|Slash:||Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.|
|Synopsis:||Jack watches the sunrise and realizes what he has.|
|Warnings:||My usual sentimental stuff.|
Colonel Jack O'Neill wasn't sure what awakened him. Beside him, Daniel's breathing was slow and steady. Jack partially unzipped his sleeping bag and sat up, still confused.
"Whaz wrong, Ja..." Daniel muttered half asleep.
"Nothing, Daniel." Jack reached out and patted a covered shoulder. "Go back to sleep."
Jack sat quietly in the tent, listening intently. He could hear the slight crackle of the fire as Teal'c stirred it, the sigh of a breeze in the tall, tall trees that surrounded their camp. Something was missing. Jack smiled as he grabbed his boots. He could no longer hear rain, the rain that had been falling steadily for their five days on P2W-115. He shoved his damp socks into damp boots and grabbed a damp jacket as he crawled out of the tent.
Teal'c turned to face him as he stood up.
"When did it stop?" Jack asked as he held his hands over the small fire they'd managed to keep burning despite the constant drizzle.
"Approximately one hour ago, O'Neill," Teal'c informed him. "DanielJackson will be most disappointed that we will not have longer to explore the ruins."
"Teal'c, according to Daniel we never have enough time to explor. And let's not forget that just last night, Daniel was complaining that he never wants to go to a planet with rain again." Jack grinned.
"That will greatly reduce our off-world missions, O'Neill," Teal'c said gravely. A couple of years ago, Jack would have taken Teal'c's comment as a serious one, now he appreciated it for the humor it left unspoken.
"I'm sure I'll be able to convince him otherwise," Jack nodded. "I'm going to take a little walk, Teal'c."
Teal'c resumed his watch and Jack took off down the path that led to the bluffs overlooking the sea after taking a small detour to the latrine. Jack was sure the view was spectacular when it wasn't overshadowed by low gray clouds and rain. He emerged from the forest and stood transfixed.
The last clouds were being swept away by the breeze and Jack looked up into a sky full of stars. It was surreal at times, looking into an alien sky.
Daniel once told him, not long after he'd come back to Earth, that he used to play a game and try to guess which star was Earth's sun, that despite Sha're and Skaara and Kasuf and belonging, there were times he remembered he was on an alien world and he longed for familiar stars and familiar faces. It had been a long time before Jack told Daniel that when he returned to Earth after the first mission to Abydos, he used to sit on his roof and search the heavens for Abydos' sun and think of a certain geeky archaeologist and a friendship that had barely had time to develop.
"Then I guess we're lucky we found each other again, Jack," Daniel said that night.
"Damn straight, Daniel," Jack agreed and poured Daniel another cup of coffee.
Jack stuffed his hands deep into his pockets and watched as the stars faded and the faintest tinge of light began suffusing the horizon. Five days on this planet and they had yet to see a sunrise. Jack found that he was looking forward to the prospect of one. Bird song began to fill the air.
Jack wished that Teal'c or Daniel or Carter would come walking down the path to share the sunrise. But Teal'c wouldn't leave camp while Carter and Daniel still slept, and Jack doubted either of them would wake soon.
Carter wasn't feeling exactly herself. She'd gotten her period this mission and this time the cramps had been bad. They never spoke of it of course, but after six years of going on missions together, it wasn't like Jack or the others didn't recognize the pinched look she got around her eyes when she had a rough time of it. That plus the fact that some months Carter was just plain bitchy during these times. Unfortunately, Jack had been on the receiving end of her glares for the past week. Accidentally contaminating one of her samples yesterday had been the icing on the cake.
No, Jack corrected himself, the icing on the cake had been Daniel and Teal'c coming back to camp arguing. Jack wasn't sure what it was about, since Daniel wouldn't talk and Teal'c just said that they'd worked it out. But Jack had a pretty good guess it had something to do with the most precarious of the ruins that he'd forbidden Daniel to enter the first day they arrived.
Jack took a deep breath and scrubbed a hand through his hair. Good thing they were going home today and getting out from under each other's feet for a while. He hoped that was going to be enough to get SG1 back on track. They'd derailed more than their share of times in the not so distant past but he thought they were getting it all back, that comfortable knowing, that ability to anticipate each other's needs without any words at all.
Maybe if this mission had been just a tad bit more exciting. Jack sighed. He might as well have stayed at the SGC. You just couldn't do your job as a commander when there were no commands to give. Well, except to forbid Daniel to crawl into that very unstable collapsed temple. Carter and Daniel were perfectly capable of doing their jobs with no assistance from an Air Force Colonel. Teal'c always had plenty to do. Daniel wanted the Jaffa to tell him if he recognized any of the writings in the buildings that were still standing. Carter wanted to see if Teal'c could identify any of the plants she gathered. Nobody seemed to want Jack. It was pretty pathetic, Jack thought, when he was reduced to longing for a group of Jaffa to walk through the Gate so he could feel useful.
It was probably the rain that was depressing him. You couldn't be expected to maintain a cheerful attitude when every piece of clothing, everything you had with you, was in a permanently damp state. If he turned his head slightly to the left, Jack could see the rain far out to sea. He smiled at a stray memory, at a time when rain held wonder.
It was just after their first encounter with Hathor and although Jack was battling his own demons, he knew that Daniel's were just as hellish. Jack was driving home from the Mountain one afternoon and saw Daniel's car parked in an overlook and Daniel standing beside it in the gentle rain. He approached cautiously, unsure if this was something he should be worried about or not. Daniel turned and smiled at him in wonder. "I forgot, Jack. I forgot what rain felt like."
Jack stood confused until Daniel spoke again. "I haven't seen rain since I've been back. It didn't rain the whole time I was on Abydos. Sha're...Sha're would love..." Daniel stopped abruptly, the wetness on his face suddenly more than rain. Jack stood by him silently, finally reaching out a hand to gently squeeze Daniel's shoulder in quiet understanding.
Jack turned at a sound of someone's boots on the path and smiled as Daniel emerged from the woods. Daniel smiled back and hurried to Jack's side.
Daniel nodded and looked seaward. "Wow, " he breathed.
"Yeah," Jack agreed. "Quite a light show." The stars had completely faded now and the sky directly above was an almost translucent cobalt blue. The horizon was awash with lavender blending into a deep rose.
"You okay, Jack?" Daniel asked, his eyes never leaving the view.
"I'm fine, Daniel," Jack whispered back, not wanting to bring human intrusion into this place, this moment. Daniel stood so close Jack could feel the fine hairs on Daniel's arm tickling his, feel the heat from Daniel's body, smell the coffee Daniel must have had had before he'd come out to the bluff. He felt rather than saw Daniel's miniscule nod, the nod that meant, good, I'm glad.
It felt right having Daniel by his side. Jack would have never believed that when he'd first met the man. Funny how things changed, Jack thought, how Daniel jumping in front of the blast from a staff weapon on a planet light years away from Earth had made him realize that there was still good in the world, how that same man sitting in his living room a year later made Jack realize that he was still needed, and how finding Daniel standing outside the railing of the balcony of the apartment made Jack realize he still had the capacity for love that filled his heart to overflowing. Daniel was where he belonged: by Jack's side, next to his heart.
Jack heard Carter and Teal'c walking towards them, their voices carrying on the breeze. Carter came up beside him and stopped, mouth agape at the view.
"That's beautiful," she whispered.
"Yes, it is, isn't it?" Jack whispered back, smiling at her.
She gave a tentative smile back. "Sir, I want to apologize for my behavior on this mission." The words came out in a rush, almost as if she feared that he was angry.
"Noted, Carter," Jack said sticking with formality. He grinned to let her know there were no hard feelings. "Now, be quiet and enjoy the show."
She let out a sigh and moved in front of him, folding her legs to sit cross legged on the ground, heedless of the damp earth, entranced by the continuing dance of light.
"Um...Teal'c..." Daniel leaned slightly around him to look at the other man. "About yesterday? I'm sorry."
"Understood, DanielJackson," Teal'c nodded. "I, too, apologize. My concern for your well being..."
"Look," Jack interrupted with a low whisper. "Look." He used his very best Air Force Colonel's voice.
Teal'c took up a position behind and slightly to Daniel's left. The rose and lavender now filled the entire sky and there was just a small smudge of a golden glow peeping over the horizon, growing larger and appearing to race towards them over the sea.
A sudden image of his grandfather popped into Jack's mind. He remembered his grandfather whispering him awake in the cold Minnesota mornings and bundling him into his big warm coat. Grandpa O'Neill would take him to the dock and they'd sit and watch the sunrise together, the feeling of belonging so strong that Jack could still remember the weight of that coat, the sips of coffee his grandpa would give him from his Thermos and the cries of the loons calling across the lake. Jack blinked back tears as another image abruptly came to mind, one of him waking Charlie up and sitting with him on that same dock for one brief glorious week the summer before he died.
Daniel shifted, his fingers lightly squeezing Jack's and then loosening. Jack brought his arm and around Daniel's shoulder without thinking. Maybe that was the circle, he mused. His grandfather passed the gift onto him, he passed it onto Charlie for such a short, short while, and now that Charlie was gone it was his duty to pass it on yet again to his new family.
Jack thought of the photograph he carried in the bottom of his pack. None of the others knew he carried it, he was sure, not even Daniel. It was a picture Cassie had taken of the four of them a few months after Sha're died, after Nick, after the appendix. Daniel was standing where he stood now, to Jack's left, Carter had been sitting on the ground in front of them, and Teal'c was by Daniel's other side. They were all smiling, Jack's arm was thrown around Daniel's shoulder and Carter had her head thrown back looking up at them because Daniel was laughing for the first time in weeks. Strange how they seemed to echo that photo now.
The sun rose ever so slowly, likely yet another star among the millions that peppered the night sky of Earth. Jack wondered if he'd be able to find it, one among so very many. But of course, it didn't really matter. He would always hold this star in his heart; remember the magic of this sunrise when everything came back where it belonged in the small circle of SG1. Jack patted Daniel's shoulder lightly before dropping his arm back to his side. He turned and began on the path back to camp without a word, Daniel at his back, Carter behind him and Teal'c bringing up the rear because after all, families sometimes have no need of words, they speak the language of the heart.