THE SOUL'S DESIRE BY
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
Romance with a touch of Angst. Christmas Story.
Mention of some events in early season 7 but no
Daniel get a very special Christmas gift.
very first Christmas story!
|| 52 Kb
originally posted to the web 25 Dec 03.
is glowing, and it's not just because of the booze.
Sure, he's a little lit, I guess we all are, but what
the hey, it's Christmas and I can't remember one I've enjoyed
more in the past few years, or had so much reason to celebrate.
It's Christmas. Daniel's first Christmas since we got
him back. This particular holiday season, it's been one
hell of a wild ride. Everyone at the SGC has wanted a
piece of our happily returned to us former glowy boy.
We've been to so many Christmas parties the last week has
been kind of a blur. An incredibly festive, almost happily
hysterical blur, but still, a blur.
We're playing it a little more low key today. This is
our final celebration of the season and it's a very private
one. Just the four of us. SG-1 all together –
really together again, just us, here, chez O'Neill, doing
Christmas, with Daniel. We've all had a couple of
glasses of Christmas cheer – even Teal'c – but after the
frantic, whirlwind pace of the days preceding, the prevailing
mood in my living room at the moment is pretty subdued.
But that's okay; I don't think any of us mind being mellow.
In fact, it's kinda nice, just being together, not talking
much, simply hanging out and damned happy to be here, enjoying
some good food, good booze, and Daniel.
Daniel. I keep coming back to him, but then, I don't
think I've taken my eyes off him since our private party
started. I still can't believe he's really here. I
think Carter and Teal'c feel the same way – they've been
watching his every move with the same greedy happiness,
drinking in each glance, word and grin like they'll never
get enough of him.
I know I never will.
The smiling thing? Daniel's been doing a lot of it
today. He has to know he's the absolute centre of
attention but he doesn't seem to mind. In fact, if
anything he appears to be welcoming it, basking in our
unabashed adoration. Yeah, we missed you and we're not
ashamed to show it. Maybe he missed us too, maybe that's
why he's here now, instead of somewhere – out there –
lighting up the universe.
But then, you always did that, Daniel. Well, mine
anyway. I just never, ever let you know. I'm
never gonna know if my silence is what made you leave – even
if you could remember, you'd never tell me but you're back
now, and although I can't tell you everything that's in
my heart I can damned sure do a better job than I did before
of letting you know how much you mean to me now.
Can and will. Oh yeah.
Daniel looks up from the gift he's been tearing into with
the unbridled, lustful excitement of a five year old and
he smiles at me, another one of those glorious, wide grins
transforming his face into a blazing beacon of happiness
before leaping right off his face and wrapping around my
heart like a gentle, loving hand. His eyes shine as he
looks straight through me, my knees go weak and I wish,
oh God, how I wish…
While most of Daniel's memories have slipped back into
place there's still a huge, honking blank spot corresponding
to the period of time he spent haring around the universe
with Oma DeSalad and Co. Daniel still remembers zippo
about his tenure with the glowy gang. It's a funny thing,
though; while he has no conscious memory of the past year
and being – ascended – it's changed him. Yeah, I know,
stupid thing to say, how could something like that – not
– what he did and saw while he was out there has to be
in there somewhere and has to have left its mark on him
And it has. Daniel is different; calmer, a lot more
comfortable in his own skin. Maybe because it's not the
original issue – however he 'remade' himself in order to
have shoulders again to rub with us mere mortals, he's
come back clean, clear. Uncluttered. Maybe he cast off
all the crap weighing him down when he ascended, left it
behind with what was left of him. However he's done it,
serenity looks good on him. He looks good. Maybe
he isn't one of the heavenly crowd anymore but he's still
"Thanks, Sam!" Daniel gushes over the treasure
he's unwrapped, turning it over in his hands and admiring the
crap out of it with plenty of accompanying happy noises
making Carter blush with pleasure at his unabashed appreciation
of her gift. I have no idea what he's just received that
has him so giddy – it could be a lump of coal but if
it came from one of his friends he'd still be over the moon
with glee over it, that's Daniel for you – anyway, I don't
know what it is and what's more, I don't really care.
He's here. That's all that matters to me.
"Jack!" Daniel exclaims, making me shiver
again as he beams his pure pleasure at me once more.
"Aren't you going to open your presents?"
"In a minute," I mumble, taking a sip of eggnog and
hiding behind the mug. My face feels like a blast
furnace, and the rest of me, oh God, let's not go there.
He's so damned hot and even with half a room between us his
brilliance is burning me, I'm about thirty seconds from
melt down, one more incendiary glance and I just might….ignite…
It'd certainly give the kids something to talk about in
the commissary over coffee. 'Colonel Spontaneously Combusts
and Makes an Ash of Himself. But then we always knew he
had it in him.'
Okay, I'll behave now, I've got a grip on this. I won't
say 'taken myself in hand'. That'll come later.
And so will I.
"You go on," I give him a big grin back.
"I'm good here for the moment." Daniel barely hears
me, possessed as he is by the spirit of inquisitive avarice
and good old-fashioned Christmas euphoria. I lean back
against the sofa, contentedly watching the spectacle as
Carter and Teal'c egg him on to continue marauding through
the impressive pile of brightly wrapped and ribboned goodies
clustered all around him. Santa has been very, very good
to Daniel this year. But not as good as he's been to us.
Daniel is the best Christmas present we've ever received.
That goes triple for me. I don't give a crap about
what's under the tree with my name on it I've already got
all I wanted for Christmas. Well, maybe not absolutely
everything, if we lived in a slightly different world and
I wasn't what I am and if, possibly, he had ever given
me the slightest indication he thought about me – that
way - I'd see if a bit of decking the halls was something
he could see himself getting into – with me – but some
things are just not meant to be. Oh well, no use crying
over spilt eggnog, or the carton that's never going to
be opened. It took losing him to make me finally admit
to myself I loved him and now that he's back….
I can't say. He's happy now, with his life, himself,
and me. Just the way things are. Something he
definitely wasn't before. As I'm not exactly sure how
much of his former misery I contributed to – I'm not going
to do anything to change the status quo. I just can't
risk it. I'll take him any way he wants to be with
me and I'm not going to let covert, pointless yearnings spoil
this day – or this friendship - for either one of us.
Still, I can't help wishing things were different. If
I had one wish, if I could have anything I wanted….
I'd have you – if only you'd have me.
leans against me, his breath warming the side of my neck
as we bid our fond farewells to Carter and Teal'c. They
still have a couple more rounds to make before they call
it a night and although it was great to see them I'm just
as glad they're going. Our archaeologist is just about
partied out and if I'm not mistaken his last cup of cheer
will have him horizontal and out like a light snoring as
soon as I strong arm him to the guest bedroom and pour
him into bed.
Obviously a year's worth of glow-dom hasn't done squat
for improving his alcohol tolerance. My dearest Daniel
still can't hold his liquor.
"Well, I guess we'll say good night, then, Sir,"
Carter says reluctantly as she hovers on my front step, still
not quite ready to let go of this day, this moment or our
slightly weaving and blissfully grinning archaeologist.
"You're sure you don't want to come with us to
Daniel's hands tighten on my arms as he drops his head
on my shoulder and burps into my neck. "Carter, do you
think the Christmas Kid here is in any shape for any more
wassailing this evening?"
"No Sir," she concedes with a grimace.
"You'll look after him, won't you, Sir?"
Like he was my very own.
"Not to worry, Carter," I assure her as I reach an
arm around his waist, holding him up just as he starts to
go. "I'll be putting him to bed directly."
"I think that would be best," Daniel blearily
agrees. "Night Sam, Teal'c," he says before
"Night Daniel," Sam sighs, stepping in to give him a
hug, which he returns with as much fervour as he is capable
of. Which at the moment ain't too much. The spirit
is willing but the archaeologist is potted.
"This has been a most enjoyable evening, O'Neill,"
Teal'c solemnly intones. "It is good to have you
back, DanielJackson," he adds, moving in as soon as
Carter releases him to administer a rib crusher of his own.
Daniel grunts as Teal'c lets go and I'm in there again as a
necessary prop for keeping him upright. A function I'm
more than happy to serve, if for no other reason I get to
hold him and indulge in the guilty pleasure of feeling
his warm firm body closely pressed to me.
"Give Janet and Cassie our love and tell them we'll catch
up with them tomorrow. Once Daniel here has slept it
I wonder if the recently recorporeal get hangovers like
the rest of us. I guess we'll find out in the morning.
We wave bye bye and as Carter and Teal'c head down the
walk I wheel Daniel around and steer us back into the house.
Yeah, he's a little drunk but he's also had a very good
time and I can feel his utter contentment rolling off him
as I close the door behind us and lock it.
I'm completely unprepared for the blinding pulse of light
blasting through the house, flattening us both against
"What the fuck was that?" I gasp, clinging
desperately to Daniel, huge spots swarming in front of my
bedazzled eyes. I'm blinking furiously, can't see a
damned thing but strangely, Daniel doesn't seem to be
suffering from the same optical impairment.
"Jack!" he cries, pushing away from me and
starting for the stairs before I can grab him.
"Look! On the tree!"
"Daniel, for God's sakes be careful!" I call out to
him, stumbling forward and rubbing my eyes. Visions of
Asgards, Goa'ulds or any number of weird ass alien
explanations for unscheduled, mysterious pyrotechnics are
running through my brain and both of us stumbling blindly
– in my case literally – unarmed and unprepared into God
knows what –
Yanno, I often have nightmares about scenarios like this
I just never expected to have to face one in my own freaking
Although it seems a hell of a lot longer it actually only
takes a couple of seconds for my vision to clear. By the
time I've reached the top of the stairs I'm seeing halfway
clear again, enough to be able to ascertain Daniel has
somehow made it down the stairs in one piece and is standing
in front of the Christmas tree staring raptly up at….
Well, I'll be a son of a gun where the hell did that come
Daniel and I decorated this tree a week ago, finishing
off the operation with the ritual placing of the star Daniel
bought for the tree he cajoled me into erecting the first
Christmas he spent on Earth after getting back from Abydos.
Which coincidentally was also the first Christmas we celebrated
together. It's a very nice, impressively gaudy hunk of
glitter but what's currently – hovering – on the very apex
of the tree where the star is supposed to be definitely
isn't what I put there and while I can't be positive about
this, I'm pretty sure wherever it came from, it definitely
I reach Daniel's side and stand with him, staring up,
equally open mouthed at a multi-faceted hunk of softly
glowing crystal the size of a cantaloupe. It's lightly
pulsing, emitting a gentle, golden glow that's kind of
– oozing – out of it, slowly filling the room not only
with an ethereal light but a warm, peaceful feeling that's
kind of nice. Soothing. God, it's pretty and looking
at it, I'm feeling…
I don't know what the hell this thing is or where it came
from but whatever it is, it's not bad.
"Oh my God," Daniel softly murmurs. "It's
a Zh Ha'dir. I didn't think I'd ever see one again."
"A what?" I blurt, frankly stupefied. I
can't take my eyes off this thing it's so damned beautiful..
Not just because of the way it looks which is – beautiful,
but it feels…. Holy buckets, it just feels…so…
I can't describe what it feels like, but whatever it is,
I haven't felt this good since – well, since I first laid
eyes on Daniel again on Vis – wherever. In a weird sort
of way it's having the same effect on me he does. Like
being in the presence of something incredibly precious
that transforms everything it touches, making it just a
little bit, well, better.
I don't understand it, but I'm also not afraid of it,
nor do I feel the slightest compulsion to stop Daniel as
he moves over and reaches up for the crystal. I almost
feel like trying to beat him to it. I suddenly want to
touch it – hold it in the worst kind of way but I can't
move. Once again, Daniel doesn't seem to be suffering
from the same constraints and I also can't help noticing
he's apparently shaken off his former state of inebriation.
His eyes are clear and shining as he plucks the crystal
from the top of the tree with a firm, steady hand and then
turns to bring it back to me, cupped safely and reverently
in the palms of his hands.
"A Zh Ha'dir," he tells me again, his head bent over
the object he's lovingly cradling. I find myself staring
at it too, sucked into the softly shimmering brilliance
swirling serenely in its crystal heart and spilling out
of it to bathe Daniel's hands and face. Daniel continues
to speak, the murmured words pouring out of him as dreamily
as the crystal's liquid emissions.
"It's only found in one place in the universe,"
Daniel continues, his long fingers lightly stroking the stone.
"A little planet called Vebronda in - well, a
galaxy a long way away from this one. The Zh Ha'dir is
very rare and difficult to obtain, and has very special
properties. The inhabitants of Vebronda – a
lovely, gentle, peaceful race – they're only about three
feet high, golden skin, large black eyes – you'd really like
them, they – "
I haven't said a word, couldn't right now, even if I wanted
to, which I don't, but Daniel catches himself, reining
himself in from tangent land.
"The Tinir. They call themselves the Tinir – this
stone is highly prized in their culture because of these
special properties. They risk death to find and obtain
one and use it in a ritual they call 'Aysyra' – Divining
the soul's desire. It's a very important ritual in their
culture, practiced by those who wish to devote themselves
to following their personal path and their spiritual development.
The Zh Ha'dir' extracts the truth – the essence of the
deepest desire of anyone who holds it – shows them what
they need to know to follow their path and – um –
Daniel stops talking and looks up at me, his eyes wide
with bewildered wonder. "Oh my God," he breathes.
"How do I know this? I – I do know this I've been there
– to Vebronda, observed the Tinir I – I - "
Daniel pauses, takes a shuddering breath, tears glistening
in his eyes as he whispers the next sentence.
"Jack. I remember."
"How much?" I ask him, scared of the answer.
To be honest I've been kind of relieved he's not been able to
remember what it was like to be what he was. He's been
so happy to be back home with us, not minding at all being
downgraded but if he starts to remember, gets it all back
will he still be content with being just one of the boys
again? After what he's probably seen and done – what would
someone who's sailed across the universe and had the power
he's had – what would someone like that want with a raggedy
old team like SG-1 or broken down old Air Force colonel?
"Just this," Daniel closes his hands protectively
over his glowing talisman, gripping it tightly to his heart.
A tear trickles down his cheek from his wide, wondrous
eyes, his face is ablaze with wistful gratitude. "Just
– Vebronda. Being there, the people. What this
is. What it can do. That's it. But it's
The stone is pulsing more strongly now, the light within
it sparkling like it's alive, changing from shimmering
white to a deep, vibrant blue as it fills with truth.
Daniel's truth. His soul's desire. I know it – what
Daniel wants more than anything is in that stone. I can
feel it. If I touch it - hold it – I'll know exactly
what is in Daniel's heart.
I want it so bad my fingers are aching and I can hardly
breathe. I want that stone – need it – I have to
have it, I have to know but I can't just - take it, it
wouldn't be right. What if Daniel doesn't want me to know,
after all this is seriously scary, private stuff and I don't
have the right to intrude or even expect he'd want to share
something so important – with me.
Daniel looks up at me and smiles. He doesn't say a word
but his eyes are sparking, deep and fearless, holding mine
as he raises his cupped hands and without hesitation extends
them toward me – offering….
I don't need his unspoken but unmistakable plea to compel
me; I couldn't turn away from this if my life depended
on it. Even as I suddenly realise if I do this – if I touch
it, and him, it'll take everything I have and lay it all
out for Daniel's consideration. It's a two way street
- I'll get what I want but I won't be able to hide. The
price of knowing is revealing but it's one I'm more than
willing to pay.
I reach out, clutching both his hands and the stone, holding
on like I plan to never let go.
The world tilts and I'm flying, Daniel's truth singing
inside me. At last I know, I know what he is, what he feels,
what I am to him. I know, and it's the biggest, the best
– it's everything and so is he. Love, he loves me
– Daniel loves me so much he turned his back on – all of
glowydom - for – for me and that love, that wonderful,
incredible, fierce, unquenchable love, it's like this roaring
tornado inside me; desperate devotion, swirling, whirling,
all bound up with sharp, brittle bits of secret misery
- anguish, exhilaration, bliss, despair, stubborn, irrational
optimism, and hungry, hopeless desire. I see the love
that made him leave me, the same burning, undeniable,
unanswerable need that brought him back - I feel it all,
I'm the centre of the maelstrom of incredible emotions
roiling around me and more than just feeling it, I know
it oh, only too well. I ought to, I've been living it
long enough. Every hope, every denial, every sorrowful
and shining facet of the soul unfurled before me is an
eerie mirror of the contents of my own.
What do you know about that?
We – intermingle – souls and secrets revealed one to the
other as we…blend…and suddenly there are no more secrets
– it's no longer possible or even necessary, we know each
other, we see each other and there's nothing to be ashamed
of, no reason to hide, we see, we know, and we understand
what we desire, what we want, what we need, it's all the
same, and so are we.
I don't know where Daniel ends and I begin but I don't
need to. The stone makes us one and we come together,
fire and light and hunger and desire co-mingling as we
kiss, touch, feel, burn and love…
"Are you okay with
this?" Daniel murmurs as he nuzzles his cheek against
my chest with a sigh.
"Daniel, I have never been more okay with anything in
my life. I hope you were able to gather that from the
quality of my participation in our recent – collaboration.
I thought I was reasonably enthusiastic."
Daniel snickers and gives my chest a reassuring pat.
"Your – enthusiasm – was duly noted and
"Yeah, well I couldn't help noticing you were pretty
All of a sudden Daniel isn't laughing. "I've wanted
this – you – for a long time," he says in a small,
sad voice. "I never thought it would ever
"Yeah, well that makes two of us," I kiss his
forehead and stroke his head reassuringly. "Now it
has, I'm not letting you go. I just want you to know
"Good," Daniel says after a couple of seconds.
"I was hoping you'd feel that way."
"Come on," I tease. "After we – Aye-shied
– you know exactly how I feel. The full meal deal. Got
nowhere to hide from you now, Danny."
"Does that scare you?" he asks, very
"No." I mean it, and I know he knows.
"If it was anyone else, maybe, yeah, but I'm not scared.
Not of you."
We don't say anything else for a long time. I don't know
what's going on in Danny's head but me – I still can't
get over what we've just done – that we've just done it
and he's here – with me, in my bed. He's mine, really
mine and I can hold him and touch him and love him and
My God, it really is Christmas.
"I wonder which one of your friends we have to thank for
this," I suddenly blurt out, as the thought occurs to me.
"Mmmmm?" Daniel sleepily grunts.
"Well, the Zah ha wah wah didn't get here all by itself.
I presume one of your glowy buddies delivered it here.
I was just wondering which one, and why."
Daniel thinks about if for a bit before replying.
"Well, my money would be on Skaara."
Yeah, mine too.
"You think he might be hanging around, keeping an eye
"I'd like to think so," Daniel says with a smile.
"Although – it's a big universe out there Jack.
Still, if he stopped by, from time to time, even if we never
knew – that would be nice."
Yeah. Although I kinda hope, once he saw his gift was
accepted and used in the way he no doubt intended he didn't
stick around for the - um, show.
I mean, while I don't mind letting it all hang out for
Daniel I'm not too comfortable with the idea of providing
inadvertent x-rated entertainment for other-dimensional
voyeurs. Not that I think my saggy old ass is all that
fascinating they'd be interested in floating about and
seeing it in action, still, some things are just private,
Just, whoever, if you're planning on stopping by from
time to time, have a little consideration, okay?
"Christmas!" Daniel suddenly exclaims in his
endearing non sequiter conversational style.
"Meaning?" I prompt.
"You were wondering why," Daniel explains.
"It's Christmas and the funny thing, for most of the
evening I was thinking while being here with all of you again
was wonderful, the best Christmas I've ever had it still
wasn't... everything I'd hoped for. And it wasn't going
to be. Because there was one thing I wanted – the only
thing I wanted really, but there was no way I was ever going
to get it."
"Ah, and then enter our very own personal glowy Santa
"Something like that," Daniel yawns.
"Want to hear something funny?"
"Make it fast, I need to sleep now."
"What you were thinking about all you wanted but weren't
going to get?"
"I was thinking exactly the same thing."
Yeah, imagine that. However, from now on, thanks to our
secret Santa, I won't have to.
Skaara, wherever you are, I owe you, buddy. Someday,
somehow I'll give you a proper thank you. But in the
meantime, Daniel couldn't be in better hands. I just
want you to know that. I'll love him and look
after him. I'll keep him safe so you don't need to worry
about him. You can go out there to – wherever – and
know he'll be fine with me.
You have my word on it.
Oh yeah, and wherever you are, Merry Christmas.