JD-DIVAS: STARGATE SG-1 JACK & DANIEL FRIENDSHIP FICTION BY PHOENIX E

CONQUERING NEED PART FIVE

DENOUEMENT   BY PHOENIX E


Gen:  Fiction Featuring the close friendship between Jack and Daniel.
Rating: PG-13
Category: J/D Friendship.  Angst.
Season/Spoilers: Season 2 Spoilers for Need.
Synopsis: Daniel returns home to discover Jack holds the key.
Warnings: Intense emotional situation.
Length:  65  Kb

 

There 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 know yet.

But would probably be finding out any time now, much to his annoyance.

Jack grinned 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.

Yup.  Daniel was definitely going to be annoyed.  This could be fun.

Jack took 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.

The machine 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.

“Uh… is anybody there?  I hope?  Hello?   Hello?  Oh  - ##$!!@!*#!!**&@@!!!!

Jack widened his eyes in mock shock.  “Doctor Jackson, such language!  From a linguist, yet!”

“Arrrgggh!  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!”

I beg to differ, Doctor Jackson, this is downright hysterical.

Jack chuckled 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.

He peered at the tank’s residents for a moment, then addressed them.

“Hey, guys – look excited.  Daddy’s coming home.”

No reaction.  Stupid fish.  That’s gratitude for you.

Well, 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.

Okay, 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.

After 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.

Jack had 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.

Geez, 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?

Jack pushed the distracting thought out of his head as he prepared himself for the moment when Daniel turned around and saw him standing there.

Which was, right about - now.

Daniel 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 and disappointing.

“Well, 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.”

“How do you see like that?"  Jack grinned at him.  "Through all that hair, I mean.   You should get that cut, you know.”

“Ya think?”  Daniel sighed as he leaned back up against the door and closed his eyes.

Neither 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.

Daniel looked at him, the warmth in his eyes attenuating his neutral expression.

“Jack.”

Only one word was spoken, but it said very clearly,  “It’s good to see you.”

“Daniel.”

His one word said, “What took you so long?  You know how much I hate waiting!”

“I – I don’t hate you,” Daniel blurted out suddenly as if someone had jabbed him with a very sharp pin.

“I don’t hate you either,” Jack returned.  Well, he didn’t.

“Sorry about…”

“Ah, me too.”

“I didn’t mean – “

“I know you didn’t”

“It’s just – I mean – I thought… “

“Don’t worry about it.“

“Um…  ah…”

Daniel 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.

Jack sighed, 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.

Can’t beat your simple, basic, tried and tested frontal assault.  Especially when the resistance isn’t even token.

“Welcome home, Danny.”

They held 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.

“Hey, look at you!   Had a good time at camp, did we?    I think you’ve grown a couple of inches!”

Daniel 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.”

Jack shrugged and slapped Daniel on the back.  “Whatever you say, but –“

He broke off, dismayed, as Daniel visibly winced as a result of the light blow.

“What is it?”  He snapped.  “Are you hurt? What’s wrong?  WHAT HAPPENED?

Daniel 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.

“It’s nothing,” he mumbled.  “I just wrenched my shoulder a bit… whenAlbertsongrabbedmebeforeInearlywentover…”

Jack was 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 mode.

To be 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 –I-don’t-need-a-damned-keeper mode.

He glared at Daniel.

Daniel spit right back in his eye.

Crap.  Déjà vu.

Isn’t this how this whole mess started in the first place?

From the look on his face, Daniel was coming to the same conclusion.

One second 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.

“I’m sorry,” he gulped, starting to back away.  “I’m sorry… I’m sorry.”

He was turning, about to run away.  Again.

No way.  Not this time.  Wasn’t going to happen.

Before 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.

But he 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.

Jack braced 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 to do.

Exactly why Daniel had wanted him to be here while he wasn't.

It was 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.

What did 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 for another.

Daniel’s 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.

It was 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.

To allow 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.

Part of 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.

Poor kid.  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.

 Sha’uri 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, intellectual curiosity.

The greater 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.

Meeting 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.

Need in 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.

Something 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.

The struggles 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 go?

Jack gently 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.

Daniel didn’t run.  Didn’t move for a long time.  Jack waited.  Saying nothing.

Daniel 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.

 “How you doing down there?”  Jack finally asked, gently, once Daniel had stopped shaking.

Daniel’s only response was a slight shrug of his shoulders and a faint movement of his head against Jack’s chest.

“Hungry?”  Jack continued.

Daniel sighed.  “Yeah.”  His voice was a little muffled, but sounded good otherwise. “I thought I smelled something.  What – you cooked?”

“More like fetched.”  Jack returned.  “Specialty of the house.”

Daniel’s head came up, definite interest on his face.  “Mario’s?  Extra cheese, pepperoni and mushrooms?”

“You know it,” Jack grinned.

“Omigod, I’ve been dreaming about one of those for the last three days.  That’s so great!  I’m starving!”

“Then what are we standing here for, let’s go dig in.”

While 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 Jackson.

Daniel’s 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.

“That's 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.”

Daniel favored him with a puzzled look.  Jack scratched his head and frowned.

“I can’t 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 are.”

Daniel smiled.  “Thanks,” he said softly.  ‘But don’t worry, there’s no danger of that happening.”

“Good,” Jack took refuge in another sip of beer.  “Just wanted to…clear that point up.”

They both 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 really needed.

But Daniel wasn’t quite finished talking yet. The floodgates, having finally been opened, were not to be denied their opportunity for expression.

“…even though I didn’t want to do it, I thought – I thought if you knew about it you’d…”

Jack came back to what Daniel was saying as the significance of his words hit him.

“I know what you thought.” he replied.  “You were wrong.  Daniel, you did nothing wrong.  You didn’t want to do it, now did you?”

Daniel shook his head.  “I wasn’t even there.  Not really.”

“Well 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.”

Daniel nodded, and then looked away.  When he turned back his eyes were full of the need for reassurance.

“We will find her, won’t we Jack?”  he asked softly.

“Yeah, Danny, we will.” Jack answered him fervently.  “We’ll never stop until we do.  That’s a promise.”

Daniel 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.

“Don’t go…”

“Danny, you’re practically unconscious.  You need to go to bed.”

“I know,” 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.”

“You’ll learn.”  Jack said. “For now, I’m thinking sleep is about all you'll be able to manage.”

Finally 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.

He was barely aware, but the gratitude in his eyes was an intense flame.

“Thank you for being my friend, Jack,” he whispered.

“My pleasure," Jack smiled fondly at him.  " Go to sleep.”

“Okay, okay.  So bossy…  Jack… I – I…”

Jack reached down and gently stroked Daniel’s head.

“Don’t worry about it,” he whispered.  “I know.  Me too.”

Daniel’s 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.

“And thank you, for being mine.  Glad you could join us, Daniel Jackson.”

FINIS

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PhoenixE, 2000-9.
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Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate Productions, Sci Fi Channel, Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. These stories are for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. These stories may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author. Copyright on images remains with the above named rightsholders.
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