Jack, Plain and Simple

Pairing: Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson
Category: Episode Tag, Episode Related, Episode: s07e07 Enemy Mine, Angsty Schmoop, Pre-Relationship, Flash fic, community: sgflashfic
Rating: G
Summary: Daniel returns home from his 'little' mission in Enemy Mine, and for once he's the one at the side of the bed instead of in it.
Notes: Done for the flashfic assignment on livejournal. It was supposed to be angst, but the boys weren't cooperating... anyway, this was the outcome. I'll run off again and return to the madness of nanowrimo.

Peeking through the open door of the infirmary, I sigh with relief. No one is in sight, no nurses... and no Janet. Just what I had hoped for, because this means I can slip inside to check on Jack without being caught. Janet's already told me once to go get some rest, but at the moment... I can't. I'm still running high on adrenaline from the last mission... the very responsible for Jack's current stay in the infirmary.

His condition isn't life threatening, but I still need to do a final check on him before I can go and try to get some rest of my own. I wonder why Janet hasn't let him out of here yet. Then again, he might have made enough of a nuisance of himself to make her sedate him. It wouldn't surprise me if that was the case. Spotting the chair next to the bed I have a short flashback bursting though my mind. I have most of my memories back, but the little things... well, the little things come back when I see something that makes me remember. Like now... the chair reminds me that we've all done this at one time or another. It rarely happens that any member of SG-1 is left on his or her own in the infirmary... it's a team-thing.

As I slide into the chair I realize just how bone tired I am. Spending all those hours on P3X-403, sitting around, most of the time on our knees... well, that makes me glad that Jack wasn't there. He'd have bitched and moaned about it for ages. Not while it was happening... no, he's too much of a soldier to do that, but he'd have made sure afterwards that none of us would ever forget the strain.

As I sit down by the bedside, I look at him, his features softened by sleep and the dimmed lighting of the room. Jack is the only one here, at the moment. I check my watch and realize it's close to 3AM.

Jack's a soldier... It's the thing that keeps me from putting my hand out and touching him. He's okay... really, he is. This time it was only his shoulder, and considering his opponent, it could have been a lot worse. Tribal Unas aren't the easiest to handle, with their natural offensive abilities, not to mention their strength.

I take off my glasses and put them on the table next to the infirmary bed and rub my eyes. I think I decided some time ago that as my memories returned, I would put this... attraction behind me, like I had done back then... before I ascended.

I glare at my hand where it rests on the pillow, next to Jack's head. I have to be careful, I know that, because if I zone too much I know I'll come back and find my hand stroking his hair.

Even before I realized I was attracted to him, I think it was imprinted in my sub-consciousness. I know when they found me without my memory, each one of them were sad that I didn't recognize them... Jack most of all. I know he... my reactions to him confused me, and I wasn't ready to face him. When he confronted me in the tent... I evaded him. When Sam did the same, I was confused enough to ask if we'd ever been... well, more than friends. It was a safe question to ask, and though I may have asked Sam, I now know who I really *wanted* to ask that question. Even if I didn't then.

I know Jack and I never had more than a rocky friendship, but I think maybe I knew back then that asking him that question... it might not be wise. I raise an eyebrow at my hand, once again resting on the pillow. It's not wise, it's stupid, it's... Jack can't return my feelings, even if... even if I've caught him watching me. In the beginning... after my return, I thought maybe he was a little worried that I would disappear again. Then slowly it changed... he changed... or more accurately, he began acting the way I remembered him being. Actually, the more he acted as he had before my ascension, the more I remembered, the clearer my memories became.

I think the final piece to my puzzle was the touching. It was what I was missing... in more ways than one. Now I remember so many things and Jack's throw-away comment earlier about me going to my happy place... I shake my head and watch my hand, still on the pillow. I remember the smile on Jack's face when I found him in the infirmary, just before I was going back to the planet. My own comment slipped out before I realized it might not have been wise, not with Sam being in the room as well. She's an intelligent woman and if anyone will ever be able to see through me... well, it'll be her. I'll just have to be thankful that even though Jack is good at reading me, he hasn't seen ...this yet.

So why am I here? Apart from the obvious fact that we used to do this all the time? Sit by each other's bedsides... I'm here because while I was alone on that planet, concentrating on getting us all home on one piece *and* keeping the Unas alive as well... I kept pushing these thoughts into the back of my mind.

The one thing that kept nagging me as I returned, mission successfully accomplished... One little question that kept repeating itself. Jack had been injured in the shoulder... a little further to the side and it would have been his throat. As I waited for the med-check and the debriefing, my mind kept supplying me with visual what-if scenarios. Flashes of Jack on the ground, throat torn open, blood gushing from the wound... dead and beyond my reach. Beyond my words.

"Still concerned about breaking in a new Colonel?" The question tears me from my thoughts and I'm met with a pair of brown eyes sparkling with mirth, but also slightly glazed. I'm pretty sure Janet's given him something to sleep on... so why isn't he sleeping?

"You're a tough guy -- you'll be out there fighting the universe again before we know it," I joke.

"Aren't you supposed to get some rest?" he asks, cocking one eyebrow.

"I just need a little time to ...think," I reply, suddenly aware that my hand is still on his pillow.

"Uh-huh... you're thinking so hard you woke me up," Jack grins, his smile softening. Before I can make myself remove my hand without his notice, he lifts his uninjured arm and puts his hand over mine.

I feel my face flush for a moment, but I end up mirroring his smile. "I'll get some rest, Jack. Don't worry about me."

"If I don't, who's gonna do it for me?" he asks, voice soft and barely audible.

I blink in surprise, for a moment wishing I still had my glasses on so I can see his expression clearly. The squeeze to my hand tells me what I need to know, though. "On one condition," I find myself saying.

"Shoot," Jack replies, not letting go of my hand.

"That I get to do the same for you." I wonder why I say this... I should keep this to myself, yet... who knows how many more chances we're gonna get? I've died more than once and Jack has been on the verge of death more often than I want to think about. This time it was only a shoulder, next time... Next time one of us might not make it back alive.

To my surprise, Jack merely smiles and gives me a minute nod. Finally he lets go and pats my hand. "I don't think Janet would mind you using one of the beds in here for a little rest."

I bow my head for a moment, wondering if I should say what's on my mind... how I feel about... Jack reaches out and to my surprise I feel fingers fleetingly caress my cheek.

"We'll talk later... when we're in more private surroundings and I'm less... drugged." Jack's eyes are still smiling, but the mirth has been replaced by something else... something softer.

"You ok with this?" I ask him, knowing he'll catch the meaning loud and clear.

"Wouldn't want it any other way... it's long overdue anyway," he replies with a roguish grin, only slightly ruined by a jaw-cracking yawn.

All I can do is smile and before I know it, I'm horizontal in the bed next to Jack's, laying on my side and watching him. It can't possibly be this easy, I tell myself, but the look on Jack's face as he drifts off to sleep again is putting my fears and doubts to rest. Who am I to question a second... third... or whatever chance this is? I've lost count, but I've got the strange feeling that wasting time is part of the past... at least if I let Jack lead the way now. For a little while, at least, I grin to myself as I relax and finally find sleep. The last thought flittering through my mind is what on Earth was I afraid of? This is ...Jack, plain and simple.

The End