Title: Maternal Instinct
Pairing: Jack and Daniel.
Category: Angst. Friendship. Humour. Relationship Study. Romance.
Series: A Curse And A Blessing, sequel to “Prodigal Son,” “Passion Play,” and “A Dinner Of Herbs.”
Season/Spoilers: Early Season 7.
Synopsis: With Kate on the case, Daniel back from the dead and Jack back in high school, plausible deniability will never be the same.
Length: Novel; 106 pages; 41, 325 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 an extract from Maternal Instinct.
Daniel Jackson, formerly deceased, recently de-ascended [and currently somewhat bemused] recovering amnesiac, ran his fingers lovingly across the spines of the books — his books. The newly remembered textures of leather and gold tantalised, suffusing him with guilty pleasure.
“It almost doesn’t feel right to get paid for this,” he confided to his omnipresent escort of three, seated in a relaxed row on the opposite side of his lab bench, looking as if they had no place they’d rather be. “Not when it’s so much…”
“Fun?” Samantha Carter interjected with a twinkle.
“Fun,” Daniel repeated, considering the concept.
“Not a lot of it to be had in the City of the Dead, eh?” Jack O’Neill enquired, with some certainty he knew the answer.
“Lost,” Daniel corrected automatically. “Vis Uban — it actually translates as…”
“Never mind!” Jack interrupted swiftly.
“I knew you’d say that!” Daniel said, beaming. “You hate when I talk about anything but you.”
Samantha – he had to remember to call her Sam – snorted, dropping her head to avoid Jack’s scowl.
“It appears your memory is indeed returning, DanielJackson,” Teal’c said.
“Selective memory,” Jack sniffed, still bearing a grudge over the whole Jim thing. “I have to show you how to flush, floss, shave and tie your shoelaces, but this…” He gestured at the book-filled walls of the lab with an expression of mock loathing. “This, you remember.”
“I told you what it was like for me,” Daniel said. “When you first found me on Vis Uban. How I felt my life was right there, floating in front of me. How I would reach out for a memory, and it would be gone.”
Jack had told him he was dead. Things had hardly got less confusing for him since.
“I’m still reaching out. All the time. Only, now, when I grab for them, the memories are there. I remember the books — my books,” he corrected himself, consciously asserting ownership. “Because I spent so much time here in the lab with Jonas preparing for the Anubis mission. I had to look at them all, every one of them, to trigger those memories. I know which books I have, but not necessarily what’s in them.”
“We are your friends, DanielJackson,” Teal’c said. “We do not require you to justify the progress of your recovery.”
“Speak for yourself,” Jack muttered.
“I agree with the colonel on this one,” Sam piped up. “At least in the sense I’d like to know more about what you’re going through, Daniel. I’d like to understand. And to help if I can.”
After due consideration, Teal’c inclined his head in acknowledgement of the sentiment. “As would I.”
“You’re going to annoy me either way,” Jack admitted cheerfully, squirming in what was either a vain search for a more comfortable spot on his stool or a symptom of his bored-toddler attention span.
Having intelligently deduced that one, alone, on his own, equated to a near-permanent party of four, Daniel capitulated with the best grace he could muster under the supportive, attentive blowtorch of three pairs of friendly eyes fixed on him.
“It’s not like a veil magically lifting,” he said, doing a little uncomfortable squirming of his own under the anvil of their undivided attention. “I have to…well, I have to work for it. I have to see a thing, need a thing — consciously think about it – before I can know a thing. I need that initial trigger.”
It appeared they needed more. Particularly Jack, who required life super-sized.
Daniel tried again.
“Half the time I don’t know what I know until I know it.”
“Yes?” Sam asked encouragingly.
“I…um…it’s a bit like when you haven’t thought about something for a long time. The memory is there, you just don’t know it’s there, not until something triggers it. You’ve forgotten it. Until you need it. And then it’s there. You know?”
“No.” Jack, unable to resist.
“I’m supposed to be better at this. Aren’t I?” Daniel appealed.
“Better at what?” Jack asked, on cue.
Daniel brightened at this recognition, that Jack would say just this, react in just this way, the latest small piece of his fascinating, frustrating puzzle. “Talking.”
“O’Neill,” Teal’c warned without even glancing at the suddenly galvanised colonel.
“Oh, come on, T!” Jack complained, with an eloquent gesture at Daniel. “He’s asking for it.”
“As are you,” Teal’c said, unmoved by Jack’s comedic needs.
“I’m just trying to help him feel normal,” Jack explained in wounded tones.
“I remember you doing a lot of that,” Daniel realised.
“A lot,” Sam, a fellow sufferer, agreed, ignoring another hard look from Jack.
“Your version of normal, anyway,” Daniel noted.
“Can we focus here?” Jack said. “The important thing is, do you remember us?”
He was loathe to upset them, but felt he had to be honest.
“It’s…um…it’s the same,” Daniel admitted. “Sorry. I don’t remember everything. It’s just…something will happen, or one of you will say something, or do something…and I’ll remember something happened — something like that — happened before.”
“Triggers,” Jack said, his head down, suddenly rather interested in running his fingers along a suspected scratch on the surface of the table.
“Do you?” Sam started to ask, then stopped in sudden embarrassment.
“Does he what?” Jack said. “Don’t leave us in suspense, Carter. Spit it out.”
“Do you feel the same?” Sam winced openly, realising she was really putting Daniel on the spot as the words were coming out of her mouth. “About us? Our friendship, I mean?”
“Or is it like looking way back in your life?” Jack asked, surprising them with his attempt at insight. “Like knowing you were tight with some freckle-faced tyke in kindergarten but not really feeling it when the sonovabitch pulls you over and gives you a speeding ticket twenty years later?”
“Are you speaking from personal experience there, Sir?” Sam enquired.
“I was barely over the speed limit, Carter. Nothing astronomical.”
“We are brothers, DanielJackson,” Teal’c said, ignoring the byplay. “Do you know it?”
“I’m learning to,” Daniel offered, completely embarrassed. “I know you’re my friends.”
“Because you remember it,” Sam said, visibly disappointed. “Not because you feel it.”
“I’m learning to,” Daniel said again, with a hesitant smile.
“Those triggers we were talking about,” Jack said.
“I’m sorry.” What else could Daniel say?
“Don’t be!” Sam said. “It’s not your fault, Daniel. None of this is your fault. All you did was try to…to help people. Don’t ever apologise for that. It’s who you are.”
Teal’c inclined his head in that stately, beneficent way he had, smiling warm agreement.
“They didn’t deserve it,” Jack said, his face stubborn. “Not those people.”
“Colonel O’Neill did not willingly accept your replacement, DanielJackson,” Teal’c explained.
“Replacement?” Jack burst out. “He gets Daniel killed, then he gets his stuff? His life?”
“You told Jonas he earned it. When he was leaving. You said he earned it,” Daniel reminded Jack.
“Going back to that pit of vipers on Kelowna?” Jack snapped. “You bet he earned it!”
“It wasn’t his fault I died, Jack.”
“It was his fault you were the only one who died,” Jack argued, not giving ground. “He just sat back, let you do all the hero stuff, then lied about it to save his own ass.”
“He tried to put it right,” Sam reminded Jack.
“In time, Jonas Quinn became our friend, O’Neill,” Teal’c said.
“Not my friend.”
“The colonel accepted Jonas on SG-1 not because he was a replacement for you, Daniel, but because he wasn’t and never could be,” Sam said, surprising a quick, approving look from Jack.
There was a momentary silence, a sense they needed to say these things, but an awkwardness about it because no one had expected to be saying them now.
“My single strongest memory is of dying,” Daniel said, but not in a maudlin way, smiling reassuringly in response to Jack’s reflexive flinch.
It was what it was. Daniel had the memory of pain, of wanting to live and needing to die, but those were burdens he’d put away from himself. He was freed from that suffering.
Impulsively, Sam reached out across the crowded surface of the lab bench to squeeze his hand comfortingly. “It’s one of my strongest memories too,” she said softly. “One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to live through.”
Looking down at the table, busy with the scratch now, a restive Jack said nothing.
“Jacob…he couldn’t have saved me,” Daniel told her, wanting to reach out in his own way. “You do know that, don’t you? That it was too late for me?”
“You were too far gone,” Jack said in a rough, low tone, almost loathe to look up and meet Daniel’s eyes. “I knew that. Even if you’d lived, if Jacob could even do that, it…it wouldn’t have been you.”
“I wanted to go. I had to go,” Daniel apologised to them all. “I’m sorry. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but it was my time, and when Oma came — I wasn’t ready to die. Or to live like someone dead. I…I had to let all of that go. I had to let you go. I can’t regret it,” Daniel warned, looking right at Jack, trusting, and steadied by the understanding in his dark, softening eyes.
“Neither can I,” Jack said.
After a moment of struggle, Sam nodded too, biting her lip.
“You’re not angry?” Daniel asked them all, but meaning Jack. There was a sense of familiarity about this, about putting Jack first. A settling into an old, old routine.
“Daniel,” Jack replied with gruff patience, “deep down, even you’re angry. Some day you’ll remember that. If you mean do I blame you for it, am I nursing a grudge? Then no. No, I’m not angry. I didn’t want you to die either.”
Daniel found his throat to be uncomfortably tight, too tight for him to talk or to find a place to put his hands, or his burning face. He felt a little cold and a little hot and completely shaken.
He remembered this — this unaccountably strong, glad feeling. The reality of friendship. He remembered Jack.
He found himself smiling and was certain of the new feeling, the old friendship, when Jack smiled back.