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04 March 2013 @ 03:01 pm
Fic: Pie [SG-1, Rated Teen and Up]  
Rating: Teen and up
Original/Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Characters: Jack, Daniel
Notes: part of my Countdown to 2010 series, set within the 2010 AU. Originally posted in wv_bookclub, now expanded and revised.
This entry may be better understood if you've read Growing Suspicions and Dissolution
Summary: Jack hasn't answered any of his calls, so Daniel is forced to take a trip to Minnesota after the SGC is closed.
Word Count: 1550

August 2003

After half a mile of loose gravel crunching under the tires, the silence when Daniel parked the rental car was overwhelming. He sat for a minute just looking at the cabin, squinting a bit in the mid-morning sunshine. This was the place Jack had invited them to - or, depending on who was telling the story, threatened them with - time and again. Now, Daniel wished he had taken him up on the offer at least once, when things were better.

It was peaceful here, birdsong and the leaves rustling in the breeze the only sound. Jack had, not surprisingly, resisted the new modernizations offered by the Aschen and the house stood among the trees much as Daniel was sure it always had: good, solid construction, nothing extraneous or frivolous, and impossible to reach without going out of your way - actually a lot like Jack these days.

As if Daniel’s thoughts had summoned him (although it was more likely to have been the impossibly loud approach), Jack was suddenly standing in the doorway, glaring at his uninvited visitor. Daniel hadn’t expected a warm welcome, given that Jack hadn’t answered a single phone call or returned a message in months, but it was still disheartening. He sighed and got out of the car anyway, bringing the box on the passenger seat with him. He walked slowly up onto the wooden porch and stopped a few feet from the screen door that Jack hadn’t opened.

“Hey Jack.”

Jack leaned one shoulder against the doorframe and raised an eyebrow. “What are you doing here, Daniel?”

Daniel looked around at the surrounding woods and then back at his former teammate. “I guess ‘I was in the neighborhood’ isn’t going to work, huh?”

Jack huffed and retreated into the cabin. Daniel let himself in and found Jack settling at the kitchen table, the contents of an open tackle box spread out in front of him.

Daniel took a seat across the table and put the box down in an empty spot. “I brought pie,” he said.

Without glancing up from the fly he was tying, Jack bit out, “Drew the short straw again, eh, Daniel?”

Jack’s needling wasn’t unexpected and Daniel had no trouble letting it go, answering good-naturedly. “No, no, no straws this time, Jack. Just wanted to drop by and see an old friend.” Daniel settled back in his chair and really looked at Jack. It had been over a year since they had both been in the same room, nearly two since they’d spent any appreciable time together without animosity.

He looked tired, careworn in a very literal sense. Daniel hadn’t been able to see Jack after the massacre at Tagrea; Jack had been sequestered for weeks during the debriefing and extensive investigation. He hadn’t even been allowed to attend Jacob’s memorial service. Daniel had had to return to his offworld duties well before Jack had seen the light of day.

So, Daniel really had no benchmark to judge whether Jack had made peace with those ghosts or not in the year since. But he knew Jack and he knew that, peacefully or not, he still carried each one of the dead with him. Maybe retirement had been the right option for Jack, but the look of elation on Kinsey’s face when he had announced Jack’s resignation to the Stargate Operations Panel made Daniel certain that the decision hadn’t been Jack’s alone.

“You heard they shut the SGC down?”

Jack nodded, tying off the fly. “Read about it.”

“Yeah. So, I’ve taken a position at Georgetown. We’re starting a xeno-archeology program and I’ll be consulting with their linguistics department as well. They’d love to have you...” That was an understatement - every institution in the world wanted a chance to recruit the reclusive, heroic Jack O’Neill - but the look Jack shot at him shut down that line of conversation. Daniel gave him a half-smile. “Never hurts to ask.”

“It might,” Jack replied tightly. He placed the completed fly in the tackle box and threw his tools down on the table. He slouched against the back of the chair and stared at Daniel, making a similar assessment to the one Daniel had just completed. Daniel wondered what he saw: the years of friendship, the perceived betrayal over the Aschen treaty, the pain of the loss of his SGC family as his life took yet another unexpected turn. Or something else, something deeper that Daniel would never recognize in himself.

After a minute, the tense lines around Jack’s eyes and mouth eased slightly. He looked at the bright pink box on the table. Gently lifting the lid, he eyed the pie inside, then looked back at up at Daniel.

Daniel waited quietly.

Jack gestured to the cabinets and started clearing the table. “What the hell. Grab some plates and let’s dig in.”

The creak of hinges and the soft thunk of the screen door closing woke Daniel. The afternoon had gone better than he had expected: some pie, some fishing (on Jack’s part) and some reading (on Daniel’s part), followed by a fresh fish dinner and a game of chess.

He got up. When he stepped through the back door of the cabin, he saw Jack standing on the little lakeside dock, holding a beer. Daniel walked down to join him. If Jack had wanted to be alone, he would have made sure Daniel hadn't heard him leave the cabin.

They stood there for several minutes, Daniel looking sidelong at Jack looking out over the lake. Jack took a couple of pulls off his beer. He exuded tension and worry and not a little anger.

But when he finally spoke, his voice sounded tired, resigned. "You shouldn't have come, Daniel." He winced. "Dammit, forget I said that."

"What's going on, Jack? Why shouldn't I be here?" Daniel took a deep breath when his questions were met with ongoing silence. "Maybe I needed to see you. Everything’s ending, changing. Did you ever stop to think that maybe your team needed you?"

He turned to face Jack who was resolutely looking at the far shoreline. "We were all looking for closure and there was this big gaping hole and you wouldn't even pick up your phone."

A muscle ticked in Jack’s jaw. "You three stopped being my team a long time ago, Daniel."

"Is that what this about? That we wouldn't back you up about the Aschen?" Daniel knew that Jack was too stubborn to outright admit the possibility that he had been wrong. But he had thought that now, after the treaty had been in effect for a couple of years, including nearly a year of post-Goa'uld peace, Jack might have at least accepted the reality that the Aschen had lived up to every one of their promises.

Daniel paced up to the grass, irritated and frustrated by Jack's pigheadedness. Or maybe by the fact that this one issue had essentially destroyed the bonds that SG-1 had built, the family that Daniel had finally started to believe in, the only family he’d had left. He whirled back around, ready to give Jack a piece of his mind, but stopped when he saw Jack's head and shoulders bowed in defeat.

"Jack, what is it? Why are you still holding on to this?"

He had startled Jack, by choosing a course other than yelling or retreating in a cold fury, as so many of their previous arguments on the Aschen had ended. Jack’s head came up straight, his muscles tensed. He looked around slowly, assessing their surroundings, before turning to Daniel with a strange, almost yearning, look on his face.

"I..." He paused and then lifted the bottle to his mouth and drained it. His expression turned stony. "I can't tell you, Daniel."

"Can't? Or won't? If you know something..." Was there something that Jack knew that they didn't? Had he finally gotten the proof he kept insisting would surface eventually? If so, why was he keeping it to himself?

Daniel walked back down and put a hand on Jack’s shoulder. "I have to leave in the morning. I have some meetings in DC in the afternoon. But I could come back, after. We could talk."

Suddenly, Jack's expression hardened. "Forget it. You won’t believe anything I have to say, anyway. Just another crazy old kook spouting conspiracy theories. Go, enjoy your life in Washington with all the benefits the Aschen can offer. Don't expect me to answer the door next time."

He brushed past Daniel, leaving him confused and distinctly irritated. The sound of the door banging closed roused him; by the time Daniel got inside, the bedroom door was shut and locked and Jack wouldn’t answer his requests to come out. He still hadn't come out when Daniel had to leave the next morning to make the drive to Minneapolis, where the Aschen terminal would transport him to DC. Daniel said goodbye to blank piece of wood.

He left feeling distinctly unsettled, as if Jack had conveyed more than either of them realized. And suddenly it seemed like a good idea not to mention his little side trip to Minnesota to visit that ‘crazy old conspiracy theorist.’ But he’d be damned if that was the last time they’d see each other.

This entry was originally posted at http://magickmoons.dreamwidth.org/8814.html.
Ami Ven: Carterami_ven on March 6th, 2013 05:01 am (UTC)
I know I read the original at WriterVerse, and this version is even better (because the first was great, too). I love the way you're working these little bits into a completely genuine between-scenes for this episode!
magickmoons: jack danielmagickmoons on March 6th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I had wanted the more serious conversation between Jack and Daniel in the original, but it just wouldn't work. I was pretty happy with it as it was, but then when I pulled it out for final revision & posting, the nighttime conversation popped into my head. I'm glad it improved it!