Summary: Can two very different men with completely different points of view ever really become friends? That's the question of the day for Jack and Daniel.
"Well, this is blah," Colonel Jack O'Neill opined as he stood virtually at ease with his trusty MP-5 slung around his shoulder.
"Blah?" Doctor Daniel Jackson responded in an incredulous questioning tone. Hurrying over to the leader of SG-1, the archaeologist argued, "This is a great opportunity to learn about these people. There's obviously some connection to the Osirian Civilization on Earth."
"Obviously," Jack replied sarcastically with a tiny shrug of his shoulders.
"The Osirian Civilization pre-dated the dynastic Egypt. Jack, they had electricity, transportation ..."
"Camels?" Jack mocked.
"Maybe trams," Daniel countered. "Look, we need to find out more about the people here. Who knows what we could discover."
"Daniel, the United States government isn't paying us to discover what makes one another tick. They're paying us to fight the Goa'uld. Do you see any Goa'uld here? Nah, didn't think so. You're here to find Sha're. Do you see her around here? Any chance she's hiding out in that shack over there? Let's look." The colonel actually walked over to the shack, tossed up the cloth covering that served as a door, and peeked inside. "Nope, no Sha're." Glaring at the archaeologist, he ordered, "Dial it up. We're going home."
Jack walked away, ending the short debate about the mission to PR9-688.
Daniel looked over at Captain Samantha Carter, the second-in-command who while military to the core was also an astrophysicist. As a scientist, she understood Daniel's desire to further explore the various cultures SG-1 was finding when going through the Stargate. Now, though, all she could do was shrug and deliver a sympathetic smile to her new friend.
Resigned to the reality of the situation, Daniel walked over to the DHD and dialed Earth.
The post-mission debriefing was quick and rather bland, except for Daniel's failed argument to convince Jack and General George Hammond that cultural education was just as valuable to the United States as defeating the Goa'uld. When it ended, Daniel hurried out of the conference room.
"Sir, maybe Daniel has a point," Sam suggested to her commanding officer as they stood at the long conference table after the base commander had exited the room.
"Carter, if you think that, why didn't you say that during the debriefing?"
"It's important to Daniel, Sir."
"And it matters to me that the Avalanche kick the Flames off the rink and all the way back to Calgary tomorrow night," Jack rebutted, referring to the hockey game that he planned on attending. "What Daniel wants and what I want isn't relevant to our missions."
"Yes, Sir," Sam sighed and walked away.
Jack turned and walked over to the large window that faced the Stargate.
~He is a stubborn little geek; never lets anything go.~
Jack was surprised not to see Daniel in the locker room when he went to change, but figured the archaeologist had probably headed straight to his office.
The colonel went to his own office, deciding to get the official mission report done. Paperwork wasn't his thing, but he figured he get this report done in under five minutes.
~What is there to report? It was a planet. It had people. Don't they all?~
Not long thereafter, with his obligations fulfilled, the colonel decided it was time to go home and headed for Daniel's office. Since the scientist was staying with him, they'd driven to Cheyenne Mountain together in Jack's Ford truck.
On his way to the shaggy-haired man's office, Jack began to think about the hockey game he was looking forward to attending.
~Calgary Flames: strange name for a hockey team. Flames melt the ice and then they couldn't play. If they can't play, they can't win,~ Jack mused just as he walked. With an inner chuckled, he cheered, ~Flames are no match for an avalanche. We're gonna douse those flames cold.~
Jack's merriment ended as he reached his destination and discovered the office was dark with no hint Daniel had even been there. He picked up the phone and called the security check-in point.
"He what?" Jack growled as he hung up the phone after being told that his teammate had departed the base on foot several minutes earlier. ~Stubborn, frustrating, annoying ... geek!~
Immediately, the colonel headed for the exit, jumped into his truck, and drove down the long, winding road that led up the base.
~He couldn't have gotten that far.~ Keeping his eyes peeled, Jack sighed when he finally saw Daniel walking on the side of the road. ~Not exactly a fashion plate,~ he thought about his teammate who was dressed in a blue-plaid shirt and khaki pants that were both a size too large for him. Jack pulled alongside Daniel, who had almost reached the bottom of the winding road, and ordered, "Get in the truck."
"No, thank you," Daniel responded, not pausing for even a second.
"Daniel, get in the friggin' truck *now*," the colonel ordered.
Daniel stopped, looked around for a moment, and finally opened the passenger door.
"What were you going to do, walk home?"
"I don't have a home," Daniel returned.
"You know what I mean."
"Oh, for crying out loud. Daniel, sometimes ..."
Jack opted to let it go. On a normal day, the drive from Cheyenne Mountain took forty minutes. Jack enjoyed the drive. He often got lost in his favorite music genre, opera. If nothing else, he could just think about nothing, which was one of his preferred things to think about. It was freeing, a time not to have to deal with the worries of the day, future, present, or past. This ride, however, was too silent. The quiet ripped through the aura of the drive and was more disturbing than peaceful.
~Step on it, O'Neill. Create a new record,~ the colonel told himself, wanting to get home as soon as possible.
Two-thirds of the way to the O'Neill home, Daniel was feeling uncomfortable. He and Jack weren't speaking, their argument from the mission looming thick in the air. They were two forces, so opposite in their beliefs. How on Earth could they live together?
~What right do I have to stay at his house? He doesn't even like me.~
Doubting Jack, and himself, if he was being honest, Daniel suddenly broke the unnerving silence, requesting, "Jack, stop the truck."
Thinking the younger man was ill, Jack pulled to the side, surprised when Daniel opened the door, got out, and then closed the door again.
"What are you doing?" Jack asked.
"Walking. I'll be fine."
"Daniel, get in the truck."
"No. Goodnight, Jack," Daniel stated, walking back behind the truck and heading in the opposite of the direction of Jack's house.
~Fine, my foot, but, fine, pout. Sleep on the street. You're not my problem. I don't care,~ Jack determined as he stepped on the gas and completed the drive home.
~Gawd, why does being alone still hurt so much? I thought I was over it. It's my life; it's who I am.~
Daniel was wandering around, something he'd been doing all night. He'd taken a few small breaks, though he couldn't really remember where. For a while, his mind was back in the days of his youth before he stumbled upon memories of life in college. He'd always been proficient at his work, but popularity was just a word. For Daniel, the joy in life was in discovery. It was everything to him. He had nothing else and hadn't from the moment his parents had drawn their last breaths right in front of him.
~No one listens. I ... I don't care if I'm liked. There's nothing wrong with being alone, but ... I'd like to be listened to, every now and then. I thought he might listen. Gawd, why do I care?~
The lonely man wandered into a yard, though it was an unconscious act. He tried to block out the pain by focusing on a translation he'd been working on at the Mountain. He tried to visualize what he'd done thus far and integrate what the findings could mean to future exploration. Maybe it could get him through the night.
Dressed in comfortable gray sweats, Jack had headed for bed an hour ago. Yet, he couldn't sleep. He tossed and turned, unease within him.
"This is ridiculous," the colonel whined as he tossed off the covers and sat up on the edge of his bed.
Barefoot, Jack left his bedroom, taking a left in the small corridor until he reached his spare room. That was the place where Daniel was staying. He stared inside the empty room, the absence of its partaker unsettling to him.
"Oh, for crying out loud," Jack lamented. He returned to the bedroom, put on his shoes, grabbed his keys, and headed outside. Inside his truck, he thought, ~What the heck am I doing? He's a grown man.~ He sighed as he lamented, ~A grown man with no money.~
Frustrated, Jack engaged the engine and drove all around his neighborhood. He even ventured to Cheyenne Mountain, checking with the front gate to see if Daniel had returned to the base. Given a negative answer, he drove around for a few more minutes before returning home.
Back at his small home, Jack slammed his front door behind him and headed purposefully for the kitchen. He wanted a beer.
The bottle secure in his grasp, the colonel was walking to his comfy chair in the living room when something caught his eye. He looked out into his backyard and stared in utter disbelief.
~Am I seeing things?~
Jack squinted, his head jutting out a tad as he focused.
"That ... geek!"
Letting out a giant groan full of frustration and irritation, Jack returned to the kitchen, grabbed another bottle, and exited the house through the patio door. He went down the two steps from the wooden patio deck onto the grass and walked over to the source of his unrest.
It was Daniel, sitting Indian-style dead center in the yard. Facing the house that had been his temporary safe haven since his return from Abydos, the archaeologist's head was bowed.
"Beer?" Jack asked.
Daniel shook his head as he remained silent.
"Daniel, what are you doing out here?"
"Where else did I have to go?" came the soft, weakened reply.
"Come inside," Jack beckoned.
"I'm ... I'm fine here."
"Daniel, you're sitting on the grass and it's friggin' cold out here." Jack stared down at Daniel, who remained still and quiet. "Come on, Daniel. I don't even think it's forty degrees out here. Let's go in the house," he urged.
"You go; I'm fine."
~He's fine? I don't think so,~ Jack opined as he sighed and joined his teammate on the grass so that they were side by side, both facing the house. "Enjoying the view?"
The question was actually a bit of a joke. Jack loved his home, but sitting in the yard, staring at it seemed a bit boring to him, especially when he was freezing his butt off quite literally.
"Yes," Daniel answered, looking up at the house. He'd loved the house from the moment he'd first seen it. Something about it resonated inside of him. "I like your house, Jack."
"It's a good place. Remind you of a house you've lived at before?"
"No. We never lived in a house; at least, I don't remember a house. Tents: I remember a lot of tents and, uh, an apartment or two, but not a house, nothing like this."
Jack wasn't sure what to say. He'd heard a longing in the man's voice, as well as a long road of sadness.
"You know, a house is just a bunch of walls. What makes it special is when it becomes a home."
"I wouldn't know," Daniel answered truthfully.
"Daniel," the archaeologist instantly corrected.
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but we need to talk about today."
"You were wrong, Jack," Daniel returned, his eyes lowered so that he was staring at the blades of grass in front of him.
"Daniel, listen to me. SG-1 is a front line, first contact team with a mission: to find weaponry or defenses to defeat the Goa'uld. That's why we're out there. We have places to go, lots of them according to Carter and her fancy computers. We don't have time for meet and greets."
"Why?" Daniel asked, looking at Jack for the first time. "Jack, don't you see? Our world can learn from others. It can't all be about ... about ... war. We *have* to get to know other worlds. They can help us to understand ourselves better."
"So can a shrink."
"You're not listening," Daniel bemoaned, staring back down at the grass. ~No one listens.~
Jack twiddled the bottles of beer in his hands for a minute. He had a job to do and he was focused solely on that job.
"My job is to protect Earth."
"Then protect it," Daniel put forth, though he was far from submitting to the other man's point of view. "Isn't part of protecting our world keeping it safe? Jack, you don't know what you're turning your back on. There could be a cure for cancer out there, or ... or a ... a way to make ... better aircraft," he suggested, trying to come up with something Jack could identify with. A bit eagerly, he turned his body just a tad to indicate the passion that he felt about the subject. "Maybe you can find better, more economical ways to build planes. Just maybe there's a world out there who has been through what we have, maybe not with the Goa'uld, but with some other race."
"A Goa'uld knock off?"
"Jack, we've been to other worlds. What makes you think the Goa'uld are the only bad guys in the universe?"
~Chills,~ Jack shivered in his mind, though he didn't react physically. "A sober thought."
"Yes, yes, it is," Daniel affirmed. "Jack, every time we walk away from a planet without learning who they are, who they've been, why they are as they are today, every time we do that, we're cheating ourselves." He pulled back, returning to his original position. "But you don't care about that. All you care about is whose weapon is bigger."
~Geez, he may have a point, but how boring would that be?~ the colonel asked himself. He looked at his house, a place where he'd found refuge after the death of his son. It was still so painful to think about. ~He never lived in a house? Never?~
"General Hammond isn't listening, either. The military has limited vision," Daniel opined in a whispered breath.
"There's actually truth in that," Jack agreed.
"Which means what?"
"Which means ... have a beer," Jack suggested, holding out the bottle he'd brought outside for the archaeologist.
"Daniel, and I don't like beer."
"Daniel, how about in the interest of peaceful negotiations, you humor me and drink the dang beer? And I'll humor you, and listen."
Daniel stared at Jack for a few seconds, trying to judge the sincerity of SG-1's leader. He studied the brown eyes of the older man and saw honesty and integrity. He wasn't sure, though, how much Jack really cared about listening. Listening was something he associated with few people in his life. Still, the archaeologist decided to take a chance and with a shrug he took the beer. He flipped off the cap that Jack had loosened in the kitchen and took a sip.
"It's a nice house," Daniel stated as he stared again at the brown building in front of him.
"I wouldn't know," the younger man responded, echoing his earlier sentiment about houses and homes.
"We're going to change that, Danny."
"We're going to change that, too," Jack stated, maintaining his stance when the younger man's head turned to face him. ~There's a Danny hiding in you somewhere, Daniel, and I'm going to bring him out. It may turn me gray, maybe even kill me, but I'm going to do it.~
Daniel's blue eyes detected an earnestness in the brown eyes they beheld, but he couldn't believe. Too much pain was layered in front of his soul. Besides, he wasn't the subject. There was something far more important to be discussed.
"You're going to listen?"
"That's what I said. You drink, I'll listen," Jack promised.
"Jack, I want to find Sha're, and you want to defeat the Goa'uld; well, we both want that ..."
"We *both* want to find Sha're," Jack interjected strongly. "I promised you we would, and we will."
"Okay, but there's also a bigger picture. The Osirian Civilization ..."
For the first time, Jack really tuned in to what the archaeologist was saying. He'd made a promise, and he intended to keep it, not that he expected anything to change. He'd also made another promise, one he didn't quite understand. Yet, he was determined to unearth the real Daniel Jackson, the one buried beneath the scientific exterior. He wasn't sure why it mattered to him, but it did.
The budding friendship bloomed a bit more under the clear night sky of Colorado Springs. No one knew what tomorrow would bring, but on this near-freezing night, under the guise of humoring the other, peaceful negotiations were in progress, and where it would lead was beyond the imaginations of either man.
~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
Author's Note: Please feel free to email me with your comments or suggestions; constructive criticism, things you'd like to see, etc. A chronological listing of my universe is at http://orrymain.com