Jmas Fan Fiction

TTitle: A Handful of Dust
Date: June 29, 2001
Status: Complete
Author: Jmas
Category: angst, h/c
Rating: PG-13
Email: jmasg1@bellsouth.net
Archive: Stargate Fan, Heliopolis, Belle, Place of Our Legacy
Spoilers: Absolute Power. Small ones for The Curse and Tangent
Summary: A brief look at the dark side. I’ll almost guarantee that this will have a sequel….just not sure where it will go yet…..
Author's note: Another of the missing scenes/tags for season 4 promised to the wily members of the HC list. Bless them all....
Disclaimer: The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa’uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.
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A Handful of Dust
By Jmas
~*~
I will show you fear in a handful of dust...
~ TS Eliot, The Wasteland
~*~

I never thought I’d live to see the day when Daniel ‘hi, we’re peaceful explorers from Earth’ Jackson would be afraid of anything. At least not the kinds of things I’d expect him to be. He’s always had as much guts as he has brains - which is saying a lot - but these past few days since Shifu...left, it’s been in his eyes more times than I can count. He can barely look at us; barely look at anything further than the nearest diversion that keeps his eyes carefully hidden away from us all.

From the minute he woke up from his ‘dream’, Daniel was - is- different.

Nothing I can even put a finger on, just different.

Quiet, but hell he’s been too damn quiet for months now despite our best efforts to draw him out. I want to think he’s still grieving, and I really think that’s a big part of whatever is going on here, but not all of it. Not all of it.

He almost looks - guilty.

Maybe it’s because of what we almost let happen to Shifu, maybe it’s something he dreamed, maybe it has something to do with this new path he was talking to Shifu about....

Maybe…

Hell, I don’t know.

I just know it’s eating him from the inside out and something needs to give. Before he does.

Which is why I’m here standing outside his lab in the middle of the night.

If I didn’t learn anything else from my little trip out toward the Oort cloud, it’s that my friends, my *team* comes first. And right now my team is so far off the mark I’m wondering if we can ever get it back again. All I know is - I have to try. I’m not letting us go down without a fight, and I’m not letting Daniel go down alone.

Not anymore.

There’ve been way too many times in the past few months when we’ve been split up and acting in pieces. A team is the sum of all its parts, and damn if we haven’t been coming up with some shitty sums lately; it’s time to learn some new math.

With a deep breath, I screw up my own courage, ready to barge my way into his space...literally and figuratively....when I hear something - crash. I’m through the door in a heartbeat, personal space be damned....

Once inside, I stop.

For the first time since I can remember, I don’t know what to do for Daniel.

He’s on his knees in the middle of the floor, surrounded by shards of artifacts I can’t begin to recognize, and he looks so -- scared.

Now I’ve seen Daniel in a lot of states in our time together. I’ve seen him shit-faced, I’ve seen him so close to breaking I just knew a single word could finish the job; I’ve seen him a lot of ways, but even facing Apophis at his worst I’ve never seen Daniel afraid. He’s got a core of stubborn courage inside him that either blinds him to the danger, or won’t let him acknowledge until it’s all over and he can crash and burn all alone.

But not now....

Now he looks like the devil himself is after his ass - and I’m not talking about Sokhar.

I edge into the room carefully trying not to destroy any more of his artifacts than he’s already managed to take care of himself. Damn, he’s gonna be pissed with himself later when he realizes what he’s done. Kneeling beside him, I try to get him to meet my eyes, but...

He’s just gone. Locked up in his own private hell where no one else can come. I don’t think so, Danny.

Scooting closer to him, I reach out a hand to his shoulder thinking to just get him talking...

His hands are grinding a small piece of clay into small bits of dirt or sand or whatever they used to be...

“I was so wrong, Jack....”

Hey, words. Actual syllables. Not that I have a clue what they mean, but it’s progress. Sort of.

“About...?”

He sniffs a little, I think he meant it as a laugh, but it’s not the kind of laugh that sets my mind at ease - more like the kind to set my nerves on edge.

He shrugs, “Everything...”

Well that just clears everything right up...

Not.

Daniel is never wrong. Hell, I’ve admitted as much myself - out loud. Even when he’s pissing me off royally for being right when I don’t want or need him to be, he’s almost always right. Or damn close enough to put the rest of us on the right track...it’s the way SG1 operates.

I don’t like hearing this defeat in his voice, seeing it in his eyes - don’t like it at all. This isn’t Daniel, never has been, and I want to know why.

“Daniel?” I sound more hesitant than I mean to, not a tone I’m comfortable with.

Funny the only times I can remember hearing it in my own voice are with Charlie and Daniel. I know Hammond thinks that Daniel has become some sort of surrogate for the son I lost - like he has room to talk with his grandfather complex where Daniel’s concerned. Maybe he’s right, maybe in the beginning it was true. Me, adjusting to an admittedly off the wall team and a return to military life after a year of contemplating my navel; Daniel, adjusting to a life he’d never imagined in his wildest dreams - and adjusting to losses that would have knocked anyone else on his ass to stay. We both needed the safety of that kind of connection.

Little by little, though, it changed. Life changed. We went through hell - to hell even - and back so many times. I watched Daniel get harder, watched him harden and discover the dark places academia rarely gives a man insight into- watched him come out of it still the essentially good man he was in the beginning. I changed too, no doubt, toughened up in ways I thought I’d forgotten how to, ways I really didn’t want to be again. Spending a few days in deep space contemplating yet another icy, pointless death, I got my mind back in the game - only to realize a lot of things had changed while I wasn’t paying attention.

Daniel had grown up, yes, and grown away from counting on me to be there. The whole business with Osiris proved that. True, I didn’t give him much time to explain on the phone, but time was when it wouldn’t have mattered - I’d have known.

I didn’t know then, and sad to say I don’t know now. I just know Daniel looks like he’s lost the last thread of hope he had left...

He’s still grinding up bits of whatever into a pretty respectable pile of dust.

“Daniel?” Stronger this time, strong enough to make him look up at me. His eyes are dark with fatigue, the fear lying just below the surface curtain of exhaustion, and I think maybe he’s turned a corner - whether it’s toward a better destination or not remains to be seen.

“I’m tired, Jack…”

Uh huh, knew that. He hasn’t had a vacation in ages, and with Rothman gone his workload’s been unreal; I’ve already complained to Hammond about it after the fifth time I found Daniel passed out over his work table.

“Not too tired to trash your lab though…” Lame but it earns me a smile, a sort-of smile. With a headshake, Daniel looks down again and laughs softly …but not like anything’s funny. “Want to tell me what’s going on in that head of yours?”

“I’m not sure I can, Jack…not sure I know….” The mound of dust under his fingers is slowly being shaped into a pyramid, the index finger jabbing small holes into the sides with deliberate force.

“This have something to do with - you know - your not-coma?”

The flash of icy blue pointed in my direction before he catches himself and looks away tells me I’m getting hotter. Now we just need to narrow down the search.

“Just what did that kid ‘teach’ you?”

The eyes flash again, this time in the fear I noticed earlier and he crushes the clay pyramid with a slap before moving to get up. I grab onto his arm and pull him back and for a minute I think he’s going to hit me. Then he just - deflates, sinking back to rest against the wall and scrubbing his hand through his hair.

“What did he teach me….” It isn’t a question and I’m glad because I don’t think either one of us has any answers. With a long sigh, Daniel leans his head back on the wall. “He taught me what a lie my life has been….”

“He what? What the hell are you talking about, Daniel?” I’m holding onto his forearm with a tight grip and shaking it, I don’t even remember reaching out to grab it. This is just so much bullshit. If there’s even one of us who can claim to work for truth, it’s Daniel. No agendas, no brass telling him he can’t - at least none he’ll listen to anyway, just Daniel doing what’s right with a capital R. He doesn’t need anyone to tell him, he just knows - and while I may not always agree, I understand…and most of the time I agree.

“I’m not a very nice person, Jack….”

Like hell. The only times he’s not ‘nice’ is when he’s dealing with idiot politicians and the goa’uld….. Is that what this is about?

Slowly, damn slowly, Daniel starts telling me about the dream. About letting the power of the goa’uld knowledge lead him down a path to hell he’s still not quite returned from. He tells me about plotting Teal’c’s death - how the perfectly natural feelings of residual resentment he deals with every day imploded in his dream-psyche and ended with him committing murder. He tells me about getting Carter thrown in jail to keep her from guessing any more of the truth than she already had. And about sending me away until it was too late to stop him because he knew I would definitely see through him. I think I’m flattered - until he tells me I shot him. Or rather, I shot *at* him.

Damn.

I remember what he told Shifu - ‘the only way to win is to deny the battle’ and I think the kid had it right. Maybe Daniel does need a new path, and maybe we need to back him up a little more on that journey. So I tell him that. He looks up and smiles at me a little, so tired his eyes are barely open.

“You might be right, Jack. Maybe it’s time I took a break, did some thinking…”

More than maybe. Way, way overdue. This has been a hell of a bad year all the way around for Daniel and with barely a break since - hell, I can’t even remember the last time he took more than a weekend. Way past time he took a real vacation. “Wanna go fishing?”

That earns me a tired grin. And surprisingly enough he nods. “Fishing sounds - good.”

“I’ll square it with Hammond, shouldn’t be a problem.” He gives me a doubting look but nods - putting his faith in my persuasive powers, not really realizing just how much Hammond would do for him. Getting a week off will not be a problem.

Pushing up off the wall, I stand up and reach out a hand to help him up. He hesitates a moment then reaches back, the brief tightening of his hand conveying a lot of things we managed not to say. Pulling him to his feet, I squeeze back just a second before letting his hand go, letting him know some things don’t really need to be said - just done. We’re going fishing; if we find a way to talk more about all this, fine. If not…well, I don’t think the trip will be wasted.

Daniel looks around at the mess all over his lab, stooping down to scoop up the handful of dust on the floor and pouring it from one hand to the other.

“What the hell was that, anyway?”

He shrugs, “Nothing important. Not anymore.”

For some reason, I don’t exactly believe him but his eyes have lost that dark, defeated look and whatever just happened here, I think we may have won. That’s all that really matters….

*Fin*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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