I pass by the office and unconsciously glance in. Then, for some reason, I stop. It looks different. The personality of its most recent occupant has forever changed its appearance in my eyes. Okay, maybe it is a little more congested than before. Things have been moved around again, the light is dimmer than previously, lower wattage bulbs or something. For reading, there is now a desk lamp with a soft-white bulb. The rest of the room is kinda dim. Too much light isn't good for the artifacts, he says. Bright light would actually fade the inscriptions so only non-florescent is allowed here. The objects are shuffled around, relocated; some of the more personal items are back, the wedding cup, his Abydonian belongings that didn't belong to the SGC. For awhile I kept them at my house. Now, they are back with him...no longer in my safekeeping.
There seems to be many more books somehow too. I don't know where they've come from and I don't want to ask. Maybe Nyan had them. Nyan basically ignored Jonas. He never forgave him his role in Daniel's loss. But then Daniel was...is Nyan's sponsor, his mentor and his teacher. I wonder, if Nyann ever saw him? They're friends after all.
I see him at last. He's not at the desk, or the computer. He's lying on that tattered old vinyl couch. He looks tired. Well, he's asleep, so, duh. I walk in quietly, not wanting to wake him. He looks good, a little messy, but healthy. He's even beginning to carry a tan again after reappearing so fair and pale. I think he looks healthy or is it an unconscious perception of mine because he returned to us. First time I saw him at Vis Urban, he was in some blue robes. Then, back at the clinic, he was wearing some green fatigues that pretty much covered him completely. I guess he'd wanted to try look normal again, to fit in back in the old SGC. It was good to see him, even if I had to bitch a bit about his not remembering my name there for a while.
But typically Daniel, he was so focused that all he could think of was his mission for us. And…I understand, it is a fault that we share. The only time I saw him waiver was when he had to leave with Jonas Quinn. They had to try and stop Anubis, to shut down the shield. He was worried that he wouldn't remember things in time so they wouldn't screw up. As if. But I had to go and play Luke Skywalker, and he had to be Flash Gordon.
Then, we were together again on Kelowna, the one fucking place in the universe I had never wanted to see again. The place that had almost cost me everything that I valued. My friend, my teammate, the one man who drug me back from that dark place I had been living in since Charlie died. The man who had given me a new life...and a new reason to start living again.
Yes, these were the same damned people who didn't listen to us the first time. Wouldn't admit that they were wrong and were playing with disaster. The same people who tried to blame the near catastrophe on the one man who saved their sorry asses. But here they were again, asking for our help, my help. Help us, give us assistance, save us...from Anubis and our own sorry selves. Their leader had sold them out and their other diplomats hadn't figured out that their country and the other country still just equals one planet...with a very dim future. All because of that Naquadria junk. You know the stuff, the crap that only works when IT wants too. I swear, if Danny and Jonas hadn't picked that second to ring down right in the middle of shit-in- a-basket... Well, that would have been the end of the stupid Kelownans and the glorious career of SG-1.
I glance around. There are those fish, still here, but then Daniel always had fish. Stress relief, he said, gave him something to come home to. These aren't Daniel's fish; they're left over from Jonas. Daniel's are still at my house. True, some of them have died...in spite of all my efforts. But a surprising number did survive my care of them. A few of them gave up the ghost but some of them did hold on to see the return of their buddy Daniel. I'm pleased that I managed to save the few, the proud, the reclaimed. I know the feeling they must be experiencing. Surviving. We did it...and so did he.
And there are the ever-present coffee mugs. Lots of damned coffee mugs. Daniel always seemed to have a cup in his hand before. Carter said once that Daniel told her he didn't like to sleep cause he would dream. Course, now that I've played that game for the last year, I understand. If I didn't sleep, I didn't dream, I was just miserable wide-awake. Miserable because I had been so close and then lost it all, sorry because I never appreciated what I had when I had it, sad because I let it all go away because of my arrogance, pride, male ego, self righteousness and plain fucking stupidity. My loss was an open wound. Later on, I'd sleep `cause I had to. But, then I'd dream. I had to wake myself up from the nightmares like a kid. I'd fight and scream and try not to let him get away from me. Then I'd wake up and he was gone, only his ghost would look at me with hollow eyes until it dissipated like the mist in my dreams.
His eyes were hollow when we found him on Vis Urban. He was lost, alone and frightened; betrayed again, cast out again, thrown away again. I never want to see that look in his eyes as long as I live. I never not want to know where he is, never not want to know that he's alive and well. I only want to keep him safe and warm and loved. That's my Daniel. I want to be just like him now. I will never do anything half way again. I want to always give 110%, and never count the cost. That is just the way we are now. No half measures between us; nope, not ever again. Cause he's my hero. Because I've learned that when he loves, you know it, when he hates, you know it, and when he's gone, God do you ever know it.
So now, here are you Danny. Back where you belong...with us, here at the SGC. With that same determination in your face and all that fire in your eyes. What did you win? What did you lose? Are you really real now? Did you make the decision, or was it made for us by someone. Did they give you permission or were you made to come? Oh, God! Is this my dream? Or is it really really real?
I turn around and there's Daniel, looking up from the couch with sleepy eyes and a befuzzled expression. He's real, he's alive, he's solid, and he's Daniel. And because of that,I can see the handwriting on the wall. He'll be hurt again, bleed again, suffer again because of who and what he is, cause that's the way he is. To save us and others, he'll jump in front the bullet, get hit by the speeding train and tall buildings will fall on him with a single bound because that's the way he is. He's a hero.
"Jack, can I help you?"
"No," I say, "no, there's nothing. I was just passing by on my way to...do something." To see your face, to breath your scent, to hear your voice, to touch your skin, to say your name, to know that you're here. I just want to be near you, need to be close to you. I need to know that you're safe here, in the SGC with me tonight...
"Would you like a cup of coffee? I can make some fresh."
"No," I manage to say. "No, I'd better be going."
"Jack," he looks a little mystified. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"Yeah...I`m...okay." I reply.
"Are you sure?"
I don't know how to answer that at first, then I realize what I had been feeling. "Yeah, Danny, I'm okay." I say softly. "Now, I'm really okay. I just had to know that you were...all right. There's nothing wrong."
"Jack, I'm fine, no lasting ill effects from the kidnapping."
I look at the man in front of me. "Yes, I can see that." I turn to go so that he can't see the burning dampness in my eyes. I can. I know. Call it intuition, call it ESP, or call it my Daniel-sense. He's okay. Daniel`s okay. And so am I.
"Good night, Daniel."
"Jack." His voice draws me back. "Jack, come here."
I turn and go to his summons. I want to, I need to. I'm in his arms, and I am warm at last.
That's the difference between Jonas and Daniel. Daniel will always get the last word.