I’ve done some shitty things in my time. I wouldn’t class myself as a particularly nice person.
But asking my best friend to give the order to destroy the sub I’m on is probably high up on the list of bad things I’ve done.
At the time, I didn’t think. I don’t allow my heart anywhere near any decision I make out there in the field. I was sure Teal’c and I were about to be torn apart by those damn Lego bugs and I didn’t want it to end like that.
He wouldn’t have appreciated sitting there, safe, in front of the bank of monitors showing our deaths in graphic, full-colour detail, now would he? But I’m just making excuses for myself.
I can imagine now how I’d have felt if the situation had been reversed. Even if I didn’t have these… intense feelings that I’m having for him at the moment, to give the order that would kill him would definitely be beyond me. And to hear him ask me to do it….
How do I apologise for something like that?
Oh, he’s being his usual tough self. ‘No Jack, I’m fine Jack, really Jack.’ Yada yada. I am not falling for a word of it. He’s hurt. It’s all been too much for him and he’s closing in on himself like I’ve seen him do a hundred times before.
The real killer is that he couldn’t be there. He’d have been fine if he’d been right there on the sub with us, facing those replicator things down the long barrel of a P-90. Like he’d have been as happy as pie if he’d been able to beam aboard Thor’s Ship of Certain Doom just over three weeks ago.
He doesn’t get that he’d scared the shit out of me when his appendix almost exploded on PX-whatever the hell the place was called. Life’s bad enough with the combined threats of the Goa’uld, alien technologies, invisible air-borne viruses and all the other crap we deal with without your own body trying to kill you.
It had been so fast. He’d looked ill the first night we’d camped out, complained of stomach-ache, hadn’t eaten anything. I know he didn’t sleep well that night. In the morning, just as we were setting off, he threw up. I was worried enough to abort and turn us around. We were a good day’s walk from the gate.
I think I must have run the last half-mile with Daniel over my shoulder! By the time we’d hit the ramp he’d been unconscious with a temperature of about a hundred and five.
Far more frightening than anything the universe can throw at us.
There was no way he was coming aboard Thor’s ship. When I went to see him, just before I attempted to go fishing the first time, he could barely get out of bed.
But, according to Hammond, he couldn’t be ousted from the control room the whole time Teal’c, Carter and I were battling with the replicators. Not until afterwards, when he knew we were safe and just unable to get the damn gate working, he’d collapsed and had to be rushed to the infirmary.
I’ve warned him about this.
He shouldn’t have been with us out at the docks. He’d ignored Fraiser’s advice about staying warm and calm and inactive for another few days. Instead he opted for what was behind door number two! A twenty-four hour mission from hell, in the cold damp of an abandoned warehouse, sitting watching his two best friends getting attacked from all angles by high-tech spiders.
I would have said that Daniel would be the death of me, and my hairline. Even before I woke up gay one morning, I loved the guy. Who doesn’t? The Unas love him and they’re not even the same species!
Daniel just has this way about him. He’s generous, selfless, totally frustrating and completely impossible to command. Which, unfortunately for me, is my job! You have to develop a whole new strategy to get Daniel to follow orders. You have to make him think they’re for the good of the team, for the good of the oppressed locals (if there are any) or for the good of the universe in general.
If he thinks for one minute that the order is going to benefit none of the above, forget it. He won’t do it. He’ll either go off and do the complete opposite or he’ll argue about it until you find yourself telling him to go off and do the opposite.
Okay, so he has me wrapped securely around his little finger.
Even tighter now, since I woke up this morning and realised I’d fallen for him, hard and fast.
I am not exaggerating.
I have no idea what happened.
I woke with this wonderful warm feeling.
I was wrapped up in my duvet, rather than the more usual occurrence of waking up, freezing, with the duvet on the floor.
I didn’t question it at first, just let myself bask in the peaceful warmth of the morning.
I actually listened to the birds singing outside. They love to perch on the top of my telescope mount, little feathered bastards. Anytime I want to use the scope I have to clean up there first.
Then fleeting images from my dream started to come back to me.
I remembered a road running through the desert. I was driving along it, in my jeep, and Daniel was in the passenger seat. We were talking, laughing. And then we were sitting at these traffic lights that were on red despite there being no other car for as far as the eyes could see. It was good being out there on the road. It was good having Daniel to share it with.
And then I remembered the part that turned my whole perspective of myself on its head.
With the engine idling at that red light, I leaned over and kissed Daniel. And he kissed me back like it was natural, like he was expecting it!
Okay, so it was just a dream. The real Daniel would probably have tried to remove my balls with his fingernails.
Or maybe he wouldn’t. See?! That’s where all this thinking has got me!
I haven’t thought this much in years. Not this emotional, ‘from the heart’ stuff.
I can do command decisions under the most dangerous of circumstances. I can order men out on missions when I know one or two of them might not be coming back. I can make up my mind on a course of action in the time it takes a hostile to tighten his/her/its finger on a trigger.
But when it comes to my emotions, forget it! I am not in touch with them. We don’t speak. Sometimes we send Christmas cards.
Admittedly since Daniel came along I’ve been forced to acknowledge that I do at least still have feelings. They haven’t been great ones, but they’ve reminded me – he’s reminded me – that I am still alive.
Sometimes I wish I wasn’t.
Like yesterday when I had to stare down the lens of a camera and tell Daniel to kill us.
To my credit I realised, as I’d said it, the pain I must have caused and I attempted to defer the command to Major Davies. But I should have known that spineless muppet wouldn’t have acted, not with Daniel sitting there all teary-eyed right next to him.
I know, I know. That’s unfair. The last thing Daniel would have done was show weakness right there in front of all those people. He would have kept up the façade and the agony would have only shown clear in his eyes.
But Mr Wonderful wouldn’t do anything to upset Daniel and jeopardise that absurd belief he has that Daniel will, one day, go out on a date with him. Not a chance, Major. Especially not now.
My second revelation of the morning, by the way, was that I’m pathologically protective and ridiculously jealous.
On the protective side, I’m bad with all my ‘kids’. Daniel knows that the three of them are stand-ins for Charlie. I lost one child, so I guard my team with the possessive nature of an over-baring parent. I need to have them all there, together, and in one piece. Doesn’t matter what danger we’re facing just as long as we face it together.
On Thor’s ship, and again on the sub, we weren’t together. Daniel was missing on the ship and neither Sam nor Daniel were on the sub. Not that I’d have wished it on anyone. But the point is they’ve grown used to us being together, as much as I have. They’ve come to depend on it as much as I have.
Right back at the beginning, when Daniel and I were first introduced, he’d lost everything. His parents were dead, his grandfather hadn’t wanted him, he’d sacrificed his apartment to fund research that everyone laughed at and his one important lecture had been mocked and abandoned by those he most respected.
I’ll never know why, but he holds me responsible for him finding happiness on Abydos; a place where he belonged, a family who would love him. Maybe above all, the proof that he was right. Not that he can tell anyone but that’s the thing with Daniel; he doesn’t need the glory. He knows, and that’s enough for him.
You’d think it would have to be enough for us all now. We’ve saved the world so often it’s starting to get old and we can’t go into the local bar and demand free drinks like superheroes.
But Sam’s got her Dad, Teal’c has his family and his mentor. Hammond told me one night that he tells his granddaughter and she thinks he’s telling her made-up stories.
Me – I got Daniel.
Only now I find I want him more than I’d realised and that’s where the jealousy part comes in.
Sometimes, in the past, people have mistaken protectiveness for a slight jealous streak in me where Daniel’s concerned.
I feel a need to set the record completely straight. Major Davies’ life has never been in any danger (well, not often, and not as much as it is in right now!). Those Unas are always trying to steal my archaeologist and I ain’t having that. And I arrested Makepeace and his cronies cos that was my job and my duty not because he’d allegedly clocked a feel of Daniel’s taut backside in the showers that one time.
But now I’m finding myself thinking things like, what if Thor and Sam hadn’t saved our butts yesterday and my grieving Daniel was left in the comforting and not completely innocent hands of Major Wonderful Davies?
I’m wondering what I’m gonna be like on missions. Nothing will ever put my team in danger, but I have some hefty concerns about the fate of any alien trying to get its slimy flippers on my Danny.
Somebody shoot me?
Daniel’s a complete distraction. Why hadn’t I noticed this before?
Okay, so I’d taken note of the ass. Everyone has – believe me. He has these off-white trousers that he wore to the SGC Christmas party last year – I swore no one’s eyes got above a forty-five degree angle whenever he walked passed.
In his green fatigues it’s not so bad. They’re slightly too large for him and so those firm little… well, they’re not so defined. And that’s good. But then, of course, I have other things to contend with.
From head to foot, starting with the hair.
When we first met, he had that long hair and he looked… I heard Carter use the phrase ‘adorable’ one time and that seemed to fit. Then Hathor was of the opinion that he’d believe himself to be living in the future if his hair was short and she cut it. I’d have killed her for that act alone. So the first time I saw him with the new style, let’s just say there were mitigating circumstances. When we were finally rescued, by people more reliable than Makepeace, Daniel was deeply shaken and I’d been too busy laying on some comfort touching to really notice how he actually looked.
Completely gorgeous. Very male, very attractive, very hot. Everyone and almost everything with a pulse that we come into contact with notices this.
He has eyes that not even Maybourne is immune to. When he gets that lost-puppy-god thing going, I swear the president himself would cave.
Daniel’s my weapon against the General when I want to do something that isn’t officially popular. Those eyes are absolutely the windows to his soul. Every emotion he ever feels is displayed there for anyone to see who takes the time to look. Mr Wonderful, for example, loves to attempt to share adoring glances with my Daniel whenever he can come up with an excuse to join us at the SGC.
But Danny reserves certain looks, and certain smiles, just for me. Ohmygod. Getting sappy, getting waaaay too sappy.
Did I mention his mouth?
I hadn’t watched it before, all those thousands of times he’s just talked and talked about whatever he happened to be talking about. I’d told him again and again to shut up when I should have been taking the opportunity to wonder what else that mouth could do….
Jeez! Distracted? Completely.
A week after my personal revelation, a week after the madness with the replicators, SG1 was reactivated. Easy mission. Samples, plant-life, photographs. Dull stuff but Daniel was still supposed to be taking things easy and the rest of us were in need of some seriously stress-free living for a while.
As usual, things didn’t go quite as they were meant to.
We encountered a life-form and again, just as usual, Daniel had to talk to it.
Carter got interested when she saw the size of its… pouch. I got interested when it took us back to its cave system and showed us what looked to be a highly developed armoury.
Sure, I wanted samples of these things to take home! And the negotiations began.
Not me, you understand. I don’t do the communication stuff, that’s why we have Daniel. And on that note, I let myself be distracted again.
I would have sworn that it was only a second before I clocked on to the fact that my team telling me something, but it must have been embarrassingly longer. Daniel was looking at me expectantly and, as sometimes happens – and I honestly don’t know why I do this – I got momentarily annoyed with him.
I waved my gun at nothing and said, “Just give him what he wants, Daniel, and let’s go with the goodies.”
I knew I’d made a mistake immediately. Carter rounded on me, eyes wide. “Sir?!”
Teal’c had taken a step closer to Daniel, who was looking anywhere but at me, confusion all over his gorgeous features. Did I say gorgeous?
I’d missed something vitally important. I tried to replay the information back through my mind but it just wasn’t there.
“Oookay. So… what does the alien actually want?”
Our linguist remained silent. Teal’c glanced at him, then at me. Daniel?! “It wants to trade Daniel for technology?” I think I squeaked.
Daniel’s voice was quiet when he spoke. He knew, obviously, that I hadn’t been listening to him the first time around and he was trying not to be hurt. Why do I do this to him? “Not exactly, Jack.”
They suddenly had my full and undivided attention. “Not exactly?”
“The alien creature wishes to trade weapons for Daniel’s….”
“…time,” Daniel finished off Teal’c’s statement quickly.
Starting to get with the plot, I hoisted my P-90 around and clicked back the safety. The sharp sound seemed to interest the alien that had, up to that moment, simply been watching us with what seemed to me to be an amused expression. Too many of its eyes were trained on Daniel’s butt for my liking.
“He wants… wants….”
Carter piped up, saving Daniel. “Think ‘Indecent Proposal’, Sir.”
Okay, so my reaction might have been a little over the top.
Hey, I didn’t kill it! A bullet in the… whatever it had below its pouch… was less than it deserved. Let’s just say that when this story gets back to the Pentagon, Mr Wonderful will think twice about whatever proposals he has in mind.
Daniel wasn’t amused. He wouldn’t let me steal anything more than a small hand-held thing and he didn’t speak to me all the way back to the gate.
I need to have a long talk with my kids.
Any trade deals that involve one of my team prostituting themselves is absolutely out of the question.
Why did they even wait for me to tell them what to do?! Daniel should have been refusing point-blank, not looking like some shy teenager. I thought we’d gotten passed all that!
Sam is almost as protective as I am over her adopted brother, why wasn’t she upping arms? As for Teal’c… I actually have no idea how he feels about… sex. But I can’t see him condoning rape and he absolutely wouldn’t let anyone lay a single finger on Daniel.
And then of course there’s me. I need a pep talk more than any of them. If I hadn’t been as distracted as I had been I’d have shot the alien a hell of a lot sooner for the mere suggestion.
A complete mess, all said and done.
I went to find Daniel, to apologise to him. He can’t hold a grudge for long, not against one of us.
Of all the mysteries that surround me daily, Jack has to be the most complex.
The debacle on PX-928 yesterday was no surprise, nothing new. Jack not listening to a word that I have to say is typical in the extreme.
I'll admit that, for a moment, I honestly thought he expected me to... with the alien creature....
But I really should have known better. For someone as fiercely mothering as Jack it was out of the question.
He's the only reason Paul hasn't asked me out to that new Italian in town I know he's dying to take me to. Although... I am kinda thankful. I like Paul, he's a great guy with a healthy outlook on life and solid morals. For the military. But while I'd love to spend time with him as a friend, I know that Jack's mother-hen-someone-wants-to-get-into-Daniel-Jackson's-pants radar is bang on this time.
Unlike most of the humans and aliens he scares off because he's convinced they're only interested in my body and couldn't possibly want to just talk to me, Paul's definitely after more than good conversation.
Not that I mightn't get desperate some day soon and accept. I'm a hot blooded male, for Christ's sake! Jack may get his kicks from blowing things up but I need more intimate forms of release.
If I wait for Jack to ask we're in real danger of being dead by the time he plucks up the courage.
I've had my suspicions regarding his intentions toward me for some time. But after the replicator incident aboard The Blackbird he's been in full predator mode.
He just needs to move that along into courtship sometime very soon because I'm running out of resources here!
When he came to apologise for the hundredth time for not listening to me and unwittingly suggesting I have sex with an alien, I laid it on so think he had to crawl through it.
I did the big eyes magnified behind the glasses. I did the pouty lips. I even ruffled my own hair a couple of times, under the pretext of nervously setting my glasses straight.
This is not easy!
When he didn't seem to be shifting away from apology and closer to asking me out I played my trump card.
I walked over to the cabinet at the back of my office and retrieved a fresh bag of Colombian coffee. From the very bottom shelf. A couple of inches from floor level. Right at the back.
Am I mean?
I even threw in a wiggle just for good measure.
When I straightened, Jack looked flushed and flustered. He muttered something about an interdepartmental memo - probably the longest word he could manage at that moment. Memo. And then he vanished.
There's something very satisfying about uttering a long string of bright, base words in a very loud voice while throwing an expensive wireless mouse wall to wall across the office. Carefully of course. Wouldn't want to break anything valuable.
Only when I'd calmed down and made myself a pint of coffee in the mug Sam bought me for Christmas did I bother to pick up the pieces.
I spent the rest of the day filling in a requisition form for a new mouse.
Did I even have that pep talk with myself about distraction?!
We were in the briefing room. Nothing happening really. Yet another request for help from the Tok'ra. I sometimes wonder how the hell they ever managed without us.
They want Daniel to go on some undercover mission right in the heart of Goa'uld territory. I'm not the only one whose whole demeanour was screaming 'absolutely no way on this or any other planet.'
We'd been out the night before, the team, just the four of it. Unofficial debriefing. The team is the most important thing and its good to know we're okay.
I spent a significant portion of the night talking to Daniel, listening to him.
I promised him that he never bored me. Not even when he went off on tangents about ancient ruins and even more ancient history. We got onto the subject of the alien on the planet. I made a comment about him always wanting to communicate with the aliens and he retaliated with the 'you wanted the damn weapons' line, which was only to be expected.
There was no venom in his words and once I'd accepted that he was right and was wrong, yet again, I was rewarded by one of those smiles that lights up his face and the whole room right along with it.
Worth every moment.
It was late when I reached home. I poured myself a scotch and took it up to bed with me. But I didn't sleep. Thoughts of what might have happened kept me awake. Lying there, my mind started to concoct images of Daniel with that alien on the planet.
The man's a danger to himself looking like that. In the five years we've been gating off-world no one has ever dared look at Teal'c or me the wrong way. One or two have tried it on with Carter and immediately regretted it.
But Daniel's oblivious to the extra attention humans, Goa'ulds and aliens alike all pay him. They have a tendency to look at him as if he's on the menu and even before I realised that I needed him more than oxygen there was no way any of his would-be suitors were getting their paws anywhere near him.
And that included Mr Wonderful.Daniel dropped into his chair and leaned forward, attention immediately focused on the proceedings.
Typical. We're late, we get the stare from hell and stony silence. Daniel's late, he gets an award-winning smile from the general. Has this whole base adopted him as a member of their extended family?
Then I noticed what he was wearing. My whole body noticed.
We've all got those blue sweaters - they came with the fatigues we tend to wear while we're hanging around on the base. So why does Daniel look so incredible in his?
I hardly heard a word of what was said. My body felt like it was overheating. I wondered briefly whether I might actually have been infected by something at sometime and these intense reactions to Daniel were just the symptoms.
But I kinda knew that was wishful thinking.
Afterwards I headed for the showers, stripped and stepped under the cold water, staying there as long as I could, turning off the sluice just before something important froze off.
I towelled myself dry and was dressing when the klaxon sounded and the sergeant at the control computer announced an unauthorised off-world gate activation.
It was some time before I had another chance to worry about my overactive hormones.
~ ~ ~
It never quite reached the status of 'foothold', but it was close.
Luckily I was out of the way for the initial confrontation and I managed to stay out of the way while the base staff and SG units were herded into holding cells.
I sprang Teal'c with little difficulty and together we managed to make it to the armoury.
Quickly we freed and armed enough of our guys so that there was more of us than them. After that, it was easy to round them up and throw them into the same holding cells they'd kept our guys in.
We found a GDO on one of the aliens.
While we were waiting for Maybourne and co. to tell us what to do with the prisoners who didn't speak English and didn't really stand a chance of being rehabilitated into our society, we attempted to question one of them.
That, of course, was when we realised that Daniel wasn't anywhere to be found.
I led the search of the base, growing more and more panicked with every level we confirmed as clear.
We tried everything, even called his cell phone and his home in case he'd skipped out on us without anyone noticing. My hopes weren't high.
After that, Janet had to check the base's morgue. We'd lost a few men in the firefight.
He was nowhere and that was impossible. I was about to search the entire base again when one of the soldiers guarding the aliens in the cells radioed up to us.
He'd found our missing archaeologist.
~ ~ ~
I knew they were grinning, despite not possessing any orifice that could be called a mouth.The ten or so aliens in one of the holding cells had parted ranks to revel two of them sitting on the floor, backs to the wall. Daniel was crushed between them.
Luckily, certain pre-programmed reactions take over at moments like that. The first was to make direct eye contact with the hostage and make sure he was basically okay. Danny's arms were pinned behind his back, ankles locked together. Even from outside the cell I could hear that his breathing was laboured. They must have grabbed him as they were herded inside.
We knew how strong they were, a couple had put up an impressive fight and when we hadn't been able to subdue them we'd opened fire.
It couldn't possibly have been Daniel's fault that he was in that situation, but still he looked at me so apologetically that I felt an aching in the pit of my stomach.
"You okay?" I asked him as gently as I could. Seeing as how I wanted to tear the 'head' off every single alien in there, I was surprised at how remarkably calm I sounded. (Although Daniel later described my tone as 'deadly', so maybe I shouldn't praise myself too much for my professionalism in the face of a deadly threat to Dr Daniel Jackson.)He didn't speak. He nodded. He was lying. I could see the fear in his eyes, the pain in his creased features.
The alien standing closest to the bars said something. I couldn't tell you what and frankly I didn't give a shit. I got the door unlocked and six or seven arms men aiming P-90s into the cell before I stepped inside myself, taking deliberate steps toward Daniel.
As I got close enough to touch him, the talkative one at the front shouted what any trained soldier would have recognised as an order, in any language.
Faster than I've ever seem anything move, the two aliens either side of Daniel leaned in. One grabbed him under his arms while the other forced his head forward. Daniel cried out in surprise but a moment later it turned into a howl of pain as the alien above him sank its teeth into the back of his neck.
Its head exploded with an immensely satisfying shattering crack. The second one was granted a moment's grace as I swung my P90 and fired again.
I knew the other guys would cover me as I dived in for Daniel. Grabbing his shoulder I yanked him out of there, dragging him along the floor, trying to ignore the fact that he'd gone as limp as a fucking rag doll.
A couple of the aliens came for us but didn't get within touching distance. The results of their wounds were like something from an early Peter Jackson movie; green slim splattering the walls of the otherwise grey cell.
I heard the cell door slam and lock behind me. "Get a medical team in here, stat!"
Swinging my gun down, I crouched in front of Daniel. His legs were still stretched out in front of him as he lolled forward, chin dropping to his chest.
I've seen a lot in my time. I'm used to the sight of blood, even my own doesn't bother me. But I quickly discovered I had an aversion to Daniel's blood being anywhere outside of his body.
Wrapping my fingers around under his throat, I found a pulse and mentally monitored it for a couple of seconds. Then I reached up to sweeping the short stands of hair away from the wound. I couldn't help myself. And I couldn't help the grimace that accompanied the wave of nausea. I could only hope that it just looked messy, cos I could have sworn that the white peeking through was the bone of his spinal chord.
Fraiser and her team arrived, gently but firmly pushing me out of the way, asking me about his vitals.
They dumped him, somewhat harshly it seemed to me, face down on to a gurney and rushed him out of the room, heading up for the infirmary. I knew he was in the best hands. Janet loved him as much as the rest of us. But I always hated to think of what she was having to put him through.
I stood, frozen to the spot for a moment, barely registering Teal'c and Carter as they rounded the corner in through the door. They demanded to know what had happened, where we'd found him, if he was okay.
He hadn't looked okay.
Nice one, Major. Nothing like someone yelling your rank into your ear to get your attention.
"They must've grabbed him," I told them vaguely, indicating the mess in the cell. Only when I saw the looks on their faces did I turn to see what was going on with our alien prisoners. "Oh, Jeez...." They were eating the dead! Licking the damn goo off the walls, making a feast of the body parts that remained.
No wonder the other guys had all retreated. They were as disgusted as I was. A couple of them looked as if it was only a matter of time before their lunch came back up.
I left the room with an expression of repulsion on my face and an 'I'm fed up with all these damn aliens' flavour to my stride. But once out in the corridor, I made a fast and particularly inelegant beeline for the infirmary.