- Work in Progress
- Character Bashing
- Explicit Sex
- No Beta
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Alternate Universe
- Future Fic
He’s not sure how he got from the hallway back into Daniel’s apartment. All he knows is that he’s standing looking down at the letter and tickets strewn across the pitted oak of Daniel’s desk.
It’s the only piece of furniture his friend brought with him from Colorado. Jack made sure the Washington apartment was fully furnished and ready for him when the move was confirmed, but Daniel said his desk was ‘mission essential’. Jack had laughed so much he thought he might puke.
He’s not sure he’ll want to laugh anytime soon. The mixture of anger and pain on Daniel’s face as he’d confronted Jack and his duplicity had been enough to wipe away any happy thoughts.
It had all started with whispers in his ear, followed quickly by suggestions and solutions – and well… then Jack had wanted to laugh – loudly and outrageously. He was sure it was a joke. Soon though, the evidence began to mount up and his way seemed to be blocked on all sides.
Suddenly he was faced with an unwinnable situation.
No, that wasn’t true at all. Actually, if he was being brutal with himself, it had offered him the excuse he was looking for and, if there was anyone who knew how brutally honest Jack could be, it was Daniel.
He’d taken the easiest route through the obstacles placed in his way and done what was best…but best for whom? Not Daniel, that much was patently obvious.
When he had made his decision, Jack had counted on Daniel’s eventual forgiveness; was still counting on it. His friend had a deep well of compassion inside him that had always seemed limitless. So surely he would see why Jack had done what he had; Daniel would always look for a way to understand.
He had to hold onto the hope that Daniel knew how much Jack…felt. How much Jack…
The word he wants sticks in his throat and he can’t even say it to himself, so how could he ever say it to Daniel. Nevertheless, no matter how much he’s hurt Daniel in the past, his friend has always given him absolution.
But the tickets mock him, the truth of them shining like a light from the rich, burnished wood. Daniel had expected something more, something he had every right to expect, because Jack had never told him otherwise…
Had given him every reason to believe that if he would just wait until the right time, there was going to be something more for him with Jack.
Jack knows he’s fucked up, royally and completely, and he’s going to have to do some serious grovelling when he catches up with Daniel tomorrow…or he supposes he could just wait here until…
“I’m going to get laid…”
The words mock him and make his stomach turn. He has no claim on Daniel and yet the idea that right now he might be walking into someone else’s arms; someone else’s bed – that he might even bring someone back here to the apartment Jack chose for him – fills Jack with a kind of cold, churning anger and he has to fight his inclination to just chase after Daniel. He actually turns and takes a couple of steps towards the door before he’s brought up short by the ringing of his phone. Something in him is hopeful as he checks caller ID, but he is unsurprised when the display shows simply, ‘Carter’.
He listens as his fiancée gently admonishes him for running out on his own retirement bash and reminds him they have an ‘after party’ party to attend with some of the more important brass. She asks if he found Daniel, and he finds he doesn’t want to discuss it; not with her.
“I’m on my way…yeah, me too,” he responds as she signs off with a string of endearments he really doesn’t want to hear.
Something inside him, something ingrained, looks over to his left and he knows immediately why. That’s where Daniel‘s always been – right there on his six. Even from beyond the grave, Daniel was there, constant and unwavering in his loyalty and his…love. Always fighting for him and with him; making Jack a better man.
With a sudden flash of insight Jack realises he faces the real danger of losing his best friend. Everyone else will expect Sam to fill that space, but she’s never been the one to stand beside him. She’s always been just a little too removed, too cerebral and if he’s honest, too self involved to be capable of giving the unconditional affection and understanding he’s had from Daniel since the day they met.
With trembling hands Jack slides the letter and the tickets back into the envelope, which is branded with his name in that, oh so familiar, script. He tucks it into the inside pocket of his dress jacket and drags his fingers across the surface of the desk, as if by doing so he can remove some of Daniel’s essential essence to take with him. A fanciful notion perhaps but it soothes him somehow.
He looks around the apartment as he walks back into the hallway. It feels like the last time and he shivers at the thought. Once more he looks to his left and it’s possible the space seems emptier than even a few minutes before.
He straightens his shoulders. He’ll go and do his duty, just like he always does and then tomorrow he’ll come back and talk it all through. Daniel will listen…He’ll make him listen.
As he pulls the door closed and hears the snick of the lock, he reassures himself that Daniel will understand – he has to. And once it’s all there, out in the open and explained, then Daniel will take his place again; back where he belongs, right at Jack’s side.
But the pull of the paper in his pocket feels heavy as a rock. And if his footsteps drag as he walks to the elevator, leaden with the weight of his actions, there’s no one at his left shoulder to notice.
He watches the retreating back of his academic hero and then looks down at the counter in front of him.
He finds it hard to believe the man just scribbled down his email address and then made a lowly student promise to send him his dissertation. Dean blows out a sharp breath of amazement.
He pulls Dr Jackson’s latest book from under the counter and reverently folds the precious piece of newsprint, sliding it inside the front cover. He fleetingly wonders why he didn’t ask the man to sign the title page for him, and then winces at the crassness of the thought. It was obvious the guy was dealing with some heavy emotional crap and the last thing he would need was some snot nosed barista asking for his autograph. He runs his hand over the cover of the book, his fingers following the white lettering.
Dr. Daniel Jackson.
The man who opened the Stargate; who came back from the dead – not once but many times; who saved the planet and his friends, without a moments thought for himself.
Who had sat in this very coffee shop looking like his world had ended.
Dean recognises the look on Daniel’s face; betrayal and loss. He saw the same look staring back at him from the mirror for a long time after he arrived in DC, with only a backpack and a couple of hundred dollars to his name. Luckily, he’d also saved his transcripts and had a recommendation from his professor in Texas. Transferring to a new course had been much smoother than he’d imagined, especially under the circumstances.
He could still hear the cold distain in the voice of old man Sheppard. “Straighten up and fly right, Dean or the world will chew you up and spit you out.”
It had been his own fault, but even now he couldn’t regret telling the miserable old bigot he shouldn’t hate his own son for his preferences. Dean had been gobsmacked to overhear the old man telling Colonel Sheppard he ‘wasn’t worth anything’, that his brother David was ‘more of a man’… John Sheppard had been at the forefront of the Stargate program; had been in the front lines of the fight against the Wraith on Atlantis. He and Dr McKay had made many sacrifices so that there still was an Earth for Sheppard Industries and the other fat cats to trade on.
John and Rodney had left moments later with Sheppard Senior’s words silencing the gathered family. “You’re not a man; you’re nothing but a snivelling faggot, John, and you’re no son of mine. Take that Canadian fairy and get out of my house.”
When he’d left the house a couple of hours later, Dean knew there was no way he could accept financial help from the vicious old homophobe. He’d gone and told him exactly that, and why. To say the old man was apoplectic was an understatement.
Dean had called his boyfriend on the way home and let him know what he’d done. He hadn’t expected the vitriol from his college lover, but it all boiled down to how Dean would no longer be able to keep the other boy in the luxury he thought he deserved. Finding out he’d been played for so long had broken Dean’s heart and he’d dropped out of school and moved to DC almost immediately.
Yeah, life is harder now and he’s constantly tired. But he’s making his own way and not denying who he is. He wants to be someone John Sheppard can be proud to call family.
And now, he has Daniel Jackson’s email address. So maybe…maybe the sacrifices will all be worthwhile.
A bustle of noise from the café entrance tells him the Alaskan flight has disembarked. It’s time to get back to work and leave the dreams behind for a while.
But he’s going to work hard on his dissertation, get that scholarship and go to Oxford. He’ll do it for Daniel Jackson, for John Sheppard and Rodney McKay.
But mostly, he’s going to do it for himself.