Gen:  Fiction Featuring the close friendship between Jack and Daniel.
Rating: PG-13
Category: Angst.
Season/Spoilers: Season 2.  Spoilers for Need. 
Synopsis: While Daniel is away, Jack explores...
Warnings: None
Length:  50  Kb


"In-coming traveller," the duty Sergeant announced in an efficient voice Jack found mildly irritating. He jammed his hands in his pockets and tried to look as inconspicuous as possible as he paced the control room. Waiting. Three weeks of waiting. Crap. He hated waiting.


Robert, I swear, if you've let anything happen to him you're a dead man.


The Sergeant was speaking again, telling Jack what he already knew. The Marines were coming home. Bringing Daniel back with them. He'd hang here just long enough to see everyone got home okay. Just a couple more minutes. Couldn't spare any more time than that. After all, there were so many important things waiting for him, demanding his attention. Games of solitaire to be played, paperclips to be counted.


Figures were starting to materialize on the ramp. Quite a stream of them, loaded down with gear and equipment. Looking tired but triumphant from their three-week off world training exercise, happy to be back and equally eager to be set loose. Jack smiled wryly to himself. He knew the feeling.


His eyes scanned the faces of the men who continued to come through the gate, still not seeing the one he most wanted to see. The one he'd not seen for three weeks. The one he had barely seen for the month previous to that, except when it absolutely had to present itself to his view in the line of duty.


Jack pressed closer to the glass of the control room, trying not to become anxious. If there had been anything wrong - if anyone had been hurt, they would already know it. Relax, Jack, he probably just got lost on his way back to the gate. Someone is probably rounding him up this very minute.


That was low, Jack. You know a lot better than that by now. 


He certainly did. After three weeks of immersing himself in Daniel's world, he knew a lot differently. About a great many things.


Turnabout was fair play, after all. Whatever his reasons for doing so, Daniel had been spending a fair amount of time in another world as well. Playing in a different sandbox with a bunch of new friends. Not with him, but if he couldn't be there, Jack had to concede Daniel couldn't have asked for better playmates than Makepeace and his boys.


He wasn't exactly certain how the whole thing had started. Danny and the Marines, that is. There was a story floating around Makepeace had broken up a little bit of an - altercation - between Daniel and a couple of marines down in the exercise room. It wasn't clear if it was an actual fight and if it was who had started it, but the upshot was Robert had taken Daniel under his wing and next thing Jack knew, Danny was hanging out with the Makepeace and Company. On a fairly regular basis.


Whenever SG-1 wasn't off world Daniel was an honorary Jar Head. He worked out with them, trained with them, from all accounts did a few other things with them causing Jack to take more than a few mental step-backs when he heard about them. Whatever was going on, it appeared that Daniel was more than holding his own. Getting quite a reputation for himself. And more than earning the acceptance of his new buddies.


Good for you, kid. Always knew you had it in you. Guess it was easier to find it without someone always cutting you down. 


Whatever Daniel was picking up from hanging out with his new friends, it was sticking. Daniel's performance during their recent missions had been exceptional. Daniel looked like one of them, acted like one of them - moved like a soldier. He'd definitely acquired some skills. He didn't stick out any more, had lost that edge of uncertainty often slowing down his reaction time. What he was doing was becoming instinctive, a part of him.


Jack knew that this should have made him happy. I mean, isn't this what he'd always been pressing Daniel to become - part of the team, part of the program? Isn't this what he'd always wanted? A more 'military' Daniel?


Well, Daniel was finally doing it. Jack had what he'd always wanted.   Daniel was playing the game and from all indications he was getting on just swell.

Why did it all feel so wrong?


It was a question that haunted him mercilessly until he was able to get some answers. From Daniel himself. Or rather - from Daniel's words.


The opportunity for Jack's study had presented itself rather unexpectedly a little over three weeks ago when Makepeace had made his request. Every six months Robert took his boys to P2G-B7S, also affectionately known as the 'The Playpen', an uninhabited and fairly wild place that offered an interesting diversity of terrain features and conditions within a twenty mile radius of the Stargate. In fact, the place had the feeling that once upon a time it had been used for exactly what the SGC was using it for now: an off world field training site. In this convenient and accommodating place it was possible to engage in any number of battle, survival and training scenarios under optimum field conditions and still enjoy the convenience of being only a 'gate' away from base. Not to mention not having to worry about their activities in any way impacting on any indigenous population. Which gave it a hands-down leg-up over trying to carry on in a similar way here at home.

Jack recalled that the exchange with Robert had been more than a bit strained. On both sides. Makepeace had talked around his main objective for a bit; fishing to find out how much Jack knew and then to discover how he felt about what he was hearing. Jack didn't make it difficult for him to ask what he wanted, but didn't give him anything either.


In fact, the whole thing had the rather bizarre flavour of a guy trying to figure out the best way to ask his best friend if he could date his sister.


It took a bit, but Makepeace finally laid it out. His team was going off world for some fun and games and they wanted to take their new friend Daniel with them was Jack okay with that?

Okay? He was as about okay with the idea of Daniel being out of his sight and off the planet for three weeks as he was okay having someone break all his fingers with a ball peen hammer. Even if Daniel was going to be surrounded the whole time by a pack of Marines who liked him. But if Daniel wanted to go...


Well, the timing was certainly right. SG-1 was definitely due for some down time. If Daniel wanted to use his free time to play soldier, than who was he to stand in his way? He told Robert to go ahead and make the request; he'd add his okay to everything. Then he waved him out so he wouldn't have to see the mixed look of relief and anticipation on Makepeace's face as the man tried to tender his thanks by means of yet more 'fishing' conversation.


Forget it Robert. You got your way. You're not getting anything else from me.

Except Daniel.


Lucky bastard.


Then Makepeace was gone, leaving him in an empty office with a big, empty feeling inside of him that only got bigger when he encountered Daniel in the corridor a short time later.


A pretty rare occurrence these days. Somehow they had both developed an instinct for knowing where the other was so as to not be in the same place at the same time. That it was actually happening could only mean that one of them had screwed up, or one of them had wanted it to happen.


He wasn't long finding out.


Daniel stopped and drew himself up as soon as he saw him. His expression was as guarded as his posture.




Nothing there. He could have been asking him for directions or the time of day.




Well, two could play this game.


"Colonel Makepeace told me you approved his request. I just wanted to say thank you."

"I wasn't aware that what you did with your free time was any of my business," he'd immeidately responded.  Proving he hadn't lost his touch when it came to acting like an asshole.


Crap. Well at least he had managed to shut himself up before he'd added the "any more."

Daniel closed his eyes for a brief second and sighed. As the sorrowful exhalation exuded from him so did the tension in his body and he sagged with painfully apparent resignation. When his eyes opened again they were bleak and distant.


"Never mind," he murmured, turning to walk away.


Say something - you idiot! Don't let him leave like this! 




He's stopped. He's listening. He's waiting. SAY something. 


"Uh - take care of yourself."


Was he seeing things, or did Daniel's shoulders slump, just a little more?


"I will." Flat tone, emotionless.  He hesitated for a moment but didn't turn around or look back. "You too."


That was all. Then walked away, and Jack let him.


Hours after he'd gone to bed Jack lay awake, staring at the ceiling, trying to understand why. He finally fell asleep no wiser for his efforts.


Two days later Daniel was gone. Jack had watched him go, surrounded by a throng of enthusiastic and excited men thumping him on the back and ushering him forward whole-heartedly into the coming adventure. He watched Daniel walk through the gate without a single backward glance. As a matter of fact at the time he'd been standing just about where he was standing right now.


However, there was a huge, honking world of difference between the man he had been then and who he was now.


There he was with some downtime but Daniel had gone - ditched him for the Marines. Then Teal'c had departed to the Land of Light to spend his leave with his family. Finally rounding out the set of deserters Carter came to see him to inform him her father had invited her to come for a visit and she had decided to go but before she could take off, could she ask the Colonel to do a favour for her.


Really, it was for Daniel, she'd explained. Apparently she had promised him she would keep an eye on his place while he was gone, water the plants, feed the fish, and she'd agreed to do so before her own invite had come through but now she had a slight problem.   Seeing as she was going to be leaving as well, she was just wondering - since he had no plans - apparently - would the Colonel mind very much...


The Colonel wouldn't mind at all.  Like she'd so helpfully pointed out, what else did he have to do?


That was how, later that evening, he found himself in Daniel's apartment. Ostensibly to feed the fish. That took about thirty seconds leaving Jack with a fair chunk of time left to fill.  

So, there he was with nothing to do and in Daniel's apartment.  Nothing to do, nothing to do.  Well, seeing as how he was already here, maybe he should just...hang out.  Why the heck not?  He'd been here one or two times, not a lot, there were a couple of rooms he hadn't seen.  Daniel had a lot of cool stuff in the place maybe he should check some of it out.  Who would it hurt to take a look around?  Yeah, that's what he'd do, he'd hang out, look around some.  Get the feel of the place.  Daniel wouldn't mind.

Jack parked himself on Daniel's sofa, surveying the quiet, pleasantly appointed room, feeling the essence of the man who lived here seeping into him from the residual 'Daniel-ness' tangibly permeating the very air he was breathing. Even though the owner of the apartment was millions of miles away - literally - Jack could still feel his presence.  But then, Daniel always seemed to make wherever he was a little better for having been there.  Even long after he'd gone. Back home on his own turf Jack had frequently noticed after those time Daniel had paid him a visit and hung out for awhile his presence would still subtly, lingeringly remain, like he'd imprinted part of his spirit on the place, long after he'd gone.  That warm sense of 'Daniel' in the air even though he was absent was then, as it was now. Comforting.


He didn't feel like a stranger or an intruder here. There was a feeling of acceptance in the place wrapping around him, a comforting rightness at being in Daniel's space embracing him. Even though Daniel wasn't even here, for the first time since he and Daniel had fallen out, Jack felt good.


It was right about then that he noticed the note. He couldn't understand how he hadn't seen it before, lying as it was, in plain sight, on the coffee table before him. If it had teeth, it would have bit him, for crying out loud.


No salutation, no signature. But definitely written in Daniel's distinctive, slightly flamboyant hand.


Make yourself at home

My place is your place.

Beer's in the fridge.

Try not to kill the fish.


Deeply confused, Jack put the note back down on the table. Seeing as how Daniel had left custody of his fish to Sam, then the note he'd just read must have been for her. But it didn't sound like the kind of parting instructions Daniel would have left for Sam. Especially the killing the fish bit. That sounded like it was directed at someone who most assuredly wasn't Sam.


Three guesses who, Sherlock.


Jack got up and went to the fridge to get one of the beers he'd been promised, starting to suspect he was a victim of a conspiracy.


Well, if he had been set up he fully intended to spring the trap. My place is your place, huh?

As far as he was concerned he'd just been given carte blanche to do pretty much whatever he pleased, here.  So, if he pleased to do a little snooping around in Daniel's digs he could proceed without guilt or responsibility because he'd been given the green light to make himself at home from the man himself. 

Daniel didn't honestly think he could throw him a bone like this and not expect him to run with it?

Of course it also occurred to him by sniffing the bait he was doing exactly what Daniel wanted him to do which caused him to further wonder - why?  Why had Daniel arranged for him to be here and then practically dared him to pry into his life behind his back?  Something he would normally never, ever want Jack to do, never mind encouraging him. 

Why indeed?  So many questions, so few answers.  And why the heck was he standing here asking himself stupid question when he could be prowling around, poking and snooping?

At first Jack contented himself with surface snooping without digging too deep. Looking, touching, peeking into nooks and crannies. Inspecting the various curious treasures he unearthed in the process.  However, as he started delving deeper he  began to find interesting curiosities tucked away out of sight in some very unusual places.  Which of course prompted him to start searching even farther off the beaten track and that's when things started to get really interesting.


Daniel was a ticket stub/matchbook/meaningless but meaningful souvenier/momento saver. Not that Jack was surprised to learn this about him.  Archaeologist, after all.  They went nuts over other peoples' garbage so it wouldn't be a stretch to presume they could be a tad anal about hanging onto their own.  That probably had a lot to do with not only why Daniel saved all this junk but why he took the further interesting step of caching and concealing his treasures as well. Or not. Whatever Daniel's reason for this bizarre behaviour, while it made for an interesting exploration rapidly turning the whole enterprise into a treasure hunt, Jack couldn't help but wonder at the inner workings of a mind apparently compelled to so thoroughly secret the physical reminders of its most cherished memories, hiding them so effectively and completely they were barely accessible even to the one for whom they had meaning.

It was almost as if - while Daniel was unwilling to let go of even the smallest tangible piece of his past - while he wanted to have it he also didn't want to be reminded of it.


Daniel had stuff hidden - everywhere. From poems secreted between the pages of a book to a lock of thick, curling raven hair carefully preserved in a beautiful silk hand-embroidered bag placed in an envelope taped to the bottom of a drawer. Jack started to see a pattern emerging in the type of objects that were the most concealed and how difficult it was to find them.


Personal mementos and 'pieces' of the people in Daniel's life. That's what he was hiding.  The more important they were to him, the more profoundly they were hidden away. So far, Jack had not found anything that could be said to be something Daniel was saving that related to him. That meant either he meant an awful lot to Daniel, or he meant nothing.


Or he had gone through and destroyed everything already.  Now that was a depressing thought.


Then Jack found them. Sitting in a neat pile on the bedside table as if they had been placed there especially for his convenience. Daniel's journals. Without the slightest qualm, Jack picked up the top volume, walked back out into the living room, put his feet up, grabbed his now warm beer and began to read.


Promptly discovering where Daniel had been hiding his 'pieces' of Jack O'Neill.


It had taken a very long time to read all the way through the pile of volumes. Almost all the time he had been allotted to do it in. It had not been easy to do. Many times he only been able to read a brief passage before overwhelming emotion had caused him to put the book down, get up and just go. Jack had done more reading, walking and thinking in the past three weeks than he'd had occasion to do in quite a long while. Also a fair amount more learning.


The man he encountered in those pages was one he had always known. What he hadn't known was how much more there was of what he already knew. Daniel spared himself nothing in his frank personal revelations. In fact, for the most part he was far more unkind to himself than he needed to be. As well as far more forgiving than most people realized. Himself included.


One thing for sure - Daniel had one hell of a nerve accusing him of an overdeveloped sense of 'responsibility'. From what he'd seen in those journals Doctor Jackson had a guilt complex only slightly smaller than the known universe. As soon as he had enough time to get around to it, Jack was sure Daniel would find a way to take the blame for original sin.


He had no doubt in his mind Daniel had meant for him to do this. The amount of personal courage that decision must have taken astonished Jack, for the stark and uncompromising honesty of the revelations entrusted to him left very little of Daniel not laid open to his full view. It also left Jack with the complete freedom of choice. What he made of what he had learned and what he opted to do with it -  up to him.


For even though he had most of it, he didn't have all of it. The last journal, the one that dealt with what had happened that night, and the time since then, was not there. Of course it wasn't - it was the most recent one. It was the one Daniel had with him.


Daniel may have opened himself up to scrutiny but he still wasn't going to make what was happening now any easier. What Jack did next was completely in his own hands, and completely up to him.


Daniel had made the first overture. What was Jack's response?


For starters, he was standing in the control room, still waiting for the man to come through the damned gate already!


Suddenly, two men walked through the event horizon. One man had his arm around the shoulders of the other. Makepeace. And Daniel! Jack clamped his jaw shut just in time to avoid actually shouting out his name. Which would have been a really bright thing to do considering it was not like Daniel could have heard him or anything.


Jack hugged himself, unable to suppress a surge of pride at the sight of the triumphant returning 'warrior' Makepeace was escorting down the ramp into the arms of his waiting companions. Jesus. Look at him!


Daniel was - glowing. Not just because of the fact that his hair was near bleached blonde by the sun and his skin was burnished golden no doubt by the same influence. He was radiating self-confidence and overwhelming happiness to the extent that he was an incandescent, noticeable presence in the midst of men who crowded around him; vocally affirming he was indeed one of them.


That was his boy. Making friends wherever he went. Well, why the hell not? Who could get to know this man, and not love him?


Jack stood silently, watching as the Marines cheered and applauded Daniel's arrival. Watched as he looked visibly touched and pleased by their approval, and not a little bit embarrassed. Saw unmistakable proof of how happy he was.


And could not help but notice that Daniel's present condition had absolutely nothing at all to do with anything having to do - with him.


Right up until this moment Jack had been unsure of what his next move was. Now, looking at Daniel, he thought he had his answer.


Daniel didn't need him any more. He had worked it out, had moved beyond him. He had new friends now. From the looks of things, they were much better friends to him in the short time he had been in their lives than Jack O'Neill had ever been.


Time to let Daniel go and somehow try to go on with whatever was left.


His heart a lump of lead inside him, Jack was preparing to turn away, when suddenly, as if he had only just become aware of the eyes upon him, Daniel looked up and saw him.


Jack froze; not wanting to see the last rejection he knew was coming, and yet unable to look away.


Eyes that were impossibly blue and clear against the glowing, golden skin looked at him and shone. It didn't seem possible, and yet the man who was already aglow with contentment suddenly blazed all the more brightly with a joy  spontaneously arising within him in response to Jack's presence. Daniel saw him and smiled. Not just smiled. Beamed like a lighthouse beacon. Right into his eyes, straight to his heart, everything Daniel was. Which was all pretty damned glad to see him, apparently, and not at all caring who saw or knew.


The feeling is mutual, Danny.


Maybe he should just rethink that 'letting go' stuff..


Back to Interlude Jack  /  On to Denouement


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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