Not Daniel by JoaG

The soft glow of lights pooled onto the dark lawn behind partly closed curtains as Daniel pulled up and parked next to Jack's Avalanche. It was late, but if Jack was still awake, he'd have heard the thrum of the Thunderbird's motor. Daniel felt a little hesitant about going inside, recalling the tone of their argument before Jack had been released from the infirmary yesterday.

The immense feeling of loss hit Daniel again like a two by four and he gasped as he turned off the ignition, feeling his chest constrict and his eyes prickle as he forced the tears back once again. He bowed his head under the weight of his pain and gripped the steering wheel tightly, trying to contain his grief. He wasn't ready to let it out yet... soon, but not quite yet.

He hadn't gone home with Jack yesterday, he'd told Jack he needed to stay on base to see things through, which had been the main part of their fight. He knew Jack had needed him, but Daniel had pulled away, trying to deal with his own hurt the only way he knew how. They'd lost people before, but this was the first time that all of SG-1 had suffered such a devastating loss. He didn't know how to handle everyone else's pain, so had done what he'd always done instinctively.

Daniel snaked his fingers beneath his glasses and wiped the tears from his eyes before they could trickle down his face, something he'd been doing a lot over the past days. He'd stayed away from Sam and Teal'c, and Jack, burying himself in work and had deliberately hid, hoping that by avoiding everyone else's pain, he could get a grip on his own.

Daniel also knew Jack had felt guilty about getting injured himself; berating the fact that maybe if his gun had been added to the firefight, then Janet might not have died. Sam was an emotional wreck, having seen Jack get hit, and then Janet dying moments later.

Their grief had been too palpable, and at the moment, Daniel could barely deal with his own, let alone theirs. He wondered if this was how they'd reacted when he'd died... ascended... and suddenly he felt guilty at the thought of having caused them pain. Which reminded him again why his eyes were burning and his head and throat ached with unshed tears.

Funny, though, how it had been two total strangers who had ended up making him see the light.

Janet may be dead, but she had died doing her job. She'd saved a life, at the expense of her own. Daniel could accept that now, could believe those same words he'd told Simon when he'd visited him in the infirmary, similar words Jack had tried to tell Daniel when he'd first visited his injured lover on his return from their ill-fated rescue mission.

Daniel hadn't been ready to listen then. But later, as he'd spoken those same words to Simon, seeing and feeling the injured man's guilt, he realized they were truth. A Jaffa had killed Janet. Not Simon, by getting injured. Not Daniel, for trying to give a badly-injured comrade what he had believed then to be a dying wish. Not Daniel for relying on others to protect them from Jaffa fire. Not Daniel, for aiming a camera instead of a gun. Not Daniel, for hating the fact that Simon had lived, and Janet had died.

He was also glad that Emmett had taken his tape; maybe one day, the whole world would know what a loss Janet's death was to us. And by us he didn't mean SG-1 or the SGC. The world desperately needed more people like her.

He cleared his throat, and swallowed with difficulty. Damn, he missed her already.

Daniel sighed heavily and raised his head. The front door was open, and there was a silhouette standing in the doorway, a long shadow spreading out onto the lawn in the bright puddle of light.

Janet had saved a life before she died. Which meant that a little baby would soon be born with a daddy to love him. Daniel felt his lips stretch into a smile at the thought, the healing pain in his heart that held his love for Shau'ri hurting a little more at the knowledge that he would probably never have kids of his own.

As the shadow shifted, Daniel remembered he had Jack. He sniffed loudly, trying to control his emotions before opening the car door and unfolding his aching and exhausted body from the vehicle's confines. As he walked towards his sanctuary, he staggered slightly on the uneven ground.

Even through his stuffed up nose, Daniel could smell freshly-brewed coffee. He made a beeline for the kitchen, his lover's gentle touch on his shoulder as he silently walked past Jack expressing his understanding.

He poured himself a coffee and went to the living room, staring out the window into the dark.

"I got your clothes ready for the Memorial tomorrow." Jack came to stand behind him, not touching. Daniel brought the mug to his mouth and took a sip. He forced the strong brew down his tightening throat, and was surprised to see that his hands were shaking.

He nodded, unable to speak. His eyes blurred as Jack took the mug from his unresisting grasp. He took a shuddering breath, and knew he couldn't hold the tide back anymore. Grief overwhelmed him, and he turned to Jack's ready arms, breathing shakily as he allowed his lover to comfort him as they both sank to the floor.

As Jack held him tightly though his tears and muffled sobs, Daniel realized how fragile life was and how close he'd come to also losing Jack. He grieved for Janet while at the same time he guiltily rejoiced that Jack was alive.

Finally when the storm was past, Daniel raised his head from where he'd buried it against Jack's neck and found his mouth. Jack readily kissed him back, his hand curling possessively behind Daniel's nape.

"Damn, I love you," Daniel gasped as he pulled back for air. Jack was smiling at him, his eyes darkened with lust.

"I know," Jack replied, his fingers gently massaging Daniel's neck. Daniel put his head down onto Jack's shoulder, soaking in Jack's warmth, his vivacity, his love. He sighed deeply, feeling a little more at peace.

"Thanks for... y'know." Daniel waggled two fingers between himself and Jack.

"Hey, no problem. It was as good for me as it was for you."

Daniel snorted, feeling new tears slide down his cheeks. He sniffled, then raised a hand to rub at his wet face, wondering when he'd taken his glasses off.

"You gonna be all right?"

A warm breeze wafted over him, brushing his short hair, and Jack's. A familiar scent of perfume permeated the room, then disappeared with the breeze.

Daniel turned to look at Jack, and he smiled, nodding.

"I am now," Daniel replied, watching the faint glow of light move through the ceiling as Janet made her way to wonders unknown.  


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