Lucky Enough

Jack was pissed at him. He’d be lucky to get away with so much as a ‘hey Jack’ before the full force of Jack O’Neill’s temper came down upon him. The situation was not good, and Daniel had no clue how to fix it. He didn’t even know how he’d gotten them trapped here in the first place.

“Jack?” Daniel said warily, thinking it best to test the waters first.

“Daniel.” Jack bit back. A warning if ever there was one, Daniel knew better than to risk setting foot onto that thin ice.

Silence reigned for a further fifteen minutes, until Daniel decided he needed to hear more than the sounds of crumbling rock still falling from above or the scratching noise emanating from behind stone walls. Most likely an animal trapped somewhere, a rodent maybe, who knew. Daniel preferred not to think about what might have been living down here before they’d come along exploring. Jack, on the other hand, was readying his handgun, the one normally strapped to his leg for emergences. Daniel hoped it was for the mice.

“Jack?” Daniel’s second attempt at conversation was a little more hesitant, but that was merely because Jack’s obsessive dissembling, and consequent reassembling, of his handgun was unnerving him greatly.

“Don’t say it Daniel.” Jack said. Daniel kept his eyes on the gun.

“Say what?”

“That you’re sorry, that you don’t know how this happened.” The irritation Jack was trying to conceal bled through his words like a wound that wouldn’t clot.

“But I am sorry, Jack, and I really DON’T know how this happened.” He really didn’t, one minute Daniel was standing in what he believed was once a small library, with possible Ancient connections, the next thing he knew Jack was pushing him to one side as rocks started falling from the ceiling.

Daniel slumped lower against the cold wall he was leaning on, trying to look Jack in the eye, so he’d know just how sorry he was. Unfortunately, Jack was slumped against the opposite wall and, in a show of utter stubbornness, refused to acknowledge that Daniel had even spoken.

Jack could hear Daniel fidgeting, his boots scrapping against the bare rock beneath them and knocking several pebbles in his direction. Jack wanted to tell him to quit it because, if he wasn’t careful, he could trigger more loose rock to fall on their heads. But Jack kept his lips tightly pressed together and remained silent. He knew if he opened his mouth anything he said right now would be fuelled by pure unadulterated anger, and although he was as pissed as hell at Daniel right now and although Daniel could probably do with a good telling off the reality was they trapped together, sharing the same space. There was no where to storm off to if Jack suddenly got the urge to kill him.

As for how they got in this mess, well there were no warning signals on this occasion, usually when a building was ready to give up the ghost it had the decency to look the part first. Be sure, if it had looked ready to collapse Jack would have denied Carter’s request to search and headed on home. From the outside the building looked almost like new, thus it stuck out well in the open space that was PX6 788. So Jack gave the go ahead and SG-1 traipsed inside. It was clear from the minute they crossed the threshold this was no ordinary shack built by the underprivileged locals. The whole place stunk of advance civilization, and that was when Daniel must have caught the scent.

At some point between entering the, what Carter quickly dubbed, outpost station, and the almighty bang from outside that shook the entire planet, Daniel had gotten distracted and wandered away from the group. Jack ran down corridor after corridor looking for Daniel, while the floor shook beneath him. The spike of fear that had flittered through Jack got sharper with every second that had passed and every radio attempt failed. By the time he’d actually found Daniel, his nose to the wall, oblivious to the carnage happening around him, it was too late. The unknown explosion was bringing the roof down on top of them, rocks fell behind Jack blocking his only visibly route of escape. Acting instinctively Jack knocked Daniel down and shielded them both the best he could. When the shaking stopped and the last rock fell they stood up from the ground only to realize they were trapped, in a room no more than ten feet wide, seemingly with only the one way in or out, which happened to be completely blocked off with fallen debris.

Considering it all, Jack felt he had every right to blame Daniel for getting them trapped and to make him even more annoyed, Daniel didn’t seem to a have a frigging clue how worried he’d been when he couldn’t find him.

So here they were, needlessly trapped, awaiting Carter and Teal’c’s return with reinforcements. Jack opted to sit, not looking at Daniel, concentrating on cleaning his gun. The creepy scratching noises from under the rocks were starting to grate on his nerves, and if Jack so much as caught a glimpse of the little bugger responsible he’d take great delight in shooting it. It was either it or Daniel, and deep down, he knew he couldn’t hurt Daniel. Carter and Teal’c would kill him.

***************************************************************************

Jack woke with a start, he wasn’t aware he’d fallen asleep. The bit of light that had been filtering in through the cracks in the ceiling earlier had disappeared, letting Jack know he’d been asleep for at least a couple of hours while day bled into night. The temperature had dropped considerably and, feeling the goose bumps covering his arms, Jack shivered; glad he was wearing his jacket. It was then, upon examining the much darker, but still just as cramped room, that Jack realized what had woken him.

Daniel had scrunched himself up in the far corner, knees pulled tight to his chest, laying on his side and using his vest – the warmest thing he probably owned - as a pillow. On his person Daniel wore only the thin black t-shirt they all wore under their jackets. Jack felt like swearing, but it was too cold for that waste of energy, and merely shook his head in exasperation at Daniel’s stupidity as he carefully stood up to stretch. Jack had no clue what could have possibly happened to the rest of Daniel’s uniform, but he had no doubt it was nowhere within reach, same probably went for Daniel’s back pack.

Jack walked over to the shivering, mumbling form that kept tossing and turning in his sleep. He didn’t have to touch him to know Daniel was absolutely freezing; he could have auditioned for the Smurfs. Luckily for Daniel, Jack was considerably calmer now, too cold and hungry to be annoyed. He checked his watch, noting that Carter and Teal’c had headed for the gate over six hours ago; reinforcements were still a long way off.

Jack knelt down and unzipped his nicely warmed and conveniently oversized jacket.

“Daniel?” Jack poked him in the side, trying to encourage Daniel to sit up by himself.

After a few experimental pushes Daniel did as Jack wanted, if only for a matter of seconds. It was long enough for Jack to pull Daniel’s makeshift pillow out from under him and, supporting Daniel’s lethargic body against his own, Jack lay back down with Daniel lying next to him, head resting on Jack’s shoulder.

Daniel stopped the fidgeting when Jack’s own body heat started to warm him up, his skin felt like ice against his own. Jack took the contented sigh as a good sign and proceeded to wrap the jacket around both of them the best he could before willing himself back to sleep. Jack fleetingly thought Daniel would probably have a heart attack come morning, finding himself cuddled with Jack underneath his jacket, but Jack didn’t care about Daniel’s embarrassment. What he did care about was Daniel freezing his ass off for no good reason.

***************************************************************************************

Jack had been awake for at least an hour before Daniel even began to stir. He hadn’t bothered to move since there really was nowhere to go, plus despite the uncomfortable living arrangements, conserving body heat was going to be their only chance of surviving if daylight didn’t break soon. As for supplies, they didn’t have much. Jack’s own pack had been left behind with Carter and Teal’c as he’d sprinted in Daniel’s last known direction in a frantic race to get to him before the building collapsed. The location of Daniel’s pack and the rest of his equipment was still a mystery. Jack doubted they’d ever find it in the rubble. What they did have was a notebook, a pen, water which thankfully was the one thing Daniel didn’t loose and a camcorder, which could prove handy for blackmailing purposes if Daniel ticked him off enough before they were set free.

With Daniel fast asleep it had given Jack time to think more about the circumstances that led to their current situation. The room they were trapped in was all the way back at the far side of the building the team had been exploring. Jack had been trying to think of a plausible reason why Daniel would have felt the need to go so far on his own. SG1 had been a field unit for three years now, Daniel knew better than to just take off without informing anyone and he knew no one went anywhere alone on an alien world if they could help it. Jack didn’t have an answer and that in it self worried him. Unfortunately, this stunt was not the first one Daniel had pulled in recent weeks. Daniel had done a lot of reckless things lately, like wandering off when told explicitly to stay put, challenging every order given with ‘Why?’

Daniel shifted a bit, wafting stray strands of hair in Jack’s face making his nose twitch. A hand came up and rubbed both eyes. As Daniel slowly woke up Jack awaited the moment he remembered where they were.

Daniel yawned, cracked an eye open, scratched his nose and slowly opened the other eye. Glancing around him, he recognized the cold grey colored walls with Asgard and Ancient symbols and remembered everything. He was trapped.

Daniel shifted again noticing something odd, he was warm and there was a jacket covering him, a very warm Jacket. It didn’t take long for Daniel to realize the fact that his pillow also seemed a lot softer and bigger. He sighed before lifting his head and looking up at the smiling face of Jack O’Neill.

“Morning” Jack grinned. “Sleep well?”

Daniel didn’t bother to answer - he was too confused. He could have sworn Jack had been royally pissed at him not so many hours ago, looking around to double check that nothing had change in their predicament Daniel couldn’t understand why the hell he was grinning like an idiot now. .

“What’s going on?” Daniel asked, without moving an inch.

“Building collapsed on us, remember?” Jack stretch out his one free hand. “Carter and Teal’c have gone for help.”

“I know that. I mean, why are we…?” Daniel gestured, indicating their rather compromising position.

“You seemed to have lost your jacket and were freezing to death.”

Jack’s tone told Daniel he should be grateful and not make an issue out of it. So he didn’t.

Instead he said, “What time is it?”

“Early, Sun isn’t quite up yet by the looks of things”. Jack pointed to the crack high up above them in the ceiling. Their only saving grace, since it provided clean air at least. It was still bitterly cold though.

Daniel grudgingly pushed the jacket covering him aside and sat up, scooting over toward the far wall. Jack followed suit, albeit it much slower, he was over a decade older than Daniel after all.

They sat together, leaning against the cold rock, in silence. Jack took in Daniel’s body language, there was no self-hugging going on, but Jack would bet that particular Daniel-in-distress trademark was soon to follow. All of the other signs were there; silence being number one, the attempt to isolate himself, knees drawn up and avoiding of any kind of physical contact numbers two and three. Then of course there was Daniel’s whole attitude of late. It was so out of character Jack didn’t know where to start, but, figuring they were going to be stuck together for a while, maybe now was as good a time as any to find out.

“Why are you doing this?”

“Doing what?” Daniel responded immediately, he sounded a little spooked, like Jack had interrupted a daydream.

“This.” Jack used his hands to indicate the space between them.

“I’m just sitting here.” Daniel snapped this time. Jack watched as he bunched fists together in his lap then quickly released them.

“What happened here Daniel?” Jack asked plainly, his voice level.

“I think you probably know more than me, I heard a bang I think-”

“No, I mean what happen with you?” Jack said. “We didn’t know where you were.”

Daniel straightened out his knees and, like Jack predicted, wrapped his arms across his middle. “That’s more your problem than it is mine.” He said evenly, ducking his head.

“You’ve been on SG-1 for three years, you know better than that.” Jack pushed off the wall to stand, walked over and crouched down in front of Daniel. “What you did was stupid and irresponsible, you could have been trapped alone and we wouldn’t have even known you were here.” Jack paused, putting as much emphasis into his last words as he could, “Daniel, you could have been killed.”

Daniel felt his stomach start to knot up inside. He wanted to tell Jack what was going on, had for a while now, but was a little nervous about the reaction he’d get and he definitely didn’t want Jack to be disappointed in him. Of course that ship had probably already sailed, given that Jack had already accompanied him through some of the more traumatic moments in his life so far. Daniel wrestled with his conscience for a matter of seconds on whether to give up or give Jack the answers he deserved.

Before he could over think his decision, or regret it, Daniel spoke. “Mackenzie’s writing an official report.”

Jack had his mouth open to reply, paused, and then heard himself say, “What?”

“Dr Mackenzie,” Daniel clarified. “I’ve been seeing him every week to evaluate how I’m dealing with …stuff” Daniel did air quotes on ‘stuff’, “You know, after you all locked me up.”

Ah crap, Jack only thought it, but from the contrite look on Daniel’s face right now he may as well have said it out loud. The Ma’chello bug incident would probably have to go down as one of SG-1’s worse missions to date. And not because of the actual mission either – that was pretty short, if not entirely sweet. It was the fallout that warranted such a high ranking, after all it’s not everyday a guy gets to hand his best friend over to mental health. “Why’d you have to see Mackenzie of all people?”

“Familiarity with my case I guess.” Daniel banged his head against the wall behind him.

“Hey!” Jack shouted, instinctively slipping his hand between Daniel’s head and the wall

“He’s putting in a report, Jack! That means everyone will know what a head case I am.”

Sorry for being such a head case… Daniel had said that to him back in the padded cell.

Jack swallowed and tried to brush off Daniel’s concern over the shrink file. “Only the General, and me will see that report, Daniel. No one else. And you know I’m not even going to read it.”

“That’s not the point.” Daniel stated flatly, angry look firmly in place.

“I guess not.” Jack breathed out and looked down at the ground.

“It’s going to be there, in black and white, the next time-” Daniel choked on his own words, suddenly suffering from shortness of breath.

Jack listened to Daniel, his voice wavering as he talked of the possibility that there could be a next time in their future. Jack made a heart felt attempt to reassure him their mistake would never be repeated. Daniel listened, but Jack knew him well enough to know Daniel didn’t actually believe he’d have any power to stop it. An irrational fear was always the hardest to counter.

“If I’d have known about these sessions, I would have made sure it wasn’t Mackenzie.” Jack said, hoping against hope that belayed how sorry he was Daniel was being put through this.

Daniel breathed out, looking up, feeling a little more contented now he’d shared.

They both smiled wanly, and Jack didn’t bother to ask why.

“I think all this psychiatric mumbo-jumbo is screwing me up more than I already was.” Daniel spoke quietly, and unexpectedly.

“You’re not screwed up,” Jack countered without pause. Daniel glared at him and Jack cleared his throat. “Okay, you may not be the poster child for the well adjusted but still, you’re doing okay right?”

“I know. “

“You ARE doing okay…right?”

“Sure. I mean I could do without his pop psych 101 approach to my mental health.” Daniel said. “Relating EVERYTHING back to my poor deprived childhood isn’t exactly the way I’d go, but I guess I can see how very text book my life may seem. Dead parents, ward of the state, runaway…”

Jack jumped in there, “runaway?”

“I tried a few times,” Daniel shrugged nonchalant, “it was no big deal, for some reason I got the idea that I’d be better off alone.”

“Some things never change.” Jack sighed, feeling nostalgic.

“I survived.”

Jack had no doubt that he had; after all they were sat here trapped in some ancient building waiting to be dug out. “It’s a wonder you made it into adolescence.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence.” Daniel chuckled.

A comfortable silence fell between them, Jack could feel Daniel’s temporary good mood slipping away like water down a drain and was compelled to carry on.

“So, why is Mac doing this again?”

“Abandonment issues.” Daniel rolled the words off his tongue. “The whole no parents, never adopted, no permanent home issue. Emotional neglect – that sort of thing,” Daniel nodded playfully. “Apparently getting committed to mental health was like getting a new foster family.” Daniel raised his eyebrows and glanced over at Jack for his reaction.

“It is?”

“No.” Daniel said affronted. “Mackenzie’s an idiot.”

“No arguments there.”

Daniel pinched his nose, looked down at the floor and tightened his hug.

Jack’s face fell along with Daniel’s façade that all this was somehow amusing. The words Mackenzie’s an ass, rolling in a continuous loop in his mind didn’t stem the anger Jack was struggling to conceal. His features pinched, and were relaxed several times before Jack found a comfortable expression that he could work with.

“We didn’t abandon you.”

“I know.” Daniel said immediately, and without moving.

“But you don’t believe it.” Jack stated matter of fact.

“That’s unfair. Waking up alone in that hell hole, scared to death and mind fuzzy with drugs, with no one around to listen to me, it was…” Daniel paused, took a breath and continued in a much calmer tone. “It was hard to think in general, let alone comprehend why no one I knew was with me.”

Jack didn’t say anything to that as he stood up again and moved to sit next to Daniel still leaning against the wall. Daniel shuffled over slightly to allow him room.

“I rode with you in the transport ambulance with Dr Fraiser.” Jack rubbed at the stubble on his chin, a little voice warned him not to say what he was about to, “I signed the papers, Daniel.”

“Papers?” Daniel didn’t really follow, and by this point didn’t really care.

Their conversation should soon be over and Daniel would welcome the silence of the previous day, mice scratching included.

“I signed off on Mackenzie’s recommendation.” Jack huffed out and fell forward, finally coming to terms with what he had done.

It wasn’t just Daniel who’d been acting out these past weeks, he had too, and he’d snapped and shouted and been a general asshole all because he made a mistake. A giant unforgivable mistake he hadn’t, until just now, had the guts to admit too.

Daniel sat straighter and squinted at Jack. “I know.”

Jack stared at him.

“What, you think I’ve forgotten that ‘next of kin’ release you made me sign?” Daniel waggled his eyebrows. “Why do you think I asked for you in the first place? You’re a stubborn asshole 99% of the time. I knew my chances of convincing you that I wasn’t sick were slim.”

“Daniel, do you think I don’t trust you?”

“Absolutely”

Jack didn’t much like the sound of that.

“Look, Jack,” Daniel shuffled onto his knees, “The important thing is I trust you.”

It was hard to say, but Daniel always knew it would be.

After a few seconds silence, where Jack had to come to terms with the truth, he finally responded, “That’s good to know.” It was true Jack didn’t trust Daniel. Didn’t trust him to stay out of trouble, didn’t trust him to take care of himself, and didn’t trust him not to work through the night before a mission. He didn’t trust Daniel an inch. But Daniel trusted him, and he was right, it was important. Jack reached out and patted Daniel’s hand, hopefully communicating how much he appreciated that trust and how sorry he was that he had let him down.

They sat together in comfortable silence again, so many things were going through Daniel’s mind it was hard for him to pin point just one and focus. Jack’s thoughts on the other hand, despite outward appearances, were focused solely on the person sitting next to him. He was trying to comprehend why it always took some catastrophe for them to communicate in any serious way. He would bet his last penny that if they were back at the SGC right now the previous conversation would never have happened. Of course, Jack blamed Daniel for that wholeheartedly.

“So what else did Mac have to say?” Jack asked, pulling out his gun. “If you want to tell me of course”

Daniel eyed the revolver, “You going to shoot me if I don’t?”

The gun went off with a sharp bang that rung in Daniel’s ears, he prepared to be bombarded by more rocks from above, but nothing fell except a bit of dust.

“Jack?” Daniel prodded nervously, “what are you doing?”

Jack got up without answering and casually strolled across the room. It wasn’t until he bent down and kicked at something lying dormant on the floor that Daniel relaxed, knowing he wasn’t about to be shot without just cause.

“Rats.”

“Huh.”

“The Ancients have a rat problem.”

“Had a rat problem, they’ve not been here in a long, long time.” Something clicked in Daniel’s mind, “how did you know this was ancient? Can you read this?”

Daniel was getting excited, and Jack found it quite uplifting as well as thoroughly entertaining, but he needed to put the spark out before it started a fire. “You talk in your sleep.”

Daniel blinked, looking dazed and confused for all of two seconds before refuting, “I do not.”

“Yes, you do, Daniel.” Jack sat back down next to him with a huff, leaving the dead carcass of the rat out for all to see, if Daniel didn’t know better he’d swear Jack had left it there as an example to the others. The scratching noise had stopped through…

“I’ve talked in my sleep before? And you’ve never told me?”

Jack shrugged and put his gun back in his ankle holder. Daniel sat back against the wall, banging his head on the jagged rock, accidentally this time, and let out an unfortunate yelp. He could sense Jack was looking in his direction, but didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of acknowledging that had hurt. Instead he offered an answer to Jack’s original question, since they were talking and all… “I have a problem with authority.”

“Get out!”

“Jack.” Daniel glared. “You asked, do you want to know what Dr Mackenzie said or not?”

“Sorry, please continue…” Jack said doing his best not to sound too sarcastic.

“He seems to enjoy dredging up the past; apparently mine’s full of text book criteria for mental breakdowns. I’m positive he was waiting for something like that Ma’chello thing to happen, probably going to write a book about it too. ”

“Well when all is said and done Daniel,” Daniel lifted his chin and looked contrite, “I’m not saying he’s right or anything, but you have had a pretty rocky home life. And you DO have a problem with authority. Especially mine!” Jack watched him closely and Daniel started to laugh. “What’s so funny?”

“He thinks you’re my ‘authority’ figure.” Daniel’s barely contained smirk at the prospect proved just how entertaining Daniel had found this prognosis.

“I’m not touching that one.” Jack said slyly, shifting his gaze away from Daniel. It was bad enough two years ago when some yokels had the gore to actually assume Daniel was his son.

“After you guys came to see me - after I touched Teal’c - I started to get better. I woke up in that room all alone. I had to convince Mackenzie to hold back.” Daniel’s voice got a little croaky. “I blackmailed him into letting me speak to you. I just needed to speak with you.”

“And I came. Daniel you knew I wasn’t just going to leave you there.” Jack thought he was being reassuring, but Daniel only heard it as patronizing.

“No I didn’t Jack.” Daniel said. “I was so scared no one would come, that I’d be trapped, doped up for the rest of my life.”

“Daniel-“

“How much longer are we going to be down here do you think?” Daniel interrupted, “it’s not getting any warmer.”

Jack eyed him from head to toe, swallowed and did as he wanted - pretended like Daniel’s little confession didn’t happen. “Ooh, probably another one maybe one and a half.”

“Hours?” Daniel asked, hopeful.

“Day’s.”

“What?”

“This place is a day’s walk from the gate for cryin’ out loud.” Jack said.

“Oh, yeah, of course. I guess.” Daniel looked puzzled. “So what are we supposed to do till then?”

Jack grinned for the first time that hour. “We keep warm!”

Jack grabbed Daniel by his shoulder and pulled.

“There’s got to be another way.” Daniel mumbled into the jacket.

“Can it Daniel. You watch Discovery channel so I won’t waste my breath explaining how the best way to avoid hypothermia is to huggle up close with your buddy, if you’re lucky enough to have one.”

Daniel gave in, relaxing against Jack thinking it could easily be worse. He was also feeling how nice it was to have his support back; the padded walls that had been surrounding him for weeks were slowly being striped bare. “You’re lucky enough, Jack.”

Jack grinned settling himself against the wall once again, while Daniel settled against him - he had his buddy back.

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.