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

CONQUERING NEED PART ONE

UNFINISHED BUSINESS   BY PHOENIX E


Gen:  Fiction Featuring the close friendship between Jack and Daniel.
Rating: PG-13
Category: Angst.
Season/Spoilers: Season 2  Spoilers for Need. 
Synopsis: Jack discovers that Daniel has a secret. The consequences of this revelation are more serious than he had anticipated.
Warnings: Intense emotional situation
Length:  80  Kb

 

It was an absolutely gorgeous night. Jack looked up, taking in the spectacular stellar panorama flaunting itself expansively before his appreciative eyes.  Funny, after all the time he'd spent beneath alien skies in strange, new places it still felt  - odd, for the first second – to look to the heavens and not see any familiar stars winking back at him.

Nice night.  Quiet.  Really quiet.  Yep, sure was quiet.  He supposed he should be grateful.  For once, this mission had been a walk in the park.  No Goa’ulds, bug-eyed monsters, pissed off primitives trying to take a piece out of them.  Just a whole bunch of ruined buildings and some spectacular scenery.  An archaeologist’s paradise.  Calm, serene, placid.  Gorgeous.  Really, really….quiet.

God, he was bored!  If he looked over Daniel’s shoulder at one more wall with squiggles on it he was going to go insane.  Jack hated to admit it, but a part of him was desperately hoping something would come screaming out of the blackness at them, just to give him something to do.  Besides standing around scratching himself and going, “Uh Daniel, what the hell is this?”

Confessions of an adrenaline junkie?  So crumbly old buildings didn't do it for him.  So he's rather shoot things than dig them up.  Like thos was news.  Oh well, it was a nice night.  The fire was nice. And here they all were, around the fire, under the stars, kicking back and making nice.  Carter and Teal’c were having a good time.  The captain was conversing animatedly with their otherworldly companion, and from the glint in his large, dark eyes, all was more than well with Teal'c.  Mind you, the man could find a way to look as if nothing was bothering him if he was standing on the deck of the Titanic.  Some gift.  More than once Jack found himself envying that seemingly endless well of serenity Teal’c appeared to be able to dip into so freely.

Jack turned his attention to the last member of their party.  Who had been uncharacteristically quiet, almost eerily so, for the last couple of hours.  Daniel was sitting by himself, as far away from the rest of the group and the soothing warmth of the fire as he could manage without drawing attention to himself.  Daniel was with them, only just, and yet far enough away to be noticeably not a part of what was going on.  Noticeable at least to Jack.

Odds were no one else had picked up on the fact all was not well with the archaeologist, but Jack missed precious little when it came to Daniel.

Daniel had been sitting by himself not saying a word, playing the 'pay no attention to me, I'm fine' game for most of the evening.  Jack had to give him credit; he was doing a pretty good job at hiding just how bugged he really was.  Daniel was painfully aware how transparent he could be when he got worked up about something, so he'd been putting some serious effort lately into not letting anything he didn't want anyone else, most particularly the man now studying him so intently, to see.  Mainly because he was also well aware how good his best friend was at reading him.

Daniel had gotten pretty good at subterfuge, certainly good enough to fool Carter and Teal'c. but not nearly good enough to snow his CO.  Despite his best efforts to put him off the scent, Jack could still read Daniel like a book.  Came from having to consult the volume so many damned times.

The kid was doing his best to look as if he was sitting there like a bump on a log because he was too pooped to party. Doing his best and not succeeding, because Jack could read the subtle signs of Daniel's distress he'd never be good enough to completely conceal.  The tension in his jaw, the way the muscle in his cheek sporadically twitched, the bunched muscles beneath the hunched, rounded shoulders, the hands clenching and unclenching around the cup he was holding.  Daniel was smart enough to keep his head down, though.  Try as he might to camouflage his body language, his eyes gave him away every time, and Jack was betting right now those baby blues were speaking volumes.

Whatever was eating at Daniel was major.  What it could be, Jack didn’t have the faintest clue.  Except to be positively certain for once, it wasn’t his fault.  He hadn't said or done a single thing to upset Daniel or set him off.  Had he?  Coulda sworn he hadn't.  Okay, there had been that crack about - but no, Daniel had glared at him, shook his head and then grinned a little bit.  No worries there.  He hadn't.  This wasn't about him.  He was sure.

So if it wasn't him - what?

The mission had been uneventful, a breeze.  Daniel had been in his glory.  Miles and miles of chicken scratches and he'd had all the time in the world to look at them.  Three solid days of mind-numbing boredom for Jack. Manna from heaven for Daniel.  Daniel had been the happiest camper in the universe, and Jack had been forced to admit a little boredom was worth it to see his friend like that, and now – this?

This funk Daniel was in had started late in the afternoon.  Jack had left Daniel happily cavorting in his little fixer upper and had taken a much needed time out from playing his game of 'connect the dots on the nearest stone pillar' so he could greet Sam and Teal’c when they'd returned from their leisurely tour of the perimeter.  Jack had come back into the tumble-down temple to find Daniel sitting sprawled on the ground, his head bowed over something he was tightly clutching to his chest.

“Whatcha got there?”  That’s all he'd said.  Really.  Nicely too.  He wasn't trying to pry; he was just being polite.  He'd assumed Daniel was getting all orgasmic over an unidentifiable piece of crap he'd just found, as per usual, and knowing how much Danny loved to spread his happiness around he was offering the kid an opportunity to share the joy.   He wasn't looking to start anything or get his head bit off; it wasn't his fault no one had informed him asking a simple question had suddenly become a major felony.

Daniel’s head had shot up and he'd looked at Jack like he'd had just ripped the heart right out of Daniel's chest.  Jack had been so startled by the completely unexpected reaction he had taken a step back as if Daniel had just punched him right between the eyes.  Instantly an impenetrable curtain had veiled Daniel’s face; he'd guiltily jammed the trinket he was trying to hide into his pocket, scrambled to his feet and started to rush past Jack muttering, “nothing.  It’s nothing.  Just something I found.”

Jack had grabbed Daniel's arm as he'd tried to sidle by him, and that's when he'd been totally blindsided by the LOOK.

This is none of your business. I don’t want you here. Don’t ask me. Leave me alone.

Daniel hadn't said a word, but those cold, stubborn blue eyes bore into him, freezing him out and warning him off at the same time.  There was no mistaking the meaning of that angry, adamant expression.  Move it or lose it.

Jack had let go of him, stunned absolutely speechless.  Stood there gaping after the man who had just so resoundingly blown him off and was now making like a puff of smoke after making Jack feel like a criminal for having dared to give a damn.

All he'd done was - and then Daniel had…  Crap.  What had just happened here?  He'd just been stonewalled.  Given the gate.    Shut out, locked and barred.  What the hell…?

Jack hadn’t gotten much of a look at what had seemingly upset Daniel so much before he'd made it disappear, but from little he had been able to see he didn't get it. It looked like a piece of jewelry.  Something metal, with set stones.  Could have been a necklace, a bracelet, maybe.  It was hard to tell. But it definitely was jewelry.

Huh?

Whatever was bugging him, Daniel had immediately gone underground with it.  Jack had to admire the thoroughness with which Daniel set about not only avoiding him, but also keeping all indications of his true inner state hidden from his other teammates.  His portrayal of the happy-go-lucky archaeologist was flawless as he enthusiastically pitched in and did his share of the camp duties while the day wore into evening and they all sat down to the family dinner under the stars.

Yup, Daniel was definitely getting good.  Sam and Teal’c didn’t notice anything was amiss with their archaeologist.  Although there damned well  was!  Jack could see it plain as day, even though Daniel was probably hoping he couldn't. He also couldn't help but notice Daniel didn't leave him any openings for more private conversations.  No fishing expeditions tonight.  So, he had no choice but to leave it alone.

He had no justifiable concerns with regards to the mission giving him the excuse to press Daniel about his distress.  They were in no danger, Daniel had done nothing wrong, and his being in a bad mood was no problem for anyone except himself.  No grounds there. Daniel had emphatically slammed the door against his only other avenue of approach.  The desire to help a friend.  His help was apparently not wanted.

Had the circumstances been different, Jack knew damned well he wouldn't have let this second barrier stop him.  But Sam and Teal’c were here; there were witnesses.  Jack had a funny feeling whatever was eating at Daniel was the kind of dirty laundry he would want aired around as few people as possible.  Even them.

Okay, Dannyboy, we’ll play it your way for now.  But this isn’t over.  Not by a long shot.

Jack sighed and slowly stood up.  “Well kids, I think it’s time to turn in.  We want to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning.  Daniel?  You're gonna be able to wrap it up tomorrow?”

Look at me.  Let me see your eyes.

Not going to happen.  Daniel kept his head down, his answering response quick and bright.  A little too much of both.  Careful, kid, almost gave it away.

“Sure, Jack.  No problems.”

Geez, Danny, you’ve just lied to me.

“Well, I guess that’s…that…then," Jack tried to keep the disappointment out of his voice as he looked at Daniel to see his friend staring stonily, deliberately away from him. "Teal’c," Jack announced gruffly.  "Your turn for first watch.  Now, lady and gentlemen, if you will excuse me, I think I need to take Mr. Happy for a walk.  Back in a shake.”

Carter chortled as Jack melded into the night.  She looked at the men who remained with her, each in their turn, and then started to laugh again.

“What is so amusing, Captain Carter?”  Teal’c asked.

“Why do you guys do that?  Give pet names to your – ah – side arm, I mean?”

“Perhaps DanielJackson would be a better one to ask," Teal'c replied smoothly.  "This custom is not practiced amongst my people.  We do not feel the need to address our body parts.”

Sam shot him a look, trying to divine from his expression whether he was having her on or not.  No joy there, Teal'c face was as enigmatic as ever.  She gave up and looked to Daniel to take up the game.

The spot where he'd been sitting was empty.  The archaeologist had slipped away and now appeared to be busying himself with his sleeping bag.  He was gathering it up, taking it out of the tent.  Sam continued to watch him, a little puzzled, as he walked out of the tent with a wad of bedding in his arms, crossed to a clear place on the ground about ten feet away from the fire, and then started laying it all out.

“Daniel?”  She questioned gently.

He paused to flash her a sheepish smile.  She thought for just a second it wavered and looked forced, but realized it must have been the way the uncertain light from the fire flickered across his features.  She'd been seeing things.  Hadn’t she?

“It’s such a nice night,” he explained.  “I just feel like sleeping under the stars tonight.  It'll be like being back home again…”

His voice trailed off.  He looked back down at what he was doing.  Sam felt a sudden pang of compassion as she realized when Daniel had said ‘home’, he hadn’t been referring to Earth.  She glanced over at Teal’c, who gave her a slight nod to acknowledge he'd come to the same conclusion.  Sam sighed, wishing she could think of something, anything to say that would maybe make Daniel feel a little better.  Some things there just were no consolation for.

"Sweet dreams, Daniel," she said gently, then got to her feet and set off to get ready to bed down herself.

Jack had been on his way back when he saw what Daniel was up to.  He hung back, letting the mantle of the night conceal him while he stood and watched and waited.

Ah, so it’s THAT bad, is it Danny?  So bad you have to take yourself away from us?  Don’t trust what might come out of your mouth in your sleep?  Maybe Sam bought that ‘sleeping under the stars’ crap, but you’re not fooling me.  Not throwing me off the track that easily either.

Still using the darkness as cover Jack crossed quietly over to where Teal’c had taken up his watch position.  Signaling to the Jaffa he had returned and was accounted for, Jack then ghosted back until he found a comfortable spot of night not too far from where Daniel was now cocooned in his sleeping bag.  Jack settled himself on the ground and took up his own vigil, fully aware of Teal’c's eyes on him through the blackness.  It wouldn’t take the Jaffa long to put it together, especially as soon as what Jack knew was going to happen – started to happen.  Well, maybe they could keep Carter out of it at least.

Fortunately Daniel's bad dreams held off until Jack had changed watches with Teal’c.  As soon as the troubled sounds indicating what he'd been waiting for had started Jack stole silently toward his slumbering quarry, feeling like an intruder as he crept toward the man who was tossing and softly muttering in his sleep.  As much as he hated ‘eavesdropping’ on his friend like this, Jack needed information, and this just might be the only way he was going to get it.

At first it was impossible to make out what Daniel was saying and Jack inched carefully closer, straining to turn the snatches of sounds into words.  At last, one tore free, louder than the rest.  Distinct.  Unmistakable.  The last thing he expected.

“Shyla!”

Jack pushed the shock aside, and continued to listen.  There was more.  A lot more.  Oh God…

“Shyla – please don’t!  I can’t - it's not right…you don’t understand…no – no wait.  I didn’t know he was hurt.  I - I - all right.  What ever you want.  Whatever you say, just - just promise me he’ll be taken care of, please? Whatever you say I’ll do it – I’ll do it - just promise me…

Jack couldn’t hear any more.  Couldn’t listen to another word.  White-hot rage boiled up within him as he realized what Daniel was saying.  What it meant.  What he'd been hiding from him.

That goddamned lying BITCH.  Some nice piece of work you almost threw everything away for, Danny.  Yeah, she was really worth all the pain, all the anger, and all the mistrust.  Almost dying for.  Really worth it.  Especially way she repaid you for saving her life.

Yeah, but you know all this now, don’t you?  You know getting us captured for the sake of that - that - COW was a bad call - even though trying to save her life seemed to you to be the right thing to do at the time.  You made a mistake.  It happens.  It worked out all right in the end.  But that's not the way you see it, is it?

You put us all in danger.  You.  You're not laying the responsibility for what happened at anyone's door but your own.  Daniel screwed up.  That's all you can see. That’s why you’ve never said.  That’s why you’ve kept this to yourself.  You figured you didn't deserve any help because what happened to you was your own fault.  So you've been trying to deal with this on your own because - aw geez, Danny - because you figured you had no one to blame for it but yourself.  And you didn't figure we'd disagree with you.  Crap!

Daniel’s agitation was increasing and he was getting louder.  Jack hated to wake him up, but knew that if he didn’t he’d soon be drawing a crowd.  No doubt that was the last thing Daniel would want right now.

Jack grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him gently.  “Hey, easy there,” he whispered.  “Wake up, you’re scaring the horses.”

Daniel’s eyes snapped open, his hands flew to Jack’s wrists.  For a confused second Daniel clung to the familiar anchor of Jack's nearness until  the return  of full awareness brought memory to bear as well.  The instant his anxious blue eyes met the concerned ones of the man bending over him Daniel realized - Jack knew.  His shameful little secret wasn't a secret any more.  Damn Jackanyway!  Why couldn't he, just this once - let things alone?

Jack almost cried out at the eyes meeting his, so full of self-loathing and shame.  Livid with anger.  Anger at himself and anger at the man who had ferreted out his carefully guarded secret.

Daniel shoved Jack away from him.  Hard.  Just as violently he turned away, concealing himself within the folds of the sleeping bag, hoping no doubt, Jack would take the hint and go away.

Jack set his jaw firmly.  When pigs could fly.  Daniel figured he was going away and he had known him, how long?

“Danny?”  Jack whispered to him again as he leaned over him.  “Talk to me.”

Daniel’s voice was shaking with emotion.  Jack could hear him trying to rein himself in with every syllable he forced out. “Just – leave it alone, Jack.  Go away.  Please.  I’m begging you.”

“Sorry.  Can’t do it.”

“I’m handling it.  I’m fine!"  Daniel protested in a strained, shaking voice.  "I don’t need anything from you.  I don’t want anything from you.  Go away.”

“This is what you call – handling it?” Jack asked gently.

“Yes, I do!"  Daniel snapped. "I’d mostly managed to forget.  It was the necklace.  It caught me by surprise.  Brought it all back.  It looked just like the one she was wearing the first time – “ his voice broke as he choked something back.  Jack held his breath and waited for him to start talking again.

“What did I say?”  Daniel’s voice was steadier, sadder.  “How much do you think you know?”

“Enough," Jack admitted. "More than enough to make me want to wring her neck if I ever get the opportunity to get my hands around it.  I don’t like it when someone uses me to hurt a friend.  Jesus, Danny, what did she make you do?”

Daniel emitted a harsh, mirthless laugh.  “What do you want me to do, Jack, draw you a picture?  Spell it out for you? Do you want every juicy little detail?  So you can know how much of a fool I was?  Do you need to hear me say it? Well, don’t worry - I was an idiot. I know.  So do you.  Happy now?”

Daniel flung his anger at him, hitting him squarely in the chest with it like twin granite fists punching right through him.  Jack said nothing.  He knew Daniel was trying to goad him into adding his personal condemnation to his own unforgiving self-assessment.  Jack knew this game.  They had played it once before, a long time ago, only back then, the roles were reversed.

“Want to know something really funny?”  Daniel laughed again, but it was a joyless humorless sound.  “I couldn’t .  Not the first time anyway.  But that shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone.  I can’t hold my end up in the field when people are counting on me, couldn’t - couldn't get it up – anywhere else - when it mattered.  She put me back in the sarcophagus.  After a couple more times in that baby it was a different story, Jack.  I more than did what was expected of me.  Performed above and beyond the call of duty.  I did SG-1 proud!   After that, it didn’t really matter.  I'd already betrayed you, betrayed Sha’uri.  I couldn’t take that back, so what did it matter what happened to me next? If I was already damned, I might as well make it worth the trip! Do the job and do it right,  eh, Jack?  I did whatever Shyla wanted me to do. Whenever she wanted it.  Going back into the sarcophagus just made it easier and easier not to care.   Easier to – do it.  I told you I felt like I could do anything?  Hah!  You have no idea. You can’t even begin to imagine what I could do.  What I…did.  But hey, it was worth it.  It kept you all alive, didn’t it?”

Crap.  What a mess.  How had this happened?  How had this happened to Daniel - and he'd never known, never even suspected? That entire mission hadn't exactly been their finest hour, from start to finish.  Jack had to admit he'd first been so pissed at Daniel and then so worried about him once it was all over and Daniel was himself again he'd tried not to look too much at what had happened since.  He'd actually done his best to put the whole thing behind him and not think about it at all.  It was over, they'd all made it through fine.  Daniel was fine.  Forget about it. Best not to pick at old wounds.

Except Daniel wasn't fine.  They'd all been so concerned about his physical distress and getting him through the addiction what had had gone down between him and Shyla while the rest of SG-1 was slumming it in the mine - Jack had never asked and of course Daniel had never offered.  Maybe a part of him had always suspected, feared if he went looking he'd find exactly the kind of trouble he'd just stumbled into and he hadn't wanted to know.

It went back further than that, though.  How long had he not been looking, not been seeing?  How long had someone who'd formerly been claiming to be able to read Daniel like a book been deliberately blind to a truth that had been staring him right in the face?

He sure hadn't needed Carter piping up with her weird-ass Jolinar comments to tell there was something very, very wrong with Daniel the second time he'd come to see them in that mine.  Sure, he'd been plenty pissed at Daniel for seemingly abandoning them - abandoning HIM, but one look at the wild-eyed stranger, higher than a kite on SOMETHING, lashing out at him...  What had Daniel said to them?  What had Daniel said to him?

She wants me to marry her.  That’s what Daniel had said to him, with that strange, whacked out and yet haunted look in his eyes.  Daniel had been trying to tell him – and he hadn’t understood. Hadn't understood - or simply hadn't wanted to?

Your way didn’t work.  Now I’m handling it.  He’d said that as well. Daniel had told him exactly what he was doing, as best he could. Told him and he hadn't understood.  Jack felt sick.  This was just getting worse and worse.

“I’m sorry,” he heard himself blurt out.  “I didn’t know.”

“You weren’t supposed to know!”  Daniel practically spat the words at him.  “Nobody was supposed to know.  Nobody…”

Daniel's voice fell away as the anger suddenly drained from him, to be replaced by shame and grief.  He drew himself up tightly and the sleeping bag encasing him began to shake.  Jack reached out and put a hand on Daniel’s shoulder, hoping that a small gesture of support would do – something  - to help.

“DON’T!”  The cry erupted from Daniel as he twisted violently out from under Jack’s hand, fighting with the sleeping bag and trying to escape from it in order to pull away from the man beside him.  “Just – don’t.  I haven’t needed your help so far.  I don’t need your pity now.”

“That’s what you think this is?”  Jack asked softly.  “Pity?  Daniel?”

Daniel abruptly sat up.  Jack could feel him trembling with renewed anger across the ever-widening space between them.  “And I don’t want THAT from you either," he hissed. "Your all-consuming need to take total responsibility for everything that happens on ‘your watch’.  Your guilt for not being omniscient, or  'O'Neill on the spot'  - there in the nick of time to save poor, dumb, naïve Daniel from himself, yet again.  I know what you think of me.  I know what ALL of you think of me.  I'm not nearly as stupid or naïve as you think I am.  So why don't you leave me alone and go beat yourself up over not being 'there' for me to save me from myself? You're pretty good at that, and it'd be a much better use of your time, trust me!"

'Daniel," Jack began, not even sure what he was about to say next.  He never had the chance to find out.  Daniel ploughed stormily onward, his tirade unaffected by the slight interruption.

"You didn't save me from this one," Daniel continued bitterly. "Don’t lose any sleep over it, Jack, I didn’t need you to.  I handled it. Yeah, I screwed up. I let the whole team down and put you all in danger. And I paid for it. Oh, I paid. But I also did my duty. I did everything I had to do to make it right.  All by myself.  End of story.  I finally did the right thing, Jack.  Give me a little bit of credit and leave me the hell alone.  I don't want anything else from you.  Not your pity, your guilt, or even your contempt.  All I want now is for Sha’uri to find the grace to forgive me when I have to tell her.”

And you will tell her, won’t you?

Jack was glad that the darkness hid his face from Daniel.  His shock and utter dismay at what he'd just learned and what he was hearing now had to be plastered all over him.  He knew he had to get a grip on it, had to figure out something to say, but Daniel’s rage was almost like a living thing – a monster.  How long had this rage inspired beast been living within his gentle and forgiving friend, lurking unsuspected in the hidden parts of his soul, squatting in darkness, building, growing in the secret places, waiting for the time when it could come out fully furled and uglier than his worst nightmares?  How long had it been there, and how much had he done and said, to feed it?  To help it grow.

He'd seen a bit of it in the mine, but hadn’t recognized it for what it was.  He could only pray the price for his blindness was not more than he was willing to pay.

“Daniel,” he started uncertainly.  “Listen to me.  I want – “

Too late, Jack, too late.  He’s not listening any more.

“I know what you WANT!”  Daniel was gone.  There was only the monster, and it was not his friend.

Daniel flashed him a nasty smile made even more unpleasant by an eerie flare of the faltering fire. “You want me to smile and say, ‘It’s okay, Jack.  I don’t mind that you shoved your nose in where it doesn’t belong.  I don’t mind you didn’t listen to me when I asked you to leave me alone.   I don’t mind that you spied on me and pried into something that was none of your business.’  I’ll just forget all that, and be your good little Dannyboy again. Forgiving everything, just – letting it slide like it was nothing.   Like I always do. That’s what you want.  Well, you’re not going to get it.  Not this time, Jack."

I can see that Daniel.  Right now I'd give anything if I couldn't.

“I asked you to leave it alone, Jack," Daniel continued in a cold, relentless voice. "To leave me alone.  I begged you.  But no, you wouldn’t.  You had to keep coming and coming and coming.  You wouldn’t listen to me.  I needed you to do that.  I needed you to be my friend and understand.   That’s all I wanted from you.  Just to LEAVE ME ALONE.”

The words tumbled from Daniel’s lips, low and hot with rage.  A torrent of fury battered Jack as he crouched numbly beside the monster, dumbly allowing it to sear him to his soul.  There was nothing else he could do.

“You had no business here," Daniel raged. "No business prying into this.  I didn’t ask you to.  I warned you.  God!  I warned you!  Why didn’t you listen?  Why didn’t you respect my wishes? This is MINE, Jack.  My problem.  My secret. My shame.  Mine!  I didn’t want you to have any part of it.  Ever!  Your clout won’t help you now, Colonel O’Neill, Sir!   You might be able to order me around out there, but you can’t order me now.  You can’t force me to change, you can’t make me be what you want or make me do what you want. You can’t make me give this up and I won’t.  It’s mine.  Mine.  It might be the only thing I have left that really is.  I don’t want you here. I don’t.  I - I don’t – “

Daniel’s voice broke, finally.  His head fell into his hands.  A ragged whisper issued from behind them.  “I betrayed you back then.  You’ve betrayed me now.  Guess that makes us – even. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.  Please, just – go.”

The gulf between them yawned, seeming to span the entire universe.  It was so vast; Daniel was so far away.  Jack tried to reach across it, one last time, to see if Daniel was willing to meet him at least part of the way. “All right, I’ll go.  But if you need anything…you know where to find me…”

“Don’t hold your breath waiting.” Daniel's voice was as cold as the fear clutching Jack's heart.

Jack sprang to his feet, forced back by the harsh emptiness of those words.  This was bad.  This was really bad.  That felt – final.  Oh God, what had he done?

His hands dropped to his sides.   He was having trouble seeing.  He knew he should do something – but…

Haven't you done enough damage for one night already?

Unable to do anything else, Jack turned and slowly walked away, trying not to hear the muffled sounds of weeping behind him.  Jack let the night wrap around him as he stood on the edge of the camp, looking at nothing, keeping a futile watch over the ruination of his world.

FINIS

On to Interlude Daniel

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PhoenixE, 2000-9.
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