CONQUERING NEED PART
DENOUEMENT BY PHOENIX
the close friendship between Jack and Daniel.
Spoilers for Need.
home to discover Jack holds the key.
was no point in sticking around waiting; Daniel was going
to be a little while. By the time he was all finished with
the post-exercise once-over at the hands of Dr Fraiser's
capable minions Daniel was going to be tired, hungry and
definitely of a mind to be homeward bound. Jack smiled to
himself as he walked down the corridor leading to the elevator
to the surface. It was a pretty safe bet Daniel would go
straight home, and he’d best be at Daniel’s place when he
got there, because he knew something the good Doctor didn’t
probably be finding out any time now, much to his annoyance.
again as he dangled his key ring in one hand, the key to
Daniel’s apartment passed onto him by Carter jangling along
with the other little soldiers on the ring. He had one key.
He also happened to know the spare was still in a drawer
in Daniel’s kitchen.
Daniel was definitely going to be annoyed. This could be
his time on the drive over, stopping off to pick up a pizza.
While he waited for the order to be filled he ignored the
kid behind the counter prattling on about who knew what and
looked out the window, remarking to himself what a goddamn
gorgeous day it was. The sun had been shining when he'd
gone down into the mountain but for some reason it looked a
whole lot brighter to him now.
was answering the call as he let himself in the door. Jack
only caught the tail end of the message before Daniel’s slightly
harried voice replaced it.
anybody there? I hope? Hello? Hello? Oh - ##$!!@!*#!!**&@@!!!!”
his eyes in mock shock. “Doctor Jackson, such language!
From a linguist, yet!”
I don’t believe this! Jack? Jack? If you’re not there yet,
I hope you’re on the way. You’re not at home and you don’t
seem to be here… Anyway – ah, I kinda need to find you.
I…ah - I don’t seem to have a key. I thought both keys
were on the ring when I…uh, but it looks like…not… Oh why
am I telling the machine this – it’s not like Jack is going
to check my messages! Wait a minute! Jack! I know
you’re there! Pick up the damned phone! I’m not
kidding! Jack! This isn’t FUNNY, Jack!”
to differ, Doctor Jackson, this is downright hysterical.
as he bore the pizza and libations into the kitchen. Daniel
would yell at the machine for a few moments longer, then
he’d give up and come home. Jack popped the pizza into the
oven to keep it warm, put the beer in the fridge so it wouldn't
be warm and helped himself to one while he was at it. On
the way back to the couch he stopped by the fish tank. Which
still contained all its original occupants no replacements
or substitutes required.
at the tank’s residents for a moment, then addressed them.
guys – look excited. Daddy’s coming home.”
Stupid fish. That’s gratitude for you.
maybe they weren’t excited, but he was. And suddenly, a
little nervous. Granted not long ago Daniel had thrown him
a look full of ‘hey glad to see ya’, but that didn’t change
the fact their last encounter before he'd gone had been less
than cordial. Mostly his fault.
Jack, that’s enough of that. Don’t buy trouble. Let the
man get here and you can find out what’s going on from him.
what seemed to Jack to be a span of time bordering on eternity
he heard the distinct sound of grumbling outside the apartment
door. The door was unlocked. All Daniel had to do was turn
the knob and push. He didn't even have to whistle.
intended to play it nice and casual. He was just going to
sit and wait for Daniel to make his grand entrance like Daniel
coming home was no big deal and he hadn't been here the whole
time waiting for him about to jump out of his skin with impatience.
That was the plan, but for some reason Jack was on his feet
and moving swiftly toward the door as it began to swing open.
He was already standing in front of it as Daniel backed into
the apartment, weighed down by a rather large duffel bag
looking very full and very heavy.
the thing was almost large enough to be a body bag. What
in the hell did Daniel bring along with him on his little
outing anyway? Lawn furniture?
the distracting thought out of his head as he prepared himself
for the moment when Daniel turned around and saw him standing
was, right about - now.
dropped the bag, which hit the floor with a hollow thud.
He looked very tired, and distracted. He registered Jack’s
presence with a look of casual gratefulness both relieving
thank God you were here!” Daniel blew the hair out of his
eyes with a sharply directed exhalation and pushed the glasses
slipping down his nose back up where they were supposed be.
“I really wasn’t looking forward to sitting in the hall.”
you see like that?" Jack grinned at him. "Through all that
hair, I mean. You should get that cut, you know.”
Daniel sighed as he leaned back up against the door and closed
man moved or spoke. The air between them was not so much
tense as uneasy. They eyed each other uncertainly, neither
one knowing exactly what came next.
looked at him, the warmth in his eyes attenuating his neutral
word was spoken, but it said very clearly, “It’s good to
word said, “What took you so long? You know how much I hate
“I – I
don’t hate you,” Daniel blurted out suddenly as if someone
had jabbed him with a very sharp pin.
hate you either,” Jack returned. Well, he didn’t.
mean – “
just – I mean – I thought… “
worry about it.“
seemed to have lost the ability to speak. He wasn’t looking
too comfortable either. He was definitely tensed up in full
flight mode, except there was nowhere for him to go. If
Daniel tried to become any more ‘one’ with that door he was
going to either have to apologize to it – or marry it.
shook his head, took one giant step forward and sucked Daniel
into the biggest bear hug he had in him. Daniel’s arms were
around him only a split second later, returning the embrace
with equally impressive vigour.
beat your simple, basic, tried and tested frontal assault.
Especially when the resistance isn’t even token.
the embrace for a few seconds longer and then drew back,
still holding onto each other by the arms. Jack looked Daniel
up and down and grinned.
look at you! Had a good time at camp, did we? I think
you’ve grown a couple of inches!”
rolled his eyes and started to push Jack gently aside. “Jack,
I’m 33 years old. I think. I’m not going to get any taller.”
and slapped Daniel on the back. “Whatever you say, but –“
off, dismayed, as Daniel visibly winced as a result of the
is it?” He snapped. “Are you hurt? What’s wrong? WHAT
pulled abruptly away from him and moved quickly down the
steps, farther into the apartment. He was rubbing his right
shoulder, his cheeks flushing with sudden annoyance and the
beginnings of anger.
nothing,” he mumbled. “I just wrenched my shoulder a bit…
charging down the steps after him, in full no-one-leaves-here-before-I-get-the-whole-story-that’s-what-I-get-for-letting-you-out-of-my-sight-for-five-minutes
brought up short by Daniel who had whirled around and was
eyeing him hotly in full it’s-none-of-your-business-I-don’t-want-to-talk-about-it-I-can-take-care-of-myself
spit right back in his eye.
this how this whole mess started in the first place?
look on his face, Daniel was coming to the same conclusion.
he had been staring daggers at Jack, sputtering angrily as
he searched unsuccessfully for words. Then, his eyes widened
in horror and dismay, he bit his lip as his angry face was
transformed by a look of contrition and deep shame. His
eyes were suspiciously bright and as Jack watched, they began
to slowly fill. Daniel looked as if he was about to shatter
into a million pieces.
he gulped, starting to back away. “I’m sorry… I’m sorry.”
turning, about to run away. Again.
Not this time. Wasn’t going to happen.
Daniel could bolt Jack had him. He reached out, wrapping
his arms around the man before him, pinning Daniel’s arms
to his sides and pulling him in close so he had very little
room to struggle. Jack held him fast, encircled and imprisoned
in a vice-like grip of concern Daniel fought bitterly against
as if Jack’s embrace was a deadly python squeezing the life
out of him. Daniel struggled against his restraint with
such earnest panic Jack almost let him go simply because he
couldn’t stand to think he was causing him such distress, even
in trying to help him.
held on. It was the only way to reach him. The only way
to make Daniel understand. Words wouldn’t do it. They didn’t
have the power to make Daniel really believe in what
was here for him. What he deserved to have, just as much
as everyone else. Words were what got them into trouble
in the first place. What almost always got them into trouble.
This – this was different. This was real. This is what
Daniel would finally understand.
himself and locked his arms resolutely against Daniel’s struggles
to escape him. He wasn't sure how he knew, but he had to
hold on. Reaching out to hug Daniel in the first place had
been an entirely instinctive reaction. It also was the absolutely
correct thing to do. It was exactly what Daniel needed him
why Daniel had wanted him to be here while he wasn't.
all making sense now. Daniel giving him the key and carte
blanche to his place and by default, his life. Making himself
an open book, literally, by leaving the journals where he
knew Jack would find them. Knowing Jack well enough to know
damned well he would read them. All so Jack would be able
to know what Daniel needed from him - had always needed but
had never been able to ask.
Daniel need? What did he need from Jack? Simply what he was
doing for him right now – holding onto him and not letting
him run. Not letting Daniel run from him, from his concern,
from his very touch. For Daniel’s dark secret was his
great fear of the simple, basic human need of one human being
overwhelming compassion for others did not extend to himself.
What he gladly gave to others he would not allow himself
to experience. If you have no expectations, you can’t be
disappointed. If you make yourself believe you have no desires,
than not having them met will not inconvenience you. If
you don’t allow you have the need to let anything touch you,
then it won’t be a problem if nothing does.
funny, really. Daniel was one of the smartest people Jack
knew, and he almost always had this uncanny sense for what
was right. However, in this simple, essential, very human
truth, Daniel had things all wrong.
yourself to be human wasn’t a weakness. Needing the companionship
and caring of other people wasn’t something to be ashamed
of. Everybody needed someone. Even someone like Daniel
who hadn't had anyone for most of his life. Convincing yourself
you didn't need because you couldn't have didn't mean you
still didn't need underneath all that vigorous denial.
Daniel had finally figured this out, and now was fighting
with the other part of him shit scared of facing the reality
of his own denied desires. Right now it was anybody’s guess
which part was going to win. And Jack’s job was to just
stand here and keep both parts from heading for the hills
while they duked it out.
He'd been running away from this all his life, putting out
with his heart and soul but never letting any of it come
back to him for fear if he let his guard down and let himself
enjoy it someone would take it all away from him. Anytime
anyone had come close to making him want to take that final
leap of faith he'd found a way to run away.
had almost made it. Daniel had been on the verge of finally
letting someone love him – which was not the same
as him loving them – when he'd found the cartouche
room. And he was off and running again. Unburying the gate,
trying to make it work; a new, unattainable outward desire
to focus on so he didn't need to concern himself with the
inner one. His restlessness, his curiosity, the nameless
'something' driving him to seek, strive, explore, reach beyond;
all were simply different expressions of the one, simple
driving need he possessed – to run away from his own lack of
interior fulfillment. Quieting the inner hunger by turning
it out into a boundless quest for the satisfaction of external,
the unacknowledged inner need, the greater the external drive.
The quest to find Sha’uri was a perfect example of this.
He honestly wanted - needed to find her, but he was driven
more by his guilt at having ‘failed to protect her’ and the
responsibility he felt as her husband to bring her home than
any deep, genuine emotional need to have her present in his
here and now. That ‘need’ - he'd never allowed himself to
admit he possessed.
Shyla had tipped the balance. Encountering oneself in the
mirror has a tendency to do that. For if Daniel was one
polarity of the need for basic human love and understanding
expressed as its complete and utter abnegation, then Shyla
was the other end of the spectrum. Need as a deep, dark
black hole driving the person desperate to satisfy it to
any lengths to get what they felt would do the job. Shyla
had recognized nothing but her own need. Allowed for the
rights and needs of no one but herself. She'd permitted
nothing to deter her from forcing Daniel to satiate her desire
against his will.
Shyla. Need in Daniel. Equally dark and desperate to
have its own way at any cost. Whether the captive cared
to acknowledge its existence or not. Owned or ignored, it
drove them just the same. Daniel was only beginning to discover
just because you didn’t want something to be so, didn’t mean
it wasn’t so anyway.
in Daniel had finally realized he couldn't expunge and eradicate
his own human nature through force of will or distracting
denial. He could run from it but he couldn’t make it go
away. That ‘something’ trying so hard to at last haul him
into the fold of humanity was what had brought them to where
they were right now. Holding on for dear life. Waiting
to see which side would win.
of the man in his arms were beginning to lessen. He'd put
up quite a fight, but Jack hadn’t let go, and now Daniel
had either come to some sort of a decision, or he'd just
plain tired himself out. At last he hung limply in Jack’s
arms, collapsed against him, breathing heavily with the force
of his exertions. What came next? Which way was it gonna
loosened his grip. His arms still surrounded his friend,
but if Daniel wanted to break free he could. Jack hugged
him, held him close and waited.
didn’t run. Didn’t move for a long time. Jack waited.
began to tremble. A wave moved through him and he shook,
and then his arms came up, wrapping around Jack, clinging
desperately. He didn’t make a sound, just held on like
a drowning man as Jack held him up, the tremors working their
way through him and beyond.
you doing down there?” Jack finally asked, gently, once
Daniel had stopped shaking.
only response was a slight shrug of his shoulders and a faint
movement of his head against Jack’s chest.
sighed. “Yeah.” His voice was a little muffled, but sounded
good otherwise. “I thought I smelled something. What – you
like fetched.” Jack returned. “Specialty of the house.”
head came up, definite interest on his face. “Mario’s?
Extra cheese, pepperoni and mushrooms?”
it,” Jack grinned.
I’ve been dreaming about one of those for the last three
days. That’s so great! I’m starving!”
what are we standing here for, let’s go dig in.”
they ate Daniel told him about his adventures with the Marines.
As Jack listened and watched him, he couldn't help but notice
there was a new looseness about his friend. As if he was
suddenly more comfortable in his own skin. Daniel’s words
flowed freely, without the self-conscious internal censor
he always seemed to have aimed at himself whenever he was
forced to talk about any topic even remotely related to Daniel
recapitulation of his adventures was drawing to a close.
Jack took a sip of beer and rubbed the back of his neck,
gathering his thoughts.
quite a tale,” he began. “Sounds like you had a lot of fun,
but I am hoping from now on you’re not going to get into
this soldier thing on a regular basis.”
favored him with a puzzled look. Jack scratched his head
believe I’m saying this, but what I mean is…ah, not that
I’m not glad you've picked up a few skills…it’s good to see
you can handle yourself a little better out there in the
field and all…but… Daniel, the last thing the world needs
is another soldier. Don’t turn into one. It’s not who you
smiled. “Thanks,” he said softly. ‘But don’t worry, there’s
no danger of that happening.”
Jack took refuge in another sip of beer. “Just wanted to…clear
that point up.”
relaxed; a few beers disappeared on both sides, what was
now evening wore on. Daniel was much looser now, due mostly
to a combination of the aftermath of three weeks of regular,
fairly physical exertion combined with a low alcohol tolerance.
From the trouble Daniel seemed to be having keeping his eyes
open Jack wondered if it wasn’t time for him to mosey so
his friend could get some of the sleep it looked like he
wasn’t quite finished talking yet. The floodgates, having
finally been opened, were not to be denied their opportunity
though I didn’t want to do it, I thought – I thought if you
knew about it you’d…”
back to what Daniel was saying as the significance of his
words hit him.
what you thought.” he replied. “You were wrong. Daniel,
you did nothing wrong. You didn’t want to do it, now did
shook his head. “I wasn’t even there. Not really.”
then, that’s what really matters. What you did or didn't
want to do. Not what your body was being forced to do, or
was having done to it. You no more betrayed Sha’uri – or
anyone else – than she is betraying you. Not in her heart.”
nodded, and then looked away. When he turned back his eyes
were full of the need for reassurance.
find her, won’t we Jack?” he asked softly.
Danny, we will.” Jack answered him fervently. “We’ll never
stop until we do. That’s a promise.”
was fading fast, and yet he still fought to stay awake.
Jack started to rise from the couch, intending to help him up in
order to bundle him off to bed but Daniel grabbed his arm and
pulled him back down.
you’re practically unconscious. You need to go to bed.”
he replied sleepily. “It just feels so strange – not to want
to be alone.” He managed an uncertain smile. “Not quite
sure what to do with myself now.”
learn.” Jack said. “For now, I’m thinking sleep is about
all you'll be able to manage.”
too tired to put up a fight, Daniel allowed Jack to strong-arm
him into the bedroom. Jack took off his shoes, rescued his
glasses and placed them on the bedside table, then tumbled
Daniel into the bed, covered him up and was about to try
and beat a quiet retreat when Daniel grabbed his arm yet again.
barely aware, but the gratitude in his eyes was an intense
you for being my friend, Jack,” he whispered.
Jack smiled fondly at him. " Go to sleep.”
okay. So bossy… Jack… I – I…”
down and gently stroked Daniel’s head.
worry about it,” he whispered. “I know. Me too.”
eyes closed at last. Jack lingered there, making sure he
was in fact, finally – out. He turned to look back at the
sleeping man once more before leaving the room.
you, for being mine. Glad you could join us, Daniel Jackson.”
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