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A New Year

By Lyn

EMAIL: Lyn

NOTES: Being that we're coming up to the New Year, I thought I'd write a little epilogue to my 'Welcome Home, Danny Boy stories. For anyone who hasn't read them, you can find them here.

Scroll down to find my Little Danny fics.

Happy New Year, every one.

Jack stood on the back verandah and gazed up at the dark sky. It had started to snow an hour or so before and the backyard was coated in a carpet of white.

"O'Neill."

"Hey, Teal'c, enjoying the party?" Jack asked, turning to face his friend.

Teal'c inclined his head. "I am, but I am unsure of this tradition of dropping the ball. How does this celebrate the coming of the New Year? On Chulak -"

"I'm not entirely sure myself, T," Jack said. "Why don't you ask Daniel to explain it to you?"

"DanielJackson is already in bed, O'Neill," Teal'c replied. "You carried him there yourself when he fell asleep on the couch."

"Right. Forgot." Jack nodded, feeling a tug of pain in his chest. He'd forgotten, kept forgetting that Daniel wasn't an adult anymore, kept forgetting that Daniel was now a five year old, albeit with a thirty-five year old mind. Never forgot, though, how much he missed him.

"But I shall ask him tomorrow," Teal'c continued with a small, sad smile. " He still has his memories, thanks to you."

"You do that, buddy. I'm sure he has the whole history down."

Teal'c frowned. "Are you all right, O'Neill?"

Jack forced a grin to his face. "Me? I'm just peachy." He waved Teal'c away. "Go! Party! The ball will be dropping soon… and keep General Hammond away from my beer."

"He is our commanding officer," Teal'c said. "I doubt I can do that."

"You're right," Jack agreed. "Okay, he can have one. Only one. He's driving."

"I am driving the general home, therefore imbibing alcohol is not a problem for him."

"He's not pretty when he's drunk," Jack warned.

Teal'c nodded solemnly but Jack was sure there was a hint of humor in his dark eyes. "You have a point, O'Neill. I will attempt to convince the general to partake of your refreshing punch, as have I." With that, he turned and strode off.

"No! Wait, Teal'c!" Jack called out. "That's got more alcohol in it than the beer!"

But Teal'c was already gone, striding purposefully toward General Hammond who, Jack could see, was heading for the fridge in the kitchen.

Jack sighed and closed his eyes, shutting out the sight of a drunk Jaffa, and turned back to his perusal of the night sky. It had been a good night, welcoming in the New Year, as well as celebrating Daniel's return to health.

For Jack, though, the occasion was bittersweet. Daniel was well, but would never be restored to his adult self, and despite his conviction that he'd made the right decision, Jack missed Daniel… missed his friend.

This time there was no going back and making things right. Daniel had died before and always returned. Jack had become a little blasť about it all. No matter how many times Daniel faced death, he always managed to come back to them.

This was different though. In a way, Daniel had died, or at least the Daniel they knew had been lost to them, and this time, Jack knew he was never coming back.

Small arms wrapped around his leg and a warm head settled against his hip.

"Whatcha doing, Jack?"

"Looking at the stars."

"Can't see the stars, too many clouds."

"I know, but I remember where they all are."

"We can't see Abydos from here though, can we?"

"No, but we know where it is, right?"

"Right." A small finger raised and pointed at the sky. "Right about there!"

"I think you're right."

Daniel's arms squeezed his leg a little tighter. "You're not sad, are you, Jack? That I'm still small?"

Jack reached down and lifted Daniel into his arms, hugging him tightly. "Sad? No, Danny boy, not sad. Just grateful that you're here."

"I'm grateful I'm here too," Daniel said around a yawn. "Do I have to go right back to bed? Teal'c wants to know about New Year."

Jack thought about Daniel, the scholar, Daniel, who was their moral conscience, Daniel, who was his friend, the friend he missed so much. Daniel, the child he held in his arms.

"No, Daniel, you can stay up for as long as you like. You're old enough to know when it's time for bed. Just don't keep Teal'c up past his bedtime, okay?"

Daniel pulled back and smiled at him. "You know I won't." He sketched a salute and squirmed to get down.

Jack acquiesced and set Daniel on the floor. He watched him run back into the house, shouting for Teal'c.

"Yes, Danny boy," he whispered. "I know you really well."

End