DISCLAIMER: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning SG: SG1 belong to MGM, Gekko, Secret Productions etc, they are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
SEQUEL/SERIES: This story follows A Dream Can Come True, Believe, Wonderful, Like Someone In Love, I Scare Myself, This Girl's in Heaven, In Perfect Dreams, So Happy with You, Always and Forever, An Angle Smile Upon Me , Do What You Have To Do, Stay By Me, I'll Be, Your Guardian Eyes, The Little Things, Some Space, Some Time, One Day, Saying the Words, Proving the Impossible, Nothing is More Beautiful and No Map No Compass.
SOUNDTRACK: Darkest Dreaming by David Sylvian from the Album "Dead Bees on a Cake"
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author

By Celievamp

They're all by his bed this time. Just sitting, watching. Afraid that he'll be taken again, trying to make up for letting him be taken the first time, I don't know. Sam looks up as I come into the room, smiles before her gaze returns to Teal'c's face.

He's looking a lot better. The lesions are healing rapidly. The monitors are telling me good things. Another few hours and we can take him off the drip and let `Junior' bring him the rest of the way on its own.

I have to admit I had got used to `Junior' handling any potential medical problem that Teal'c might have. The fact that it didn't, the fact that Teal'c was nearly lost to us in the most horrific way imaginable. is disquieting for all of us. As much as we hate the Goa'uld we ultimately rely on one to keep one of our friends alive. I don't think its something any of us had really addressed before today.

So that's why they're all in here and the General has been a frequent visitor. And I've been doing all his quarterly checks myself. Because it came as a surprise to me as well just how this big man, this alien had come close to my heart. Teal'c is my friend. And I count myself honoured that should be so.

It happened so quickly. What started out as an insect bite looked at first like a viral infection which was bad enough but it was far more insidious. Something was rewriting Teal'c's DNA, metamorphosing him from the inside out. I quickly admitted that I was out of my league and Sam suggested that we bring in Dr Timothy Harlow whom she knew from her work at the Pentagon. He is one of the world's top geneticists and more importantly for Teal'c already had full security clearance. Hammond promised that he would be at the mountain by the end of the day and as ever he was true to his word.

I didn't realise how well she knew him. Dr Harlow. Timothy. This had been more than a working relationship. I wasn't jealous exactly - he was old enough to be Sam's father - but I was intensely curious. Had it just been a meeting of minds - or something more intense? Was he just a mentor, a replacement father-figure? Had she been flattered by his attention? I resolved to watch them closely. I trusted Sam implicitly. I didn't trust him at all.

As it turned out I was right not to trust him. But not for the reasons I was afraid of.

The way he talked about Teal'c bugged both of us, I think. The subject. I'm all for professional detachment but that was a little much. It got to Sam as well. Her mentor was starting to look just the tiniest bit fallible. But we needed him. Things were happening so fast. The second blood sample showed drastic changes happening to Teal'c's DNA. Harlow hypothesized a retro-virus that was rewriting Teal'c's genetic material. And Junior seemed to be helpless against it.

And then Maybourne turned up with orders to take Teal'c to Area51 for further testing. It was all couched very nicely of course but the bottom line was our friend was going to be used as a lab rat. They weren't going to try to cure him, they were just going to see what happened next. And if it killed him, well that was a result as well. They thought of it in terms of a potential biological weapon.

It was all on Harlow's recommendation. He had gone behind our backs. Sam saw it as a personal betrayal. Harlow justified it by saying that Teal'c was going to get the very best help available - something we were not equipped to give him. He gave her his word that he would do everything he could for Teal'c. I could see that she wanted to believe him.

I tried to get it stopped. But my opinion did not seem to count. Harlow had the upper hand. He played Maybourne's game. What we did not know was whether they were working together or it was just coincidence. All we could do was watch Teal'c being led away in restraints. The man who had given up so much to help us in our fight. It stank.

Then Teal'c escaped, leaving his larval Goa'uld behind. How he could survive without it worried all of us. Perhaps that was why he did it. He was already in so much pain perhaps he thought that whatever was happening to him would be over that much quicker without his symbiote. Perhaps he thought that if he left the Goa'uld behind his tormentors would leave him alone.

All we knew was that we needed to find him quickly. And preferably before Maybourne and his goons found him. And from Dr Harlow - who had finally seen Maybourne's true colours we now knew exactly what he had planned for Teal'c. He had no intention of helping Teal'c - he wanted the transformation to complete with a view to using the result in bioweapon research.

Meanwhile Sam and I had to keep Teal'c's abandoned symbiote alive. We had it stabilized but it was not a permanent solution. Sam was trying to concentrate to see if there was anything in Jolinar's memories that would help us but she was too distracted. It was a haphazard exercise at the best of times and I knew it was immensely frustrating for her. I was going through the information we had on file about the composition of the fluid that normally cushioned the symbiote when it was inside Teal'c's pouch. We were trying to synthesise a replacement as closely as possible.

Sam was driving herself crazy trying to recall the memories that Jolinar had left within her. I just wished there was a way to make contact with this one. What was it thinking floating in that tank. Was it aware that it was without a host? Was it afraid? I stared at it, wishing that there was some way to communicate, to ask it what it wanted - apart from a new, healthy host that was. Something we could never give it. If it hadn't been that Teal'c would need it we would happily have let it die. I could not decide whether that was right or wrong. Obscurely that worried me.

Not for the first time in this job I felt completely helpless. Harlow brought up his research into RNA inhibitors which combined with the natural healing powers of the symbiote might be enough to bring Teal'c all the way back.

"Wait a minute. You knew this and you didn't offer right away when it could have helped?" I was furious. So was Sam. But our anger with Harlow would not help Teal'c. What would, it seemed, was a sample of the alien insect's venom. Which meant a return visit to BP6-3Q1.

They took every precaution they could but that did not mean that I was not worried sick about them the whole time they were gone. So was General Hammond. I concentrated on keeping the symbiote alive.

They brought back samples - including one that was slightly livelier than anticipated having got through the Gate with them before the IRIS closed. The Colonel managed to shoot it then Sam incapacitated it with a blast of liquid nitrogen.

These things, whatever they were, had killed a whole civilization. SG1 had managed to catch on video the transformation of a man-shaped cocoon into hundreds of the bugs. A matter of `equal matter conversion' as Harlow put it. Simple. Horrifying. Sam worked it out: with the exponential growth in the number of bugs we could have swarms in the order of millions in six to eight weeks.

We got a break: the drug worked. It slowed the transformation in the samples enough that if we got Teal'c back and reimplanted the symbiote, its natural healing abilities might bring him the rest of the way back. The only problem was the symbiote was dying. I had no idea what to do. Neither did anyone else.

Sam was still desperately trying to access her Tok'ra memories to see if there was anything there about symbiote physiology, pushing herself to her limits. Her failure made her edgy, compounded by her worry over Teal'c. Then, as the saying goes. out of the mouths of babes. or at least in this case, Colonel O'Neill.

"It's too bad you can't zap it with those paddles like they do on E.R."

Neither of us could believe we had overlooked something so simple yet so fundamental. We had done our best to synthesize almost every environmental condition the Goa'uld larva had inside Teal'c's pouch. Nutrition, temperature. but we had forgotten about the small constant electrical charge that flows through the body. Sam quickly fixed up a power source and we applied a miniscule charge to the water. The improvement in the symbiote's condition was almost immediate.

Then we got another break: a young girl called Ally made contact. She was hiding Teal'c in an old warehouse. She gave the Colonel and Daniel directions on how to reach them. When they found him he was almost completely cocooned.

We got him back right under Maybourne's nose and started him on the drug therapy before reintroducing his symbiote. His pouch had started to close but we were able to reopen it. Dr Harlow was very pleased with the way the drug and the symbiote were working in tandem to stop the metamorphosis and reverse the damage already done. We were just relieved to have our friend back.

Daniel said what we were all thinking: "It can't be easy knowing the thing you despise most about yourself is what saved your life."

Maybourne had ordered the insect specimen and all related research transferred to the Area 51 facility. Then Harlow surprised us all.

"I regret that's impossible, sir. as soon as Teal'c is fully recovered, the insect is going to be involved in an unfortunate lab accident. I'm afraid I'll have to take full responsibility."

He almost redeemed himself in our eyes. Almost. Teal'c should be more or less his old self in a day or two, the symbiote seemed to have suffered no lasting effects from its `holiday'. The Colonel's eyes followed my every move and I silently assured him that all was well. He nodded then went back to watching Teal'c. I went back to my office.

A few seconds later there was a light rap on the door and Sam slipped in. She locked the door behind her then came over to where I sat at my desk.

"When did you last sleep?" she asked, standing behind me and resting her hands gently on my shoulders.

"About the same time you did," I smiled, reaching up to take hold of her hand. "In fact. we were together if I remember correctly."

"That was two days ago, Jan," Sam said softly. She sighed. "And two offworld missions ago. Not to mention all the labtime we put in."

"You're disappointed in Harlow, aren't you," I said. "You were close."

"He took me under his wing once upon a time," Sam said softly. "I had a great deal of respect for him. Turns out."

"That he's as human as the rest of us. He did the right thing, Sam. Just took him a while to figure out what that was." I turned my seat until I was facing her and she was standing between my legs. I held her close, buried my head in her abdomen, gave voice to my darkest dreaming. "If it had been you. or the Colonel or Daniel. there wouldn't have been anything we could have done. The transformation would have been so fast."

"We have no idea whether they were native to that planet or had been introduced accidentally or as some one else's version of a bioweapon," Sam said. She shuddered. "We've locked out that world but there might be other places."

"It's just one more worry to add to the list," I said softly. "I can't think about it, Sam. If I did well, I'd never let you out that door."

I stood up, she bent her head. Somewhere in the middle, we kissed.

The End

DARKEST DREAMING by David Sylvian from the Album "Dead Bees on a Cake"

Stay tonight
We'll watch the full moon rising
Hold on tight
The sky is breaking
I don't ever want to be alone
With all my darkest dreaming
Hold me close
The sky is breaking

I don't ever want to be alone
With all my darkest dreaming
Hold me close
The sky is breaking

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