Slight revisions made to chapter the first.
This took so long partly because i didn't want to put up so short a chapter... but it is such a good stoping point. anyway... forgive me?
“Now let me get this straight,” said General Hammond. “You brought a civilian, a minor, onto my base for medical care without my permission?”
Jack nodded mutely. Carter, Teal’c and Daniel were standing around him in a protective arc.
The General continued, “And this minor is in no way a danger to this planet or a victim of alien meddling, intentionally malicious or otherwise?”
Jack just shook his head.
His voice louder this time, the General spoke again. “Now you are telling me to cancel SG-1's mission for tomorrow morning. Have you lost your mind?”
Jack didn’t say anything which only fueled his boss’s anger. General Hammond stood up and walked around his desk until he was invading Jack’s personal space. “Answer me, Colonel!” he yelled.
Carter started to speak in an attempt to diffuse the General’s anger. “Sir, I was the one who brought Miss–“
“Carter, it’s okay,” Jack interrupted. He met his CO’s stare and let all his anger and fear show in his own eyes. “George–“ he started.
“No Colonel, this is not a personal matter,” the General interrupted. “You are second in command of my base and this stunt of yours is both unprofessional and irresponsible.”
This time it was Jack who cut his boss’ tirade short. “With all due respect, sir, this is
personal!” he bit off. “That girl is the only remaining daughter of my sister Joyce. Surely you remember her? The single mother with two kids who died while I was under-cover to fish out that rouge NID group?” Jack paused to take a breath and let the General think for a second.
“Oh god, Jack,” Daniel said, slipping his arm around the shoulders of his dearest friend. “The woman with the brain tumor was your sister?” Daniel was faintly aware of the vague hurt coming from everyone else in the small office. He ignored it, though, because his friend needed him to. Jack just didn’t let people in. The closest he came was reluctantly letting Daniel let himself
in. Why did the others let it hurt them? This is just how Jack and Daniel were.
In an uncharacteristic display of ‘weakness’ Jack leaned into Daniel. God, they shared so much hurt and loss. “Yeah, Danny. She was my baby sister.”
While Daniel was comforting her CO Carter’s brain was working overtime. “Sir,” she started hesitantly, “you said Dawn was from California?” Jack nodded so she continued. “When you took leave in California that time, was it to go to her mother’s funeral?”
Jack shook his head. “I missed her funeral. Not on the planet, remember?”
“Then why...” Carter trailed off.
“Dawn’s sister died,” Daniel realized. He looked at Jack. “You said her sister was dead.”
“Yeah, died less than three months after her mom. Their mom. Little Joycie.” Jack let out what could only be called an anguished sigh. “Long story, not the time right now. Short version: Buffy died when we were on another mission. We got back, I found out, went to Sunnydale, couldn’t find either grave. Looked in all half a dozen or so cemeteries in town. Called in a few favors. Learned Hank–Dawn’s father–got custody of her by default after... after. He let Dawn stay where she was–her life was already pretty well destroyed–with Buffy’s friends and an older man, a close family friend. Couldn’t bear to put her through any more. Made sure they were caring for her well. Came back. Never said hello.”
General Hammond started to speak but had a false start. He knew his second-in-command. This story he just told was not an effort to get out of trouble. Jack O’Neill would never
talk about his personal life this way. In fact, had Hammond not cornered the team when he did, this never would have happened. He never would have heard this story. Daniel might have. Or Jack might have just gotten shit-faced. Either way, this miniature drama would never leave this office.
The General cleared his throat and started to speak. “Alright, son. I understand. Your mission is postponed indefinitely. But why here instead of the Academy hospital?”
Daniel answered before Jack had the chance. “We don’t trust anyone else. Dawn–“ Daniel faltered. He had seen absolutely horrific things in his time with SG-1. He had even spoken about them in a completely unemotional way if the need arose. But this was Jack’s niece...!
“Dawn appears to have been violently attacked, sir,” Carter quietly filled in. “She has at least two head injuries, memory loss, a concussion, disorientation, and...” God, Carter, you can say she was attacked but can’t explain it? Some officer you are. But it’s the Colonel’s niece!
Carter argued with herself. How can I just say that in front of him without being cruel?
“We believe Dawn Summers was what you call ‘raped,’” Teal’c finished. He added, “I believe only Doctor Fraiser to be capable of repairing Dawn Summers to full working order.”
“You what?” General Hammond asked, caught off guard.
Jack stepped in. “He said that only Janet might be able to make Dawn able to have babies. She wasn’t just raped. She was tortured. With a knife or dagger. Something that cuts bad.”
Hammond stepped back and sat on his desk. Someone on this planet did that? Someone in this country? To a little girl? Sure the girl looked
older than his granddaughters, sounded like she must be older, but...
“Security clearance shouldn’t be a problem, sir,” Jack said, misreading Hammond’s displeasure.
“We’ve dealt with civilians in the infirmary before, Jack,” Hammond sighed. “I can–“
“No, sir, you don’t understand.” Jack was visibly embarrassed over how intensely personal the meeting had been so far. His gruffness now was understandable. Commendable, even, if they were in a battle situation. Still, it stung the other people in the small office with him. Did he have any idea how much they cared for him as a person?
“Sir, just request her official records. You should be able to find something at–“
Jack was cut off by Janet’s voice over the PA system. “Colonel O’Neill to the infirmary immediately. Colonel O’Neill to the infirmary.”
He didn’t even look to the General for permission. Jack just bolted out of the office towards the infirmary. The rest of SG-1 and the General looked at each other and headed out as well, although at a more sedate pace.
Janet was waiting for Jack just inside the infirmary. She looked nervous and that scared Jack. Nervous was not a look she often wore. Hell, Janet was without-a-doubt the finest physician on Earth. Nervous on her was not
a reassuring look.
“Jack,” the doctor called out, “come here a minute.”
He grabbed her by the shoulders and demanded, “What is wrong? What happened?”
“Calm down, Colonel, or I will call security!” Janet snapped. The Colonel could really frighten her at times.
“Fine. I’m calm. What happened?”
Janet sighed. There was no chance of Jack calming down any time soon so she might as well just talk to him now. “I agreed with you, sir, that your niece was most likely raped so I have had only females attending to her. It’s standard procedure,” Janet explained to the anxious uncle. She continued, “We took her into surgery, like I said we would, to stop the vaginal bleeding and examine her wounds. Unless you want me to go into detail–“ Jack shook his head ‘no’, “–okay, sir. Well, unless your niece is into extreme masochism,” Janet paused at the look Jack was giving her. “Sorry, sir,” she said. “Let me try this again. There was tearing in Dawn’s cervix and vagina as well as cuts made by something sharp. What was odd, even for a rape, was the splinters.”
“Splinters?” Jack asked, confused.
“Yes, sir,” the doctor replied. “Although I believe something sharp was used to hurt your niece,” Janet paused. This was not something she would enjoy telling anyone, much less Jack. And about his own niece!
“Something sharp,” Jack prompted.He’s making me spell it out!
Janet finally said, “Someone hurt her with rough wood. In surgery we removed a total of fifteen wood splinters.”
For a second Jack was shocked. Wood? Then he felt understanding wash away the surprise only to itself be washed away by concern for Dawn. He started off towards the only patient currently in the infirmary when Janet’s hand on his arm stopped him. “What now?” he barked at the doctor.
“Sir, Dawn woke up several hours earlier than we expected. As you pointed out, she is exhausted.”
“The point, Doc?” Jack ground out.He never makes it easy for me!
“The point is that she reacted horribly to the female staff I had with her. Dawn won’t even let me near her. I need you to calm her down before she makes herself even more ill. I just wanted to warn you that she may react the same way to you. There is a reason we use female staff with a rape,” Janet finished.
Jack stared intently at Janet’s face. From the pale color of Jack’s lips and the way his eyes seemed to sparkle with moisture, Janet gathered that he understood–really understood–what he might find when he encountered his niece. Jack opened his mouth ro say something when a scream pierced the air in the infirmary. This time Janet didn’t stop Jack from bolting off in aid of his niece.
Instead she looked to where the rest of SG-1 and the General were standing. “How much did you hear?”
“Just the very end, Doctor,” General Hammond assured her. Then he asked, “You were trying to let her sleep?”
“Yes,” Janet said. “Natural sleep is better for a body than being knocked out. However, because she was expected to sleep for several hours yet, Dawn hasn’t had any painkillers since the surgery. She must be hurting but she won’t let any of my staff near her.”
After sharing a look the three officers, alien and living source-of-knowledge headed over by the patient but stayed out of sight.
Jack skid to a stop in front of his niece’s bed. Dawn had turned herself sideways so her back was facing the head of the bed. She was curled into the fetal position with a pillow between her knees. Dawn’s arms were wrapped around her middle so tightly they were shaking from the effort. Her long brown hair was wrapped over her delicate face so no one could see her features. There was a wet spot near her face from tears and Jack could hear her moaning. It was a single, low note that never seemed to stop, even for Dawn to breathe.
Slowly but making sure his footsteps made noise [so as to not startle Dawn] Jack walked into what he believed to be Dawn’s field of sight. He walked over to the bed and called out softly, “Dawnie, it’s Uncle Jack.”
Knowing that Dawn had now seen and heard him Jack sat on the cot besides Dawn’s legs. He asked gently, “Is it okay for me to touch you?”
“Uncle Jack?” came the voice from under the hair. “Uncle Jack?”
“I’m here, Dawnie,” Jack replied. He reached out to rub her leg at the same time she flew at him, landing in his lap. No one brags about it but combat training comes in really handy in times of emotional stress. Jack didn’t flinch at all or give any indication that Dawn’s attack caused him any pain. He just moved on the bed so his back was supported by the wall at the head of the bed and adjusted his hold on his niece.
“What happened?” Dawn sobbed out.
“You fainted, Dawnie,” her uncle told her. “You don’t have your period. You were bleeding because you were hurt. Do you remember that?” he asked.
“I was hurt?” Dawn moved her head against Jack’s chest and saw him looking down at her with a pale face and tears in his eyes. “I was hurt,” she said again. “I was hurt and ... and I called you.”
Jack gave his niece a gentle squeeze of a hug. “That’s right, Dawnie. And I came to pick you up. My friends came with.”
“And,” Dawn started shaking. She took a few deep breaths. “And a lady looked at me to see how hurt I was.”
“Samantha. She’s on my team,” Jack replied. He kissed the top of Dawn’s head and squeezed her again. “You’re doing great,” he said.
Dawn straightened out a little and buried her face in Uncle Jack’s neck. Goddess,
she thought, I miss Mom so much. Uncle Jack’s neck is just like Mom’s. It smells like him and it’s warm and... and Buffy never had a mom neck...
She let her tense body relax and just sobbed into her uncle’s neck for several minutes while he rocked from side to side and hummed to her.
Jack leaned back as Dawn’s sobs slowed. When they stopped he whispered, “Are you in any pain, Dawnie?” She nodded so Jack continued. “The doctor said you haven’t had any pain medication since surgery. Do you want some?”
Dawn stuck her arm out and examined the IV line that was taped there. She started to rip it out when Jack’s large hand moved from her back to cover her arm.
“Uncle Jack, you don’t understand,” Dawn said. “This isn’t a real hospital. Something’s wrong.”
Jack looked Dawn in the eye and said, “I took you to my base, Dawnie, not a hospital. I had to have Janet help you. No other doctor in the world is good enough for you.”
Dawn drew back slightly in fear. “B-base?” she asked. “D-doc-doctor Walsh is de-dead.”
“My base, Dawnie, my base. In Colorado. Remember, Dawnie? We’re in Colorado,” Jack said while he hugged his niece closer to his chest. “No Doctor Walsh. No Adam. Only the people I trust most in the world. Only people good enough for me to trust with your care.”
That was it. She couldn’t take any more. Jack’s words were so full of truth and love that Dawn felt safe. Not the kind of safe where you run into your house and the vamp can’t follow or the kind where the sun first crests the horizon and you know you and your friends will live for one more day. Jack was making her feel the kind of safe that she felt when Buffy hugged her and accidentally squeezed too tight, the kind where Mom was on one side and Buffy was on the other and they fell asleep in Mom’s bed all together.
She looked up into her uncle’s eyes. “I love you, Uncle Jack,” she said. “I trust you to protect me.” That said, Dawn started to fall into a deep sleep to heal her abused body. As the world faded away she felt hot tears on her face and heard her uncle say, “I will always protect you, Dawnie. I’ll keep you safe.”