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09 September 2013 @ 03:04 pm
Fic: Worth It  
Worth It
     or Daniel and Paul and What Didn't Happen in Moscow
Rating: Teen and Up
Category/Genre: Slash
Word Count: ~1750
Beta Thanks to: [personal profile] princessofgeeks
Characters/Pairings: Daniel/Paul*, Daniel/Jack
Summary: He certainly hadn’t set out on this trip with the intention of hitting on Daniel, but the opportunity had proven too tempting ...
Notes: Set during 48 Hours (5.14) while Daniel and Paul are in Moscow. This is actually backstory to a still-in-notes/mental-stage, Season 9 story where I needed Paul to know about Jack and Daniel's relationship
Trope: in vino veritas

"You don't have to leave, you know."

Paul let just a hint of desire warm his voice so as not to be misinterpreted. Of course, that was the moment the ancient heating unit chose to clunk its way back to life, but he had no doubt that he had been heard well enough. Daniel stood, frozen in place in front of the one comfortable chair in Paul’s small guest room at Russian Stargate Operations. He was partially turned toward the door, having just pushed himself to his feet to head for his own room for what remained of the night. Paul watched a myriad of expressions cross Daniel’s profile too quickly, too obliquely to catch them all.

Paul wasn't particularly worried about outing himself to Daniel; he pretty much assumed Daniel already knew he was gay. But even if he didn’t, the man was the most open-minded person Paul had known, ever, and had been expounding against ‘arbitrary and outdated military strictures’ as recently as their plane ride to Russia a few hours earlier.

So Paul figured the worst possible outcome of his proposal would be playing research subject for Dr. Jackson's impromptu anthropological study of gays in the military ("But why would you choose to subject yourself to that, Paul?"). And the potential best-case scenario held promises that caused excited shivers to run through him.

Daniel sat back down in the armchair suddenly. He looked almost comically stunned. "Are you asking ... You mean?" He absently picked up his empty glass from the small table, made a disgusted face as its unexpected lightness brought it too quickly to his mouth, and reached for the bottle to refill it.

"I mean," Paul confirmed, smiling slightly. It wasn't often that he got to see Daniel so thrown off his game, and he took a moment to enjoy the sight of the man behind the perfectly poised mask.

But when Daniel took a large sip of his wine and gave a bewildered shake of his head as if to clear it, Paul started to rethink his offer. The alcohol and jet lag were obviously catching up to Daniel, not to mention the constant stress of worrying about Teal’c as well as dealing with the Russians. It really wasn’t fair to spring this on him under these circumstances. But before he could say anything, could start to walk back the offer, Daniel was speaking.

"Wow. That’s ... I just ... it's been so long since ..." A small smile appeared briefly. Paul remained quiet where he sat on the bed, having given Daniel the chair. It didn’t appear that Daniel needed any external input into the conversation just yet.

"I'm sorry. I ... I'm involved with someone." Daniel’s eyes met his with a serious intensity. "Really. If I weren't ..."

Paul nodded briefly. He was aiming for nonchalant, and probably missing, but he hoped at the very least to mask the depth of his disappointment. It surprised him how much he had wanted Daniel to say yes, especially given that, until five minutes ago, he had considered the idea of being with Daniel nothing more than an unattainable late-night fantasy. He certainly hadn’t set out on this trip with the intention of hitting on Daniel, but the opportunity had proven too tempting when they found themselves shown to guest rooms to rest while SG-5 was searching out the Tok’ra.

He had taken a chance, and it hadn’t panned out. But as Paul finished processing the polite rejection, the reason why hit him with surprise.

"I didn't realize you were seeing anyone. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to ..."

Daniel waved off the apology. "No, no. No one knows.”

Paul could attest to that. He saw almost all the reports that came through the Pentagon on the SGC. High profile members of the command were subjected to ongoing 'character reviews.’ Activities, family, relationships were all analyzed. There was no indication of any current romantic relationship in Daniel’s daily life. His relationships prior to joining the program were documented in a separate file, kept hidden as much as possible from the prying eyes of the NID, Kinsey, and the like.

They were silent for a minute. The heater cycled off with a bang that made Paul wonder if it would ever start again. The room felt chillier almost instantly. He leaned back, let his head rest against the wall, closed his eyes for a moment and tried not to imagine what ways they could be finding to keep themselves warm if Daniel’s answer had been different.

"How’d you know?” Daniel’s voice broke the almost pleasant silence. Paul opened his eyes and looked at Daniel questioningly. He wasn’t unfamiliar with Daniel’s propensity to continue conversations in his head and then break back into speech without missing a beat. But that knowledge wasn’t necessarily a key to following the mental twists and turns; the only one he knew of who could do that was Colonel O’Neill.

"I always thought we had a lot in common, Paul, but I didn't know that." Another conversational shift that Paul figured was Daniel backing up through the mental conversation and letting Paul in on some of it.

"I kind of assumed that you might have figured it out, Dr. Jackson," Paul grinned. “Isn’t observing human behavior your business?”

Daniel studied the remaining sip of wine swirling around the glass as he moved it slowly. "I try not to, uh ... with the military, I try not to notice that about anyone. Try," he repeated with a wince, putting the wine glass down again, not quite empty.

“Yeah, I get that.”

“But were you just taking a shot in the dark or, or did you know something? I mean, there’s probably a file on me somewhere, right? Or have w...ell, have I been indiscreet?”

“Yes, it was a shot in the dark as to whether you were interested in me, specifically.” Daniel winced, but Paul moved on quickly. “As to your larger question: yes, there is a file regarding your personal life prior to the program, including your relationships.”

“Discretion wasn’t a high priority with me back then,” Daniel said slowly. Paul felt Daniel’s eyes searching his, looking for the answer to a question he couldn’t ask.

“You have nothing to worry about now,” Paul assured him.

“That’s good to know.” Daniel took a deep breath and dropped his head against the chair back. “Is it worth it, Paul?”

“How do you mean?”

“The secrecy, the double life - triple life if you take into account our de facto double lives due to our jobs. I mean, I assume given your proposition that you aren’t in a relationship right now, but if you were to ... I mean,”

“Daniel.” Paul cut him off firmly.

Daniel heaved a frustrated breath. “Really not my business, huh?”

“Not really something I can answer for you.”

“Yeah,” Daniel agreed quietly. He looked around the room absently. “Okay, yeah. I think I’m gonna just ...” Daniel pointed toward the door as he stood up.

“Good night, Paul.” The smile that Daniel gave him was tired, maybe a little more so than could be accounted for by wine and worry over Teal’c.

“Daniel,” Paul stopped him a second time. Daniel half turned back toward Paul, his body language still heading toward the door.

“When it’s the right person, yeah, it’s worth it.” You’re worth it, Paul thought, but he kept that to himself. Daniel’s answering grin, brief but genuine, told him all he needed to know.

“Thanks. I’ll see you in a few hours.”

Paul watched from his doorway to make sure Daniel made it into his room all right, listened through the thin wall to the water running, the bed creaking, and soon enough silence. His astonishment at the revelations of the past half hour overrode the nagging disappointment of Daniel’s rejection as Paul stripped down and slid into bed.

Their conversation kept playing in his head, the underlying meanings reshaping and repeating again and again until he couldn’t ignore them anymore.

”...with the military, I try not to notice that about anyone. Try

”...have we been indiscreet?”

”our de facto double lives due to our jobs”

And it kept coming back to Colonel O’Neill.

Daniel wasn’t talking about a casual relationship. It was something Daniel believed could have been picked up by surveillance. Someone military. Someone he worked with.

Paul was sure that someone at the SGC was aware of it and was doing a damn good job of keeping a lid on it.

O’Neill, at the very least, had to know. His protective instincts where his team was concerned were formidable; there was no way could Daniel carry on a relationship without his knowledge. And he would have the insight into the system to help rig things in Daniel’s favor. Or his own ...

Paul sighed. In vino veritas, he thought irritably. Well, he had entirely too much truth now. Sure, he knew plenty of members of the service who were gay, bi. He’d even imagined that he’d seen glimpses here and there with O’Neill. But to know it was a different matter entirely.

He, like everyone else at the Pentagon, had discounted the possibility of a romantic relationship between Daniel and the colonel due, in large part, to the prevalence of the rumors about them. It was strategic brilliance. First, with the number of rumors flying around about all members of SG1, to deny any particular set would call attention to the behaviors behind them. Second, if O’Neill were ever to be asked directly about it ...

Yeah, me and Daniel? Oh, but wait, have you heard the one about Teal'c and Daniel? Now, that’s some crazy shit. Or how about what all four of us get up to on Team Nights? Gives a whole new meaning to trust-building exercises!

Now that he thought about it, Paul wouldn’t be surprised if several of the stories had actually been started by O’Neill, himself. It was a dangerous game the colonel was playing, but Paul had no doubts that if Daniel had said yes tonight, if they had turned out to be as compatible as Paul had hoped for, he would be more than willing to play for the same stakes. Because Daniel was worth all of that and more.

With a sigh, Paul tried to clear his mind. Plenty of time to think about next steps later, about ways he could help to reinforce the absurdity of the rumors and mask the truth within.

He closed his eyes and slept until the knock at the door told him that SG-5 had returned and it was time to get back to work.


* when declaring pairings, how do you handle something like this, where it touches on Daniel/Paul, but nothing actually happens...

This entry was originally posted at http://magickmoons.dreamwidth.org/18944.html.