Dr. Daniel Jackson shook his head in disgust as he read the report he had just written. “I wrote more intelligent pieces when I was in high school,” he muttered. He put down his pen and rubbed his forehead wearily. “Damn it, I can’t go on like this.”
Colonel Jack O’Neill didn’t look up from his paperwork even though he knew Daniel had just entered his office. However, the tension emanating from the young archaeologist was harder to ignore.
“Daniel, I know hovering when I see it,” Jack said irritably. Believe me, I’ve done it enough times.
Daniel frowned worriedly and bit his lip, his arms unconsciously wrapping around himself.
“For crying out loud,” Jack muttered, catching the gestures from the corner of his eye. He put his pen down, pushed his chair back and stood up.
“Daniel, I’m fine,” he said assuredly. “I’m not going to start spouting off in the language of the Ancients or start building particle accelerators in my sleep. I really don’t remember anything.”
“That’s not it,” Daniel said, hugging himself tighter.
“Well, what is it then?” Jack asked genuine concern at his friend’s behaviour reflected in his dark eyes.
Daniel flashed furtive blue eyes in Jack’s direction and then looked away.
Jack frowned. What the hell?
Daniel closed his eyes, pursed his lips, and came to a decision.
“Your eyes,” he said.
“Excuse me?” Jack remarked, completely taken aback by the odd reply.
“Your eyes,” Daniel repeated, finally maintaining eye contact with the older man.
“What about my eyes?” Crap, Daniel. You’re even flakier than usual.
“When…you know,” Daniel said, waving his hand in the air, “had the knowledge of the Ancients.”
“Could you be a little more specific?” Jack requested, trying very hard not to get annoyed.
Daniel frowned, clearly not happy with the way things were going.
“I could see it in your eyes,” he finally said.
“See what?” Jack asked a little too sharply.
Daniel winced and said, “The intelligence. All that…knowledge.”
“And?” Jack prodded.
“And…it was unsettling”, Daniel said uncomfortably, looking away.
“Like looking in a mirror?” Jack suggested, a faint smile on his lips.
“What?” Daniel said, looking back quickly.
“Like looking in a mirror,” Jack repeated patiently.
Daniel stared slack-jawed and then shook his head.
“No. God, no. The knowledge you carried compared to me…God, I felt like, I don’t know, like I was still in kindergarten.”
“Now, you know how I feel,” Jack shrugged.
“Think about it,” Jack said matter-of-factly. “I’m not exactly Einstein material, at least not around you and Carter.”
Daniel waved his hands around and began pacing.
“No-no-no, you’re missing the point, Jack.”
“Well, if you would get to the point, Daniel,” Jack said, feeling irritable again.
“The point is…” Daniel said firmly, stopping to wrap his arms around himself again.
Jack rolled his eyes and scratched furiously at his rapidly getting-greyer hair.
“The point is?” he said huffily.
“The point is…I was jealous,” Daniel confessed quietly, staring at the floor.
Jack shook his head in frustration. “You were jealous?”
“Of what? The fact that my brain sucked up all that knowledge against my will? Or the fact that I was slowly losing myself to its control?”
Daniel’s worried blue eyes widened in surprise.
“You think I liked having all that crap jammed in here?” Jack said, tapping his head.
“But you…I mean…well, you were so…smart,” Daniel said awkwardly.
“What I was, Daniel was scared shitless,” Jack confessed. “And I think you knew that,” he added quietly. “Thank you, by the way, for staying with me.”
Daniel gave a quick smile and shrugged. “I was scared too,” he admitted. “When you went through the Stargate I thought I might never see you again.”
“I know and I’m sorry,” Jack said sincerely. “I knew I’d be fine, but I couldn’t articulate that.” He smiled self-consciously and said, “I was hoping you’d see it in my eyes.”
Daniel smiled. “I think I did, but I was still scared.”
Jack eyed his young friend closely and nodded in understanding.
“I trust you to watch my back, Daniel,” he said gravely. “You’ve never let me down.”
Daniel’s eyes shone with a brightness that warmed the older man’s soul.
“Uh, listen, this conversation is getting kind of…” Jack waved his hand and shivered dramatically.
“Right,” Daniel agreed, smiling shyly. “Well, I’ll go back to my office now,” he said, turning to leave.
The young man turned, his eyebrows raised questioningly.
“You’re feeling guilty because you thought that if anyone deserved the Ancient’s knowledge it was you, and certainly not some dumbass Air force colonel.”
Daniel’s face blanched and Jack shook his head fondly.
“It’s okay to feel that way, Daniel. Just proves that you’re human. I mean, I’ve always known that on some level,” he said wryly, “but it’s kind of nice to be reminded once in awhile.”
Daniel blushed and ducked his head. He looked up sheepishly and said, “You can be damn scary sometimes, you know that?”
“Ain’t it the truth?” Jack said, puffing his chest out proudly.
Daniel grinned and said, “I’ll see you later, Jack.”
“Pick you up on my way to lunch?” the older man offered.
“Yeah, I’d like that.”
“We can talk about that ‘meaning of life’ stuff,” Jack suggested, his brown eyes twinkling.
“You’re scaring me again, Jack,” Daniel said warily.
Jack smiled and returned to his desk leaving a slightly confused, but very happy archaeologist wandering the halls deep in thought.
|Genres:||Angst, Friendship, Missing Scene/Episode-Related|
|Summary:||Daniel harbours a guilty secret.|
Author's Chapter Notes:
This is a little tag for The Fifth Race