Children of the Gods
Daniel stood in front of a metal gray locker that now held his name: DANIEL JACKSON.
“It should say Doctor.”
“’Scuse me?” Jack asked.
Daniel watched him peripherally. Jack was making ‘busy work,’ as Daniel’s Dad used to say. Just sorting and re-sorting the stuff in his locker. Taking it out, putting it back in. Pointless. Daniel figured that Jack was waiting to say something but hadn’t yet decided and it appeared, going by the look on his face, that he had interrupted Jack’s chain of thought. He looked flustered or confused. The former wasn’t Jack’s way. The latter was. Sort of. Daniel gestured at his nameplate—a paper thing tacked on as if he was temporary.
Jack frowned and half-closed his locker door and pointed at his own label. “You see Colonel up here anywhere?”
Daniel blinked a few times, embarrassed. “Right.” He sighed and told himself to move on. “Listen, I was wondering if you know of any apartments available around. I mean, if you’ve noticed.”
Jack again frowned, but in thought. “No, can’t really say I have. Check Craigslist.”
“Sorry?” Daniel asked, having never heard of it.
“Internet classified ads.”
“Oh. Not the newspaper then?”
“You could, but Craigslist has exploded in popularity and they even have an app.” He waved his smartphone at Daniel. At Daniel’s dubious look, Jack gave him a look of astonishment. “Daniel, you were only gone for nearly two years, not twenty. You know about smartphones and the internet.”
“Yes and no,” Daniel said, annoyed. “Look, I didn’t have much money. My phone was a flip phone with no internet. I did stuff the old-fashioned way. And since when have you been all tech-savvy?”
“Since I got back from Abydos that first time. Had plenty of free time and idle hands breed mischief.”
Daniel snorted. “My foster mom, the first one, used to say that.”
Jack grinned. “So did my mom.” He had a thoughtful look. “And grandma. Plus her mom, et cetera and so on.”
Daniel grinned back, thinking that Jack needed to smile more. It looked good on him. “Guess I need to get a phone.”
“Smartphone,” Jack said, waving it again. “It’s damn useful. Plus, we have alerts that go out whenever we’re called back to the base. Instead of calling, we get text messages. Saves time. Come on over. I’ll show you how to search.”
“Huh,” Daniel replied. He thought of an apartment, but not as a home. Instead, the image in his head was of Abydos. Then he wondered how Sha’re would decorate an apartment on Earth. Except she wouldn’t. Once he found her, she’d probably go back to Kasuf. Even married, they’d lived with him. He respected the man, but he’d been a bit too … bossy. So Daniel had spent the majority of his time examining that underground cartouche hall. Hadn’t been the proper Abydonian husband. It shouldn’t have surprised anyone. He hadn’t been the proper human, either. “Don’t know,” he murmured, mostly to himself.
“Sorry,” Daniel said, shaking his head. “Maybe I’ll just stay on base. Seems like a waste of money since I’d likely go back to Abydos once we find Sha’re and Skaara.” Even as he said it, it didn’t sound right. He wanted to go back to the cartouche hall, not …
Guilt made him erase his own desires. Then he saw Jack’s face. Shock. But the second Daniel had looked, seen it, the man smoothed his expression into neutrality.
“Right,” Jack said. He stared into his locker, then hurriedly said, “Never mind then.” He quickly gathered a few things from his locker, including his civilian clothes. He glanced at his watch and made a face. “Gotta go. Just remembered I gotta see a guy about a new faucet.”
He’d lied. He’d invited Daniel over to go on an apartment search. Now, he’d left … in his fatigues …
Because Daniel had mentioned going back to Sha’re.
It put everything Daniel had been thinking about, planning, into the junk heap.
He thought Jack hadn’t cared about him. But it was clear that he did.
It was something to think about.
The Enemy Within
Jack paused in the corridor, his attention on the connecting L that led to Daniel’s VIP room. Hammond had wanted to give him regular quarters, but they were still busy with logistics. Jack was certain that when Daniel found out what those quarters were like, he’d change his mind about finding an apartment.
Any normal person would. On the other hand, Daniel … wasn’t normal. His thinking was lateral, unpredictable, and sometimes, it gave Jack a headache. Most times. But he was fascinated by it, too. Someone like that, who was mutable, like the ocean, could make a home anywhere, even those crap base quarters.
Jack felt, however, that Daniel needed to embed himself in the military community. When it thought about that statement, he made a face. Daniel doesn’t do military, never mind their community. He’s the antithesis of the person who’d fit in, which made Jack want to fix him. Somehow. He had to ask himself, as he’d been doing non-stop since retrieving him from Abydos, why he wanted to do anything to—with, dammit, with—the man.
Jack felt his palms itch with the need for tactile contact. Typically, that told him he wanted to do something physical. To touch something. A lot. That usually meant he wanted to play a sport of some kind. Street hockey, basketball, football, something. Except, with Daniel, it was a whole different feeling, and one he wasn’t just ambivalent about, he was engaging in an internal civil war with himself.
He liked this misfit who argued with him. He had no damn clue why, either, and it was maddening. Sure, he was attractive. But he needed some bodywork. Exercise. Toning. Except he didn’t. He was just … a baby. Okay, he wasn’t, but he seemed to be far younger than his age. And he was still ten years younger than Jack.
Jack started for the man’s quarters and stopped about ten yards from his door. In his mind, he’d pictured taking Daniel to the base gym. Getting him to work out on the machines. But the result of that would be getting to watch him work out—provided Daniel went with this program—and the result of that would be …
Jack closed his eyes. He couldn’t do it. He turned to walk away.
And Daniel’s door opened.
“Hey,” Daniel called.
Jack adopted an emergency change of face. And attitude. “Hey,” he said, turning toward him. “Um. Whatcha doin’?”
Daniel hesitated in the doorway as he put on the fatigue shirt. “Was gonna head to the mess hall, see if they had some fruit or something. You need me for something?” He’d closed his door and was heading toward him.
Jack recalled a moment last week when Kowalsky had asked him the same damn question. For the love of God, Jack couldn’t recall why. Suddenly all he wanted to do was hit something. Hard.
The gym it was.
“Come to the gym,” he said, half-glowering.
Daniel gave him The Empathy look. Jack found he wanted to hit him. Or kiss him. Or …
“Need to hit something, huh?” Daniel asked.
Jack went into full glower. “How do you do that?”
“You do that when you’re in pain.”
“And just how …” Jack rubbed at his forehead. “Never mind. Yeah, I need to hit something. Several hundred times.”
“Okay. Let’s go to the gym. Just don’t hit me while you’re at it or I’ll sick Teal’c on you.”
Amazingly, it made Jack laugh.
That was something else Daniel could do that mystified him.
“Bring it,” he said. For the next hour, while he hit a boxing bag, and did reps with every machine he could, he tried to figure out how to get rid of his feelings. Failing that, see if he could find out if Daniel had them, too. Failing that, find a hole and pull it in after him. It worked for Bugs Bunny.
. . .