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25 September 2014 @ 10:16 pm
Fic: Differences [SG-1, PG]  
Rating: Teen and Up
Original/Fandom: SG-1
Characters: Jack, Daniel
Summary: Daniel reflects on his place within the SGC and his friendship with Jack
Notes: This is a dreadfully late birthday fic for mizzmerr who asked for something having to do with the episode One False Step.
Word Count: ~1300

Daniel sighed as he finished typing. He saved the document to the ever growing folder of supplemental anthropological reports that no one but a few (very) bored members of the science staff would read. If that.

He had learned quickly in his tenure at the SGC that, despite the broadening of their stated mission to include scientific and cultural evaluations, the official After Action Report was expected to be devoid of pretty much any observations he might make other than friendly/hostile or level of technological advancement (also known as What can we get from them?). Out of sheer stubbornness, Daniel had started his own version, a kind of anthro-linguistic summary; and he peppered the few observations he allowed himself in the official AAR with 'See associated file, Anthro (X)' in the hopes that someone, someday would follow up.

But he wasn't fooling himself tonight -- no one was going to show any interest in this planet or its people; too primitive, too different, too alien to be of obvious use to Earth.

He powered his computer down, unable to shake off the feeling of disconnection. He'd felt it from the planet through the debrief, as he found himself wondering how the hell he had ended up working for an organization that, as an entity, placed so little priority on the basis of his life's work. Sure they cared about the end product -- translations, cultural assessment of threats -- but they were so blind to the fact that the ability to make those evaluations grew out of a wider body of knowledge. And the more information they accumulated, the more accurately those predictions could be drawn.

The people at the SGC were different, usually. General Hammond allowed him great latitude, Sam was a stalwart supporter, and Teal'c was endlessly interested in learning about the cultures of his adopted world and in sharing his own knowledge with Daniel.

And then there was Jack, Daniel mused, as he watched the images on his monitor fade into black. Jack was usually the one he counted on to be on his side, despite their differing opinions. He thought, no, he knew that he'd earned Jack's respect during that first mission to Abydos. And in the nearly two years since he'd returned, that respect had grown into friendship; a feeling that ran deeper, at least on Daniel's part, than that which he shared with Sam or Teal'c.

More than that, though, Daniel wanted to be able to count on Jack. For the first time in a very long time, he'd allowed himself to trust in someone else, despite their apparent differences, maybe even because of those differences. Jack argued him down when necessary, presenting viewpoints that Daniel hadn't considered; he supported Daniel when he needed it, running interference with Hammond early on (and with God knew who else now), translating Daniel's excited academic outpouring into military jargon that had the best chance of convincing those in power to endorse his proposals.

But that argument on the planet -- brought on by the discomfort caused by the injured plant or not -- had surfaced some uncomfortable realities. Even their half-voiced, although undoubtedly whole-hearted, apology couldn't erase the fact that it had been so easy to pick each other apart, to go for the jugular.

Rumors? Lies? Fairytales?

Daniel didn't know if he was angrier at Jack for that stupid line or at his own reaction -- jumping around in circles like a little kid. It hadn't done anything to prove his point, although even now Daniel wasn't certain what point he had been trying to make; all it had done was make his headache about five times worse.

Well, it was over and done with, at least for tonight. Daniel slapped the base of his desk lamp and darkness settled in the room. He felt for his bag by instinct, but dropped it back to the floor. Screw work for the night; he'd be back in a few hours anyway. He turned and stopped short when he saw the looming Jack-shaped silhouette leaning in the doorway.

They stood facing each other across the office for half a minute. Daniel couldn't see Jack's expression, but he could read the tension in the slope of his shoulders and the tilt of his head. He could feel his own tension written across his face, and he fought the urge to wrap his arms around himself.

The sound of Jack clearing his throat was grating in the quiet. He pushed off the doorframe and stood straight, jamming his hands down into his pockets.

"You heading out?" Jack asked.

Daniel looked around the darkened office, and then nodded at Jack. "Yeah." He started toward the corridor.

Jack stepped back and allowed Daniel to exit the office. He fell into step beside Daniel as they walked toward the elevator. "You feel like hitting O'Malley's?"

"Team night?" Daniel asked. He caught Jack's shrug in his peripheral vision.

"Not so much. Carter's elbows-deep in the UAV guts, trying to figure out how to prevent sonic interference, and Teal'c's currently teaching SG-6 and -8 how to get their asses kicked. Or maybe it's how to not underestimate a Jaffa. Either way, he's having fun."

Daniel nodded. The SG teams were probably having fun too -- one more thing to add to the list of ways he was Different: getting thrown around a smelly gym was not his idea of a big night out.

"So, just us, then?"

"Unless you have plans," Jack answered. "Or, you know, don't want to."

Daniel smiled and accepted the peace offering. "Sounds good."

After three games of pool, they turned their table over to group of college kids, and took their beers to a booth. They had slipped into a semblance of their usual easy banter, Daniel winding Jack up about the Avalanche's chances that season, Jack poking back some time later with some bizarre quote he'd read in the tabloids about the pyramids. It was warm and friendly, and completely without the edge of their earlier disagreement.

Looking across the table at Jack, slouched back into the corner of the booth, grinning easily at whatever he'd just said, Daniel suddenly realized that this wasn't just a semblance of their friendship, this was the real thing. He felt his own smile widen and relax, saw Jack's eyes glint with amusement as he tilted his head in silent acknowledgement that they were on the same page: friendship temporarily SNAFU'd, not FUBAR.

It was getting late, and Daniel was thinking about heading home for a couple hours of sleep when Jack got a serious look on his face.

"Oh yeah, I was supposed to tell you that Hammond wants you at the budget meeting next week."

Daniel looked at Jack and waited for the punchline. Budgeting at the SGC was a months-long ordeal, or so he'd heard from Sam and Jack. His prior contributions to the effort had been restricted to sending Jack and Hammond a twenty-page justification of why they needed more social scientists and a request for additional research materials. He'd gotten the books, but not the people.

"Why?" he asked suspiciously.

"To get your input on the budget for your department?"

Daniel scoffed. "It's hardly a department. There's me and a couple of guys you rotate through the teams as needed."

Jack nodded solemnly. "Yeah, well, that might be changing."

"What do you mean?"

"Just come to the meeting, Daniel."

"To discuss my department's budget?" Daniel reiterated. Jack nodded, looking for all the world like a kid with a big secret.

Daniel grinned. "I guess I'll be there."

Jack held out his nearly empty beer bottle, and Daniel lifted his to touch the necks together with a sharp clinking noise. Jack drained his beer, and then shook his head and chuckled. "God, you're going to hate it."

Somehow, Daniel didn't think so.

This entry was originally posted at http://magickmoons.dreamwidth.org/29721.html.
aelfgyfu_mead: Jack&Danielaelfgyfu_mead on September 28th, 2014 06:34 pm (UTC)
It's good to see Jack and Daniel relaxing and letting go after what happened in that episode.
magickmoonsmagickmoons on September 30th, 2014 01:44 pm (UTC)
Yep. Decompression time is a must :) Thanks for reading!!