Icon supplied by - sgflutegirl
Episode Tag - 'Ripple Effect'
Category - Angst, Jack/Daniel
Disclaimer - Don't own, don't sue!
Summary - “I don’t regret my life or the things I’ve done. Maybe I made some huge mistakes, but they were mine. This other Daniel… he wasn’t me at all.”
His phone ringing at two in the morning always had Jack’s heart stuttering in his chest. It was the bad news hour, the time when someone with an authoritative voice called you to tell you how sorry they were for your loss. Jack fumbled on the nightstand for the phone and clicked it open, bringing it to his ear.
“Hey Jack,” a voice sighed and Jack flopped back onto the bed, relieved beyond measure. The voice belonged to the man he was mostly terrified for, every damn day.
“Daniel, do you know what time it is?” Jack growled, not really angry because he was always happy to hear from Daniel. They hadn’t spoken much in the last few months and he had gotten the feeling Daniel was still nursing the hurt he felt at Jack’s departure. He didn’t want Daniel to be angry with him, but he was at a loss as to how to fix it.
When it came to Daniel, he seemed to always be at a loss.
“I met Abydos Daniel,” he said cryptically and Jack sat up, scrubbing a hand over his face. He’d only gotten to bed two hours before and he was still pretty groggy. He thought he must have misheard.
“Abydos Daniel, I met him,” Daniel clarified in a way that… didn’t.
“Okay, it’s really early in the morning and I’m still half asleep. Want to flesh out your sentences there?”
He heard a sigh on the other end of the line; Daniel exasperated or just really tired.
Sometimes he had trouble distinguishing between the two.
“You know what happened here, don’t you?” he asked and Jack sorted through his mental catalogue, coming up with the latest SGC weirdness. Ah yes, that.
“The multiple teams? Sure,” Jack agreed, leaning over to his bedside table and snapping on the light. He reached for the half-full and bone cold cup of coffee set next to the lamp, grimaced for a second and then threw it back, hoping it would chase the cobwebs from his mind long enough to give Daniel what he needed.
“I met the Daniel that didn’t dig up the gate again,” Daniel said and there was that sigh again, but Jack was able to read it this time and realized he’d had trouble recognizing it because it was a sound he hadn’t heard in a while.
It was Daniel, angry with himself.
“How?” Jack asked, genuinely curious. The only reason they’d been able to get Daniel back was because the man hadn’t been able to sate his curiosity with the simple life and had continued his studies, digging up the stargate so that he was there to receive the old call from home when the Earth gate had been activated.
“I know, it’s a bit of a mind trip but we all had some downtime so I was able to get the story from him. He didn’t dig up the gate but continued studying the cartouches in Abydos. He and Sha’re were doing the ‘living happily ever after’ thing when the Tok’ra came to check on them. By that time, you’d left the SGC and Sam was running things. She asked for Daniel to return to Earth for a little while to help out with some translations they’d never been able to knock over.”
“Daniel, it’s an old regret and we’ve been through this. I get that a shiny new Daniel probably drug up old hurts for you, but what happened happened. I don’t think revisiting and regretting now will-“
“I don’t,” Daniel said in a small voice.
“You don’t what?” Jack hated that they were on the phone for this. He wanted Daniel there, in front of him. Daniel, although a talented linguist, was about seventy percent facial expression and Jack was having a hard time really pinning down what was troubling the younger man.
“I loved Sha’re and I’m sorry as hell that she died, don’t get me wrong. I still miss her every day… but… but…” Daniel took a deep breath and it sounded like he was holding the phone away from his face.
Jack let him have a moment.
When he came back on the line, he was sounding a little stronger. “I don’t regret my life or the things I’ve done. Maybe I made some huge mistakes, but they were mine. This other Daniel… he wasn’t me at all.”
Jack dropped his feet to the floor, any urge to sleep gone. “I’m not sure what you want me to say here, kiddo,” he sighed. He cradled the phone under his chin and his fists curled loosely, aching to grasp and hold.
“He barely remembered you. I can’t… I can’t imagine…” Daniel’s voice trailed off again and this time Jack’s fingers clenched so hard his nails cut small bloody half moons into his palms. “I’ve been so angry at you for leaving and yet there’s a place out there where we barely know each other at all. I’ve wasted time being angry at you for something I knew you had to do.”
“You were right,” Daniel said, cutting Jack off.
“Yes Jack, don’t sound so surprised.” There was a chuckle in Daniel’s voice and Jack was mighty glad to hear it. He knew not all the wounds that had been reopened from this newest little encounter were healed, but it sounded like Daniel was already making his way back from the brink.
“What are you saying?” Jack asked, a low thrill of fear and excitement arching through his belly, making him bitterly regret the cold coffee but thankful he hadn’t switched off his phone like he’d been meaning to. Who knew if Daniel would’ve had the courage for this phone call in the harsh light of day.
Fate, it seemed, was a funny thing.
“I’m saying I’d like to come to Washington to visit, if that’s okay with you.”
It was Jack’s turn to hold the phone away for a second, breathing raggedly. Finally, he was able to breath again.
“Yeah Daniel. That’s okay with me.”