I'll be Waitingby JoaG
Author's Note: I always wondered why Daniel came back from his dose of Sokar's Blood full of vim and vigor while everyone else was sick and weak. That prompted me to write this tag, especially after noting that Daniel is sort of "in the background" during the last moments on the ship once they've escaped and you don't really notice what he's doing, but through careful pause, rewind and freeze frame, you realize that the poor boy really isn't feeling all that great at that point. This story picks up the moment they escape from the moon and Teal'c beams them up into the ship.
The rings disappeared and the cool air hit him like a physical shock. Momentarily disoriented from the beam-in, Daniel adjusted his weight as Jack stumbled, his injured leg nearly giving out on him.
"They're here! Go! Go! Go!" Aldwin slapped the cargo hold's door to punctuate the urgency of his cries.
The ship rocked and Daniel realized they were under attack. He fought for balance again, Jack wincing as he was forced to put weight on his leg. After a few long moments, the ship leveled out. Sam and Martouf were already guiding Jacob towards the wall, and Aldwin was there to help ease him onto the ground.
Once Jacob was in Aldwin's hands, Martouf left them and came to help Daniel with Jack. Before he knew it, Jack was sitting on the floor, Martouf was kneeling next to him with the first aid kit spread out next to him, and there was no room for Daniel.
Feeling totally useless, Daniel climbed up onto a ledge directly behind Jack. Nausea and exhaustion hit him suddenly and closed his eyes, trying to simply breathe through the malaise. He rested his elbows on his bent knees and put his head in his hands as Martouf took care of Jack's leg. His cheek was throbbing where the Jaffa had struck him, the pain escalating quickly into a headache.
It suddenly hit him that he hadn't experienced the same debilitating after-effects of the drug that Apophis had forced down his throat as his teammates had. Maybe this was a delayed reaction now that the adrenaline was no longer pumping throughout his body.
The drug had left everyone shaky, having difficulty dealing with the memories they'd invoked. From what he'd made out from their comments, their experiences had been around loved ones, all of them dead. Daniel had been certain Apophis would have forced him to relive his time with Shau'ri. He'd dreaded the wait until the Jaffa came to drag him away. Instead, Jack's apparition had visited him.
That left him more confused than anything.
Suddenly the door opened and Teal'c entered, looking slightly anxious. Daniel watched as Teal'c relaxed and smiled. "We have escaped." Daniel didn't miss the fact that Teal'c was carrying a zat.
"Nice, T. Air conditioning." Jack waggled his fingers at Teal'c. "Water."
Daniel swallowed back bile as Teal'c picked up a skin of water and handed it to Jack.
"Thanks." Even as Jack acknowledged Teal'c with the skin, Teal'c looked inquiringly at Daniel. He gave Teal'c a salute, trying to convey without words that he was fine because if he tried to talk right now, he was sure he was going to puke.
He rubbed at his cheek, trying to ease the ache but only succeeded in making the throbbing worse as Teal'c handed Aldwin the zat. Fighting the increasing headache and nausea, Daniel barely heard Aldwin's apology. Sam and Jacob were talking softly and it was too much of an effort to try and concentrate on their words.
"We heading back home?" Jack's voice was loud and clear directly in front of him.
"We are. Unless you have another destination."
"We might. Daniel, what say we swing by that planet and pick up Shau'ri's kid?" Jack leaned back and looked at Daniel over his shoulder.
A feeling of déjà vu hit Daniel like a ton of bricks. "What?"
"You know where the boy is. Just give Teal'c the Stargate coordinates and he'll take us there. Kill two birds with one stone."
"Come on, Daniel, you're not going to make me get up and walk to the bridge myself, are you? With this leg?" Jack's voice began to echo in the small room, sending a chill down Daniel's spine that had nothing to do with the air conditioning.
"So you gonna tell Teal'c? Come on, we might never get another chance like this." Jack shifted onto his knees and turned to face Daniel, reaching out to place a hand on his forearm. "Catch everyone by surprise, grab the boy, head on home—"
"No! This isn't real." Daniel shook off Jack's hand, knowing at that moment that the whole escape had been a ruse, a ploy that had played out in his head to lower his guard. He pressed his hands against his temples, then let go to fight off Jack, who was trying to pull his hands away from his face.
"Daniel. Daniel, stop it. Look at me." The hands let go of him and pulled him close instead. The cool, filtered air of the tel'tac was gone, replaced by the heavy, suffocating heat and stench of the pit. He got a faceful of damp, sweaty cotton as Jack held him close. "It's okay. You're safe. I got ya."
Shuddering with chills, Daniel looked around in confusion. Jack's face was looking down at him and as he watched, a bead of sweat dripped across Jack's face onto his nose, stretched a moment, defying gravity, then let go and landed on his t-shirt.
"We're on a tel'tak. Teal'c and Aldwin rescued us."
"No... It's a dream." Daniel blinked and the red, fiery glare that was a part of Netu faded to the artificial lighting of a Goa'uld cargo ship. "What...?"
"It's not a dream. Carter had a plan—" Jack stopped speaking for a moment as Aldwin handed him the skin of water. Holding it to Daniel's mouth, Jack squirted just enough to wet his lips. He licked his lips, and despite the nausea, opened his mouth for more. Jack complied and the water was cool and delicious, wetting his parched throat as it went down and hitting his stomach with a physical plop. "We just beamed off Netu and we're on our way home."
"It's not real." Daniel shuddered again as the heat of Netu scorched his skin. "You're not real. This is all a dream."
"Sorry, Daniel. Give it a bit of time. The drug'll fade soon. You were totally out of it when the Jaffa brought you back. Although I'd love to know how you got your hands on our communicator."
"Wha... what?" A waft of air-conditioning cooled the sweat on his skin.
"Radio. You came back with the radio in your hands and a nice bruise..." Jack gently touched his fingers to Daniel's cheek, his hands warm against his now cool skin. Stupidly, Daniel expected the throbbing to stop at Jack's touch, like a mom soothing away the pain of a child's scraped knee.
Jack raised the skin of water again and Daniel drank some more. The eerie sensation of his nightmare still lingered but as real as it had felt at the time, he had a feeling that this just might be reality, now.
"What's our heading?" He felt pressure build up in his stomach and his nausea increased.
"No reason." His stomach gave a jerk and he burped softly, releasing the pressure and abating the nausea slightly. The disorientation was frustrating, though. He looked around the room, trying to see the tel'tak and identify it as such. He was deathly afraid he really was still on the moon.
The slight abatement of nausea was short-lived as pressure built quickly again. Daniel struggled onto his side, spewing red liquid on the ceramic tiles of the ship as hands caught at him, preventing him from falling face-first into his own vomit.
He caught a glimpse of Jack's bandaged leg and from his position on the floor, realized he'd been resting in Jack's arms. Embarrassed, he tried to sit up, only to be pulled back against Jack's chest. He felt weak and shaky; trying to wrest away from Jack was too much trouble. He shivered as he allowed himself to be positioned more comfortably.
"Jack, your leg—"
"Is fine. Martouf did the first aid thing and as long as you don't puke all over it, I'm sure it'll be fine."
"Colonel. Daniel's reaction to the Blood of Sokar seems to be more extreme. I think he might have been given a stronger dose. "
"Yeah, you might be right about that. Maybe the snake's last-ditch effort to get some intel?"
Jack held up the water skin and Daniel's stomach lurched at the thought of anything coming close to its innards. He shook his head. "Overdose?" That could explain the puking. Nobody else had thrown up.
Suddenly Aldwin was kneeling next to him. "You were given the Blood of Sokar? It is a powerful hallucinogenic—"
"Yeah, been there, done that, did the acid trip." Jack's voice was curt and sarcastic. He sounded like Jack, but still, Daniel was reluctant to believe he truly was safe from the drug's effects.
"Is Daniel okay?" There was worry in Sam's voice; Daniel wished he could believe it was real.
He met Aldwin's gaze, who stared at him unblinkingly for a long moment. "He will be fine. He requires rest, as do you all." He stood and announced, "I will take the ship's controls and ensure that we are not being followed."
"We are not." Teal'c's voice was dripping venom, or at least as much as a Jaffa holding back his emotions could portray. Teal'c knelt next to Daniel and Jack, his gaze expressing concern. "Do you require assistance?"
"Nah, I got it covered. Although if you could get him a blanket?"
It wasn't until Teal'c spread the blanket over his legs and torso did Daniel realize how chilled he was. He nodded his thanks. The blanket emphasized Jack's body heat and if he weren't so on edge, he could probably have shut his eyes and slept.
"Jack, tell me about the Harcesis?"
"Shau'ri's kid? There's nothing to tell. Unless you've figured out where this Kheb place is. That's where she sent her servant with the boy, right?"
Relief flooded Daniel, leaving him even more exhausted than before. He shook his head weakly. "No. Not yet. But I will." He couldn't keep his eyes open anymore and he succumbed to his body's need for rest.
"And when you do, we'll be right there with you to bring the kid home." Jack's voice faded, his words healing part of the darkness the hallucinations had incurred on his soul.
- - - - - -
"We have arrived. Are you well enough to stand?"
Daniel blinked up at Teal'c, shrugging off the sluggishness of a drug-induced hangover and immediately aware that he was lying on the floor, no longer next to Jack. He sat up slowly, the blanket spilling from his shoulders. The movement reminded him his head was pounding. "I can stand."
Jack was sitting up, his face pale with a touch of colour high on his cheeks. Sam had Jacob cradled in her arms and even as Daniel got his balance and prepared to stand, Martouf and Aldwin were helping Jacob up. Walking slowly, head kept as upright as possible to minimize his headache, Daniel crossed the few steps separating him from Jack. "Need a hand?"
Daniel and Teal'c each grabbed one of Jack's arms and hauled him up to his feet. Daniel momentarily lost his balance but quickly adjusted, then stepped back as Teal'c put an arm around Jack's waist and helped him limp towards the rings.
It was eerie, Daniel thought as he took a position inside the marked area on the floor while Sam went to the rings' controls. His hallucination had been so similar to this; maybe he'd incorporated part of what was happening to him into his delirium, which would account for his inability to remember fact from fantasy.
He pressed closer to Jack as Sam hurried to them, feeling the heat of fever through Jack's clothes. Then they were on a planet with a hot wind blowing around them. The Stargate was only a few feet away and Sam hurried to the DHD, quickly dialing Earth and punching in their GDO code through the active wormhole.
Feeling useless, Daniel lagged behind, until Jack turned his head to look at him. The look of concern in Jack's face had Daniel pushing heavy and cumbersome legs to catch up. He reached the stairs at the same time as Teal'c and Jack, then shoved his shoulder beneath Jack's armpit to help him up the steps. Then they were through the Stargate and Daniel was hard pressed to keep his balance as Jack stumbled down the ramp.
"Welcome back, SG-1." Hammond watched them all with concern as they passed by him. A gurney was already waiting for them and Jacob was loaded onto it. Someone must have called for a second gurney out of the nearby storage because an airman hurried into the Gateroom with it. Daniel wobbled when Jack lay down on the gurney with a grunt.
They met Janet going out and she gave him and Sam a cursory look before stopping the gurneys to quickly examine Jacob and Jack. A moment later they were on their way again.
- - - - - -
Janet stood looking down at him, arms crossed, a frown on her face. "You have to eat, Daniel."
Trying to ignore the constant nausea, Daniel lifted his fork and made a cursory attempt at dabbing the implement into a pile of mashed potatoes. He brought the coated fork to his mouth, swallowed back bile and with lips still tightly closed, dropped the fork back onto his plate.
"I'm sorry, Janet."
Janet's face softened as she raised a finger, indicating he should wait a moment. She went to the supply cabinet, loaded a syringe with medication, then returned and began injecting it into his IV. "I assumed your nausea was due to dehydration, like everyone else. But you should be feeling better by now so I'm going with the theory you're still experiencing side effects from the drug. Your blood tests have confirmed that you had double the amount in your system so it's really no surprise."
Daniel nodded, trying not to look at Sam, who was finishing up her meal with more gusto than cafeteria food ever merited. Even Jack, thanks to the pain medication, was in the process of cleaning off his plate. You'd think he'd be hungry, though, since the food on Natu hadn't been exactly appetizing and palatable.
"You should be feeling better soon." She took his tray and smiled at him. "I'll see that someone heats this up and brings it back in fifteen minutes."
"Thanks, Janet." With any luck, Daniel would be asleep by then and he wouldn't have to deal with forcing something into an unwilling stomach.
He waited for the medication to take effect, trying to rest despite the roiling in his stomach and the constant, slow loop de loop of the room whenever he closed his eyes.
Daniel turned his head to see Jack lying on his side, watching him with glassy eyes.
"How're you feeling, Jack?"
"Feeling no pain." Jack gave Daniel a sloppy grin. "Nurse over there just gave me a dose of the good stuff." Jack pointed his thumb over his shoulder in the general direction of the wall.
"Um, you've got..." Daniel tapped his index finger to his left cheek, where Jack had a half-dried smear of gravy.
"Oh." Jack rubbed his cheek awkwardly, digging deep into the skin and leaving red marks behind.
"You got it," Daniel said quickly when Jack began licking his thumb and wiping his damp digit all over his face.
He gave a curt nod, knowing Jack would slip into sleep the moment he lay still long enough.
"I just wanted to say... you know... before..." Jack wiped a hand over his cheek again. "You sure I got it all?"
"Okay. 'Cause I can't feel much of anything." He chuckled softly, then his expression turned serious. "You mentioned the Harcesis. At the time, I didn't realize... you... Blood of Sokar... you must have... um... seen Shau'ri."
He hadn't. He'd fully expected to, but he hadn't. He considered lying to Jack, but before he could answer, Jack continued.
"We all saw someone we loved deeply. Carter told me it was Jacob, right after her mother's death. We know Martouf saw Jolinar. For me, it was Charlie. Damn snakeheads. It felt so real. I knew Charlie was dead, deep inside, but at the same time I wanted to spend every possible second with him."
"Jack, you don't have to—"
"I know. I just want you to know I understand what you went through. Fraiser said you got a double dose of the stuff, so even with the recall device off you must have gone through hell."
"I really don't remember much," Daniel began awkwardly, only to be interrupted by Jack.
"Bullshit. I remember everything. It was more than a dream, it's like I lived it. Except for when it got a little weird and Charlie started spouting things he couldn't possibly know... but I can still smell the fresh cut grass, the feel of the leather of the baseball glove in my hand, the sun on my face..."
"Shau'ri died only a few months ago. So if you need anything, Daniel, anything, you know you can count on me."
Jack was staring at him with the intensity of a drunk trying to focus on a face that was obviously out of focus. Daniel sighed, touched by Jack's words and wishing that Shau'ri's ghost had indeed visited him.
"I didn't see Shau'ri. In the hallucinations? I didn't see my wife."
"You didn't?" Jack's face twisted in confusion and he half raised himself off the bed. "Who the hell did you—"
"You, Jack," Daniel said quickly. "You," he repeated, almost in a whisper.
"Yeah." He forced himself to laugh nervously. "That's pretty weird, huh? I get to see my commanding officer when everyone else—"
"Hey. I'm also your friend. Don't you forget that." Jack dropped back onto the bed with a loud oomph.
"Yeah. You are." A sudden feeling of affection struck him as he and Jack stared at one another across the gap between beds. Sudden shame hit Daniel; he knew this feeling. He'd treasured it whenever he was with Shau'ri. This was more than simple appreciation for friendship. This was a helluva lot more.
He was saved from saying more when his supper was brought back to him. He'd forgotten about his nausea which had abated while he'd talked with Jack. He stared at the steaming plate of food before him, his appetite still non-existent. Still, he forced himself to eat. The faster he got out of here, the faster he could escape and try to deal with these emotions.
He chewed rubbery chicken, glancing sideways towards Jack a few times until he saw him blinking slow and long, fighting sleep. By the time he'd finished half his plate, Jack was snoring loudly.
He couldn't care this much for Jack. He'd spent the past two and a half years searching for his wife. He still loved Shau'ri. He'd held hope all this time, that they'd free her of the Goa'uld inside of her. He'd dreamed and planned, in his head, their future together. Here on Earth. Back on Abydos. On a planet where nobody knew them. Different scenarios, different plans, but all of them with Shau'ri.
Not with Jack.
Never with Jack.
Jack was his friend. Not his lover.
So what was his subconscious trying to tell him?
Daniel pushed his empty plate away, determined to examine everything carefully when he was free of the drugs still coursing through his body and then forget about it all, so he could get on with his life.
Tomorrow. He'd think this through tomorrow.
- - - - - -
"Thanks for the lift."
"Don't mention it."
Daniel put the car in park and waited as Jack opened the door and slowly got out. Jack swore as he put weight on his leg. He limped heavily a few steps, keeping a hand on the car for support before turning back towards Daniel.
"Would you mind...?" Jack waved towards the house. "My leg's stiffened up and..."
"Sure." Daniel turned the motor off and pocketed the keys as he hurried around the car's front. He waited as Jack put his arm around him and together they made their slow, awkward way to the door. By the time Jack unlocked the door and went inside, he was walking more easily.
"Thanks." Jack pulled away from Daniel and limped towards the kitchen. "Look, I've got nothing in the fridge worthwhile eating. How about I call for a pizza? My treat?"
"Jack, I should go..." Daniel still hadn't gotten that quiet time alone and being here with Jack was the last thing he wanted to do, at least until he got his feelings sorted out.
"To do what? Drive home and order a pizza for supper 'cause I know your fridge is as bare as mine." Still limping, Jack fished his cell phone from his pocket and speed-dialed a number, not waiting for Daniel to answer.
With a resigned sigh, Daniel pulled out a chair and sat at the table. He watched Jack continue limping towards the fridge, giving the order for the pizza, and wondered if Jack had really been in so much discomfort outside, or if it had just been a ploy to get Daniel inside. Still pondering that thought, he accepted a beer from Jack and twisted the cap off just as he dismissed the idea.
Jack sat at the table, opposite Daniel, with a bottle of water which he was turning round and round between his palms.
Feeling oddly uncomfortable sitting here with Jack, Daniel raised his beer and took a sip, and promptly choked when the mouthful went down the wrong way. He waved Jack's concern away as he stood, still coughing, to grab some paper towels to wipe up the beer he'd sprayed all over the kitchen table. "Sorry," he finally managed to gasp when he threw the soiled paper towels in the garbage.
He cleared his throat and sat down again, pushing the bottle aside for the moment. Jack was watching him and he took his glasses off with one hand and rubbed the tears away with the palm of his other hand. "Funny how choking always makes one cry." He held his glasses up and saw his lenses were splattered with tiny drops of either beer or tears.
"I did that once with wine in a really posh restaurant. I was planning on proposing that night and we'd gotten all dolled up and I was so nervous that I took a sip of wine and..." Jack made a motion with his hands, indicating he'd spewed wine all over the table. "Sara never did get the stains out of her dress."
Daniel finished wiping his glasses on the hem of his shirt, held them up to the light and considered them clean enough. He cleared his throat once more as phlegm threatened to choke him again. Jack was still watching him keenly so he grabbed for the beer just for something to do with his hands. And promptly knocked the bottle over, sending him jumping up and running for paper towels yet again.
"There's rags under the sink." Jack had picked up the now empty beer bottle and had placed it onto the table, away from the dripping liquid when Daniel returned with an armful of rags. He threw several onto the tabletop and a couple more on the floor to mop up the spill.
The smell of beer was strong in the room when Daniel finally sat down again. "Am I imagining things or are you a little jumpy around me today."
Unable to meet Jack's eyes, Daniel shook his head. "No, I'm just clumsier than usual today."
"You're never clumsy. Well, not anymore," Jack said with a slow grin. "Want another beer?"
"Maybe it's safer if I stick to water." Daniel stood and helped himself to a bottle from the fridge. He raised the bottle to his lips, somehow missed his mouth and dribbled water all over his shirt.
"Okay, that's it. Sit and talk to me."
Daniel brushed the water from his shirt and sat, wishing he'd been discharged from the infirmary earlier than Jack so he wouldn't have to be in this position right now. "There's nothing to talk about."
"You've been avoiding me ever since yesterday, when you mentioned your visions had been about me. You do know that that was the drug working, along with a bit of direction from Apophis in order for us to give up some secrets—"
"I know that, Jack."
"Then you should know I'm honoured that I rate high enough to have been part of your nightmare." Jack raised a finger when Daniel went to speak. "I know that sounded weird, but it means a lot to me to know you care."
"Jack, I... you're my friend. Of course I care."
"Hey, Hammond's your friend. So's Teal'c and Carter. But you didn't dream about them."
"You're pleased because you were part of my nightmare?" For a moment Daniel felt a pang of jealousy because he hadn't counted that high up in Jack's esteem and hadn't been part of his hallucinations. He stared at the table, noting a spot that was gummy with spilled beer that he'd missed.
"I've always cared, Daniel. And lately, maybe a little more than I should."
Jack's words caught Daniel by surprise and he couldn't help but stare at him. Jack was staring back with an intensity that was almost surreal. Daniel licked suddenly dry lips and watched as Jack's gaze lowered to his mouth. He felt himself harden immediately. And just as fast, he felt shame. "Why are you telling me this now?"
"I just thought you might've wanted to know."
"Well, you thought wrong," Daniel snapped, pushing away quickly from the table and walking towards the sink to stare out the window.
"Look, this doesn't change anything between us. We're still—"
"It changes everything."
"You're still my friend. We don't have to take this anywhere."
There was awkward silence for a few minutes, until the chair scraped against the tiles as Jack stood. "You want a beer? I can do with one."
"No, and you're on medication. You know what Fraiser said." Still with his back to the kitchen, Daniel listened as Jack limped towards the refrigerator. There was the tinkle of glass on glass, and then a moment later a bottle was pressed into his hands. "I said I didn't want one."
"Take it. You probably need it more than I do."
"Damnit, Jack." Jack was standing next to him, making him feel awkward. Daniel took the beer, twisted the cap off with fury and chugged down half the bottle.
"Why are you so cranky?" Jack asked when Daniel finally came up for air.
"Why are you being so annoying?" Daniel spat back. The moment he'd said the words, he wished he could take them back, especially when Jack's eyes widened in shock. Then his face closed up and hardened. Without another word, he turned on his heel and went back to the table.
Daniel turned so that he was leaning against the counter. "Jack, I... there's Shau'ri who—"
"For crying out loud, Daniel. I know you're still grieving. I don't want to push you into anything you don't want, or you're not ready for. I just wanted you to know that..." Jack raised his palm in a halting motion. "Forget it. Just forget I ever said anything."
"No." Daniel walked over, closing the distance between himself and Jack. "You can't just tell me to forget it when you just told me you had the hots for me."
"Daniel, I don't... I mean, we could try... later... you know... when you've mourned... but not now."
"Why the hell not?" Daniel heard his voice rising and a part of him wondered if he was reacting out of anger, shock, or disappointment.
"Ah, hell, Daniel." Jack rose up onto his feet, one hand on the table for balance and with the other, he reached for Daniel, cupping his fingers around his neck and pulling him a few inches closer. He pressed his lips against Daniel's and immediately Daniel opened his mouth to him.
He felt a surge of emotions, both physical and mental, feelings he thought he might never experience again now that Shau'ri was dead. He pulled back reluctantly when Jack let go of him, having trouble catching his breath. He stared into Jack's eyes, swallowed with difficulty, and blinked, incapable of coming up with any words to describe how he felt.
Looking somewhat smug, Jack sat down again, his eyes never leaving Daniel's face.
"You know... I'd like to... not now, but maybe, in a few months, when I've... you know."
"I'll be here waiting, Daniel. Take all the time you need."
Author's Comments: Many thanks and hugs to devra for the title
to contact me: link removed, since nobody bothers to use it