My eyes go back and forth between Daniel and Sam as they debate the nature of ... whatever it is that they're debating. Before I quit paying attention the topic was 'technological level vs. sexual egalitarianism'. She was pretty sure that technology means girls get out of the house, he was pretty sure that even in very primitive societies women were sometimes seen as equals, so it isn't a tech thing.
I was pretty sure they weren't going to get to the bottom of the issue before the end of lunch, and started watching instead of listening.
Yeah, I do that sometimes. Sue me.
Daniel's gesturing, fork still in hand. Carter doesn't talk with her hands. She talks with her spine, sometimes. Sometimes the spine's the only difference between the "Sir" that means, "You're being a dumbass, but I'll do it," and the "Sir" that means, "You're being very brave and I'm proud to serve with you." She's shaking her head at him now, disagreeing with a broad smile. Her spine says she's paying absolute attention. The eyes are there, too.
Daniel can talk without his hands, but not about anything important. His hands always surprise me; they're always stronger than I think they should be. There's a faint tracery of scar lines over the palms and the backs, the text of time spent working outdoors in stone and rubble. He doesn't have the cluster of scars framing his knuckles that I do. My hands are clearly the hands of a man that had to learn to think before acting.
And I did learn, mostly. So I backslide, sometimes. Sheesh.
My hands have gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years, for various reasons, and hitting people has never actually been the biggest problem. I accepted a long time ago that I need physical contact. Need it, like air and water and food. I can handle people not touching me, if I have to. But I can't stand not touching them. I can, and have, dragged myself through all sorts of hell for months at a time, and I can keep doing it, so long as I can put my hands on someone now and then. If not, I start going slowly nuts. It isn't pretty.
There's always a quiet division in the field: guys who will and guys who won't. I was always a 'will'. The alternative meant no one to touch for months at a time. Not possible. Not possible with a still-sane Jack, anyway.
It's not about the sex, though the sex ain't bad either. Sex in general is a whole lotta fun, and one of the Great Revelations of growing older was that it's a lot more fun when it's with someone I actually care about. I'm not as dense as I let people think I am, but yeah, it did take me a while to clue into that one.
But sex or no sex, 'caring about' someone means I have to put my hands on them.
I remember the night I pulled Daniel back from Abydos after Shau'ri was taken. He was standing there, doing his little self-hug thing, and I thought, 'There's a man that needs a hand on his shoulder.' Well, okay, I didn't exactly *think* that. My hands think on their own sometimes.
Sometimes they think so much on their own that it takes effort to keep them on the same page as my brain. If I want to lie, I have to keep them busy. The 'pockets' thing usually works, but it's better if I give them something to *do* so they aren't wandering around making an idiot out of me. Sara knew to always watch my hands when she thought I was lying. Daniel, thank God, has had far less chances to field test any theories he might have of the 'how to tell if Jack's lying' variety. Our working on the same 'classified' project helps on that front, but it's also true that my hands and I aren't the same as we used to be. It's not a loss.
Daniel has a huge amount of 'personal space' that he guards subtly and carefully. I waltzed into it, moved the furniture around, built some bookshelves, and generally made myself at home. By the time he'd figured out a polite way to tell me to keep my damn hands to myself, it was too late -- I was entrenched. Some days he still wonders if it's possible to get his space back.
Far, far too late, Danny.
Daniel's got a small piece of chocolate frosting stuck to the corner of his mouth. I could reach over and wipe it off, and no one would even think twice about it. No one except for Daniel, of course. He'd scowl and slap my hand away and lecture me later about "discretion". He's completely missed the outrageous things I can get away with just 'cuz I'm me.
Some days it's pretty good to be me.
The Wonder Twins have agreed to disagree on whatever subject they ended up on; they get up and I follow. It's a long walk back to our respective offices, and in an amazing and totally unnoticed act of maturity I leave the frosting alone. It's making me grin, though, and Daniel's becoming pretty sure I'm up to something. So unfair when I'm actually being good. I'll have to be annoying later to make up for the sideways looks he's giving me now. He so owes me.
We stop at Daniel's office door and before we leave him Carter points to the frosting. Daniel raises a long finger and wipes it away, and suddenly gets the meaning behind my grin and takes in the fact that I've buried my hands in my pockets. He thanks Carter and she leaves, then he very deliberately licks the frosting off the end of the finger, and sends a casual "Bye, Jack" over his shoulder before disappearing into his books.
I leave my hands in my pockets. It is good to be me, and after I get my hands on Daniel tonight, it'll be even better.
|Summary:||Jack muses about hands.|
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