All's Fair

By Lyn

EMAIL:  Lyn

Thanks to Donna for the plotbunny. Wouldn't stop gnawing at me till I wrote it.

Rated: G. A little violence. It's a Daniel whimper. What do you expect?

Feedback welcome.

"This is because of the argument we had on the planet, isn't it?"

"No… This is because I'm really tired and I want to go home and sleep for about a month."

"Oh, come on, admit it." Jack reached out and snagged Daniel's arm, pulling him to a stop. "You were pissed off. I know that face you pull when you're pissed off."

"I don't pull faces -" Daniel sighed and pushed his glasses up his nose with his free hand. "All right, okay. Right again, Jack. I was pissed off. Still am, as a matter of fact. Happy?"

Jack let go of his arm and smirked, but the self-satisfied smile faltered almost immediately. "No! I'm not happy. Geez, Daniel, it was just a joke! I joke all the time about your rocks… artifacts and mythology and those squirly hierosquiggles you're so fond of."

"Heiroglyphs."

"I knew that. Anyway… I'm sorry."

"Apology accepted."

A slow smile grew on Jack's face. "So you'll come watch the hockey game with me?"

"No."

"Come on, Daniel! Carter's working with SG6 on something, Teal'c's off bonding with Bra'tac. It'll just be you and me. I'll even spring for the pizza and beer."

"I'm tired, Jack." Daniel pulled off his glasses and swiped at his burning eyes. "Really tired. I just want to go home. We'll do it some other time when I haven't been up for three days straight, translating those squirly heirosquiggles I love so much."

"Fine, go home."

Jack had the petulant child act down pat, Daniel decided, but he wasn't going to relent. He really was exhausted and all he'd been able to think about since he'd dialed them home, was his bed.

"But don't blame me when you miss the best game of the entire season," Jack added.

Daniel made a show of crossing his heart. "I promise I won't. I'll see you day after tomorrow, okay?"

"Get some sleep, Daniel, you look awful."

"Well, thank you, Jack." Shaking his head, Daniel sketched Jack a weary goodbye wave and headed for the exit. He couldn't wait to get home.

~o0o~

One step… two steps… three steps… four Five steps… six steps… about a thousand more…

He giggled at the inane, nonsensical nursery rhyme then gasped as white-hot agony sheared through his chest. Moisture bubbled from his mouth and he reached up and wiped it away with a trembling hand, smearing blood across his cheek.

So near, so far…

His legs shook with fatigue and he felt himself sliding downward, leaving a bloody swathe on the wall behind him. He landed with a bone-jarring thump that almost sent him into oblivion but he dredged up his waning reserves of strength and stayed sitting upright, staring at the phone on the other side of the room.

So far, so far…

He'd just wanted to come home and sleep, and now he could, if he really wanted to, but that would be wrong. Jack would want him to fight this, would expect it of him, just as he expected it of himself.

He'd rest, just for a minute, then he'd get moving again, get Jack…

~o0o~

Daniel opened his apartment door and walked inside. He didn't think he'd ever been so glad to be home. He felt a little guilty at refusing Jack's offer of pizza and a hockey game on the TV, and while he had been annoyed at Jack's sarcastic comments back on the planet, he knew that ordinarily, they would have been like water off a duck's back.

The two of them had perfected sniping at each other, and it had become a competition of sorts to see who could come up with the best insults, without being downright insulting. Daniel had to admit he was lagging behind. He just didn't have the finesse, the lightning fast humor response, the sarcasm that Jack did. Didn't mean he was admitting defeat though.

Today, though, had just been the straw that broke the camel's back. He was exhausted. Hell, they all were and it just hadn't been the right time for Jack to up the ante. Despite that, he honestly wasn't as pissed with Jack as he'd let on, and if Jack's invitation had come on a night when he hadn't been worn to a frazzle, he probably would have accepted the invitation. Just… not tonight.

He headed for the bedroom, his thoughts only on enjoying a hot shower and slipping between cool sheets. Movement from the kitchen, a shadow flitting past the doorway. "Hey, who's there?"

He only had enough time to glimpse a youthful face, then there was a muted explosion and he was slammed back into the wall behind him, the air rushing from his lungs and leaving him gasping for breath. Darkness encroached on the edges of his vision. Someone loomed over him, fingers pressed against his neck, and then there was nothing but silence.

~o0o~

Okay, so you probably went a little too far this time.

This time? What about all the other times you've decided to have some fun at Daniel's expense?

Well, that's all it is: a bit of fun. Besides, he gives back as good as he gets… most of the time.

Not this time.

He was tired, that's all, and pissy. Couldn't think of a smart comeback, and that always pisses him off.

Still…

After a half hour of mentally sparring with himself, Jack couldn't take the sound of his own voice any longer. Grabbing his car keys and jacket, he headed out to the car and drove toward Daniel's apartment.

Wasn't any fun watching the hockey on his own, even if his team won. He'd ordered the pizza and it was sitting in the oven, keeping warm. A six-pack of Guinness and another of Daniel's favorite microbrew were in the fridge, chilling down.

~o0o~

The front door to Daniel's apartment was ajar and Jack's military training and instincts came to the fore. Carefully, he pushed the door open a little wider and peered in. The apartment was silent and in semi-darkness.

Jack took a few steps forward till he stood in front of the steps leading down to the living room. It wasn't the first time Daniel had left the door unlocked, though the last time had been after his addiction to the Light and he hadn't exactly been acting like himself. That was probably true this time, Jack thought. "Daniel?" he called softly.

There was no reply… or was there? He thought he heard a soft sound coming from the living room and he stepped down the couple of steps - and froze.

Daniel was sprawled on the floor, one hand stretched out as though in supplication. Blood oozed from beneath his lax body.

"Daniel!" Jack forced himself to move and crouched at his friend's side. He felt for a carotid pulse - There! It's there! - heard the shuddering hitches of breath, and pulled his phone from his pocket at the same time.

Curt message delivered, he gently eased Daniel onto his side, allowing blood to dribble unheeded from his mouth. He crouched down and rested one hand against Daniel's pallid cheek.

Daniel's eyes flickered open then dropped to half-mast but there was no awareness in them. "Hang on," Jack whispered hoarsely. He clasped Daniel's cold hand within his own and rubbed it firmly, as though by doing so, he could warm him up. "You hang on. You're going to be okay."

~o0o~

Damn hospital chairs! Jack was certain they'd been designed simply to keep family away from the patients, and out of the way of the medical staff. He'd long since tired of reading Daniel's chart, preferring to place his trust in Doc Frasier's opinion that Daniel would recover. He'd played with the bags of IV fluids, studied the monitors that beeped monotonously and then slumped down beside the bed, staring at Daniel, exhorting him silently to wake up already.

There was a soft moan. Finally!

Jack leaned forward, grasping Daniel's nearest hand. "Daniel? You awake?"

Daniel's eyes cracked open, his unfocused gaze wandered around the room, then settled on Jack. "Jack," he husked out. "What happened?"

"Thief broke into your apartment. You got shot."

"My stuff?"

"You got shot and you're worried about your stuff?" Daniel just stared tiredly at him. "Everything's still there. I checked myself. Seems like he was only after cash."

"Just a kid," Daniel whispered. "Where'd a kid that young get a gun?"

Jack shrugged. "Part of life these days." He sat back, keeping his hand wrapped around Daniel's, an enormous weight lifting from him, leaving him feeling enervated. "Doc says you'll be fine in a few weeks."

"Glad you found me."

"Me, too. I have to tell you, Danny Boy, it's a heck of a way to get out of watching a hockey game with me."

"Soon as I get out of here," Daniel said softly, his eyes drifting closed, "I'm all yours. Hockey, pizza, beer."

"Beer's already chilling, Daniel," Jack said with a relieved grin. "I'll have to order another pizza, but I recorded the hockey game."

Daniel raised an eyebrow, "Really?"

"Yeahsureyoubetcha."

"Who won?"

"Don't want to spoil the game for you. But it'll be great. Teal'c's back, so he's coming over. He was a little peeved that I wouldn't let him bring Die Hard, but I told him I thought that might be a bit close to home for you right now… Daniel?"

A soft snore was his only response.

END

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