Tears, Yes
by marzipan77
For stargatedrabbles challenge #93 WOO
Rated T for Jack’s anger
GEN
Tag for Window of Opportunity
Summary: If this conversation actually happened, it would go a long way to explaining the breakdown of the Jack and Daniel friendship towards the end of Season 4. If you’re a huge Jack/Sam fan, you might want to give this one a skip.

 

“When one has lost a friend one’s eyes should be neither dry nor streaming.  Tears, yes, there should be, but not lamentation.”  - Seneca

“…you asked me that before,” Jack replied, his mouth quirking up into a half smile.

“And?” Daniel prompted him.

Jack looked across to Sam’s face, his brown eyes shining, any response forgotten.

Daniel waited, watching the momentum build in the stares of his teammates, feeling an accompanying aggravation in himself.  He quickly pulled back his sleeve and tapped his watch with one finger.  “Well, look at the time,” he muttered, face carefully blank.  He stood and grabbed his half-full tray, hustling to get away before either of his vapid teammates noticed his departure – not that that was very likely.

He made it to his office in record time, shoulders bruised by his less than graceful dodging of airmen and women who, he realized, had probably struggled to avoid his headlong blind rush away from Jack’s oh-so-subtle drooling over his favorite astrophysicist.  Rustling through the papers on his desk, he yanked on a folder trapped by several heavy reference books and watched as the pile toppled to spread across the desk, almost like gigantic dominos falling.  When the dust settled photos and notes fluttered in the air and his coffee mug was in pieces on the floor.  He sat heavily and dropped his chin to his chest, chuckling quietly to himself.

“God, I’m an idiot” he sighed, shaking his head, knowing his frustration with the situation was liable to widen the existing fracture in the team dynamic even further.  He’d held it together so far – barely – but if he lost it, if he gave voice to the phrases that swamped his conscious mind during these increasingly frequent flirting sessions between Jack and Sam his recent isolation was likely to become permanent - phrases like, “get a room,” and “maybe you should pass her a note saying ‘like me? check yes or no’.”

“Daniel – hey, Daniel!”

Jack’s nasal whine preceded the man into Daniel’s refuge, but that didn’t quite give the archaeologist enough time to school his features into his well-rehearsed mild curiosity.  The face he raised to his team leader seemed to shock the Air Force colonel.

“Okay, what’s up?”  Jack’s eyes narrowed and he crossed his arms over his chest as if to stifle his usual manic fidgetiness when faced with Daniel’s roomful of trinkets.  He watched as Daniel carefully wiped the expression of antagonism from his usually open and honest features and noticeably stomped on the ire burning within the wide blue eyes, hiding the emotion behind a pretense of nonchalance.

“Up?” Daniel repeated mildly, eyebrows raised in question.  “Well, apparently not much within the past three months,” his smile came and went quickly.  “Just thought I’d get some work done.”  He gestured at his in-box- at least, he was sure his in-box was under there somewhere.  He’d seen it sometime within the past four years.  “You?”  Sliding his foot to the right, he slowly swept the broken fragments of mug towards the wall and away from Jack’s line of sight as his hands busied themselves automatically straightening books and files.

Right, Jack thought.  This situation was becoming altogether too familiar lately.  Well, not lately if Carter was right, but… Jack broke off that chain of thought abruptly.  Trying to put the whole ‘groundhog day’ scenario behind him, he realized that something had been “off” with the team for a few weeks before their trip to planet time-loop.  Teal’c had started to make himself scarce more and more frequently, as evidenced by his absence from their team breakfast this morning, and Daniel… well apparently Daniel was pissed.  What was eating him this time?

“Oh, you know.”  He stepped into the office and approached his teammate’s desk carefully as if inching towards a particularly skittish dog.  “Learned a new language,” he tried, smiling brightly at the linguist.

Daniel’s lips pursed at that comment and he dragged the copy of Jack’s report from its place on his monitor to flip through the translation of the writing on the Ancient device.  “Yeah, now I’ll know who to go to when the Linguistics Department has an opening.”  Just go away, Jack, he thought, willing the man to grab a clue and leave him alone until he could reinforce his self-control with some much needed caffeine.

Head shaking dramatically, Jack held up one hand.  “Oh, no.  I’m sure you’ve already forgotten more than I’ll ever know about the Ancients and their tendency to leave minefields all over the galaxy – head grabbers, and now busted time machines.  What next?” Jack quipped, watching Daniel’s irritation grow with each step he took.

Keeping his head down, Daniel let his gaze wander over the photos of the Ancient device while his mind constructed increasingly crude and obvious ways to open Jack’s eyes to the harm this mutual flirtation was doing to SG-1.  He felt Jack’s advance, and felt his temper advance along with him.

“Something I can do for you?” he finally demanded, wincing at the snarl in his voice.

Jack hesitated a moment before deliberately shoving papers and books to the side so he could hitch one hip onto Daniel’s desk.  “Actually, yes, Daniel, there is.”  He tilted his head to one side.  “Every time one of those damned loops started we were in the commissary eating breakfast, and every single time you had just finished asking me a question.”  Jack met Daniel’s exasperated gaze and locked brown eyes onto blue.  “You were pretty worked up about it.”

Grinding his teeth together at Jack’s casual invasion of his work space, Daniel felt the last remnants of his calm façade slip away.  “Oh, let me guess,” he sneered, “since you weren’t listening to me at the time, you wanted to know what I asked you, right?”

A frown flickered across Jack’s forehead.  “Well, yes, but how did you know I wasn’t listening?”

The laugh burst from Daniel’s throat before he could stop it, ripping across the tight muscles of his abdomen, the harsh sound bouncing from the concrete walls surrounding them.  He couldn’t help it – just one look at Jack’s confusion and growing anger made it so much worse, the barking laughter erupting again and again until Daniel couldn’t tell if the tears in his eyes were from hysteria or the realization that nothing he could say now would ever convince Jack that his cunning secret was not most definitely out.

What the hell, Daniel thought, might as well go for broke.  “Sorry, sorry,” he finally choked out, wiping a sleeve across his face.  “It’s just,” a chuckle threatened to escape but he swallowed it down, “imagining you actually listening to me while Sam’s in the same room – well, let’s face it – it’s hilarious!”

Jack froze.  How the hell… “Just what is that supposed to mean, Daniel?”  He leaned forward, menacingly.

Daniel waved his hands in front of him, shaking his head.  “Nothing – nothing.  Ignore me.  Forget I said anything,” he said quickly. 

“Well I can’t exactly do that, can I?” Jack replied.  The little bastard.

“Sure you can, Jack,” Daniel disagreed, allowing a stab of cold to creep back into his voice, “since I’m ‘flaky on a good day,’ you shouldn’t have any trouble ignoring me this time, either.”  He waited until Jack’s mouth opened to retort and then continued, interrupting.  “To answer your question, I was talking about Robert’s proposal for a long-term research mission to P3X-888 where he discovered the fossilized Goa’uld, and yeah, I was fairly heated in my support of the idea.”  He crossed his arms, stubbornly pushing on even in the face of Jack’s obvious anger.  “I was hoping you’d back me up this time.”  He was fully aware of how unlikely that was at this point.

Jack shoved at the closest pile of papers petulantly.   He had never expected this.  “Let me get this straight.  You want to go off with Rothman for a couple weeks to dig in the dirt?”  He stood and made his way back towards the door before turning, his shoulders stiff with restrained anger.  “Sounds like a great idea to me right about now.  I’ll tell Hammond you’ve got my full support.”  Yeah, some time away might just teach Daniel to mind his own damned business.

Daniel felt a sudden hollowness in his stomach and a great sense of loss enveloped him.  What had he done?  He and Teal’c might have been able to weather this affair of the mind, or heart, or gonads – whatever - if he’d just kept up his Dr. Oblivious act.  Now… now he’d be lucky to salvage a tiny piece of the friendship that had become one of the most important foundations of his life.

He leaped to his feet.  “Wait – Jack!”

One finger pointed directly at his chest stopped him.

“No, Daniel.  You wanted this?  You got it.”  Jack’s lips twisted in a dead, mocking smile.  “Send me a postcard.”

He dropped back into his chair as Jack’s back disappeared into the corridor rigid with finality.  Daniel closed his eyes.  “That went well,” he whispered to himself.

End – of many things, unfortunately

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