No Time Like the Present

    It’s personnel review time once again and once again Hammond has enlisted me in the distasteful task of paper work.  Luckily I’m only responsible for writing my own team’s reviews and coordinating the submission of the rest.  It’s Hammond who has to read the damn things.
    Personally I hate review time.  It’s just a bureaucratic, stick it up your ass, exercise orchestrated by the big wigs at the Pentagon.  They seem to think one little report will provide all they need to know about how the folk down at the good ole SGC - who by way are responsible for the safety of the entire PLANET - are coping.  I would like to suggest to them that they join us for a crisis or two and find out for themselves, but Hammond’s forbade me from even approaching that red phone on his desk.
    The worst thing about these reports is that the medical staff, namely Dr. Fraiser, Dr. Warner and the ever so nice, reliable and totally not a complete bastard- yeah right- Dr. Mackenzie, also review the content.  They use the reports when it comes to the annual psyche evaluations, which are intended to inform them about the state of mind of our hard working officers and civilian staff alike. 
    My main worry is Danny’s evaluation is going to be on top of the pile of ‘unbalanced’ due to his off the wall behaviour of late.  I had been hoping it was all in my mind, that I was just being overly protective of him because of all the crap we’d been through lately.   However I have had to admit, to Teal’c of all people, that I’m worried about him.  More than I usually am.  Hammond’s already had me in his office enquiring if everything is honky dory and if so What the HELL is this latest stunt of his all about?!  My heart isn’t what it used to be Jack!’ Doc Fraiser keeps fussing whenever he so much as drops by the infirmary for a spell, so I’m sure as hell she’s noticed that all is not right in Dannyville too.   
    This last mission, a simple relocation that turned into a personal team war, was the real eye opener at how far I’d let things get.  As usual it was Daniel in the thick of it all.  He was the main instigator, the troublemaker, yet somehow we had all chosen sides.  Teal’c was standing idly by watching Daniel run amuck with my orders and risking his life in the process.  Carter was extremely unhappy with me regarding the whole ‘Naquada bomb’ idea, but didn’t seem to want to pose any ideas of her own.  I was extremely unhappy with Daniel and Teal’c, Daniel because he seemed to be deliberately trying to push my buttons and Teal’c because he wasn’t doing anything about it!
    I know where all this is coming from.  It’s the Euronda mission coming back to bite us all on the ass.  That mission was another occasion when Daniel caused waves, as it turned out he had good reason to, but we didn’t know that then and we took sides.  It was the three of us against him, and we all lost, big time.
    I knew full well just why General Hammond was so willing to offer support, hell, I saw the potential there too.  I had hoped everything would pan out fine that the Euronda people would be saints, we’d save them and they’d, in turn, save us.  Everyone’s happy. But no, it just couldn’t be that simple could it?
    Daniel, in his extreme naïveté, which everyone including him thinks he’s lost – I know better of course - didn’t even think for ONE minute about the technological potential.  His mind just doesn’t work that way.  He wanted to help them, plain and simple.  So of course the very second everybody was taking his side and supporting his idea to help he became suspicious, smart lad.  Our lethal mistake was we humoured him, let him think what we were doing was out of the goodness of our hearts.  When he accused us outright, 'This mission has never been about helping them has it?  We're here to help ourselves?'  Despite his hurt and disappointment in us, which he wasn't ashamed to be showing, all I could do was order Carter to get him out of my sight.  How we can possibly consider ourselves his friends I don’t know, and for once it wasn’t just me screwing up, although I have to admit I did the most damage with that ‘shut up’ comment.   
    So what was the outcome?  We didn’t get the technology, no one got saved, as such, and Daniel came back knowing myself, Sam, Teal’c, even General Hammond never took him seriously and it hurt him deeply.  For years he’d held his own with us, exchanged ideas, got to trust we wouldn’t ridicule or dismiss him like his peers had, then in one fail swoop all four of us turn around and slap him in the face.  We might as well have been honest from the start patted him on the head and said Good boy Danny, now why don’t you go play while the grown ups discuss things you just can’t understand.’  
    Writing this report, I now realise we are the cause of Daniel’s recent maverick attitude.  At the time of the mission I didn’t think it would have such an impact on our lives, I apologised to Daniel the minute I realised what a fool I’d been.  Only I think it was a matter of too little too late.  Before we’d even heard of Euronda Daniel’s self worth was at an all time low.  Shau’re had been gone less than a year.  It wasn't long after her funeral that I got my ass stranded on a backward planet, light years from being able to get him drunk and talking.  Then I wasn’t back more than a minute before the damn Tollan and Asgard came a knocking.  The whole secret opp never lasted more than a few weeks, but still, those were weeks Daniel needed me.  Just as I’m about in a position to give Daniel a little TLC the Asgard stuck their little grey butts in yet again.  They led us onto yet another ‘save the world mission’ that resulted in emotionally scarring Daniel.  Twice.  First because we left him behind and scared him silly by not knowing if we were dead or alive for nine days, coming straight after Nick had abandoned him for a second time must have been just peachy.  Second when, after miraculously returning safe and sound, Teal’c and I end up giving Daniel a front row seat to our own demise.  Having watched both parents meet their maker in full Technicolor must have been hard enough without having a repeat performance with his adopted family.  He must have felt eight years old all over again.
    I should have done something back then when I had the chance.  With everyone coming and going out of his life like a yoyo was it such a stretch to think Daniel might have been feeling a little insecure considering the circumstances?  If he had any doubts about his place in our lives I think our behaviour toward him on Euronda sealed the deal.  How could we have been so stupid?  We’d lost Daniel’s trust and respect all in one day.  He’s even stopped sharing his ideas unless asked a direct question.  He no longer comes to Teal’c or me for advice and goes off and does things on his own when normally he’d turn to Carter for assistance.
    Now I’m here, in my own office, trying to evaluate him.  What exactly am I supposed to say to round up this last year to explain what happened, without making him sound unstable?  He’s hurt is all, and that hurt is founded, but he is by no means unstable.  The reason George pulled me into his office earlier today enquiring about Daniel was because his actions on our latest mission really caught his attention, I think it caught everyone’s attention.  George was livid when I told him what had happened.  The word ‘suicidal’ came up of course.  He has a soft spot for Daniel that rivals my own.  The thought that Daniel had gotten to a point where he’d purposely disobey me, at the risk of his own life, was disturbing.
    It all worked out okay in the end though.  Daniel managed to save both races without any loss of life, his or anyone else’s.  The smug smile he gave me when he informed everyone about finding the Enkaren’s home world proved he had absolutely no friggin’ idea what kind of hell he’d put me through.  
    He thinks his actions yesterday showed us he was independent, that he doesn’t need our approval or protection.  What I saw was a young man willing to sacrifice himself because his friends had hurt his feelings so bad he just didn’t care anymore. 
    Sitting here, thinking about the circumstances that lead up to yesterday’s events, I’ve decided the damn reports can wait, some things are just more important.  Pushing back from the desk I immediately stand and walk out the door, heading for Daniel’s office.
    “Daniel?”  I’m taken by surprise to find Daniel hovering outside my door, in his civvies no less.
    “Err, hi.”  He’s being coy, eyes fixed to the floor, scuffing his feet.  He’s up to something.
    “What you up to?”  I try to sound aloof and I think I pull it off, Daniel doesn’t suspect anything at any rate.
    “I was hoping to see you actually.”  All I do is raise my eyebrows and the ever so brief eye contact we shared is lost, Daniel goes back to examining the floor.  “Yeah I kind of, think, I want to, I mean…sorry.”
    Well that was a bit jumbled but I think I got the general idea he was trying to convey. 
    “Sorry?”
    “For yesterday, you know ship…blowing up…me…on it.”
    “Oh yes, I’d forgotten.”  He does a double take, obviously not sure if I’m joking or not. Oh boy.
    I walk over to where he’s standing, as far away from me as possible it seems, and grab his upper arm.  I ignore the flinch that runs through him when my hand makes contact.  He’s done that a lot lately, I’m used it.
    “What?"
    “C’mon.”  I say in a mere whisper, pulling him along next to me.
    “Jack?”  I think I’m scaring him now, he’s not sure if I’m still mad with him or not.
    “I’m going to the locker room to change, then we’re heading out.”
    “Out?”  I hate it when he pulls the dumb act.
    I enunciate the words very clearly to make sure there’s no misunderstanding.  “Out Daniel, as in outside.”
    Bringing us to a stop once inside the elevator I turn to face him.  Daniel just blinks at me.
    “You look like you’re dressed for it.”  I say eyeing the jeans and beige sweater.
    “Do not.”
    “Do too.”
    “Do not.”  He repeats, this time a little indignant.
    “Daniel, shut up.” 
    I look him dead in the eye.  My tone was neutral and he’s looking at me so intently I doubt I’m going to be able to hide my grin for long. 
    The elevator doors begin to shut and I crack.  I don’t say anything further, instead I wrap an arm around his shoulders and give a good squeeze, letting my smile show.  He looks rather confused, but I intend to sort that out, and more.  After all there is no time like the present and with Daniel the way he is, the present is all I’m going to have if I don’t make amends pretty quickly.
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.