[Reaching for the world, as our lives do,
As all lives do, reaching that we may give
The best of what we are and hold as true:
Always it is by bridges that we live."
I established a routine. The most unpredictable, chaotic routine possible, and it was quite by accident, but it was definitely a routine.
It had a pattern, an easily discernible one at that when one knew what to look for. I don't know when it first became detectable; I don't even know when it originally manifested itself—the first time we thought Daniel was dead? The second time it looked like even Teal'c's symbiote couldn't save him? After we all survived that second little incident with Hathor?
You were a release. You were the final escape option, after chocolate and alcohol and tears didn't work. And usually I ended up on your doorstep with my fingers sticky, my breath reeking, and the tears still sliding down my face. You had silver hair and wore dog tags and never, ever spoke to me when I sought you out on those midnights.
Daniel would have tried to talk. Maybe that's why I never thought to go to him.
Even when I was pissed off at you, even when I blamed you, you were still the one I always went to. You held me and let me kiss you and didn't say a thing when I slipped naked out of your bed at five in the morning to put my clothes back on so I could drive home for a shower before work. I don't think you ever even said anything when you came, when I would be sobbing out your name and digging my fingernails into your arms, your stomach, your chest.
Sometimes I think Teal'c talked more than you did.
I still kept up the routine, even after I recognized it for what it was, because I couldn't stop, because I still needed you. But it all ended eventually, of course. Sometime before Daniel died (for good, we thought, this final time, but he always had to get the last word in any argument), sometime after the dying Adrian Conrad brought back to life by symbiote. Chocolate and alcohol became enough again, or I could no longer stand your silence, or—or something else. And maybe one day I would have gone back to you, been driven back to you, but Pete showed up and stuck around and he was almost as good as chocolate some nights. He usually knew when to shut up, too.
But he always said my name when he came.
For so many years, you were my release, my escape. I could scream at you, I could fuck you, I could pass out on you, and you wouldn't say a thing. And it got me through the night, and it got me through the day—you grounded me, or you kept me connected to the living, or—
You were my bridge.
"Fuck, Daniel—" you gasp, your hands spasming on my shoulders, fingers digging into my skin, and then you collapse next to me, legs tangled with mine, and for a moment you simply breathe.
I listen to you breathe, panting, shallow breaths, but my eyes are closed and my skin is stinging where your nails scratched against me. I fumble blindly with my hand for you, for any part of you, and curl my arm over your stomach.
You initiate these nights with a touch, I with a look. Innocuous enough at work; we know what the single touches and simple looks mean and that's enough. Usually we don't even need that much—I know when you need me, you know when I need you.
And some nights we're exhausted, too tired to do more than sleep spooning together. Other nights we're thoughtful, gentle, one step at a time, while you make sure I'm whole and I make sure you don't have any more scars.
Tonight you're angry, tonight you're thinking of Ba'al, or Charlie, or the planet Hell, or Hathor, or an old Black Ops mission, or the Tok'ra, or all of them. You snap at me, and I yell at you, and you want to take a swing at me, and I kiss you too hard on the mouth. I know this fight with you, and I know how to make you move beyond it.
Your breathing is slowing down; I can hear and feel you rustling around on the bed, and I feel a hand, rough, running through my sweaty short hair. You wrap me in a bear hug for a long, suffocating moment and then you roll away, silently. I open my eyes and study your back for a moment before turning to fit myself against you, a kiss on your shoulder as I slip an arm under yours.
You let me wrap my arm around you, holding it to your body with your own hand until you fall asleep and your grip relaxes. I can hear your breath, steady, even, calm.
I am your bridge.