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Fanfiction: Submerged Emotions

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S4 Watergate
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Daniel/Team friendship.  Daniel/Sha're.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

Submerged Emotions


Daniel Jackson threw the lock on the door and made his way wearily into his home. He dumped his bag in the small hall and made a beeline for the kitchen where he reached for a glass from the drainer. He rinsed the glass under the cold water faucet before filling it to the brim and gulping it down. He leaned against the sink as he put the glass on the counter and rubbed at his face.

He was tired.

It had been an exhausting few days. The mission to Siberia; jumping out of a plane; the mission to the water planet and subsequent danger; dealing with the death of the forty-seven men and women at the Russian Stargate facility. SG1 had left as the Russian army had moved in to perform clean-up – Daniel didn’t want to examine that too closely. He knew Major Davis and a diplomatic team were dealing with the political fall-out; the Russians knew about the Stargate and the US could no longer act in isolation. Daniel’s weary brain couldn’t quite work out if that was a good thing or not.

He yawned widely and stretched, pulling his shirt from the waistband of his pants. He pushed a hand through his hair and checked his watch. Three a.m. He grimaced and refilled the glass. He wandered through to his bedroom and put the glass on his bedside table before he went into the bathroom. He performed his nightly ablutions routine mechanically without thought. He stripped and dumped his clothes into an already overflowing laundry basket. He needed to do some, he mused absently. He ruefully took note of the new bruises that marred his pale skin as he pulled on a t-shirt to sleep in. He stepped back into his bedroom and pulled back the covers on his bed. He climbed in, setting his glasses next to the alarm which he reluctantly set. They had a mission later that morning.

He closed his eyes and breathed out deeply, letting his body relax. The cold feel of the cotton against his skin had him shivering and he burrowed his face into the pillow as he pulled the sheets tighter, warming them with his own body. His mind filled with images of the world they had visited. It was intriguing. He doubted he would be going back; he doubted anyone would be going back. First contact had been a disaster.

The underwater planet had evidently not been uninhabited. It had been occupied by entities which lived in the water – who were part of the water. Daniel frowned. He wondered briefly at their composition. He knew they were alive; that they were sentient. The Russians had unknowingly taken a sample of the water believing it to simply be water and it had created a disaster. The entities had taken over the humans in an attempt to get back to their planet; the Russian commander had declared an emergency and killed everyone with nerve gas. The outgoing wormhole had remained open because of a drone sending back a radio signal and the energy in the water powering the gate.

SG1 had been called into resolve the situation and they had. They had solved the mystery. Sam’s theory on the open wormhole had been proven right and when she, Daniel and Svetlana Markov had retrieved the drone using a submarine, it had closed the gate. Unfortunately, the entities had then decided to hold them hostage, slowly putting pressure on the submarine until the protective windshield had imploded. Daniel had a brief recollection of thinking he should try communicating with them and then his memory was blank. What he did remember was flying out of the Russian Stargate and landing heavily on the ramp. Apparently the entities had released him and the others when the water back on Earth had returned to the planet using Teal’c as a vessel to get them as far as the Stargate.

Daniel turned over, trying to find another position. He felt for the Russians. They had lost their entire programme in a matter of hours and it was a mistake that the SGC could have easily made had they visited the planet first. He sighed and flopped onto his back, staring up at the ceiling. A memory drifted across his mind; the cramped quarters of the submarine and Svetlana Markov bent over the engines repairing them, defending the quality of the sub by claiming it was Swiss; his own biting sarcasm that it would keep perfect time…he flushed.

He rolled over onto his stomach. He couldn’t believe that he had been so…so Jack O’Neill like. He’d even apologised by stating that he’d spent too much time with the Colonel. He shook his head a little. He wondered if it was true or whether it had been him. Was he spending too much time with Jack? Was the other man influencing his own personality? Or had he, Daniel, really changed so much?

The thought had him sitting up abruptly and reaching for his water in the dark. He took two greedy gulps before he returned it to the nightstand. He settled back against the pillows and closed his eyes again. He knew he wasn’t the same naïve archaeologist who had been tempted into taking Catherine Langford’s offer of employment, and he wasn’t the same shell-shocked husband who had returned only because SG1 had been the best hope to find his missing wife.

It was exactly a year since Sha’re’s death.

Tears sprang up unexpectedly and he opened his eyes to stare blurrily at the ceiling. He was so tired and he missed her so much. He pinched the bridge of his nose and roughly swiped at the moisture that trickled from the corners of his eyes. He hadn’t said anything to anyone; hadn’t wanted to elicit the pity and sympathy he knew would come his way. It wasn’t as though he could return to Abydos for the anniversary; the Abydonian year was longer – the Earth anniversary held no meaning for them. Besides, in some ways, he hadn’t wanted to formally mourn Sha’re again. He wanted to continue as normal and pretend it would be just another day; mourn her in his own way.

Forgetting.

That seemed to be his only reason for getting up in a morning and going into work; forgetting what had happened for a short while, forgetting he had unburied the gate and caused his wife’s death. He’d stayed with the programme to search for her child and he’d found him; that had been the last time he’d had a sense of hope about the future. But Sha’re’s child was being protected by a powerful alien and Daniel had been left bereft with only SG1 as his anchor.

Or was it? He shifted restlessly and shoved his hands behind his head. He’d been sick with appendicitis when SG1 had gone on a mission without him and saved the world without him. Part of him knew they’d left him only because he hadn’t been well but a larger part still churned with mixed emotions; anger, resentment, a sickening worry that they didn’t need him. He sighed. He’d tried to put it behind him but it was hard to see how he made a difference sometimes. Maybe it all came down to the fact that he hadn’t forgiven himself for unearthing the Abydos gate. Jack had told him he’d start trusting himself again. He wondered when that would happen.

It hadn’t helped that they seemed to have lost so much recently; Teal’c had lost his lover, Sho’nac; Samantha Carter had lost Martouf, a good friend and the soul-mate of the Tok’ra symbiote she had carried. They had been helpless to prevent either death. More he had seen his Air Force team mates seemingly sacrifice their feelings for each other in order to continue with the mission.

How did anyone do that? Daniel wondered not for the first time. How did someone pretend that they weren’t in love? Jack loved Sam and Sam loved Jack but both of them seemed determined to ignore it and get on with the job. He admired their sense of duty and was grateful in some ways that their decision meant the team stayed together since SG1 was his only constant, but his friends deserved to be happy and he couldn’t help but feel that they were letting an opportunity slip away – an opportunity he no longer had. Envy curled in his belly.

Daniel flung the covers back and padded his way into the den. He snapped on one of the table lamps and picked up a picture of Sha’re. He curled into the cushions, holding her picture. His eyes ran over the familiar features; the shape of her face, her lips. His finger traced her hair. He closed his eyes. If he’d found her…if he’d saved her…would he have stayed in the programme?

Sha’re would have loved Earth for a visit but to stay and live? Daniel figured she would have hated it; the noise, the smell, being away from her family. She would have gone back to Abydos and he would have gone with her. All his grand ideas of making a difference in the universe wouldn’t have mattered because he would have made a difference to Sha’re just by being her husband. He would have belonged somewhere; with her. SG1 was important to him and he clung to it because he so desperately wanted to belong somewhere but he couldn’t ignore the nagging voice in his head that wondered if he truly belonged in the team; if he truly made a difference.

He hugged the photo to his chest.

He needed sleep.

His eyes remained open as the tears silently tracked down his face.

o-O-o

SG1 stepped out of the Stargate and the wormhole disappeared behind them. Daniel sneezed and reached for a tissue absently as he glanced around the empty clearing. An expanse of green gave way to trees. He blew his nose and pocketed the tissue as his brow furrowed. He turned around to find his team-mates already spread out. Sam was by the MALP, confirming the readings they had observed on the original transmission. Jack was hovering by her; a combination of covering her while she worked and waiting for her report. Teal’c had taken a few steps towards the trees but his staff weapon was upright indicating he had noticed nothing to cause him concern.

Daniel relaxed imperceptibly and took another few steps away from the Stargate towards his Jaffa team-mate. ‘It looks completely deserted.’ He mused out loud.

‘So it would seem.’ Teal’c’s dark eyes remained on the open ground.

‘Everything checks out.’ Sam reported crisply. She barely glanced up from the machine. ‘The radiation is within acceptable parameters for the Enkarans, sir.’

‘Let’s dial up the gate and get the UAV.’ Jack ordered. He tugged his cap down onto his head and turned away from Sam to check in with the others. He nodded at Daniel. ‘Anything?’

Daniel shook his head. ‘There doesn’t seem to be anything in the immediate area.’

‘Take a look around.’ Jack advised, raising a hand from his weapon to wave at him. ‘Teal’c, go with him.’

The Jaffa inclined his head and Daniel gestured towards their right. The two of them walked in silence for a long while. They found a creek and made their way along it.

‘There’s nothing.’ Daniel said eventually.

‘I do not see anything either.’ Teal’c confirmed.

They stopped and made a slow circle, peering into the distance.

‘Well, there’s nothing.’ Daniel said again. ‘We should head back.’

‘Daniel Jackson.’ Teal’c cleared his throat. ‘On this day, I am uncertain of the right words…’

‘It’s OK, Teal’c.’ Daniel stopped him quickly. ‘I don’t…I’m trying not to think about it.’

‘I understand, Daniel Jackson.’ Teal’c said solemnly.

Daniel saw the flicker of grief in Teal’c’s eyes and he gave a sympathetic grimace. The drone of an engine broke the moment and had them both raising their eyes upwards; Teal’c hefted his staff weapon. The UAV flew past.

‘Perhaps the UAV will find something.’ Daniel murmured as he shielded his eyes to follow the path of it across the sky.

‘Perhaps.’ Teal’c allowed.

Daniel glanced at him as they turned back. ‘So, how are you doing?’ He asked. ‘I mean, after the whole being taken over thing.’

‘It was an unusual feeling.’ Teal’c admitted. His mouth tightened. ‘I did not enjoy it.’

‘I don’t think anybody enjoys being out of control, Teal’c.’ Daniel waved his hand vaguely at the Jaffa.

Teal’c tilted his head in recognition that Daniel spoke the truth. He gestured with his staff weapon. ‘Have you also recovered from the experience, Daniel Jackson?’

Daniel shrugged. ‘I don’t really remember anything.’ He gave a mock wince. ‘But I have some really colourful new bruises.’

Teal’c’s lips curved upward slightly. ‘It was a difficult landing.’

‘I’m just glad we made it back.’ Daniel gestured at his friend. ‘For a while back there in the sub I thought that was it.’

‘We are lucky that the entities wished only for their brethren to be returned,’ Teal’c commented, ‘and did not intend any retribution for our previous actions.’

Daniel nodded. ‘It’s a shame we can’t go back and learn more about them.’ He sighed.

‘They only wish to be left alone.’ Teal’c said.

‘You say that like you know it as a fact.’ Daniel observed.

Teal’c arched an eyebrow considered Daniel’s words. ‘I believe it is a fact, Daniel Jackson.’ He said with an edge of startled acknowledgement.

‘Jack mentioned that Maybourne seemed to have retained knowledge from the entities when they left him as though they had communicated with him in some way.’ Daniel said.

‘Colonel Maybourne and I had the same experience.’

Daniel’s lips twitched at the sour look on Teal’c’s face. The Jaffa’s dislike of the former NID man was well-founded. Maybourne had tried to use Teal’c for experimentation. ‘At least he’s in prison now.’

‘Indeed.’ Satisfaction coated the singular word.

Daniel smiled. Teal’c wasn’t the only one who felt that way; Jack had been almost effervescent with joy when Markov had confirmed that the Russians would not prevent Jack from taking Maybourne with them.

They were almost back at the Stargate and Daniel could see the small work area Sam had constructed using the MALP as a work bench. She stood immersed in her readings. Jack maintained a watch nearby; his eyes scanning the area for dangers as he kept her safe. His gaze fell on Daniel and Teal’c and he gave them a subtle nod of acknowledgement. The two of them walked over to join their team-mates.

‘There’s nothing.’ Daniel confirmed before Jack could ask what they found. ‘No signs of civilisation in the area.’

‘There are no signs of predators.’ Teal’c added. ‘The environment would seem suitable for human population.’

‘Good.’ Jack motioned at Sam. ‘Major?’

‘UAV is showing no dwellings and has not picked up any radio chatter so far, sir.’ Sam confirmed.

Jack took off his cap and rubbed a hand through his silver hair. ‘OK.’ He nodded. ‘Carter, stay here and monitor the UAV. Teal’c, you stay with her. Daniel and I will check over there.’ He waved his cap in the opposite direction from the one Daniel had taken with the Jaffa. Daniel let out a sigh of frustration but he fell into step alongside the Colonel as they made their way across the grass.

‘So.’ Jack began abruptly after they had been walking a while.

Daniel looked over at him curiously.

‘How are you doing with…everything?’ Jack asked awkwardly. His gaze remained pinned to their surroundings.

His heart sank. He had hoped nobody would remember the date; he guessed it had been rather futile given Teal’c’s earlier allusion to it. ‘Good.’ He answered determinedly.

‘Good.’ Jack’s eyes flickered to him for a moment. ‘That’s good.’

‘You?’ Daniel asked politely before Jack could think of another way to ask him.

‘Good.’ Jack responded. ‘I’m good.’

‘That’s…’ Daniel pulled a face, ‘good.’

‘So, we’re both good.’ Jack reiterated.

The two men looked at each other and Daniel smiled reluctantly as Jack’s warm brown eyes met his in shared amusement.

‘You want to do something later?’ Jack asked casually although Daniel caught the hint of worry that had prompted the question.

‘Not really.’ Daniel said bluntly.

‘Daniel…’

‘Jack.’ Daniel interrupted him and brought them to a halt. His blue eyes met the Colonel’s stubbornly. ‘I’m fine.’

Jack sighed and looked down briefly before he raised his eyes again. Daniel could see the battle to insist warring with Jack’s own empathy at Daniel’s grief. ‘If you change your mind,’ he began hesitantly.

‘I know.’ Daniel nodded sharply. ‘Thanks.’

Jack gestured at the trees. ‘Well, as we’re here we should take a look.’

They walked into the forest at a measured pace. There was no clear path and they struggled through the undergrowth for a few minutes before Jack called a halt and turned them around. The UAV flew past as they started back toward the Stargate.

‘Sam must be doing a wider sweep.’ Daniel commented; his nose wrinkling at the metal plane as it headed over the trees.

‘Good idea.’ Jack said approvingly. ‘We need to be absolutely sure this place is deserted if we’re going to bring the Enkarans here.’

‘You really like them, don’t you?’ Daniel said.

Jack shrugged. ‘What’s not to like? They’re nice people, Daniel.’

Daniel nodded. He liked them too. They’d come across the Enkarans a couple of months before. Their ancestors had been abducted from their homeworld and forced to work as slaves for the Goa’uld on a mining planet. But there had been some kind of natural disaster and the levels of radiation – acceptable for most humans – was slowly stealing the Enkarans sight and causing them to die. Sam had estimated the entire population would be affected within a couple of months. The SGC had offered to work with the Enkarans and find them a new home. The planet they were scouting had seemed like the only real possibility that they had discovered.

‘I’m just pleased Hedrezar listened to us.’ Daniel noted.

‘She’s a good leader.’ Jack commented. ‘Kind of reminds me of my grandmother.’

Daniel stared at him and almost stumbled on the uneven ground. He quickly righted his footing.

‘What?’ Jack asked tersely.

‘Nothing,’ Daniel immediately replied, ‘it’s just you don’t usually, well, never really, talk about your family.’

‘I talk about them.’ Jack responded defensively.

Daniel looked at him knowingly.

‘Besides,’ Jack said hurriedly, ‘it’s not often that we get to save a whole race of people from dying.’ He tapped his gun thoughtfully. ‘We find the Enkarans a new home; Maybourne’s in prison. This might actually turn out to be a good week.’

‘I was a little surprised the Russians just let us take Maybourne.’ Daniel commented taking his glasses off to rub the panes clean.

‘He’d outlived his usefulness.’ Jack remarked cheerfully. He pointed at Daniel. ‘Selling us out to the Russians though? That was low even for Maybourne.’

‘You really don’t like them, do you?’ Daniel mused.

Jack shrugged noncommittally.

‘Doctor Markov seemed OK.’ Daniel pointed out. The Russian scientist had been an intelligent, enlightened woman.

‘She seemed pissed at you when you got back.’ Jack said. His tone gave away his curiosity.

Daniel winced visibly. ‘Yeah.’

‘You two not get along?’ Jack asked bluntly, abandoning any pretence of subtlety.

‘We had our moments.’ Daniel said not explaining further.

Jack smirked. ‘I know. Carter told me.’ He grinned at Daniel’s dismay and patted his shoulder as they closed the distance to the Stargate.

‘Sir.’ Sam registered his arrival with a nod at her equipment. ‘Everything checks out. There’s nothing within a fifty kilometre radius of the Stargate.’

‘So, we all think we can recommend this as the Enkarans’ new home?’ Jack asked looking around his team.

‘Yes, sir.’ Sam agreed with a smile.

‘I am also in agreement.’ Teal’c noted.

Daniel nodded. ‘There doesn’t seem to be any signs of any kind of civilisation,’ he caught the impatience in Jack’s eyes, ‘so yes. I agree.’

‘Excellent.’ Jack gestured at the stack of equipment. ‘Let’s pack it up and go home.’

It took them a while to retrieve the UAV and pack up all the equipment, but before too long they were walking back down the ramp into the SGC.

General Hammond greeted them as they came to a halt and his pale blue eyes scanned their faces. He smiled. ‘I take it it’s good news?’

‘Yes, sir.’ Jack replied. ‘Planet checks out.’

‘I’ll inform Hedrezar. We’ll debrief in an hour.’ Hammond said with a pleased smile. ‘Good work, SG1.’

Daniel acknowledged the praise as he handed over his weapons. A sense of satisfaction drifted through him as he made his way out of the gate room, following Jack down the corridor.

At least they had made a difference to the Enkarans.

o-O-o

The rap on the doorframe to his office startled Daniel into looking up. He blinked as the blonde Air Force officer came into focus.

‘Sam.’ He waved her inside.

‘Hey.’ Sam handed him a folder. ‘You wanted a copy of the aerial photos from P5S381?’

‘Yeah, thanks.’ Daniel flipped through them with a frown.

‘You think we missed something?’ Sam asked as she slid onto a stool next to him.

‘No.’ Daniel replied absently. ‘I mean, it’s fairly obvious the planet is uninhabited now.’ He glanced up to meet her openly curious gaze. ‘I just thought maybe there might be ruins further away from the Stargate.’ He nudged his glasses up his nose. ‘The Ancients had to have some reason for building a Stargate there, right?’

‘Right.’ Sam pointed at the photos. ‘I didn’t see anything.’

‘Me either.’ Daniel sighed and threw the folder down. ‘I guess there’s nothing there.’

There was a momentary silence.

Sam gestured at him. ‘Oh, hey. I heard General Hammond asked you to advise on the agreement we’re hammering out with the Russians.’

‘Yeah,’ Daniel frowned, ‘I’m not exactly sure why.’

Sam smiled at him. ‘You did OK with the Tok’ra agreement.’

‘I don’t think I’ve ever quite pissed the Tok’ra off as much as I did Doctor Markov.’ Daniel pointed out briskly.

Her lips twitched. ‘You did seem a little on edge in the submarine.’

‘Which reminds me; did you have to tell Jack?’ Daniel asked accusingly. He picked up his coffee and took a gulp, wincing at the cold bitter taste.

‘Sorry.’ Sam said breezily.

‘No, you’re not.’ Daniel observed. He plonked the cup back down. ‘When did you tell him anyway?’ He reached for the report he had been studying when she had come in.

‘On our way back in the plane.’ Sam said. ‘You were sleeping…’

‘I wasn’t sleeping.’ Daniel immediately denied.

‘Dozing,’ Sam corrected, ‘and Teal’c was performing his kel no reem.’

‘Jack was bored.’ Daniel surmised. ‘That’s why you told him.’

Sam nodded with a sigh. ‘You know what he’s like when he’s bored, Daniel.’

‘Rather charming?’ Daniel quoted her own words back at her as he inwardly registered her indulgent fondness at the Colonel’s grumpiness. She really must be in love with him, Daniel mused.

She smiled in reply.

Daniel looked down at the report and bit his lip. He had never raised the topic of Sam’s feelings for the Colonel with her; he’d barely raised them with Jack. He didn’t even know if Jack had told her that Daniel knew how they felt about each other; he figured the couple had barely spoken about it themselves. It wasn’t something that could just be brought up in conversation either. He dragged his attention back to Sam as he realised she was talking.

‘Actually, I don’t think you were that bad on the submarine.’ Sam said. ‘You had a right to be concerned about the engines failing.’

‘I sounded like Jack.’ Daniel pointed out, fiddling with his pen.

Sam looked at him with a perplexed expression. ‘You say that like it’s a bad thing.’

‘Isn’t it?’ Daniel tried to lighten his tone. ‘I mean, if we both end up annoying everyone we meet, we’re going to end up shooting, well, everyone we meet.’

Sam laughed and touched his hand. ‘I don’t think you have to worry, Daniel. You’re still you.’

‘You really think so?’ The words blurted out before he could call them back.

She stared back at him surprised.

‘I, uh, I just haven’t felt very much like me recently.’ Daniel admitted.

Her delicate features softened with compassionate sympathy and he dropped his eyes unable to look at her.

‘You’ve been through a lot this last year, Daniel.’ Sam’s fingers tightened around his hand briefly.

‘So have you.’ Daniel pointed out, refusing to accept that he had any excuse to feel so discontented. ‘So has Teal’c and Jack. It hasn’t been easy on any of us.’ He sighed heavily. ‘Ignore me. It’s just…’

‘I know.’ Sam squeezed his fingers and he turned his hand over to grasp her hand more tightly.

‘I can’t believe it’s been a year.’ Daniel said quietly. ‘It feels like it was yesterday.’

Sam shifted and he accepted the hug she gave him, wrapping his own arms tightly around her, tears pressing at the back of his eyes and throat. He had no idea how long she held him but eventually she pulled back.

‘Why don’t we go grab Teal’c and get some dinner?’ She asked softly.

Daniel shook his head and swiped surreptitiously at his eyes. ‘You go ahead. I need to finish reading this report on P3X888.’

‘What’s it about?’ Sam asked, stepping back from him.

‘They’ve uncovered some interesting fossils.’ Daniel explained, grabbing hold of some photos and showing them to her. He didn’t notice the understanding look on her face at his enthusiasm. ‘Goa’uld but early Goa’uld, I think before they became parasitical. It’s fascinating really. The shape of the fossils. I mean, this could tell us so much about their original physiology and…’ he stopped as he registered her smile. ‘Sorry.’

Sam shrugged. ‘You sure you don’t want to grab something to eat?’

Daniel nodded. ‘I’m sure.’

She handed him his photos back and turned to leave.

‘Sam?’

She stopped in the doorway and looked over her shoulder at him inquisitively.

‘Thanks.’

Daniel watched her leave before he turned back to the report. ‘We could do with sending out another archaeologist.’ He mused out loud. Why didn’t he go himself? Daniel thought suddenly. If he was feeling like he wasn’t himself – wasn’t this a good way to reconnect with himself on some level? Get back to his roots? Maybe spending some time away from SG1 would be a good thing; give him some perspective.

He hurriedly checked his watch. Jack had probably gone home. He packed up and left. He drove out to Jack’s house and was relieved to see that the lights were on. He parked and walked up to the door, knocking quickly before he could change his mind.

Jack opened the door with a beer in his free hand. ‘Daniel.’

‘Jack.’

The Colonel stepped back and waved his beer in the direction of his den. ‘Come in. You want a beer?’ Jack asked as Daniel walked in and took the steps down into the den.

‘Sure.’ Daniel sat on the sofa and accepted the beer Jack handed him with a murmur of thanks. He took a gulp and wiped the top of the bottle with his thumb as Jack slumped into a chair and muted the television. There was a sports match of some kind playing.

‘There’s pizza on the way.’ Jack informed him. ‘If you want to stay for dinner.’

‘I’m OK,’ Daniel said, ‘actually I just want to discuss a mission with you.’

‘Oh?’ Jack tilted his bottle at him. ‘What mission?’

‘P3X888.’ Daniel immediately replied. ‘Robert Rothman’s found some unusual fossils. He could do with another archaeologist to help him out.’

‘And you want to go?’ Jack sighed.

Daniel nodded eagerly. ‘I think it could be important.’

‘And Rothman’s a tool.’ Jack noted as he propped his feet up on the coffee table.

‘Jack. He’s a good archaeologist.’ Daniel defended his friend gently.

Jack pulled a face. ‘But he’s not you.’

Daniel warmed at Jack’s visible appreciation of his skills. ‘So, you’re OK with it?’

‘Sure. SG1 could do with a change of pace.’ Jack said, lifting his hand from the chair cushion.

‘I, uh, I was thinking just me.’ Daniel said quietly.

Jack’s eyebrows shot up. He pointed his beer at him. ‘Just you?’

‘I mean, I know how you were looking forward to getting the Enkaran’s settled on their new planet.’ Daniel pointed out. ‘And I know how you and Robert get along.’ He waved his beer. ‘Or not.’

‘There’s that.’ Jack said.

Daniel waited as Jack considered his request.

The older man sat forward suddenly; his feet hitting the floor with a thump. ‘Daniel, what’s this about?’

‘Nothing.’ Daniel shrugged. ‘I just think my skills could be used on P3X888 and it’s not like you need me on the Enkaran thing.’

‘SG1 is a team, Daniel.’ Jack stated firmly.

‘I’m sure you guys can get along without me for a couple of days.’ Daniel said, careful to keep his tone conversational. ‘I mean, you did OK on Thor’s ship.’

‘Is that what this is about?’ Jack jumped on Daniel’s assertion straight away. ‘You think we don’t need you?’

‘No.’ Daniel denied it but he looked away from Jack’s relentless stare. ‘I just…I just think that I need to do something that’s…that’s me. You know.’

‘No.’ Jack said truthfully.

Daniel sighed heavily. ‘It’s not the first time I’ve gone somewhere without you guys.’ He glanced back at Jack defiantly.

‘True.’ Jack conceded. He looked at Daniel steadily. ‘OK.’ He said finally. ‘If that’s what you want.’

‘It is.’ Daniel said firmly.

‘I’ll need to clear it with Hammond.’ Jack warned him.

Daniel nodded. He drank some of his beer down in relief.

The doorbell rang.

Jack got to his feet and went to get it. Daniel could hear the murmur of voices as Jack took delivery of his dinner.

‘You sure you don’t want to stay?’ Jack placed the pizza box down on the table and flipped the lid.

Daniel reviewed the contents. It was his favourite pizza. He looked at Jack questioningly. The Colonel had ordered it before he’d showed up at the door.

‘What?’ Jack said defensively, sitting back down.

‘I guess I could stay for a slice.’ Daniel said, touched Jack had been thinking about him even subconsciously. He reached into the box and picked one up.

Jack did the same. ‘Hey.’ He raised his bottle in a toast. ‘To Sha’re.’

Daniel felt his chest seize but he clinked his bottle against Jack’s. ‘To Sha’re.’ He whispered.

He sat on Jack’s sofa with his mouth full of pizza, a beer in his hand and watching a sport he only vaguely recognised. A strange sensation of contentment stole over him. He didn’t even notice as he swallowed the rest of his beer with another slice of pizza. He barely registered his eyes closing as his head fell back and he wasn’t aware of falling asleep or Jack covering him with a blanket.

Daniel slept on peacefully.

fin.


 

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