Another side to Kata Avalon's wonderful story "Down Another Path".
Jack had been gone so long that Daniel could almost believe he'd never known him. Fifteen years was long enough for Daniel to almost stop missing him, almost to stop thinking he was going to walk back through the gate
Every night for fifteen years, Daniel had wished he'd told him. He'd never have the chance now. It was part of the past, part of all the many could have been's, wished for dreams that had never come to pass.
There'd been opportunities to do it, before Jack had disappeared, and Daniel sometimes wondered what had stopped him. He smiled a little at that now. There'd been Jack's obvious attraction to Sam for a start, and the fact that he'd been married and had a child - things that tended to point to a man being straight as an arrow. But there'd been times too when Daniel had wondered.
When he'd cupped Daniel's face in his hands and called him Spacemonkey, his obvious relief at finding Daniel alive apparent to all. The time when he'd rocked Daniel in his arms and comforted him when he was coming down from the sarcophagus addiction; the grief in his eyes when Daniel had ascended and the stunned joy on his face when Daniel had been returned to them.
They'd tiptoed around each other for a while after that, gone back to the teammates and buddy thing but sometimes Daniel would look up and catch Jack watching him, a depth of feeling in his eyes that took his breath away.
He remembered the Atlantis mission and how he'd almost begged Jack to let him go. Jack had simply said 'no'; shaking his head and Daniel hadn't pushed it. It had meant more to him that Jack wanted him to stay.
Then Jack was gone, seconded to Washington and Mitchell had taken his place as leader of SG:1. So much had happened since then. The bracelets that bound Daniel and Vala together, and almost killed them; the Ori with their soul stealing demands for obedience to their will.
The team had gone on, without Jack, and then one day, Daniel turned around in the control room and he was there.
Daniel felt for a moment as if all the air had been sucked out of the room and he inhaled a deep breath.
"Hey, you okay?" Jack's hand was on his arm, warm, squeezing gently.
"Yeah." He nodded, getting his feet figuratively back under himself, shoring himself up again. "I'm fine. Just surprised to see you. What's going on, Jack?"
"I've been asked to head SG:1 for a mission."
"Because the main guy on the planet asked for me."
Jack shook his head and then bent close so his breath whispered hotly against Daniel's ear. "You haven't changed a bit, Daniel." He straightened up and gave Daniel a smile that seemed to say he was happy about that. "I was recommended to them by Thor, okay?"
Daniel nodded quickly. "That's that's good. When do we leave?"
And they'd gone; SG:1 back together again, and even when it all went to hell in a handbasket, it was okay, because they were all together again, watching each other's backs. Daniel told himself that when it was all over, and they'd cleared the event horizon and left the chaos behind them he'd find a way to tell Jack just what he meant to him, how much he loved him.
It hadn't happened. Couldn't happen now. Jack had been the last one heading for the gate just before the burst from an unknown type of energy weapon had hit the gate. Daniel had landed on the ramp in a heap then climbed to his feet and looked behind him, waiting for Jack to appear.
He hadn't. They'd gone back to the planet and searched it meticulously and found no sign of him. Sam had spent weeks working on every possible explanation for what had happened to him and finally been ordered to let it go. Eventually Jack had been declared dead and given a hero's memorial service. SG:1 had gone their separate ways. Sam married Pete and had two kids, resigning from the program to be the mother she'd always wanted to be. Teal'c went back to Chulak and became an important leader there. Daniel stayed on at the SGC, even after the Ori were a nightmare of the past, unable to leave, afraid that if he did, Jack would find his way home and not find Daniel there waiting for him. And he remembered. He always would. And he'd keep looking for a way to find Jack and bring him back. And when he did, Daniel would tell him this time. He wouldn't let the opportunity go by again.