a Stargate: SG-1 story
by dirty diana
originally this was comment fic for sffan, who asked about Jack and Daniel and the rain and happiness. Three out of four is, uh. Pretty close. I guess. It just kind of grew. Accidentally. Beta love goes to sf also, with candy.
The fog rolled in over the hills, well before the rain started. Jack shivered in the darkness that was barely lit by a thin crescent moon, despite the thickness of his cold-weather gear. His fingers were the coldest, despite the gloves shielding his hands, the material cut away near the fingertips so that he could feel the grips of the rifle that he rested lightly on the ground.
"Sir." Carter's voice was in his ear from somewhere that he couldn't see. "We have movement."
Jack squinted through his binoculars. Down in the camp, illuminated in a pale green, only a handful of figures stirred. A handful of rebel soldiers, and Daniel, in the same dark camos he had been wearing when Jack saw him last. Stumbling forward in the darkness, with his glasses gone.
Jack couldn't spot any bruises or cuts on Daniel's skin, not from this distance. But he knew it didn't mean they weren't there. Daniel broke free from his handler, for just one moment, earning himself a slap on the head and a kick to the ground.
"For crying out loud, Daniel," Jack muttered to himself, not caring if the Marine beside him could hear. "Don't. Just don't. Stay alive until we get there."
Jack put the binoculars down, and once more took a firm hold on his P-90. "Move in," he ordered the darkness, and the sky broke open. Jack licked his lips, and tasted the rain.
Daniel's chest was aching. The pain had been there for so long that it was starting to twist and fade, leaving only a jumbled kind of euphoria behind. Daniel inhaled the cold, wet air, and then coughed, leaving blood on the ground.
Someone kicked him from behind. In the darkness, drowned by fog and without his glasses, Daniel was blinded.
His knees were weak, all of his concentration exhausted on staying upright. Daniel was beginning to lose count of how many times he had been here. He was beginning to lose count of how many times he had closed tired eyes and not woken up. One day the number would disappear into nothing, he thought, and then he would be just like his enemies, blind and counting on an old and backwards magic to lift him out of the dirt.
Daniel coughed, and then thought of nothing as the pain attacked him. He stumbled. He touched the ring on his right hand, the one accessory that hadn't been taken from him. The metal was cold on the outside, the inside warmed by his skin. He wanted to go home.
The rain started then, with a bolt of lightning that took his captors by surprise. Then the noise began, like tiny claps of thunder rolling down from the hills.
Daniel knew the steps. He escaped the grip of the one behind him, and threw himself to the ground, lips pressed tight to make no sound as the pain swept through him. The sky was lit yellow for one moment, so brightly that Daniel could see everything clearly, and then the world vanished again.
Jack would come.
"You don't have to wear it."
Daniel didn't seem to be listening. He turned the ring over in the palm of his hand before glancing up at Jack, his face half hidden by the fading light. "You don't want me to wear it?"
Jack quelled the urge to reach over and switch on his living room lamp. He forced himself to look at Daniel. Talking to Daniel always seemed to bring him here, feeling like he was missing something obvious. "That's not it. I mean..."
Daniel had stopped listening again. He studied the inside, his eyes squinting narrowly. No words. Jack hadn't known what to say. "I can't."
"I love you."
"I know," Jack said, and let Daniel kiss him, lips drifting across the corner of his mouth.
"Can I stay tonight?"
"Always," Jack said. The moon that rose outside his window was full and cool, promising nothing.
He barely heard Carter's footsteps in the mud before she spoke, and then she was there. She and another officer dragged Daniel between them, Daniel holding himself up the best that he could.
Jack stood, wiping the rain from his face. He reached out, to take the burden. Daniel's weight sagged, disturbingly limp against Jack's shoulder.
Jack looked around, counting quickly. All six soldiers stood looking at him, their weapons still at the ready. Lieutenant Connor was hurt, Jack noticed, a hit to the shoulder that he still tried to hide, blood seeping through his uniform.
He tapped his radio. Daniel muttered something that Jack didn't understand, something that didn't even sound like English. "It's okay," Jack whispered, as softly as he could.
Daniel was silent, and then gravity seemed to gently pull at him, a slow but certain fall. Carter stepped forward, pulling him up again. Her face twisted with the effort.
"SG four." Jack kept all the urgency that he could from his voice, but the words raced out all the same. "SG four, this is SG one niner. We're on our way."
There was silence.
Jack tried again, his words slower and louder. There was no response.
Overhead, the lightning had stopped. There was the unmistakable sound of glider fire.
Daniel felt cold. He didn't remember saying it out loud, only thinking it, but in an instant familiar hands were on him, exploring, their pressure gentle but firm.
"Carter?" That was Jack. Daniel couldn't make out where he was, couldn't see him. He closed his eyes, and tried to follow the conversation.
"I'm working on it, sir." Sam was speaking in a low voice. They all were. The rain seemed to have stopped. "Broken ribs, I think." One warm hand tipped Daniel's head forward towards an overflowing cup, and he followed it weakly. "Daniel. Drink this."
Daniel sipped, then coughed shallowly. His mouth tasted bitter.
"I'm doing my best. Sir."
That was frustration in Sam's voice, frustration and anger and fear. Fear. For him? Daniel couldn't tell. Dimly he tried to focus on her, her face shadowed and reflecting the pale yellow glow of her flashlight. The ground underneath him was hard, and everything hurt. Daniel coughed again.
"When you're done, take a look at Connor. I think he could use an aspirin." Jack sounded almost halfway apologetic.
"Yes, sir." Sam sounded sorry too, and then they were both silent.
"If I can ask, sir," this was someone else, a voice that Daniel didn't recognise, "what's the plan?"
"Plan?" Jack sounded annoyed now. And worried. Daniel tried not to think about what it meant that Jack sounded worried. "We're pinned down between two enemies, with no access to the gate. The plan is to wait for the cavalry, or for the situation to change. Unless you've got a better idea."
The voice that had spoken faded now, into the background. "No, sir."
"Fuentes." There was a shifting of the earth somewhere, and then a hand brushed his shoulder. Jack's voice was closer now, right beside him. "Martin. You're on watch."
Footsteps approached, and then disappeared. The soldiers left behind were so still that Daniel could make out individual sounds, Jack breathing. Involuntarily, he shivered. He was cold.
Jack turned the doorknob without thinking to knock. He moved a few steps forward, and then had to stop. The floor of the entrance to Daniel's office was blocked, lit candles scattered in an indefinable pattern. Daniel sat cross-legged in the centre, his glasses tapping against one knee.
He waited. It was minutes before Daniel acknowledged him, with a bare glance upwards.
Jack closed the door behind him. "I didn't know you still did that," he said.
Daniel shrugged, eyes narrowing slightly as if still concentrating. The flickering candlelight cast odd shadows back and forth across Daniel's face. "Sometimes it helps."
"Was there something you wanted to talk about, Jack?"
Jack hesitated. He had almost forgotten his purpose, staring at Daniel's expressionless face. "Yeah. I just saw your request to join the mission to P7X-551."
Daniel raised both eyebrows, a question without words.
"Do you really have to go?"
Daniel shrugged, and then glanced away from Jack, squinting to focus on the candle in front of him. "They could use me."
"SG-11 has been working on that mining agreement for three weeks without any luck," Jack said. "What makes you think you'll do any better?"
Daniel stared up at him, licking his lips thoughtfully, and then looked away again. "Jack."
Daniel inhaled. He stood up quietly, the movement causing the flames to dance on their wicks, and turned to face him.
"P7X-551," Jack said.
"It could be a long trip."
What are you running for from? The words stayed trapped on Jack's tongue, as Daniel stared at him, blue eyes clear and free of anything that seemed familiar. Instead what he said was, "I hear it rains a lot."
Jack hadn't moved in an hour and a half. He counted the time by the quickly sinking moon outside the mouth of the cave, by Carter's breaths as she slept with her boots on and her head resting lightly on his shoulder.
The cave would be easy to defend, he thought, with one tight entrance mostly hidden by 551's thick, leafy forest. All they needed to do was hold on to it, the small patch of ground on which Daniel rested. Help would come. They were already late.
There was an explosion off in the distance, and Carter jumped awake, one hand already searching for the trigger of her rifle.
"It's okay," he murmured to her, watching her pupils dilating, and then she nodded and leaned back against the cave wall. "Not us. The Jaffa and the natives are fighting each other."
"Oh." Carter's mouth moved slowly, too sleepy to form words. "Should we help them, sir?"
Jack hadn't even thought of that. He shook his head, his mouth twisting at the corners. His stomach tightened. He said, "I hope the Jaffa kill them all."
Carter nodded. Jack watched Daniel. Daniel's eyes were closed, as he lay in the centre of the cave, stretched out for comfort with his breathing shallow and ragged, and Jack's jacket tucked around his shoulders. But if he was sleeping, Jack thought, then the pain couldn't be that bad.
If he was sleeping. Jack couldn't tell. He wanted to touch him, wanted nothing more that to cover Daniel's body with his own until Daniel opened his eyes and said that he was fine.
Jack didn't dare move. The dawn would come.
It was strange, trying to kel'noreem in the dark. Daniel attempted to watch the flames in his mind, tried hard to concentrate and vanish to a place where the breaths came easier. His head was foggier now, the cool adrenaline dissipating. Maybe Sam had given him something.
Daniel didn't notice when he drifted into sleep. In, and out again, unable to hold onto anything. He dreamt of his parents.
It was the pain that woke him up again, a searing ache in his chest and side. He was moving. "Jack," he whispered, and a hand laid firmly on his arm, holding him up, answered yes.
"We're going home," Jack told him quietly.
He was moving faster than he could manage, his heavy boots stumbling in rocks and mud. "Jack."
"Gotta keep moving, Daniel."
"I love you."
He didn't know if he imagined the pause. Dawn had risen, a warm, pink sunlight brushing the tops of the trees. "You're stoned," Jack said brusquely. "I need you to hang on for just a little while, okay?"
"Okay," Daniel said, only then noticing the other soldiers that trailed behind them, in a forest that echoed with gunfire. Sam was to his right, just ahead, her rifle cocked and firing into the dawn. He lost his footing, and Jack caught him, just in time for Daniel to see the figure than he had tripped over. A body, half buried in the rain-soaked dirt. "Was that?"
"Jaffa," Jack said, and he was yelling now, to be heard over the sound of the fighting. "Daniel, we really have to..."
A shout came from behind them. Jack never hesitated, falling quickly to the ground, holding Daniel underneath him with one hand on his back to guide his fall as they slid two steps down the hill. Glider fire scorched the tops of the trees, and then the noise was gone.
Daniel moaned gently, struggling to hold onto consciousness.
"I know," Jack whispered softly in his ear. "Shhh. We're almost there."
He hadn't noticed when the clock on his desk had stopped ticking. Daniel picked it up and shook it, but the hands stayed resolutely at ten after twelve.
He would need to have someone fix it when he got back. When he got back, he though. And then his gaze shifted, falling onto the stack of books lying on his desk, including the previous anthropologist's notes on the culture of P7X-551. Notes, of which there seemed to be rather a lot.
His eyes wandered again, back to the stalled clock. It was time to go to bed, well past time. He blinked sleepy eyes, moving a half-empty coffee cup so that he could read the face of the cheap watch that lay behind it.
But he didn't think that he could sleep. His mind was wide awake, with half a night's worth of work still left to accomplish.
Daniel reached out, his hand restlessly turning pages. There was something relieving about the feel of paper, thick and with ink smudged in the corners, where he had written too fast. There was something relieving about leaving.
There was something relieving about Jack too, something that Daniel couldn't seem to quite get used to, something rough to look at that was cool when he touched it. Daniel sipped his coffee, and found it lukewarm. He made a face .He put the cup of coffee down, and something tumbled out from behind a pen with a tinkling sound. Daniel squinted at it before picking it up and turning it over in his hand, a small silver ring. Daniel closed his hand into a fist, holding it tightly, before slipping the ring into his shirt pocket, a weight that he could almost feel.
Jack would be here when he got back. But he had work to do.
After the noise of battle, the silence that followed was deafening. Jack held Daniel close to him, close to the ground, and breathed lightly. Pain pricked the back of his eyes. He could hardly count the hours since he'd last slept.
Daniel moved, gently, against him. Jack could just see Carter and the others across the clearing, could just hear her as she whispered through her radio. All of them achingly close, with the DHD just to the east of their position and the gate straight ahead, a perfect circle through which Jack could see the rising sun.
But Jack didn't trust the silence, knew that they were all out there, behind the line of the trees. The Jaffa and the natives. Waiting for something. Jack could wait too. But they were so close.
Daniel shifted positions, groaning slightly with the difficulty, and leaned forward, placing his head against Jack's chest. Jack watched him worriedly, still keeping his spare concentration on the dark shadows of the trees.
"How are you?" Jack whispered suddenly.
"Fine," Daniel mumbled.
Jack paused, index finger moving back and forth against the trigger of his P-90. "How are you, really?"
He had to think about it, eyes creasing in the effort to pull his thoughts together. Warm breath stroked Jack's neck. "I hurt."
"You came," Daniel said quietly.
Jack was half-distracted, even as his arm moved around Daniel's waist, preparing to help him to his feet. He could hear the faint rustling of leaves as Carter changed position. They were almost ready. "What?"
"You came," Daniel murmured again. "For me."
"Yeah, I did," Jack told him, and then he pressed his hand to his radio, giving the signal. From every corner the perimeter of the clearing exploded in light and noise. Carter was already on her feet, dialling home. Jack stood, pulling Daniel with him, and began to run.
Daniel woke with a start, from a dream that he couldn't quite remember. Outside his window, a dark sky was changing colour. Daniel lay still and on his side, listening to the almost-morning.
His head was fogged with sleep, and he knew nothing at all as the night slipped away. Nothing but where he was. Home. Daniel's hand slid furtively across the sheets, towards the sensations that he could recognise without even opening his eyes. Jack. Jack-smell and Jack-warmth, the rhythmic inhale and exhale of Jack breathing.
Daniel touched him, softly so as not to wake him, in the hollow of his chest where he could feel Jack's heart beating. And then stayed perfectly still as another clear morning began, the silence washing over him, absolving him of things that he didn't understand. With Jack's skin warm underneath his fingers, and a clock on his desk that refused to tick.