depths.jpg (13925 bytes)



EMAIL: Annie

Category: Slash, ER

Pairing: Jack/Daniel

Rating: M

Very mild spoilers for a couple of episodes. Nothing that should
keep you up at night. This was written for a challenge on another list. Hope you like it.

Summary: Jack doesn't know everything about Daniel.

Daniel skidded to a halt, only saved from taking a headlong fall over the crumbling cliff by Jack's grip on his arm. He sagged, resting his hands on his knees, his lungs burning from the mad dash through the forest. Jack's hand shifted and rested on his heaving
back, a reassuring presence.

"You okay?" Jack asked.

Daniel nodded, though it was a blatant lie. He straightened and looked at Jack, who didn't look a whole lot better than he felt. There was a dark bruise high on Jack's left cheek, the result of his usual smartass comments made when things weren't going their way,
especially when there were Goa'uld involved. "Now what?"

Jack seemed to think about it a moment, then come to a decision when shouts and the sound of thundering footsteps were heard behind them. He hooked a thumb and gestured toward the cliff's edge.

Incredulous, Daniel shifted gingerly closer and risked a look over, immediately wishing he hadn't. "Tell me you're joking," he said, raising his voice to be heard over the thunder of the nearby waterfall.

Jack gave him an almost apologetic shrug. "I'm not joking."

Daniel shook his head and began backing away, both from the edge and from Jack. "No, no way! I am not jumping into that river!"

Jack took a step forward, impatience clearly showing on his face. "We're jumping - together."

"You can't make me," Daniel responded, aware he sounded like a petulant child.

Jack rolled his eyes. Then, before Daniel could react, he moved forward and grabbed Daniel's arm in an iron grip. "Now is not the time to tell me you're scared of heights," he hissed. He took another look behind them and dragged Daniel closer. "We have two
choices here. Go over the cliff and have a chance at getting away or stay here and let them put snakes in our heads. I've been there," he added, "and it's not pleasant… And I can too make you."

"I'm not afraid of heights."

"Good." And with that one word, Jack jumped, dragging Daniel forward with him.

Daniel's startled scream was whipped away by the wind and almost before he could register the terrifying sensation of free falling, he slammed into the water, the impact and almost instantaneous cold sweeping his consciousness away.


Jack hit the water hard, the icy force of it driving the air brutally from his lungs. Gravity pushed him beneath the surface before he could pull in more than a quick gasping breath. He sank like a stone through the murky depths. His booted feet scraped the riverbed and he bent his knees and pushed upwards, managing to get enough height to begin to use his arms in a clumsy imitation of swimming and finally, just when he was sure his lungs would burst, breaking through to the surface.

He cast a quick glance up at the top of the cliff but the Jaffa were nowhere to be seen, probably thought he and Daniel had drowned or been killed in the fall - 'Shit! Daniel!' Jack turned in a circle, his feet paddling rapidly to keep himself afloat. The weight of his
clothing and boots threatened to pull him down again and he was about to try to get the boots off so he could dive down to find Daniel when a patch of green off to his right caught his eye.

'Christ!' He fumbled with his boots and finally managed to get them off then swam towards Daniel.

Reaching him, he found him facedown, his face submerged beneath the water. Jack wondered momentarily how he'd stayed afloat but then pushed all thoughts aside and concentrated on turning Daniel onto his back.

Daniel's eyes were closed, his lips faintly tinged with blue and Jack felt his heart clench in his chest. He reached out with a shaky hand and felt for a pulse. It beat strongly beneath his fingers and he blew out a huffed sigh of relief. He hauled Daniel closer to him,
lifting him so he could bend and place his ear to Daniel's mouth and check his breathing, but the water was rushing noisily around them and his hands were growing too numb with the cold, so he leaned forward and placed his mouth over Daniel's…

… Who erupted in a frenzy, pushing Jack away with hands that curled into fists, punching and kicking, even as his panic churned up the water around them even more and threatened to send them both to the bottom again.

"Daniel! It's me, Jack! Calm down!" Jack gripped Daniel's jacket as firmly as he could and clenched his fingers tightly into the fabric, trying desperately to pull Daniel into his arms. A sudden kick landed in his abdomen and he gasped for air, almost losing the grip he so tenuously maintained. "Shit! Daniel, settle down!"

Daniel flailed away from him, his eyes still wide with panic as the water pulled him down further, his thrashing only exacerbating his descent.

Jack reached out again and snagged Daniel's arm. Pulling him close with a firm tug, he cocked his fist and then punched Daniel on the jaw. As Daniel's eyes rolled up in his head and he went limp, Jack caught him quickly under the elbows, turned him onto his back and
began towing him to shore. With every kick of his feet, he castigated himself for hitting his friend, his lover, even as he realized he'd had no choice.

By the time he'd pulled them both onto solid ground, Daniel was stirring and he came to full consciousness joltingly, his arms and legs flailing out again.

Jack took the simple expedient of settling himself crossways on Daniel's chest, effectively pinning him to the damp ground. He took his lover's chin firmly in his hand and held it as he fixed him with a firm, no-nonsense look. "Settle, Daniel," he ground out. "We're
out of the water and we need to get to the gate. Think you can make it?"

Daniel gasped and shuddered beneath him but he nodded a yes and his eyes seemed more focused so Jack took him at his word and hauled him upright. Then they made their way back to the gate as quickly as stealth and exhaustion would allow them and tumbled through the wormhole Jack dialed up, finally coming to rest in a tangled heap at the bottom of the SGC ramp.

Jack heard the call for medics and the klaxons blaring and thought he'd never heard more beautiful sounds in his life. He looked across at Daniel, gave him a reassuring smile and reached out a hand to him.

Daniel rolled away, onto his hands and knees, then laboriously made it to his feet. He wandered shakily down the ramp, and into the welcoming hands of the medics, without even a backward look at Jack.


Janet Frasier liked to think she knew all the personnel on the base, inside and out and the members of SG-1 were no exception. In fact, they were more family than colleagues. Janet had been there the day Jack had led a dazed, grieving Daniel Jackson back through the gate
after Share and Skaara had been taken by Apophis, had watched from the infirmary when Jack took Daniel home. She'd seen and shared the grief the team had suffered when Daniel had ascended and shared in their joy at his return. It was part of her nature and part of her
training as a doctor to want to help those close to her, but this time, it wasn't easy.

She'd taken charge of both Daniel and Jack the minute they'd staggered through the gate, soaked to the skin, chilled and battered. The colonel, as she'd expected, had vociferously insisted he was all right and as usual, it had taken a gruff command from General Hammond before O'Neill had sullenly agreed to be checked out.

He'd insisted she check Daniel out first and Janet didn't bother to tell him she'd already planned to do just that. Daniel looked almost out on his feet and the visible bruises on his face clearly indicated he'd had a rough time.

She'd been relieved to discover his injuries were relatively minor, a few cuts and grazes, a small gash on his forehead from crashing into a rock, a mild concussion and a small amount of residual water in his lungs.

Daniel had remained pretty much monosyllabic throughout the examination, giving Janet only bare bones answers to her queries of what had happened on the planet. That in itself was unusual. Usually, Daniel would be chattering a mile a minute, making Janet's job of examining him almost impossible. It was only when she suggested he rest overnight in the infirmary that he came to life.

"No!" Daniel's head shot up, already shaking a vehement negative until he obviously remembered the bump on his head and subsequent headache that he'd tried to pretend he didn't have and that Janet hadn't believed for a second. He rubbed a hand over his eyes. "I'm fine."

"You have a concussion," Janet reminded him gently. "You shouldn't drive and I just want to keep an eye on you."

Daniel was already slipping off the bed, a 'you can't make me' look in his eyes. "I'll get an airman to drive me home and I'll go straight to bed."

Janet reached out and rested a hand on Daniel's arm. "Daniel -"

"Janet, please. I'll rest better in my own bed."

Janet told herself it wasn't the beseeching look in the blue eyes that got to her. She was far too professional for that. Something told her that a certain colonel would ensure that Daniel rested and suffered no complications from this latest misadventure. "Okay." She
raised a lecturing finger at Daniel's grateful smile. "No driving."

"Thanks, Janet." With that, he was gone and Janet was surprised when she went out to drag the protesting Colonel O'Neill in for his check that Daniel wasn't there at his side.


Colonel O'Neill was his usual irascible, voluble self during the examination, though somewhat surprisingly, he wasn't arguing the necessity of the check-up, but more interested in finding out how Daniel was. The colonel was right about one thing - he'd suffered just a few bruises and twisted his knee slightly. Par for the course on missions these days. When Janet told him she'd sent Daniel home, he went positively ballistic.

"Why did you send him home? He could have a bleed in his brain and we wouldn't know!"

"I think I'm the doctor here, Colonel," Janet reminded him, drawing herself up to her full five feet height. "He has a mild concussion and a few cuts but he was very eager to go home. He was getting an airman to give him a ride back to his apartment. But if you're that
concerned, why don't you call in there on your way home and check up on him?"

Jack was staring down at the floor and didn't look up. "Nah, he'll be fine, Doc. Like you said, mild concussion, Daniel's got a hard head." He reached for his jacket and slung it over his shoulder. "So, apart from the head and the water he took in, he's okay?"

"He was a little quiet," Janet admitted, "but he's probably got quite a headache."

"Right." Jack nodded slowly. "Well, if you're done poking me, I'm gonna head home and catch some shut-eye myself."

"You're free to go, Colonel." Janet watched him, feeling as though she didn't have quite the whole story yet about what had happened on the planet.


Driving home, Jack let relief wash over him. Another Daniel-disaster averted. He'd known Daniel would be all right. After all, he'd gone through worse than this and survived. Of course, he knew that was what had him so worried in the first place. It had been too damn
close too damn often. Had been in fact, the impetus for him finally admitting to what he'd hidden for so long, his love for Daniel.

A small smile upturned his lips. He was exhausted and hurt a whole lot more than he'd been prepared to admit to the doc. Once he got home though and wrapped himself in Daniel's embrace, the aches and pains and fear of losing Daniel would be just a distant memory.

He chuckled a little as he turned onto his street. No need to go check on Daniel on his way home. Daniel would be at Jack's, waiting.


He wasn't, though and by the time Jack had circumnavigated the entire house twice, he realized that Daniel wasn't going to come. He slumped down onto the couch and buried his face in his hands, trying to think things through rationally. He'd had no choice but to hit Daniel, even Daniel had to know that, and after all, it wasn't the first time they'd hit each other. Jack remembered the fight in the storeroom when Daniel was coming down from his
sarcophagus addiction. Daniel had been the one fighting him then, attacking him, wrestling him to the floor, even pointing a gun at him.

He stood up and picked up his keys from where he'd tossed them and went out to the car. Daniel probably hoped that if he left Jack alone long enough, they could just put it behind them and go on as if it had never happened. He climbed into the car and started it up,
backing out onto the street. His mind touched on the possibility that maybe Daniel had stayed away because he didn't want this relationship any more. Shaking his head in mute denial of his thoughts, he planted the accelerator to the floor and took off down the street, rubber burning in his wake. 'Not going to happen like that, Daniel,' he thought. 'You want out of this, you tell me to my face and at least give me the chance to explain what happened on that godforsaken planet.'

He didn't wait for Daniel to invite him in, simply pushed past him through the partly open door and then stopped and turned to look his lover over with a critical eye.

Daniel was still pale and he looked tired. There was a bruise on the corner of his jaw that bled down into the skin of his throat and Jack winced a little, knowing his fist had caused it.

"Hey," Daniel said quietly. "Why don't you come in?" His tone bordered on sarcasm that Jack chose to ignore.

"Don't mind if I do," he replied, keeping his own tone light.

"You okay?" Daniel asked, pointing at the bruise on Jack's own face with a slightly shaking finger.

"Yeah, yeah, it's no biggie. Look, Daniel, I know you're probably pissed at me for knocking you out but I had no choice. You were fighting me and we were both going to go under-"

"I know." Daniel interrupted him quickly then turned and closed the door. He led the way into the kitchen. "You want coffee? I'd give you a beer but Janet said I'm concussed and anyway you know I don't really like beer so…"

Jack shook his head, then rubbed his temples, massaging away the ache that still lingered there. "No. I expected to find you at my place," he began. He shrugged. "It's what we normally do after a mission, you know-"

"I know. Sorry, Jack. I just wasn't in the mood tonight."

"In the mood?" Jack stepped forward. "You think the only reason I like you being at my place after a mission is for the sex?"

Daniel shook his head. "No, of course not. Well… maybe sometimes, it seems that way but… No, not really. I just wanted to be at home tonight, on my own," he finished.

"Sorry to wreck your plans," Jack said sardonically. "Danny, listen, I really want to talk to you about this, about why I hit you-"

"Jack, please." Daniel held his hands up, palms out toward Jack as if trying to ward off the words. "I understand. You did what you had to do. You saved my life, again. I get it. That's not what this is about."

"Then what is it about, Daniel?" Jack moved till he was close enough to touch Daniel's face, to wrap him in his arms. But he didn't. He just stood and waited for Daniel to speak again.

"This is about me being scared to let you know everything there is to know about me," Daniel said, his voice so low that Jack had to strain to catch the words.

"Such as?" Jack asked. He deliberately kept his voice casual, wanting to convey that there was nothing Daniel could tell him that would shock him or change his feelings.

"Such as my fear of water," Daniel said softly. He went into the living room and sat down on the couch, sitting on the very edge of it, every line of his body tense.

"If I'd known you couldn't swim-"

"I *can* swim. Well, badly," Daniel said with a self-conscious grimace. "There wasn't much call for swimming lessons or pools in Egypt and then, once I got put into the foster care merry go round, most of my foster parents were having trouble just feeding us, let
alone worrying about paying out money to teach me to swim. And then after Nem…"

Jack grimaced at the memory of the creature who'd held Daniel captive under the sea, trying to find out the fate of Nem's mate. "So, you panicked. You hit the water hard, got knocked out and when you came to, you -"

"Freaked out?" Daniel finished for him.

Jack shrugged, gave a crooked grin. "You panicked," he repeated. "Happens to all of us sometime or other."

"Yeah, right." Daniel huffed out a sharp, short laugh. "Not to you, Jack."

"Oh yeah, to me, plenty of times. Maybe I'm just better trained at hiding it. That's not all of it, though. You said this was about you not wanting me to know everything about you."

Daniel sighed, rubbed his hands over his face and then wrapped his arms around his chest. "We're so different, you and I," he said. "Chalk and cheese, I guess. I'm worried that one day you'll find out something about me that I haven't told you, something that makes you wonder why we're even together like this."

Jack moved forward, going almost to the edge of the couch and dropping to his knees in front of Daniel. "Do you really think there's anything I could find out about you that would make me stop feeling the way I do about you, Daniel?"

Daniel shot him a halfway grin, one that didn't reach his eyes. "Still can't say it, can you?" he asked. "And yes, I do sometimes think that, to answer your question."

Jack inched ahead, wincing as his knees protested the movement. Reaching the edge of the couch, he raised both hands and cupped Daniel's face within them. " I love you," he said, more fervently than he'd ever dreamed of being able to say the words. "Nothing changes that, nothing will." He raised a soft-knuckled fist and rapped it lightly against the uninjured side of Daniel's head. "Get that through your thick skull, Jackson, will ya?"

Daniel bent his head and rested his forehead against Jack's. "I'll try," he whispered. He lowered his head and kissed Jack's mouth gently. " I have a few hundred feet of hidden depths, Jack. I hope you can handle the decompression."

Jack kissed him back, all the love he'd never been able to voice in the caress. "I can. For us, I will."

"So what's your biggest fear, Jack?" Daniel asked as he pulled away and made room for Jack on the couch next to him. "Anything I don't know about you?"

Jack settled himself and pulled Daniel into his arms. "The same thing it's always been since I met you, Daniel. Losing you… again. That's why I hit-"

Daniel's hand grasped his as it traced over the bruise at his jaw. He turned Jack's hand and kissed the palm. He shook his head. "Never could happen again," he whispered. "Not with you there to watch my six."

Jack allowed his hand to creep down the back of the couch to give the "six" a firm caress. "Damn straight," he said, as he captured Daniel's mouth again.

The End