Jmas Fan Fiction

Title: Without His Wings
Date: February 6, 2002
Status: Complete
Author: Jmas
Category: episode tag, angst
Rating: PG
Pairing: None, ever
Email: jmasg1@bellsouth.net
Spoilers: Meridian
Summary: Meridian ended too soon for me….
Author's note: This may well be my first, last and only canon treatment of this ep. In my world things needed more closure, and I’ll never accept that Daniel doesn’t belong with his team. At the same time I had to deal with it to get past it. This story is dedicated to my sister, who passed on unexpectedly a few weeks ago. She never read a word I wrote but believed in me anyway.
The title for this comes from a story I read about how each of us is an angel, needing only to find our truest friend in order to fly. Allegorically it could be said the team forms one, and without them, Daniel is off on his journey without his wings…
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.

Without His Wings
by
Jmas


‘Friendship is Love without his wings.’
L’Amitié est l’Amour sans Ailes. ~ George Gordon Noel Byron, Lord Byron

Daniel was gone. Just...gone.

Jack sat down on the infirmary stool, forgotten in the stunned and emotional reaction to Daniel's 'ascension'. Hammond was the only one looking at him, in between rounds of questions and explanations to Jacob; the general understood. Carter was standing with Teal'c, the big man's hand was rubbing a comforting circle on her shoulder Jack was sure neither of them really noticed. They both knew what had just happened here...just as Jack did.

Daniel was gone...

But not really gone.

Off on some astral plane learning to be a rebellious force for good in the universe. Not all that different from what he'd been doing these past five years - not really. The one big difference was that now he'd be safe, mostly safe anyway. He would no longer be hurt, either mentally or physically, by the constraints of his human form or the SGC or all the government bullshit that had hobbled them all in so many ways. Oma had given Daniel what Jack and the SGC never could - the chance to make things right on a cosmic scale, the chance to pack his already impressively full brain with even more ‘meaning of life’ stuff. If there was one thing to head the list of reasons to admire Daniel Jackson, his essential goodness was it. Daniel wasn't perfect, and he'd have been the first to laugh at the thought, but he was much, much further along the road to being the best humanity had to offer than anyone Jack had ever known.

Quinn's story hadn't surprised Jack at all. He had known all along that whatever had happened in that lab, Daniel had been trying to help not hurt. Never hurt. Within days of knowing Daniel, Jack had seen the essence of the man as Daniel fell dead in front of him, taking a staff blast meant for Jack. So many times since, for friends and strangers alike, he'd seen Daniel act selflessly and with an ingrained sense of honor that was as much a part of the man as breathing. There was much to admire about Daniel. Even when they were at one another's throats over some issue or another, Jack had always known his friend was a cut above. Unique. Irreplaceable.

Oh, God...

The room was suddenly too crowded, the noise unbearably intrusive. A good man had just passed on to - somewhere. It wasn't right that they should be arguing and shouting this way. Daniel deserved more, deserved far better...

Slipping out the door, Jack started down the corridor, holding himself back from the run his body suddenly wanted to break into. Daniel was gone.

Gone.

No more nights spent arguing politics and sports. No more knowing looks, or reading one another's thoughts, or knowing one another so well they didn't have to explain why a day was particularly bad. No more Daniel, no more friend who knew Jack better than he knew himself. No one to make Jack think and no one to argue with the brass about their sucky politics when none of the rest of them could.

Coming to a door, Jack ducked inside, only realizing he was in Daniel's lab after it was too late. Damn...

How many hours had they spent here? Daniel doing the many, many things he did best - better than anyone; Jack watching, teasing, challenging or arguing. How many times had he ever told Daniel just how much that meant to him? Had he ever? Did Daniel know?

Sliding into Daniel's chair, Jack lay his head on the desk. This was just too unreal....Daniel should be here, he belonged here.

They needed him.

Jack needed him.

Friends were hard to come by in any universe, Jack had learned that lesson far too well. Too many friends were gone in too many years of doing things like this. Death, dying, loss. It had all become a way of life for Jack, until recently. Five years, five damn years and they'd made it. They'd gotten complacent, forgot to be careful and stick together. Daniel had been alone when he needed back up in the worst possible way and he’d done the only thing he could do, being Daniel. It was damn hard sometimes being Daniel, Jack knew that. So many times he’d seen his friend agonize over large and small decisions that affected the people and places they traveled to. No wonder Daniel was ready to move on, being Daniel was a lot of work. Taking the weight of worlds upon worlds on his own shoulders had to get old after a while. They all knew that facet of Daniel, the way he lived responsibility every moment of every day. If nothing else, Daniel needed the rest.

But somehow Jack doubted Daniel would rest for long. Oma and Shifu, and maybe even that Orlin guy would teach him their tricks. Daniel was a bright guy, the brightest, he'd learn quickly. Jack smiled at that thought that it was far more likely Daniel would be teaching them a few things as well. One thing Daniel didn't have any patience for was power that didn't take responsibility. If those guys didn't measure up, Daniel would set them straight in a hurry.

Yeah, Jack could see it - Daniel arguing with Oma the way he always did with Jack. Making her see what was right the way he always did for Jack....

God....no.

“Why, Daniel?” Jack whispered to the dim room, so full of Daniel’s presence even now. “Hell, I know why. Even Jacob said he couldn't bring you all the way back. But it would have bought us time. Time is good. Give SG1 enough time and we can do anything, you know that...”

Suddenly Jack was angry with Daniel, experiencing a surge of emotion part of him knew was unreasonable and shameful. He wouldn’t have wanted Daniel to come back to a life of pain and skin grafts and God only knew what kinds of cancers while they searched for a sarcophagus or some other sort of miracle to put Daniel back together, to put him back on the team where he belonged. Not Daniel, not that. But dammit…

Jack swept out a hand, searching blindly for something to hit, striking the ever-present stack of file folders on Daniel's desk and knocking them to the floor.

“Shit, Danny…”

Letting his hand drop mutely to his side, Jack apologized to Daniel in his mind, knowing his friend was forever trying to organize his workspace. The mess on the floor now had probably taken Daniel days to put in order.

Not that it mattered now. Whoever they chose to bring in to attempt to take up Daniel’s work would find themselves behind before they even started. Ten damn archaeologists couldn’t do Daniel’s job, do all Daniel could do or be all that he was. It couldn’t be done. And Jack wasn’t at all sure he wanted to stick around and watch anyone else try.

‘No one gets left behind.’

He’d said it so many times, but damn it all if it wasn’t always Daniel who got left. Abydos, Oannes, Klorel’s ship….that goddamn lab. They’d left Daniel on his own and with no other choice but to sacrifice himself to save those people - which included SG1 who were off doing their own meet and greet. Even Carter, who might have had some clue on how to stop that damn device safely had been spouting technobabble instead trying to convince the bigwigs to give up some of their technology. If she’d only been there….

Hell, she would probably be dead now, or whatever. And Daniel would never have wanted that.

Sighing, Jack bent over to pick up the files. He was still angry, and he was more than certain his first stop out of the mountain would be a liquor store; no way would he go near a bar, the mood he was in one wrong look and he’d kill someone. Pushing the stack into something resembling its original state, Jack stood and placed it back on the desk, freeing one hand just in time to catch an envelope that slipped out of one of the folders. Jack started to toss it back on the stack when his name in Daniel’s handwriting caught his attention.

‘What the hell?’

Jack was almost certain Daniel had never left the infirmary, probably hadn’t so much as got the chance to look at Sha’re’s picture again. Maybe the envelope was nothing more than a leftover memo, or some gift meant for Jack’s birthday that Daniel had misplaced and forgotten about. Maybe…Maybe nothing. Looking closer at the labels on the folders, Jack realized these were all Daniel’s personal files. His apartment lease, his insurance policies, his will…

Oh God…

Somehow…

But no.

Daniel hadn’t left the infirmary, Jack was sure Fraiser would never have allowed it and Daniel had deteriorated so fast he would never have made the walk to his office, much less gotten all his paperwork together and so helpfully left it for them to find.

So how had…?

Jack remembered his ‘meeting’ with Daniel in the gateroom that wasn’t quite the gateroom. He remembered Daniel standing before him, whole and healthy and glowing when just moments before Jack’s own eyes had shown him a ruined, bandaged body no longer recognizable as his friend. Somehow Daniel hadn’t been completely there; somehow he’d managed to pack away his life in preparation for leaving it. One last act of compassion from the man who had rarely shown them anything less. In this last mission - as always - Daniel had smoothed the way for them, made this last thing they could do for him a little easier to bear.

Flipping the envelope over in his hand, Jack debated opening it now or later when he could be sure of some twelve year-old anesthesia close to hand to numb the pain he knew he’d be feeling. But he wasn’t so sure he wanted to wait - and besides, it was right for him to do it here and now while Daniel’s essence still lingered in this room…

Slipping a finger into the flap, Jack loosened it carefully and drew out the paper inside. As he had suspected, this wasn’t some old, forgotten correspondence. The date was today and the opening words a plea for understanding that could only have been written after Daniel ‘left’.

‘My dearest friend, Jack,

Thank you for letting me go. For letting me choose my own path. I haven’t always been given a lot of choices - from my parents to Sha’re to Nick to Skaara to - well, you know. The choices have always been made for me, one way or another. You’ve given me choices, even if the choice meant fighting you to make it, and I appreciate that more than I can say. It matters. It always will.

You admire me, hunh? Maybe it’s a good thing I won’t be around for a while; you know I’d never let you live that one down. But…thank you, it means a lot to me to know that. Oma says I have to let the past go, let go of the guilt and sense of failure that have weighed me down so long. We’ll see how well I do. But whatever happens, I won’t speaking koans, I promise.

I admire you too, you know. Even when you piss me off to the point I can’t see straight, not even with the glasses, I respect the man you are. The man you’ve been becoming since the first day we stepped onto Abydos. There’ve been a few slips along the way, but I’ve learned to see things your way. Not that I’ve always agreed with your way, but I understand the ‘why’ more now. You’re a good man, Jack O’Neill. The best.

I hope, God I hope, you can understand why I need to do this. Jacob was healing me, I could feel it. But I could also feel what he wasn’t healing. He wasn’t healing the part of me that’s been dying since I left Abydos, bits and pieces at a time. He wasn’t healing the loneliness I feel every time I remember Sha’re. He wasn’t healing the loss I feel when we have to use our weapons instead of our heads, or the loss of myself each time I have to use that weapon and know I don’t regret it. He wasn’t healing the knowledge that no matter what, I’d never be a part of SG1 again. That one hurt most of all, Jack. I know you understand. Given the choice of staying, in whatever condition for however long Jacob and Janet could keep me alive while I watched you guys go off on missions without me - and going with Oma to explore the galaxy and maybe do some good...Well, it was both easy and hard to choose.

I guess what I want to say and couldn’t before I left…I’m going to miss you, all of you, more than I ever would have thought possible. You are my family now, and I hope you know this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I don’t know if I’ll ever see any of you again…I hope so, I want to. I don’t want this to be goodbye. I couldn’t say it before and I won’t say it now.

So yes, Jack…I’ll be seeing you. Somewhere, somehow, I’ll manage it. Who’s going to give you a hard time if I don’t?

Tell Sam, Teal’c, Janet and the general - you know what to tell them.

I love you guys, and I won’t forget. Ever.

Be careful out there,

Daniel’

Jack nodded, feeling his eyes cloud. It was just as well Daniel hadn’t said all those things. Neither one of them would have made it through the parting. And, as always, Daniel knew that. Refolding the letter and putting it back in its envelope, Jack put it in his pocket and stood up. It was time for him to find the others, by now they would need him And he needed them too, his family.

Moving to the door, Jack looked around the room with a deep sigh. Daniel wasn’t gone; if Jack had anything to say about it he never would be.

“You be careful too, Daniel. I don’t trust anyone to watch your back like we can. If you need anything, you know where we are.”

Stepping out Jack looked at the light switch for a long moment before hitting it, bathing the room in the bright overheads Daniel never used. They would leave the light on, he’d make sure of it.

“Come home soon…” Jack whispered to the ceiling, hoping wherever Daniel was he could hear and know he was loved. “Come home soon…”

*finis*


 

 

 

 

 

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