Jack stood outside the infirmary door with his teammates, only
half listening to Fraiser's assessment of Daniel’s condition. He was
still mentally reviewing the events that had led to his archaeologist's
most recent hospitalization. He couldn’t let it go.
Six days had passed since the mission to 219 went to hell in a
hand basket. When things deteriorate as quickly as they did that day,
someone usually gets hurt, and for reasons that defy logical
explanation, that someone, more often than not, is Daniel Jackson.
Unfortunately, the last mission followed the all too familiar
script. Daniel acted his part, performing to a tough crowd in his
reoccurring role as peaceful explorer attempting to make nice with the
natives. The natives took offense, as they often do, and expressed
their disapproval by capturing and hurting the SGC’s star linguist.
Jack and the rest of SG-1 played their roles to perfection,
saving Daniel from the clutches of evil. But their timing had been off
and Daniel had suffered for it. If it had been solely up to Jack they
would have entered the village with guns blazing and God help anyone
who got in their way. But cooler heads prevailed and they had waited,
albeit none too patiently, for the cover of darkness to rescue their
captured teammate without a single shot being fired.
Daniel had been held prisoner for less than twenty-four hours
but in that time he had been drugged and physically abused, beaten with
‘cleansing’ sticks as the natives attempted to save his soul by
expunging the evil spirits that allowed him to pass freely through the
devil's ring, aka the Stargate. If Jack had any clue of the suffering
Daniel had endured while they’d stood around waiting for nightfall, he
would have immediately gone to plan B... shoot first and let God sort
it out later. Sorry, Danny, he thought for the hundredth time since
they'd stepped though the ‘gate.
Jack was relieved the opening act was over; it was time to
move on to the familiar scenario of act two where Daniel insists he's
fine and tries to return to work too soon. Jack was well versed in this
phase of recovery. The problem was Daniel. He wasn’t cooperating; he
was forgetting his lines. He didn’t make a single attempt at an, 'I'm
fine’. Apparently, he had even requested a higher dose of pain
medication, which Fraiser had promptly nixed. Daniel’s request was what
sealed the deal in Janet calling this impromptu meeting. In Jack’s
mind, the four of them huddled in Fraiser’s office discussing Daniel’s
health outside of the archaeologist’s hearing felt like an act of
"Physically, he's much better,” Fraiser began. “Actually,
there's nothing preventing Daniel from walking, he can use the walker
if he’s tired and feels he needs it. We're not helping him by doing
everything for him. I know it's hard, but we all need to practice a
little tough love and let Daniel do things for himself again."
"Doc, are you sure he's okay, because he’s acting like he's
still in pain. What about that drug they gave him? Do we even know what
that was?" Jack wasn’t sure he’d be capable of tough love when it came
to his lover.
"I'm sure he’s still in a bit of pain from the bruising but he
definitely should be out of bed and moving around. I ran another
toxicology screening this morning and it confirms last night’s
readings, there is no trace of the drug left in his system. For
whatever reason, he's a little slow coming around this time. We need to
encourage, cajole, and coerce, if necessary, to get him back on track.
Jack forced himself to keep a neutral expression, but he hated
this idea. No matter what else, Daniel Jackson was not a slacker.
"Especially you, Colonel."
"Me what?" How the hell did she do that?
"You know exactly what. No mother henning no matter how well
intended. That's a medical order. Got it?"
"Who died and left her boss?" Jack whined.
"I believe Dr. Fraiser's authority overrides your rank in
medical matters such as these, O'Neill."
"Yeah, thanks for pointing that out, Teal'c."
"Colonel." Fraiser shot him the evil eye. "Let's stay focused
here. We need to talk to Daniel and explain that he’s healing nicely
and it's time to start pushing himself a little harder. As his friends,
we're going to help him do just that.” She glanced around before
settling her gaze on him. "Is everybody on board?"
Jack had no choice but to agree.
Poor Daniel, Jack thought as the four of them marched into the
infirmary to gather around the unsuspecting archaeologist’s bed.
Fraiser was all business as she laid out her plan to get Daniel up and
moving. Jack noted the bowed head and the hint of pink singeing
Daniel’s neck as he silently listened to the doctor’s orders.
When Daniel finally did glance up, it was as if he was seeking
out a wink or a nod from Jack. A comforting smile, anything that would
assure him they were on the same side.
Jack remained stoic, inwardly cringing at the disappointment
that clearly shone in his lover’s eyes.
"Home sweet home,” Jack announced to a stone-faced Daniel.
With a bit of effort, Daniel had made it from the truck to the
house under his own power. Maybe Fraiser was right. Aside from a nasty
assortment of bruises, Daniel did appear capable. Even so, tough love
was going to be tough. Jack was definitely more of a hovering,
mothering, smothering kind of guy. His hands twitched as he watched
Daniel struggle to remove his jacket.
"Am I allowed to have coffee?" The pesky coat missed the chair
and fell to the floor.
"If you can get it yourself," Jack said weakly. He avoided
Daniel’s gaze by picking up the jacket and folding it over the chair.
“Please,” Daniel seethed, closing his eyes, attempting to keep
his temper in check.
The angry vibes coming off of Daniel were quickly crushing
Jack's will. He brought out the heavy artillery. "Fraiser said..."
"Don’t!" Daniel interrupted. "Just don’t. Forget it. I’ll do
Jack inwardly groaned as he watched Daniel hobble over to the
couch. It was going to be a long recovery.
A coffee-less Daniel sank heavily onto the cushions while Jack
pretended to read the newspaper. He needed something in his hands to
keep them from fussing over Daniel. He realized he hadn’t turned the
page in the last ten minutes. Luckily, Daniel didn’t seem to notice. He
obviously had his own frustrations to deal with.
It was almost painful to observe Daniel struggling and not
rush in to help. The worst part was Jack knew exactly what Daniel
wanted at the precise moment he wanted it.
When the blue eyes flitted in annoyance toward the television
set, it was all Jack could do to keep from bolting up to search out the
remote. The extra blanket was on the back of the love seat, and Jack
observed the exact moment Daniel chilled and eyed it up. The reluctant
patient did venture up to make the long, slow journey to retrieve it.
The rumble in Daniel’s stomach coincided with the time to take
“How about we go into the kitchen and make some lunch?” Jack
tried to make the suggestion sound casual, but Daniel wasn’t buying it.
“Not hungry,” came the stubborn reply. It was the same tone
Daniel used with the Goa’uld under the threat of torture.
Jack’s own anger rose to the surface, he was only trying to
help. Why couldn’t Daniel see that? Two could play at this game.
“Fine, don’t eat.” Jack jumped up to grab Daniel’s afternoon
meds off the kitchen counter and flung them down on to the coffee
table. “But you’re taking these.” He slammed down a glass of water as
“Fine.” To his shock, Daniel took the medication and drained
Encouraged by Daniel’s compliance, Jack issued another ‘tough
love’ order. “Now get your ass into the kitchen and help me make some
That earned him an angry glare and a defiant “I said I’m not
hungry.” If a picture paints a thousand words, the picture of an
incensed Daniel was screaming at him in who knows how many different
“It’s me, Daniel, I know for a fact you’re hungry, now get up
and walk into the kitchen so we can eat.” The irate, patronizing
inflection of Jack’s voice immediately attracted Daniel’s undivided
attention. The anger in the blue eyes suddenly subsided and Jack sensed
victory. Maybe this tough love stuff was working after all.
“Fuck you, Jack.”
Maybe not. “Excuse me?” He had gotten a few ‘don’t be an ass,
Jacks’ in his years with Daniel but this was his first ever ‘fuck you’.
“You heard me. You want me to move, you win, I’ll move.” With
a great deal of effort and determination, Daniel rose from the couch.
Jack didn’t say a word, but his eyes gloated in victory. His
feelings of success were short-lived when Daniel turned away from the
kitchen and slowly shuffled to the stairs leading to the bedroom.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going?” he bellowed.
“What do you care?” came the defeated whisper.
Jack stubbornly stayed rooted in the living room... fuck him?
He didn’t care? To hell with that.
The slamming of the spare room door broke him out of his
prideful revelry. Jack collapsed on the sofa and checked his watch;
they’d been home five glorious hours.
Wait him out? Tough love? Jack scrubbed a hand through his
hair and considered his options. This was Daniel they were talking
about, stubborn, determined, willful Daniel. What the hell had they
been thinking? Me, Jack acknowledged. What the hell had I been
thinking? I’m the one sitting here pushing his buttons. Daniel would
happily starve to death if that’s what he decided was the best course
Jack slumped forward, head in hands; it was time to rethink
the plan of attack for Daniel’s recovery. Who the hell were they to
judge how much the man was hurting? Even if he was ‘fine’ physically,
some hurts ran deeper than the physical.
Ah shit, Danny.
It had taken Jack years to break through Daniel's defenses.
The orphaned archaeologist had always been fiercely independent and
completely self reliant in sickness and in health. It was only recently
Daniel would acknowledge a headache or allow Jack to rub his aching
shoulders. The disappointment in the blues eyes staring him down in the
infirmary haunted him. Now when Daniel needed him most... oh, fuck him
all right, what had he done?
Jack retreated to the kitchen and measured out Daniel's
favorite coffee, dumped in some water and waited. When it finished
dripping he poured two mugs and headed up the stairs.
He opened the door and waited for Daniel to notice him. When
that didn't work he tried a friendly, "Hey".
Daniel squinted at him, even from the doorway Jack could see
his nose sniffing at the heavenly scent.
"Coffee?" Jack asked awkwardly
"Stand, sit, beg, rollover?" Although Daniel was lying down,
Jack could see his arms were folded across his chest.
"Huh?" he said stupidly.
"What do I have to do for it?"
Jack tentatively sat down on the edge of the bed. "Nothing,"
he said quietly, extending the peace offering.
Daniel struggled to sit up. "Did you call Janet, Sam and
Teal'c to make sure it's okay? You could page General Hammond. I
wouldn't want you to get in any trouble."
"I'm sorry, Daniel. I thought I was doing the right thing."
"You did?" The two words were more of an accusation than a
Jack stared at the mug in his hands to avoid Daniel’s eyes.
"No, not really,” he admitted. “They did, and I went along. I'm sorry."
Daniel’s anger dissipated. "I get tired sometimes. I’m okay.
I’m just so tired.”
“Tell me.” Jack set his coffee down on the nightstand and took
Daniel’s free hand into his own, his thumb rubbing soft circles into
Daniel took a quick sip and set his mug down as well. “I
thought the natives were friendly. I guess I just wanted them to be.
They hurt me for nothing, for no reason at all. They said it was to
expunge the evil spirits but they enjoyed watching me suffer.” Daniel’s
voice faded. “I just, I just need a break." Daniel looked down at the
floor, a hint of pink tinting his cheeks. “Does that make me lazy?”
“Everyone deserves a break,” Jack agreed, knowing how
difficult that admission was for the hardworking archaeologist. He
pulled Daniel in close for a no strings attached hug. Daniel relaxed
heavily against his chest. It was suddenly clear that closeness, not
distance, was the medicine Daniel needed most.
"Hey, I know, why don’t we go to the cabin, get away from it
all," Jack suggested, still squeezing a compliant Daniel.
"I doubt Janet will approve that," Daniel sighed.
"That's why we're not going to ask her. I'll call her after we
"You are going to be in so much trouble." That brought the
first smile of the day to Daniel’s lips.
"Nah, I'll tell her it’s part of your rewards program."
Daniel slept through most of the drive while Jack concentrated
on the road and snuck superfluous glances at him, mentally kicking
himself for going along with the prescribed ‘tough love’ program. It
was late when they arrived and Jack was worried Daniel wouldn’t be able
to sleep after sacking out in the truck, but he seemed content to be
led to their bed and curl up under the covers.
“Hey, I’m going to make sandwiches,” Jack whispered in
Daniel’s ear. “I’ll bring them up.”
Daniel flipped over onto his back. “I don’t have to make my
own?” he questioned sarcastically. “What happened to all that tough
“No, I’ll bring them up,” Jack reiterated, not seeing the
humor in his previous behavior.
“I’m kidding, Jack. I’m fine and I’m not hungry.”
Not hungry? Jack wasn’t sure if that was part of the joke.
Daniel must have sensed his confusion. “Really. Not hungry.”
“How about two bites so you can take your meds?” Jack
“You drive a hard bargain. Okay, tough guy,” Daniel agreed
before falling asleep.
The cabin was exactly what they needed. Daniel’s spirits rose
with each passing day. Jack had escaped Fraiser’s wrath by charming her
into thinking the fresh air would encourage Daniel to eat more and get
A breakfast tray filled with pancakes, bacon, juice and coffee
was ready to go when Daniel appeared in the kitchen.
“I was just coming up.” Jack set the tray down on the counter.
“You’re overcompensating.” Daniel grimaced at the abundance
“Am not.” The words came automatically.
“Am not... for what?”
“You don’t have a clue what I’m talking about and you’re still
going to stand there and argue with me?” Daniel folded his arms and bit
his lower lip.
“I have a clue,” Jack stubbornly countered.
“Okay, then what am I talking about?” The eyebrows rose in
“Give me a hint.”
Next came the tolerant sigh. “Overcompensation.”
“Overcompensation,” Jack repeated. “Recompense, reparation,
Daniel rolled his eyes. “You need to slow down on the
“All right.” Jack threw up his hands in surrender. “I LIKE
doing things for you. I know it’s not easy for you to level with me on
how rotten you feel and I want to take care of you.” Jack shifted from
one foot to the other and turned his gaze to the tray of food.
“And?” Daniel was unwavering.
“And, I want to make up for not doing it sooner,” Jack quietly
“Is it hard always being right?” This time it was Jack who
“I’m tired. I’m not dying.”
Jack turned serious. “I know. I just, I’m just... sorry.
Fraiser did what she thought was best and I just blindly went along,
even though a part of me knew it wasn’t what you needed.”
“It’s okay. You really didn’t have much of a choice.” Daniel
was nonchalant as he pulled out a chair and sat down at the small,
round kitchen table, obviously more than ready to let him off the hook.
For some reason, Jack couldn’t let it go. “Maybe not at the
SGC, but once we got home, I had a choice.”
“Why are you dwelling on this? It’s okay. Let’s eat.”
Jack came up behind the chair and rested his hands on Daniel’s
shoulders. “The look you gave me in the infirmary, I’ve seen that look
“What look?” Daniel tried to stand up, but Jack’s hands held
him firmly in place.
“Disappointment,” Jack managed softly. “I tend to disappoint
the people I love.” Jack kept up the slow, steady shoulder massage. He
loved the solid feel of Daniel, safe and alive beneath his hands, and
it was easier to talk when he wasn’t staring into the intense blue eyes.
“Is that what this is about? Listen to me, Jack. You did what
you thought was best for me. I could never be disappointed in that.”
“Just thought I should warn you. My track record is shaky at
“You never disappoint me,” Daniel said simply, finally
relaxing under Jack’s touch.
“Not ever,” Daniel said firmly. “I have enough faith in that
for the both of us.”
Jack stilled his hands and bent down to rest his head on
Daniel’s shoulder and whisper, “I love you” in his ear.
Daniel turned his head to kiss Jack’s cheek. “I love you too.
Now could we please eat some of this breakfast? I’m starving.”
Jack sighed in relief and picked a piece of bacon off the tray
to wave under Daniel’s nose.
“You’re going to feed me?” That produced a genuine smile. “Did
you hear a word I said about overcompensation?”
“You‘re impossible,” Daniel concluded as he acquiesced to
Jack’s command and accepted his hand fed breakfast.
“How do I look?” Daniel stood in front of the mirror,
uncharacteristically futzing with his hair.
Jack snuck up behind him and hugged his waist. “Good enough to
eat,” he exclaimed, enthusiastically nibbling an ear to prove his
Daniel frowned and squirmed out of Jack’s grasp. “I mean,
healthy. Do I look healthy? I don’t want them all fussing at me.”
“You look great, Daniel. Honest.”
“Good enough for Janet.”
“Yep. Even ol’ Doc Fraiser. Hey, a... you’re not going to rat
me out are you, buddy?”
Daniel raised an eyebrow. “Not as long as you behave.”
“Yes, behave,” Daniel said firmly, patting down a particularly
stubborn strand of hair. “Let’s go.”
“Behave,” Jack grumbled to himself. “We’re going to work. How
could I not behave?”
“Daniel!” Sam threw her arms around Daniel’s neck and gave him
a tentative hug. “You look fabulous! You even have a tan,” she beamed.
“It is good to see you well, Daniel Jackson.” Teal’c bowed his
“You do look good,” Fraiser cautiously conceded. She was
always a tougher sell. “How are you feeling?”
Jack noted the doc’s hands were itching to go to Daniel’s
forehead to check for a non-existent fever or maybe grab a wrist to
feel the steady pulse. He sympathized; he understood the impulse
“I’m fine. Feeling good,” Daniel warmly greeted his friends.
“I hope the Colonel wasn’t too hard on you,” Sam ventured.
Daniel smiled until he remembered the conversation in the
infirmary and realized Sam’s question was sincere. “Not too bad.”
“Well, don’t be upset with him, we all agreed it was for your
own good. Wow, I guess it worked. I can’t believe how great you’re
Jack couldn’t help himself. “Yes, don’t be upset with me,
Daniel.” He turned to face Carter. “I did whip him into shape, didn’t
“If you don’t mind me asking, how’d you do it, sir?”
Jack was pleased at Carter’s incredulous tone. “A forced
morning jog around the lake, chopping wood, you know, the usual stuff.”
“I’m impressed. I never thought you’d last more than a few
days with this tough love stuff. Teal’c and I had a wager. I lost.”
“A few days?” Jack bellowed indignantly. “Carter, I’m a highly
trained officer in the United States Air Force, for cryin’ out loud.
He’s an archaeologist. Have a little faith.”
“Sorry, sir. Daniel, you all right?”
All eyes turned to the archaeologist in question as Daniel
choked on his morning mocha. “I’m fine,” he rasped out, turning a
threatening glare in Jack’s direction.
Jack promptly ignored it. “Teal’c, my man. You knew I could
out last him, force him to eat, exercise, get right back up on the
“Indeed. I won the wager, O’Neill.”
Jack grinned. “We’re warriors, brothers. How many days?”
“Two? Two lousy days?” Jack’s face fell.
“Major Carter guessed one,” Teal’c explained.
“At any rate, you did a great job, Colonel. See what a little
tough love can do?” Fraiser joined in, singing Jack’s praises.
“Yes, tough. Tough as nails, that’s me.” Jack thumped his
chest for emphasis.
Daniel fired a terse warning “Jack” in his direction.
“Daniel?” Jack fired back, matching Daniel’s tone; he was too
deep in macho mode to back off.
“Five hours,” Daniel announced to Jack’s dismay.
“Five hours!” Sam and Teal’c sang in unison. “The Colonel only
lasted five hours?”
A smug smirk rose to Daniel’s lips as he caught Jack’s
pleading eyes. “No, no. Five hours is the longest Janet is allowing me
to work today.”
“Oh.” Their faces fell in disappointment while Jack breathed
out a sigh of face saving relief.
Daniel was proving a point. Jack decided this was what ‘not
behaving’ meant and he‘d better make amends while Daniel was feeling
magnanimous. “Thank you, Daniel.”
“For?” Daniel asked innocently.
“For working so hard on your recovery. It’s a two way street,”
he explained to a captive audience. Jack had to give Daniel that much
in order to stave off complete humiliation.
An appeased Daniel smiled sweetly. “And thank you, Jack, for
being so tough with me.”
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