of course he knows! Never pried, eh?" Aiden rubbed his eyes and shook his head before he resettled in Daniel's arms. Daniel closed his eyes and would have drifted off to sleep again had Aiden not turned over and begun to nuzzle his throat. "So your trip to the Furlings' planet was a bust, huh?"
"Yeah," Daniel sighed. "Completely destroyed."
"Do you think it was the Wraith?"
"I wasn't there long enough to tell. Colonel Sheppard was in full Jack O'Neill mode. He had us back through the gate before we had a chance to leave a footprint."
"I'm sorry, doc. I know how much it meant to you."
Daniel kissed his forehead.
"Thanks. At least I've got that document. Maybe I can use it to piece together a prototype of what they built."
"That'd be cool!"
"Yeah, I can't wait to get back to the SGC and start on it."
"Why can't you do it here?" Aiden pouted.
"I doubt if I'll have enough time. I'm only going to be here till the Daedalus gets back. Who knows how long it would take to build the machine--if it can be done at all," Daniel replied.
"You're more likely to find the raw materials you need out here," Aiden said hopefully.
"I know, and I intend to spend my remaining time here gathering whatever I may need."
"All of your remaining time?" Aiden asked slyly.
"Well, most of it," Daniel said, pulling his face close enough to kiss. They wrestled on the bed a bit, till Daniel ended up on top. Aiden broke away, panting and Daniel immediately moved off of him.
"It's all right, doc. I'm okay."
"The hell you are!"
"No, really! I just think I need to fuel up," Aiden admitted.
Daniel climbed out of bed and dragged him to the shower. He carefully washed the lethargic man and helped him to get dressed. As he led Aiden by the arm down the corridor toward the dining hall, John and Teyla emerged. They took one look at Aiden and rushed to his side.
"What happened?" Teyla demanded as she took Aiden's other arm. She would have led him to the infirmary had Aiden not stopped her.
"Whoa! I need breakfast not a doctor," he said, turning toward the dining hall and gently extricating himself from both her and Daniel's grasp. He walked a bit unsteadily but made his way to the counter. Daniel caught up with him and commandeered his tray. Teyla took Aiden's arm once again and led him to a table. John followed Daniel and demanded an explanation.
"I've already had a word with Dr. Beckett and we're headed to the infirmary after we've eaten. My guess this is the downside of his enhanced healing ability. It saps his energy."
"With all due respect, I'd prefer to hear the doctor's theory on this," John replied. Daniel conceded the point and gathered a hearty breakfast for himself and Aiden.
Aiden ate well, scarfing down a bowl of oatmeal as well as eggs, sausage, freshly baked biscuits and a tall glass of juice. Mandy brought over a muffin when she brought the coffee pot to refill Daniel's cup. John gave her a smile and even Aiden seemed pleased to see her.
"Thanks; I'm ravenous this morning," he said as he bit into the corn muffin.
"Feeling any better?" John asked as he surveyed the empty dishes on his tray.
"Much," Aiden said. "Could I have some more juice?" John's eyebrows shot up but he volunteered to get it. He snagged an apple as well, which Aiden took and ate.
"I'm glad the Daedalus is bringing more food," John said.
"It is fortunate that the Daedalus is a very large ship," Teyla added with a smile. "Finish eating and we will take you to see Dr. Beckett."
"I don't think I need the doc anymore," Aiden replied. "I feel fine now."
"Humor us," John said, grabbing Aiden's tray. Aiden cast a look at Daniel, who'd been silent through the entire meal. He nodded and Aiden sighed and got to his feet.
"I don't think I need a full escort. He's only going to check me out," he said.
"Go on, then," John said, gesturing for him to lead the way. Aiden looked at Daniel, who rose and followed him.
"You okay?" Aiden asked when they were alone in the hall.
"Yeah," Daniel said. "I was just thinking about something."
"When aren't you thinking about something?" Aiden asked with a boyish smile.
"So I'll tell you about it later. Let's get you checked out."
"It seems to be exactly what you said, Dr. Jackson. The lieutenant's weakness seems to be directly related to the stress he was subjected to yesterday," Carson said. He patted Aiden on the shoulder. "All the more reason for you to eat a hearty meal whenever you can."
"The difference in his energy level after the meal was amazing," Daniel said. "Even before he finished the meal he was rebounding; before then he could barely put one foot in front of the other. Almost as soon as he got some food into him he began to recover."
"It's like that theory you told me before, Dr. B," Aiden said. "I guess you were right."
"We'll have to reconsider your diet regimen."
Aiden frowned, but he listened carefully to the doctor's advice. Daniel left while several members of the biogenetics team consulted on Aiden's condition. They subjected him to a number of tests and he spent the entire morning in the infirmary. He found Daniel in the library around midday.
"Hey, doc," he said as he sat on the edge of Daniel's work space.
"Hey; how did it go?"
"I think I have a bit of blood left," Aiden quipped as he picked up and toyed with Daniel's pen. "Are you free for lunch? I have to eat again." Daniel smiled when he rolled his eyes.
"Mandy's going to be thrilled."
"Let's go," Daniel said, rising.
"Wait, doc," Aiden said as he stood up. He pulled Daniel into his arms and hugged him tightly. "Thanks for helping me out this morning."
"There's no need to thank me, Aiden."
"I know, but I want you to know how much I appreciate you. ...How much I love you," he said softly.
"I've never been in doubt of that," Daniel said as he squeezed him tighter.
"I can't... As I sat there in the infirmary it occurred to me that I've only got a few weeks left with you before the Daedalus comes back."
"I know," Daniel sighed. "I've been meaning to talk to you about that," he said pulling back a little. "You know you're entitled to some leave time. Would you consider coming back to Earth with me? You can see your grandparents, visit your old friends, eat out--a lot..."
"Any time for us in those plans?" Aiden asked with a shy smile.
"Lots of time; I've got some leave coming to me, too. I've always wanted to see the Amish country."
"Really?" Aiden asked doubtfully.
"Okay, not really; but I'd be honored to meet your grandparents," Daniel suggested. Aiden averted his eyes.
"I don't think I'm ready to tell them..."
"And I'm not asking you to. Can't you just bring home a service buddy for a few days?
"I suppose I could do that. I bet my grandmother would take one look at you and forget I'm even there."
"I seriously doubt that," Daniel laughed. "I really doubt that." He pulled Aiden into his arms and kissed him deeply.
"Have a good time, lieutenant," John said emotionally. He hugged Aiden, just as Teyla had done earlier. In fact, everyone had hugged him--Carson, Elizabeth, Stackhouse, Radek... Even Rodney had succumbed to the urge. Aiden was openly weeping as he stepped through the gate. Daniel turned and smiled at Elizabeth.
"Take good care of him," she said. Daniel nodded and gave her a hug before he stepped through.
When Aiden and Daniel arrived at the SGC weeks later, there was an unexpected visitor awaiting them along with the regular SGC contingent. General Jack O'Neill stepped forward and saluted Aiden smartly and shook his hand.
"Welcome home, Marine," he said.
"Thank you, sir. It's good to be home, at last."