Salt Water
by Kira


The Stargate shut behind us, and the iris closed with an air of finality.  Dr.  Fraser bless her heart, already had a med team in the gate room.  While Daniel didn't look hurt anywhere I could see -- and I'd looked very, very carefully -- I didn't like the dark circles under his eyes.  His hair straggled over his forehead, and my fingers itched to push it back.  I wanted to pull him into my arms and never let him go.  As it was, I could barely believe he was alive.

Not burned to death.

Not writhing in pain and calling my name.

I shivered and forced my thought to the here and now.  Daniel was alive, despite what our memories told us, and Janet had him lying on a stretcher, taking temperature, pulse and whatever.

"He'll be fine, sir.  " Sam's quiet voice was filled with confidence and, dare I say it, understanding.

'I too have confidence that Daniel Jackson shall make a complete recovery," Teal'c added as we all trailed behind the medical parade to the infirmary.  I had a sneaky suspicion that both of them were saying more than they actually did.  But then again, my team's always been pretty damn perceptive.

"I'm fine, really."  Daniel's protests trickled through the crowd to where we stood.  News of his resurrection had spread fast.  Most of the people there weren't even Dr.  Fraser's staff.

"All right, people."  I raised my voice, putting my 'don't-disobey-me-I've-had-a-bad-day' tone into it.  "Daniel needs some rest.  Come back later."

Thanks to the great army discipline that drums obedience to that commands voice into people, the crowd drifted away until it was just Dr.  Fraser and us.  My team.  My Daniel.  I tried to rein in the possessive voice in my head as I settled my hip onto the bed by Daniel's side, but it was hard to do.

"You really okay?"

His eyes looked up and it suddenly felt as though my soul had been stripped bare, laid open for his approval.  "I'm fine, Jack.  I just want to go home!"  He looked over my shoulder as he talked.

I twisted about to see the Doc scribbling down notes on his chart.  "Well?  Can he?  Go home that is."

"There doesn't seem to be much wrong aside from dehydration and exhaustion."  She clicked the top of the pen and redirected her gaze back to Daniel.  "Take it easy for the next few days.  Drink lots of water, don't exert yourself and check back here on Friday.  Call if you notice anything odd, and come in right away.  But otherwise, I don't want to see you here until then."

It was Tuesday, which meant three days before we'd be back on duty.  That suited me just fine.

Daniel sat up and stood on wobbly legs, pulling on his T-shirt in the process.  There was a moment when his head tangled in the cotton so I stepped gallantly forward and gently eased the material around his damp hair.  The shirt was also a bit damp, and the shivers beginning to course through his body were proof that he was still wearing the clothes he had on during his visit with Nem.

First stop, his office to pick up the spare set of clothes he has in the closet.

"Oh, yeah," Janet called after us.  "No driving!  I want to make sure there are no long lasting effects from that machine before you handle machinery!"

Second stop, my car, as it would seem that I would be playing chauffeur.  The though never even crossed my mind that Sam could drive him home.  Well, okay, it did.  I just squashed it like a Goa'uld bug.  No one was taking my Daniel anywhere but me.

"Sir?"  Sam was still standing behind me with Teal'c.

"I'll make sure he gets home safe.  You and Teal'c, enjoy the holiday."

I forced myself to smile.  Sam grinned back and stepped past me to give Daniel a quick squeeze around the waist.  Daniel responded by burying his face in her hair.  Teal'c looked on with that enigmatic expression before wheeling about on his heel.  That's our Teal'c.  Carter said something to Daniel that make him look at me, concern in his eyes.  Then she slipped past me with a 'See you on Friday, sir' and was gone.  Daniel and I were alone.

Alone.

Just the two of us.

"Jack?"  He was looking at me, like he was expecting an answer to a question.  What the question was, I had no idea.  My brain had moved south for the winter and was thinking nasty thoughts, most of them involving warming up Daniel in various ways.

"Jack?"  There was a tiny grin on his face that lifted the corners of his mouth.  Not a smirk, not a happy pout, just that sexy little grin that made me want to...well, let's just say there were a lot of things I wanted to do.

I reluctantly dragged my mind back to the matter at hand.  "Huh?"

Cool and suave.  That's me.

"I said, are you ready to go?  I'm freezing."  The shivers had gotten worse, transforming into shudders.

"Oh.  Yeah.  I'm ready." *And willing* a tiny voice supplied.  "We should get you changed and then I'll drive you home."

"I don't think I have any clothes in my locker.  I took them home to clean.  I'll steal a towel from Janet so I won't get your car seat wet.  But let's hurry.  These pants are starting to chaff."

I forced myself not to look down and check how much they were chaffing.  I'd like to say I was successful.  But I wasn't.  I covertly peeked as he bent down to grab a towel from the Doc's store -- and immediately had to bite back a groan.

The moment was over far to fast.  He straightened up and threw the towel over his head, giving it a quick shake to dry his hair.  The resultant tangle was, well, indescribable.  I could say sexy, but that's not quite right.  Adorable is too childish for what he did to my libido.

"After you."

Wasn't that cute?  He was being chivalrous.

"Oh, no.  After you.  I insist."  There was no way I was going to pass up the chance to have my Danny walking before with damp, clingy pants.  Oblivious to my nefarious -- isn't that a great word? -- motives, he simply smiled and preceded me out of the infirmary.

*************

I put the car in park and sat back, studying the man beside me.  He had fallen asleep halfway to the apartment, and his head rested against the window, the light creating streaks of lighter brown in his hair.  His lashes are long, full and black against his cheeks which are far too pale.  I could feel moisture gathering in the corner of my eye.  Damn.  I had lost him, but now he was back.

I swiped away the traitorous tears and reached across to touch Daniel's shoulder.  He blinked owlishly and rubbed at his eyes with one hand.

"Mmm.  Sorry.  Didn't mean to fall asleep.  We there already?"

I just nodded, not trusting my voice.  Daniel shot me a look, almost as if he knew something was up.  But the moment passed and he suddenly smiled.

"Thanks for the ride, Jack.  You," he paused.  "You want to come up?"

I couldn't stop the grin from spreading across my face.  Daniel merely smiled even more and undid his seatbelt.  "Come on.  I've got some Irish Creme coffee waiting.  And a shower.  I feel disgusting."

I wasn't sure that coffee would be the best thing for the man who looked like he hadn't slept in a week, but I didn't comment as we made our way past the doorman, up the elevator and through the door of his apartment.

"Go plug in the kettle.  I'm going to shower and change."  Daniel began tugging off his shirt even before he made it to the bedroom.  The broad expanse of revealed skin distracted me from my chore.  Damn.  How was a man supposed to think when the object of his affection kept doing those sorts of things.  No regard.  Inconsiderate.

The kettle began to rumble on the counter and I found a can of coffee hidden away in the freezer.  The deep aroma of ground beans bloomed as I popped the lid.  I managed to find the coffee pot and the dohickey thing that sat on top.  The filters however were deep undercover and not about to reveal themselves.

I could hear the shower pounding against the walls and soft groans of contentment from Daniel.  I had to put my hands on the counter and take deep breaths.  It wouldn't do for me to hop into the shower and declare my love in such an undignified way.  Nope.  I'd stay out in the kitchen with a woody in my pants and no damn coffee filters.

The water shut off and the shower sputtered to a drip.

"Daniel!  Where are your filters?"  I shouted.  Army captain and dauntless leader of SG-1 and the simple layout of Daniel's kitchen was dumbfounding me.

"Third drawer down by the fridge." Daniel's disembodied voice floated from his bedroom.

I could have sworn that I looked there, but I indulged him.  I should have known better.  Pulling one of the filters from the pack, I prodded it into place and scooped the coffee into it.  The kettle began to whistle and I pulled the plug and slowly poured the seething water onto the grounds.  The smell was divine, wrapping around my nose and enveloping me in a blanket of roasted goodness.

"Mmm.  Smells good."

I turned as Daniel came out of his room, sniffing appreciatively at the air.  It took all my control not to jump him right there and then.  Clad in deep blue--pajamas?--and flannel ones at that--his eyes were brilliant and his hair shone from the backlighting of his bedroom.  Delicious.  Edible.  Better than coffee.  I quirked an eyebrow at his bare feet, but merely handed him a mug.

"Warm?"

"Warmer," he replied.    I poured the coffee into our mugs, relieved to see his shivers had ceased.

"Nice pjs,.  "I grinned teasingly.

He flushed and rolled his eyes.  "They were a present from Sam.  Only thing clean."  He self-consciously smoothed the fabric over his abdomen.  I had to shake my head from following the motion of his fingers.  We moved to the living room and sat on the couch in comfortable silence.

"Jack?"

"Hmm?"  I was drowning in the heat of the coffee and warmth of Daniel's body so close to mine.

"Why is my Abydos journal on the table?"

Leave it to Daniel to remember where he left his journals *and* recognize them from their covers.

"Uh.  Well..."

"Well, what?"

Oh the innocence in those wide eyes.  I lost myself in their depths and my hand raised itself to brush a tendril of hair from his forehead.

"I never thought you were a geek, Daniel."  I couldn't believe that was my voice.  My entire body was on autopilot, but I wasn't the one who programmed it.   Daniel had the proverbial deer-in-headlights look.

"What?"  He was practically stammering.

"I never thought you were a geek.  Brilliant." I stroked a finger along his jaw.  "Intelligent."  My other hand captured the back of his neck.  "Beautiful."   I drew him in, softly pressing my mouth against his.  "But never a geek."

Daniel was trembling again, but not from the cold.  I cupped his face, needing to feel his presence, needing to know he was really there.  The love in his eyes, the trust, pushed me over the edge and shattered me into a million pieces.

"I thought you were dead."  My voice was low and rough.  "I believed you were dead."

He finally moved, his hands wrapping around my wrists.  But he didn't pull them away, just closed his eyes with a smile.

"But you knew I was alive."

When he moved to kiss me, soft lips parting and a silken tongue stroking, I was restored and the pieces of my soul were joined with his.  The anger at Nem was gone, but the fear that I might have lost Daniel...and one day might still lose him..welled like a tidal surge.  But my Daniel knew what to do.  He pulled my head down to his chest, wrapped me in his arms, and stroked my hair.  His strong hands gently wiped away the tracks of my tears.

The Abydos journal remained on the table, and we stayed on the couch.  Until we finally moved to the his bedroom and closed the door on the world, at least for one night.

I finally believed he was alive.


Finis

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