At the End of the Day

Jack swore, under his breath, a sure sign he was really mad. Jack had stages of angry. Daniel had seen them all over their time together, and often enough to categorise them. A Jack O'Neill who shouted and cursed all and sundry was a much safer Jack than the one who is so mad that even the slightest loss of control would result in an explosion of catastrophic proportions. This was the Jack Daniel was being faced with this very second.

"Teal'c, get him out of here." Jack growled out.

Daniel held his ground though, kept his look neutral and unrepentant. He didn't know how he felt right now, not angry, even though he felt he should be. Drained would be the most accurate. Proven only when Teal'c approached Daniel from behind and dragged him bodily out of the room without a fight.

"We will depart to my quarters." Teal'c said shortly, letting go and allowing Daniel the dignity of walking down the corridor under his own steam.

Daniel plodded along the short distance, keeping his head up, not letting anyone see the turmoil inside of him. Until they come across Sam, at which point his gaze diverted immediately to the floor and Daniel felt like the loneliest person on the planet.

"Daniel, Teal'c? What happened? You okay?" Sam's questions are fired one after the other, allowing no time for either of them to form a semblance of an answer.

Daniel risked a look up at Teal'c, who had so far remained behind him in their trek to his quarters. "I'm fine." Daniel assures her, before resuming his steady walk down one of the many
SGC corridors.

Dr Frazer had heard through the grapevine what had occurred after they'd discovered the missing vials. The details were sketchy; aside from the fact that she believed no one to have been injured, which at least meant Kira hadn't had the chance to activate the compound, she knew little about what the outcome was.

"Sir, what is going on?" Janet asked as Colonel O'Neill escorted a handcuffed 'Kira' into
her infirmary.

"Is there any way you can undo that antidote?" Jack said sounding extremely pissed off.

"Sir?"

"You know, make it so she doesn't know who she is? Make her forget." Jack grinds out barely keeping his temper in check.

"It's possible." Janet guessed, thinking it through in her head.

"Do it." Jack handed over the keys for the cuffs to the SF that had followed him in, with instructions not to let her loose under any circumstances.

Jack gave everyone in the room a weary glance and they all immediately knew this was not his idea. Janet could tell from the way he was almost vibrating with anger that she didn't need any guesses to know whom it was he was angry with.

Jack made his way back through the SGC and headed straight for Teal'c quarters. He meets up with both of them, Daniel refusing to budge another inch and Teal'c looking like he'd knock him out and drag him inside if necessary. Jack understood that feeling; he felt the exact same way right now.

"Jack?"

"They're doing it."

"You know -"

"Daniel so help me if another word comes out of your mouth I am not going to be responsible for my actions."

Daniel doesn't look stunned, hurt, or any of the things one would expect after an outburst
like that. He doesn't look anything. Teal'c expected there at least to be some anger, Daniel wasn't very aggressive, but he had passion. None of which was present now.

"Get inside." Jack adds nudging his head in the direction of Teal'c's quarters. Daniel hovers silently for a second, a look of complete indifference on his face, before walking through the open door.

Jack follows him and stops just inside the threshold, one hand grasping the handle. "Teal'c... you give us a minute?" He asks calmly, in a more hushed tone, while tossing a rather concerned look at Daniel.

Daniel stood at the farthest side of the room, his back to Teal'c, Jack and the door. He kept a mantra going on a continuous loop through his head as he paced from the dresser to the bed and back again. It was in him, building up, ready for release, all the hatred and anger and injustice. It wanted out and he wanted to let it out. He couldn't, wouldn't and most definitely shouldn't take it out on anyone here. It wasn't their fault he'd been screwed over by the universe yet again.
Actually that was probably a little over dramatic, but Daniel figured he was entitled. Besides, that was what the mantra was for, to keep everything in check, no big deal, get through the next few hours, just until he got home.

"Daniel." The hands, suddenly covering his own, made Daniel jump a good foot in the air - Jack's grip being the only thing keeping him from falling backward into the dresser mirror.

Jack pulls him across the room and pushes him down to sit on the edge of Teal'c's bed. Daniel complies, still keeping up his 'none of this is affecting me' glare, as he eyes down Jack, who drags a chair over to sit directly in front of him.

"What the hell was all that about Daniel?" Jack's disgruntled words are disguised by the gentle tone. "Not talking? Is that the way you're going to play it?"

Daniel flickers a glance at Jack before moving it towards the door. It had been shut and Teal'c was nowhere in sight.

"Daniel, look, I don't know what's gone on between you two. I wish I did, believe me, 'cause I would have stopped it!" Jack paused, took a deep breath, and reined in his anger. "b-u-t not talking is not going to solve anything." He finished with a tight smile, thinking he should be awarded a medal for not strangling the life out of Daniel right now.

Jack only manages to stay sitting for a further minute's silence before it gets too much and he has to abandon his perch.

"For cryin' out loud." He mutters to the floor once he's safely across the other side of the VIP room.

Jack contemplates for a moment, looking searchingly at Daniel for an avenue open to him. A hand runs over his face and into his hair, but offered no further insight in to how to pursue this line of enquiry Jack is close to giving up. Then something occurs to him, he was going at this from the wrong angle. Daniel may not be little geek he was once, but he wasn't so far removed from that shy kid that had nowhere to go and no one to care about him

"What's the first thing I taught you?"

The abrupt question turns Daniel's head and his mouth is working before any of his defences can command otherwise. "What?"

"You." Jack punctuates the word, and walks casually back over to the bed. "What is the first thing I taught you about being out in the field?"

Daniel looks back at him completely clueless; Jack was surprising him yet again. Using words instead of action, it confused Daniel every single time, threw him off balance, and made him fear what would come next. Right now he was afraid, of so many things.

"Never get in my line of fire." Jack reiterates calmly.

Daniel's eyes widen. "I never-"

"You never what Daniel? Thought? Is that it? Damn right you didn't." Jack says. "You were standing between me, and my gun! If I'd pulled that trigger, if I'd been forced to take a shot, most likely you would be dead right now." Jack hadn't even realised he was pacing until he stopped. Turning on his heel to look over at Daniel he sees the first signs of an emotional reaction. A good sign. If not a very pleasant one, knowing it was him making Daniel feel that way.

"You risked a lot this evening Daniel. For her. A woman actually more than twice your age with psychopathic and homicidal tendencies." It sounded like a joke, but Jack wasn't laughing.

"She isn't the same person." Daniel immediately redirected the conversation onto Kira and away from himself.

"No, your right, thanks to you she isn't." Jack had to give him credit for that one at least, Daniel's stupid stunt had, in a twisted way, given her another chance. But whether this woman was worth the risk was a different matter entirely. Whether or not he would have taken
the shot aside, Jack needed to get the discussion focus back on Daniel.
"So just how far did it go?"

Daniel couldn't believe this conversation was happening. Jack had no right to question his personal life. "Why do you want to know?"

Jack barely quelled the urge to smack him. Only the fact that Jack knew Daniel, in his right mind, would never question their motives as anything other than concern kept him from doing so. 'Kira' happened at a very bad time, Shau're had been dead less than a month and Daniel was
emotionally fragile when she started batting those lashes and making doe eyes at him. It was just Daniel's notorious bad luck that this annoying, but seemingly harmless harpy, turned out to be the destroyer of worlds.

"She was all over you."

"I don't feel the same way." Daniel muttered into his chest, his head bent so low Jack had to bow down to hear him.

"I think I knew that." Jack nodded, edging closer to the bed without Daniel noticing. "If it's any consolation I don't think what you where feeling was real to begin with."

Daniel squints up at him, not getting it and Jack can't prevent the sad smile that graces his features. Lowering himself down to sit next to Daniel on the bed Jack lets out a sigh. "Shau're died. You may tell yourself you were prepared, that nothing's different from how it was two years ago, but that doesn't change the fact that the hope has gone."

Daniel's gasp barely registers with Jack, the similarity of Jack's words to his that he'd spoken in the dream Shau're had given him was remarkable.

"I guess what I'm saying is that it's okay to be sad, don't hide it from us. We don't expect you to put on a brave face and carry on like nothing's wrong." Daniel still wasn't responding and Jack had run out of options - nice ones at any rate. "Daniel, you're wife died." He stated bluntly.

For a whole second the world stopped spinning, and Jack, for the first time in his entire military career, didn't know his next move. Then suddenly all the lights came back on and the roundabout started spinning again.

"I feel," Daniel cleared his throat, "like these last few years I've been so damn stupid. So naïve, thinking I could possibly save her."

"I'm sorry it didn't work out better for you." Jack admitted letting his hand rest on Daniel's thigh.

"I notice you're not disagreeing with the 'stupid and naïve' comment." Daniel laughed, but regretted it once he'd caught the searing look Jack was aiming at him. "You're still mad at me."

"Very much so." Jack had to admit the boy had nerve. If Daniel thought for a second he'd forgotten about the whole 'getting in the line of fire' issue he was sorely mistaken. "But I'll get over it...eventually."

Daniel tried to smile, but his mind was running away with him again. The last thing Daniel wanted in the world was to start crying. Yet he still couldn't stop thinking back to that horrible
day. If he didn't speak soon he really was going to loose it.

"I killed her Jack. If I hadn't run off like that, if I'd have listened to you she wouldn't be dead. It's my fault, she got taken because of me and now she's dead because of me, because I don't know any better, because I'm irresponsible and..." Daniel couldn't continue with his tirade. He was angry with himself and he wanted to be punished, and what a better way than convincing himself that he had killed his own wife.

Jack's anger melted right along side Daniel's façade. He'd have plenty of opportunities to give Daniel shit over the stupid things he'd done recently. For now Daniel just needed a shoulder to cry on. He had been that shoulder for the past two and a half years and wasn't about to resign his position any time soon.

Fin.

 

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Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a parody for entertainment purposes only. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted anywhere without the consent of the author.