Gen:  Fiction Featuring the close friendship between Jack and Daniel.
Rating: PG-13
Category: Angst.
Season/Spoilers: Season 2.  Spoilers for Need.
Synopsis: Jack tries to face a situation he doesn't want to be in.
Warnings: Intense emotional situation.
Length:  70   Kb


Sunrise.  An alien sun in an alien sky on an alien world that by all rights should have just stopped turning.  Okay, so maybe that was slightly melodramatic.  But it certainly would have been appropriate.

Jack knew he'd soon have to face turning around and facing the rest of his team.  And  Daniel.   He’d had the whole stinking night to think about his next move.  Well, here it was, morning, pretty soon some sort of action was going to be required of him and he still didn’t have a stinking clue what he was going to do about what had happened last night.

Running around screaming might be emotionally satisfying but it would confuse the hell out of Carter and Teal’c.  Jack really preferred to have to explain himself to as few people as possible.

Sooo, maybe he should just get on with it like it was any other day.  When in doubt, fall back on the familiar.  He was reasonably certain Daniel wouldn’t shoot him.  He’d had plenty of opportunity already if that was where his head was at, and he probably wouldn’t do anything else that would tend toward confusing the other kids thereby requiring lengthy and embarrassing explanations.  While it was true Daniel had a fondness for talking at excruciating lengths about just about anything under the sun, that loquaciousness did not extend to his least favorite subject.  Daniel Jackson.

Daniel would rather have root canal on every tooth in his head than talk about himself.  Jack knew about this: having had, on more than one occasion, to suffer through the agonies and the mental exertions of numerous ‘extraction’ operations trying to get some sort of clue from Doctor Reticent about what the hell was going on with him this time or another.   Whatever personal insights he had ever managed to force Daniel to part with the man had made him pay dearly for in effort and frustration.

All of which simply meant it was highly unlikely Daniel was going to make a scene.

So Jack heaved a large sigh, squared his shoulders, put on his best ‘I’m-Jack-O’Neill-what’s-it-to-you’ face and turned around, intending to make like your basic busy bee.  To be met by Carter and Teal’c already up and getting on with it, and Daniel, earnestly zipping about engaged in his own insect imitation.  They buzzed around each other for a bit, then Daniel buzzed off, Carter in tow, back down to the site so he could finish up and they could book already.

Huge knots of dismay churned in Jack's stomach as he watched them walk away. He'd just witnessed Daniel put on a performance would've put Olivier to shame, and while he had been expecting some sort of behaviour along those lines he was quite taken aback to see unmistakable proof of just how good Daniel was getting at dissembling.

Jack knew what had gone down between them last night had to have deeply upset Daniel, and even he could barely tell there was anything wrong with the man.  Daniel was acting like everything was hunky dory in his world, right down to the cheery, eager beaver attitude, the bounce in his step and the toss-away, good-humoured jibe at Teal’c as he and Carter walked away.

Flawless.  Jesus.

Carter and Teal'c had looked right at him and seen exactly what Daniel wanted them to see.  Exactly nothing. Only, Jack knew differently.  Daniel almost had the 'I'm fine, nothing to see here' routine down pat, but there'd been an essential element sadly lacking in his performance.

Daniel had been around him and talked to him as if last night had never happened. Only it had.  For during the entire whatever-the-hell-it-was they had just done, Daniel had never once looked at him.  Not directly, not in the eye.  And he hadn’t come any closer to him than a couple of feet.  Daniel had been there, walking, talking, acting, looking like Daniel, and yet, for all Daniel had been standing right in front of him, he might as well have been halfway across the galaxy.

Daniel might have been there but he sure wasn't with him.

Well isn’t this special?  Look at you, Daniel. Not quite the wide-eyed wonder boy who stumbled into my life a couple of years ago.  All grown up now and getting just as bent as all of the rest of us.  Well  done, Jack.  Nice piece of work. Stand up and be proud of a job well done, as it spits in your eye and hates you.

What happened, Danny?  How did we get here?

How indeed.  There was practically nothing left of the callow, awkward, slightly disheveled dipwad who'd wandered into the their midst for the first time looking not so much like the brilliant scholar he was as a school kid who'd lost his way and needed directions to his next class.  The ‘I don’t really belong here and don’t have a clue what's going on’ aura he exuded from practically every pore was immediately dispelled within the first five minutes after he grabbed a piece of chalk and cleaned the clocks of a passel of snooty, ‘respected’ eggheads who'd already had two years to work on a single line of hieroglyphics and still hadn’t gotten it right.

Jack had pretty much written him off at first sight, but that single display of ability had earned Daniel Jackson a second look.  And a little notation in Jack’s book.  Keep your eye on this one.

Two weeks later Jack was looking at the man again, seeing the awe and barely disguised longing on his face as he stared raptly at the event horizon of the newly-activated wonder he had named.  As he pondered Daniel's shining, besotted face Jack O’Neill found himself seriously wondering, for the first time, just who the hell Daniel Jackson really was.

A lot more than he was letting on, that was for sure.

And here Jack was, almost three years later, still trying to plumb the depths of the particular mystery that was Daniel Jackson.  Mind you, it looked as if it was shaping up to be a lifetime study.

Daniel had gone through the gate with him for the first time with two marks to the good in Jack’s little mental character ledger, however very quickly, he'd taken three giant steps back.

Jack admitted to being slightly pissed when he'd discovered the sneaky geek had lied to him, however, given the reason why he'd done it, Jack had been almost prepared to be secretly impressed with his nerve.  Then Kawalsky had gone off and flattened him, and once again, Jack had occasion to severely revise his opinion of the good Doctor.

He could at least have stood up for himself.  Had SOME shred of dignity.  Not just – laid there, blinking like some near-sighted owl – waiting to get stomped.  Jack found he couldn’t even look at Daniel as he pulled Kawalsky off.  The geek wasn’t worth the effort.

So much for his faint hopes the dweeb was actually going to be of some use.  Daniel Jackson was nothing but dead weight.   Useless. Scratch the name and rip the page right out of the book.

Hah!  Jack was very rarely wrong about people but he'd completely missed the boat where Daniel was concerned.  If not for 'the dweeb', right now Jack O'Neill would probably be either dead - several times over – or digging up Naquadah with his fingernails along side the Abydonians, who'd be still enslaved by Ra.  Getting the gate reopened would have been the least of his worries.  Nor would there have been any point to the exercise - there'd have been no Earth to go back to.  Without Daniel there speaking the lingo, getting the intel and filling them in about Ra's little plan to make Mother Earth go boom Ra would've sent the bomb with the Naquadah chaser back through the gate, and no one would've stopped him.  Because no one would have even known he was planning on doing it.

When had Jack O’Neill stopped thinking of Daniel Jackson as ‘useless’?  Aside from the little detail of Daniel saving his life and getting himself snuffed for his pains? Probably about thirty seconds after Jack had seen him, apparently risen from the dead, walking toward him with a staff weapon aimed at his head and a look on his face would've done the Grim Reaper proud.  Jack had been thinking he shouldn’t be wasting his last moments contemplating the irony of coming through everything he'd managed to survive only to be finally taken out by Doctor Dweeb, when out of the blue, the dweeb turned into Rambo, Skaara and the boys were handing out the hardware, and they were all off to the races.  Way to go, Doctor Jackson.

That first mission to Abydos had been Daniel’s show all the way.  As much as Jack still hated to admit it to himself, he was the one who was the dead weight through most of it.  While he'd been wrapped up in feeling sorry for himself Daniel had been making friends and finding answers, telling the Abydonians the truth about themselves and the being who enslaved them, making inspiring speeches and inciting a whole people to rise up and take arms against their oppressors. That last bit had been rather crucial, for if the folks from Abydos hadn’t pulled all their butts out of the fire by showing up literally in the nick of time like a horde of pugnacious locusts loaded for bear, making Ra turn tail and run – well, we were basically back to the dead or Naquadah miner scenario.  Pick one.

By the time Jack had roused himself enough to finally play the action adventure hero at the end - largely due to a rather pointed speech Daniel had made to him helping him see certain things a little differently  - Daniel had already done most of the work.  They’d won; blown up the bad guy, saved the day, got to go home heroes but Jack had no doubt in his mind to whom the Abydonians owed the most gratitude.

Hell, Daniel had even gotten the girl. Not too bad for a four-eyed wimp geek loser.

He’d resented Daniel for a long time because of Abydos.  Probably a large reason why he had been so ‘conflicted’ when confronted with him again.  Why he'd tended to ride him so much at the beginning.

You see, Daniel KNEW. He was the only one left now, who knew ALL of it. He’d been there, all the way, through the whole Abydos business, and had seen Jack when he was not exactly at his best.  Jack had resented him for knowing, and resented him as a constant reminder of a time in his life he was not exactly proud of.  And then one day he'd realised something that had made him stop feeling resentful.

Daniel didn’t care what he had done.  He knew all about it, and for some reason liked him anyway.  Go figure.  It made no difference to him; Jack was the only one being stupid about the whole thing, holding onto it and holding it against both of them.

So, he'd stopped.  Well, mostly, anyway.  There still were times when Jack felt like a fifth wheel next to Daniel, and more than a mental midget.  Not that Daniel ever said or did anything to make him feel stupid - nothing like that - it was just, Daniel was so much smarter.  In some ways.  In others, he didn’t have a clue. But Daniel knew it and rather than beating himself up about it, he tried to do something about it.  Tried to learn what he didn’t know.  Tried to learn it from him.  Looked to him for a lot of things.

That’s what amazed Jack the most.  When he realised Daniel actually looked up to him. Respected him.  Hell, admired him, even. In spite what he'd done in the beginning when he'd been feeling a little insecure, to keep Daniel off -balance and make him look even more awkward and out of place than he already was, Daniel still trusted him and called him friend. Wasn’t that just a kick in the head?  But that was Daniel.

Jack's heart didn't exactly swell with pride when he recalled his behaviour toward 'the civilian' during the early days of SG-1. Daniel might have been the ‘Savior of Abydos’ (and wouldn’t he be pissed off if he heard Jack call him THAT), but it was a different story on the other side of the gate.  When he'd been thrown into the world of the SGC the Saviour of Abydos was on Jack’s turf, and hadn’t he just let Daniel know it.  Practically every opportunity that had come his way.  Until he had finally gotten it through his thick skull Daniel wasn’t trying to challenge him or make him look bad, he was just being Daniel.  Exercising the same fierce determination to learn the truth and to see all of them did the right thing that had earned him the love of his adopted people and the respect of a Special Forces colonel who'd learned a few hard lessons on Abydos.  Courtesy of Doctor Jackson.  Only right he should return the favour.

And he had.  Once he'd gotten over the shock of realising Daniel was looking mostly to him for help and guidance in making his way in this strange new world he he'd been tossed into against his will.  He'd been more at home on Abydos than he was at the SGC.  But again, being Daniel, he'd not uttered a word of complaint, but had applied himself grimly to the task of  'getting it'.  His efforts were, at times, not so successful, and they'd had more than one difference of opinion over ‘divergent world views’.  Which tended to upset Daniel a lot more than they probably should have.  This used to puzzle Jack until he realised - as bizarre as it sounded - one of the main reasons why Daniel would get so worked up when he had to go head to head with Jack over a matter of conscience, or fail to fulfill an expectation because of a moral dilemma, it was because he was deeply divided.  Between needing to adhere to the moral high road and yet at the same time dearly, desperately – wanting to please.  Wanting to please – him.

The high road usually won.

So, Jack had two choices.  He could continue to be a jerk and rub Daniel’s nose in his own inexperience, or he could be the friend and mentor Daniel honestly wanted him to be.  He’d gone for the second option.  It had been going okay.  Until last night.

Dammit!  He hadn’t done anything wrong!   He’d seen a friend in trouble, and he’d tried to help.   What was more, he’d damned well do it again!  Despite what Daniel believed, if he tried carrying this thing around inside him much longer he was going to hurt himself bad.  If he hadn’t done so already.  Daniel needed to get this thing out in the open and that was all Jack had been trying to help him do.  Help him deal with a problem he couldn’t deal with by himself.  Jack knew Daniel seemed to think  he could handle it on his own, but he was wrong.

Having had occasion in the past to lay a few of his own personal demons to rest with the assistance of the man who was denying him the chance to repay him in kind, Jack knew a little bit of what he was talking about.

However, it now seemed they both had an even bigger problem.  But, wait a minute, what were we really talking here?  Daniel was mad at him right now, okay, but this was  Daniel, for crying out loud!  The original fount of the milk of human kindness.  If he could find a way to forgive Teal’c for helping to turn his wife into a Goa’uld, how long could he possibly stay mad at him for caring?

Apparently, possibly, maybe – not long at all.  Jack opted for playing it cool when Daniel bopped up to his side and stayed there during the walk back to the gate.  Still wasn’t looking at him or talking to him, but he was there, as if this was just another day and another walk back.  So far, so good.

Jack’s hopes it was getting better between them were high right up until he reached over and grabbed Daniel’s arm to stop him from starting his circus career as the Amazing Flying Jackson.  For just a second, Jack could have sworn Daniel was about to turn to him, like he had so many times before, and smile sheepishly at him as he said “Thanks Jack.”  That would've been all Jack would've needed from Daniel to let him know that they were okay again.

Instead, Daniel had kept his eyes straight ahead, yanked his arm away and stalked off.  Like he thought Jack was pond scum or something.

You’re welcome.

Fine.  That’s the way you want it.  Don’t have to hit me over the head or anything.  Next time, I’ll just let you fall.

Jack nursed his bruised feelings until they hit the infirmary.  While cooling his heels and waiting his turn he had a more leisurely opportunity to review the situation again, and observe Daniel in particular.

When he saw how upset Daniel really was, Jack’s wounded pride melted away, to be replaced with a bit of distress of his own.  His friend was hurting bad.  And there wasn’t a damned thing he could do about it.  Because there was no way Daniel would let him help.

Daniel wasn't saying a word, so stiff and strung out he was almost shaking.  Jack looked away and tucked his own arms tightly around himself, as if by doing what Daniel would not allow himself to do, he could do SOMETHING for him.

There were people who lived mostly in their heads and were more comfortable with mental stimulation over the world of the more tangible and physical.  And then there were the sensualists, those who were extremely  touchy-feely, and who furthermore derived much of their information about the world, and their general sense of well being from their senses and tactile stimulation in general.  Hands-on people, if you will.  Needed to do it, needed to have it done to them or they got weird and scrambled up inside.

Jack knew he was definitely a ‘hands-on’ on type.  Oh, big news flash there!  He’d spent a number of years sealed off from the rest of the world and had suffered the consequences, but he was better now.  Daniel was in much worse shape than he had ever been.

Daniel was one of those truly unfortunate hands-on people who had been largely denied, all through life, what he had most needed.  Contact.  Honest to god, flesh to flesh, skin to skin, a lot, and often.  Not getting it had screwed him up but good. Daniel was so giving of himself to anyone who needed a hand: he should have gone through life surrounded by people who hugged his brains out on a regular basis.  But he never got that kind of regular human contact until he met Sha’uri, and one short year wasn’t enough time to undo the neglect of a lifetime.

Jack knew ‘skin hunger’ when he saw it.  He also knew it would be practically impossible for Daniel to do anything about it on his own.  Not only did he not have the first clue how to get what he needed, he didn't even realize there was anything wrong.

So, Jack had literally – lent  him a hand.  It was no big deal, didn’t cost him anything to reach out and give Daniel a pat on the back from time to time.  Truth was, he enjoyed it.  Almost as much as he liked watching Daniel enjoying it.

The little bit here and there had helped.  Daniel was better, but he still had a tendency to revert in intense emotional situations.  When he was the most deeply distressed Daniel lost his ability to be able to reach out to anyone. He’d pull away, go internal, find a corner, pull himself into a ball and wrap his arms around himself.  When Daniel started hugging himself he was sending out a major Mayday he wasn’t even aware of.  But he’d never overtly ask for help. Didn’t know how. You had to cross the gap and make the first move.  Make him take the physical comfort or reassurance he needed.  It was never easy.  Nothing with Daniel ever was.

Even though his arms were at his sides Daniel was sending out distress signals that made Jack’s hands ache in a sympathetic response.  But there was nothing he could do.  Daniel needed a hand in the worst kind of way, but the way he was right now; he’d rather die than take it.

Especially from him.

Jack spent most of the briefing not listening to what was being said, not caring what was being said, and trying very hard not to look at the man who was mostly saying it.  What he was mainly trying to do was restrain himself from leaping over the table, grabbing Daniel and yelling at him, 'Can we cut the crap and make up already because I can’t stand seeing you like this'!

Jack was mad.  Mad at Daniel for being so damned stubborn, mad at the situation, damned ticked off at the fact his favorite restaurant had closed its doors last week without asking him how he felt about it.  Mostly though, he was mad at himself.  For not being able to figure out how to fix it.  Right here and now.

The debrief was over and Daniel was starting to get to his feet.  The movement drew Jack’s eyes to him automatically. He hadn’t planned for it to happen, but it did anyway.  He didn’t know what was on his face, but he knew what he was feeling inside and before he had a chance to mellow it down a little Daniel looked at him, and mad suddenly turned into something quite different.

Daniel was staring at him like he was some kind of crawling slug he couldn’t get away from fast enough.  He was almost dropping all his stuff he was in such a hurry to get shot of the room and the man he didn't seem to want to be in it with.  Well, I guess we can put the notion of forgiveness up on the shelf.  Guess he really meant what he said last night after all.

This hurt worse than a staff blast to the heart.  Well he’d certainly learned a valuable lesson from all of this.  The very next time a lost and lonely archaeologist crossed his path looking for a helping hand he’d just pass right on by.

Sure ya will, Jack.  Sure ya will.

Jack just sat there and let him go.  Not that he could do anything else.  He’d catch up with Daniel a little later.  He knew exactly where he was going.

After giving him some time to get there, Jack wearily got to his feet and followed.

He quietly and carefully sat himself down against the door of the store room, thinking wryly to himself even though Daniel was unquestionably brilliant in some ways, when it came to certain other things he was endearingly dense. Like for instance how he imagined he would be able to hide in a top-secret military installation whose corridors were lousy with surveillance cameras which made tapes of everyone’s comings and goings.  Tapes which could be used to good advantage by determined individuals with time on their hands.

Daniel’s secret spot hadn’t been a secret for very long.  Jack had made it his business to find out where he disappeared to from time to time; telling himself it was part of his job to know as much as he could about his subordinates.  And most of the time, he actually believed it.

Now he sat here, head in his hands, listening to the sound of Daniel’s low, sad voice coming from the other side of the door and wondered why he'd come.  If it wasn’t to kick the door in and try to talk some sense into Daniel – or pound it into him – whatever worked – why was he here?

Because he had to do something.  Even if that something was to make himself face what he had done.

All the concern in the world counted for squat right now.  Daniel had made it more than plain he didn't want a thing from him.  Which meant he wouldn't take anything either. Daniel hated him.  Not too many ways around that one.   Still, Jack couldn’t stand the thought of him being completely alone, especially at a time like this.  Even though there was a door between them, even though Daniel wouldn’t know he was there, still, he would be here just the same.  It was the least he could do.

Jack sat there, making himself listen, until the sound of Daniel’s voice gradually subsided, trailed away and finally stopped.  It seemed to take forever, but after a sufficiently long interval of silence Jack was sure Daniel had finally fallen asleep.  Then and only then did he pull himself to his feet and slowly walk away, to try and find a few hours of oblivion himself.

~~The end of the Second Interlude~~

Back to Interlude Daniel  /  On to Reconnaissance


PhoenixE, 2000-9.
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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