General Jack O'Neill sighed contentedly as he propped his feet up on
the ottoman and grabbed the TV remote. With a practiced flick of his
wrist, he took aim, pressed the button and fired at his target. His TV
reacted by clicking on, filling the room with the voice of a local
television news commentator. He was about to turn the station to the
sports channel when something caught his eye.
Intrigued now, he stayed his hand and turned up the volume. Clips of
the outside of a familiar building were shown, along with brief flashes
of frightened faces. It seemed that the local military lock-up had been
the site of a riot, and hostages had been taken. The reason the building
looked familiar was because he'd spent time there as a resident several
years ago, when he'd been wrongfully accused of the assassination
attempt against Kinsey.
Setting down the remote, his feet came off the ottoman as he leaned
forward to better watch the events unfold. According to the report,
inmates from the prison had taken over the medical unit that morning,
and were holding several of the staff as hostages. He waited patiently,
hoping that the half-recognized face wasn't one he knew. When they
replayed the clip, he groaned. He hadn't been mistaken after all.
"For crying out loud," he muttered, throwing his Homer Simpson pillow
in anger at the screen. "She's one of the good guys. Don't you morons
get that?" The pillow hit the screen and fell to the floor. Homer's
smiling face seemed to mock him staring up from its position on the
carpet, as he eyed the screen with a baleful glare.
He was watching the news report so intently that the ringing phone
startled him, making him jump. Without taking his eyes off the screen,
he picked up the phone, put it to his ear, and growled into it "O'Neill
here. And it had better be good," he warned.
The caller paused a moment before continuing. "I was going to invite
you out to eat at O'Malley's with the rest of the team, but now I'm not
so sure. What's with the snippy attitude, Jack?" asked Daniel
"What? Oh, sorry Danny. You caught me off guard. I'd love to go out
with you, but I'm afraid I'll have to give you a rain check this time.
Sorry," he repeated as he grabbed the remote to turn up the sound.
The conversation forgotten, he set down the phone. Shots of the news
commentator segued into figures being led out of a fortified concrete
building. He sighed again, as he viewed the faces of the released
hostages. His worst fears were confirmed and he slumped back onto the
sofa cushions with a dejected groan.
He scrubbed his face with both hands. "Crap!"
A tinny voice reminded him of the forgotten phone conversation. With
a guilty look on his face, he picked it up and was rewarded with the
shouted sound of his name. He held it away from his ear and winced.
"Jack! Are you all right? Talk to me, Jack!"
"For crying out loud, Danny, will you hold it down? You don't need to
get your shorts in a wad, I just got distracted by what Homer was
telling Marge, that's all."
"Jack?" asked Daniel in a voice laced with concern and anxiety.
"What's going on, Jack?"
"Nothing is going on." Jack tried to listen to the live news
commentary and talk to his very meddlesome friend. "Can't a guy want to
have some quiet time ALONE without his nosy friends going ballistic on
him? Everything doesn't have to be an NID plot, ya know."
"I understand your message. I'll be right over with Sam and Teal'c.
Try to stall them until we get there," Daniel informed him in a whisper
laden with conspiracy.
"Stall who? No one's here but me and there's no freaking plot!"
yelled Jack, but he was only talking to a dial tone. He looked in
disbelief at his phone before hanging up.
"Crap," he muttered again. "So much for spending a quiet night at
home. I give the kids about thirty minutes before they come busting in
His eyes strayed back to the television screen. According to the news
report, the injured hostages were being transferred to a local hospital.
Evidently, the inmates had been taken into custody after the building
was stormed by the military's equivalent of a SWAT team. Reports were
sketchy at this point concerning the identity of the people involved,
but Jack already knew more than he wanted to know.
His brief glimpse of one of the hostages' shocked pale face was all
he needed to recognize the face of the counselor who had befriended him
while he'd been an inmate in that very facility two, or was it three
years ago. Miss Kay had only visited him a couple of times, but her
laughing eyes and sympathetic face had remained etched in his mind as
one of the few good memories that had come out of a very tense and
uncertain episode in his life. He hadn't seen her since that time, but
still remembered her, and what she had tried to do for him along with
all the crap that had been dished out to her by the other inmates.
In the brief glimpse from the televised report, she looked shaken up,
and was cradling one arm as she and her fellow former hostages were
escorted out of the building. Well, it wasn't surprising that she looked
like she'd been through the mill. In all probability, she'd been given a
rough time, and he wouldn't have been surprised if the convicts had
especially targeted her because of what her job entailed. He shook his
head to dispel his own demons that events like these always recalled for
In an attempt to get his mind onto safer topics, he arose and headed
for his kitchen and a beer. Grabbing one from the refrigerator, he
popped the cap, and took a sip, letting the liquid burn its way down to
lie in his empty stomach. Justifying a second sip with the thought that
he wouldn't want the first one to feel lonely, he tipped the bottle
back, swallowing gustily, until half the bottle was gone. Smacking his
lips in appreciation, he headed back to the sofa and the television.
Maybe watching 'The Simpson's' wouldn't be such a bad idea after all, he
thought. Even if it was a rerun. Almost anything would be better than
the morbid, evil thoughts that seemed to crowd into his brain.
The doorbell rang before he made it to the sofa, so he changed
direction and headed for the foyer instead. Opening the door, he was
initially surprised to see the worried faces of Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c
staring back at him. Oh, okay, if you wanted to be picky about it,
Teal'c didn't look worried, but the raised eyebrows were indication
enough that the big Jaffa had some questions to ask, if you knew
'Teal'c-speak' well enough. He glanced casually at the watch on his
wrist. Hmm, they were slowing down a bit. It'd taken them thirty-five
minutes instead of the usual half an hour. He'd have to speak to them
about that. Later.
He positioning himself in the door, leaned casually against the
frame, and smiled at his friends with a quirked eyebrow. "Whatcha doing,
He raised the bottle to his lips, tipped it upward holding it
delicately with the fingers of one hand, and took another swallow. Damn,
but it tasted better all the time.
Daniel was the first to close his gaping mouth and speak. "You don't
have to say anything. We know you've got visitors, but we just wanted to
drop by for a chat. You know, to see how you're doing?" He waggled his
eyebrows in a suggestive manner, some sort of semaphore code that only
he was capable of deciphering. In stark contrast Teal'c smiled and
raised his box of donuts.
"We have procured the necessary items needed for such times, O'Neill.
May we enter?"
"Donuts, Teal'c? Uh, sure, come on in." Jack shrugged, stepped back,
and allowed his friends to enter.
"You mean we can just come in?" Daniel asked in disbelief. They all
trouped inside while Jack shut the door behind them. He followed them
into the living room and looked at them all with a smirk on his face.
Sam and Daniel still looked wary, as if expecting hidden assailants
to jump out of the closet or bathroom. Teal'c, however, calmly strode
into the living room, and deposited the box of donuts carefully on the
coffee table. With an air of reverence that only he could pull off, he
opened the box and pulled out a jelly-filled pastry.
"The jelly donuts are mine, however, you may partake of any other
varieties that remain," the big Jaffa said as he bit into his sugary
confection with savage relish. Jack grinned and reached in to snag a
long-john covered in chocolate icing and pecans.
"You mean you're not in trouble?" Daniel looked furtively around the
room. Sam, in the meantime, had grabbed a glazed donut and was devouring
Speaking around the remains of the donut in his mouth, Jack shook his
head. "No, Daniel, I am not in trouble, and I really AM alone here.
There is no plot, no NID, at least for the moment, and I really just
wanted to spend some time alone. You know for a linguist, you can be as
dense as one of your rocks, sometimes, Danny-Boy."
"Artifacts, Jack, they're artifacts, not rocks. I'm an archeologist,
not a geologist," he corrected automatically. Then he grinned, as he
realized he'd been had. Again.
"I was just worried about you. It's no crime to be concerned about
your friends, is it? By the way, don't hog all the donuts, guys,"
remonstrated Daniel. He attempted to snag a jelly donut until he saw
Teal'c's eyebrow shoot up in warning. Wisely, he chose a honey bun
instead. "You know these would go really well with coffee, Jack. Mind if
I make a pot?" Daniel was already headed for the kitchen.
Knowing he might as well make the best of it, Jack wisely waved his
hands in surrender, before heading back to his seat on the sofa. "Sure,
Daniel, make yourself at home." He added under his breath, "not that I
could stop you if I wanted too," and wasn't sure whether or not he
wanted anyone else to have heard his disparaging comment.
"Oh, and by the way. It took you thirty-five minutes to get here this
time. You're getting slow, kids," O'Neill warned.
"We were worried about you, Sir. Daniel called me and said you needed
our help, so I grabbed Teal'c, and well, here we are," Sam concluded
with a sheepish smile. She settled back on her seat, and finished her
donut. "Teal'c how did you know he was okay?"
"O'Neill is a cunning warrior, and would not have presented himself
to us in such a manner if there had been any danger," Teal'c replied
enigmatically, as he finished up his first donut and grabbed a
"Anybody want a beer?" asked Jack with a grin. He hadn't been
surprised when T had been the first to catch on. Not much got past that
guy. When Sam nodded her head, he called out to his friend in the
kitchen. "Hey, could you bring out a beer for Sam and a soda for the T
In the meantime, Jack had his eye on Teal'c. Knowing him as he did,
he could tell that the Jaffa had been studying his friend's face, and
body language. He knew that his warrior brother would pick up on his own
underlying uneasiness, and the uncharacteristically loud news program
would convince him that there was more to the story than what Jack was
In addition, Jack realized that Teal'c was also very familiar with
his friend's desire and habit of keeping his true feelings to himself,
and covering them with the camouflage of sarcastic wit. From their long
association together he knew the T man would already be planning how to
his approach his quarry and extract the information from him, he
Teal'c's first exploratory probe into his opponent's territory was to
acquire the remote and aim it at the television. Even though O'Neill
knew why he was doing it, he was unable to contain himself.
"Whatcha doing, Teal'c? I was watching that," protested Jack, leaning
forward anxiously, his reflexive response a telling betrayal.
"I wish to view the History Channel, O'Neill. The tactics utilized by
Rommel are being reviewed, and I am interested in reviewing the
strategies of this renowned Tau'ri warrior."
Jack feigned an unconcerned air as he forced his body to resume its
former lax, 'nothin' wrong here' pose. "No reason, I was just watching
the news is all. Something about some hostages over at the Air Force
He tipped his bottle to his lips again, hoping they would buy his
story. He had the uncomfortable feeling that his Jaffa friend was on to
him, but he wasn't ready to share this with his friends. Nope, brought
back too many bad memories. Besides, Daniel wasn't even around when it
had happened, as he was doing the glowy bit.
O'Neill's unsolicited explanation caught Sam's attention and she
jumped on it like it was a new, never before seen naquada generator.
"Wait, isn't that the place where they held you, Sir?" she asked,
pointing to the stock footage that was being shown of the military
prison. "You know, when you were accused of assassinating Kinsey?"
By now, Daniel's interest had been piqued and he'd appeared with a
beer and soda in his hands for his friends. He seated himself by Sam and
looked across the coffee table at his friend.
"Daniel?" Jack replied as he saluted him with his bottle before
downing another swallow. "Isn't this Jack/Daniel thing of yours getting
kind of redundant?"
When presented with a puzzle of any sort, Daniel could be annoyingly
single-minded, mused Jack. And as predicted, the archeologist refused to
be easily diverted and continued his line of inquiry.
"What's going on, Jack? And don't tell me it's nothing, because I
don't believe you, and I have the suspicion that Sam and Teal'c don't
either. Do you?" He looked at the other two members of SG-1.
Sam leaned forward, concerned. Teal'c raised one eyebrow, seemingly
content in the fact that his opening gambit had produced results.
Another chink in his armor. Jack groaned inside and awarded the opening
skirmish to Teal'c.
"Yeah, that's the one all right. There's nothing wrong with wondering
about the hostages, is there? There were some good people working there.
Now could we just drop it?" Yeah, as if that would happen. And Ba'al was
taking up knitting and Kinsey was president of the Jack O'Neill fan
Daniel's eyebrow crawled up his forehead in an imitation of a certain
Jaffa as he exchanged dubious glances with Sam. Rock Boy was definitely
hanging around Teal'c too much, reflected Jack.
"Could somebody please fill me in? I'm kind of lost here?" asked
Daniel in a plaintive tone. When Jack shook his head and eyed the label
on his bottle intently instead, the archeologist turned to his partners.
Samantha Carter was the one to give in. "It's one of those things
that happened in that year while you were ascended, Daniel. A rogue unit
of the NID framed General O'Neill for the assassination of Senator
Kinsey. It would've worked too, except that we found out that they'd
used one of those alien mimic devices to make the hitman look like the
general. That was how I met Agent Barrett," she explained. "He uncovered
the plot and helped us get some of the bad guys who were behind the
"O'Neill was initially incarcerated in the local prison before being
transported to your nation's capital, Daniel Jackson. He appeared to
have been treated humanely while in their custody. However, it was
distressing to see a fellow warrior wrongly blamed for a crime he had no
part of. Even though the killing would have been quite justifiable,"
commented Teal'c as he studied his adversary's face while he opened his
can of soda and took a swallow.
"Perhaps O'Neill was befriended by someone employed at that
The beer on an empty stomach had already weakened his emotional
armor, but O'Neill recognized Teal'c's comment for what it was and
parried it with one that was designed to mislead and muddy the waters.
"Yeah, they all treated me pretty well, considering that they thought I
was a crazed killer and locked me up in solitary confinement."
"The prisoners staged their takeover in the prison medical section,
did they not?" asked Teal'c. By now, Daniel and Sam seemed to have
caught on and had settled back to watch two masters of tactics and
strategy battle each other in a game of wits and deception.
"I guess so, T," answered Jack noncommittally. He raised his bottle
to his lips again and swallowed the last of it. When he started to get
up to replenish his supply of beer, Sam protested immediately.
"Let me get it, Sir." She made her way to the kitchen. "You're
supposed to be relaxing."
Jack huffed out a breath, realizing he'd been outflanked. He raised
his empty bottle in salute to Teal'c. Teal'c acknowledged the admission
with a regal bow of his head.
"One of the staff members there really helped me out," Jack admitted,
as he concentrated his nervous energy on methodically stripping the
label off the bottle. "You've got to understand. They put me in a
special unit for potentially dangerous high-risk criminals, and I seemed
to fit that description. So, there I was, cooped up in a box all by
myself wondering if I would ever see the light of day again. Miss Kay
was the only name that I knew her by. Part of her job as prison shrink
was to check on the welfare of the prisoners who were confined on that
unit. We only met a couple of times, and both of those took place with a
steel door between us, but talking with her helped. Plus, she put up
with a lot of crap from the other prisoners, and I didn't like that. She
always treated me with respect though, even called me by my rank. Made
me feel like I was still human, if you know what I mean."
"And Miss Kay was one of the hostages?" asked Sam and winced as she
hugged herself and crossed her legs tightly in a reflexive response to
the implied threat.
"Yeah, I recognized her face when they showed some of the hostages in
an earlier news clip. They were using her as a bargaining chip. Later, I
caught a glimpse of her when they were released. She looked like she'd
been roughed up pretty bad."
"Is it your wish to speak to her?" asked Teal'c perceptively.
Jack stopped cold, as he considered the Jaffa's words. Did he want to
see her? Did he really owe her anything? After all, she was just doing
her job, wasn't she?' He flashed back to their conversation when she'd
asked if he was a former POW, and he'd taken out some of his helpless
rage on her with his bitter answer.
Did he owe her anything? In a way, he did. As a former prisoner
himself, he knew some of what she'd be going through right now. His mind
made up, he looked at his friends.
"Yeah, I'd like to go talk to her," he answered flatly, his lips
compressed into a firm line of resolution. "Since it's a military
lock-up, the hostages were probably taken to the Academy Hospital.
Anybody want to go along with me?" he asked, conceding victory to his
"Indeed," answered Teal'c with a bow and a smile. He rose with
graceful ease from his seat and boxed up the remaining donuts. "I think
it would be most advantageous if we were transported in a single
vehicle. Do you not agree, Samantha Carter?"
"Yes, I think that would work out best. Especially since Daniel
hasn't had anything to drink and we all came in his car," she agreed.
Knowing he'd been bested, Jack raised his arms in mock surrender.
"All right, all right, we can all go together since you kids seem to be
ganging up on an old man," he grumbled good naturedly. Inwardly, he
smiled, relieved that his friends were so willing to help him with this
An hour later, they found themselves in the waiting room of the
high-security ward at the Academy Hospital. Only his ID announcing his
status as a general had allowed them to bully their way this far. To be
fair, the way Teal'c had loomed larger than life over the staff didn't
hurt either. 'Damn, but that man had looking scary down to an art!'
His initial scan of the room revealed several people, obviously
family members of the hostages. Several armed guards from the prison
were standing at strategic spots in the room. Clearly, they took the
incident as a personal affront to their family of prison staff. Spotting
a nurse, Jack walked over to her, while the other three headed for the
obligatory coffee pot sitting on a table in the corner.
"Excuse me," Jack said as he got the nurses attention, and gave her
his best 'I'm a general' glare. Can you tell me anything about Miss
"Are you a family member?" she asked, matching him stare for
"Umm, not exactly," he stalled.
"Then I can't tell you anything, Sir." She frowned, and turned back
toward the nurse's station in a clear dismissal.
However, Jack's question had drawn the attention of an older man
standing by the coffee pot. With the air of a man who is defending his
territory against any invader, he advanced on his next victim.
"Who the hell are you, and what do you want with my wife?" He planted
himself belligerently in Jack's face.
Although O'Neill stood several inches taller than the man, he had the
grace to back down. He took a moment to study the angry man. He looked
grizzled and walked with a limp. However, his eyes blazed with an
impotent fury, and the muscles in his face were as tightly clenched as
the fists at his sides. He looked dangerous. When Jack saw Teal'c moving
to his aid, he waved him away.
"I'm General Jack O'Neill, U.S. Air Force, and when I heard that your
wife was one of the hostages, I wanted to check on her," Jack explained
quietly. He seemed to buy Jack's explanation, and relaxed his aggressive
"Oh, sorry, General, I didn't know who you were, and what with all
that's happened today . . . " his voice trailed off. He allowed Jack to
steer him to a couple of empty chairs.
"Thanks," he said absently.
"And your name is, what? I feel silly just calling you Miss Kay's
husband," Jack finished with a half-smile of apology. "And you can call
The man reacted to his question automatically, sticking his hand out
to shake Jack's. "Joshua, I'm Joshua Dow, Kay's husband. But then, you
already figured that out, didn't you?"
Joshua's handshake was firm, without turning it into an alpha male
contest, which told Jack a lot about the man. He had the feeling that
Joshua hadn't backed down just because of his rank either.
"So, how is she?" Jack asked quietly.
"They haven't let me see her yet," Joshua said in a fretful voice.
He changed topics abruptly. "You one of her clients?" When he saw
Jack's blink of surprise, he smiled grimly. "I'm used to this. She can't
talk about her work or anyone she sees because of confidentiality
issues. So when strangers come up to her in public, I've gotten used to
just backing away and asking no questions. You know, it happens more
than you would think."
"Let's just say that we had a working relationship and leave it at
that. Shall we?" answered Jack.
Joshua nodded knowingly and took another swallow of his coffee.
"Damn, I wish they'd let me see her," he admitted. "I had to call her
folks. Do you have any idea how hard that was, Jack? Well, it broke my
heart to have to tell them. But better me telling them than if they'd
heard about it on the news. That would've killed them for sure."
About five minutes later, the same nurse from Jack's encounter
appeared in the waiting room. "Mr. Dow?' she called.
Joshua's head jerked as he jumped to his feet, all thought of his
conversation gone. "Yes, that's me," he answered, striding rapidly
toward the nurse. Jack followed at a discrete distance in order to give
the worried man some privacy.
"You can see your wife, now, Mr. Dow. But only for a few minutes.
We've got her cleaned up, but she's still in shock from her experience."
She started back down the hall, still talking to Kay's husband. "We'll
be taking her to x-ray in a few moments."
By this time, they'd reached the door to her room. Opening it for
Joshua, she followed him inside. She might as well have been invisible
for the attention the man gave her. He headed in a beeline for his
Kay was lying on the hospital bed, already dressed in one of those
backless hospital gowns that everyone loves to hate. By now, bruises
were beginning to show on her face. One eye was swollen shut and the
rest of her face looked like she'd been used as a punching bag. Her hair
was a mess, sticking up at odd angles, giving her the look of someone
who'd been through a cement mixer, which probably wasn't too far from
the truth. She was lying on the bed with one wrapped arm laid across her
chest and had her eyes closed. However, at the approach of her husband,
they snapped open.
"Josh?" she asked in a tremulous voice. She tried raising the
bandaged arm to encircle her husband, but stopped as she remembered her
"I'm here, honey. I'm here," Joshua repeated as he put his arms
gingerly around her. When she stiffened in his arms, he withdrew them,
and pulled up a chair so he could sit next to her.
"I'm so sorry, Josh. It was my fault, I should've been more careful,"
she mumbled as tears leaked down her red-purple cheeks.
"There's no need to say you're sorry, Kay. It wasn't your fault.
Nobody's blaming you. The important thing is that you're safe now, and
no one is going to hurt you," he promised grimly.
"What about the others? I was so scared for them, Josh. They were
beating up Allie, and I was so afraid for her, so I told them she had a
heart condition so they'd stop." Her words tumbled out of her mouth and
left her panting for breath.
"You defended Allie?" Joshua asked in wonder. "That must've been a
sight to see. A little bitty thing like you who doesn't eat enough to
keep a bird alive defending someone who would make at least two of you,"
Josh said proudly.
"Is she okay?" asked Kay in a worried voice.
"I don't know for sure, but I think so. They aren't letting many
people into this section right now," he admitted. He reached out to pat
her arm tenderly, obviously wanting to do more.
"The kids?" Kay asked squirming around to find a better spot where
she didn't hurt.
"They're all right too. They're staying with their Uncle Bob for
right now. In fact, knowing them, they're probably splashing around in
his pool." Joshua stroked her arm tentatively. She seemed relieved at
his words, as if one more worry had been lifted from her petite
"I was worried about you, Kay. When they told me the news, I was so
afraid I'd lost you," he revealed, the way his voice cracked betraying
his fear. "I don't know if I could bear that. You mean too much to me to
lose you like that. You do know that, don't you?" He asked used one hand
to wipe away the moisture that suddenly appeared in his eyes.
"By the way, I think I met one of your clients out in the waiting
room. He wouldn't admit to it, but I could tell. A tall guy by the name
of Jack O'Neill. Says he's a general," he reported dubiously.
Distracted, she furrowed her forehead, as she seemed to rummage
through the long list of people she'd seen in all her years as a
"No, I can't remember that name off-hand, but I've seen so many
people," Kay admitted. The adrenaline was finally draining out of her
system, and she felt her eyelids drooping. Her husband as well as the
nurse noticed immediately.
Giving her hand a final squeeze, he bent over to brush a kiss on her
cheek, and tried not to notice when she cringed. "I think they're
kicking me out of here, honey. But, I'll be right outside. I'm not going
His eyes on the form of his wife, he followed the nurse out the door.
However, once the door closed, he turned to her angrily.
"Just what the hell happened to her?" he asked.
"The Doctor will talk to you about that in a moment," she said in a
calm voice, patting his back with her hand.
"When?" he growled. "And don't try any of your counselor tricks on
me. I'm married to one and can spot them a mile away." He shook off her
hand and stepped toward her.
"Mr. Dow, if you would just come with me, I'm sure the Doctor can
speak to you," she said again, attempting to lead him down the hallway
away from the waiting room.
Mr. Dow seemed somewhat mollified at her assurances that he would be
able to quiz the Doctor on his wife's condition. Although, judging from
Kay's responses to his touch, he had a nasty suspicion he already knew
what had happened. Dammit! He screamed inside his head. Just let me get
my hands on the bastards that did this. Just five minutes, that's all I
would need to snap their filthy necks! Trembling from his suppressed
fury, he followed the nurse into a private room with chairs. Unable to
sit still, he paced while he waited.
About five minutes later, a balding, older doctor made his way into
the room. "Hello, Mr. Dow. I'm Dr. Holden, the doctor who has been
attending to your wife. I understand you would like to know the extent
of her injuries," stated the doctor as he led the Joshua to a chair. He
sat down beside the agitated man and opened his mouth to speak.
Before he could say anything, Josh held up his hand to stop him.
"Don't dress it up with fancy words, Doc. Just give it to me straight. I
want to know what those sons of bitches did to my wife. I'm her husband,
so I do have the right to know this," he asserted heatedly.
Dr. Holden nodded and looked him in the eye. "You want it told to you
straight, that's what I'll do, Mr. Dow. You wife was assaulted pretty
badly. We believe her right arm is broken, but don't think she has any
facial fractures. She's being taken to x-ray right now to determine the
extent of the damage. Your wife's a pretty courageous lady, Mr. Dow. The
other hostages say she tried to protect some of the others from the
worst of the abuse."
"And? Come, on. We both know you haven't finished yet," challenged
the furious husband.
"Yes, you're right, I'm not finished yet. She was sexually assaulted,
Mr. Dow. I believe you already figured that out. Emotionally, she's
pretty fragile right now, though. She's going to need all the emotional
help she can get from you, you know."
"Yeah, I know." Josh felt dispirited as his anger drained out of him,
leaving him feeling like a limp dishrag, and just as impotent.
"Do they know who did it?" he asked.
"Yes, Kay was able to identify him, and he's in custody right now,"
assured the Doctor.
"Too bad they didn't cap his ass right off the bat. Would've saved
the taxpayers a bunch of money if they had," Josh muttered.
He was interrupted by the sound of a beeper going off. The Doctor
looked apologetic while reaching for it. He took a look at the message,
and then up at the man sitting in front of him.
"I'm sorry, but I've got to go now. I'll keep you posted on your
wife's condition, though."
By this time, they were both walking out the doorway into the
hallway. "You should be able to visit your wife again once she's back
from x-ray. I'll tell the nurses to let you know when she's ready for
visitors again." Then he turned and scurried down the hallway, in the
opposite direction of the waiting room.
With nothing better to do, Joshua sighed, and limped back toward the
waiting room. He made a pit stop in the latrine first, more as an excuse
to gather his thoughts together than anything else. He stood in front of
the sink, washing his hands mechanically, without really noticing what
he was doing. He felt numb, like all this crap coming down on him and
Kay was some kind of sick movie. A reality that had no business
happening to them. To her. Kay. His wife. His rock. He looked up into
the mirror and was shocked by the haggard old face with the haunted eyes
that glared back at him.
"God damned bastards," he muttered, his anger growing. "God damned
mother fucking bastards!" he said more loudly as his right fist shot
forward to impact on the mirror's surface.
The sound of breaking glass echoed loudly in the small confines of
the bathroom. Josh seemed mesmerized by the now-fractured, distorted
reflection that gazed back at him from the cracked mirror. A small part
of him reflected that the deformed picture was an apt picture of his
life right now. When his thought automatically reminded him that Kay
would think it hilariously ironic that he was analyzing shit like that,
he laughed without humor. Nope, she wasn't going to be laughing for a
while yet. Those bastards had seen to that.
When the door burst open, his already adrenaline-heightened senses
spun him around, already in a crouching attack position that had saved
his life so many times back in 'Nam. The faces he saw in the doorway
were strange, until he recognized the uniforms of the prison guards.
Those were familiar. They knew Kay. They were family. They would
understand his need for revenge, and probably wouldn't stop him from
killing the bastards that had hurt his wife, he thought with cold
"Is there a problem here?" Jack and his Jaffa friend elbowed their
way through the clog of people in the doorway. When O'Neill saw it was
Josh, he turned to the others standing there. "All right. Show's over.
Let's break it up here and give the man some room to breathe." With the
aid of Teal'c's glower, the crowd melted away.
Jack took in the wild-eyed look of the man in front of him and
reflected that he really wasn't surprised by his reaction. Hell, he'd
probably react the same way if it'd happened to his wife, back when he
still had one. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what was
going on in that man's head, nor what his immediate plans were. From the
looks of things, he didn't even realize he'd cut his hand when he
punched the mirror.
"Do you have immediate need of my assistance, O'Neill?" asked Teal'c,
still watching his six.
"No, I don't think so, T. Just make sure we aren't disturbed for a
while. Mr. Dow needs to do a little venting right now, that's all."
"Very well," agreed Teal'c, as he closed the door, leaving Jack and
Joshua alone in the bathroom. The general knew without a doubt that
Teal'c had already taken up his station outside the door, and he felt
sorry for anyone who was foolhardy enough to try to get past him.
Moving slowly, keeping his hands in full-view of the enraged man
standing by the sink, Jack took a step toward him. "Joshua?"
Joshua jumped and blinked his eyes looking around in seeming
bewilderment, until he centered on the intruder. "What? Who are you?" he
asked in a shaky voice.
"I'm Jack. Remember me? We met in the waiting room. I'm a friend of
Kay's." Jack kept his voice calm and low as he took another step
bringing him closer to Mr. Dow.
"Jack? Oh yeah, I remember now. They hurt her, Jack, and they have to
pay. I've got to kill them now, so just stay out of my way," the man
warned, his voice getting louder as his face contorted with rage.
Jack stopped in his tracks, wisely getting no closer to the man in
front of him. He watched as Joshua's craggy features hardened, and his
lips thinned into a lethal line.
"I've got to kill that bastard, Jack. So just get out of my way!" he
said as he advanced on Jack's position. Jack didn't move. When he tried
to shove his way past him, O'Neill flipped him, took him to the floor,
and pinned him there. It was no contest, really. Josh was so out of his
head with rage and grief, he couldn't even think straight. No surprise
Josh struggled to escape Jack's hold, but no matter how much he
twisted or bucked, he couldn't get out from under the man on top of
"Let me go, you son of a bitch." Joshua Dow growled, like a very
dangerous animal that's been cornered and has nothing to lose by it's
"Nope, Joshua. I won't let you go until you calm down." Jack refused
to release him, knowing the consequence of such an act would be death.
He kept his voice calm, and low.
His wrestling partner was now lying on his back on the bathroom
floor, with Jack straddling him, holding his arms down. Joshua continued
to struggle, the adrenaline in his system giving him more stamina and
agility than was normal for him. Jack was undeterred though, and refused
to let him loose.
He knew from his own grim experience what a man half-crazed with
grief and rage could do. And if he had anything to do with it, he would
do his damnedest to prevent Joshua from doing something that he would
regret later. He also recognized that the last thing that Josh and Kay
needed was more tragedy in their lives.
While he could sympathize and even agree with the man's sentiments,
he knew that if Josh were to carry out his intentions, he'd just end up
in jail. And that was the last place he needed to be. Trouble was, while
he could think all this out, he knew Josh wasn't able to do that yet.
Although, given the chance to calm down, Jack had the feeling he would
be able to do more thinking, instead of just reacting to his situation.
Of course, that was easy for him to say, removed as he was from the
hellish circumstances this couple suddenly found themselves mired in.
Joshua continued to twist and struggle beneath him, as he cursed and
threatened him, but Jack refused to let go.
"I told you to let me go, you bastard!" Josh raged between clenched
"Nope, ain't gonna happen. As in no way Jose, nada, Elvis has not
left the building, and the fat lady hasn't even opened her mouth yet, so
it's a huge honkin' no-go to that request." Jack smirked and leaned his
weight on Joshua's arms.
The adrenaline began to drain out of Dow's body leaving him feeling
weak and shaky.
"Please, Jack? You've got to help me. They've got to pay for what
they did to my Kay," he pleaded.
"You're absolutely right. They do have to pay for what they did to
Kay," he reassured the trembling man. "But your killing them won't solve
anything. What it will do is land your ass in jail. Away from Kay. And,
Joshua, she's going to need you to be there for her. You can't do that
if you're in jail. Can you?" Jack could tell that the man he was quite
literally sitting on had finally heard what he had to say. He waggled
his eyebrows at him in question.
Joshua seemed to deflate as he nodded his head with weariness. "Yeah,
you're right. I've got to be there for my Kay." He rolled his eyes and
took a deep breath. "So, you gonna let me up now? I don't want your
buddies to get the wrong idea, and I'm already married," he quipped.
Without relaxing his grip, Jack looked him dead in the eyes. "You
gonna behave yourself?"
Dow didn't say anything, just held Jack's gaze and nodded. He looked
tired. And old.
Jack gave him a reassuring smile, and released his arms first. Then
he rose on shaky legs, to stand with legs splayed, like a newborn calf,
as if uncertain that he would remain standing. Crap, kneeling on that
tile floor had played hell on his knees.
Joshua just lay there, rubbing his wrists where Jack had pinned them
to the floor. O'Neill offered the prostrate man his hand, and was
relieved when Dow grasped it and allowed him to assist him from the
floor. Once upright, O'Neil turned Dow's hand over, they both took in
the bleeding cuts on the knuckles caused by the impact with the
"You might want to get that looked at," advised Jack with a half
"Think the hospital will add that broken mirror to my bill?" asked
Josh with a rueful grin, as he straightened his back. From the way he
was hunched over, listing to one side, he'd probably twisted it.
Jack stood aside and gestured to the door. "Shall we?"
He'd already decided he was going to have a talk with the staff about
why they'd left Mr. Dow alone after giving him such devastating news. He
sure as hell was no shrink, but even he knew better than to do that. It
had been just pure luck, and his own gut instinct that had prevented
another tragedy from transpiring.
"Sure. I don't understand why security hasn't been busting down the
doors already. I must have sounded like a dying cat in a hail-storm,"
Josh commented in a tired voice. When he opened the door, he came
face-to face with a solid mountain of human flesh. He tipped his head up
to look at the glowering face directed toward him with widened eyes.
"It's okay, T. We're ready to face the world again. You can let us
out now," advised Jack with a smile at his Jaffa friend.
"Indeed," boomed Teal'c, who backed away, pivoted and walked back
down the hallway toward the waiting room, moving with the lithe grace of
a black panther.
In the meanwhile, Jack was steering Joshua toward the nurse's
station. When they arrived at their destination, all the nurses seemed
to be busy. Rapping on the counter, Jack cleared his throat. That did
the trick, as the nurse sitting right behind it looked up.
"I've got a man here who cut himself on some broken glass. Could
somebody see to it? Oh, and you might want to check the men's john down
the hall. There's a broken mirror in there, and I wouldn't want anyone
to cut themselves on it accidentally. Could be one hell of a lawsuit, if
you know what I mean," Jack said.
The nurse's eyes widened, and then she jumped up and began issuing
orders. About an hour later, Joshua's hand had been cleaned up and
bandaged. He hadn't broken anything, if you didn't count the mirror, and
the cuts only needed a few stitches.
And as for the seven years of bad luck for breaking the mirror… Well,
Dow considered that he was used to that kind of luck. Seems that was the
only kind he ever had. But hey, Kay could've died today, so he guessed
he was still ahead of the game in that department. So, with his right
hand painted in Betadine and swathed in white gauze, he and Jack made
their way back toward the nurse's station so they could check on Kay. He
could tell he'd hurt his back. Again. Oh, well, he was getting used to
sleeping on a heating pad anyway, he thought.
As they walked side-by-side down the hallway, Joshua Dow, retired
Army, looked sideways at the man walking in step next to him, trying to
figure him out. Why did a total stranger, if not to Kay, at least to
him, care anything about them? Not only that, this stranger had stood by
him and helped him through a particularly ugly episode in the bathroom,
and then stuck by him afterwards. Why would he do something like this
for him? After all, he was a high and mighty wing nut general and Josh
was a lowly Army 'retardee', the kind that wandered around lost looking
for their vehicle in the PX parking lot. Since he'd never been accused
of keeping his opinions and questions to himself, he decided to start
finding out some answers.
Reaching out to touch him on the shoulder, Josh stopped and faced the
enigmatic Air Force general. "Before we go in to see Kay, I have a few
questions I'd like to ask, Jack," he advised.
"I was wondering when you'd get around to that," admitted Jack with a
half-grin. "How's about we grab a cup of java and cop a squat over in
the corner of the waiting room?"
"Roger that shit, partner," Josh replied with a grin. They'd just
exchanged a code of sorts, letting each other know that they were part
of a brotherhood. The kind that only those in the military could
They both made an automatic about-face and headed back down the
hallway into the waiting room. When they walked in, Jack waved to and
advanced toward them with the seeming expectation that his new friend
would follow his lead. Josh decided he had nothing to lose and would go
along with Jack's wishes. For now. He could always bail out later, if he
needed to. Besides, he recognized the human mountain from the bathroom.
Damn. Where did they 'em grow that big?
"Hey campers, I've got someone I'd like you to meet," Jack said.
"This is Joshua Dow, the husband of Miss Kay, the shrink I was telling
The welcoming smiles Josh saw coming from these strangers' faces were
enough to keep him from bolting. He stuck out his hand to Teal'c
"I believe you've already met Teal'c," Jack said with a grin.
"Nice to meetcha." Dow gingerly gripped the hand that was offered
him. "Just remind me never to piss you off, okay?" Joshua was pleasantly
surprised when the walking mass of muscle didn't rip his hand off or
break any bones.
"Indeed," replied Teal'c with dignity, as he gave a little bow of his
"And this is Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter," continued Jack with his
Joshua stuck his hand out to shake hers also, and winced when the
stitches in his injured knuckles pulled a little. He began to feel a
little overwhelmed, and wasn't sure what to say to the knock-out blonde
who was standing in front of him without making a total asshole of
himself. Besides, from the looks of her, she could rip his arms off and
ram them down his throat if he pissed her off.
"It's okay, Mr. Dow. It looks like your hand isn't exactly in any
shape to be using to shake hands," she said with a smile as she came to
"Be careful, she likes to arm wrestle," Jack said to Josh in a stage
whisper, fully audible to the other three members of SG-1. Josh didn't
miss Carter's blush or the way she bit her lip nervously.
"It's nice to meet you, Ma'am," Josh said lamely with a grin. "And if
you don't mind, I'll pass on the arm wrestling for now. I've had my fill
of that for today. Wrestling, that is. Right Jack?"
Jack just grinned and continued with his introductions. "And last but
certainly not least, is Daniel Jackson, our coffee fiend."
You're my kind of man, Mr. Jackson," Josh acknowledged with a grin.
He stuck out his hand again, but Danny waved it away with a smile of his
Jack continued on his mission of finding respite and comfort for his
new friend. "Speaking of coffee, we were just looking for some. That is,
if there's any left. Danny swills the stuff like it will be outlawed at
midnight," Jack explained with a smirk, leading Joshua toward the table
holding the coffee urn. "So if you don't mind, we've got some talking to
do." Jack looked into the faces of the members of SG-1. They blinked and
then backed away, the message received.
Both nursing their Styrofoam cups full of the liquid mud, they took
chairs facing each other, as if they were opponents, squaring-off.
Jack took a moment to glance at his other friends. He couldn't help
but overhear them as they spoke amongst themselves. Their words were
predictable. But the again, he'd known them for quite awhile. Hadn't
Daniel shook his head. "Uh, oh. Don't look now, but it looks like the
two alpha-males of the pack are getting ready for a showdown."
Teal'c, however, did not seem perturbed. "I do not believe you are
correct in your assumption, Daniel Jackson. O'Neill seems to have found
a kindred spirit in Joshua Dow. I too believe this man to be an
"I hope you're right, Teal'c. Because the last thing this place needs
is another battle royale," Daniel answered.
"I have to agree with Teal'c, Daniel. I think those two are birds of
a feather." Sam flashed a bright smile at Jack, and blushed again when
he smirked back
Then he tuned them out in order to better focus on the man in the
chair in front of him. Jack let the other man start, since he'd been the
one to request their little tete-a-tete.
"So who are you really, Jack? And why are you bothering with Kay and
me? You seem to be some high-powered flyboy general, who certainly
doesn't need to concern himself with the crap that us little peons are
wading through," asked Josh, getting right to the point. "Let's face it,
we both know that it's not everyday that someone like you shows up out
of the blue to help out a couple of total strangers. And I don't believe
in Santa Claus, little green men, or the tooth fairy."
Jack's face split into a grin at the last remark and had to mentally
zip his mouth shut. Although, with people like Kay and Josh in the
program… Mentally shutting off that thought, for now, he set about
trying to answer the man's questions in a way that wouldn't reveal
"A couple of years ago, your wife met up with me while I was in a bad
spot," he began. "At the time, I was being sold up the river for
something I hadn't done and was locked up in Solitary Confinement
because of certain, ah, shall we say skills, I've acquired over the
years. So anyway, she came to check up on me as part of her job, to make
sure I hadn't gone totally bonkers from sitting in that box of a room.
She noticed right off that I was having a rough time of it sitting in
that confined space and pegged me for a former POW. Well, she talked
with me a bit, got me calmed down, and in general, gave me some food for
thought. Plus, I'd seen the crap that she had to put up with from some
of the other inmates, and didn't like it one bit. But, through it all,
she didn't seem to let it bother her. No matter what they dished out,
she remained cool as a cucumber. That impressed me, and I never forgot
it. Or her. So when I saw her picture on the local news and heard what
had happened, I thought I might be able to help her out. Kind of as a
way of repaying a debt I owe her," Jack finished. 'Whew! There it was,
all out on the table,' thought Jack. Now the ball was in Joshua's court
and he couldn't help but wonder what his reaction would be.
Joshua was silent, taking in all the information and mulling it over
inside his head. Crap, this guy sounded like a spook, one of those guys
that he used to take out and drop off on secret missions way back in
Vietnam when he used to pilot a Huey. He remembered those guys,
hard-eyed and silent types. He figured this guy was someone he didn't
want to piss off or meet in a dark alley somewhere. Come to think of it,
hadn't he seen his face on the news a couple of years ago?
"Wait a minute. Aren't you the guy they thought had shot that slimy
politician Kinsey a couple of years back?"
"Yep, one and the same." Jack ducked his head and stared at his
Josh took note of them for the first time. The fingers were long and
elegant as they drummed an impatient dance against his thighs. He had
the feeling that they could be lethal when they needed to be. Still, if
his Kay had taken a shine to this guy, he couldn't be all bad. Could he?
Plus, he knew that he wasn't exactly a choirboy himself. You couldn't
be, and survive all those years in the military.
"My Kay saw you then? Damn, she never said a word to me about it. Not
that she would, but still . . . So, now that you're here, you planning
on bugging the shit out of my Kay? Because if you are, I may have to
unload a big can of whoop-ass on you," Joshua said with a grin. They
were both interrupted by the sound of a nurse calling Josh's name. His
head immediately whipped around, looking for whoever was trying to get
"That's me. I'm Mr. Dow," he said as he jumped up, pivoted, and
headed over to the waiting nurse.
"Your wife is awake and asking to see you, Mr. Dow. The Doctor said
you can sit with her for a while," she said with a smile, as she turned
to lead him back to her room.
"Ma'am? Is it all right if Jack pays her a visit? He's been waiting
for quite a while to see her, and I think Kay would really like it."
Joshua motioned his new friend to join him. Yeah, he'd decided he liked
"I don't see why not," answered the nurse.
Both Jack and Joshua followed her to the door of Kay's hospital room.
When they entered, it was Jack following Josh through the door. Josh
took the time to glance back and figured the guy was wondering if it was
such a good idea after all now that he was finally going to get a chance
to talk to her.
"Kay?" Josh sat down in the chair beside her bed, filled with
anxiety. She had her eyes closed and looked like she was asleep. Her
right arm was wrapped and in a sling laid across her chest. If anything,
her pale thin face looked even worse than before. The colors of the
bruises on her faces, coming into all their morbid glory. Her left eye
was nearly swollen shut, and it looked like she'd be eating oatmeal for
a while from the way her bottom lip was swollen and split. Rage toward
the animals who'd done this to her threatened to boil over again, but,
remembering the words of both the doctor and his new friend Jack, he
ruthlessly tamped them down.
"Josh? You're still here?"
Her sapphire-blue eyes stopped him cold, just like they always did.
He studied her again and drank in her scent. Damn, but she smelled good.
Her long, salt and pepper hair must have been washed, as it was lying
haphazard on the pillow in a crazy quilt of silver and black. It was
frizzy, sticking up in places, and he knew this would drive his wife
crazy. As usual. He reached out with a tentative hand to brush the hair
away from her face, and smiled when those certain strands wouldn't
"Of course I am, silly. Where else would I be?" he answered with a
"I just thought you'd need to pick up the kids, that's all," she said
with a worried frown.
"The kids are taken care of, and are having a great time splashing
all the water out of their Uncle Bob's pool. Don't worry about them,
honey," he reminded her. "By the way, there's somebody here that would
like to talk to you." Josh motioned for Jack to come farther into the
O'Neill obeyed him, but stopped to watch him greet his stricken wife
from the doorway. He felt very out of place and felt as if he wanted run
off and hide somewhere. He was already having second thoughts and
figured this whole thing had been a huge honkin' mistake.
Kay's eyes followed her husband's motioning hand and she squinted in
a vain attempt to make out the face of the man that stood at the foot of
"I'm sorry, but my glasses were broken when . . ." she gulped and
paused before she continued. "I can't see who you are. Could you come a
Jack did as she requested, feeling like he was stepping into an
emotional minefield. Though whether it was hers or his, he had no idea.
"Is this close enough, Miss Kay?" he asked as he neared the chair where
Mr. Dow was sitting.
Kay's face was still blank; obviously she didn't recognize him. Jack
decided to give her some more information. "You may not remember me, but
my name is Jack O'Neill. You were the shrink that checked up on me a
couple of years back when I was in that special unit. I was a colonel
"I think so," she said slowly. "You'll have to excuse me, I see so
many people. Let me think. Colonel Jack O'Neill… Oh yes, now I
remember." She squinted again. "You look different with your clothes
on," she blurted.
Too late, she realized how that must've sounded. Jack's mouth was
hanging open, but Josh just grinned and acted like that sort of thing
came bounding out of his wife's mouth on a frequent basis. His bemused
grin seemed to say that was just one of the things that he loved about
"Oh, my gosh! That's not what I meant at all!" Kay stammered, her
face and neck turning a bright red.
"I should hope not," protested Jack, who was still in shock. "And I
would certainly hope that your husband doesn't think that either!"
"What I meant was that you look different dressed as you are now.
When I see my clients, they're usually dressed in a uniform of some
sort. So, when I see them outside that environment, dressed in a
different way, I usually don't recognize them right off the bat," she
"And you can bet she analyzed the hell out of that explanation too,"
added Joshua with a smirk. Kay responded with rolled eyes. Clearly, this
was an ongoing inside joke of theirs.
"Well, now that we've got that settled, I was hoping you wouldn't
mind if I stopped by to tell you thanks for helping me out like you did
back then. It really meant a lot to me at the time." Jack shifted his
feet and wondered why the floor felt like quicksand.
"Of course I don't mind, Colonel O'Neill," she continued. "But I
don't understand what you mean. What did I do to help you out? I don't
remember meeting with you that many times. When we did, we only talked
for a little bit."
"Please call me Jack," answered O'Neill.
"All right, Jack. Don't change the subject on me. What is it that I
did that was so special? After all, I was just doing my job," Kay
Josh leaned back in his chair, enjoying the show. He'd seen this
happen before and had grown used to it over the years. People that his
wife had worked with years or months ago would come up to her in public
and thank her for helping them out. Her reaction was always the same,
bewilderment and wonder at what they said. In anyone else, he would've
suspected false pride. However, he'd learned over the years that she
truly didn't realize the effect she had on the lives she touched. Damn,
but he was so proud of her gift, he just wanted to bust. Sometimes it
made up for all the crap she had to put up with, but not always.
He wondered if she would be able to bounce back from this setback.
She was one of the strongest people he knew, but everyone has a limit.
He just hoped that she hadn't reached hers, yet. The sound of voices
jerked him back into the conversation.
"You may not think you did anything really special, Miss Kay, but
actually you did. If you ask me, anyone who can put up with the crap
those guys dish out to you every time you set foot in that unit is more
than just doing her job."
Kay opened her mouth in protest, and Jack raised his hand in order to
"I'm just saying that I think you're a pretty gutsy broad, Miss Kay,"
"Wait a minute here. Number one, if I have to call you Jack, then you
better start calling me Kay. Got that?"
Jack nodded quickly in agreement and looked like a child that was
being scolded. Josh grinned again. Yep, his Kay was in fine form.
"Now, for number two, you may think I'm this wonderful person who
goes around spreading joy and light to the world, but you would be wrong
about that, mister. Sure, I put up with all that crap at work, but I
don't like it. So don't go putting me up on a pedestal, because I can
assure you that I won't stay up there. For one thing, I don't belong
there. I'm a human being who gets pissed off and irritated, just like
everyone else. And if you don't believe that, just ask my husband." Kay
flashed Josh a grin.
Jack raised his hands in mock surrender and turned to her husband who
had a shit-eating grin on his face. "Is she always like this?"
"Yep, pretty much. Except when she has a really bad day. Then, she's
even worse. And as for PMS, we won't even go there. At least, not
without a flak vest, " Josh answered as he ducked his head to avoid his
wife's awkward swat with her left hand.
"So, exactly why are you here, Jack?" asked Kay point-blank.
From his position in the chair, Josh took note of Jack's reactions to
his wife's very pointed questions. He seemed caught off-guard at her
question, and shifted his feet uneasily as he thought about his
"Well, I guess I remembered how you picked up about me being a former
POW, and how you'd helped me out back then. So, when I saw that you'd
been, you know, held hostage at work, I thought that I might be able to
help you get through it. It was probably a really bad idea, though."
O'Neill shoved his hands in his pockets and looked down at the floor.
Josh's attention switched to watch his wife as she took her time to
think about it. To her husband, it was clear Jack's words bothered her,
but she was trying to work it through too.
Her answer wasn't long in coming. "No, it wasn't a bad idea. It's
just that, oh, I don't know. I'm supposed to have my shit together and
know how to deal with crap like this. After all, I'm the shrink. Don't
you see? I'm the one that's supposed to help other people get through
this very thing all the time." Kay seemed anxious and gave a nervous
laugh. "That's why this will be so hard for me to deal with." She looked
down as her nervous fingers pulled at the edges of the blanket.
Josh patted her on the shoulder, and tried not to notice when she
flinched away from him again. "Yeah, but it's you that was held hostage,
not everyone else, Kay. You know yourself that you're going to need to
talk to someone about this. I think Jack just wants to help you out,
that's all. You'll still be seeing some other professional to get your
head shrunk. He just feels like you helped him out once, and now he
wants to repay the favor. Am I right, Jack?" asked Josh.
Jack raised his eyes up off the floor, looked up at Josh, and then
Kay. "Yep, that's it exactly. So, if you ever want to just talk
sometime, you can call me. I would consider it an honor it you would,"
Jack finished with a half smile. Then he fished his wallet out of his
back pocket, removed a card and handed it to Josh. A quick glance told
Josh that it held Jack's name, home phone number, and address in the
Kay looked at her husband, who nodded his encouragement. "Well, if
you're sure it wouldn't be an imposition," she added in an uncertain
"For crying out loud, Kay. No, it would not be an imposition, and I
really do want to sit down with you and talk about this. As friends,"
Jack said in mock anger, and then he waggled his eyebrows to show he was
kidding her. For himself, Josh was relieved at his actions. The poor
woman had been through enough in one day for him to scare the crap out
of her now. Besides, if Jack did, as her husband, he would probably hunt
him down and hurt him severely.
"As friends?" Kay asked in a tremulous tone.
"Yeah, sure yabetcha," Jack replied with a smile. "Now, I'm going to
get out of here and leave you two love-birds alone before nurse Bertha
throws me out. You call me now," he warned, "or I'll sic Teal'c on you."
Then he smiled, patted Josh on the back and turned to leave.
"Thanks, Jack," Josh called out, rising from his chair. "For
"No problem, friend. Take care of that wife of yours. She's special,"
Jack ordered, then walked out of the room.
Joshua smiled, leaned back into his chair, and
murmured to himself, "Oh, I know, Jack. I know she's very special."