Rating: Adult themes
Word Count: 1,623
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue, no offense, no money.
Notes: Thanks to my beta misskatieleigh. Written for sd_ficathon
Prompt:The Stargate Program goes public. Fallout ensues, and it's not (all) good.
“Don’t I know you?”
Daniel claps the motel clerk on the shoulder, maybe a little too hard because he stumbles sideways with the impact. Daniel says, “Yeah, sure. I look just like your cousin.”
The clerk recovers and rubs his chin, eyes going foggy. “Just like Eddie,” he muses, nodding. “Spitting image, I swear.”
“I get that all the time,” Daniel says and grabs the keys off the desk.
Daniel feels Sam’s fingers walk the line of a scar at his temple. She’s been mapping the various scars he’s accumulated for the last few days. They’re both sick to death of television and she’s read the bible cover to cover so he supposes she has to do something.
“First assassination attempt,” Daniel says. He has his head pillowed on her thigh and her hand has moved up and into his hair, dragging strands between her fingers. It had been while he was doing the talk show circuit, trying to put a friendly face on the Stargate program. He remembers someone screaming collaborator and then a bullet had grazed his forehead.
He watched a fifteen year old girl bleeding out on the ground not two feet in front of him while his ‘minders’ held him down as they tried to get the crowd under control.
He woke up in the hospital to Jack’s stern, ”No more. I’m not risking any of you anymore.”
Daniel trembles with the memory and he feels Sam’s hands go still.
They try every third day at two o’clock in the afternoon. Sam has a hand-held radio with parts and wires hanging off it that she’d managed to rig to have a strong enough signal. If anyone opens the ‘gate they’ll be able to hear the transmission.
They leave the radio on for only half an hour and then shut it off. The only way to get a signal strong enough is to use a power pack from a staff weapon and they only have two so they try to be sparing in their use. Who knows how long they will have to keep trying?
They sit, shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh, waiting.
Daniel’s not sure when he gave up hoping to hear something and he wonders if Sam’s seemingly endless faith is enough for both of them.
It went so well to begin with.
The news spread and people were excited. Everyone looked to the stars again with hope.
Then came the Vyne and that all changed. After all the time fighting the Goa’uld, it was almost funny that Earth would be jeopardised by a parasite.
Just not the one they’d learned to be afraid of.
Captain Eric Danson came back from his first offworld mission with a busted kneecap and carrying the Vyne. No one knew what to look for in the beginning and the bluish freckles at the base of his spine went unnoticed. Danson went home and infected his wife and daughters. His wife went shopping the next day and infected the guy at the Dunkin’ Donut and the girl who adjusted her straps when she was trying on a dress.
A rousing game of tag had the daughter’s school infected in under half an hour.
Danson came to be known as Patient Zero.
Ten days after he returned from P6G-909, he was also dead.
He knows it’s a distraction.
Sam climbs into his bed after another expected half hour of radio silence and pulls, tugs and cajoles until they are both naked and twined around each other.
You’re all I have, she says with hands and teeth and motion.
That’s all I need, he replies.
“It’ll give them a fighting chance.”
The Vyne spread too fast for the military to maintain even the illusion of control and people watched family members and friends wither and die with no apparent explanation. Someone in the offworld botany division had hypothesised that the Vyne were more plant than animal, a sort of intelligent strangler vine that targeted fauna rather than flora.
Sam looked at pictures on the internet of the aftermath of these types of plants, the trees choked of life reduced to a husk within the cloying embrace.
“We need to warn them,” she had said to Daniel, positioned over her shoulder.
Daniel didn’t have to voice his agreement. She already knew.
Daniel wakes to find Sam gone from the bed, sitting by the window and watching the world go by.
“It’s quieter these days,” she muses, toying with a pen in one hand and a half cup of water sitting by the other. He can’t remember the last time he saw her eat. He can’t remember the last time he ate either.
“Less people to make noise,” Daniel responds. He watches the way the dawning sun highlights her face, erasing the lines and wear the past few years have pressed in deep. She’s coloured her hair brown and he’s grown in his beard but they still get recognised.
He finds that funny because he hardly knows the man he looks at in the mirror anymore.
He had tried to find a way to communicate at first.
Jack watched his attempts with a kind of weary patience, as if obliging a child at some fruitless task that would ultimately fail. He didn’t actually ever say it to Daniel and Daniel was grateful for small mercies. He had to find out on his own that it was useless.
He sat at the bedside of dozens of victims, trying everything. He watched people vanish beneath the choking grasp of their infection, eyes wide and uncomprehending. Teal’c, Jack and Sam would take it in turns ghosting him, waiting for the moment he would realise that it wasn’t going to work.
Waiting for the break.
“They must want something,” Daniel insisted, three months after Danson came home. Sam was in the corner, laptop balanced across her knees but she was up in one swift move and crossing to him.
“There must be some way to tell them to stop.”
He didn’t see another patient. The last one had asked him who he was and he wasn’t sure how to explain that by opening the ‘gate in the first place, he was the one that had doomed them all.
The woman in the corner store has a hand up to her mouth and her eyes are wide. He moves forward, ditching the toothbrush and paste he had in his hand so he can grasp her arm firmly, just above the elbow.
“I look like your cousin,” he says, holding his grip until he sees her eyes slide away and up and then refocus on him.
“Just like Andy,” she says, shaking her head and chuckling a little, dots of colour high on her cheeks. As she moves away, Daniel slips the ring off his index finger and flips the catch. He frowns when he finds it empty.
“How much of the Roele chemical do we have left?” he asks Sam when he gets back to the room.
“None. You use the last dose?” she asks, not looking particularly perturbed. She’s not the one who was on all the news shows right before people started dying, a smile on her face and assuring the general public that everything would be fine.
“Yeah,” he sighs, rubbing a hand over the back of his head as he sits.
“Well, that was fun while it lasted,” she muses.
It’s the furtive absence of noise that has Daniel awake and blinking into the darkness. He knows that if it weren’t for the handful of sleeping pills, Sam would be conscious beside him. A hand grabs him across the mouth and nose and Daniel lets go the last of his air, elbowing Sam in the sternum, waking her despite the drugs.
She’s up on her knees with a gun pressed against their attacker’s temple when they both hear the voice they have been waiting for.
“Hey kids, didn’t mean to scare ya.”
Light floods the room and Daniel is let up slowly. He squints until his eyes adjust and then he rubs them because he can’t be seeing what he’s seeing.
Himself and Sam, standing on the other side of the room.
“What’s going on?” Daniel sputters and the other Daniel smiles wanly, rubbing a hand over his face. The Sam that’s beside him lowers her gun slowly, something grim on her face like she was expecting this all along.
“It’s going to be weird doing this to myself,” the Daniel by the door sighs and suddenly it makes a horrible kind of sense.
“I’m not really Daniel Jackson, am I?” the one on the bed asks.
“You mean you didn’t know?” Jack is looking at him with one eyebrow raised, probably sensing a trick of some kind, some desperate last ditch effort to prolong existence.
“Is that so hard to comprehend?” it asks, rising up onto its knees. The Sam beside it grasps its fingers. “You had a clone once. It had no idea it was a copy, a creation. We’re the Vyne aren’t we? A new step in the process of taking over.”
“Do we really have to…?” Sam by the door asks, gesturing towards the occupants of the bed and Jack sighs heavily.
“They’re play-acting at life, pretending to be us by rote. They’re not… real,” he says.
A parody of life.
Jack has pulled something from his back pocket. A small bottle and a lighter. The Daniel on the bed wonders if he will torch the whole motel, just to be sure.
“We’re sorry,” it says, its Sam pressing in beside it. “We didn’t know.”
Jack smiles tightly and nods.