Category: Episode Tag/Missing Scene
Spoilers: Lost City and New Order
Pairing/Character: Jack and Daniel friendship, Team
Summary: SG-1 struggle to move on while Jack is trapped in the Antarctic.
Disclaimer: Stargate, Stargate SG-1 and all of its characters, titles, names, and back-story are the property of MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions, SciFi Channel, and Showtime/Viacom. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be printed anywhere without the sole permission of the author. Realize this is for entertainment purposes only; no financial gain or profit has been gained from this fiction. This story is not meant to be an infringement on the rights of the above-mentioned establishments
"Remind me again how we got roped into this?" Daniel asked.
"Maybe we're just gluttons for punishment," Sam muttered, slipping a stack of paperwork into the nearest box.
Teal'c did the same. "Indeed."
Daniel moved to the desk to the right of the room and started to search the drawers while Sam and Teal'c tackled the closet. He fingered a tape recorder that reminded him of his own and sighed. Part of him felt funny going through Jack's things, expecting Jack to march in and start yelling at them. But Daniel knew that wouldn't happen. And in the end, he knew this was the right decision.
It still didn't make him feel any better.
"I don't understand how he managed to accumulate so much stuff," Sam said. She opened one of the filing cabinets by the closet, wrinkled her nose, and shut it. "Do you realize what's in here?"
"You are most fortunate that you have not discovered what lies in the darkness." Teal'c took a step back and frowned. "It is most unpleasant."
Daniel cringed. Tossing a yo-yo on the desk, he said, "And people accuse me of being a packrat."
In truth, he wasn't. Not really. Daniel held onto useful objects. Valuable artifacts. How he got those artifacts wasn't important, just that he had them. Daniel had no idea how Jack could have so few valuable items in his office, yet have so much junk.
Maybe it was because he had always been too busy checking up on the rest of them.
Daniel sighed again.
The three of them make light work of the office. Under the layers of dust, the place actually wasn't half bad. It was a spacious, near pristine room, with plenty of filing space. Daniel was sure its new occupant would be very happy.
"I guess we should close it up," Sam said quietly. Gently, she rolled one of Jack's star charts, though Daniel didn't miss just how tightly she was clutched it.
They headed down the hall, single file, with Sam leading the way and Teal'c bringing up the rear. Daniel remained in the middle as they continued on their solemn march. But even as they stepped forward, Daniel felt like they were falling behind. Ahead lay the future, uncertain and changing while behind them lay the past, so comfortable yet already lost. The two tugged and battled, leaving them immobile.
Yet, they continued on.
Never had Daniel thought it would end this way.
One Month Earlier
He stared at the stasis pod.
Daniel couldn't say that Jack looked peaceful. He couldn't say that he looked as if he were in pain, either. He was just there. Stuck.
Stuck in between life and death.
Daniel continued to stare into the vacant eyes that did not see.
Sam came to stand beside him. She didn't look at him, nor did she look at Jack. She just held her gaze somewhere ahead, somewhere beyond the stasis pod. He could tell she was thinking by the way her smooth face puckered into a thousand fine wrinkles. But the emptiness in her eyes told Daniel all he needed to know.
"It's grounded into the site," Sam said. "I've tried to find a release or a way to divert power to the pod alone so we could disconnect it but…" She shook her head. "There has to be a way to detach it."
"I don't think there is, Sam."
"There has to be," she said. "We have to find a way to bring him back to the SGC."
From the first moment when Jack had stepped into that pod, Daniel hadn't wanted to believe it. Now, he certainly didn't want to be the one to vocalize what no one else wanted to admit.
"No," she said firmly, setting her jaw. "We're going to bring him back with us."
But even as she said those words, Daniel knew that she knew the truth as well as he did. The cruel reality had set in: Jack was not coming back with them.
Neither one of them said another word. Neither one of them wanted to break the uncomfortable silence.
Thank God for Teal'c.
"I have finished my search of this area," Teal'c said, stepping into the room. "I have found nothing of use to assist O'Neill."
Sam chewed her lip, her gaze still settled somewhere in the distance. "Maybe we have some additional resources at the SGC that can help."
Teal'c gave a slight nod. "I will remain as you retrieve such resources."
Daniel studied the both of them before shifting his gaze to Jack. "Uh, I hate to be the voice of reason here, but we all know that we can't stay here. At least not like this," he added. "No supplies. No lasting heat. We'll eventually freeze down here."
"Are you suggesting we just leave?" Sam asked.
Daniel winced at her icy tone. He opened his mouth to protest, but instead found he couldn't. "Yes," he said simply.
Sam blinked at him. Daniel didn't try to explain himself this time. He knew that deep down, Sam understood leaving was the last thing he wanted to do. She knew him better than that. She was just upset. They all were upset.
Sam sighed and stalked away, muttering something unintelligible under her breath. Daniel moved to follow her, but Teal'c caught him by the shoulder.
"Let her be," he said.
Daniel nodded once, even though everything within him wanted to try to console her. Or maybe he just wanted to hear the words spoken aloud to console himself. He didn't know. He figured he shouldn't dwell on it.
"I shall prepare us for departure," Teal'c said. He allowed his gaze to linger on Daniel a moment longer before turning his attention to Jack. Daniel thought Teal'c stood a little taller in that brief second, but then he was off, leaving them behind.
Daniel stared at the stasis pod.
As he gazed at Jack's frozen form, he tried to think of anything they could do to help. All his knowledge – all that he had learned throughout his life – had to be of some use. But instead, he felt blank.
If he could just have patience and wait for the Asgard, or wait for Sam to figure something out, or wait for a breakthrough in his translations, they would be okay. But these days, Daniel had little patience.
Slowly, he took another step forward and stood in front of the pod. He cleared his throat.
"I'm not sure you can hear me and if you can, you probably don't even understand what – wait, what am I doing?" Daniel whipped out his notepad and flipped through the words he'd jotted down in Ancient to help him along. "I know you can't give me a sign to let me know that you can hear me. Well, I know you can't hear me but I keep thinking…" Daniel took a swallow. "I suppose it’s a good thing, right? You can't tell me to shut up," he said with a weak laugh.
Only the silence answered him. Daniel looked at his notepad and fiddled with the corner. He was so caught up in the stillness that he didn't hear Teal'c approach from behind.
"Have you not seen Return of the Jedi, Daniel Jackson?"
Daniel jumped, his surprise twisting into a frown as he stared at Teal'c. "What?"
"When Han Solo was bound in carbonite, his friends did not stop until they could free him." Teal'c stood a little taller. "The day will come when we shall return for O'Neill. Then, all will be well once again."
Daniel nodded again, but he couldn't say he felt the confidence that his friend did. He glanced at Sam, who had reemerged and had begun to pack whatever she could.
This was it. They were leaving.
With a heavy sigh, Daniel took another glance at Jack in the stasis pod. Hopefully, he would remember nothing. Hopefully, he would still be here when they got back.
"Just-just know that we're coming back soon," he said. "I promise."
Daniel hated breaking his promises.
He sat alone in his office, pinging a small chime that dangled off one of his bronze Indus statues. This was the tenth statue he'd catalogued today. He kept mulling over the significance of the form and how even artifacts from off-world didn't help unlock the mysteries of the Indus civilization.
He flicked at the metal again. There was no other sound in the room. Just the continuous dinging of his nail on the bronze surface.
Daniel glanced at his phone. He considered calling Elizabeth again, but maybe five inquiries in three days might be pushing it. He just couldn't help but feel anxious. It had been several days since his trip to the outpost had been canceled due to political bickering.
He was stuck. He wasn't going anywhere.
And now Sam and Teal'c were gone.
Daniel let out a sigh and leaned back in his chair. He just couldn't sit here and wait. Not that he doubted Sam and Teal'c. They wouldn't stop until they found the Asgard.
His gaze fell to his recorder.
As he leaned forward, Daniel swept away some of his notes with the back of his hand and reached to grab the device. He had been using it earlier to record some of his thoughts on the indecipherable glyphs that had been etched into the base of the bronze statues, but now he considered a different use.
"Uh…test, test, test." Daniel stopped the tape and rewound it, satisfied when he heard his voice echo back. After he cleared his throat, Daniel pressed the record button.
"Uh, hi, Jack." He stopped, allowing the dead air to continue. For once, Daniel found himself at a loss for words. With his free hand, he tapped the table with a pen, trying to think of what he could say. He sighed. "I thought you'd like to know how we're doing. We're fine. I mean, not fine in…" He paused. "Sam's well. Teal'c's in good health. I'm okay. Doctor Weir seems to be settling in nicely."
Daniel frowned and paused the tape, realizing how stupid he sounded. He thought about Sam and Teal'c and the far reaches of space. He thought about the international community bickering and fighting amongst themselves. He thought of Hammond. He thought of Jack adrift in the cold of the Antarctic.
He unpaused the tape. "To be honest, Sam's been throwing herself into her work. I know she wants to help, but without…I know she wants to find an answer. We all do.
"Teal'c's been quiet. You know, more so than usual. But he's going through this thing where he's growing hair. He won't admit why he's taken to suddenly growing it after all this time, but Sam and I placed a bet that he's doing it for shock value for when you wake up. Come to. Dethaw. Um…whatever. But don't tell him I told you."
He tapped the table again. "Oh, and you don't have to worry about your sports teams or the Simpsons and whatever else you watch. We have that covered. And I know you—"
Daniel quickly stopped the recorder and placed it on his desk. Elizabeth stood in the doorway, a curious smile touching her lips as she glanced at the recorder and then to him. "I don't mean to interrupt, but I have some paperwork that needs to be looked over. I wouldn't mind both some company and some help," she said. "Would you care to join me for some lunch?"
He stared at her a moment, and when he realized she had started to frown, he broke himself out of his reverie. "Oh, sure," he said as he rose from his desk to meet her. "This doesn't have to do with a certain international treaty, does it?"
She smiled. "It might. I'm hoping this might help revitalize the stalled talks."
That's all Daniel needed to know. He nodded and followed her out of his office. Maybe he was finally getting a break.
After failing to receive the break he'd hoped for, over the course of the next couple of days, Daniel found himself with the recorder again. He didn't dwell on why he was taping the messages. He just did.
But as the days dragged on, he found that the time he spent sitting down with the recorder became less and less frequent. The majority of his time he spent in his office, mulling over the codes and requests sent by Camulus, or with Elizabeth, helping her adjust to life at the SGC.
Yet, Sam, Teal'c, and Jack never left his mind. Maybe he was throwing himself into these projects on purpose.
But Daniel didn't dwell on it.
He scooped up his notes for the upcoming meeting with the Goa'uld and prepared himself to meet Elizabeth to go over what to expect yet again. One could never be too careful when it came to the Goa'uld.
His gaze strayed to the top of his desk, a mild twinge of guilt hitting him in the gut as he found the recorder. Maybe he could squeeze in another quick message. It's not like he really planned on giving this to Jack anyway.
After hesitating for another moment, Daniel finally caved and headed back to his desk. With his notes tucked under one arm, he sorted through the clutter with his free hand. He frowned, searching more frantically when he realized he couldn't find it.
It had to be here. It was always here.
Quickly, Daniel threw open the drawers of his desk, rummaging as hastily, but also as carefully, as he could. The recorder had to be here. It's not like it could grow legs and walk away.
He was about to toss his briefing materials on the chair and complete an excavation of his entire desk when he caught Elizabeth hovering by the door, her hand poised to knock. She stopped when she caught Daniel's eye.
"Right," he said. "I was just on my way."
"Good. I look forward to what you have prepared for me." She chuckled, but Daniel didn't miss the nervousness in her voice. "I'm eager to see what kind of deal we can broker with the Goa'uld."
"Or at least find out what they want," Daniel muttered. He shook his head. "Never mind."
Once again, he joined her at the door so that the two of them could dig into a grab bag of politics, egotistical Goa'uld rumblings, and lies and deception. This time, Daniel could only hope that they would finally be able to move forward instead of remaining stagnant.
And they did move forward, all three of them, but not in spirit. The changes still weighed heavily on them, and they were all tormented with conflicting emotions of happiness and sadness, selfishness and pride, excitement and disappointment. Sam and Teal'c didn't talk much about what had happened over the past month and neither did Daniel. While they kept avoiding the topic, Daniel knew they all understood each other, even now as they continued to march down the hall single file. Change was inevitable, but it was necessary. They would just have to learn to look at the bright side and move on.
The end was in sight. Daniel felt a sense of finality to the air, although he couldn't fully explain it in words. He knew that nothing had really changed, when it fact everything had changed. And he knew that someday things would change again.
Daniel followed Sam as she took a left into Hammond's old office with Teal'c following close behind him. Inside, there were already several opened boxes stacked against the walls and stocked near the desk.
Jack looked up the moment they entered and beckoned them in with the wave of his hand. He was already on the phone – the phone – and pacing behind his desk. Daniel saw a spark of a general in him at that moment, a moment that lasted all two seconds after Jack spotted his yo-yo.
He covered the mouthpiece. "Toss it here."
Sam slid her last box on top of one of the others and dug into the box in Daniel's hand to retrieve the yo-yo. When she tossed it to him, he mouthed a thank you before finishing up his conversation.
"That it?" he asked, untangling the string.
"We have completed our task," Teal'c said.
Daniel wasn't about to make it any easier on him. He plopped the box he was carrying onto Jack's desk. "We even found your silly putty."
Jack raised his eyebrows and peeked into the box, giving a satisfied nod. "Oh, hey. I was looking for that."
Daniel fought the urge to roll his eyes as he watched Jack dig into the box. "Yeah, remind us why we did this again?"
"Because you love me."
"And…remind us why we did this again?"
Jack scowled at him.
Sam cleared her throat. "Well, your old office has been cleaned out, sir. You just might want to give it another look to make sure we didn't miss anything."
"I would advise beginning with the closet," Teal'c said with a smile.
Jack arched his eyebrows. "That bad, is it?"
"Bad," Daniel said. "Very bad."
Jack shrugged. "Nothing a little delegation can't handle."
Daniel and Sam exchanged a knowing look. Jack might be able to play that card with them once, but…
"I just remembered I have to review the new physicist's notes on the rate of naquadah decay on P3X-951," Sam said. She forced a weak smile as she headed for the door.
Daniel nodded, watching Sam's retreating form. He took a small step toward the exit. "And I have those artifacts that I need to finish cataloguing…"
Teal'c settled the box he was holding onto the floor. "I will have no part in further cleaning."
Daniel started at Teal'c's bluntness, but he just continued to smile. As they walked to the exit, they both knew that Jack was still staring at Teal'c's head.
"Can't blame a fella for trying," Jack called after them.
Teal'c left the office, Daniel following behind. He was about to leave Hammond's – Jack's – office completely when he heard a soft click behind him.
"Uh, hi, Jack…I thought you'd like to know how we're doing. We're fine. I mean, not fine in—"
Daniel froze, turning around. Jack was still standing behind his desk, but with Daniel's recorder in hand. He wagged it in the air and arched his eyebrows.
Daniel frowned. "How—?"
"Weir gave it to me."
"Crafty bugger, isn't she?" He grinned. "She's going to do just fine."
Daniel stared at him and the recorder in his hand. Maybe he hadn't given Elizabeth enough credit. Either way, Jack still had the recordings in hand. And that meant every single one.
He took a step forward and stroked his chin thoughtfully. "Uh, Jack…"
Jack shook his head. "It's good. Just leave it at that." His gaze lingered on Daniel, and while he didn't say anything, Daniel could read the gratitude in his eyes. Jack cleared his throat. "Besides, that's not the most important part."
"Most important part?" Daniel asked.
Jack shook the recorder again. "Where are my tapes? I just know I missed something good while I was a popsicle."
Daniel didn't say anything after that, just opting for the silence between them. Jack didn't press either. But for Daniel, it was enough. With all these changes tugging and pulling at him, leaving him immobile, the hint of familiarity was enough to break him free.
He smiled. He never thought it would end this way. But in a way, he was glad.