The Start of Something Beautiful by babs
Friendship:  Gen stories about the friendship between Col. Jack O'Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson, with a team focus.
Rating: G.
Category: Angst.  Friendshop.
Season/Spoilers: Season 1.  Spoilers for Children of the Gods, Broca Divide.
Synopsis: A tag and missing scene for Children of the Gods, Broca Divide
Warnings: None
Length:  47 Kb

The Start of Something Beautiful  by babs

Jack sneaked a glance at Daniel Jackson as he stopped at a red light. The man he remembered from the mission to Abydos, from that first trip through the Gate, was subdued. The enthusiasm he'd greeted Jack and the others with when they had opened the Gate again was gone. Daniel hadn't spoken once since they'd left Cheyenne Mountain, had said nothing after his quiet statement in the near deserted halls.

"They don't know what to do with me; I don't know what to do with myself."

The self assured man who had promised with supreme confidence that he could return Jack's team from Abydos that first time had disappeared with the attack that killed so many of the young men of Abydos and taken Sha're and Skaara prisoners. Jack tightened his grip on the steering wheel, the loss of Skaara an open wound.

Jack heard a quick intake of breath from his silent passenger and watched as Daniel wrapped his arms even tighter around himself and give a small shiver.

"You cold?" Jack asked even as he turned the heater up higher. It wasn't particularly cold considering it was February in Colorado but Jack supposed compared to the heat of Abydos it was as frigid as the Arctic.

"Thanks," Daniel said quietly, looking at Jack through a pair of glasses held together with tape.

"No problemo, Daniel." Jack grinned, trying to take away some of the sadness that pervaded Daniel, to make the obviously uncomfortable man more at ease.

"Not just for..." Daniel made a slight waving motion with one hand, "but you know, for all of it."

"Yeah," Jack finally was able to make his left turn. "You hungry, Daniel? There's a McDonald's up ahead."

"No, no. I'm fine." Daniel kept his eyes fixed on the minivan ahead of them, his hands coming up every now and again when the mini van's brake lights came on.

Jack smiled at that. Guess living somewhere where the fastest you could go was if you climbed on the back of a mastadage kinda made you forget about city traffic.

Daniel cleared his throat as they stopped at the next light, the golden arches of McDonalds in the next block. "I don't mind if you want to get something, Jack."

Jack shook his head. "Let's just get home." He saw Daniel's flinch at the word home. He knew how just Daniel felt. Jack's current living arrangements were comfortable, but his house didn't feel like a home. Home was Sara and Charlie; he didn't have now and wouldn't ever have them again.



"You want another beer, Daniel?" Jack held up his own empty bottle. Daniel's earlier comment about the beer going right to his head wasn't fooling Jack despite his own cheap date comment. He hadn't missed the glisten of tears in Daniel's eyes when he'd reminisced about grinding yephetta flour. Somehow Jack didn't have any problems imagining Daniel doing just that. He couldn't help remembering the enthusiasm that Daniel Jackson had held when they first met the Abydonians, the look of wide-eyed wonder that lit Daniel's eyes. Daniel must have driven the Abydonians crazy with endless questions as he learned to live in an alien culture.

Daniel looked up at him, his eyes confused as if he'd forgotten for a few moments just why he was back on Earth. Just as quickly, Daniel ducked his head once more returning his gaze to the military issued boots. "Um, no thanks. I'm fine."

'Sure you are,' Jack kept his thoughts to himself as he stood up and stretched. "You mind if I have another?" Just what the hell had he let himself in for? Jack O'Neill, keeper of stray archaeologists. He didn't have a clue of what to say to Daniel. Hell, he didn't have a clue what was going to happen tomorrow when they went back to the base.

"Huh?" Daniel's head shot up once more then he gave Jack a small half-hearted smile. "No, no. It's your house." Daniel clutched the empty beer bottle as if it was his lifeline to sanity.

He stood up when Jack did, taking one hesitant step towards the kitchen as Jack did.

"C'mon. Let's see if we can rustle up something to eat." Jack motioned towards the kitchen. He was conscious of Daniel following a step or two behind. The hesitant footsteps stopped at the kitchen entry.

"Recycling bin's over there." Jack pointed to the bin by the back door. He stepped back to let Daniel pass by and leaned over to open the refrigerator. Looked like he wasn't going to have much to offer Daniel, unless the other man was willing to eat some questionable lunch meat that Jack couldn't remember buying. He pulled out the milk and took a sniff. That smelled okay at least.

"Want some cereal?" Jack asked pulling down some bowls and a box of Cocoa Puffs.

Daniel turned from the bin, his arms holding the oversized jacket closed once again. He started to shake his head and then walked slowly to the table and sat when Jack pointed to a chair.

"I've been listening to your stomach growl for the last hour, Daniel. Sit, eat."

"Cocoa Puffs?"

"Hey, I like them." Jack poured a generous amount into Daniel's bowl and then handed him the milk carton.

Daniel poured in the milk and took a huge spoonful. Jack watched as the other man's eyes closed in near ecstasy.

"Good," Daniel muttered. He finished his bowl in near record time.

"Want some more?" Jack pushed the cereal box towards Daniel.

Daniel looked up, a strange look coming over his face.

"I..." he began swallowing convulsively.

"Ah, crap." Jack grabbed Daniel's arm and pulled him along to the bathroom.

Daniel fell to his knees in front of the toilet, his dry heaves quickly giving way to vomiting.

"Sorry," Daniel gasped out as the spasms subsided. "Sorry."

"Guess beer and Cocoa Puffs aren't the best combination," Jack joked as he handed Daniel a wet washcloth. "You okay now?"

Daniel slowly stood, resting a hand on the counter. "I'm fine." Jack handed him a cup of water. Daniel took it, rinsing his mouth and spitting. He stood still, head down, looking at the running water as if it was a great wonder.

"Here." Jack pressed a new toothbrush into Daniel's hand, not knowing what to say to the tears he saw glittering in Daniel's eyes. "Brush up. I'll get you some old sweats to wear."

Daniel nodded. "Thank you."

Jack leaned against the bathroom door as he closed it behind him listening to the soft sounds of Daniel's grief, his own grief at the loss of Skaara fresh and raw.

"We'll get through this, Daniel. I promise," he whispered. Jack wasn't sure if he was trying to convince himself or Daniel, maybe both. He hadn't a clue how or where to start. Jack pushed away from the door to go get Daniel some clean clothes. And if Daniel needed to sit awake all night talking about grinding flour, Jack vowed he'd sit and listen to every word.



Jack had a strange sense of déjà vu as he stopped at a red light. Daniel sat in his passenger seat, securely buckled in, and silent, his head bent.

"Jack, you don't have to do this," Daniel murmured. "Doctor Fraiser would never find out."

"No way, Daniel. I have a suspicion that our new doctor has her ways of finding out if people don't follow her medical orders and making them pay for it." Jack gave a mock shudder.

"You're scared of her?" Daniel's eyes widened. "She's nearly a foot shorter than you."

"Little but mighty," Jack answered. "And what's with this anyway? I wouldn't have offered you a place to stay if I didn't mean it."

Daniel shook his head and shifted in the seat. Jack saw the quick grimace of pain pass over the younger man's face before a neutral expression was plastered in place.

"I have my own apartment now." Daniel pointed out.

"Humor me." Jack turned on to his own street. He'd seen the bruises marking Daniel's body when the other man had gotten dressed in the infirmary earlier.  Most of them acquired when he'd been taken by the Touched in the Land of Light but some put there by Jack's own hands and feet. "It's just for a few days. Until the doc gives you the all clear."

Daniel nodded, clearly deciding that this was one battle he wasn't going to win. "I am fine, you know." Just had to get that last word in though.

Jack said nothing as he pulled into his driveway and exited his truck. He opened Daniel's door and stood waiting. "Okay, you're fine. Let's see you get out of the truck on your own."

Daniel scowled at him and Jack was hit with the realization that an angry Daniel Jackson might be a force to reckon with. Daniel turned his body sideways, suppressing a grunt as he forced stiffened muscles to move. He inched forwards on the seat and took in a deep breath.

Jack steadied him as Daniel made his cautious way out of the truck.

"You win. Are you happy now?" The words were bit out, pain warring with exhaustion.

Jack sighed. "Daniel, look at me." He waited until blue eyes fixed on his face. "You're hurt, you're in pain. I don't think any less of you for that. But you're here now and Doc Fraiser has entrusted you to my care for the next few days. How about we make the best of it?"

Daniel ducked his head. "Sorry," he mumbled. "I don't want to be any trouble."

"No trouble at all, buddy." Jack smiled. "Let's get you in the house and I'll give you some of the doc's happy pills."

Daniel nodded and made his slow painful progress to Jack's door.

"I'll put your stuff in the spare room." Jack walked past Daniel carrying a small bag. "You want to take a nap or something before you eat?"

"I'm not hungry," Daniel called after him.

Jack deposited the bag in the room and came back into the kitchen where Daniel was looking longingly at the coffee maker.

"No meds without food."

"I don't need them." Daniel lowered himself gingerly to a chair. "Coffee would be nice, though."

"No coffee without meds and food," Jack countered. "Don't play the macho act with me, Daniel."

Jack grinned as a small smile quirked on Daniel's face. "Are you saying I'm not macho, Jack?"

"I'm saying that you're hurting. Now what do you want to eat?"

Daniel sighed giving into the inevitable. "Peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich."

Jack grimaced. "That's disgusting you know." Who would have ever thought Doctor Daniel Jackson, proud owner of the three PhD's would have a kid's taste when it came to food? But Jack dutifully pulled out the jars of peanut butter and gloppy marshmallow crème and wondered just how one geeky archaeologist had managed to worm his way into Jack's life in the space of few short months. He was doomed he figured as he spread the marshmallow on top of the peanut butter and slapped a piece of Wonder Bread on top of the mess.

"Thanks," Daniel gave him a fleeting smile as he accepted the plate with the sandwich on it. "You really could take me home you know. If we don't tell Doctor Fraiser she'll never know."

Jack just shook his head and pointed to the sandwich. "Eat, drink your juice, take your pain pills, and I'll make you some coffee." God he sounded like he was talking to toddler Charlie except that he was pretty sure Sara would have had his head if he'd dared to give Charlie even a sip of coffee.

"Yes, Dad." Daniel gave that sly grin again but frowned a second later. "Jack, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to..."

"You didn't, Daniel." Jack got up to start making the coffee. "Sometimes there are good memories. You know?"

Daniel ducked his head as he reached out for his juice and the prescription strength ibuprofen Doctor Fraiser had provided. Jack didn't miss the shakiness as Daniel took the glass in his hand and downed the juice in one gulp along with the pills.

"Sometimes I get busy on base and I forget about, you know, for a few hours, Jack." Daniel kept his head down, one finger tracing a design on the condensation on the juice glass before taking a bite of the sandwich.

"That happens." Jack poured a mug of coffee for Daniel.

He placed it in front of Daniel, watching the other man chew determinedly. A bruise marked Daniel's cheek, another bruise showed on Daniel's arm where the outline of four fingers could be seen clearly. Jack looked at his own hand, mentally comparing the outline to his fingers. Had he gripped Daniel's arm that tightly? He couldn't remember anything but rage from that moment. Rage and being out of control.

Daniel reached for the coffee, not looking up from his plate. He winced as he lifted the mug.

"Bet those bruises hurt like hell," Jack commented waiting for the inevitable, 'I'm fine,' from Daniel.

"I've had worse." Daniel took another sip of his coffee. "They'll heal."

Jack thought back to the files he'd read after they'd come back from Chulak. Daniel's medical history, a hospitalization when he'd been thirteen and removed from a foster home. Jack felt sick.

"What time do we have to go the base tomorrow?" Daniel finished his coffee and pushed the plate away.

"*We* don't have to go the base tomorrow. You get to stay here and rest."

Daniel stood slowly, slightly hunched over. "I have work to do, Jack."

"It'll keep," Jack placed the plate and mug in the sink.

Daniel paused and looked back at him and then shook his head. "I'm going to go to bed if you don't mind."

"Fine with me. The bed's already made up. You know where the towels are for the bathroom."



Jack woke up sitting in the recliner with a stiff neck and a dry throat. The TV was showing an infomercial and he glanced at the clock on the VCR. 0220. God, he really had to stop falling asleep in the chair. Not a good habit. Jack went to the kitchen, downed a glass of water to soothe his throat, and spied Daniel's pills on the counter. He filled another glass and put the bottle in his pocket. He wouldn't wake Daniel if the man seemed deeply asleep, but it was possible that the pills would be appreciated.

Jack knocked once on the spare room door and then opened it cautiously.

"Daniel?" he whispered but there was no response. No response, no breathing, and it appeared, no Daniel. He turned on the light and scanned the room. The blankets were twisted as if Daniel had had a restless time of it. One pillow lay near the closet as if thrown there.
Daniel's sneakers were still by the door where he'd evidently removed them and his wallet lay on the night table. So the stubborn Doctor Jackson probably hadn't taken a cab home.

Jack grabbed a blanket off the bed. He had a pretty good idea where Daniel was hiding although he was going to let Daniel have it for climbing the ladder in his condition.

"Hey," Jack said as he took the last step onto the roof. "I thought maybe I'd find you up here."

"Couldn't sleep." Daniel straightened from his slouched position on the deck chair.  "Sorry if I woke you."

Jack tossed him the blanket, shaking his head when Daniel ignored it. He retrieved it and put it over the younger man. "If you catch your death of cold, Doc Fraiser's gonna have my head," he grumbled.

Daniel reached out to pull the blanket closer, but not before Jack heard the grunt of pain that accompanied the movement.

"You take another dose of the pills?" Jack lowered himself to the chair next to Daniel's. When there was no response, he continued. "I'm guessing that's a big fat no."

"They make me sleepy," Daniel finally commented.

"I think that's the general idea, Daniel." Jack leaned back looking up into the star filled sky.

"I didn't want to dream, Jack."

They sat in silence for awhile watching the stars, listening to the far off swoosh of traffic on the interstate.

Jack was aware of a sudden tensing of Daniel's body. The younger man sat up, turning to face Jack.

"Am I still on the team?"

"On the team?" Jack was confused by the question. "Why wouldn't you be?"

Daniel ducked his head. "I screwed up Jack. You or Teal'c, even Doc..Captain..Sam, wouldn't have been taken."

"It's not your fault, Daniel. And you were outnumbered. You kept yourself alive until we could get you. That's your job. Remember that."

Daniel gave a quick nod and then turned back to continue watching the stars. "I won't ever let the team down, Jack."

"I know that, Daniel." Jack reached out to place one hand on a thin shoulder. Daniel tensed momentarily beneath his touch and then settled back into his chair. "You're part of the team for as long as you need to be."

"You can trust me," Daniel continued. He pulled the blanket closer.

"I do trust you, Daniel. We all do. I think you need to trust yourself."

"There are days I can't remember her, Jack. I can't bring her face to mind. I can't remember her voice."

Ah, so that was it. Jack wondered how many times a day Daniel worried that he was going to be kicked off the team, unable to continue the search for Sha're.

"If I hadn't taken you to the cartouche room, if I'd told Sha're to come along..." Daniel stopped, a shaking hand coming up to wipe at his face.

"Don't do it, Daniel. Don't do the 'what ifs,'" Jack spoke gently. "You'll kill yourself that way."

"It hurts, Jack."

"I know, Daniel." Jack closed his eyes, thought back to the self hatred that filled his days after Charlie died, the slow thawing that was beginning to melt the ice he'd let freeze his heart. "I think you need to forgive yourself."

"Forgive myself," Daniel repeated. "I don't think I can do that."

"You can. You just need to take a first step." Jack paused, realizing he'd just taken his own.

"I don't know what to do." Daniel leaned forward, putting his head in his hands.

"And I don't have an answer for you, Daniel." Jack let out his breath. "But you have us, the team, Daniel. We'll be there for you."

Daniel gave a jerky nod. "I...sometimes I forget about her for a few hours, Jack."

"I don't think that Sha're would want you to stop living. I didn't know her very well, Daniel, but I know she loves you."

"I know, I know," Daniel whispered. "It's hard."

"Yeah." Jack swallowed hard, "yeah, it is. But we'll get through it together. Someday, Daniel. Someday you'll find your love again."

He coughed to hide his own emotion and stood up, adjusting the telescope while Daniel's rough breathing filled the still night air.

Jack swung the scope towards Daniel.

"Scoot up here, Daniel." Jack motioned. "I want to show you something."

Daniel looked at him questioningly but moved forward in his chair.

Jack finished adjusting the scope and pointed to the eyepiece.

Daniel shrugged and removed his glasses. "What am I looking at?"

"The suns of Abydos," Jack whispered. There was no answer from the other man for a long time and he wondered if perhaps it had been a mistake.

"I wanted you to know that whenever you need to, you can come over here and use this," Jack continued. "When you need to remind yourself of home."

There was still no answer for long, long minutes.

"Thank you, Jack," Daniel finally said. "Thank you." He sat back giving Jack a small smile.

"You're welcome, Danny." Jack had no idea where the journeys ahead were going to take them, but he knew that tonight might just be the start of the greatest adventure of his life.

FINIS

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copyright
babs, 2002.
disclaimer
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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