The Scent Of Memory by babs
Slash:  Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: PG-13.
Category: Angst.  Drama.  Hurt/Comfort.
Season/Spoilers: Season 5.
Synopsis: You know how there are certain scents you always remember? Daniel does. 
Warnings: None, nada, zilch. 
Length:  14Kb

The Scent Of Memory by babs

"Daniel?" Sam Carter frowned as Daniel's face paled. "What's wrong?"

"DanielJackson," Teal'c said. "You do not look well."

Daniel stood up abruptly from the table in the restaurant. "I...Excuse me." He headed towards the men's room at a brisk pace, nausea churning his stomach. He barely made it into a stall before his dinner came back up.

"Daniel?" Jack demanded. "Open the damn door."

Daniel grabbed some toilet paper to wipe his mouth and reached back to open the latch before flushing the toilet.

"You okay?" Jack reached out a steadying hand. "Geez you look like shit."

"Thanks for the complement, Jack," Daniel said with a weary smile. He sighed as Jack reached out a hand and felt his forehead, pushing it away impatiently. "I don't have a fever."

"Then what happened?" Jack persisted. "You don't normally puke up your dinner right after you eat it."

"I told you, I'm fine now," Daniel insisted. "It was just that woman's perfume."

"What perfume?" Jack was eyeing him suspiciously. "I didn't smell any."

"Yeah, well, I could smell it as soon as she sat down," Daniel shrugged. "I don't think I can sit there through dessert."

"Here," Jack handed him his keys. "I'll go tell Sam and Teal'c, and then I'll be out."

Daniel nodded. It was easier than arguing with the immovable force that was Jack in 'mother hen' mode.

He hated that perfume. Daniel had never smelled it before the day his parents died, and he'd hated it ever since. It smelled more like death than death itself, and to escape it he found himself sitting in Jack's Jeep with the door open despite the frigid winter air. For once he didn't mind being cold. He couldn't seem to get enough of the clean, untainted air. Still tasting the perfume in the back of his throat, Daniel hoped that Jack would just let it rest. He didn't want to, he couldn't, talk about it tonight. He wanted to get home, take a shower and wash off the smell of death. Daniel leaned his head back and closed his eyes.

"Daniel?" Sam's voice startled him. "I hope you're feeling better."

Daniel smiled at her. "I'm fine now. It was just that perfume."

Sam nodded. "I know. I smelled it too. I think she must have taken a bath in it. I used to have a Sunday School teacher who wore Tabu all the time. I thought it was her for a moment." She gave a small laugh.

He managed a nod in return. It finally had a name. After all these years, Daniel finally knew the name of it: Tabu. He shivered slightly, starting to notice the cold and stepped out of the Jeep giving Sam a gentle hug, breathing in the smell of her raspberry scented shampoo. "I'm sorry I ruined your dinner, Sam."

Sam pulled back and smiled up at him. "You didn't ruin it, Daniel. You can't help it if you're allergic to a perfume."

Daniel didn't bother correcting her and just nodded.

"C'mon, Daniel," Jack placed a warm hand on his shoulder. "We'd better be getting you home. We have that briefing at 0600 tomorrow."

Daniel climbed back in the Jeep and watched as Jack turned the heater as high as it would go.

"You're not allergic to that Tabu stuff, are you?" Jack asked softly a few blocks from the restaurant.

"No," Daniel replied just as quietly. He looked out the side window. 'Please, please, just get me home.'

"You wanna talk about it?" Jack pressed.

"No," Daniel whispered. "Not tonight, Jack. I can't."

Jack nodded. "You know if..."

Daniel cut him off. " I know, Jack. Just...I can't." He closed his eyes, only to have them fly open as the first image he saw was that of his parents standing under the coverstone, his dad directing the workers to lower it slowly.

Jack had parked the Jeep and was looking at him worriedly. "Danny?" Jack's hand came out to cover his friend's cold one.

"I'll be fine," Daniel said, his voice sounding weak even to himself. "I'll see you at the briefing tomorrow." He fumbled with the door and felt Jack catch his arm.

"You need to talk about whatever it is, Danny, " Jack insisted. Daniel was far too pale, and his hand had been like ice under Jack's own. He could feel Daniel's arm trembling through the thin material of the archaelogist's jacket. Daniel was in major avoidance mode with a capital A, and much as Jack hated to admit it, he had the feeling he was going to have to let Daniel go until his friend was ready to talk.

"Jack," Daniel said. "Please."

Jack let go reluctantly. It hadn't been the words. Daniel had asked him to mind his own business plenty of times in the past, and on those occasions Jack had forced his way in until Daniel opened up. This time was different. This time Daniel's voice indicated a far deeper hurt. This time it was a plea for patience. Jack had absolutely no doubt that Daniel would tell him whatever it was, he just had to be patient. Unfortunately Jack wasn't known for his patience.

Jack shifted uncomfortably on the hard chair. The incense being burned by the natives of P5S-873 tickled his nose and was giving him a headache. Across the room, Teal'c spoke to one of the village elders. Carter was surrounded by teenaged girls who marveled at her blond hair. Beside him, Daniel was talking to the man who was the local equivalent of the mayor. Jack smiled and nodded politely when the man, Nico, turned to him and said something that Daniel translated as agreement to allow a diplomatic team to return to the planet in a week's time. Nodding, Jack accepted the glass of beer that was offered.

The little girl in Nico's arms held her arms out to Daniel. Daniel took her quietly as her father and Jack drank to the new alliance. She held a small piece of cloth to his face and smiled when her new friend rubbed his face against it. She took it away then and lay her head down on his shoulder, the cloth close to her face. Feeling her breath deepen, Daniel knew she had slipped into sleep. "Alana," Nico said softly, his dark eyes filled with love for his daughter. He gently took her back from Daniel. "Her mother died at the harvest time." He fingered the brightly colored piece of cloth. "She smells her mother on it. It brings her comfort."

Jack felt Daniel's body tense beside his. Daniel stammered out an apology, something about the incense affecting his allergies and bolted through the door.

Offering his own apology, Jack waited until Nico smiled in understanding and waved him after Daniel. Jack found Daniel on the stone bridge that marked the entrance to the village. Daniel's arms were wrapped tightly around his chest, and his breath was coming as hard as if he'd been running. He was looking down into the water.

"Danny?" Jack asked. He heard Daniel take a deep breath before words came tumbling from him in a rush.

"When the coverstone fell I didn't know what had happened. I didn't know where my mom and dad were, and then I heard other people screaming. I think I started crying, I was so scared. I don't think I understood, and I guess I was kind of a nuisance wandering around, asking for them. I guess they decided that I shouldn't be there while they tried to recover...well, you know... the bodies."&&& "Somebody handed me off to one of the docents, and she tried to take me out of the room. She was holding me so tight and all I could smell was her perfume. I didn't even know what it was called until Sam told me the other night. The woman wouldn't let me go. I kept trying to get away, but she kept holding me tighter and tighter until I thought I'd suffocate." Daniel wiped at his eyes furiously. Jack's hand tightened on his shoulder. He let himself lean into Jack's warmth, breathing in sandalwood and citrus.

Jack felt Daniel relax a little. Daniel's body was warm against him, Daniel's head resting on his shoulder. IfJack turned his head just slightly, he could smell the rosemary hint of Daniel's shampoo. Jack forced himself to slow his breathing, to relax his own muscles at the anger that an eight year old child would carry into adulthood the thought that he was a nuisance because he was scared and crying for his dead parents. He had this horrible vision of a frantic child struggling against a woman who was holding him, until he finally collapsed from grief. Jack felt his friend's arms come around his waist, Daniel's tears soaking into his jacket. Jack kept his own arms loose around Daniel, not wanting to trigger anxiety. Time paused until Jack heard and felt Daniel give a huge sigh and pull away.

"I'm sorry," Daniel said. "I shouldn't have lost it like that."

Smiling sadly, Jack shook his head. "You don't need to be sorry, Danny." He pulled Daniel close for a swift hug. "When Charlie died I used to go into his room and pull out his clothes, trying to smell him. I pulled one of his shirts out of the dirty laundry and hid it from Sara." Tears tickled at his nose. "I'd bury my face in it whenever I'd miss him."

Daniel's cold hand squeezed the colonel's in understanding. When he spoke, his voice was so low that Jack barely heard him. "They took all their clothes. I wanted to smell them again. Be near them again. I didn't have anything to remind me of them. My dad always used this lime scented aftershave, and he'd put a little on me when he'd shave. Mom had one bottle of perfume. She didn't use it when we were on digs, but she'd use just the tiniest bit every day. Dad had it made especially for her when they were in Paris one time." Daniel smiled in remembrance. "She smelled like Lily of the Valley. She always said it was because it was the first flowers my dad ever gave her, and then he'd laugh and say those were the only flowers he'd ever given her." His voice trailed off.

"Danny," Jack said.

"I know, Jack. Thanks," Daniel replied, giving him a smile. "We'd better get back to the reception." He swiped at his eyes one more time and blew his nose into the tissue Jack handed him. "I'll be okay."

"I know, Daniel, " Jack said and gave one more swift squeeze to Daniel's shoulder.
 
 

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When there was no answer to his knock, Jack got out his key to unlock Daniel's apartment door. "Hey, Dan..." His shout quickly lowered in volume when he spied Daniel sound asleep on the couch, legs sprawled in front of him, hands thrown to the side, head tilted back. Jack shook his head. "You're going to have one hell of a stiff neck if you keep sleeping like that, Danny boy," he muttered. Jack grinned as he eased Daniel carefully to his side after placing his present on the coffee table. "And you were supposed to be cooking me dinner," he whispered, not that he cared.

He was relieved that Daniel was sleeping, and sleeping soundly. Daniel had been stretching himself thin the past couple of weeks. Jack gathered the papers that were strewn across the floor, coffee table and couch, putting them in a neat pile. Knowing Daniel, he'd complain that Jack had somehow managed to disrupt his filing system. Jack patted Daniel's leg after removing Daniel's sneakers. "Sleep tight, Danny," he said before he went to Daniel's kitchen to start dinner.

Danny was half asleep. He could hear the murmur of grown up voices in the other room. Mom and Dad were having a party, which meant that Mom was wearing her special dress that felt all soft when she gave him a hug. He reached out a hand for his elephant and couldn't find him. He opened his eyes, but it was dark. Before he even finished crying, Mom was there. She held him close.

"Shhh, Danny." She whispered. She'd even found Chester. Danny held his elephant tightly in one hand and Mom's dress in the other. Mom was kissing his hair. He was a big boy during the day and didn't need kisses then, well except for when he hurt himself, but at night, in the dark, he needed lots of kisses. "I'll just be in the next room," Mom whispered before she kissed him again. "And I'll come back to say good night again." "Mmm-hmmm," Danny snuggled his face into his pillow, smelling the perfume his mom always wore, the flower with the funny name.

Daniel took in a deep breath and stretched his arms over his head, opening his eyes. He could have sworn he could smell his mom's perfume. He smiled as he spied the small vase on his coffee table. Drawing the flowers closer, he closed his eyes briefly and inhaled the sweet spring smell of Lily of the Valley. There was a small card with the flowers. Daniel didn't need to open it to know who'd brought them, but he did anyway. Jack's familiar scrawl greeted his eyes. 'For Daniel, who is not a nuisance. Love, Jack.' Daniel leaned his head back to meet amused brown eyes.

"Thank you," Daniel said. He cleared his throat, then his eyes widened as memory returned. "Oh my God, Jack, I invited you for dinner. " He started to stand, only to have Jack's hands press him back to the couch.

"It's already in the oven," Jack said, coming around to sit beside Daniel "You were snoring away when I got here. I figured if I wanted anything to eat I'd have to make it myself." He grinned as Daniel swatted at him. "Fine host you turn out to be."

Daniel waved the card in Jack's face. "You know, I'm going to use this whenever you complain about my lectures."

"Yeah, yeah," Jack said as Daniel's fingers threaded through his.

"How long until dinner's ready?" Daniel asked in a soft tone.

Jack looked at his watch. "Oh, I don't know. About an hour or so."

"Well, I could provide an appetizer." Daniel smiled and brought his hand up to trace Jack's ear. He leaned further into Jack. "And if dinner's really good, maybe I could even be persuaded to provide dessert."

Jack turned his head to kiss Daniel's palm. "I take it back, Danny. I think you're being an excellent dinner host."

"I always aim to please, Jack." Daniel pulled Jack closer. "Always," he whispered just before their lips met.

FINIS
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babs, 2002.
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Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. These stories are for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. These stories may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author. Copyright on images remains with the above named rightsholders.
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