Heart of Mercy

By

JayEm

When the team is called off-world to aid an ally, Jack and Daniel are subjected to a mental and emotional journey that strips away all their defenses and leads them to discoveries not only of each other but of themselves as they fight to defeat an old enemy. The journey continues when they return home as dreams of an unthinkable future threaten to destroy their new-found connection.

A rewritten compilation of two Jmas gen novels (available from Pyramids Press) with added slash scenes by JayEm. All Jack/Daniel.

Cover art by The Cat’s Meow Creative Arts. Approximately 126,000 words. Color cover. Seven color inserts. 177 pages of reduced print in columnar format.

 

Heart of Mercy on Paper

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Here are some short excerpts from the novel:

The voice whispered softly in his ear—tickling, insistent, the wrong voice, but so undeniable ….

Colonel Jack O’Neill sighed and rolled over, arms seeking this dream lover, the one with the hypnotic, compelling voice and found … nothing but the rough, durable military bedding on the too-narrow bunk in the cubicle optimistically termed “quarters” he used when staying over at the Cheyenne Mountain military complex.

Jack frowned as memory penetrated his sleep-deprived brain. His team was restricted to the mountain for a few more days following their last, very difficult, mission. They had all been pushed to their limits during a week of playing tag with some very unfriendly natives who seemed to view anything coming through the Stargate as a potential addition to the dinner menu. Upon their return, Doctor Fraiser had insisted they were all too dehydrated, undernourished and generally exhausted, not to mention too possessed of an impressive assortment of cuts, scrapes, bumps and bruises to be allowed to go home.

The petite doctor had summoned the considerable force of her medical will to browbeat them all into staying on base so she could keep a watchful eye on them. Jack had grudgingly admitted they were all pretty thoroughly drained by the prolonged tension of outrunning and outsmarting the rather aggressively hungry natives.

Hell, we probably would have given them terminal indigestion anyway … Jack reflected philosophically, letting his mind wander over the macabre possibilities.

He smiled at the image, and the certainty, that Daniel would have proven as difficult to digest inside as his ten-dollar words often were outside. Carter tended toward the same sort of wordiness as Daniel when it came to her specialty of quantum physics, so Jack imagined a Carter-like wormhole virus decimating the ranks of any of the scruffy humanoids who dined on her. Jack figured Teal’c would have been a lot like himself, tough going down and sticking around for repeated encores.

Forget Montezuma’s revenge, we’d have caused a run on the market in the local version of Pepto-Bismol.

Jack chuckled to himself, knowing the graveyard humor was just his way of dealing with the frankly harrowing reality of what had been one of the narrowest escapes in a long and time honored tradition of close encounters for SG-1.

Breathing deeply and making a concentrated effort to dispel the images, Jack rolled onto his stomach, actively intending to seek out his preferred dream voice. Closing his eyes, he decided there were far more pleasant pursuits at his disposal than hindsight.

Then he heard it again.

It finally dawned on him the voice was not a part of his dreams. It was real; someone was calling to him.

Sliding off the bunk and into his fatigues with the practiced ease of a man used to being dragged out of bed at all hours, Jack slipped his feet into his boots without bothering to lace them up and moved into the corridor with a sense of overwhelming urgency.

He had to—go.

“Jack?” Daniel’s voice croaked on the last consonant so he tried again. “Jack?”

“Yeah, buddy?”

“We’re okay?”

A laugh.

“Yeah, we’re okay. Are you okay?”

Daniel thought a moment, felt a vague emptiness, a tendency to drift if he forgot to concentrate, and a myriad of aches in places he couldn’t quite identify.

“Sure, fine.” Daniel closed his eyes against sudden dizziness.

“Uh huh …” Jack’s wry tone almost made Daniel smile.

At least, he wanted to smile, but the simple muscular exercise seemed beyond his current abilities. It felt like it was taking all his fragile energy just to be here, like if he let his attention wander he would be lost beyond recall …

The warm pressure of Jack’s hand tightened as if sensing Daniel’s tenuous state. The firm grip was like a lifeline.

Daniel opened his eyes again. “What …?”

Jack smiled again, settling on the ground beside Daniel. “What happened? Klorel zapped you with his glow light, I got in the middle of it, Klorel went down for the count, Teal’c and Carter took out the Jaffa, and we headed for the hills …”

Daniel nodded, vaguely remembering the green light and the wrenching feeling it had caused before he had stopped feeling anything at all.

“Safe?” His voice was barely a whisper, but he couldn’t seem to muster the energy for more.

Jack nodded, looking around at the damp walls glowing in the firelight. “For now, but Klorel won’t stay dead for long. We can rest for a while, but they’ll be looking for us.”

Nodding slightly, Daniel closed his eyes even as the thought crossed his mind that Klorel would be pretty thoroughly pissed about Jack killing him again. As he drifted toward sleep, Daniel felt Jack’s hand relax.

The dissolution nagged at the edges of his reality ….

Daniel tried to open his eyes, but could see nothing but swirling colors, could feel nothing at all ….

Then the hand was back.

And so was Daniel, sinking into sleep with the vague concern something very strange was going on with Jack.

Join the SGC, have your world view blown all to hell ….

Her ex-husband may have believed he knew what “this man’s army” was all about, but the redneck bastard had never dreamed of the things she dealt with on an almost daily basis.

Janet had certainly faced a great many strange things in her time with the Stargate Project, but this definitely had to list among the strangest. From her point of view, sitting on the floor opposite the Nox and monitoring the conditions of her friends, it appeared very little was happening. If not for the erratic readings of the instruments and monitors, and the taut, effort-strained bodies of the three Nox so obviously expending energy on some unseen level, Janet would doubt anything at all was happening to help the colonel and Daniel.

So far the physical effects were negligible. There were occasional stirrings, as if they were in pain and Janet found herself imagining brain surgery on a telekinetic level. But the Nox were not “operating” on her friends’ brains, but on something far more vital to Janet’s way of thinking. If ever there were two people tuned into their souls, these were the ones. This had to come out well; it simply had to.

Checking her watch, Janet noted they had just entered into the third hour of the procedure. Surely something would happen soon …

Daniel screamed. Long, low, mournful … as if he had just lost …

The call had come within an hour of them finally getting to sleep, entwined in a sweaty, sated heap in the middle of Daniel’s oversized bed. Jack had hoped, however briefly, the phone would fail to wake him, hoped even more briefly some new crisis had not arisen ….

He really was getting too old to hope.

Daniel had come awake in a rush, leaning over Jack’s shoulder as he answered the phone.

What neither of them had expected to hear was that one of their worst fears had come to pass—Cassie was ill. The little, or not so little anymore, girl was as close to each of them as a child of their own—that something bad could happen to her was simply unimaginable.

Considering how often similar scenarios had played out in his and in Daniel's life, Jack knew there was no way the other man was just going to sit at home, much less get any more sleep. Waiting at home was not Daniel's style any more than it was Jack’s.

No, we can all wait right here on these hard plastic seats, not knowing what’s causing it and not knowing if Cass is going to make it …

Barely holding back his anger at himself for not being able to make things better for their girl, Jack sneaked a glance beside him where Daniel sat, hollow-eyed and tense gaze burning a hole into the closed infirmary door. Worry marked every line of the other man’s body, the fear for the child they had all come to love as part of their family taking precedence over any personal considerations. For himself, Jack was divided in his concern. How many more times would Daniel be forced to shove his own needs to the side before it became one time too many? How much more could the man take before his body or his spirit just gave up and stopped trying?

The Nox were far too silent. After all they had been through, Jack had no idea why they would ignore a plea for help from SG-1. They couldn’t go to the Nox. But the Nox sure as hell weren’t coming to them. The silence naturally led to troubling speculations. What if Klorel had returned? What if some other more natural crisis had the Nox occupied?

What if, what if, what if …

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