Home by Carlyn
Slash; S7 after Homecoming
Summary: Daniel finds home.

Home

“Damn it, Daniel.”

He’s angry again. His lips are drawn back and I can hear his teeth gnashing against each other. He moves closer and I let my gaze wander to the ship’s glyph-encrusted gold wall.

Oh, god, my chest hurts. I’m so cold… the warm palm pressed against my cheek helps. I meet his eye and what I see there brings my heart to my throat. It’s not anger he’s expressing, it’s… regret? 

“Hey, knock it off!” He stalks towards me, his intense features in total sync with his snarl. There’s no question that, this time, he’s angry with me. I hold my ground before the general’s desk. It’s important we get back to that light…

“… on. Dammit. Daniel. Let's go, come on.”

The floor beneath me is frigid, but once again his hands on my cheeks are warm. He’s slapping me, but not hard enough to bruise. He’s growling again, but that’s not anger I hear in his voice. It’s fear.

“Excuse me, Dr. Jackson?”

Torn from his thoughts by the softly spoken address, Daniel startled. Whirling, he blinked until the owner of the voice, a small, bespectacled man, came into sharp focus.

“Um, I know you, but…” Daniel let the sentence trail off, a slight shrug and shake of his head completing it for him.

“Sergeant Harriman, sir. Gate technician. We’ve not really had much of an opportunity to get reacquainted.”

“Right.” Daniel smiled blandly. “They haven’t been letting me through the gate, so––”

“Yes, sir. I understand that’s about to change, though.” The little sergeant beamed at him, an expression Daniel found a little disconcerting given that he couldn’t really remember the details of their previous relationship. “It’s good to have you back.”

“Thank you… Sergeant.”

Harriman just stood there, continuing to smile. His eyes wandered from Daniel’s face to the wall beyond him. After a moment he began to bounce almost imperceptibly, and Daniel flashed on an image of a small child stomping in impatience.

“Uh, did you need something?” Daniel finally asked.

“Well, actually sir…” Harriman flicked a finger out and up, aiming it over Daniel’s shoulder. “I need the Stargate.”

Daniel followed the finger until his eyes came to rest on the giant ring. His forehead bunching in confusion, he glanced down, surprised to find himself still standing on the gate ramp.

“There’s a team due back in fifteen minutes,” Harriman said.

“O-oh, yeah. Sure.” Daniel stepped off the ramp, moving gingerly away like he’d just been stopped from wandering into a mine field. Back on the concrete, he stood there and stared at the metal grate.

“Dr. Jackson, I… ” Harriman stammered, “Sir, I need you to leave the Gate Room. Please.”

Slightly embarrassed that it took the sergeant’s prompt to move him, Daniel pulled a chagrined grimace. Waving an awkward goodbye, he headed for the nearest exit.

“Looking forward to seeing more of you down here, Dr. Jackson,” the sergeant yelled after him.

Out in the hall, Daniel glanced at his watch. Stumbling to a halt, he gaped at his wrist. 1753. That couldn’t be right. Jonas had gated out at 1700. At the most it had taken him ten minutes to say his goodbyes and make his departure. Daniel remembered speaking briefly with Jack about whether he’d be paid for this job, but after that nothing, until Sergeant Harriman had roused him. So, what the hell had he been doing in the gate room for over half an hour?

“Coming through!”

Daniel shuffled out of the way as a line of Marines headed for the open door behind him. Belatedly, he remembered an armed contingent was always in place to greet returning teams. Figuring it was best to get out of the hallway, and with no clear idea where else to go, he headed for his office.

Pausing on the threshold, he glanced inside. His office. He scanned the work table and shelves lined with books and artifacts, bits of fine metal glistening from some of them under the scant light of the small spotlights attached to the bookshelves. These were his things. SG-1 was his team. This was his life.

So, why did he feel like just a spectator?

He’d remembered Sergeant Harriman, even if he didn’t remember his name. The little sergeant figured in quite a few of Daniel’s memories and, based on what he knew––the length of time they’d worked together, the amount of time he’d spent in the control room before he’d ascended––Daniel supposed that Harriman was a friend. He couldn’t feel it, though.

In fact, he wasn’t feeling much of anything. Facts of his life were coming back to him, but it was like he was reading them in a book––there was no emotional impact. He’d had only sporadic feelings about events and people.

For some reason he’d yet to dwell on too much, his connection with Sam had come easily. He’d felt an affinity for her almost from the instant he’d laid eyes on her. So much so he’d mistaken that affection for something more than friendship. Its depth had frightened him to the point that he’d instinctively blocked her first attempt to reach out to him.

He’d had little difficulty reconnecting with Janet, either. He’d supposed it was her obvious caring and open nature that had made liking her so effortless, though, for a while, he’d worried he just had a gender bias.

It had taken longer than with the women, but Daniel had also warmed up to Teal’c and General Hammond without much difficulty. Both men were genuine; with them you got exactly what you saw. It was the larger man’s seeming inability to prevaricate that had led Daniel to Teal’c’s door when he’d remembered the woman in the picture was his wife.

Then there was Jack. He had said he was glad to have Daniel home, but, as his returning memories had shown him, Jack did not always outwardly express what he was truly feeling.

Daniel believed Jack was his best friend; too many people had told him so for it not to be true. Jack
had been friendly enough on Vis Uban, and Daniel had experienced a real spark of affinity in their quirky exchange in the infirmary. As soon as Jack had delivered him to his quarters, though, it seemed as though an emotional pall had dropped over the older man. After that, every interaction seemed awkward and forced.

The Jack he’d spoken with in the Gate Room was the most… relaxed version he’d encountered in more than a week. It was probably that sense of ease that had sparked his survey of ‘Jack’ memories.
Daniel moved into the office and turned on the desk lamp. Fingering the stack of mission reports on the corner of the workspace, he flipped open the one on top. Feeling his way around the desk, he dragged out the chair, fell into it, and began to read.

“Planet designation: P3R-636.”

Daniel’s head began to swim, his heart thudding wildly against his ribs. Tense to the point of pain, he wanted to jump out of his own skin.

Daniel! God… What are you going to do, Daniel? Do you want to kill me? Oh God, look at you. I know what this is. I know what it's like. You can get through it…”

“No…” He felt himself falling. He never hit bottom, enfolded in two strong arms.

“I gotcha, Danny…” Jack promised.

Daniel pushed himself away from the desk and staggered backward into the bookshelves. Spinning, he latched on with trembling hands, tightening his grip until his fingers ached. His breaths short and sharp, he drew in air, purposefully slowing and lengthening each inhalation. Slowing his respirations calmed his heartbeat and, with a final deep breath, Daniel leaned his shoulder against the bookshelf and closed his eyes.

Standing in his apartment, Daniel took the hand Jack thrust at him. “So,” Jack said, offering a weak smile. “It's been a pleasure doing business with you.” Daniel stumbled forward as Jack pulled him into a hug.

He gulped, vertigo turning his stomach as the background swirled. Still clasped to Jack’s chest, he grounded himself in the embrace and blinked at the walls of the Gate Room.

Jack released his hold, his hands threading through Daniel’s hair. “Spacemonkey! Yeah!” he proclaimed, his face alight with joy.

A hand closed on his arm and, with a small cry, Daniel pulled away. He turned too quickly, his feet tangling together. He saw the hand that reached for him, but it was swallowed in the darkness that followed the sharp pain in the side of his head.

~oOo~

“He spent eight hours trapped on the ship of arguably the worst Goa’uld out there and suffered no more than a sore knee from crawling through the air ducts,” Janet chided Jack. “How is it possible that just your hand on his arm gave him a concussion?”

Glaring his way, Jack raised an eyebrow, clearly expecting Daniel to respond. Daniel ducked the question, figuratively and literally.

“Hey, I’m just as mystified as you are,” Jack replied defensively. “I thought he was looking for a book, but he didn’t respond when I called him. I purposely made enough noise when I approached so as not to startle him, but he jumped like a scalded cat anyway. I reached for him but he fell backward into the shelf. Knocked what looked like a hundred pounds of crap down on him.”

A small hand slid into the periphery of his vision and Daniel looked up. Janet’s brown eyes were as soft as the touch on his arm.

“How’s your headache? Are the pain meds enough?”

“Yeah, it’s fine,” Daniel murmured. “I’m fine.”

Jack snorted, the sound surprising Daniel. Janet turned another disapproving frown on the colonel.

“What?” Jack growled, looking from one to the other. “That’s his stock answer.”

Daniel smiled wanly. This Jack was familiar –– sarcastic, irritable, acerbic. Still, something felt off.

“Alright, Colonel.” Janet pressed a hand against his shoulder, backing him away from the bed. “Daniel needs to rest.”

As though the statement were a directive, Daniel’s eyes drifted closed. Exhausted from his mental meanderings and feeling no pain thanks to Janet, he sighed, his abused muscles instantly slackened against the too-firm mattress.

“He’s gonna be alright, though. Right?”

Something in the query––something beyond the words themselves––touched him even in his drugged state, and Daniel forced an eye open. Unable to resist the pull of oblivion, he took with him the image of two dark, worried eyes and an overwhelming sense of security.

~oOo~

“Hey.”

The gruff hail, soft but insistent, tugged at him like a physical force, assisting Daniel in his struggle for consciousness. He blinked against the harsh infirmary light.

“Hey,” he croaked. “How long did I sleep?”

Jack shrugged. “’Coupla hours. You started squirming around, so I figured you were ready to wake up.”

“Yeah,” Daniel breathed, slightly alarmed that Jack knew him that well. “Didn’t Janet chase you out?”

“As if,” Jack snorted. “I let her believe she’s in charge here, but as long as a member of my team is a guest in her infirmary, my ass stays planted in this chair.”

Daniel clenched his eyes shut, his forehead knotting with a dozen memories of Jack slouched in the chair at his bedside. “Right.”

“How’s the head?”

“Still attached to my shoulders, apparently.”

“You’ve got a nice shiner there. I told you keeping all that stuff on your bookshelves was a bad idea.”

Daniel cracked his eyes open, his view of Jack’s crooked grin filtered through his lashes. “You did? I don’t remember…” The reminder stuck in his throat, like a particularly bitter pill, and Daniel sat up quickly, swallowing hard.

“Hey. What’s going on?” Harshly spoken, the query nonetheless held a measure of concern.

“What do you mean?”

“Daniel, I have walked unannounced into your office countless times, to find you so engrossed in what you were doing that you didn’t even know I was there for a full five minutes. I have broken your concentration and suffered numerous lectures on how it was gonna take you hours to get back to where you were before I interrupted. I have even caught you napping on your desk. But, before today, I have not ever made you leap into your bookshelves. So, I’ll ask again, what’s going on?”

“Why do you want me back?” The question was spontaneous, coming from somewhere deep in his soul.

“What?”

“I told you before I remember a lot, and I do… sort of. I’ve read the mission reports and I remember events… going to those planets. But,” he huffed, exasperated, “it’s like I’m reading about someone else’s life. So much of what I’ve got up here has no emotional association for me; I don’t… feel anything.”

“That’s probably best, Daniel. You wouldn’t want it all flooding back on you at once.”

“So, I did feel things? There’s more than facts somewhere in here,” he tapped a finger to his right
temple.

“God, yeah. You felt things. Too much so, if you ask me.”

Daniel frowned at the growled response. “Are you angry with me? I remember we didn’t always get along.”

Pain flared in Jack’s eyes, like a quick burning match, squelched almost immediately. “We’ve had our differences, yeah, but we’ve always been friends. As a matter of fact, we’re extremely close.”

“Something’s different, though. You’re intentionally avoiding me. And when we do interact, I feel a distance. If we’re friends––”

“Yeah. Don’t take that personally. It’s for your own good. You may not remember this, but I’m a real reticent SOB, Daniel. Except around you. Hammond could order me to open up and I’d resist to the point he’d probably threaten me with court martial, but you… you just look at me with those big blue eyes, mouth all drawn down in a concerned frown, and I’m spillin’ my guts all over the floor. I’m trying to spare you the emotional overload.”

Brow swooping in a dubious arch, still Daniel nodded understanding. “I do recall that your moods are a bit… mercurial.”

“Turn on a dime, you might say.” Jack grimaced. “If you like clichés, that is.”

“You don’t,” Daniel said with assurance. “Or, at least you claim you don’t. You use an awful lot of them, though.”

“That’s me, a real study in contradictions.”

Daniel tendered a sly smile. “You’re not nearly as complex as you like to think, Jack.”

“Not where you’re concerned, no. With you, I’m as open as one of those massive books your nose is always buried in.”

“Just as comforting, too.” Daniel felt the heat of blush engulf him, mortified by his impulsive confession.

“That’s good to hear,” Jack returned, a genuine smile stretching his features. “Maybe those emotional memories aren’t as elusive as you thought.”

“I think you’re the key, though.”

“How’s that?”

“These memories I’m having. They all revolve around you. It’s like…” Daniel shook his head, frustrated. “This is gonna sound…”

“Just say it, Daniel.”

“I sense that you are the most important person in my life, but the reality of it is like a bubble, floating just out of my reach. I don’t know if it’s your avoidance or maybe I’m afraid to remember… but, I think, once I get those feeling straight in my head, everything else will fall into place.”

Jack fidgeted, gaze dropping briefly to his hands before he returned it to Daniel, brown eyes sober. “Maybe straight isn’t the way to go.”

“I don’t understa––” Daniel gasped, closing his eyes to view the memory that played out behind them. Once again those strong hands touched him, stroking lovingly. Jack’s voice, husky yet tender, called to him, the sound every bit as reassuring as the physical caress.

“Jack,” he whispered back. He opened his eyes and tears streamed down his cheeks, released with the barrier to his emotions.

Jack smiled. “Welcome home, Danny.”

 

The End

 

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