When No one Was Looking
Written for the 60 Second Fic List in response to Margaret's two challenges. # 1 was He's wearing a long scarf # 2 was Once when no one was looking
Thanks to Margaret for two more great prompts. Keep 'em coming, BH.
With apologies to Lyn, devra, and JoaG for writing this when I was supposed to be writing something else. I'm getting to it though, I promise.
He's wearing a long scarf around his neck when he opens the door to my knock. It's gauzy and soft-looking, but I can't help yanking his chain, so I ask, "Harry Potter convention on somewhere?"
He grins and fingers the soft material as he stands aside to let me in. "I was looking through Sha're's things. She gave me this a week or so before you came back to Abydos "
'And took me away' my mind adds, though he doesn't say it. After all, so soon before that, she was gone, and Daniel knew his best chance of finding her was coming back to Earth.
"Sorry." I smile at him. "My mouth gets ahead of my brain sometimes."
"Forget it. You weren't to know." He unwraps the scarf from his neck. "Beer?"
"You don't like beer," I reply, moving past him into the kitchen and waiting while he pulls one from the fridge and hands it to me.
He shrugs. "I keep them here in case you drop by. So, why did you drop by?"
I open it, tip the bottle to my lips and gulp down a swallow. It's good. I hold the bottle up to the light and examine the label. Heineken. Nice. "Just passing, saw your light on and thought I'd drop in."
"You live fifteen miles in the other direction, Jack," he reminds me as he pours himself a glass of white wine from the bottle in the fridge.
"Okay. I remembered, all right? I wanted to make sure you were okay."
"I'm fine." He puts the glass down on the counter.
"It's been a year-"
"Since she died. I know. Jack, she was gone long before Teal'c killed her."
I shake my head at that. "You told me she came to you, told you where to find the boy-"
"That was her spirit, Jack, her soul, not the Sha're I loved and knew. I said goodbye to her a long time ago. I knew, deep down, long before that, I'd never get her back get us back, what we had together."
"I'm sorry," I say. I drain the beer and put it down on the counter next to his glass. "I'll get going then-"
"Can you stay? Just for a while." His voice is soft still, but I can hear the edge of pleading in it, and I nod. "Sure. For a while."
Once when no one was looking, not even Daniel, especially not Daniel, I whispered that I loved him.
It was when he'd been coming down off the sarcophagus addiction, when he'd burrowed his head into my shoulder and cried in despair. I held him so tightly I thought I'd leave bruises, rubbed his back, and whispered "I love you" into his sweaty, matted hair.
I don't think he heard me. He was too lost in his own pain and fear. I think he knew that I cared for him, that I would be there for him, through that terrible time, and whatever else life threw his way. I hope he did.
I never told him again. He'd been in love with Sha're almost as long as I'd known him.
Now, he's looking at me though, just small, darting glances over the rim of his wine glass, and it's all I can do not to say it again, loud enough for him to hear me this time, and sincerely enough for him to believe me.
I don't. I just clench my fingers around my beer bottle and watch him watching me.
The silence stretches into a thin cord between us till he finally snaps it with one word. "Jack?"
"I loved her, you know that, don't you?"
"Yeah, Danny, I know."
He puts the glass down on the coffee table, and stands up, then walks over and kneels in front of my chair, making room for himself by pushing my knees apart.
"Daniel?" My voice has risen at least an octave, and I take a hurried sip of my now-lukewarm beer, then put the bottle on the floor.
"Sha're knew I loved her," he says, his voice soft and almost achingly sad.
He nods, swallows hard. "She told me that as much as I loved her, there was someone I loved more. I told her she was wrong, but eventually, after a while, I realized she was right. We decided it didn't matter, that person was out of my reach anyway, so we'd take what we could get. We were happy together."
I nod, uncharacteristically speechless, and wait for him to continue.
"I *did* love her," he whispers, then he leans up and forward, and kisses my mouth. Just a quick brushing of his lips over mine. Then he settles back down on his haunches and looks expectantly at me.
I touch my fingers to my lips, then reach out and touch his, shivering as he sucks them into his mouth for a brief caress. My hand tangles through his hair, then grasps his arm, and I pull him up, so his face is just inches from mine.
"Once when no one was looking," I say, "I told you I loved you."