|The row raged on.
Two lab techs, four SFs and Teal'c had taken stock of the situation and decided that retreat was the best plan of action.
It was a storm that had been brewing for many months and everyone hoped this long-awaited clash would clear the air.
"This is a *military* facility, Daniel!" O'Neill was borderline yelling. He'd been on that particular border for several minutes now, mostly because in all their disagreements, he couldn't remember ever actually shouting at their civilian consultant.
But Daniel was sorely tempting him. "Right, so blowing shit up is what we do?"
"We ignore the consequences because we don't like them?"
"Oh, fer cryin' out loud! This! Coming from you of all people! When have you *ever* considered the consequences? Did you consider them before you took a run and jump through that window on Kalona? Before you put your hand inside a THERMO NUCLEAR WEAPON?!"
Standing in his own office, face to face with the colonel, Daniel opened his mouth, closed it again and widened his eyes. But the shocked pause at his words and the increase in volume didn't slow him for more than a moment.
"I saved your life! And if you'd stop being so utterly selfish for *one second* you'll remember I saved an ENTIRE WORLD!"
It was Jack's turn to do the goldfish impression. Daniel had definitely never yelled back. Shouted, yes, jumped up and down on the spot, yes. But never yelled with the emotion behind the desperate words now.
"Besides," Daniel's voice was noticeably quieter, tone calmer, "you're always talking about saving the planet. It just didn't happen to be this planet."
"And it just happened to kill you." There was still plenty of venom left in Jack's voice and it put Daniel straight back on the offensive.
"Oh, so it's perfectly all right for you and Sam and half the US airforce to offer yourselves up as sacrifices but not for me?"
"Don't 'Daniel' me, *Colonel*."
"You're a *civilian*!"
"I opened the damn gate! If it weren't for me, none of this would be happening. The first we'd have known of the Goa'uld would have been when they wiped the Earth from the face of the galaxy!"
"So you're a hero?"
"NO! I don't want to be a hero! I want to be accepted, respected." He paused. "I might even want to be *admired*." He spat the word at Jack.
"I do admire you! I told you-" Jack bit off the words. Busted.
"Yes, I remember. When I was slowly turning to mush." He didn't mean figuratively. "I should have thanked you for that." He could taste the sarcasm in his own tone and for a moment he wanted to weep.
In retrospect, it hadn't been a good line to take. Jack rallied back. "What do you want from me?"
"I want my place back!"
"On the team, on SG1! For Christ's sake, Jack, you replaced me with the guy who watched me commit suicide for his own people and then BLAMED ME FOR IT!"
"He apologised." Even to Jack's ears it was weak. "I never really liked him."
"You two got on fine." The words were laden with subtext.
"What is that supposed to mean?!"
"I wasn't gone *all* of the time."
"You were spying on us?! Well, fuck me!"
"I'd never have a chance, Jack, you're too busy fucking yourself!"
The retort was on his lips when his brain caught on to Daniel's actual words.
Daniel too had replayed what he'd said and was faltering. "Erm. Nothing."
"No, you - you definitely said something interesting."
He exploded. "Oh, I see! Everything I say is lost on you isn't it, until I mention sex!"
"You mentioned sex?"
"Yes. No." Bright blue eyes slid away from wide brown ones for the first time since they'd started into one another, around half an hour ago. "Erm. Can I have notice of that question?"
"Absolutely not. Are you going to answer it?"
"I didn't mention sex."
"You just said you did!"
Daniel paused. He had. He hadn't meant to but it had just slipped out there. He'd hoped Jack wouldn't notice, but far be it for a military man to ignore homoerotic innuendo.
But Jack knew now he had him off guard and he pushed his advantage.
"Do you want to?"
"It's a simple question."
"It is not and you know it!"
"What's complicated about it?"
Daniel shook his head, deflating finally. "Nothing between us is ever simple, Jack," he said, a faint plea in his voice. 'Drop this, please just drop this.'
"It could be."
"No, it couldn't."
Was Jack seriously asking him why they shouldn't.... No. He was asking why things were always so complex when it came to their friendship. Yes, that was it. That was all.
"Because... it's not like that. It never has been."
Jack took a step closer and Daniel instinctively took one back. But his desk was between his butt and freedom. Not that the colonel's approach was threatening violence in any way. Not so much a lion stalking a deer as much as a lion in heat.
"You don't think it could be?"
"And why is that, do you think? Why is there always all this... tension between us?"
Th emphasis on the word 'tension' made Daniel seriously consider ducking under his desk and escaping out of the open door.
Jack would never do anything to compromise himself on the base where he was 2iC. Would he?
"We're both too - headstrong." He was reaching and he knew it. When had he lost complete control of this argument?
"Too headstrong for what?"
"For it not to be complicated!"
"For what not to be complicated?"
"AH! So you *did* mention sex!"
Daniel met the eye of the SF walking passed the door and silently dared him to say a word. The SF smirked then hurried on before O'Neill recognised him and had him posted to somewhere in Alaska.
"It was a metaphor."
Jack was smiling now and Daniel could see the triumph in his expression. "For what?"
"For...." He gave up.
Backing down from DefCon2, Jack took a step back and grinned. "So we should probably head back to your place then."
"If we're having sex. I mean, it's probably against regs to do it on the base...."
He sighed, deflating. "Has it really always been like this?"
"No," Jack answered him honestly. "It's been good, it's been bad. But now... it could be incredible, Daniel. Give me a chance to prove it?"
With an incredulous smile, Daniel nodded. "It would beat fighting you."
Shaking his head, he threw up his hands in defeat. "Okay. You win. Let's go."