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14 January 2013 @ 07:41 pm
Ficlet: Two Down [SG-1, Rated Teen and Up]  
Title: Two Down
Rating: Teen and Up
Original/Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Daniel
Summary: There’s no question of escape or rescue anymore, no last-minute heroics. Just time enough for one last realization.
Warnings: Major Character Death
Notes: The idea for this started with [personal profile] jdjunkie's hugathon, but I shelved it in favor of something a bit happier. Thanks to [personal profile] princessofgeeks, whose timely offer of beta help actually got me to update this one's status to complete!
Word Count: 939

Daniel is completely dumbfounded when she falls, more so than with Teal’c. I guess the first time, when we didn’t know exactly what was coming, we didn’t have time to hope, to project, to fear. Or maybe it’s that it’s Carter, his geek-in-arms. Maybe it was the flash of regret on her face at that last second.

Or maybe it’s just that now it’s two down, two to go and he is staring his own mortality in the face.

I’ll never know.

And after this whole fubared mission, from the ambush at the gate to watching Teal’c and Carter executed in front of us, that one simple acknowledgement is what makes this all real. There won’t be a ‘damn, that was too close/never again’ mission recap over pizza and beer. Teal’c won’t drive a tipsy, giggling Carter home after Daniel falls asleep on my couch mid-sentence. I won't wake in the middle of the night to find Daniel sitting on the foot of my bed, talking his fears into the darkness, sharing all the seemingly small things that were just too much for him this time. I won’t reach over to rest a hand on his shoulder, his thigh, whatever I can reach, providing a brief connection or reassurance or just a reminder that we survived.

Never. Again. It’s infuriating and sickening and just plain wrong.

I take a deep breath, forcing my lungs to expand and contract.

He’s looking at me now, waiting. I don’t know what he wants. I can’t reassure him and I won’t give him any version of the stiff upper lip speech. I could never tell anyone how to face death.

The only thing I can do is open my arms. He steps in close and I close my arms around him. He presses his head against mine and holds on tight. Christ, when did he get so strong? All those hours he put in in the gym, working out with Teal’c, sparring with anyone who would spare the time, trying to become... what? Was he doing it for himself or did he think he was lacking in some way? Why didn’t I ask? Why didn’t I say something? Words mean so much to him, in so many ways.

Good job, Daniel. You’re doing great.

I’m proud of you.

I love you.

The certainty of it hits me like a freight train and my heart stutters, then speeds up, trying to regain its natural beat. I feel each pulse reflected back from his chest crushed against mine. All the years of ‘does he? do I?’ All the times I’d hidden behind duty and my obligation to the program. All the dark, lonely nights. They all coalesce right here, right now, into this one truth:

I love Daniel.

I can hear them preparing the altar yet again. Time is short now and I need to say something, do something. I need him to know with an intensity unlike anything I’ve felt before.

But I can’t say the words, not here, not like this.

Daniel rests his hand on my neck. “I know, Jack,” he barely whispers against my ear. “Me too.”

Oh god. My heart breaks at his quiet acceptance of what will never be. And still, I can’t say anything. I just hold on tightly and try to capture all of this. I try to memorize the feel of his body pressed into mine, the way he touches me - one hand constantly moving against my back in small circles, the other steady and warm against my neck, anchoring us together. I breathe in his scent, still faintly discernable under the fear, grime, and sweat and note the way his hair tickles my jaw and his glasses dig into my cheek.

Someone is shaking and I honestly don’t know who. Maybe both of us.

I hear footsteps approaching and sense the rising excitement of the crowd as they wait to see who’s next. A small selfish thought hopes it’s me, just so I don’t have to watch him cut down, beautifully brave and defiant as he goes through the same motions as Teal’c and Carter. Suffers the same fate.

But a bigger part of me wants him to be chosen. There’s no question of escape or rescue anymore, no last-minute heroics. I can’t give him life. But he can die seeing me proud of him, loving him; I want him to have that at least, of all the things I can’t give him.

He’s pulled from my arms. He goes silently and I watch equally silently. But inside, I am raging at the unfairness of this entire fucked up universe. Except when have I ever had reason to expect the universe to be fair?

As he kneels on the altar, his eyes lock on mine and the briefest of smiles ghosts across his lips. Even from here, I know, in his mind, he’s still holding me, still feeling and hoping and dreaming...

And then he’s not.

Now it’s my turn. I blank my mind as they lead me past the bodies of my team, my friends, my family. Even though the result is a foregone conclusion, my pride demands at least token resistance. So they force my knees to bend and I fall too heavily, pain shooting up my thighs. I concentrate on that pain as, for the fourth and final time, I listen to the same choppy words in a language I don’t understand, declaring my fate.

I hear the weapon priming.

And I feel him in my arms, once again.

This entry was originally posted at http://magickmoons.dreamwidth.org/5826.html.