by Layton Colt
Jack and Daniel take a drive to clear their heads after returning from a mission.
The scenery slid by unnoticed. They had both seen the view a million times before. They'd seen so many things that this small familiar road hardly registered.
The rain beat down on the windshield, and the wipers worked steadily to push the droplets away. The sun was going down behind the mountains—and the air outside was turning cold. These things too, went unnoticed.
Daniel stared straight ahead, while beside him, Jack drove one-handed, drove without thought. The radio was on. Turned down low, but slicing through the silence. Daniel didn't recognize the song. It was doubtful whether Jack even heard it.
They'd watched another world fall today. And like the road they drove along--it was all too familiar. Something they'd seen before.
Daniel dealt in the items of the dead. He was an archeologist. That was what he was supposed to do. He'd never thought he would have to see people die. See the scenes of war and death he'd so many times tried to recreate in his mind as he examined centuries old bones, or the rusted weapon of a long gone warrior.
And even Jack--who had seen these scenes so many times before, it wasn't easy for him either. Familiar as it was.
Watching people die didn't seem to be getting any easier for either of them.
Fighting didn't seem to be doing any good.
"We are making a difference," Jack said quietly--but with firm belief. He spoke as though he knew the thoughts in both their minds. Knew what they were thinking, and knew that it wasn't entirely true.
"Not enough of one," Daniel responded. His eyes strayed to the window, and he looked at the trees they were passing by. He tried to focus on them--capture the images and hold onto them.
"We can only do so much," Jack said.
Daniel placed a hand against the window. "And it isn't ever enough."
"We saved lives today," Jack reminded.
"And we watched twice as many die."
Jack placed one arm against the door, and moved his hand to his head. "When did you get to be such a pessimist?"
"I don't know," he answered honestly. "Maybe it was today."
"We didn't do anything today we haven't done before."
"Maybe that's the problem, Jack. Maybe I've watched one too many worlds destroyed by the Goa'uld--destroyed by themselves. I can't help but think it's all for nothing--I can't help but think that we're next."
"We aren't going to be next. Daniel, you and Carter won't let that happen."
"I can never change anything," Daniel whispered, watching fascinated as a squirrel ran up the side of a tree, in a moment, they had driven passed, and the image was gone. "And Sam can only change so much before there isn't anything left she can do."
"That isn't true. You guys are scary when you work together. You've done things I never thought was possible. You can't change anything, Daniel? You've changed entire worlds. You've changed me."
Daniel looked over at Jack. "Maybe," he said simply.
"We'd all be dead without you, Daniel," Jack told him. "We've seen examples of what happens when you aren't here."
"Maybe I'm only postponing the inevitable, Jack. The Goa'uld will get to us eventually. Either that--or we'll finally succeed in destroying ourselves."
"Alright, cut it out," Jack snapped.
Daniel sighed but remained silent.
"We're going to be fine," Jack said after a moment. "We're doing all we can--and it will be enough."
Daniel turned back to the window. "Whatever you say, Jack."