TOUGH LOVE BY DARCY


Slash: Jack and Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves sex.
Rating: PG
Category: ER, a little humor, a little angst
Season/Spoilers: None
Synopsis: Will Jack be capable of carrying out Fraiser's order to give Daniel a little tough love in order to speed up his recovery?
Warnings: None
Length: 33 Kb

 

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 betrayal.

"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 without."

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 his meds.

“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 well.

“Fine.” To his shock, Daniel took the medication and drained the water.

Encouraged by Daniel’s compliance, Jack issued another ‘tough love’ order. “Now get your ass into the kitchen and help me make some lunch.”

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 languages.

“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 of action.

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 question.

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’s palm.

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 get there."

"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 love stuff?”

“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 negotiated.

“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 some exercise.

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 of food.

“Am not.” The words came automatically.

“Are too.”

“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 exasperation.

“Give me a hint.”

Next came the tolerant sigh. “Overcompensation.”

“Overcompensation,” Jack repeated. “Recompense, reparation, reimbursement.”

Daniel rolled his eyes. “You need to slow down on the crossword puzzles.”

“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 acknowledged.

“Exactly. Overcompensation.”

“Is it hard always being right?” This time it was Jack who sighed.

“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 before.”

“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 best.”

“You never disappoint me,” Daniel said simply, finally relaxing under Jack’s touch.

“Not yet.”

“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?”

“Open wide.”

“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 point.

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.”

“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 agreement.

“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 completely.

“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 doing.”

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 I?”

“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 proverbial horse.”

“Indeed. I won the wager, O’Neill.”

Jack grinned. “We’re warriors, brothers. How many days?”

“Two 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.”


FINIS

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Biblio, PhoenixE, babs, Brionhet, Darcy, Devra, Fabrisse, JoaG, Kalimyre, Marcia, Rowan and Sideburns, 2001-2008.
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