…secrets of sorrow and anger…
Daniel sat on the sofa in his office, Shau’re’s words repeating in his head, just as the rest of his conversations with her were. Words he’d never wanted to hear come from her, filled with anguish and sorrow. He’d told her, “There’s nothing to forgive,” but she couldn’t keep from feeling responsible, just as he couldn’t.
Daniel bent over, his head in his hands, his fingers clutched in his hair, trying to rid himself of the memories and feeling guilty for that, too. He hadn’t been able to concentrate on much for very long. Like now.
These latest events were tragic, horrible, and not just for him. Jack’s despondency over the death of the reporter, Armand, had Daniel wishing for some way to help him, help them both. He could probably find some way to do that if he weren’t so goddamn angry. Very angry.
He’d been holding onto the anger, unlike the sorrow. He knew the moment he let it go, he’d fall apart and cry until his heart burst. He knew he needed to grieve, but she was still alive so how could he? Hate and anger were feeding him and he wanted to cry for that, too. The emotions were alien to him, unlike love and compassion.
And speaking of which… or whom… What could he do about Jack? They’d hardly said a word to each other, although Jack hadn’t been avoiding him. He’d been there, offering sympathy, but there was a cloud over his eyes that Daniel couldn’t seem to break. He knew they needed time to get over what had happened and Daniel wanted to do that together.
And therein lay the problem. Shau’re.
Jack was keeping his distance because of her. His own anger at the NID and the feelings of helplessness ran alongside Daniel’s at the Goa’uld. They could find comfort together, but…
Anger had a tendency to make one lash out and Daniel knew that was the other reason Jack was staying away from him. He could be very mean when he wanted to be and he didn’t want to take it out on him.
Daniel’s pre-occupation with trying to help Jack was doing something, however. It was keeping him from dwelling on Shau’re. On what had happened to her, how Apophis had been thwarted in the end but she’d still been made to go through that horrible pregnancy.
Daniel gave a disgusted, angry snort and got up to pace. How could Kasuf have acted so normal when he came through the gate? Why did he have to greet Daniel as if it were Daniel’s fault Shau’re had come home alone… and pregnant? Why hadn’t he asked her, the ignorant bastard?
Anger welled up in Daniel as he blamed Kasuf for things that weren’t his fault, then Daniel started to calm, to rationalize, to correct. He knew full well that when Shau’re didn’t want to talk, no one could make her. And her shame had prevented her from talking, hadn’t it?
Daniel felt the tears well up and he sniffed them back angrily. His eyes were hot, his head pounding. The yo-yoing between growing rage and all-consuming grief was taking over his mind. For once, he didn’t care. He wanted to wallow in it for a while, feed off it.
But. He needed to do it at home. Not here. He knew that he didn’t really know how to deal with something like this and he had to get out, get away.
He grabbed the phone. “Sergeant, is the General available?”
Hammond was on the phone in a minute. “Sir, I need a few days.” Hammond told him to take the time, his voice full of regret. Daniel put on his brave face and made it to the locker room, then up to the garage.
All the while, he moved on auto-pilot. Telling himself not to think about Shau’re. Not yet. Not yet.
On the drive home, the tears began to fall. He was glad she wasn’t here, imprisoned by the NID, but at the same time, he didn’t want her out there, where her Goa’uld could hurt people. And again, he couldn’t handle knowing she was here, behind bars. None of it was fair! There was no right answer!
He slammed his fist into the steering wheel, again and again, tears streaming down his face as he somehow made it to the parking lot. He hid from the public, taking the stairs, and quickly entered his apartment before anyone saw his red, puffy face.
For once, he was glad that Jack wasn’t there to help him.
. . .
Jack sat in the chair in his office, going over and over what had happened. His years of experience told him that what had happened was a likely scenario. A man’s life for a secret. A fucking secret. Hammond’s denial had only made it worse. No, his CO hadn’t had anything to do with the killing, but it was guilt by association.
If Jack hadn’t done his job, his duty, and hadn’t such a high honor about doing his job, his duty, he would have remembered that Armand was in danger. He could have warned him.
Jack knew that thinking that way wasn’t logical. Hadn’t Armand told him he’d been in the ‘game’ a long time? If he truly had been experienced, wouldn’t he have known his life was in danger? He hadn’t appeared stupid. Foolish, on the other hand, yes. So cavalier about his own safety, or had he been that naïve to think that he was above being killed just to protect a secret?
Jack shook his head. Blaming Armand for his own death was stupid, but part of the blame rested with him anyway. Not a big part, but a part nonetheless. Jack couldn’t help but put a larger part of the blame on himself. He should have known that killing Armand would have been an option.
He also realized right then that that was it. It would have already been considered. But did they have to kill him? They could have devised some sort of disinformation to discredit him. That would have been much easier, and more in keeping with the NID.
After thinking it out further, Jack’s anger began to dissipate, though the sorrow for the man’s death remained. He knew that he had to keep his eye on things. If these people were able to do this and not get caught, there was a lot more that they could get away with.
With a deep sigh, Jack let his mind move to something a bit more closer to home. Daniel. And his own grief for him. When Daniel had told him, in the infirmary, what had happened, Jack couldn’t believe how normal he’d been acting. How calm he’d seemed to be. It had to be a front. The man must be dying on the inside.
How was he going to cope with this? Daniel would, he was certain of it, but it was something new for the man. For any man. He’d need help, and Jack didn’t know how exactly, but sitting here worrying about what the government had just done instead of trying to help Daniel was a waste of time.
What could Daniel need to do to try and get over the rage and despair? Jack picked up his phone and when Daniel didn’t answer his extension, he called Hammond.
“Sir, I’d like some time off, keep an eye on him. I know we all deal with stresses but this one’s a doozy, sir. No one’s ever dealt with something like…”
Hammond had said yes, to Jack’s intense relief. He’d been prepared to argue his case for an hour, if need be. He tore out of the base like a man on a mission, and the closer he got to Daniel’s, the more a feeling of dread came over him.
Daniel grabbed the nearest breakable object and hurled it at the bookshelf, shattering it into a thousand pieces. It didn’t belong to the SGC; it was his, so why shouldn’t he break it? He picked up another object, a piece of pottery, and treated it as if it were a pitcher’s fastball. It smashed against the wall between shelves, tiny remnants flying in every direction, including hitting his clothes and bouncing off his forehead.
Another object ended up in fragments and with it, every curse word he could think of and in as many languages as he could remember. Another item smashed against the bookcase. The tears freely ran down his cheeks, unnoticed, as Daniel focused on the anger and rage. He’d break every fucking thing in his living room, if necessary, if it would only help him get rid of his anger… and Shau’re’s guilt-ridden words.
Just as Jack raced to the door of Daniel’s apartment, he heard something else break. And a neighbor poking their head out of their apartment. Jack waved at them.
“It’s alright. He’s had a death in the family. I’ll take care of him.”
“Oh, very sorry,” came the answer.
Jack pulled out the key Daniel had given him and quickly entered the loft. Another object, something made of glass, hit the wall.
“Daniel?” Jack yelled, coming round the corner and pausing at the threshold to the living room.
“Jack,” Daniel said between gritted teeth.
“You wanna declare a cease fire before I come in?” Jack asked gently as he moved to him, taking him by the shoulders and making Daniel look at him.
“I can’t…” Daniel said and tried to pull from Jack’s grasp. Jack noticed that Daniel’s glasses weren’t on his face and he looked around without letting Daniel go, finding with relief that they were on the dining room table.
“Jack, let me go,” Daniel said, gritting his teeth as he tried to twist away.
“No,” Jack replied. “I shouldn’t have stayed away. I’m sorry.”
Daniel didn’t know what he wanted to do. His anger was all that filled his mind and all he wanted to do was hear the breaking, the smashing… the symbols of his heart and his pain.
Jack led Daniel into the dining room and away from the mess in the living room. He watched him worriedly as he poured them each a glass of Jack ‘n Soda and handed one to Daniel. Daniel stared at it before taking a hesitant sip, then the glass began to shake as his fingers whitened around it.
“Oh no, you don’t,” Jack said, taking the glass before Daniel could hurl it or break it in his hand. He wrapped his long arms around him, holding him tightly.
“Jack, let me go,” Daniel said, his jaw clenching, his voice strained but soft.
“Not gonna happen, Daniel. It’s time to let go of some of that anger.”
“Fuck you!” Daniel suddenly spat, using all of his strength to try and get away but Jack had expected it. All Daniel had succeeded in doing was pushing them backward so that Jack was pressed up against the outer kitchen wall, his grip just as tight around Daniel as it was before.
“Let it go,” Jack whispered, his face grave. “Daniel, you have to let it go or it will burn you.”
“Stop analysing me!” Daniel cracked, trying to break free again. “Fuck you, Jack…” he said, slumping, his voice shaky. He felt the heat from Jack’s body, the warmth, the arms holding him, the love holding him, and he suddenly let go. He slid down Jack’s body, holding onto it like a lifeline as he fell to his knees. His head dropped down lower than his shoulders and he started to shake with the wracking sobs that now flowed from him.
Jack, his knee now healed, dropped down as well and pulled Daniel against him as much as he could, rubbing his back. Jack wanted to tell him everything would be okay, but he knew it was a lie. Instead, rubbed his back and rocked him in his arms for a long time.
“She didn’t deserve this,” Daniel cried softly.
“Of course she didn’t,” Jack echoed, continuing to rub his back, kissing his hair, his temple. Daniel cried slower now, more quietly, not saying anything anymore. Jack held him against him long after his body stopped shaking and when he felt Daniel tense, he realized the anger was welling up in him once more. Daniel seemed to maintain control of it this time as his hands balled into fists, clutching the back of Jack’s fatigue shirt so tightly that it threatened to rip.
“I hate them. I’ve never hated anyone or anything so much in my life, Jack. Never.”
“I know, Daniel. I know. Me, too.”
Daniel felt his pain beginning to well up again and he tried to divert it, to stifle it somehow. But nothing he thought of was helping… until he became aware once more of Jack’s body holding him; aware that his lips were against Jack’s warm neck. He turned toward his face, clutching Jack even tighter, if that was possible.
“Jack,” he whispered, his throat still clogged with tears. Jack turned slightly to look him in the eye and found Daniel’s lips locked on his, kissing him with fierce longing. The tears on his face, around his lips where they’d fallen, now wet Jack’s face as well. The raw openness of it took hold of Jack and he kissed Daniel back, hard.
Daniel’s need for comfort grew and Jack felt him hardening against his hip. He tried to pull away but Daniel wouldn’t let him.
“Daniel,” he whispered gruffly, swallowing with difficulty as he broke their kiss and stared into Daniel’s eyes.
Daniel cleared his throat, letting Jack go. “I’m sorry.”
“Making you uncomfortable.”
“You didn’t, Daniel. I just don’t want you starting something that might make you feel worse later.”
Daniel stared hard at him, then shook his head. “It couldn’t. It wouldn’t,” and he then brought up a hand up to brush away the tears that had fallen from Jack’s eyes. “I’m sorry.”
“For what now?” Jack asked.
“For making you cry.”
“You didn’t. It hurts me to see you hurt. You didn’t do anything wrong, Daniel.”
Daniel was silent for a while, taking in that honesty from Jack. It made him feel better somehow, though his pain wasn’t any less. “It’s going to take me a while to heal from this.”
“Promise me something.”
“If I can.”
“Don’t leave me.”
“I’ll try not to, Daniel, and I won’t ever do it on purpose.”
“That’s not good enough.”
“It’ll have to be, and you know that.”
Daniel knew he was right. They could never predict when something bad might happen. He reluctantly nodded his agreement. “Yes, I know.”
“You promise to try, too, okay?”
“I’ll try,” Daniel replied.
Jack brushed the remaining wetness from Daniel’s face. “You need a tissue.”
“I know. But I don’t want to let go. Not yet. Can you understand that?”
Jack hugged him hard. “Yeah, I can.”
Daniel sighed, then looked down at his clothes. “I need a shower.” A beat later, along with a guilty look, he asked, “Take one with me?” Jack stared at him with confusion, wariness. “A shower only?”
“For now, today. One day at a time.”
Daniel kissed him. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. You think you’ll be okay?” he asked.
“Eventually,” Daniel replied. “How about you?”