"OFF WORLD ACTIVATION."
Putting down the folder he'd just opened, the top one off the top pile on his overloaded desk, Jack raised his head at the sound of the gate dialing. He quickly checked his watch. 1545. Right on schedule. Putting the palms of his hands flat on his desk, he pushed himself to his feet, strode into the briefing room, and trotted down the staircase to the control room.
"It's SG-1,sir," Sergeant Davis informed him. "Doctor Jackson's IDC."
"Open the iris, Sergeant," Jack murmured unnecessarily. Davis's hand was already on the palm scanner. They both watched the iris whir open, accompanied by its metallic sound.
Jack straightened up, hands shoved deep into the pockets of his fatigues, keeping his eyes on the ripples of the bright blue event horizon as it stabilized. Within seconds, Daniel stepped out onto the ramp, and the wormhole flickered shut behind him. He stood still for a moment, adjusting his heavy backpack on one shoulder, his eyes scanning myopically around the gate room. His glasses were MIA, and Jack knew he wouldn't be seeing anything too clearly.
Jack bent down and depressed the send key on the microphone. "Welcome home, Daniel," he said.
Daniel lifted his eyes to the control room window, a wide smile cracking his face, eyes crinkled up in obvious pleasure at having finally arrived home after a two-month absence.
"They're expecting you in the infirmary ASAP," Jack told him. "I'll get your report later."
Daniel snapped off a sloppy mock salute in Jack's direction as he started down the ramp, his boots clanging on the metallic grid. As Jack watched, he disappeared from view as he headed for the corridor.
Without a word to his staff, Jack turned and took the stairs back to his office two at a time. Once at his desk, he opened the folder he'd been looking at before Daniel's arrival. He flipped the pages inside, scanning the writing there but not really able to focus. Finally he gave up and sat back in his chair, clasping his hands in his lap to keep them from trembling.
Daniel had looked good. Filled out, no obvious wounds, no limp, his hair a bit longer than when he'd gone away, eyes bright and clear. Dressed in an old brown leather coat Jack had never seen before, like a well-worn flight jacket from a World War Two movie. With the loose fitting khaki pants and black tee shirt, it was a good look for Daniel.
Jack smiled to himself as he thought about the fact that everything was a good look for Daniel.
He scrubbed at his face with the palms of both hands, his eyes gritty and burning from lack of sleep and worry, well laced with palpable relief. At last. Daniel was home.
Later, Jack'd be able to get his hands on him, and for a while, he'd be able to forget the fear and hopelessness he'd lived with for so many weeks.
With a sigh, he returned to his work, wrenching his mind back to the business at hand every time it wanted to wander away to be with his lover. He had a job to do. They both did. But soon, he'd have his hands on him, and he'd really be able to let himself believe that Daniel was okay.
New toilets for the women's restroom on level 21. Check. A change from Equal to Splenda for the tables in the commissary. Check. An extra shipment of blank ammo for the P90's for next month's SGC cadet training at Peterson. Check. Ten new secure phones for the SG team commanders' lockdown quarters on level 25. Check. Requests reviewed and approved for all vacation and down time for SG 2, 5 and 13 for the next two months. Check. And finally, the latest budget figures for the infirmary. Who knew top-secret medical care was so pricey? Check.
Jack signed his name on the final piece of paperwork, in triplicate, returned it to its folder, and shoved the whole pile in his out box. Another day, another dollar. Or a half million, give or take.
The phone at his side rang shrilly, and he grabbed it up before he had to listen to a repeat of the harsh sound, punching the flashing button on one of the inside lines.
"O'Neill." He checked his watch again as he spoke. 1700 on the nose.
"Yes, Doctor." He leaned back in his chair as he listened to the infirmary doc's report about Daniel. Doctor Jackson was fine. Some light scarring from the original battle Daniel had been caught up in, but no new wounds, in spite of being in a recent firefight. Tired, but in good spirits. After two days rest, he was cleared for duty with no restrictions.
Jack nodded. "Good. Good." He took a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose with the thumb and forefinger of one hand, his eyes sliding shut.
"No, tell him I said to go on home, okay? And that I'll get his report when he comes in next. Yes. Thank you, Doctor, for calling me."
Jack hung up with one finger, then released the button on his phone and dialed the control room extension. "Davis," he said to the man when he answered. "I'm headed home. Call me if you need me, okay?"
At a brisk pace, Jack set off for SG-1's locker room, hopeful that he'd catch up with Daniel before he headed out.
Jack pushed through the door and stood still, the palm of his right hand on the cool metal, his feet rooted to the spot. Daniel was sitting unmoving on the bench in front of his locker, which was open, its contents in a jumble. He had his glasses back on his face, obviously having found the spare pair he always kept in his office.
"Daniel." Jack came into the room, letting the door swing shut behind him as Daniel turned his head to face him.
In the quiet, Jack could hear his heartbeat thumping in his ears as he walked towards the bench. He watched Daniel get up and approach him as if in a dream. Big, solid, real, alive.
And then his arms were around him, and they were hugging, swaying together, reveling in each other for the first time in what Jack thought felt like close to forever. Jack buried his face in Daniel's neck, putting one hand on the back of his head, fingers splayed out to cradle all that soft, wonderful hair and the solid reality of his skull beneath his palm. His other hand ran up and down Daniel's back. God, he couldn't get close enough to him.
All too soon, mindful of where they were and the fact that they could be walked in on at any moment, both of them took a half step back and dropped their arms to their sides.
Daniel was smiling, his happy eyes crinkled up, looking at Jack so softly, so lovingly.
Jack couldn't help it. He reached out one hand and ran a thumb along Daniel's jaw line.
"Hey," he whispered.
"Hey." More grinning.
"You ready to go home?"
"Yeah, but I was just looking at that mess." Daniel glanced around and gestured at his locker with one thumb. He chuckled to himself. "Got any C4 on ya? I thought I might just blow it up, rather than face all those dirty socks that've been festering away in there all these weeks."
"The hell with it," Jack growled. "Just go on home! You can worry about that crap later when you come back in a couple days. It'll still be there."
With a tight nod, Daniel slammed his locker door shut and replaced the combination lock, giving it a twirl. He looked up at Jack, who was still standing where they'd hugged. He went back over to him. "Tonight? Come over about eight?" He reached out and clasped the back of Jack's neck, giving him a gentle shake. "Missed you so much," he murmured.
"God, yeah," Jack breathed.
Daniel tilted his head back and looked Jack in the eye. "Do something for me?" He dropped his arm and sidled away from Jack just enough to get some space between them again.
Jack chuckled. "Lotsa somethings, I hope."
"Not that," Daniel snickered. "Those somethings go without saying!"
He ran one hand over his mouth, eyes on the floor for a moment as his expression sobered. Bringing his gaze back up to meet Jack's, he said seriously, "I was wondering if maybe we could wait to talk about what happened to me on Avidan until we're both back at work."
Jack gave him a puzzled look. "Yeah?"
Daniel shoved his hands deep into his pockets. He jingled his keys as he held Jack's gaze. "Yes, General. I was wondering if maybe for the next two days we could just forget that you're my boss."
Jack shrugged and snorted through his nose. "As if we think about that when we're at home."
"Yeah, well, I have an idea you might be pissed off at me-- *boss*," Daniel emphasized.
"And all I want to do this weekend is be friends. Lovers. Don't want to think about work or orders or wars or stupidity of any kind."
Jack was silent, examining Daniel's face. He could see that Daniel wasn't joking. He really meant what he was saying. "Okay," Jack agreed. "I can do that."
Daniel started to walk by him, getting ready to head out. "I think we need to just eat and sleep and fuck for a couple of days, and then later we'll be able to deal with whatever fallout there is about the things I decided to do. About the things that happened."
Jack turned to follow Daniel with his eyes. "Okay. Deal. See you at eight. I'll bring Mexican, sound okay?"
Daniel smiled at him. "Yeah, great. But get extra guacamole, so when you hog all of yours and mine too, I might still get some."
"As if I'd forget. Or hog all the guacamole."
Daniel strode to the locker room door, pulled it open, and looked over his shoulder with a smile. "Yeah, as if." Then he was gone.
Standing still for a few moments, looking blankly at the inside of the closed door, Jack was aware that this time it was his knees that were trembling. Weak with relief, he went to the bench where Daniel had been sitting, and sat down with a thunk. He ran one hand through his short hair, letting out a long sigh.
Maybe, for the next couple of days, having enough guacamole would be the most difficult problem they'd face.
|Genres:||Established Relationship, Missing Scene/Episode-Related|
|Summary:||An episode tag to Season Eight's "Icon". Daniel returns home after a two-month absence, during which time he was caught behind enemy lines during a religious civil war on the planet Avidan. He asks Jack for a little breathing room before he has to explain why he didn't obey Jack's orders to come home if things got "squirrelly".|