J/D, 1520 words, Post-Need
“Déjà vu. All over again,” Daniel thought as he stood before his locker at the SGC. To his right was Jack, returning from the little dressing room—mostly designed for women but Sam had left already. Just like last time, only different. He snorted at himself. Jack paused, his brows furrowing. Like before. Understandable, but would there be another Come to Jesus moment between the two of them? Daniel didn’t see how it was possible. It wasn’t even a long shot. Jack couldn’t forgive him because Daniel didn’t want him to.
Daniel felt his skin warming around his ears in the age-old reaction to humiliation. He tried to pretend he didn’t notice, tried to overlook it. And in so doing, made him hyperaware of Jack’s presence. He sensed that Jack was taking his time. Maybe trying to figure out what to say to him that wouldn’t drive the knife home. Daniel couldn’t see how that could also be possible.
Before all the horror of his bad decisions began, sarcophagus not yet the problem, there had been his desire to use Shyla’s attraction for him as a wedge to find a solution and free his teammates. It had been a mistake of colossal proportions. As for his friend, they likely weren’t after this clusterfuck. Or maybe it was more accurate to say he didn’t want to be forgiven and remain a friend. After all, what kind of friend lets himself be used? What kind of friend lets his friends suffer without him?
He thought he’d been so sure he could play diplomat. That he could somehow be the hero of the day—and where in god’s name did he even think this was rational behavior on his part? What should’ve been one day’s work turned into three. His sanity had begun to upend itself from day one.
And he knew better. His rational self had been shouting and banging behind his eyes, telling him to stop what he was doing. To say No. To rot with his friends in the mine. But he hadn’t been able to do that. He hadn’t been able to give up trying to set them free.
Once upon a time, his decisions counted for something. Not anymore. Jeez Louise, hadn’t he learned his lesson from that mission to the planet of the Golden Horde?
At least he hadn’t—
“Deep thoughts there,” Jack said, interrupting his pity party.
Daniel shook his head minutely, not meeting Jack’s gaze. He swallowed, closed his eyes, then closed his locker, grabbed his jacket, and proceeded to leave. He still wouldn’t look at Jack. He was almost to the door and woefully certain Jack would let him go.
“Daniel,” Jack said.
Daniel swallowed and stopped, his right sneaker’s sole squeaking on the institutional tile flooring. The center of his back felt as if there was an electron laser fusing his cervical vertebrae. He couldn’t turn his neck. He closed his eyes again and breathed.
“Jack.” There was barely any force to it. It came out with just air behind it. He cleared his throat and croaked, “Jack.”
“I know I shouldn’t ask,” Jack said.
There was something in his tone. It was deadly curiosity, stubborn curiosity. Almost like rubbing a bruise. It wasn’t good for you, but you just couldn’t stop doing it until the pain became a warning.
Daniel squeezed his eyes shut, wishing Jack hadn’t spoken. Well, no, not that. It was wishing Jack hadn’t spoken that particular phrase. He had the right. Interpreting what he meant wasn’t necessary. He didn’t need to be psychic to know what he meant. Daniel’s thoughts retreated, not wanting to think about that.
So his thoughts went back in time. It had been a month since going to Jack’s for Chinese. And drinking just a little too much of that Tullamore Dew Jack had. His inhibitions had lowered, and he tried not to run at the mouth but did it anyway. On the bright side, he’d made Jack laugh.
Which is why they’d spent three Saturdays together after the missions—except it had been three team nights where Daniel stayed long after Sam and Teal’c had gone home.
Nothing had happened. There had been nothing untoward. There wasn’t even anything close to intimacy. Just guys hanging out. Except Daniel’s feelings for the man were getting stronger. That stupid whiskey had made him feel it even more deeply. Good god, the smell of him. That musky scent behind whatever perfumed deodorant the man used and—
Stay in the here and now, he ordered himself. So why were his thoughts all over the damned place? “Jack.” The silence stretched. And stretched. Then finally:
But then, in a rush, he added in a long run-on sentence, “I should have, I mean it wouldn’t, I mean, it wouldn’t have been, pardon the pun, hard, but I couldn’t, didn’t, and I guess it was the one shred of decency left in me.”
“Daniel,” Jack said in a chiding tone.
“I couldn’t go there,” Daniel whispered.
“Daniel . . .” Jack began, but paused.
Then Daniel found his mouth running as he leaned forward and rested his forehead against the metal door. “I have no idea why I didn’t. By the time I was way out of it, she’d have spread herself . . .” The last word faded with a hitch. He felt his ears and cheeks and throat burn with horrified embarrassment and humiliation. Then his traitorous mind said, It was always you. It can’t be anyone but you.
“I get it,” Jack said. “I’ve been there, I mean.”
Daniel recalled a memory. A snippet of a memory.
“I know what this is.”
Jack’s words in the supply closet.
And then he had pointed a gun at him.
And out of the blue, he’d come to his senses. Because he’d pointed a gun at Jack. Jack, whose son died by accident playing with his gun.
Daniel brought his right hand to his eyes, trying to shade them, to somehow prevent the waterworks. But he failed. Still pressing his forehead against the door, he lost the strength in his legs. He felt Jack rush to him, catch him before he hit the floor.
“I’m so sorry,” Daniel said, cursing himself because now his allergies would make crying a thoroughly cloggy affair.
Jack’s arms were around him. “Shh.”
“I’m never getting over this,” Daniel said, forcing himself to stop crying. Then he realized that Jack was holding him.
Despite his clogged nose and wet eyes, Daniel sniffed hard and refused to look at him. He also realized he was holding onto Jack’s arms and told himself to let go. Let go! Run through the door! Get away! Move! Move!
“Nonsense,” Jack said, and petted his hair, his back.
“No, no, no,” Daniel said. “Not what I mean.”
“I know what you mean.”
“No, you don’t,” Daniel said, half-laughing derisively.
Then Jack took hold of his chin, turning him to face him. Daniel’s warning bells were clanging so he resisted. “No, no, don’t.”
Jack paused, fingers still on his chin. “Why?”
Another laugh, this one forlorn. “Because if I open my eyes and look at you, and given how close we are . . . at this moment . . . it’s gonna go somewhere it shouldn’t.”
There was amusement in Jack’s tone as he said, “And just why do you think something’s gonna happen?”
“Oh Jesus, don’t do that,” Daniel said with disgust, his humiliation and warnings tossed aside as he turned to glare at him. “I hate it when you pretend to be stupid. Seriously. I hate that.”
Jack abruptly smiled, but there were cracks in it. “There you are.”
Daniel rolled his eyes and pushed ineffectively away from him and landed with his ass on the cold floor. Jack moved with him. “Damn you.”
Eyes closed, Daniel shook his head. “Fuck all the way off, Jack.” The man chuckled. Daniel wanted to smack him. Or something. An excuse to touch him. Oh hell’s bells. At least they were out of the clinch.
Jack ran his fingers through Daniel’s hair and Daniel squeezed his eyes tighter and pulled Jack’s hand away. “You’re making it worse. Stop doing that.”
“You’re such a pain in my ass,” Jack said. Then he pulled Daniel to him with terrific strength and hugged him tightly. “Such a pain in my ass.”
Daniel let out a hard laugh. He opened his eyes and regarded him. Jack’s eyes were emotional. What did that mean? But he answered Jack’s exclamation with “Right back at—”
Jack kissed him.
Dry, chaste, warm. Sensuous. Daniel fought not to open his mouth as his eyes widened and he pulled out of the hug. “Are you out of—”
Jack leaned forward and kissed him again. Daniel ordered himself to get up, move away. But he opened his mouth instead. And that was all she wrote. He was doomed and so was Jack.
Maybe he’d tell him that.
In a little while.