Something between Us
Daniel was back. Back from the dead, ascended.... descended, whatever. All that mattered was that he was back,.... and he obviously didn't remember a thing.
He'd brushed past them into a tent with a brooding and somewhat moody expression. Those usually passionate, assiduous eyes, dulled with an unrecognisable soul. This was Daniel?
Jack wasn't just going to stand there and let Daniel walk away. He followed him into the tent. "Please, leave me alone." Daniel said raising his hand. Jack was a little surprised. He hadn't made a sound entering the tent but somehow Daniel knew he was there. The man sat with his back to the entrance. Jack noticed Daniel hadn't forgotten his stubborn streak. "I'm Jack O'Neill and barring some freakish similarity you are Doctor Daniel Jackson."
It took a moment but Daniel bit. "This tent is all I know and these people are all I know. Before I woke up in the forest I don't remember anything." Daniel was wondering why he was telling these things to a stranger but he felt rather comfortable with Jack. He knew something about this man, he didn't know exactly what it was but it was there. "I have tried. I have tried to remember who I was before. Sometimes I think it's right there floating in front of me and all I have to do is reach out and grab it. I try and it's gone.
What was Jack supposed to say to that? What exactly should he reveal to him?
"You were a member of my team. SG1. You were a friend of mine. Last year you died."
You've known me better than anyone else in my life. When you died, ascended, whatever, I almost died with you. I love you...
Jack just stared and Daniel with an incredulous stare. Somehow he never expected Daniel to say that. It dragged up a whole lot of memories Jack didn't want to deal with. If only he knew how many times that statement had been true.
"Obviously not. You sorta died. Actually you ascended to a higher plane of existence. Last time I saw you, you were helping us fight Anubis."
And before that you helped me through one of the hardest things in my life. If it weren’t for you, I'd have given up. You helped me find that part of myself I'd thought I'd lost...
"Yeah. Kind of an over the top cliché bad guy. Black cloak, oily skin. Kinda spooky." Jack didn't want to talk about Anubis. He wanted to help Daniel remember who he was, remember him. "Anyway obviously since then you've retaken human form. Actually I can see how this might sound a bit unusual, a bit."
"A bit?" Daniel started to think this man's words were a little incredulous himself. Then why did he have the urge to gauge this man? Was this just a humorous thought or an insistent need to connect with him on some level? "Why am I here?"
Jack wanted to lighten the mood; he wanted Daniel to believe him, to trust him again. Problem was, he and Daniel were always at other ends of the proverbial string.
"Hey, why are any of us here... Honestly I don't know, but you gotta trust me. You are Daniel Jackson." Now he was clutching at straws. "Think of it this way, out of all the planets in the galaxy, why this one if not for us to find you?"
"So you're saying a higher power had a hand in putting me here?"
"I don't know. That was generally your department."
Jack didn't have anything else to add. He didn't know what to tell a man who couldn't remember anything. Actually that wasn't true. He could tell him everything but then again what reason would Daniel have to believe him. At least what information he had provided would give Daniel something to think about. He hoped he would. With that, Jack rose and stepped out of the tent.
The sunlight blinded him for a moment before his vision cleared to Carter talking with two of the natives. Well they weren’t really natives Jack thought since they weren’t originally from here either.... anyway she brushed them off as Jack approached. "Jonas and Teal'c are helping SG-3 and 5 begin the preliminary sweep." Jack knew she was just doing her job but he needed to vent.
"Remember when I said it was like talking to a wall?"
"Sir, we know someone who's ascended can chose to retake human form."
Jack couldn't help it. He knew for the moment that this wasn't anyone's fault but he was pissed. The person he cared for knew and would die for more than anyone else in this world or the next didn't know him. "You think he also chose to forget everything?"
"Maybe the part about his memory isn't voluntary. Who knows? Maybe the whole thing is punishment for trying to help us. He did say he was breaking some pretty big rules."
Jack had to admit, he hadn't thought of that. He was after all the one who convinced Daniel to break those rules, was this his fault?
"So, what?" He meant it more as a question than as something negative, even if it did come out sounding like that.
In a way Sam understood what he was going through. Seeing Daniel here for the first time in god knows how many months after not knowing his fate was surprising to say the least.
"It's gonna take some time to search the entire extent of the ruins. There could be weapons or a power source hidden just about anywhere. In the mean time, we try to help Daniel remember, if that's even possible."
She didn't mean to go all negative on him, but she wasn't going to stand there and sugar coat it either. Jack knew what she was trying to do and he was greatful. Her turn to have a crack at it.
"Tag, you're it."
He watched her enter the tent hoping she had better luck at breaking through to Daniel than he did. It wasn't until Shamda was at his side did he notice the old man. "I see you care deeply for your friend."
"Yeah" was all Jack could reply. To say he wasn't hurting was a lie although it's not like he blamed Daniel or anything but this lying to yourself thing only worked for so long. "Come" said Shamda "I wish to tell you a story"
Jack regarded the man before falling into step along side him.
After about 5 minutes Jack was surprised Shamda was still telling his story, something about a fog? dog? and dancing monkeys. He wasn't really paying that much attention and if Shamda noticed he didn't say anything. Jack couldn't seem to get pass the total lack of recognition and what some might perceive as contempt toward him and the rest of the team on Daniel's part. They circled the small area in which the people had set up camp and arrived just where they left as Carter was exiting Daniel's tent. As she approached he couldn't tell from the look on her face whether she'd had any luck getting through to Daniel.
"Carter, Shamda here was just telling me a story about a dog and some dancing monkeys."
"The moral of which is appearances can be deceptive."
"I got that. Very good story, wonderful. Full of nuances, I like that."
Jack hoped Shamda believed him and that he wasn't just humoring the old man. He had no idea what a nuance was anyway. Shamda said nothing further as Jonas and Teal'c joined the group.
"We, ah, we sent up a UAV."
"The ruins are quite extensive."
"Yeah, it's gonna take us weeks to scour this place properly."
"What of Daniel Jackson?"
Jack looked to Sam to see if she could shed any light on the situation instead it was Daniel himself who emerged from the tent, knapsack over his shoulder with an apprehensive but determined look on his face, "He's going home."
The whole trip back to the gate was almost surreal to Jack. He let Teal'c take point while he kept on the rear watching Daniel stride purposefully in front of him. He didn't want to even blink for fear that he would disappear and this was some kind of sick, cruel dream. It almost had been when Daniel was helping him escape from Ba'al. He didn't know if he could lose Daniel again, question is, would he really have all of him back this time?
They gated back to earth and Jack took Daniel to the infirmary the whole time trying to keep the conversation light-hearted. For both their sakes. While Daniel was being examined by Fraiser, Jack had a room made up for him to stay with a few of his personal items Jack had kept in storage on base. When Fraiser handed Daniel his glasses and Jack jovially asked him if he recognised him he swore there was more than a small spark of concession in those blue eyes. "Has your hair always been that way?"
Jack sensed that a part of the old Daniel was shining through, brighter than before. Daniel was not lost anymore.
He then led Daniel through the corridors to his guest quarters and showed him inside.
"Not exactly home, but...we unpacked some of your stuff."
Daniel looked around in awe, some things familiar, some not so but one thing he was beginning to realise was that Jack was a constant in this life he was slowly coming to know. "You kept all this even though you thought I was dead." It wasn't a question more of a statement, aimed at Jack or himself he wasn't sure.
"To be honest we tossed out a ton of junk. A lot of which seemed to be very valuable."
Daniel could already tell the man was goading him and he didn't mind one bit. This was becoming familiar, in his world of uncertainties, this was real. "You know" he started, "I've been trying to find out who my friends were, all the faces here on the base, some I recall, others I don't. Some like Dr Fraiser are making themselves blaringly obvious. She has a daughter doesn't she?" He knew he was beginning to ramble but the pieces were falling into place so quickly he just had to share them with someone. "I want to know what food I like, what my favourite colour was, who.... I was," he tapered off to turn around again to look at Jack.
Jack was stuck to the same spot Daniel had left him, standing just inside the doorway. Jack turned quietly and closed the door; silence enveloped them before he spoke. "You like coffee over food but sometimes you have a thing for chocolate walnut cookies, your favourite colour is cobalt blue because you swear that's the colour of the Abydos sky just after nightfall and as for who you are," Jack paused and looked up at Daniel's face with all honesty, "You; are Daniel."
Daniel knew his suspicions had been right. Right now Jack knew him better than he knew himself. He began to feel something here. Not sure what it was but he felt it and it drew him to Jack. "I want to know who my friends are, who I'm close to..." he spoke softly this time. Jack's gaze didn't budge and somehow Daniel relished in that. "I even asked Sam if there was ever anything between her and I, I...I know now she's a great friend but I think there's something else,...someone else who..."
"Ask me" Jack cut in, sounding surer than he felt.
"Ask me" Jack replied again, his voice almost a whisper.
Daniel studied Jack long and hard; the memories were there just out of reach, Jack, was just out of reach...that was until he took a step forward. Daniel stood where he was, should he be nervous or excited? He'd changed his mind about wanting to know who he was and low and behold the answer was standing right in front of him. Daniel smiled just a little as he also stepped forward.
"Sorry, Jack," Daniel stared right into Jack's brown eyes, "...was there ever anything between us?"
Jack stared right back at him, almost looking right through him before leaning in slightly and lightly brushing Daniel's lips against his own. Daniel felt it. Soft lips, an unbreakable friendship, a forgotten love burning anew. He once again looked up into Jack's eyes, only just realising he'd closed his own, covered the distance and kissed him back. He had his answer.