The Sum Of Us

By Lyn

Part One of the Life Is A Bridge Series

EMAIL: Lyn

Summary: Jack discovers that he and Daniel aren't that different after all.

Jack O'Neill opened the door to his refrigerator and wondered for the tenth time that night and for the hundredth time that day just what the hell he was doing.

His initial reluctance to get involved again with the Stargate program had been replaced by a tingling exhilaration when he'd been able to convince General Hammond to back down on sending the bomb through to Abydos.

It had meant, of course that he'd had to reveal the secret of Daniel's whereabouts and the fact that Abydos itself had not been blown sky high. He'd felt a growing excitement about seeing Skaa'ra, the boy who had become as close to him as a son during the first mission to Abydos. After twelve long months of stargazing from afar, he was able to reach out and hug the young man, for that was what he had become, and know that he was flesh and blood, alive. Not like Charlie. As always, a wistful tear eased its way from the corner of Jack's eye at the thought of his dead son and he brushed it away impatiently.

Then, of course, there was Daniel. Daniel had grown in his time away from Earth. Not in stature, though his standing within the community of his new family was obviously of the highest order. Jack had seen that firsthand just before they had returned to Earth this time around. He had been stunned and awed by the depth of love and respect shown by the Abydonians for Daniel. Daniel had always had a steely resolve and strength of purpose that was belied by his gentle manner and naiveté.

Jack had brushed Daniel aside when he had first come through the Gate, eager to see Skaa'ra once more. He knew that he also wanted to delay the moment when he would be forced to tell his friend that he must leave his new home and his wife and return with him to Earth. Those were the military's orders at least, but they had flouted those orders before to save this race of peaceful people and Jack was sure they'd figure out a way to do it again. Given time.

Time they didn't have. In the blink of an eye, Sha'ré and Skaa'ra were gone, kidnapped by the same alien who had come through the Gate on Earth.

They had returned to Earth, carrying their wounded, with a distraught and guilt filled Daniel in tow. If Jack had expected the military to show compassion toward the man who had just lost his second family in his short lifetime, he was mistaken. Daniel's eagerness to be included in the search team was ignored and General Hammond had brushed him off with barely disguised anger, convinced that if Abydos had been destroyed in the first mission, this would not be happening again. Oh boy, did Jack have news for him.

Jack had been on his way home and had stopped in to check once more on the injured Ferretti. He was sleeping peacefully with his long time buddy, Kowalski, at his side. Jack had tried to convince Kowalski to go home and rest but he insisted on remaining with his friend.

Nice, Jack mused, as he headed down the hall. Must be nice to have someone who cared that much about you.

He sighed, he'd had that once, then it all blew up in his face and he had taken refuge in his job, until the mission one year ago and his meeting with Daniel Jackson, archaeologist and friend to all. Turning toward the exit, he spied the object of his thoughts hunched up in a corner of the corridor, dressed now in a pair of ill fitting nondescript overalls, his haunted blue eyes fixed on some far away point.

"Hey," Jack said softly.

Daniel turned to face him, his handsome features lined with exhaustion and sorrow. "They don't know what to do with me," he said. A sad smile touched his lips. "And I don't know what to do with myself."

Jack thought a moment then gestured to Daniel. "Come on," he said firmly. "Let's get out of here."

~o0o~

Now here they were and Jack wondered once more why he'd brought Daniel back home. He shut the refrigerator door and turned back to the living room. As he did so, he caught his reflection in the window, and knew why, as he saw Daniel's pain mirrored in his own eyes. For tonight, all he could do was be here for Daniel, as Daniel had been there for him on the first mission to Abydos, and vow that they'd get Daniel's family back.

Moving back to the living room, he waited while Daniel suffered through another bout of sneezing, caused, he assured Jack, by gate travel. Jack grinned, not disbelieving him and handed him a cold beer.

"So," he said, walking over to sink gratefully into an armchair, "you were saying…."

Fin