On The Other Side
by marzipan77
GEN
Rated T+ for Jack’s mind
Category: Regret/Friendship
Tag to “The Other Side”
Which side is Daniel on?  Who put him there?

 

Jack slammed the locker door shut with some enthusiasm and stared blankly at its bland metal features.  ‘O’Neill’.  Just one word to distinguish his space from his teammates’.  No birds, no bars, no subtle nuances to designate rank, seniority, age.  His eyes flicked to the locker’s twin at his left.  ‘Jackson.’  That was it.  He leaned closer, squinting, checking for tell-tale tally marks.

“Jack.”

Oh, great.

“What?” he snapped, right fist clutching the sweat-soaked black t-shirt he’d just peeled from his body.

Boots shuffled across the tiled floor of the locker room, coming to rest a few feet behind him.  Jack didn’t have to turn to know that Daniel had his arms crossed over his chest and that irritating ‘let me in’ expression plastered all over his face.  Oh, no.  Not today.

He spun, flinging the shirt in the direction of the laundry bins instead of into his teammate’s face like he itched to do.  “Come to gloat have you, Dr. Jackson?  Give me the ‘if you’d only listened, Jack,’ or, wait, maybe it’s ‘I told you so, Jack,’ this time.”  The words came fast and furiously, shot from Jack’s mouth with deadly accuracy and bitter scorn.  He stalked forward until only a few inches separated the two, watching the tiny glint of uncertainty spark in Daniel’s eyes.  Good.

Daniel took a step backwards but then caught himself and lowered his arms to his sides.

“You couldn’t have helped me out back there, could you?  Had to just stand there on your high moral ground and watch everything crash and burn around you as usual.”  Jack stabbed one finger into Daniel’s chest, grinding it against the archaeologist’s sternum, knowing that it hurt.  “Too removed, too superior to get your hands dirty and explain to me just what you knew, you knew was going on there.”

Pain flared in Daniel’s chest, but he stood still, eyes locked with Jack’s dark cold stare.

A small, sharp sound, tinny against the firmly closed iris echoed in Jack’s mind.  He shook it off and grabbed the archaeologist’s jacket with both hands, pulling him in until the two were chest to chest.  “And all the time you’re loving it, loving that the big, dumb, military jock gets to eat his words.  Loving that it’s the geek that saves the day once again while the colonel has his big honking guns stuck firmly up his ass.”

“Along with his head, apparently,” Daniel drawled evenly.

Jack released his hold explosively, throwing Daniel away with every ounce of tension still left in his body.  He watched, panting, as his teammate’s back smacked against the wall and his blue eyes widened in shock.  The former special ops colonel’s hands tingled, fingers curling slightly as if he was still clutching the fabric of the green fatigue shirt.  His eyes followed Daniel’s movements as he slid down to sit pressed against the wall, knees bent as if to shield himself from further attack:  Jack drew one arm across his mouth.

“Dammit!”  He was already damned; one more dead body with Jack’s name on it to add to the stinking heap.  Smiling, manipulating Nazi, playing them as he fueled his little genocidal war with the water from Earth’s oceans - he’d kill him again in a heartbeat.  Jack blinked at the man sitting on the floor across from him and lowered himself to perch on the edge of the wooden bench.

The silence expanded, lapping around Jack’s feet, filling up the space between them.  Hammond was waiting for SG-1, his flagship team, expecting some kind of rational explanation as to how such a promising alliance had gone to shit so quickly.  He dropped his head and clutched the strands of his short hair with both hands.

“You’d think we’d get to win sometimes,” he finally whispered.

“We do, Jack.”  Daniel’s gentle reminder fueled the fire again.

“No, Daniel,” he spat, eyes blazing, “not ‘we’ the SGC, or Earth.  I mean ‘we,’ the fighters, the grunts, the big damned heroes.  Doesn’t look too good when we’re always getting our asses kicked only to be saved by the geeks’ big ideas or fancy words.  Just once I’d like to…”

“Okay,” Daniel’s boots scraped against the floor as he stood, “I’m going to have to stop you there.”

“Oh, yeah?”  He let the icy edge to his voice remind Daniel of his danger.

The archaeologist sighed and shoved his hands into his pockets.  “Sorry.  I thought you were done.”  His smile was big and effortless.  “Want to hit me again?”

“Yes.”  Jack smirked inwardly as his friend’s smile wavered.  “No,” he growled, shame burning in his veins.  He dropped his gaze.

Daniel nodded, one hand sneaking out to rub against his bruised chest.  “Good.  So about this ‘we’ thing.  I thought that was the whole point.”

Raising his eyes, Jack let his face reflect his exasperation.  “You’re gonna have to try to put it simply, Daniel - big dumb soldier here.”

“Right.  What I’m saying is, you’re not thinking straight, Jack.”

The colonel rose menacingly.  “So help me…”

“Wait!”  Daniel stepped closer, his own stare piercing, holding Jack in his place.  The archaeologist was apparently done playing stress-relief ball.  “Just hear me out, Jack.  I think you owe me that,” he added scornfully.

Jack took a deep breath and nodded.

“You’re saying there’s a dichotomy – a separation – between you and Teal’c and all the other testosterone laden warrior types and me and Sam and the other eggheads, is that it?  Like all this,” his large gestures encompassed the underground complex, the SGC, the entire idea of the Stargate, “is some kind of cosmic game, with two teams, and someone up there keeping score.”

“Geeks – 10, Colonels – zero,” Jack replied.

Daniel’s eyes narrowed.  “‘Colonels,’” he whispered.  “Okay, so this is more personal than that.  This is between you and me.”

Dark eyes glittered, but Jack kept still.  Utterly and completely still.

“I pushed you today.”  Daniel was thinking out loud, pacing quickly back and forth.  “I pushed you today and you stomped all over me, first with your condescending put-downs and now with your hands.”  He stopped abruptly, nodding once.  “I’m sorry, Jack.”

Whoa.  Jack lowered his arms from where they’d been clasped across his bare chest.  “What?”

“I’m sorry that you felt like I was challenging your command, that I was setting myself up in competition with you somehow, with Sam and Teal’c left to choose up sides.”  Daniel frowned, completely sincere.

“Daniel –” Jack was floored, his residual anger, resentment, and overwhelming sense of futility draining away.  No, that’s not what this was about.  Was it?  “It’s not about…”

“It is, and I’m sorry.  I never wanted to be on the other side, Jack,” Daniel stepped closer, “please don’t put me there, no matter what I say.  I want to be on your team.”

Jack waited until it all sank in.  Yeah.  His team.  Geeks and soldiers and one who was kinda both.  He rubbed both hands over his face.  “Hey,” he reached out and was gratified to see that Daniel did not flinch away from the hand on his shoulder.  “You are.”  He gave the archaeologist a little shake.  “I just… I hate being wrong.  Especially when I’m wrong so spectacularly.”  He raised eyes and hands to heaven and turned away to grab a clean t-shirt from the bench.

“Yeah, you were.”  His head was covered with black cotton when he heard the quiet agreement.

Sliding his arms through the sleeves Jack tucked the shirt in with quick hands and regarded the man in front of him.  Daniel Jackson.  Geek.  Genius.  Friend.  The man whose presence on SG-1 had ensured the safety of Earth time and time again, mostly by squaring his broadening shoulders and taking a stand against Jack’s thinking.  Damn.  The pain carefully tucked away behind the humor shining in those clear blue eyes pulled at the hard-assed colonel’s heart.

“Sometimes you’re going to have to put yourself there, Daniel, on the other side,” Jack shook his head at the hard truth.  “This whole…crapfest with the Eurondans made it clear that sometimes I’m not going to be able to hear you until you do.”  Neither of them wanted to admit it, neither wanted it, but there it was.  He saw the hurt, the denial, and then the reluctant acceptance on Daniel’s expressive face.  His teammate – his friend – was strong enough to handle it, this strange dynamic at the heart of SG-1.  But it wouldn’t be easy.  “And let me just say, right here, right now,” Jack held one hand on the back of his friend’s neck and turned him to walk at his side, “that I’m sorry in advance for whatever I happen to say or do when that happens.  And you may have to remind me of this little talk from time to time.”

Daniel hung his head a moment, but there was a tiny smile on his face as he let himself be ushered from the room.

“So, no more score keeping?”

“Oh, I think we might have to call a moratorium on the whole geeks v. heroes thing,” Jack replied.  Especially when the geek was his hero.

Daniel waited until the door closed firmly behind them and they were out in the corridor in sight of other airmen and SGC personnel, where Jack was unlikely to retaliate.  “At least while I’m so far ahead – it’ll give you a chance to catch up.”

End

 

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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.