Disclaimer: The characters and the Stargate Universe aren't mine. If they were, I'd have treated Daniel a lot better than he got treated by TPTB. No money is being made of this.
Timeline: Season 2
Notes: Only posted on this site. Currently unbetaed. Feedback is always welcome. There might be a sequel someday. If you flame me, I'll print it out and take it to my friends to snigger over. Or not.
Summary: Daniel brings out unexpected feelings in his fellow team members. (Well, what else is new.)
Sam raised the flap of the Colonel's and Daniel's tent. Then she took in his and Daniel's positions and looked at her CO quizzically. "Sir?"
O'Neill looked up. "Shh. Quiet, Carter." He did not move, nor did he disengage the hold he had around his archaeologist. Daniel, still in his sleeping bag, lay in the Colonel's arms, eyes closed, brows drawn together in a fierce frown.
"Is everything alright?" she whispered, immediately concerned.
He did not stop his gentle stroking of Daniel's forehead. "Nightmare", he whispered.
"Right." She looked away for a moment. Nightmare. They all had them, Daniel perhaps most often of them all, although his bad dreams, at least, seemed to have decreased in frequency over the last months. "It's your watch, Sir. O-two-hundred."
"I'll be right out." He did not look at her as his hand continued its movement across the younger man's face. Daniel stirred, arching his back and giving and low moan, brow furrowed. "Easy, Danny", O'Neill whispered, the expression on his face very tender. "It's just a dream. It's not real. It's alright." He rested his hand along the side of Daniel's face, his thumb stroking over one thick eyebrow.
He continued his ministrations while Sam withdrew tactfully. Poor Daniel. She remembered how his nightmares had haunted him after the time of Sha're's abduction by Apophis, back when she had first met him. More often than not, she'd find him sitting at the campfire in the dead of night writing in his journal just to avoid sleeping. That had been almost two years ago.
The Colonel emerged from the tent a few minutes later, yawning and scratching the back of his head. "Takin' over", he said softly. "Off to bed with you, Captain. Sleep tight."
"Yes, Sir. Is Daniel alright?"
"Fine. Sleeping quietly now. Don't worry, I caught it in time. I'll bet he'll be more rested than us in the morning."
'He caught it in time'? Sam wondered. Aloud she merely said, "Yes, Sir. See you then."
Then there was that business with Machello and SG-1's version of musical chairs, and after, they were again spending the night on some planet lightyears away.
It was a balmy night; they had elected to forego the tents and were sleeping beneath an alien sky. Carter was walking the perimeter, Teal'c was doing his Jaffa statue kel'no'reem thing, and Jack, waiting his turn to take over the watch, was lying awake.
As he rolled over onto his side, he caught sight of Daniel's relaxed, open-mouthed face, softly illuminated by the light of one moon and one ringed gas giant.
The archaeologist was sleeping peacefully. Jack's Daniel radar reported all quiet. Over the years, he had developed some sort of sixth sense that usually alerted him when Daniel was about to have nightmares. Now, there was no hint of disturbances in the younger man's posture or features. On the contrary; Daniel's face bore that slack-jawed, slightly stupid expression he only had when he was struck dumb by some amazing wonder, or when he was so deeply asleep that he was not even dreaming.
Jack looked around; there was still no sign of Carter. Carefully, he extracted one hand from his sleeping back and reached out to touch Daniel's face. As his fingers settled in a familiar position on the warm, smooth skin, Jack shook his head at himself. 'Yeah, well', he thought, 'it's a habit. I don't smoke anymore, I hardly drink, I gotta have one bad habit.' He stroked the soft skin at Daniel's temple, still rationalizing. 'It's helped him so far. Can't stop when it's working so well, can I. 'Sides, it hurts no one.'
Daniel did not stir as Jack stroked his face. 'There', he thought, brushing the sandy hair back from his friend's forehead, 'that'll get you through a few more landmines. Dying in that old man's body must'a been a real warm fuzzy. God, you really deserve a break.' The poor boy really had gotten more than his share of shit during the course of his life; it was only fair that he received a bit of TLC for a change. The irony was, O'Neill reflected, that Daniel would flatly refuse to be "pampered" if he were awake now, and would more than likely tear Jack a new one for fondling him. 'For a geek, he can really be a macho sometimes.'
Daniel was big on giving comfort to all and sundry, whether they accepted it or not. He'd even been known to offer a hardened marine a shoulder to cry on. The offer had been refused - even grunts have their pride -, but that wasn't the point.
But try to get Daniel to accept help of the emotional kind and you get politely but firmly rebuffed. Jack still remembered that time on Klorel's ship when SG-1 was sitting blinded by the Goa'uld grenade thing, and Daniel had moved as far away from them as he could. It had seemed to the colonel then that there was a moment when Daniel had given up. "It's not dark", he'd said. "We're blind. And we've failed." Such a quiet desperation in his voice, and he'd been sitting all alone in his corner, not letting anyone close.
The only time Jack had been able to actually offer Daniel a shoulder so far had been the aftermath of the sarcophagus thing, and then, the archaeologist only allowed himself to be held and comforted because he was so far gone in the agony of withdrawal that he'd been in no shape to refuse.
Well, that was the only time that Daniel was aware of, anyway.
Teal'c emerged from his cleansing meditations and opened his eyes.
All seemed to be well. There were O'Neill and DanielJackson, and CaptainCarter could be heard patrolling the area surrounding their camp, the "perimeter", as the Tau'ri called it.
The Jaffa redirected his gaze towards his two male team members.
Ah. O'Neill was tending to his sleeping friend. That was good. O'Neill was most diligent in this duty, and that meant that Teal'c would not be required to take over that task tonight.
He closed his eyes again, taking what rest he could while all was quiet.
The bushes rustled, and there was Carter. O'Neill moved his hand away from Daniel's face, but she had already seen.
"Sir?" Her tone was neutral. He could read anything into it. 'Sir, why are you feeling him up? Do I have to report sexual harassment?' or 'Sir, is something wrong with Daniel? Should I break out the Tylenol?' were equally likely.
He sighed. It was no use and no good to leave her guessing. "Sit down, Carter", he whispered. "But be quiet."
She complied, a wary expression on her face.
"First, nothing funny is happening here, Carter", he whispered. "He's asleep, for cryin' out loud." He paused to check if that was still the case. It was. Daniel had not stirred, his mouth still slightly open.
"I didn't think there was, Sir", Carter hastened to reassure him.
O'Neill grimaced. 'The things I get into...' "Well, to be totally honest, I've been doing this since he first came back from Abydos. He stayed at my place, and, well, he had nightmares. Lots of them. It got so bad that he refused to go to bed at all. I got fed up, got him looped and put him in my bed. He slept like a baby, 24 hours straight." 'Well', he amended silently, 'except for the time he woke up to barf into the bucket.' "I was there most of the time, and, well, I did a lot of this." He stroked his cultural advisor's hair, feeling absurdly selfconscious.
Carter smiled. "I understand, Sir."
"You do?" He wasn't sure he understood it himself. Danny had always brought out his protective and nurturing instincts, even back when Jack did not even like the man, but still it was a strange thing to do for someone he hardly knew. "Anyway, he got better after that. I did it whenever we were on a mission and he had bad dreams. And then, I started doing it when he was just sleeping, like now."
She just looked at him, not giving anything away.
"Oh, come on, Carter, you must have noticed how he changed during the last two years. Gotten more confident, became more of a team player, began to hang out with us and others from the base. Gotten, I don't know, less geeky. Even the grunts like him. I think it's all because of", he paused, "positive reinforcement." There, now it was all out. He looked at his 2IC, not knowing what he'd find in her expression. Tolerant amusement? Polite incomprehension? Or even - God forbid - some sort of "aww, how cute"?
He was amazed to find it was relief. "Well, Sir", she whispered, "it's good to know I wasn't alone."
"I've been doing the same thing. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who's had their mothering instincts awoken by his 'little boy lost' act."
He grinned, shaking his head. Oh yeah. Even in that, they were a team. "Must be that 'I can DO it' attitude, and that always running off into trouble, not to mention that 'Oh, I wasn't supposed to touch that?'..."
"... And always jumping up to greet the natives, believing in the good in everyone..."
"He also does not eat or sleep when it is requested of him. It is most annoying." Teal'c returned their surprised looks with a raised eyebrow.
Jack and Carter grinned at each other. Then the three of them looked down at their charge, who was still dead to the world.
Carter sobered. "Sir. It's your watch."
O'Neill, too, reassumed military decorum. "Takin' over, Captain."
Teal'c closed his eyes. "I shall resume Kel'no'reem."
Jack untangled himself from his sleeping bag while Carter took her boots off and crawled into hers.
She watched her CO move off towards the perimeter. Next to her, Teal'c sat again unmoving. Then she turned towards the slumbering Daniel. Reaching out her hand, she murmured, "And I'm taking over here, Sir."
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