Two for the Price of Oneby devra
So Jack walked back to his office and tried Daniel's home number, an apology already forming on his lips as to why he was bothering him only a few hours after forcing him to leave the SGC. He checked his watch when Daniel's answering machine clicked on, realized it was dinner time, hung up the phone and dialed Daniel's cell phone. On the cell phone he left a message, and then tried his own home number on the cold chance in hell idea that Daniel would be warming his bed. By the time Jack's answering machine switched on, he was scrounging in his desk drawer for his keys and wallet.
* * *
Daniel's car was in the driveway, which didn't bode well for disproving Teal'c's claim and Jack parked at the curb, scraping his tires in his haste. He slammed the gearshift into park, jumped out and hurried to the front door, knocking while he searched his key ring for Daniel's house key.
The house was dim with the approaching twilight, but Jack knew the layout well enough, all the while yelling out Daniel's went to search the bedroom.
Jack bumped into Daniel on his way out of the bedroom, nearly upending the guy as he held onto the bookcase for support.
"Daniel!" Jack flicked on the hall light and grabbed the listing body by the shoulders, holding him upright. "Where the hell have you been?"
"Ow," Daniel said, ducking his head, averting his eyes from the overhead brightness, his hand fumbling along the wall, trying to find the switch. There was no missing Daniel's audible sigh of relief when the light blinked off.
"Where were you?"
"Sleeping… couch." Daniel closed his eyes, obviously exhausted, then leaned his tired weight into Jack's hand as it cupped his cheek.
Those were more than lines of fatigue around Daniel's eyes, the way Daniel's brow was furrowed, even though his eyes were shut. "Headache?"
"Passed headache on the ride home, hit migraine as I turned into the driveway."
"You should have called." Jack shadowed Daniel back to the couch.
"And said what? Not tonight, honey, I have a headache," Daniel quipped, dropping to the couch, curling into an awkward ball as much as space would allow, and attempting to pull a pillow over his face. He eventually gave up the struggle, permitting Jack to tug it from his grasp.
Jack sat at the edge of the coffee table, flinging the pillow to the floor, far from Daniel's reach. Headaches caused by 'gate travel weren't uncommon amongst the SG teams, but Daniel hadn't been through the 'gate in over two weeks. "Daniel…"
"Go away. I'm sorry. I feel like crap... I took medication…"
"The medication isn't working, is it?"
"I don't know, I *thought* it was. I was sleeping." He raised a lethargic hand and pushed at Jack's knees. "Go, and I'll try again to see if it's still working."
"What's Teal'c doing now?"
"Humor me," Jack begged.
Daniel dug his fingertips into his eye sockets, pressing so hard that Jack cringed.
"Never mind, let's just forget I even mentioned it."
"Teal'c's concerned." Daniel opened his eyes, blinking. "He's worried about me?"
He levered himself to a sitting position, groaning. "Why is Teal'c worried about me?"
Daniel lowered his head to rest on the back of the couch and stared at the ceiling. "How the hell can I *know* what Teal'c is thinking?"
Jack sputtered, his hands flapping in the air and then falling into his lap when he realized Daniel wasn't looking at him. "It's because of that game you and Teal'c were playing. At least that's what we think."
Daniel rubbed his upper chest area. "Think? You're not sure? What did Dr. Carmichael think?"
"I didn't exactly mention it to him when I left."
"You didn't?" Daniel sighed and sunk his head into his cupped hands. "I'm guessing I have to go back to the SGC."
"Sorry. But think of it this way, you'll get *good* drugs that will work great."
Daniel rubbed his stomach. "Lunch."
"Lunch?" Jack shrugged. "Okay, if you're hungry, we'll stop for—"
Wide-eyed he gazed at Jack, grimacing as he swallowed. "I *hate* egg salad."
"So you don't have to order egg salad."
"Teal'c likes egg salad. Teal'c *loves* the commissary egg salad. Teal'c *wants* an egg salad sandwich so badly he can taste it... I can taste it. I know what Teal'c wants."
Jack stood, kissing Daniel on the top of his head. "Isn't that what I said?"
Daniel's head shot up at the contact, and his whimper at the sudden movement forced a sympathetic 'ow' from Jack. "Don't kiss me or have an impure thought or even think of fu–" Daniel hissed.
"Daniel, I know you don't feel good, damnit, and I'm quite capable of keeping my libido under control."
Daniel made a slicing motion across his throat. "Don't even *think* about us... me... you, Jack. Teal'c... if he can *sense* everything—"
"Everything?" Jack winced, feeling the start of his own headache, hoping to God this *connection* wasn't permanent, because just the thought of *that* ménage à trois scenario was enough to make him hurl.
* * *
"I have a plastic bag right in the glove compartment in case you feel the need to vomit."
Daniel groaned, wrapping one arm around his middle. "Don't take this the wrong way, Jack, okay? But could you just please just shut up?"
"That bad?" Jack whispered. Shutting up certainly wasn't an option.
Daniel cupped his hand over his eyes. "I'll be fine. Teal'c, is he okay? Does he have a headache?" His hand moved from his eyes to massaging his forehead. "Like this?"
"Nope. No headache."
"Good, glad it's only me," Daniel moaned. "Gonna shut up now. Concentrate on not losing my last meal before we make it back to the SGC. Is that okay?"
Jack leaned across and opened the glove compartment, removed a plastic bag and shoved it into Daniel's hands. "Just in case."
Daniel flopped his head over towards Jack. "Oh, Jack," he waved the plastic bag in the air, grimacing at the crinkling sound it made. "I can *feel* your love."
* * *
Jack sat on a chair situated between Teal'c and Daniel's bed, idly tapping the IV tubing leading into Daniel's right arm. There was venom in the sliver of blue fixated on Jack. "You're the General, go generalize and leave me alone."
He tugged lightly on the tubing. "Thought this stuff would make you sleep."
"I believe it is your presence that is keeping Daniel Jackson awake."
Daniel yawned, fighting to keep his eyes open. He pointed at Teal'c. "What he said."
"Did the headache at least go away?"
Jack got the answer of 'no' in stereo from both men. "Why not?"
Daniel shrugged, sliding down further in the bed, pulling the blanket over his head. "Ask Teal'c," was his muffled, blanket-covered response.
Jack turned towards Teal'c. "Do *you* know why the headache isn't responding to medication?"
"Based on the tests Dr. Carmichael and the neurologist performed, and the input from Colonel Carter and Dr. Lee, it would appear that the headache will lessen as our *connection* to one another eases."
Jack squeezed the lump in Daniel's bed where he hoped the man's shoulder was and reiterated Teal'c's words. "So this," he waved his free hand between the two beds, "isn't permanent."
"It is not."
"Thank you, God," Jack mouthed, turning his gaze towards the ceiling. Daniel moved fitfully under Jack's hand. "Why are they giving him medication for the headache?"
"When Dr. Carmichael relegated you to the commissary so he could have a moment's peace, he hooked Daniel Jackson up to a new IV bag which not only will provide fluid to compensate for the vomiting he endured—"
"More than one puking incident?"
"Indeed. Several times, if I recall."
Daniel pulled the blanket down, exposing wary eyes and a slightly green complexion. "Guys, stop talking about me like I'm not here. Especially considering *what* the topic is, unless you want me to toss my cookies again."
Fearful, Jack scraped his chair along the linoleum floor, trying to get closer to Teal'c, apologizing profusely as the sound caused Daniel to whimper.
"I do not believe I saw any cookies in the fluids that you regurgitated, Daniel Jackson."
"Teal'c, please, do me a favor? Read my mind, convey my thoughts to Jack and grab a smidgeon of my comments for yourself also." Daniel harshly pulled the covers back over his head and turned onto his side, the IV teetering with the force of his movements, and only Jack's quick reflexes saved it from crashing to the ground.
Teal'c's eyebrows were raised in stunned surprise, his gaze locked on Daniel's blanket-covered form. "I am not sure I am comfortable repeating Daniel Jackson's exact words, though I would have no problem summarizing his basic desires at the moment."
Jack rose, watching the deepening, rhythmic rise and fall of Daniel's breathing under the blanket. "Nope, I get the drift. I'm leaving." He clapped Teal'c on the shoulder. "I'm thinking," he jerked his thumb in Daniel's direction, "he's not a happy camper, so I would tread lightly."
* * *
"Hey, Teal'c." Daniel yawned, levered himself to a sitting position and tucked the pillow behind his back.
"Did you sleep well?"
Daniel yawned even more deeply, smacking his lips. "I slept?"
"For two hours. Do you feel better?"
Daniel chuckled, blinking one eye and then another, smiling broadly. Headache's still there, but definitely decreased in intensity." He shifted on the bed, rubbing his stomach. "Belly's sorta sore. Maybe I'm hungry?"
"I do not believe that is the reason, Daniel Jackson."
"Really?" He glanced over the bedrails, "Did I puke?"
Somberly, Teal'c nodded.
"Oh, do I have to apologize to anyone?"
"You do not remember?"
Daniel studied the ceiling tiles, worrying his bottom lip. "Last thing I remember is warning Jack not to—" He waved his arm, indicating the empty infirmary, and sat up straighter. "Holy crap, you can read my thoughts."
"They are quite unclear at the moment, but indeed, I can."
Daniel slapped at the IV tubing. "What the heck is in this stuff, *I* feel like my brain is on drugs."
"I do believe that is the reason your thoughts are clouded."
Daniel squinted over at Teal'c, forcing his eyes to focus. "You... I'm reading you loud and clear." He smiled. "You're fine, annoyed that you're here, but fine."
"That is correct, but I, too, am confined to the infirmary until you are up to snuff."
"Snuff?" Daniel murmured, a wave of dizziness broadsiding him, forcing him to grasp onto the bedrails.
"Do you need assistance?" Teal'c picked up his call bell, "Shall I ring for Dr. Brightman or Dr. Carmichael?"
Hastily, Daniel waved away Teal'c's concern, blinking a few times to bring the wavering room back into focus. "I’m fine. Just need a moment to adjust."
"May I ask, adjust to what?"
"What? Having more than my own thoughts in my brain." Daniel ran his left hand through his hair. "Especially 'cause your thoughts are waaay clearer than mine." Daniel giggled. "Waaaay clearer."
"I will endeavor to keep my thoughts under control."
"Nah, it's okay. Makes for interesting conversation. Go ahead," Daniel said, pointing to the bathroom. "Go ahead and pee, I promise I wouldn't tell anyone."
"How did you know?"
Daniel just tapped his temple in response.
* * *
"Teal'c went to use the facilities," Daniel whispered to the nurse who was checking his vitals.
"Thank you for letting me know that, Dr. Jackson." She gave him a sweet, distracted smile as she recorded numbers in his chart.
He pointed to the IV bag. "Can you unhook me? I'm finding it hard to concentrate; whatever is in this concoction is making me lose my train of thought."
She studied the chart. "You really should be sleeping, you wouldn't feel so dopey if you slept."
"Not tired," Daniel yawned. "Before you leave could you—" Daniel sighed when Teal'c grabbed a blanket on his way back from the bathroom and placed it atop the other blanket at the foot of his bed, tucking it around his feet. He sighed contentedly and wiggled his toes. "Never mind, Teal'c's got it. Thank you."
The nurse whipped around. "How did you know!"
"I am aware of Daniel Jackson's thoughts while he is also aware of mine."
The nurse hurriedly skimmed through the chart, backing away from the bed, giving them both a tight smile. "I'll ask Dr. Brightman about the IV," she stuttered.
"Daniel Jackson would appreciate that."
"Thanks for taking the words right outta my mouth, Teal'c."
The nurse ran back to Daniel's bed, hung up his chart and beat a hasty retreat.
"I also believe she is new and while she is competent, as are all the staff—"
"Please, don't think about Janet, right now," Daniel begged. He sat up and opened the second blanket, adjusting it over the first.
"I am not as cold as you. Should I request that the heat be turned up in the infirmary?"
"Nah, no need." Daniel slid under the blankets, dragging his pillow in his wake.
"You're hungry, go get something to eat." Daniel waved towards the opened door. "I covered your six while you peed, I can handle you going to get yourself—"" Daniel ran his tongue over his lips. "You still want the commissary's egg salad sandwich?" Daniel shivered. "Hate egg salad. Though you can bring me back—"
"I do not believe any doctor would permit you to have a coffee. And I think I will stay here, to cover *your* six."
"You are not feeling well again." Teal'c rubbed his forehead. "I believe the headache has returned in intensity."
Daniel pinched his pointer finger and thumb together. "Just notched up a teensy bit, not like before."
Teal'c adamantly shook his head. "No, Daniel Jackson, I must protest. Coffee will not help the headache go away. Do not beg or whine."
Daniel pouted and turned his back on Teal'c.
"I am* not* a big meanie."
Daniel chuckled at how insane his thoughts sounded coming out of Teal'c's mouth. God, he wished he was home, in his own bed with his own blankets, with Jack spooning...
"How will silverware make you feel better?"
'Oh crap, so much for impure thoughts', Daniel realized, horrified.
Daniel flipped over so he was facing Teal'c, grimacing in pain at the sudden movement, wishing for familiar hands to massage the aches.
"Though I am not O'Neill, I am quite capable of giving you massage. It may come as a shock to you, Daniel Jackson, but it was known among Jaffa warriors that *I* was… "
Daniel's eyes widened in shock as Teal'c moved to get out of his bed. He threw his hand out. "No, it's okay, Teal'c, I *really* get the picture."
Daniel shot an evil glance at the half finished IV bag—half full or half empty. Optimist or pessimist, either way, by the time the bag was emptied, Teal'c was going to have a full blown visual of his relationship with Jack.
"I am sorry, I did not mean to make you uncomfortable," Teal'c apologized, sliding back onto his bed. "I just merely feel the need to thank you for coming to my aid as we did battle against our enemy."
Daniel tried to fill his mind with images, between the drugs and the re-emergence of the headache, words were failing him and he needed Teal'c to understand.
Daniel felt more than heard Teal'c's chuckle as it warmed his soul. "I am truly honored."
"It is *I* who is honored, good friend." Daniel hoped his smile would be received as such and not as some warped grimace as he attempted to find a position of comfort in the bed.
A visual of Jack running his hands the length of Daniel's naked body popped into his head and in a panic, he forced it back down into the recesses of his brain, along with a slew of other images that for some strange reason, were scampering through his mind like an old fashioned nickelodeon. He located a mental box, shoved everything inside and threw away the key. Threw it far away.
"There is no need to hide your thoughts."
Daniel sunk lower in the bed, embarrassed. Obviously he hadn't thrown the key far enough away. "Teal'c I…"
"I am very much aware of your relationship with O'Neill."
Daniel shot up in bed, already stumbling over coherent words of explanation and he only stopped when he was filled with an overwhelming rush of emotions. Hurt, and confusion tinged with anger, all emanating from Teal'c.
"Fantasies, that's all," Daniel lied, feeling the warmth of blush spread over his body. "Please, don't tell, Jack…"
"Why do you feel the need to lie to me?"
"I'm not lying... honest, my thoughts are—"
"The truth, Daniel Jackson."
"Yes. May I ask why you will risk your life to save me, yet you do not have the courage to be truthful?"
"Because," Daniel said, clearing his throat. "I'm not lying."
Daniel saw it coming, but still jumped when Teal'c's fist made contact with the bed table. "Do you think so little of our friendship that you can look me in the face and not be honest?"
Daniel glanced around. "Teal'c, please, not here."
"Then you are ashamed?"
"Yes... no... mean, of course I'm not ashamed. There's nothing to even be ashamed about—fantasies, that's all these are."
Teal'c lowered his voice. "I disagree."
Daniel turned towards Teal'c, realizing his vision was blurring and he fought to keep his thoughts in coherent marching order. "You know something?" Daniel pointed at his teammate. "You're absolutely fucking right."
"Daniel Jackson!" Teal'c reprimanded in a tone of voice that Daniel was sure Ry'ac had been privy to on many occasions.
"Now you're angry because I'm being truthful here?" Daniel went to pound the bedrail in frustration, and missed. His coordination totally off, he barely managed to catch himself before he slammed his chin into the railing. "Make up your mind."
Based on the somber expression Teal'c wore, Daniel clamped his mouth shut and he sifted haphazardly through his thoughts to see if—
"You are having trouble reading my thoughts," Teal'c commented, and Daniel realized this was a statement, and not a question.
Daniel closed his eyes and tapped his index finger against his lips. Teal'c's thoughts were like apparitions shifting through his own drug-induced, convoluted images. "No, they're still there... harder to see... but still there."
Daniel jumped as a hand landed heavily on his shoulder. "Since my thoughts are not clear to you, I must speak the words instead."
"I understand," Daniel said, drifting back against the pillow, suddenly exhausted beyond belief.
Teal'c paused and intently studied Daniel. "I do not believe that you do. I am not angry because of your relationship with O'Neill."
Teal'c stepped back. "I am confused as to why you would think I would harbor such ideas."
Daniel shook his head. "You're not disgusted, you're disappointed." He couldn't resist a short snort of laughter. "Got the memo on that one, Teal'c, loud and clear."
"May I take this opportunity to mention that I have great sympathy for O'Neill?"
Daniel could feel his hands crawl up into fists, anger settling in the pit of his stomach, his jaw tightening. "We're grown men. Consensual." Each word spit out with venom. "You know nothing about us."
"If you believe these feelings belong to me, than perhaps it is you who knows nothing about me. Do you ever shut up, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c rolled his eyes, in a gesture that was so uncommon that Daniel was stunned. Teal'c commanded, "I see I finally have your attention. My sympathy for O'Neill stems from your inability to hold your tongue and for no other reason. Do you ever keep quiet so the opinion of another can be expressed?"
"Yes. I do."
Teal'c raised his eyebrows skyward.
"On occasion, I do," Daniel added, grunting as he slid into a sitting position. Looking at Teal'c eye to eye was less disconcerting than looking up at him. The change in position, while allowing him to meet Teal'c on a more even keel, kicked his headache up a notch or two and he squinted against the brightness of the infirmary lights—or three, definitely three rungs up the ladder, and he drifted with the pain for a moment.
"I will call for assistance."
"No," Daniel begged, "give me a second." He drew a deep breath, wondering why Teal'c's thoughts seemed to fade in an out like a poorly tuned radio station. But Teal'c obviously was picking up his transmissions loud and clear. A cleansing breath and he forced a smiled. "Better now."
Daniel knew that Teal'c knew that he was lying, but was willing to play along.
"Do you feel well enough to continue this conversation?"
No, he didn't want to continue this conversation, but he gave a sharp nod of acceptance.
"We do not have to."
'Damn Teal'c's reception'. "No, there are things that need to be said," Daniel whispered as a nurse passed them by, her arms laden with a tray of supplies.
Teal'c's gaze followed the nurse. "Maybe this is not the place."
"It's a little late for that, don't you think?" Daniel hissed. "Afraid to admit that—"
"I am afraid of nothing…"
"That's not what I meant."
"But that is what you said."
Daniel closed his eyes, trying to concentrate. Two sets of thoughts running through his brain was hard enough, but coupled with the headache, he couldn't seem to locate where his thoughts ended and Teal'c's began.
"While it is true that I am disappointed, the reasons for my feelings have nothing to do with your relationship with O'Neill and everything to do with our friendship."
Daniel shifted his head so he faced the sound of Teal'c's voice, then he hesitantly opened his eyes, not even bothering to protest his teammate's use of the word 'relationship' in connection with him and Jack. "Just say it, okay?" With a roll of his hand, he encouraged Teal'c to talk.
"We are friends, are we not?"
"Yet you have chosen to keep your relationship with O'Neill secret from both Colonel Carter and myself. Why?"
"We were protecting you." The confused look on Teal'c's face forced Daniel's idealistic fantasies of his teammates' understanding to disappear in a puff of smoke.
"I do not understand this need for secrecy."
Daniel relaxed and drifted over into Teal'c's mind, trying to latch onto something, anything. His snort of surprise made his head ache even more. "You cannot possibly be that naïve, Teal'c, not after all your time on Earth."
"I am not naïve," he replied with a sour face full of indignation.
"Why the hell do you think you have a right to know?" He wanted to scream, to shout, rant and rave and hated the fact that he was forced to temper his anger because of the prying eyes and ears.
"I am sorry you did not feel—"
"No, Teal'c, please." Daniel struggled to sit up straighter. "This is something Jack and I have discussed at great length. Don't think we haven't. There would be horrific enough repercussions if someone discovered our secret and brought us to task, but at least it would only be us who would suffer. If Sam knew," Daniel shrugged, "hell, if the people who want the SGC gone found out you guys knew—not only would SG1 be scattered to the wind, but the SGC wouldn't be far behind, and selfishly, I couldn’t deal with that idea. So Jack and I weighed the options and chose to stay silent."
"Yes, until now," Daniel whispered.
"I would never tell."
Exhausted, Daniel dropped heavily back against the mattress. "I know you wouldn't, it was *never* a matter of trusting your ability to keep this a secret, it was a matter of *you* never having to be a position where you would feel the need to lie. I'm sorry."
"Understand this, you and O'Neill are my friends and to save you, I have lied, and I will continue to do so in order to protect you."
"Have lied?" Daniel's shuddered. Daniel latched onto Teal'c's forearm and clasped it tightly, his eyes widening in shock as he searched his thoughts. "You knew... all along you knew—and Sam, too?"
"Both Colonel Carter and I suspected, and we have been waiting patiently for you and O'Neill to confide in us."
Finally the hurt Teal'c had been exuding made sense to Daniel. "You believed we didn't trust you enough to tell you."
"That is correct—but you felt you could not. And though I do not understand, I will acknowledge your right to privacy."
"You're angry also." It was getting harder and harder for Daniel to hold onto Teal'c's thoughts, but he fought this decline.
It must have registered with Teal'c, Daniel's fight to regain his foothold in his brain, and Teal'c's face registered shock over Daniel's statement.
"My anger does not extend to you and O'Neill, but rather is directed at the SGC for forcing friends to keep secrets from each other. To do battle side by side, I believe knowledge of those that join you as you fight the enemy is beneficial. Do you not agree?"
"Teal'c, do you trust Jack and me?"
"I trust you with my life, Daniel Jackson. I trusted O'Neill to make clear headed decisions as commander of SG1, and now for the SGC. Trust in his command has never been, nor will ever be, an issue. My trust in your ability as a member of SG1 is unquestionable."
"But--?" Daniel knew there was more, and he didn't need to be able to read Teal'c's mind to know that.
"It is your friendship that I had lost trust in."
"And now?" Mentally, Daniel withdrew the key, and unlocked the box, allowing a few select memories to fill him, keeping his gaze trained on Teal'c.
"I understand how much will be lost."
Daniel smiled gently at the sadness in Teal'c's voice. "We will all lose," Daniel said gravely, adjusting the blanket around his cold body.
"I will not speak of this again."
"You are a good friend, Teal'c."
* * *
Jack studied the monitors over Daniel's bed, shaking his head.
"Teal'c." Reluctantly, Jack tore his gaze from the sleeping figure and walked over to his friend. "How are *you* feeling?" He cocked his head towards Daniel. "He doesn't seem to be faring too well." Jack tapped his forehead. "Can you still read him?"
"I cannot. Once Daniel Jackson developed the fever, our link was severed."
Jack dropped down into the chair still situated between the two beds. "Dr. Carmichael informed me that you'll be released later this morning. And Daniel, well he won't be seeing the light of day until he's fever-free for twenty four hours and with the 102 degrees he's baking at, I'm guessing it'll be awhile." Jack studied the scuff marks the chair had made along the linoleum and he looked at Teal'c and smiled. Seemed the big guy had done some Daniel-watching of his own.
"Doesn't make a difference who runs the infirmary," Jack said softly, "rules are rules."
"Dr. Carmichael and Dr. Brightman are of like minds." Teal'c gave Jack a swift raise of his eyebrows as the General swiped a piece of toast off of his breakfast tray.
"What?" Jack asked the question around a mouthful of toast. "About the virus Daniel has, being linked to your adventure in virtual land?"
"Yes." Teal'c gave up and handed him another triangle of toast.
Jack saluted him with it and began to drink the lukewarm cup of coffee he had brought with him to the infirmary. It had been hot at the onset, but he had cornered Carmichael, demanding answers and ended up with a lot of rhetoric, a few embarrassed 'I don't knows', but a definite promise that Daniel would be up and about in a day or two, which in the scheme of things at the SGC, was an okay answer for Jack.
"How was sharing a brain with Daniel?" Jack swallowed, then grabbed a napkin off of Teal'c's tray to wipe his mouth.
"We did not *share*."
"Semantics," Jack said. "You know what I mean."
"It was," Teal'c paused, "interesting."
"Oh, I bet," Jack muttered.
Daniel shifted positions, the blanket sliding off his shoulders, pooling somewhere around his elbow, and Jack and Teal'c exchanged knowing smiles before Jack got up and moved to Daniel's bedside.
Blocking Teal'c's line of sight with his back, Jack did a quick assessment of Daniel. He was pale underneath the blush of fever, shadows under his eyes, creases etched in his forehead and hitches in his breathing telegraphed to Jack that even in sleep, discomfort was Daniel's bedmate, and without hesitation he picked up the call bell and rang for a nurse.
"Sir? Is there a problem?"
"Dr. Jackson's appears to be in pain."
The nurse peered at the slumbering body. "Dr. Jackson appears to be sleeping, General."
"Yeah, I know, but he needs pain medicine, or something."
"Or something..." she reiterated like a parrot.
"Dr. Jackson's really not sleeping." Jack tramped onwards, ignorant of the nurse's impatience and annoyance. "By all outward appearance it may look like he's sleeping but—"
"Shut up, Jack."
"See, what did I tell you?" Gleefully, Jack slammed his hand on the metal railing. "He wasn't sleeping."
"I was pretending, hoping you would disappear, guess you didn't get the hint." Daniel moaned, then made a feeble attempt to cover his head with his pillow, thwarted by Jack's quick reflexes. Daniel batted at Jack. "Go 'way, you're not making this headache any better."
The nurse shook her head and picked up the chart at the foot of Daniel's bed. Jack watched as she quickly ran through the pages, then closed the book and slipped it back into its slot. "You had pain medication two hours ago and you aren't due for another dosage—"
Daniel tried to squirm out from under Jack's inquisitive fingers. "He's got a fever."
"The medical staff is well aware of Daniel Jackson's fever, O'Neill."
Jack dismissed Teal'c's comment with a flap of his hand.
"Would it make you happy, General, if I took Dr. Jackson's temperature?"
"No," Daniel cried in a voice barely above a whisper.
"Yes, temperature taking is fine, actually encouraged."
"Teal'c, can you make Jack go away?" Daniel pleaded.
"He *is* a general..."
"*The* general," Jack corrected.
"And, therefore, I cannot order him to leave. No matter how annoying he is being."
"But I can," Dr. Carmichael said.
Jack acknowledged the doctor's presence with a nod of his head.
"General, Teal'c. Dr. Jackson, head still hurts?"
"Yup," Jack answered.
Carmichael tried to make Jack cower under his intense glower, but though he was a good doctor, he wasn’t Fraiser, and Jack had no fear of the man who stood opposite him, Daniel's infirmary bed acting as the buffer between them.
"I didn't realize one of the side effects of the Virtual Chair was ventriloquism. Nice. Thinking of taking the act on the road?"
Before Jack could make a comeback, Carmichael stuck the stethoscope in his ears and began to take Daniel's blood pressure.
He tore the cuff off. "Blood pressure's a bit low," and before either of them could comment, he stuck a thermometer into Daniel's mouth. A beep later, it was removed, and an expression that Jack certainly wasn't happy with appeared on his face, but he kept his peace until Carmichael pulled out Daniel's chart and made another notation.
"Gonna have some more blood work drawn."
"Sure, go ahead," Daniel sighed.
"Jack, please just let the doctor do his job." A weak hand flew up in the air, pointing in the direction of the bed next to him. "You just go sit by Teal'c and leave him *and* me alone."
"He's really pissy when he gets sick," Jack explained to Carmichael.
"I wonder why," Carmichael deadpanned before turning to the nurse and ordering a series of blood work.
* * *
"Daniel's *really" sleeping this time," Jack said, looking over at Daniel's bed, pointing at the IV. "Think that concoction finally did the trick, glad Carmichael listened to me."
"Indeed." Teal'c was distracted, his gaze rooted on the infirmary door.
"Have a date with destiny, big guy?"
"I do not. I am waiting to be released from the infirmary."
"Am I boring you?"
"Do you not have reports to review?"
"People to see, places to go?" Jack checked his watch. "Not for another forty- five minutes. As of right now, my schedule's all clear."
"I guess I am very lucky."
Jack threw a quick glance at Teal'c unsure, if his friend was serious or his remark was bordering on sarcasm. Damn, his face was neutral and there wasn't even a lift of an eyebrow or a crease in the corner of his mouth to give Jack a clue as to whether his presence was wanted or not. "Do you need me to get you something?"
"I am quite fine. Do you need *me* to get you something?"
"Me? Nope, I'm fine—quiiiiite fine. Yup." Jack got up, stretched and then went to Daniel's bedside, just checking, he reminded himself, looking but touching must be kept at a minimum, but it was hard. The way Daniel's hand was curled, there was no way that could be comfortable.
"I do not believe it would be advisable."
Jack looked up in surprise, he hadn't even heard Teal'c get out of bed, never mind come to stand next to him. "His hand, " Jack pointed downward," if he keeps sleeping with it bent like that," Jack mimicked the pose for Teal'c, "he's not going to be able to move it when he wakes up."
Daniel rubbed his face in his sleep, shifted, and moved the hand that had concerned Jack.
"Do you feel better now, O'Neill?"
No, he didn't. He wanted to touch, but Teal'c standing guard reminded him of his mother on the rare occasions when she would be brave enough to take him shopping. He shuddered as her reprimand, after all these years, still echoed in his mind. 'Look with your eyes, Jonathan, and not with your hands'. He sighed, it hadn't been fun all those years ago and it certainly wasn't fun now.
"Daniel Jackson is not a weak man."
"Whoa, Teal'c, what made you think..." Jack narrowed his eyes. "Does Daniel think that *I* think he's weak?"
"He said no such thing."
"I know he didn't *say* it, but did he think it?"
"He thought of many things, but weakness was not one of them. *That* was my observation of how you are treating him."
"Here in the infirmary? Pffft, it's just concern."
"Would you be as concerned had it been the hand of Colonel Carter which was bent in an uncomfortable position?"
"Of course I would. Yes," Jack replied indignantly. "And I don't think Daniel's weak, *I* was the one who chose him to follow you into that game."
"He was the correct choice."
"Yes, he was."
"So it is guilt that you feel at the moment."
Jack latched onto that. While guilt wasn't exactly where his train of thought had been leading, it was better than—
"There are also other factors, are there not, when dealing with Daniel Jackson?"
Jack pasted a smile on his face at Teal'c's inference then shrugged. "Daniel's mind is an interesting place, isn't it?"
"That it is."
"You got to wander around in it for almost twenty-four hours. Is there anything I should know about?"
Jack shrugged, as nonchalantly as possible. "I don't know? Any well hidden, deep dark secrets?"
"I believe you are already well aware of all of Daniel Jackson's secrets, are you not?"
"Well—I really, I don't—"
"Good, I will take that as a yes. May I remind you not to ask a question that you do not wish to receive an honest answer to?"
Was he really so obvious that Teal'c could read him that well? If Teal'c managed to get into his brain--and he hadn't even sat in the VR chair--he couldn't even begin to imagine how Daniel must've felt with Teal'c traipsing through his thoughts. "Honesty is a good thing, right?"
"I demand honesty among friends."
Teal'c clapped him on the back. "Do not worry, Daniel Jackson and I have already had this discussion."
Suspiciously, Jack eyed the man whose arm rested on his back. "You and Daniel discussed?"
"We agreed that honesty is the best policy."
Tentatively, Jack stuck his toe into the uncharted water of this conversation, not sure of Teal'c's reaction. "What about don't ask, don't tell?"
"Among friends, honesty rises above secrets."
"You know, Teal'c, whatever Daniel told you, it's the truth."
"O'Neill, I believe—"
Jack sighed, exasperated, mentally counting until ten before turning around to confront Walter.
"General? I hate to interrupt."
"There's an urgent—"
"It's always seems to be urgent, Walter."
"I believe your forty-five minutes are up, O'Neill."
"I would say so, Teal'c." He shooed Walter out of the infirmary, waiting until he was out of earshot to continue. He leaned into Teal'c, then whispered conspiratorially. "Keep an eye on Daniel, will ya?"
* * *
"If you weren't hungry, why didn't you just say so?" Jack pointed at the valley Daniel was constructing with his mashed potatoes.
Distracted, Daniel used his fork to open a channel in the mashed potatoes to allow the gravy in.
"Hmmm?" Now the fork leveled off the mashed potatoes and the gravy began to drift back out.
"Is Danny done playing with his dinner?"
Daniel pushed the plate away. "Sorry. Guess I'm really not hungry."
"Really? Could've fooled me."
"What? Oh, sorry." Daniel scrubbed his hand through his hair, the heel of his palm grinding against his forehead.
"Have a headache?" Jack got up and deposited his dish in the sink, and the remainder of Daniel's dinner in the garbage.
Daniel dropped his hand and began to fiddle with the paper napkin sitting just next to his glass, methodically shredding it into confetti sized scraps of paper. "Just tired."
"Well, if you would go to bed instead of sitting on the sorry excuse for a couch that's in your living room."
"Go home, Jack." Daniel pulled himself up slowly, using the table and the back of the chair for support and shuffled into the living room.
Jack followed at a reasonable distance and held his tongue until Daniel dropped heavily onto the couch.
"Thought you were tired?"
"Thought you were going home?" Defiantly, Daniel propped his legs up on the coffee table.
"Nope, *you* told me to go home." Jack dropped down next to Daniel and snagged the remote. "I never said I was leaving."
"He that controlleth the remote, controlleth the world." Menacingly, Jack waved the remote in front of Daniel's face, eventually sighing in disappointment when he wouldn't rise to the bait. "You really are tired. Are you sure Carmichael—"
"Fine. I'm fine. Teal'c's fine, I'm fine."
"I wasn't talking about Teal'c."
Again, Daniel began to rub his forehead but Jack stopped the motion, latching onto Daniel's hand. "It's okay."
"What's okay? That Teal'c got a bird's eye view of my inability to keep my dick to myself or that we've lied to him for the past two years?"
"How the hell do you get four years?"
"Well, the year *before* you were up there." Jack pointed towards the ceiling, even today he wasn't able to say the "A" word. "And we flirted with each other."
Jack shrugged, running his hands along Daniel's thigh. "Fought. Flirted. With us, I think they're really one and the same."
"Maybe from your standpoint it was flirting, from where I stood, I sorta felt like I'd lost a friend."
Jack dropped an apologetic kiss to Daniel's shoulder. "My daydreams and I had my wicked way with you when you were gathering frequent flyer miles with Oma—so that's two years." Jack raised two fingers.
"I really wasn't an active participant for the second year."
"Funny, in my mind you were."
"We lied, Jack. You can make all the jokes you want. We lied. You and me. Big time."
"We were protecting the team."
"That sounded really good until two days ago. And I saw," Daniel waved his hand, "I *felt* Teal'c's disappointment. Admit it, we lied because it was easier for *us*."
"That's so not true."
"No. We lied because we were—change that, we *are* cowards, in the truest sense of the word."
"Oh, come on. You're being totally ridiculous."
Daniel jumped up and began to pace the short length of his living room, stopping and starting a number of times as his gaze shifted over to Jack. Finally he stopped and sat in the chair across from the couch. "You don't get it, do you?"
"Get what! I'm not too sure what I'm supposed to be getting." Jack flipped the TV off and angrily flung the remote to the far end of the couch.
Daniel tapped his chest and then pointed at Jack. "You. Me. We lied because we were afraid that Teal'c and Sam wouldn't understand, not because we were protecting them. We weren't protecting our team, we were protecting our own asses. It all becomes a matter of trust, Jack. We didn't trust them enough. We let our relationship come between us and the team."
"No, we didn't. You're blowing this out of proportion. We made a poor judgment call."
"Teal'c doesn't trust us."
"Jack, you're a General, you don't go through the 'gate anymore with either Teal'c or Sam. I do."
Jack threw up his hands. "Whoa, different ballgame now. Are you saying he doesn't trust you enough to want you going offworld?"
"Noooo, Teal'c didn't say *exactly* that, but if I felt like Teal'c felt, well, then I certainly wouldn't be trusting my judgment anytime in the near future."
Jack opened his mouth and then closed it, rethinking his first caustic remark. "As hard as this is to admit—I understand what you're trying to say. And I think we need to talk to Carter and Teal'c."
"We can't sweep this under the rug, you know."
"I know we can't. That's why—"
"We were wrong, very wrong, dead wrong—"
"Yes, we were, in hindsight—"
"I cannot believe how—"Daniel stopped midsentence and he nailed Jack with a look of pure astonishment. "You're agreeing with me?"
"Yeah, kinda amazing, isn't it?"
"We were wrong," Daniel said softly, getting up and reclaiming his seat on the couch next to Jack.
"Damn straight we were." Jack pushed Daniel's head onto his shoulder, his fingers straying to Daniel's temple, eventually tracing circular designs in the tender area.
"Can we fix this?"
Jack shrugged, Daniel's head rising and falling with the motion, but still he kept up his massage. "Honestly, I don't know, but we'll try."
* * *
Daniel turned from the mirror and faced Jack, his arms spread out to his sides. "Do I look okay?"
Jack slipped on his sock, then shoved his foot into his shoe before answering, his gaze traveling the length of Daniel's body. "Daniel," he explained patiently, "this is Carter and Teal'c you're talking about. Why are you acting like a prospective bride groom asking my father for my hand in marriage?"
Stricken, Daniel's hands fell to his side.
"Lighten up. Okay?" Jack ordered. He stood, shook out his legs and smoothed imaginary wrinkles from his pants, giving off an embarrassed chuckle when he caught Daniel observing his actions.
"Nervous, Jack?" Daniel walked passed him, then backtracked, giving him a kiss on the cheek, followed up by a light pat. "Me too."
"You do know, we're being ridiculous," he muttered, following Daniel out of the bedroom, his eyes trained on his lover's ass, the swell of his buttocks in those nicely faded jeans taking his mind to a much more pleasant place than the breakfast/meeting/confession they had planned with Teal'c and Carter.
"We're doing the right thing, aren't we?"
Jack sighed and pointed to the kitchen table laden with pastries and bagels. "It's a little late for that, isn't it? What the hell are we going to do with all of this food?"
Daniel got the orange juice and milk from the fridge, placing them on the table. "I said breakfast when I called last night, I didn't say anything about…"
Jack grabbed Daniel's forearm, giving it a little shake, hoping to bring back the confidence that he and Daniel felt last evening when they had called Carter and Teal'c to set up this breakfast thingy. "We're doing the right thing."
Daniel's retort was cut short by the doorbell and for a second he stood rooted to the spot, pale and terrified. "What if... I'll resign, it will be—"
"They'll be fine with it." Jack said, reassuring Daniel as much as himself.
"We lied." Daniel patted the hand still gripping his forearm. "I was there, Jack. Teal'c was in my mind." He shook his head. "I'm not so sure."
* * *
They were sitting around the kitchen table and Daniel had just fielded a question from Carter, who was concerned about Daniel's lack of appetite. Daniel took this as an opportunity to speak and he cleared his throat. Using his coffee mug as a pointer, he went first towards Teal'c and then in Carter's direction. "Umm, I need—Jack and I need—"
Jack loved a confused Daniel, but this was neither the time nor the place to revel in the blush on his cheeks or the slight stutter in his voice, so he decided to make an executive decision, to take matters into his own hands, and be the General in this situation. "Guys, there's something that Daniel and I need to talk to you about."
And there was their answer. In the slight indication of Teal'c's head, in the raise of those expressive eyebrows, echoed in the soft half smile on Carter's face. Things were going to be okay. Forgiveness was sitting right there at Daniel's kitchen table.
Maybe he and Daniel would be doing a bit of groveling in their future, springing for an expensive dinner or two, acquiescing to Teal'c's choice of movies for the next couple of months, and even offer up an expensive box of chocolate. Carter took Daniel's coffee mug-laden hand and guided it back to the table. Funny how in that little gesture, he knew his teammates understood. As Teal'c poured himself another glass of juice, and as Carter buttered a bagel and shoved it in front of Daniel, Jack drew a deep breath and began telling their tale, thankful when he concluded there would be friends and family waiting with forgiveness, and not condemnation.
This fic originally appeared in the Make It Write Zine. I love the friendship between Daniel and Teal'c and while Avatar did a great job highlighting that, I wanted to take it one step further.
To the sisters of my heart who always manage to warm a cold night or a bad day with their support. Thanks.