Post “Shades of Grey” Episode. Rated PG for bad language. Pre-slash.
J L Blackstone
“Straws, huh?” Jack called out as he caught up to the civilian scientist just as the other reached his car.
Daniel shook his head, “No, Jack.”
“No, what? I just want to…”
Daniel finished for him, “talk. Well I don’t want to talk right now. Not to you and not about the last two weeks.” The start of the engine providing emphasis to his words.
Jack frowned, Daniel hadn’t meet his eyes during the whole spiel and even now was pointedly faced forward away from him. “The linguist doesn’t want to talk, isn’t that just peachy.”
Daniel didn’t even glance in his direction.
“Damn it, Daniel! I was under orders!” Jack glared as he watched Daniel drive away. ‘If Daniel thought he was going to leave it this way, he is sadly mistaken,’ Jack thought, jamming his cap on top of his head as he strode angrily to his own vehicle.
He didn’t know how he did it, but he managed to beat Daniel to his apartment. Jack leaned back against the door and watched the young man trudge up the walkway.
Daniel pulled up short at the sight of Jack. He should have known. He continued up to the door and calmly unlocked the door before walking in, never acknowledging his visitor’s presence.
“Thanks, I’d love to come in,” O’ Neill drawled as he pointedly did so and then slowly closed the door.
Daniel’s arms were across his chest when he turned back to face Jack with his eyebrows raised questioningly.
Jack tilted his head trying to get a fix on what was going on behind the blue eyes. He reached up and took his cap off his head, twisting it nervously in his hands as he looked down. “I’m sorry, Daniel.”
Daniel blinked. The words were said so softly. He gave a single nod and then turned away to sit down on the couch.
Jack’s forehead wrinkled in confusion. “Aren’t you going to say anything?”
“What do you want me to say, Jack? I forgive you, I understand. Well, I do understand, and really there’s nothing to forgive, right?. I mean I’m nothing to you. Definitely not someone who is more important than an order. Our friendship isn’t important enough. I got it, loud and clear, Colonel.” Daniel’s eyes blazed as he stared into Jack’s shocked face. He hadn’t even been aware that he had stood up and was up in Jack’s face as he raged.
“Got it all out of your system?” Jack asked with a smile.
Daniel hands clenched at the cheerful tone. “I give up!” He started for his bedroom, maybe if he stayed there long enough Jack would get the message and leave.
“Come on, Daniel. Work with me here,” Jack cried lightly grabbing the younger man’s arm preventing his exit. “I’m sorry I hurt you. I didn’t think it would have bothered you this much.”
Daniel’s eyes narrowed angrily. “Bothered me? Hurt me? To have the one person, MY BEST FRIEND, who I thought I knew better than anyone, tell me that our friendship was a chimera (a fantasy, Jack),” he added, reflexively answering the confused expression on the tanned face. “That wasn’t suppose to bother me?!”
“Well, when you put it like that.” Jack avoided the knowing look as he glanced around the apartment guiltily. “Yes, it should. Fine, are you happy now?” Christ! He felt just like he used to when he came home from a mission to Sara. He hated being in the dog house. “What do you want from me, Daniel?”
“Nothing. I got everything I needed to. I know where I stand now in your eyes.” Daniel didn’t want Jack to know how much that knowledge hurt. Nor the torment he’d experienced ever since that afternoon when Jack told him that their friendship didn’t have much of a foundation.
What Jack didn’t know was how that simple declaration had tore through his psyche. If there was one person, one certainty, one thing that he thought he knew it was Jack O’ Neill. When he’d been told that he was wrong it meant his judgment was flawed and that everything that he thought he knew was questionable. His faith in the SGC, in their fight against the Goa’uld, and Sha’re’s last message. What could he be absolutely sure of? It was a fleeting thought but left in it’s wake multiple doubts.
“Daniel you’re wrong, you mean more to me. If I had known that you would come, even though a part of me knew that you wouldn’t believe it--or maybe hoped is a better word. I value our friendship, you, much more than mere words can convey. You know me better than anyone else. Damn it, Daniel. I trust you. I hope you can still trust me.”
Daniel smiled. The agitated speech and half finished thoughts showing just how much the other man did feel. “It’s all right. It just threw me, Jack,” he quietly admitted as he walked past him towards the kitchen.
“So, uh…we’re good then?” Jack asked with a hopeful expression.
Daniel sighed as he peered into the refrigerator, his back towards Jack. And that was the ironic part about the whole thing. If Jack had asked him to accompany him when he retired off world, he would have, even though he disagreed with stealing technology. He would have gone so he could try to persuade Jack how wrong it was and because without Jack…
“Well?” Jack asked impatiently.
“What?! Oh, yeah we’re fine.”
“Good, now had me a beer and let’s see if there’s a game on.”
He absently handed the beer back into the waiting grasp and straightened up. Daniel turned and watched Jack sit on the couch and begin channel surfing. Just like usual.