There But For the Grace of God
Dressed in sweatpants and a t-shirt, Daniel seethed as he took down the cereal box from the top of the fridge … with one arm. He had ignored the sling for the first hour upon waking, but it ached so badly that he’d finally conceded that Janet had been right: “You’ll need the sling and pain pills, but you can’t ignore the sling and take pain pills to compensate. It’ll only exacerbate the problem, which is to immobilize your arm so it will heal.”
But it wasn’t the reason for the anger. It was a double whammy. Jack and Kinsey. Both refused to believe he’d been in another reality. Another universe.
For heaven’s sake, he didn’t have a history of making stuff up, nor a history of, well, histrionics. He wasn’t someone who hallucinated. And he’d been shot. By a staff weapon. Didn’t that tell them both that what happened to him was real? Teal’c believed. Sam believed—but she also went by whatever Jack said, which was extremely annoying.
Truth be told, he didn’t give a shit about Kinsey. It was Jack who had pissed him off, as only Jack could.
Daniel turned, box in hand, and it clipped his favorite ceramic cereal bowl and sent it to the floor, smashing into chunky bits.
“Goddamn fucking shit!” Daniel screamed and threw the cereal box like a fastball at the kitchen table. It sailed past and hit the bookshelf. It hit broadside so hard that all it did was flip the top open without spilling the contents. But then, it wouldn’t have. Daniel used a bag clip to seal the plastic liner inside. He’d long since gotten tired of cereal going stale too soon.
He sighed heavily and leaned against the counter. “Fuck,” he muttered sourly. “Fuck, fuck, fuck. Fuck the bowl, fuck the cereal, and fuck Jack O’Neill!” The last bit he screamed in frustration and pain. The latter bit was for his arm and not being believed.
He heard the creaking of the door, knew it was Jack without seeing him, and yelled out, “Go away!”
“I come bearing gifts,” Jack said.
When the man was in sight, Daniel spied the Burger King bag and closed his eyes. “Son of a bitch,” he muttered.
“That’s no way to talk to my—”
“Stop being literal,” Daniel cut off as he left the kitchen and dining room and met Jack at the top step. Like Jack’s house, he had a sunken living room. He looked down at him, anger deepening. He wanted what was surely a couple of breakfast croissant sandwiches and a mocha latte, but Jack still didn’t believe him. He could see it on his face.
Daniel’s rumbling stomach won the argument and he accepted the bag, turned, and sat down at the table. “Thanks,” he said begrudgingly. Sandwich or no, peace gesture or no, he was still mad.
“I’m here to pick you up,” Jack said. “Kinsey’s demanded a hearing this morning.”
“Great. More bullshit from a man who doesn’t deserve to hold office,” Daniel grumbled and hated being in a bad mood. He cut off his complaints with a large bite. The taste of the food abruptly softened his mood as his hunger and affection for Jack calmed his mind. Mostly. The anger turned to resentment, which could wreck his relationship with Jack if it wasn’t handled. Tactfully, Jack didn’t return the complaint. Daniel sipped the coffee and closed his eyes. “Now?”
“More or less,” Jack said.
Daniel took another bite, eyed Jack as he chewed, and didn’t wait to clear his mouth before saying, “We’re not doing anything. My arm hurts like a son of a bitch. Because I was shot by Alternate Teal’c’s staff weapon.”
To Daniel’s hard eyes, Jack rolled his. It only made him madder. But he couldn’t drive to work by himself, not with his right arm all gimped up. Jack was here with breakfast and a ride. The least he could do was behave with a modicum of respect.
“Fine. Let’s go. But don’t give me any shit on the way, Jack, or I swear to god I’ll jump out of the truck while it’s going down the road at fifty-five.”
Jack’s eyes widened, then narrowed, then returned to normal. “Deal.”
The Serpent’s Lair
“I crawled and stumbled to the sarcophagus. I was motivated. I wanted to live, you know?”
That’s what Daniel had told Teal’c and Sam. But it hadn’t been as simple to do as it was to say. After Jack had reluctantly left him sitting on the floor, mortally injured, Daniel’s understandable fatalism had stepped aside for a realization he hadn’t ever acknowledged. He didn’t just love Jack. He was in love with him.
Love was a force of nature. It was a solid, rational state of being. It could withstand anything.
In Love was another matter entirely. It was irrationality personified, ruled by unstable emotions.
It told him that if Jack felt the same, the two of them were doomed.
What kept them friends was a stable, rational way of looking at the world. They cared about each other, but it wasn’t all there was. It didn’t rule over their heads.
Being in love was a blind state that led people into doing and saying stupid shit. And it hurt by an order of magnitude when the person you were in love with said and did that stupid shit.
It also made you do things you wouldn’t normally be able to do. Such as crawl and stumble to a sarcophagus when his chest and upper left arm were bleeding so profusely that it wouldn’t take long for him to bleed to death. He would, in fact, be dead long before the ship blew. But that didn’t matter. He needed to live.
Survival instinct could certainly be used as the reason for his wonderous crawl to the sarc. Sure. But it hadn’t been the dominant factor. He didn’t want to be without Jack. And he felt shame from another realization—he hated not wanting to live or die without Jack.
Daniel Jackson had been in love only one other time in his life. It had ended badly. And now, Daniel was afraid it would destroy his relationship with Jack. But, his mind said, it’s Jack. You love him. Shouldn’t that count for something?
Daniel couldn’t answer it rationally, which said it all in a nutshell.
. . .
“Well …” Fraiser began, giving Daniel a tiny, tiny sardonic smile. She closed the door and walked over to him, a clipboard chart held against her chest.
“I told you,” Daniel said with as shy a smile as he could dredge up. It was marginal when he knew he was right and had to wait for everyone else to catch up. “The sarcophagus brought me back from the dead on Ra’s ship. It healed Jack’s …” He colored with anger. “Being turned into a Jaffa.” It was so much more than that that he wanted to rant and rave at how bad that had been. He took a breath and checked his watch. “Gotta get to the gateroom.”
Fraiser smiled wide. “Time for your great reveal?”
“Not quite yet.” He looked around. They weren’t in the infirmary. They were in a storage room on Level 26. Because his teammates were in the infirmary, finishing their tests. He made a face. “I don’t know why the General wants to reveal me this way. I think it’d be much better if he just sent them to my office.” His office. Up to that point, he hadn’t had one. He’d been sharing Sam’s lab.
“Congratulations,” she whispered, leaning forward a little as she rubbed his biceps.
“If I understand the scuttlebutt, it was coming. The General didn’t do it because you came back from the ship or because you’re a hero.”
Daniel grew uncomfortable and shifted around as he rolled his eyes. “Doctor Fraiser, look. I’m seriously not. I got Jack to do the right thing by believing me. The others are heroes.”
Fraiser rolled her eyes in return and shook her head. “Daniel?”
He made a face, readying himself for a disagreement. “Yes?”
She sighed, mentally ran the conversation she’d intended through her mind, and said instead, “Call me Janet.”
. . .
Daniel was escorted by Lieutenant Colonel Reynolds behind the personnel gathering in the gateroom. He ended up by the power distribution panels. “Still don’t see why this is necessary, I mean, what’s all this for?”
“You’ll see,” Reynolds said with a grin. “Just gotta say, thanks, Doctor Jackson. And know that when we all applaud, you’re included.”
“Huh?” Daniel asked. He really, really hated being kept in the dark. For anything, for any reason. Reynolds smiled and left him. Daniel met the looks of a few others, some of whom knocked him slightly off-balance by their hard slaps in the shoulder. He tried to relax against the panels a few times but quiet handshakes kept him standing up straight. He felt immensely uncomfortable. He hadn’t done anything. Getting Jack to eventually believe him wasn’t heroic. Doing what had to be done on the ships wasn’t heroic. Hell, it had been Jack, Sam, and Teal’c, plus Bra’tac. And truth be told, if it hadn’t been for Bra’tac, none of them would be alive. So maybe the congratulations were entirely misplaced.
The counter-argument in his head told him that had they not gone, Bra’tac wouldn’t have been able to make his move against K’lorel and Apophis. Upon thinking of K’lorel, Daniel rubbed at his forehead, even though the sarcophagus had healed that too. It hadn’t, however, healed the memory of it happening. He felt very real grief and pain for Skaara though. The poor man was in agony, having to live his life inside his own mind. A shudder ran through Daniel at the thought of it happening to him and he mentally knocked on wood that he would never be taken over.
Nearly half an hour went by and the gateroom was packed with people. Daniel’s nervousness began to build. He stood with his arms crossed, waiting, remembering what Hammond had told him: “When you hear me say, ‘SG-1? There’s someone who’d like to see you,’ then you’ll come out.”
Daniel heard Hammond. Bra’tac. Jack. His palms began to sweat. Until that moment, he’d almost been bored. Now, the thought of seeing Jack when twelve hours before he might not have seen him ever again was filling him with trepidation. How to say hello? Shake his hand? Should he hug him? Oh hell, no. That just wasn’t gonna happen. Jack’s all Mr. Protocol while on base. Sort of. Just standing there saying ‘hi’ wasn’t gonna cut it. No, the way to deal with this was to not deal with it. Let Jack lead. First time for everything.
“SG-1? There’s someone who’d like to see you.”
Sweat built up on Daniel’s skin. Was it hot in here? Of course, it was, this many people.
He wove his way through the crowd, getting pats on the back that he returned with a hesitant, nervous smile. And then he was through them. His gaze was on Jack. Not Sam. Not Teal’c. Not Hammond. Jack.
He smiled fit to bursting, and then Jack was coming toward him and hugging him. Hugging him! In front of God and everybody! And unbeknownst to Jack, to anyone, his smile was accompanied by a twinge of terror as he confirmed to himself, “Oh, my god, I’m in love with this dear idiot who’s just called me Spacemonkey. I’m fucking doomed.”