Embers by Kiva Jones
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Category: General
Genres: Friendship, Hurt/Comfort
Rated: All Ages
Warnings: None
Series: None
Summary: Just some team warm fuzzies after the events of Fire And Water.

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With a groan as the muscles in his back protested, Jack O'Neill gave a nod to Teal'c and declared his work done. Ended, finished, completed. The apartment still needed a few extra touches, but they would have to wait for the owner of said apartment. Who should be here anytime....

"Colonel?"

....Now. He turned, greeting his teammates with a smile.

"Hey, kids...what took you so long?"

The answer came from the person last to enter the room, his eyes on the floor as he started his explanation. "Dr Fraiser didn't want to release me," Daniel said. "I told her it was nothing, but would she believe me?"

Jack frowned. "Told her what was nothing?"

Daniel just waved at Sam, indicating that she would explain as he entered the apartment fully, dropping down onto the nearest flat surface - which was, fortunately for him, the couch.

"Daniel woke up with a really bad headache, sir," she explained. "And a little dizziness. Dr Fraiser was concerned that it had something to do with Daniel's exposure to Nem's machine."

Jack's frown grew at the mention of the walking fish that had held his friend captive and then encouraged his friends to think him dead. "What was the verdict?"

"I'm fine, Jack," Daniel replied himself. "Just a little tired. Dr Fraiser gave me something for the headache and I'm as good as new."

Jack shrugged, trying to appear unconcerned. Sam and Teal'c, however, knew better. They had, after all, been with him since they had come back from P3X-866...they both knew what the Colonel had been through - they had both experienced it, too. They may not have been working together for that long...but SG1 were a family - the Colonel had said so himself, when Teal'c was trapped by Thor's Hammer. To lose one of them...well, they were soldiers; not unfeeling machines. They could accept it, rationalize it...but it still hurt like hell.

Sam tried to shake the memories off, preferring to focus on the here and now. "So...your apartment," she started.

"Yes, I thought you said that you guys had cleared it out?" Daniel said, looking around. "Looks pretty much all here to me."

Jack stretched, hearing several joints pop. "Yep, that's 'cause me and Teal'c here, put it all back. Fortunately we hadn't really gotten that far...though there's some little stuff we couldn't remember where to put."

"No, it looks great," Daniel assured them, touched that his friends had thought to do this for him. "Thank you."

Once again Jack shrugged it off, though Teal'c inclined his head. Daniel smiled at them, turning to Sam to include her in the thanks.

"Well," Jack announced. "Daniel's back, he's okay...the whole mission has been practically talked to death...I say, we have a team dinner...put all this crap behind us."

"I agree," Daniel said, seeing Sam nod as Teal'c answered, "Indeed."

"Great. We didn't have time to get the phone cut off, so Carter...how about you call for - what, pizza?"

Daniel nodded, Teal'c inclining his head once more as Sam murmured her assent.

"Great, pizza...whatever toppings you guys want. My treat."

"Yes sir," Sam acknowledged, pausing as Jack raised a hand.

"Just...no anchovies, okay?" he smirked, looking pointedly at Daniel. Sam just bit back a smile, walking over to the phone and dialing the number from memory - it wouldn't be the first 'team dinner' they'd gotten from this place. Teal'c, meanwhile, went to look at Daniel's fish...he obviously found them fascinating, Jack decided, and he vaguely wondered why?

"Ha ha, very funny, Jack," Daniel replied, pulling him from his thoughts. Looking to his friend, Jack could tell he was trying to keep a straight face despite the fact that he really wanted to smile. "Actually, about as funny as the Sushi joke...the first time around, anyway."

Strange, Jack thought. He didn't sound like he'd found them particularly amusing. Ah, whatever. He was in a good mood. Daniel's sense of humor - or rather, lack of one - wasn't the issue right now.

"So," he said to Daniel, slumping down onto the couch next to him. "How's it feel to be back home?"

Daniel had actually been back almost 48 hours now, what with medical exams and debriefings, but he knew that Jack meant to be back here, with his friends.

"It feels good," he admitted. "I know Nem was only doing what he felt he must, but...it was still pretty scary. I mean, according to him, you guys thought I was dead...so for all intents and purposes, I was stuck on that world until he decided to release me, which could have been either too late or never at all. Being back is...well, it's good."

His expression told Jack that 'good' was an understatement, but that he didn't feel comfortable trying to articulate the rest, so he let it go.

"Good," he said instead, giving his friend a smile, a gesture readily returned. "Hey, how about that pizza, Carter?"

"About ten minutes, sir," she answered, coming into the living area and sitting down on a chair. Teal'c managed to pull his attention away from the swimming fish long enough to join them, perching himself awkwardly on the edge of one of the other seats in the room.

Ten minutes, Jack thought. Time for a distraction. "So, Daniel," he began. "Tell us all about your encounter with - "

"Nem," Sam interrupted, giving Jack a pointed look. She didn't really think that Daniel needed to be baited - ooh, perhaps a poor choice of words - about the being that had held him practically hostage.

"Sure," Daniel said slowly, also sending a look Jack's way that said, 'Don't start, Jack.' O'Neill just raised his eyebrows, lifting his hands into place in front of him as if to say, 'Fine, fine!' It made Daniel pause a moment, to consider just how well they had all gotten to know each other in the months that they had been working together...they were even translating each other's body language now.

He talked for a little while, right through the delivery of the pizza, which Jack took charge of, until they were almost all done. Then the conversation turned to silly things...who was dating who at the SGC...when would Sgt Siler next have an accident involving electricity...just what was that big wrench he'd taken to carrying about lately for? Anything and everything was discussed as the day turned to night, and Daniel grew more reflective.

He was home. Nem had his answers, though they probably weren't what he'd hoped for. And he was back, home. With his friends. He thought that went a long way to banking the embers of the fiery grief he'd felt burn when he'd heard that his friends were gone from him - intentionally or not.

"Hey," Jack said, catching his attention. Daniel turned, smiling at his friend, who hesitantly returned the expression, a little unsure of why it had appeared on Daniel's face. "You okay?"

Daniel took a deep breath, looking at his friends. Sam, deeply in conversation now with Teal'c, the subject - surprisingly - now fish, and Jack...Jack sitting next to him, concern in his voice.

"Yes," he replied at last, letting out the breath. "Yes, I am."

And the two grinned at each other, before being drawn into the conversation taking place, a team of four once more.
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