Normal Again
by Suz

Disclaimer – MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Not sure what the point of this one is. Spoilers for ‘Divide and Conquer’, ‘Abyss’ and the news that a certain someone is returning in season seven...


"Why didn’t you tell her?"

He’d known it was coming from the moment Daniel came back. ‘De-ascended’. Became human. Stopped glowing.


At least, he’d known it was coming from the second he got over the shock of Daniel coming back.

So, man that he was, he hid. Which wasn’t really like him. He faced most things head on. Didn’t hesitate, didn’t pause, didn’t avoid situations.

Apart from those that involved her, for obvious reasons. Yet it wasn’t her who cornered him first.

Daniel came to him. Daniel, who’d been away for over a year, still knowing exactly where he’d be. Daniel, who both had and hadn’t changed a bit.

"You gotta stop avoiding her, Jack."

It was the first time he’d ever spoken to him about her, but in typical Daniel style he was making him see something he didn’t want to. He hated that about him. "What – did you get psychic powers, too?" Man, he’d missed him.

Half-smiling, still wearing the glasses. After everything, still wearing the damn glasses. "You know I didn’t get to keep any of my ‘powers’."

"Oh I forgot," Jack replied. "You were *already* psychic before you went."

"Maybe," One last concession before getting back to the point. "Why didn’t you tell her?"

"I didn’t tell *anyone*," He pointed out, defensive. Dammit, he hadn’t meant to say anything at all.

"Okay; why didn’t you tell anyone?"

Like he was gonna answer that. "Well you know, there was never any proof that you were actually around. Even after Ba’al," Bad, bad memories. "Maybe you were just what I wan..." Even that was too much.

But Daniel knew. "You were going through hell, Jack. No one could blame you for wanting to see a friend – any friend. But I was there."

"I know that *now*."

"So that was your excuse? There was no actual proof?"

"Hell, you know Carter. Everything has to be explained, numbered, annotated...nothing ever just *is*. Nothing’s ever just simple."

"Truer words," Daniel sighed. "Have rarely been spoken. And I thought we were talking about why you didn’t tell anyone, not just Sam?"

Dammit. "What happened to you when you ascended? Did you suddenly develop a fascination with our working relationship?"

"Not exactly," Thoughtful, remembering. "But you learn to see things differently. Life isn’t about defeating the Goa’uld."

"I cannot believe *you* of all people just said that." Daniel’d wanted revenge for a long time. For Sha’re, for Skaara, simply because it was right.

"You expect me to ascend to a higher plane of existence and stay the same?"

"I expect you to know the right thing. You’ve *always* known the right thing – how many times have we argued about it?" Hell, most of the time it was Daniel who’d urged/argued/pushed him to do what was ‘right’. It was Daniel who, most of all, had made him question himself. Something else he hated.

"I guess I see the bigger picture now. I’m not saying the Goa’uld shouldn’t be defeated, but defeating them isn’t the only purpose of our lives."

There was definitely something about the way he was talking... "Do you know something I don’t?"

"Maybe," Teasing, ambiguous, deliberate. "The point is: friends are important. Relationships are important."

"Did you come back as a walking greeting card?"

"Why didn’t you tell her, Jack?"

"Dammit, will you *stop*!" The word echoed, incriminating in its pitch, incriminating in the silence that followed. "God damn it," He muttered, turning away and rubbing a hand over his face. "What makes Carter so special?" Ha. What didn’t make her special?

He was closer, almost touching his shoulder. "You went back for her. You wanted to save her," A deliberate echo of his own words. "Did you really think I didn’t know?"

No. Not really. His gaze slid to the darkest spot it could find, somewhere in the corner. "I wasn’t talking about her then."

"Maybe not intentionally," Daniel agreed. "But you did once."

So apparently, somewhere in the darkest, furthest, remotest part of the universe, there was only one person who *didn’t* know about that. And Jack had had enough. "I gotta go."

Stepping away, leaving his ‘friend’ behind, he headed for the exit.

"Did you really think she wouldn’t believe you?"

And there it was. All along, he’d known the reason. He’d just wanted to make him say it.

"Did you really think she’d laugh at you, or think you were lying, or say it was ridiculous? Sam may be a scientist, but she’s also a human being."

Jack had stopped walking a long time ago.

"After everything you’ve seen and done together, did you honestly think she wouldn’t believe you’d seen me?"

It had nothing to do with trust. It even had nothing to do with her. Not everything did.

"How could she believe it, when I wasn’t even sure I believed it myself?" He may have relied on Daniel, he may have needed to see him...but that didn’t mean he was actually there.

For once Daniel said nothing, maybe having learned to shut up while he was gone, instead letting Jack escape out of the room, into the rest of the base, the SGC.

Even if it meant seeing her. Sometimes, she was easier to face.


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