Jmas Fan Fiction

Title: Simple Gifts
Date: September 19, 1999
Status: Complete
Author: Jmas
Category: drama, angst, h/c
Rating: PG
Email: jmasg1@bellsouth.net
Disclaimer: Characters are property of MGM, etc.
Spoilers: Fair Game, Secrets, CotG
Summary: A moment to breathe.....
Author's note: A small gesture I noticed in Fair Game, combined with the appearance of what may happen in Forever in a Day brought about this strange combination.
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Jack knew how Daniel felt...

The immensity of loss was a familiar thing...both tangible and fleeting at once. It was a little like staring into the sun; you couldn't actually see it. You knew it was there, but to look at it for any length of time was impossible; the pain of the attempt warned you away from the greater pain to follow....

Jack had been there before...staring into the pain...and it had nearly destroyed him. Over time he'd learned to absorb his pain in smaller doses...not an easy thing...to keep it from pulling him under...

Daniel had gotten pretty good at not giving in to his feelings of loss; the grief and depression that could so easily have swallowed him whole. It was a constant source of amazement to Jack that Daniel managed as well as he did...or maybe hid it better than Jack had ever been able to manage. Daniel could...and did...talk to Jack about many things, but rarely about his missing wife. Jack worried that the reason for that was his own situation with Sara...or some misguided notion on Daniel's part that Charlie's loss was still too fresh in Jack's mind....

But Jack knew that Daniel's pain was never far from the surface. Over time he had watched the young man's eyes grow shadowed and deep with the weight of it...a pain that had no release. Jack knew it was a cruel and unworthy thought, but he almost wished that Sha'uri would turn up dead somewhere...at least then Daniel could give that mountainous grief some direction...some distant hope of an end. Jack hated himself for such thoughts...it just bothered him so much to watch his friend tear himself up over and over again...

Jack had seen the look in Daniel's eyes when the Secretary of Defense had delivered the President's decision to allow the Stargates to be taken away by the Goa'uld as part of their pact with those alien devils which would supposedly ensure Earth's protection against future attack. Jack had felt major misgivings from the word go concerning any deal that depended on the honor of the Goa'uld...even if the Asgard believed that such a treaty would be viable and binding.

The President's agreement had cut through Daniel like a knife, Jack had seen that small ripple of hopelessness as it flickered into Daniel's eyes...and was just as quickly suppressed. Jack knew what losing the Stargate meant to Daniel...they all knew. Just as Daniel, with his inborn sense of fairness, knew that Earth's survival was their primary duty. Daniel was all too aware that his personal life was secondary to the greater good of an entire planet, but that didn't make it any easier for the young man to live with the things that he had to do in acknowledgement of that duty.

Jack didn't know why he'd sent Daniel to inform the Goa'uld of the President's decision...maybe just to give the kid time to deal with it alone. Whatever the reason Jack regretted doing it as soon as he'd said it...but the words were out and couldn't be recalled; he couldn't exactly stand up in front of the general and the Secretary and say what he might have if they'd been alone.

Thanks to a large set of lucky circumstances, they'd found a way out without having to give up either of Earth's Stargates...although they weren't exactly going to be welcome on any of the System Lord's planets.

'Like we ever were...' Jack thought.

And now Daniel was in hide-out mode. Jack was well aware that he knew Daniel better than anyone. Three years of going through hell together had taught Jack a lot about the things that made Daniel tick...things like honesty and truth and courage and a sense of honor that rivaled Teal'c's. Just occasionally though, the very things that made Daniel such a good man came back to bite him in the backside.That's when Daniel would throw up that brick wall; shutting himself away from the people who cared about him, erecting a barrier that was just as impenetrable as a Goa'uld personal energy shield. From long practice, Jack knew that the same principle applied to both kinds of shields....slow moving objects stood a greater chance of breaking through....

Jack had given Daniel two days; two days to express that pain...to live it...to feel it. Jack knew that Daniel hadn't slept in that time, hadn't eaten, had likely drunk enough coffee too support a small South American nation in an effort not to sleep, not to dream.

'The kid's too skinny as it is,' Jack thought gravely.

Now here he stood, outside of the locker room, ready to ambush his young friend as he exited...get both of them out of this place of stone and steel. He hadn't been able to get leave, but that didn't stop him from taking advantage of the fact that the elevator in Cheyenne Mountain went all the way to the top.

Jack wasn't looking forward to the inevitable argument that would no doubt ensue when Daniel realized what he was up to...

"Jack..." In that one word Daniel let Jack know that he knew all to well why his commanding officer and best friend was hanging out in the corridors in the middle of the night.

'Lack of sleep hasn't slowed him down much...' Jack mused wryly.

"Daniel..." Jack was no slouch himself when it came to expressing a volume of information in the space of a very few words.

Jack watched Daniel's face run through a gamut of emotions; irritation, swift anger, exhaustion, followed by acceptance. Daniel shrugged his shoulders, telling Jack in that simple gesture that he was too tired to fight, too defeated in his soul to put up any resistance.

Jack guided Daniel to the elevators, concerned by the younger man's uncharacteristic silence.

Once on top of the mountain, Jack led Daniel upward to the pinnacle of the mountain, a treeless expanse that led to a sharp drop-off, but by some trick of nature seemed to open up onto the universe itself. The stars lay before them in a glorious display that was at once comforting and humbling...

Jack heard Daniel give a ragged sigh, as if he felt it, too. The realization that life itself was on their side, and much bigger than either of them tended to spend much time considering...

Jack couldn't see very much in the moonless darkness, but the stars gave enough light to make out the glow of Daniel's pale face, the reflection of the stars on his glasses. Daniel was nodding, understanding why Jack had brought him out here in the middle of the night...

"Daniel, I..." Jack wasn't sure what he wanted to say, just that he needed to say it.

Daniel shook his head in the still darkness. "I know, Jack."

Jack hoped that Daniel could see his smile in the darkness, could understand the unspoken words that expressed friendship and sympathy and understanding...

Daniel sat down on the grassy slope, his head resting on his knees...staring out into the universe that was expanding daily thanks to them and others like them; a very large universe that Jack knew contained one particular soul that completed Daniel's own. Jack didn't know if they would ever find Sha'uri, time was slipping away faster than they were sometimes able to keep up....

Jack sat down next to Daniel, resting one hand on the younger man's shoulder...trying to convey a wealth of support, affection and encouragement...

Daniel nodded once...still locking gazes with the distant universe...

Jack knew that Daniel didn't need to hear the words...words weren't necessary. Daniel understood this simple gift for what it was; a gesture of deep feeling...from one man to another...from one *friend* to another...

Jack knew that any promises at this point were uncertain, he couldn't do that to Daniel again. Jack wouldn't promise a hope that became more tenuous with each passing day, Daniel deserved more than that...he'd earned more than that. Jack could only promise that he would be there, whatever the future might bring.

Jack heard a small sound from Daniel and looked over in concern. In the dim glow of the stars, he could just make out that Daniel was asleep; sitting there with his head resting on his knees, a slight smile on his face, Daniel had finally let go of the tension that had driven him for days.

Jack shook his head.

Daniel knew...

Jack settled back on the grass with a sigh. The universe was passing before his very eyes, a gift of inexpressible proportions, but Jack knew that his simple gift to his friend out-weighed even that glorious display.


In the end, whatever might come, Jack knew that Daniel understood that down that uncertain path that was the future...they would face it together as a team, as a family, as friends.

*fin*

 

 

 

 

 

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