Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.
Spoilers for 'A Hundred Days' and 'Shades of Gray'. A 'Hundred Days' episode addition. A companion piece to the previous story, 'Doubts'.
He had nothing to celebrate.
Jack was flat on his back, lying on his roof. Above him was the vast expanse of space; the milky way, the galaxy, the universe; whatever specific term you wanted to use, it was above him, around him, and infusing him; it was as much a part of him as he was as much a part of it.
And he was staring blindly up at it, ignoring the beauty, ignoring its infinite mysteries, instead trying to locate the planet he had lived on for the past three months.
Realistically, he knew what the odds of him actually locating it were - especially with the naked eye. But he was on his back, he was comfortable and he was just slightly...buzzed. Not drunk, exactly. He didn't often get drunk.
He was just slightly buzzed.
So he wasn't moving.
He was just deciding he was going mad when Daniel appeared at the top of the ladder and quickly stepped onto the roof. Looking over the side of the house he shuddered, then focused his attention on Jack. "I hate that thing."
Jack couldn't help but wonder sometimes how Daniel had made a living as an archaeologist. He wasn't going to say that, though. Too many words. "Yeah." His gaze moved forward again, and he was staring back at the blackness above him.
Quietly lowering himself into the only chair, Daniel cleared his throat. "Looking for Edora?"
Smart boy. Not that he'd admit that. "Just looking."
Jack's fingers clenched around the beer bottle resting to his right side. He wanted another gulp, but that would mean sitting up because if he tried to drink it while he was lying down he'd probably pour it all over himself.
The prospect wasn't entirely without merit.
But he stayed where he was, his fingers drummed aimlessly on the bottle, and he was starting to go cross-eyed from trying to stare at too many points in space at once when Daniel spoke again.
"How are you doing, Jack?"
He was the first person to ask directly. Hammond had intimated the question and Teal'c had lifted an eyebrow, but Daniel was the first to ask outright. Just as Jack knew he would.
And although he had never been one to speak openly, on any other night Daniel probably would have received a different answer to the nothing he received.
Because although he was back, had been given a thorough physical, had been declared fit for duty, was shortly to resume command of SG-1, and was reunited with his friends...Hammond had also called him into his office today.
Hammond had also told him of his plans today.
He could have said no. He could have said he wouldn't do it. And Hammond had made it clear that this wasn't an order, that he was free to tell him to shove the plan up his asp.
But it'd also been pretty clear that without his co-operation everything would fall apart.
Typical. Feeling important either through our own actions or the way others perceived us was something almost everyone strived for, and now he was the most important he had ever been.
And he didn't want to be.
If he didn't do this they would lose 'alliances' with the Nox, the Tollans, and the Asgard. It could change the fate of the Stargate project forever.
He could have said no, for the sake of his team, but in this case they weren't important enough.
He didn't want this. He didn't want this responsibility. He'd only just come back *home*. A small, tiny fragment of him wished he were still there, on Edora.
Getting no reply to his question, Daniel tried another one:
"Do you miss her?"
Stupid, stupid question. "She was the only person I really *knew* for three months. What do you think?"
"She made it manageable, Daniel. She made it manageable for me."
A pause. "Yeah, I guess their way of life was very difference to what you're accustomed to."
Sigh. "I wasn't talking about their way of life, Daniel." Was that a shooting star? Or fire rain? He wanted to laugh.
"Then what are you talking about, Jack?"
He didn't know how to answer that. He didn't even know why he'd made that statement. "Nothin'. I'm just drunk." Okay, so he may have been playing up to it a bit.
The chair creaked as Daniel moved, apparently heading off somewhere. "Look, I gotta get back and join the others..."
Ah. The others. That's right, this was a party welcoming him back, wasn't it? The others, they, were there. Who they were he couldn't quite remember just now, but it was a unilateral 'they' almost as if they were smaller parts of a larger entity.
Which they were, sometimes. No doubt they'd sent Daniel out as their emissary, due to the fact that the guest of honour was nowhere to be found.
Daniel seemed oblivious to Jack's inner musings. "...but if you want to talk, just let me know."
His hand around the bottle was starting to get cold, but Jack kept it there, just for the sensation. Jacob had been right. It really was the small things you missed.
Pretty, pretty stars.
So, he'd lie here, clutching his cold beer bottle, looking at the universe and waiting for-
"She's not coming up here, Jack. Just...so you know. She's not going to come up here."
Yeah, she had been weird since he'd come back-what the heck was Daniel talking about? The thought of her hadn't even entered his mind during their entire conversation.
Ah, but if he were honest with himself he'd be aware of the tiny little kernel of knowledge nestled inside him. Exactly what the knowledge was he couldn't say, but it was knowledge of *something*, and that was the thing that jumped when Daniel had appeared, hoping that it would be her instead. The thing that had been ridiculously disappointed when it had recognised the glasses and telltale clumsiness.
The thing that told him he had nothing to celebrate.
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