Another side of you
All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Category: Missing scene; angst
Season/spoilers: Season 4 - The Other Side
Warnings: Language and the usual gratuitous nudity<g>
Summary: Daniel's thoughts on his return from Euronda
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, he isn't mine, but I wish he was... plus the usual MGM are great and worthy.
Author's Notes: This is my take on The Other Side and is a much darker episode in Daniel's life than the previous Shower Scene - don't expect any laughs.
'Debriefing in one hour.'
I nod my head in acknowledgement of General Hammond's order but I'm still staring at Jack. He's standing on the ramp, his face expressionless - except for his eyes. There was a time, not so very long ago - hell, just a few hours ago - when I thought I could read Jack. I thought I knew him, and I don't just mean facts about where he grew up, how long he was married and what hockey team he supports. I mean really knew him, as in I knew what he'd be thinking, knew how he would react in a given situation, even knew what he was about to say before he said it. But now… now I look at the man on the ramp, and I look at those eyes, and I'm not sure I know this man at all. I sure as hell don't understand that look, and right now, I don't want to be on the receiving end of it. I need to get out of here.
I turn and walk, unseeing, through the familiar corridors, feet automatically leading me to the locker room. God, I need a shower. Need to get the stink of Euronda off my skin, out of my hair. Reaching my locker, I fumble for the key, unlock the door, pull out a clean towel and a plastic bottle of all-in-one shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. If Sam were here she'd make some comment about how I should use a separate conditioner. Fortunately she isn't because if she was… well, if she was I'd probably tell her where to stick her damned conditioner.
Shit. Guess I'm angry with her too. Of course I'm angry with her. I expected her to support me. I assumed she'd want to hear the answers to my questions as much as I did. Can't believe she just sat beside Jack shooting me those 'please-don't-rock-the-boat-Daniel' looks. Not to mention parroting off our standing orders at the click of Jack's fingers. Of course I'm sure none of that had anything to do with the fact she was virtually having an orgasm over the thought of getting her hands on the Eurondan's fusion technology. No, nothing at all.
Anger translates to action as I rip off my vest and jacket and slam them onto the bench in front of me. Bring my right foot up to unlace my boot. Then the left. Remove them by pressing down on the heel with the toe of the other foot. Drives Jack crazy when I do that. Well good! Like it matters whether I have clean boots on a mission like this one. What about clean hands, Jack? Answer that one for me.
Socks - right and left, scrunched and hurled. I unbuckle my belt, enjoying the sharp snap of the tongue as it whips out of the loops. Un-button, un-zip - my pants fall to my ankles and I kick them under the bench as I step out of them. My T-shirt is next, landing in a crumpled ball. God, it's cold in here. I feel goosebumps form up my arms, across my chest. A shiver ripples across my shoulders. Is it cold in here? Or is it just that I'm cold? Frozen by what I've just seen, by what I've just lived through?
Shit! The locker room door opens and I snatch up my towel, suddenly aware I'm standing in the communal area wearing nothing but a pair of Fruit of the Looms and a frown, but it's only Teal'c. Not that Sam hasn't seen me in my underpants before - hell, after three years of missions she's seen me buck naked on more than one occasion - but today I'm not in the mood for playing by the air force's rules, the 'hey, we're not body conscious on the job' crap. Today I want to be a civilian with a capital 'C'.
A quick nod at Teal'c - he needn't think he's flavour of the month either. Silent disapproval of our mission is one thing, but I'd have felt a hell lot more supported if he'd said something. Grabbing my shower gel, I head for the showers. The first stall is empty and I dive into it, crank the water on full and tug my boxers down over my hips, letting them slide to the floor and puddle around my ankles. Right foot out, left foot out, flick of the foot to send them flying upwards, catch them left-handed and toss them over the stall door next to my towel. Not bad for a geek, who doesn't know when to shut up, huh?
The water is hot when I test it with my left hand. Very hot. Steam is already filling the cubicle, plastering my hair to my head. It's just how I want it. Maybe it'll chase away the cold. Funny how having someone point a gun at my head always has that effect on me. One minute I was standing on the far side of the strategy table with Sam, the next - slam - some blue-eyed maniac is pushing the wrong end of a weapon in my face.
'Call your General Hammond.'
Like hell. See Jack. I knew when to shut up after all.
'Shut up, Daniel.'
I can't believe he said that.
'Shut up, Daniel.'
I thought I knew him.
'Shut up, Daniel.'
Shut the fuck up yourself, Jack!
Damnit. Why can't I just let it go? He apologised, didn't he? Never been one to bear a grudge. So why can't I just… let… it…go!
A gasp escapes me as I step under the stream of water and feel the power of it flaying against my skin. Thought I knew him… Sure - I knew he was career military. Sure, I knew he was capable of doing things I perhaps could never even conceive of. He was black ops. I'm not stupid. I know what that means. Hell I even found it comforting. Knew it meant he wouldn't just know what to do to get us out of a tight spot, he'd actually do it. But this… I've never known him to not listen.
Okay so I didn't exactly pick the best of moments. I should've taken it outside instead of insisting of making an issue of it at the briefing table, in front of Alar. Sure, Jack had a right to be ticked with me then. If he'd told me to shut up at that moment, that I could've swallowed.
'Next time I tell you to shut up...'
'I didn't hear you tell me to shut up.'
'Too subtle for you?'
No, Jack. It wasn't too subtle for me. I saw you wince, but I didn't want to believe what it meant. I thought you just hadn't considered the possibilities. See up to now you've always been the one to ask for options… So okay, I shouldn't have carried on. Guess I trod on your team-leader toes a bit too hard. But I sure didn't deserve the way you shut me down once Alar left. Okay so you wanted to flex your muscles - let me know you were still in charge, remind me just who is leader of the pack. I understood that, Jack. You want to play alpha-male now and again, fine. But sending me back through the gate with Carter? With a goddamn escort, Jack?
I blow out an angry breath, flip the lid on the shower gel, turn it over my left palm and squeeze. The bottle farts at me. Damn it. I flip the lid shut, shake it vigorously and try again. The bottle farts louder, spraying my palm with a pathetic layer of froth. Shit! The bottle's empty, or as near as damn it.
Sounds come from the stall next to mine, somebody turning on the shower, water running. I give my bottle one last squeeze and then throw it on the floor in disgust. Goddammit. Can't I even have a decent shower? Ducking my head, I stand under the flow of water, feeling its driving force pummel the tense muscles at the back of my neck. Damn but it feels good. Slowly I shift my stance, leaning my palms against the door and rocking gently on the balls of my feet so the jet massages up and down my upper spine. I can still smell Euronda on my body, though, the metallic tang of processed air. Really need some soap.
I straighten up and run a hand through my hair. It feels thick, heavy. Soapy water from the next stall swirls past my door, running towards the drain.
"Teal'c? You got any soap in there? All I've got is an empty bottle of shower gel."
There's a moment's pause and then a plastic bottle skitters under the partition between our stalls, coming to rest against the wall. I stoop to pick it up, temporarily blinded as water cascades over my face. Eyes shut I flip the lid, tilt and pour a generous handful. The smell of sandalwood and spice - the smell of Jack - fills the steam-laden air. My eyes fly open.
Shit. Oh shit! Yes, it's Jack's brand. I stare at the pool of clear fluid in my hand for a long moment. The urge to be clean - really clean - wrestles with the petulant desire to wash the gel straight down the drain. I pull in a long breath, tell myself not to be so childish. Dropping the bottle to the floor I kick it back under the partition, but I can't bring myself to say thanks as I rub the gel into my hair, working up a lather that I spread over my body, washing away the stink of Euronda. Washing in the aroma of my team leader.
Head jerking up, I suddenly realise how quiet it is. It's not like Jack to be silent in the shower. Normally he sings. And if he's not singing he prattles - tonight's hockey game, last week's hockey game, tidbits of SGC gossip, Jack loves to gossip. So why is he so damned quiet…? I'm suddenly yanked out of my pity party by the image of him standing on the ramp, his expression cold, dead, and that look in his eyes. Hell, I still don't know what that look was all about. Guilt? Regret? Whatever it was, Jack is hurting.
Back under the stream of water, I tilt my head and let it wash away the suds. And with it the heat of my anger. Jack's hurting. I'm hurting. I know too, from the look on her face, Sam's hurting. And Teal'c? Well Teal'c may not show it, but we're a team, and if one of us hurts we all hurt. I shut off the shower and reach for my towel. A team. Four individuals, one unit, each of us with the power to build or destroy what we are together. A laugh almost forms as I realise the point I've reached. To be part of SG-1 or not? Almost sounds Shakespearian. To be or not to be?
I'm mocking myself. I already know the answer. SG-1 is where I belong. For how long, I don't know. A week? A month? A year? Who can answer that question? But for today, it's where I should be. I sigh softly, knowing the decision means somehow Jack and I have to work this out and find a way to move on. Quite how we're going to do it eludes me for now - part of me still wants to punish him. But at least now, part of me want to understand, to find out exactly what makes this unknown side of him tick. For now, though, just leaving my shower stall, just being with him, is difficult.
We dress in silence. Avoiding one another's gaze. Not knowing how to start the road back.
He's faster than me. Sliding into a fresh uniform with his usual graceful elegance while I fumble with buttons and laces. I hear his locker slam shut behind me. The click of a key. Footsteps towards the door. Three, four… he stops.
"See you at the debriefing?"
I freeze. The tongue of my belt in my right hand, fingers of my left fumbling with the buckle. "Yes,"
I turn to look at him but he's gone. Moments later the locker room door opens.
"Daniel." Sam enters cautiously, glancing around the room to see who else is there. "Sorry, I thought you'd be done."
I tie a final lace and straighten up. "I'm just leaving."
My wet towel lands in the laundry basket as I throw it across the room, then step towards the door.
"Daniel?" Her voice is low, the tone edged with an unfamiliar nervousness.
"Yes?" I stop, but I don't look at her.
"Are we…?" She hesitates and I have to turn, have to look at her. She holds my gaze, worry lines creasing her eyes. "Are we going to be okay?"
I don't know what to say, but I know what she wants to hear. "We're a team, aren't we?" The words sound lame in my ears, but she gives a small smile and nods.
I move on, step to the door.
Her voice sounds behind me.
"See you at the debriefing?"
The debriefing. What the hell am I going to say in the briefing? How am I going to explain the arguments, the hurt… I'm out in the corridor now - the smell of sandalwood and spice drifts around me, is infused in me. I know it's ridiculous but I feel as though I've been given a territorial mark. The aroma of Jack O'Neill is in every breath I take. Both comforting and frightening.
We're a team, aren't we?
Perhaps all I need do is tell it how it is.
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