Title: Everything Is Illuminated
Pairing: Jack and Daniel.
Category: Angst. Drama. Hurt/Comfort. Relationship Study. Romance.
Season/Spoilers: Late Season 7. From ‘Fallout’ onwards, events diverge.
Synopsis: When Jack decides he wants Daniel more than he wants the Stargate, some bridges are burned and some bridges are built.
Length: Novel; 112 pages; 44,450 words.
Formats: Word 2003, PDF, RTF.
Cost & Download: $5 US. PayPal should provide a link to the download page after purchase. Email me if it doesn’t.
Extract: Read the rest of this entry for a new, extended extract from Everything Is Illuminated.
Jack saw a series of glassy images emerge from black, then fade back into black before he could make out meaning or detail. Fuzzy, frustrating images, more and more coming at him until they ran into one another. Formed a moving picture.
He was awake.
He became aware of a sweaty hand clenched around his, a bowed head resting awkwardly against the edge of the hospital bed gradually coming into focus.
Daniel was with him, holding onto his hand like he was anchoring him to life.
This intimacy, what it might mean, was too much for Jack to think about for now, although he’d been thinking about very little else for quite a while. Daniel was here with him and that part of it was good.
His knee was iced, elevated and bandaged, hurting so much he felt sick. Or was that from the spike he appeared to have driven through his head?
He got shot in the head.
He reached out uncertainly to rest his hand in Daniel’s tousled hair, which somehow always reminded him of autumn.
“Jack!” Daniel jerked upright at the touch, his face pinched and grey.
“I’m sorry,” Jack said.
“I could’ve killed you!” Daniel burst out. “I thought I had.”
Jack cringed at the lingering horror in Daniel’s soft voice and the devastated eyes fixed so intensely on his. He grabbed at Daniel’s trembling hand before he could move it and held on tight.
“Oh, God, I really thought…” Daniel choked with emotion. “I thought…before I got to you!”
“Listen to me,” Jack said.
He remembered. With Carter and Teal’c flanking either side of the gate, he’d needed to move and move fast, heading for the back side of the DHD while Daniel laid down covering fire.
“It was my fault. I blew out my knee.”
He was supposed to go straight up the middle, he was running, but he lurched right, staggering drunkenly as his leg tore, gave way under him.
It was tight, too damned tight, close quarters, he wasn’t going to make it and he tried to roll.
Then his head exploded.
Jack reached up an unsteady hand to find a neat dressing over the furrowing pain across his temple.
“Crap. I bet that leaves a scar,” he said, deadpan.
Daniel’s head snapped back in shock. “I almost killed you, you stupid sonovabitch!” he said, shuddering with reaction. Convulsively, he buried his face again.
“Don’t cry, Daniel. Please.”
Jack clumsily patted his hair, unable to think of anything to do or say to comfort this wracking grief.
Daniel needed him but he hurt, his eyes were leaden and he slept.
Jack blinked madly as the world bitched about swimming into something resembling focus.
A comforting weight had been lifted and everything hurt more.
Pressure on his fingers made him look around groggily to find Daniel out like a light in the Infirmary’s least comfortable chair. He was holding Jack’s hand, though. Still here, still holding on.
Didn’t they do the guilt-trip already? Jack thought fuzzily.
Daniel had to know by now all Jack had was a trick knee and a scratch on his head.
Sure, it could’ve been bad.
Jack could’ve been dead.
He wasn’t, though, and Daniel Jackson never had done the self-pity thing. Jack had been around when Daniel had picked himself up from worse, way worse than this was, and moved on.
Daniel was still here, though. He was in the chair, and Jack was more or less okay, so he had to want to be here. To be right here.
Daniel needed to know Jack was okay.
Confusing, how good this felt.
There was too much that was good, too much that Jack felt and it was too easy, second nature, so Jack blustered and bitched and pushed Daniel away.
Again and again and again, Jack would wish it was only about sex. Pray for it. Itches like that, he could scratch. He could almost convince himself of that. Exercise and stress-relief. Uncomplicated, easy, almost guilt-free.
But this was Daniel, everything got intense, it got tangled, and sex could only be the smallest part of what they had together, so Jack would want and want, panic and push him away.
Daniel wanted to be near and near he stayed, the two of them circling, always connected, always pushing at the limits of what they did to each other; sometimes, maybe even aware of where this was taking them. Maybe Daniel never consciously framed the thought but Jack knew the thought was there. They were too aware. It was blistering and challenging. They were tempted, wanting and never going there.
Now Jack was tired and hurting and still Daniel wanted to be near.
How long could they go on, not admitting anything that was between them?
How long could Jack?
His knee gave out and he got hurt more and more. He was slowing down.
His luck would hold, it always did.
He had to ask himself, though.
If it had been Daniel running, or Carter, exposed and waiting for him, needing him to be there?
How slow did he have to get before he got one of them killed?
The next time Jack opened his eyes, Daniel was gone and General Hammond was at the foot of his bed.
“Did you have Teal’c carry him out?” Jack said, pissed at the empty chair and his inability to control his disappointment.
“I believe he and Major Carter lured Dr. Jackson away with promises of freshly brewed coffee.”
“They bought it as a treat for him.”
“Apparently the most expensive coffee in the world. It’s excreted by the Paradoxurus hermaphroditus civet of Sumatra,” Hammond said.
“Civet poop coffee?”
“Would you feel better if it was a Caffè Mocha from Starbucks?” the general said with a marked lack of sympathy.
Coffee! Even in his debilitated state, Jack knew when someone was messing with his mind.
“Dr. Fraiser informs me we’re looking at a twenty-week rehabilitation programme here.” Hammond nodded soberly down at Jack’s knee.
“I haven’t seen her majesty,” Jack said. Why did people keep coming to see him when he wasn’t awake
“She’ll be relieved to know you weren’t just pretending to sleep. As will Major Carter and Teal’c.”
“How long was I out?”
He and Daniel hadn’t exactly got into specifics, there.
“Approximately eighteen hours, and you’ve been drifting in and out of consciousness for two days.”
“That would be the concussion.” Jack pouted up at his dripped-dry drip.
“You’ve always been very vocal in your dislike of pain medication.” Hammond’s eyes gleamed.
“Not when I’m hurt.”
“This was a close call, Jack.”
“Tell me about it.”
“As an 0-6, you’ve done well to stay out in the field this long.”
“Time to consider my options, eh?” Jack said, because he still had his dignity and he didn’t need his C.O. to tell him he was getting to the point where he had to piss or get off the pot. Thinking about what would have happened if he’d gone down like that in front of Carter’s P-90, he was maybe there already.
Hammond seemed surprised Jack wasn’t arguing.
“I don’t think I owe anyone,” Jack said, coming slowly to realisation. “Not even myself.”
“No,” Hammond said. “You have nothing to prove in the field.” Bless the man, he actually sounded quite proud.
What were Jack’s options?
His body would give up on him before his team did and there was Daniel, who wouldn’t give up on him at all, ever. Daniel and all this awareness and wanting they weren’t supposed to have or know.
“Hell, it’s not like I’ve never retired before,” Jack said.