Title: The Linguist and the Colonel
Author: Debi C
Category: Challenge, Pre-slash, First Time
Date: 27 June 2002
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/ Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I do not own the characters and indeed am only playing with them for a little while. I am not making any money from this and I'm still paying for everything I own so there's very little point in suing me. No copyright infringement whatsoever is intended. The story is for entertainment purposes only. At least I hope it's entertaining. The original characters, situations and story are mine. Please check with me first if you want to archive or link to this story.
Notes: Thanks to the Alpha Gate for giving us a place to play in De Nile.
What Has Gone Before: Fifth Season Summary: SG1 goes to a planet and gets into trouble. Jack and Daniel argue. What a surprise.
Warnings: General unhappiness and depression. It hasn't been a good day.
The Linguist and the Colonel by Debi C
"Daniel, where are you going?"
Daniel Jackson turned and looked back at Jack O'Neill with a frown and a sigh. Daniel was on his way home from Cheyenne Mountain after a one hundred forty four hour workweek. One day prep time for a three-day mission and two days medical hold over because of minor injuries and exposure to an alien drug. He was tired, he was hungry and even he admitted he was frustrated. Jack had been a son-of-a-bitch ever since they'd gotten back to the SGC and the clinic. Now, the trend was apparently continuing. "Jack, I'm going home to eat food I can taste, drink water I can trust, wine I like and sleep in my own bed." He shook his head at his team leader and supposed friend.
"By yourself?" O'Neill jogged up to peer at him critically. "Fraiser wanted me to be sure you didn't stay and work..."
"Well, actually...yes, Jack, my intentions are to be in bed by myself...if it's any of your concern." Daniel paused, and looked at him. "Is it any of your concern?"
"No, Daniel." Was Jack blushing? "No, it's not, but look, Danny. I'm...I'm...well,"
"What Jack? You're what?" Finally the frustration came out in the younger man's voice. "You're sorry? No, wait...that can't be right. You'd have to be wrong to be sorry. Let's see...you're correct and I've done something to piss you off so you are going to berate, intimidate and generally dump on me again. No wait, that's not going to happen either, because I'm leaving and you can't stop me."
Jackson turned around to go and O'Neill reached out and grasped Daniel's shoulder. A quick twist and Jackson broke free to glare at the Colonel. "What! Jack just, just what is it that you want from me? Tell me!"
O'Neill flushed a little darker and noticed that they were attracting attention in the corridor.
"Daniel, look, I am sorry. I know I've been acting like a real jerk..."
"Ass." Daniel agreed.
"Okay, ass. Danny, we need to talk." The older man glanced furtively around. Daniel looked at him in confusion.
"Why Jack? Talking implies a level communication between two people. Here lately our 'talks' have been frustratingly non-productive."
"Can we go somewhere private please?"
"Jack, I'm going home. You can ride with me, follow me or stay here. I don't care which. But I'm going to my apartment and do all of the things I mentioned earlier. Come if you want...or don't. It doesn't matter to me." He turned to go.
"Will we be alone?"
"No, Jack." Daniel threw back over his shoulder. "The fish will be there."
Thirty minutes later, Daniel and Jack were in Daniel's apartment. No words had been spoken between the two men since they'd arrived. Jackson put on a pot of coffee to brew and pulled out some frozen Italian sauce and some spaghetti, which he put on to boil. He glanced at Jack who had sat down behind the kitchen table and was watching him while he worked in the kitchen. He wasn't sure what was going on with his team leader.
Things had started out well enough five days ago. The mission was a straightforward survey. Their relationship had begun to sort itself out and regain it's momentum after a long period of prickliness between them. Daniel knew it was as much his fault as Jack's. They couldn't seem to agree on anything anymore. If Jack wanted to go, Daniel wanted to stay and study; When Jack wanted to set up camp, Daniel would see something on the next rise. It had gotten to be ridiculous.
The coffee machine finished its job and Daniel poured Jack and himself a cup of coffee. He stood by the stove, leaning back against the counter to wait for the water in the pot for the pasta to boil.
It occurred to him that he was staring at Jack. Of course, Jack was staring at his coffee, his coffee cup, the wood grain of the table, the carpet swirls on the floor...anything but him. Daniel cleared his throat. "Jack, what do you want?" At the confused, frustrated expression on O'Neill's face, Daniel stumbled a little in his spiel, but he continued. "Why are you here?"
The colonel's face was a portrait of closed tension as he replied to Daniel's question. "Daniel, I want you to quit the team."
He couldn't believe his ears. "Wha...what?" Daniel was shocked by the older man's statement. He was stunned, and he felt the prickle of tears burn behind his eyelids. What had he done to make Jack feel this way? "Quit? Why?"
"You're making my command judgment...my ability to command...unreliable." Jack replied and looked back down at his coffee.
Daniel sat down across the table from him. "I don't understand, Jack." He looked at the officer. "Look, I know we don't always see eye to eye on things...but I've been trying not to be so argumentative. My marksmanship has been improving..."
O'Neill let out a gust of breath and shook his head still looking down at his coffee. "No, Daniel... its not that...it's not anything you've done. It's me. I can't continue to be responsible for you...I'm not...detached enough." Jack ran a hand through his short-cropped graying hair. "I'm too emotionally involved here, Danny. I'm going to make a mistake and get someone killed."
"But..." he had to think, he had to ask the correct questions or he'd never know what the hell had happened. "But Jack..."
"No, Daniel. It's no use." Jack shook his head and sighed, rubbing his five o'clock shadow. "I can't think clearly around you anymore. I'm sorry." O'Neill rushed on in his speech. "Look I'm sure, hell I'm positive that Hammond will be more than happy to let you stay on base and work exclusively on the translations and..."
"No, Jack." He was adamant. "No. I don't want to stay on base. Look...Colonel...I don't know what I've done to piss you off so badly...but this is my life too..."
"NO! Daniel, damn it! You're not hearing me." O'Neill had to get up, to pace the small kitchen area; he had to think... "Look, when I was first sent back through the gate. Hammond ordered me to bring you back. Hell, you wanted to come...to look for Sha'uri and Skarra. Fine." Jack spun on his heel and faced the young man sitting stunned at the table. "Daniel we all understood that...and I supported you.... I admired you. But now, well now, Skaara's safe, and, God help me, Sha'uri's dead. There's no reason for you to be going out there." O'Neill turned and strode to the counter and laid both hands on the cold, clean surface. "Daniel, you're too valuable to be put at risk every damn day. And now, well, it's even worse now."
"I don't understand...Jack...I'm trying to..." His voice started to break so he stopped.
"Damn it Danny." O'Neill leaned into the wall not looking at Daniel sitting at the table. "Look, I'll make it as plain as I can. This job, this place, its too dangerous for you. You need to stay back in the Mountain. You need to, hell, to go back to Abydos and get Kasuf to find you a new wife; to fall in love again, raise some kids and teach them the truth about the Gould. You need to be safe, to get away from us, me, and stay alive for a long, long time..."
Daniel wasn't hearing anything clearly. There was a hum in his ears and his head hurt. All he could hear was Jack didn't want him...didn't want him with him...didn't want him around. He felt like everything was breaking loose and leaving him alone...again.
Eight year old Danny Jackson watched his parents die, twelve year old Danny Jackson watched his Grandfather walk away, fifteen year old Danny Jackson heard his foster parents tell the case worker that he couldn't stay anymore, twenty year old Daniel Jackson heard his college dean say his theories were wrong and couldn't hold his position anymore, twenty eight year old Daniel Jackson heard a dying Abydonian tell him his wife was gone and thirty one year old Daniel Jackson heard Jack O'Neill tell him Sha'uri was dead. And now, he was hearing that he couldn't stay with SG1 because Jack couldn't be his commander, his friend, anymore. Daniel got up from the table and blindly fled the room...and his latest failure.
"Look, I'll tell Hammond," O'Neill turned around and looked to where Daniel had been sitting. He was gone. Jack heard a sliding door opening and he realized where he'd heard that sound before. "Daniel...Daniel...?" The patio door, the fucking patio door nine stories up from the ground...O'Neill rushed to the door, knocking a chair down in his haste to get to the sliding glass door. Daniel was standing out there, leaning on the edge of the world, stark against the skyline.
Five days ago, Jack O'Neill's world was a relatively easy one to live in. He had his rank, his job, his position and his team. All he wanted for his life right now. Then two days ago, it had all come crashing down around him.
They had gated to a world where the occupants were in a late Stone Age and just discovering the smelting process to develop iron. The culture was one of the rarer ones, based on that of the 'new world' mid continent; a derivative of both Aztec and Incan in function and design. He'd had that funny, fluttery feeling in his gut that had told him to watch their backs but it was easy to be lulled into complacency. Everyone was so damned nice. Good day, good morn, gods smile on you, may you find happiness...and they had, sort of. The four of them had been feasted and honored and carried on over to the point of embarrassment. He had discussed the government and history with the elders. Teal'c had discussed the hunt and warfare with the warrior caste. Carter talked to the priests of the sun and the moon to learn their science. And Daniel had surveyed their society and their cultural advantages with the scholars. Everyone was happy...until the third week of the moon. The month was up and the city owed their gods their tithes. And, he was told, who better to serve as sacrifices than the mysterious strangers from the chappa'i.
O'Neill had awoken to find that his team had been drugged, separated, shackled and caged in separate small cells in a courtyard area. Jack's uniform had been taken and he had been dressed in leather breeches and a vest of sorts. They could hear and communicate with each other, but he couldn't see his team.
Then, the day arrived. It was early morning, just as the golden sun arrived at the top of the mountain and Jack realized that it was time for the rite of sacrifice to begin. He had been sitting in his cage when he had seen Daniel brought out, to be the first victim. His Daniel of the golden skin, the azure eyes and the bronze hair had been determined to be the most fitting to be offered to the Sun God. The priests had dragged the young archeologist out of his cage into the courtyard area and began to prepare for the sacrifice.
The captor-priests were shorter than he was, but built with a squat power that had overcome the young man's lithe strength. Daniel had fought until subdued by a blow to the head, earning him nothing but more injuries and ultimately unconsciousness. He had been dressed in similar fashion as O'Neill but they had added their finest raiment as befitted a sacrifice, a tanned dyed leather doeskin vest and a beaded, fringed carapace that matched his color and emphasized his well-developed shoulders and arms, revealing his flat belly and legs. It had clung to his form like a living thing as Daniel had continued to struggle in vain against his fate. His expression had been stoic as they had finally overpowered him and dragged him up the sacred mound to the altar poles and strung him between the uprights. The rest of the team watched as the ritual began to take place and the knives were brought out and offered to the deity for the rite. Daniel turned and looked into Jack's eyes for a last time...and his soul had answered kind to kind.
Jack never knew how or why the wooden bars cracked and splintered in his hands, giving him his freedom. Perhaps the god decided to reject the sacrifice and help the foreigners escape their fate; maybe it was a village elder who believed they should go free instead of being put to death and loosened the pole bars, or maybe it was the O'Neill brand of dumb luck which put him in the faulty cage with the weak bars. For whatever reason, Jack's prison failed to contain him, shattering into pieces as he turned his fury's strength against the cage. Once free he managed to smash open the other's cages freeing his teammates, get to their weapons and rescue their youngest member from a fate worse than he deserved.
While Teal'c and Carter held their 'hosts' at bay with staff weapon and P-90, O'Neill had cut the thongs that held Daniel captive. His friend had collapsed into Jack's arms unconscious from the drugs, injury and shock. That was when the lightening bolt of realization struck; a feeling came over him that he had not believed he would ever possess again. Then Jack had taken Daniel over his shoulder and they had run the race of their lives to the safety of the Stargate and Cheyenne Mountain.
SG1 had all recovered in their usual beds in the usual hospital wardroom as usual. Teal'c was released first, compliments of his symbiote, Junior. Carter next due to her youth, strength and health and he had talked his way out in the normal cantankerous manner. But, Daniel suffering the most from a concussion and unknown alien drugs in his system, not to mention the stress of almost being sacrificed to some damn jungle god, got an extra day in the clinic from the 'we probably should so why not' school of medicine that Janet Fraiser subscribed too.
The day Daniel was released had started out bad. Daniel was pissed because Janet wouldn't let him stay and work. O'Neill was supposed to stay with him to insure that he followed medical orders, but Daniel was short tempered and O'Neill had been unaccountably distracted. The scene in the hallways of the SGC hadn't done anything to ease the tensions between them. So here they were; Daniel, home in his own apartment wanting to be left alone and Jack with him so he couldn't be alone.
The main problem? Jack O'Neill had decided upon full preventative measures against re-occurrence of dangers to one Daniel Jackson, not just insurance against the potential. After he had spent yet another day lying in bed watching the injured and unconscious Jackson, O'Neill had determined two things: one) he never wanted to see Daniel in a hospital bed again and two) he was unable to keep Daniel out of said hospital bed if he kept going through the gate. This had led Jack to the conclusion that Daniel shouldn't be going with SG-1 again.
Interestingly enough, Teal'c had apparently agreed with him to a point. Wise men and scholars among his people were not risked in battle he had said. They were valued and protected by the other Jaffa. Of course Carter had pointed out that it was going to be damned hard to convince Daniel of anything remotely along those lines. However, Jack was sure of one thing; he didn't want Daniel at risk any more. He didn't want to be responsible for the man's safety, and he didn't want to be the one in charge when Daniel died on a mission. So now, for all his good intentions, Jack had acerbated the situation.
"Daniel, please come back inside."
The broad shoulders tensed against the railing. "Why Jack? What does it matter to you where I am?"
"Daniel, I only want you to be safe."
"Jack, I'm as safe as I can get. I'm not going to jump or fall and unless you're going to push me over the edge I'm safe." He turned to face his leader. "Don't push me Jack, please."
O'Neill looked at him in shock. "Daniel, Danny, I would never do that...why would you even think that?"
The blue eyes gazed steadily at him. "Why do you want me to leave SG1?"
"I only want you to be safe." Jack replied honestly to him. He moved softly and quietly to stand next to his skittish friend on the balcony. He was beginning to get very worried.
"Safe, Jack? Where?" Daniel watched suspiciously as O'Neill approached. "Do you want me to come inside where it's safe?"
Jack slid over closer to Daniel and reached out his hand to grasp his wrist. The younger man looked down to where their two hands touched. Jack had folded his fingers around his hand.
Then he replied in a soft voice. "Yes, I want you to come inside, Danny...where it's safe."
Abruptly Daniel left the patio's walled barrier and led the way back into the apartment, their hands still gripping each other. Once inside, he disengaged his wrist from Jack with a twist and turned to face O'Neill. "Jack, where am I safe?" He demanded. When the older man didn't answer him immediately he continued. "Do you want me to stay behind when SG1 leaves, to stay in the gate room where I'm safe? The Jaffa could break through the iris there." He paused a moment then continued. "Do you want me to stay in my lab, where I'm safe? We could have a foothold situation with aliens overrunning the complex. Do you want me to stay in NORAD where I'm safe, Jack? What about a Black hole, Jack? Colorado Springs, where I'm safe? What happens when the Mothership lands on Cheyenne Mountain?" Daniel demanded, paused then continued. "How about California or New York, Jack? The NID can get me, hell the Al Queida could be there." He paused again, shook his head then continued on. "Jack, there is no safe place! So don't pull that crap with me...there is no safety...there is no place that is safe."
Daniel took a step towards O'Neill, to stand directly in front of him. "There is only one place that I feel safe, Jack. But if you make me leave SG1, then that place is gone too; because the only place where I feel safe, Jack, is where you are!" The young man turned his back on O'Neill and walked away, through the kitchen area and into his bedroom. The door closed behind him with a thump
O'Neill stared after him numbly; looking at the bedroom door that separated him from his friend. He'd had no idea that Daniel would feel so strongly. Then he heard a loud bang from the other side. He ran for the door in a panic!
"DANIEL!... DANIEL! Where are you?...NO, DANIEL!" Jack slammed open the bedroom door and looked wildly around but the room was empty. The bathroom door! It was locked and he frantically tried pounding on it, but it wouldn't open. He finally forced it with his shoulder, splintering the doorframe and plunging into complete blackness. "DANIEL! WHERE ARE YOU? GOD! DANIEL! Please God, please, Daniel." Feeling around the floor, Jack located the limp, unresponsive body lying crumpled against the wall in the small room. He grasped Daniel's slack form and pulled, dragging his friend out of the confined dark area into the bedroom. Kneeling down next to him on the floor, Jack started a panicked examination. There were some small cuts on Daniel's face and what appeared to be a burned area on his neck. But he was breathing without difficulty and slowly beginning to come around. Jack cradled Daniel's head and shoulders in his lap, unconsciously rocking the awakening form and breathing raggedly, tears running down his face.
Finally, the younger man looked up at O'Neill. "Jack?"
"Yea, Danny?" Jack's voice sounded different.
'What happened?" For some reason, he couldn't see very well.
"God, I don't know..." Jack replied with something that sounded suspiciously with a sob. "I don't know. Daniel, are you all right?" Daniel could feel Jack gently running a hand down his cheek and across his chest.
"I think so... are you okay?" He squinted up at Jack, trying to see his friend.
Jack was stroking Daniel's face, trailing his fingers through the small rivulets of blood that had trickled down from the minor cuts. "What do you remember?"
Daniel turned and looked at amazement at the sticky, red substance on Jack's fingers. "I don't know…" He replied, confused.
"Are you hurt anywhere else?"
"No, I'm okay I think. I went into the bathroom to lock the door, to get farther away and I turned on the light switch. Then something exploded."
"Can you see me all right?" Jack looked at his eyes, gently prying his eyes open to look for any bleeding, then continued to check Daniel for any other injuries.
"Yea, some blue spots though." He touched Jack's face with his splayed hand, squinting up at him. "You're...are you...crying..?"
Jack tried to smile in relief through his tears. "I thought...I thought it was a gun..." Then the older man's face crumbled and he pulled Daniel back into an embrace burying his face in Daniel's shoulder. "God, I thought it was a gun."
With horror, Daniel realized that Jack had thought he'd shot himself...like Charlie had done. "Jack?" Suddenly, he was swept in a suffocating hug. He felt the older man shaking as they leaned against each other, felt the sobs racking the lean frame. He wrapped his arms around his best friend and held him, mumbling and crooning into Jack's hair, petting the older man and letting him cry. They sat like that for a long, long time, giving and receiving comfort from each other.
Finally, O'Neill took a long shuddering breath and pulled back. He took Daniel's face in his two hands and stared at him with red-rimmed eyes...then he pulled the younger man into a hard, fierce kiss.
Taken completely by surprise, Daniel sat passively as Jack kissed him. He began to realize this was it...the reason for everything. The prickliness, the protective streak and Jack's aggressiveness were part and parcel of an alpha male. And Daniel began to kiss back, return as good as he was getting, seeking and finding what he needed and wanted using his tongue to explore and his teeth to excite. He was determined that if this were the last act he could have with Jack, it would be the best, the most unforgettable performance he could muster. There was a slight struggle for dominance between them but finally, Jack relinquished all power to the younger man allowing Daniel to take control. He pushed the older man back against the wall of the bedroom and plundered the beloved mouth; licking, sucking, biting and tasting. Wanting to know and remember everything.
Finally, due to a need to inhale, the two men parted. But they didn't release each other, they could only hold on and breathe. Jack stroked Daniel as he lay comfortably in O'Neill's arms. "Sorry, I was such an ass."
Daniel snuggled closer to Jack. "As long as you're my ass." The errant fingers stroked down the chest and stroked along the belly seeking intimate contact. The look in O'Neill's eyes confirmed what he had just guessed. Jack wanted him.
Though he'd known other men in his life that he had been attracted to and been attracted by him, Daniel had never allowed them to act on their impulses. Those men had been the antithesis of Jack O'Neill; smooth, confident and easy to approach. But he'd not taken action or encouraged them, much to their disgust and dismay. He hadn't known what he had wanted, he just knew it wasn't them. But he knew what he wanted now...he wanted to touch, to feel, to experience the tactile knowledge of Jack O'Neill. He actively wanted to...to, well, what he wanted wasn't really clear to him. Oh he'd done the research, looked at the diagrams, read the information...but it was still too...ephemeral for him to act on. He could only look up at the older man and want.
"Yes, Daniel?" The brown eyes rested on him gently.
"Jack." He wasn't sure what to do next. He reached up and touched the lips with his fingertips. "Jack."
He curled his hand behind Jack's neck and pulled. Jack leaned forward, his eyes searching Daniel's for permission. When he saw it there, he bent over and lightly kissed the younger man on the mouth. "C'mon, let's get up off the floor." Once they were standing, he guided Daniel over to the bed. They sat down still holding on to each other. O'Neill looked searchingly at his friend. "How do you feel now?"
"Okay. Confused, but okay."
"Do you want to stay confused, or do you want to talk?" Jack stroked his face. "Wait a sec..." He made as if to get up, but Daniel grasped and held him.
"No. Don't leave."
"No, I just want to get a wet towel and wipe the blood off of your face." Jack kissed him again on the forehead. Minutes later he'd returned, and started cleaning his cuts. "Daniel, the explosion, it was your florescent light bulb in the bathroom, it burst." He shook his head disparagingly. "It must have had a short in it."
Daniel nodded at him. "The fixture was replaced last week by the manager." He had to smile at Jack's reaction. "See, Jack. There's no place that's safe, even my own bathroom's out to get me." O'Neill could only look at him in incredulity. Daniel started to giggle then groaned. Jack pulled him into a hug and stroked his forehead with the damp towel, trying to ease him and shook his head.
"I'm sorry, Danny. I didn't want you to know...about my feelings for you. I thought that if you did know that you'd leave."
"You were afraid I'd leave so you wanted to send me away?" The younger man repeated, trying to comprehend the logic.
Jack laughed softly. "I know, saying out loud makes it sound even worse." His expression changed to one of seriousness. "But seriously, I don't want you hurt anymore. I can't take it."
"But why did you want to separate me from the team?"
O'Neill shook his head. "That wasn't the idea. The idea is that you stay safe, or at least safer." The older man looked over at Jackson. "I am beginning to have a tough time dealing with the fact that every penny ante system lord, false god, bounty hunter and evil alien wants to have you for breakfast."
"But I don't do anything on purpose, Jack." Daniel protested. "Do I have a sign hanging from my back collar that says 'I'm an archeologist, pick on me' ?"
Jack had to smile at that image. "I know Danny," Jack shook his head. "Most of the time you do at least try to keep a low profile. You're just too damned obvious." He looked at the man resting in his arms. "And now, you need to sleep for a while. We've had a rough week and this morning hasn't been any easier on either of us."
"Will you stay? With me?"
"If you want, Danny."
"I want you to stay Jack. Don't leave me, please."
"I'll stay as long as you want me." They shifted their positions to lay next to each other on the bed. The Colonel curved his arm around the younger man's shoulders and held him until his linguist fell softly asleep in his arms. He'd stay...they both would.