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04 January 2013 @ 12:14 am
Fic: Heads, Hands, and Hearts [SG-1, Rated T]  
Title: Heads, Hands, and Hearts
Rating: Teen and Up
Original/Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Daniel (pre-slash, UST)
Excerpt: The thought echoed through his head, or maybe he was hearing his own voice - he wasn’t sure. He thought maybe he should care. He thought probably he didn’t.
Notes/Warnings: set first half of Season 7. Written for hc_bingo prompt: headaches/migraines
Word Count: 2144


It had started soon after Charlie died. The first few times Jack had woken with a blinding pain headaches and spent the day throwing up, he’d chalked it up to the size of his hangovers increasing with the number of empty bottles that greeted him in the morning. But when it kept happening, even after he had given up on drinking himself into oblivion and thrown out the hard stuff, he’d worried that there was something really wrong with him, that karma was exacting its price for his part in Charlie’s death.

Migraines, the doctor had said, triggered by poor eating, alcohol, general stress. He recommended Excedrin, gave him a prescription for when that didn’t work, and advised stress-reduction, eating right, and exercise.

The mission to Abydos provided plenty to get his heart racing, but maybe wasn’t so good on the stress reduction. Neither was coming home to an empty house and a broken marriage. Nevertheless, the headaches slowly abated over the following year as he learned to stop fighting this new life he found himself living. By the time he was recalled, again, they were almost nonexistent.

While Dr. Fraiser and General Hammond knew about the headaches, Jack had never shared the information with anyone on his team. The headaches seemed to go out of their way to only occur after missions were over, although they increased in frequency as he endured week after month after year of trying to save the world, continually coming close to losing his teammates who were fast becoming his family, and watching the death and destruction that came with being on a front-line unit. But they stayed pretty mild all told; it wasn't until the year that Daniel was gone that they really stepped up in intensity again.

But now Daniel was back and Jack had come to some kind of peace with his personal experiences during that time and things were back to normal. So Jack was surprised when the first telltale signs started making themselves known soon after he got home one Friday night for a rare free weekend. He'd had some food, popped open a beer and was studying the chess board, debating whether to call Daniel and see if he wanted to finish their game that was interrupted last week by an emergency call back to the Mountain.

The first tendrils of tension and pain started creeping up from his shoulders and into his neck and he put the beer down. He only just had time to take the prescription pill when his entire system went haywire. The pain ratcheted up instantly and he emptied the contents of his stomach, the small part of him that could still think logically thankful that he was already in the bathroom. Each spasm ramped the pain in his head up a little more.

Finally, it was over and, eyes closed against the too bright light in the bathroom, he half crawled, half dragged himself into the darker bedroom. Dizzy and disoriented, he gave up trying to make it to the bed and just lay on the floor, trying to breathe, a kaleidoscopic flurry of images imprinting themselves on the inside of his eyelids.

He had no idea what time it was or how long he had been lying there when he became aware of a sound repeating itself. He struggled to focus his mind enough to identify the sound. A rhythmic pattern, it felt familiar. Tap tap tap. Knock knock knock. Knocking! Someone was knocking at his door. He tried to push up off the floor thinking that the dizziness couldn't possibly get any worse, only to find out that he was wrong and he collapsed back down against the rough carpet. When was the last time he had vacuumed in here?

What was he trying to do? Knocking. Someone was knocking at the door. Only... not anymore. Crap. How long ago was that?

There was a new sound, one he could feel beneath himself, a soft vibration that echoed through his head in explosive fireworks. The vibration stopped.

"Jack?" Quick, careful steps and then there was a hand feeling for a pulse. "Jack, talk to me."

Daniel. It was Daniel. He was still talking, questioning. Always with the questions, our Daniel, he thought or tried to think. Words seemed to kind of fade and bend and slide away from him. He sounded so worried. Jack tried to open his eyes, to make him not worried, but even the the first sliver of light was like a Jaffa pain stick right to the brain, so he shut them again.

Daniel's hands felt nice, cool and dry against his face, his wrists, his neck. But shaky. Why was he shaking? Right, he was worried. He could still hear Daniel's voice - soft, quiet, concerned. Concerned Daniel always worried Jack. Concerned Daniel did silly things sometimes. Went away.

"Migraine," he forced out. Daniel's hands and voice stilled and then were gone. Jack wished that they would come back. It was better when they were here. Not much better, but better is better. But a bit of better butter will make the batter better. Don't laugh, Jack. The slight abdominal movement turned everything upside down and he made a quick scramble back for the bathroom.

He was still leaning over the toilet when Daniel's hands came back.

Soft and soothing, they eased him back after the spasms stopped. Then there was a cool cloth gentle against his face.

"Let's get you to bed." The whispered words were accompanied by strong arms helping him up, grounding and centering the dizzying whirlpool surrounding his brain. He let himself be led and turned and sat on the bed. He let himself be gently pushed back against cool sheets and felt a warm soft ... something ... surround his freezing feet. After a while, something cool was placed behind his neck and against his forehead.

The hands went away.

Don't go.

A slight dip of the mattress jostled his stomach and he concentrated on keeping his breathing even. Then the hands were back, readjusting warmth and coolness, and he grabbed one. He held onto it for dear life, channeling that stability and strength to center himself again as the room spun first in one direction, then another, x and y and z axes all in play.

He held that hand: beautiful, strong, and whole once again. He loved that hand.

Love you. So much. The thought echoed through his head, or maybe he was hearing his own voice - he wasn’t sure. He thought maybe he should care. He thought probably he didn’t. He just held on and drifted through the stray thoughts and images rocketing around his brain.

The sun was well into the sky when Jack opened his eyes. He had moved during the night and now found his cheek resting comfortably on Daniel’s jeans-clad thigh, one arm thrown over Daniel’s legs, the other wedged between the small of his back and the mattress. Daniel was asleep, propped up on several pillows in a half-sitting position, one arm draped across Jack’s upper back, hand warm on his shoulder.

The room had stopped spinning and the headache had receded to a dull throb. Jack took a deep breath and stretched slowly, his muscles sore and aching, but responsive. He felt a momentary tension in Daniel’s leg as the movement woke him.

“Jack?” He smiled at the clear sound of Daniel’s quiet voice.

“Yeah, I’m back.”

Daniel squeezed his shoulder gently. “That’s good to hear.” He was still keeping his voice low and carefully modulated. “How do you feel?”

Jack carefully pulled his arm from beneath Daniel and slowly reoriented himself so that his head was on the pillow. His shoulder felt cold where Daniel’s had been resting. He took a deep breath and blew it out. “Like month old roadkill, but I’ll live.”

Daniel grimaced sympathetically. “Can I get you anything?”

“Yeah, I don’t think so. I do think I’m going to go try to clean up a bit, though.” With only a bit of help from Daniel, probably more than he actually needed but the gentle touches felt so nice, he steadied himself on his feet well enough to walk to the bathroom. He took his time and moved slowly, brushing his teeth, washing his face and neck. He wished he felt up to a shower but was a little too shaky yet.

He opened the door to find that Daniel was no longer in the bedroom. New pairs of boxers and sweatpants were laid out on the bed and Jack gratefully deposited last night's clothes into the hamper. He had just finished pulling on the fresh sweats and was looking longingly at the bed when Daniel returned with a glass and a plate.

Jack sat on the edge of the bed and looked warily at the plate.

"It's just some dry toast, Jack, and some Gatorade. You really need to get something in your system, if you can handle it at all."

Daniel put everything down on the night table and started moving the pillows into a pile against the headboard on Jack’s side of the bed. He gently pushed against Jack’s shoulders until he pulled his legs up onto the bed and leaned back. Jack couldn’t suppress a sigh of contentment as he let himself relax into the soft pillows. Daniel pressed the plate into his hands and he grudgingly took a bite of toast. When his stomach didn’t rebel, he tried a sip of the Gatorade and kept working at the toast as Daniel settle himself on the end of the bed.

“This happen often?” Daniel asked.

“No, not this bad.” Jack looked at Daniel and noted the circles under his eyes and the slight pallor of a sleepless night. “Hey, thank you. That was really... It kind of felt like I wasn’t going to get through it by myself, you know?”

Daniel smiled. “You would have made it. I just helped make you a little more comfortable, I think.”

“So, how’d you know what to do? I don’t think migraines are covered in the SGC’s first aid course.”

“Maybe they should be,” Daniel offered. “My foster mother used to get migraines; these were some of her go-to treatments. Of course, they don’t work for everyone, but I figured it was a good place to start.”

“Well, something helped.” It seemed to Jack that it was Daniel’s touch that had been most helpful, but he couldn’t quite find a way to say that.

He finished the toast and put the empty plate back on the night table and took another sip of his drink. The after-migraine fatigue was setting in and suddenly it felt like a lot of work to keep his eyes open. He pushed some pillows out of the way and laid stretched out full-length.

He didn’t realize he’d closed his eyes until he heard Daniel’s voice and had to open them to see him.

“So, do you need me to stick around today?”

Jack thought about it. Want? Yes. But Daniel had asked if he needed him to stay. “You have plans?”

Daniel paused a moment before answering, one hand toying with a loose button at the bottom of his shirt. “Nothing that can’t be pushed,” he answered.

Jack thought about asking him to stay anyway, but if Daniel actually had non-work-related plans (and these had to be non-work-related, otherwise he would have just pulled out his everpresent laptop and started typing away), he didn’t want to get in the way.

“Nah, you go on,” he answered, turning onto his side. He heard Daniel’s hesitation and turned his face into the pillow, letting the cool softness counter the remaining tension in his forehead. “Seriously, I’m just going to sleep most of the day anyway.”

The mattress shifted as Daniel got to his feet and Jack hid his disappointment in the pillow. He was too tired to fake it. “Okay, but I’m calling you later. If you don’t answer I’m coming over, or, even better, I’ll send Janet.”

Jack mumbled his assent into his pillow, already feeling the pull of the not-quite-sleep state of consciousness that typically followed his migraines. It was quiet and then he felt Daniel lean across him and gently tap his outstretched hand with the phone before resting it on the bed.

“Phone, answer, got it,” Jack grunted.

It seemed like there was a soft, warm, all-too-fleeting, pressure against his skull before Daniel pulled back. It was nice, more than nice. He realized Daniel couldn’t see his smile with his face pressed into the pillow and slowly rolled over.

He blinked his eyes open to an empty room. Judging by the shadows through the window, he had been dozing for several hours. The phone by his hand was ringing. He smiled as he answered.