Inescapable: Chapter 28
AN: Disclaimers etc in chapter 1. Enjoy!
"Where's Jack?" Daniel blasted through the doorway of Jack's office to see Henry Hayes petering over the desk, wearing a troubled expression. Henry looked up at the man almost hovering above the ground with trepidation. He sighed a long, drawn sigh. "He's about," he told Daniel.
Daniel's brow creased and his body stilled for just a moment then, licking his lips, he remembered why he was so agitated in the first place.
"You can't do this."
Henry's eyebrows climbed in a gesture that told anyone he wasn't used to hearing that sentence. Daniel coughed a little, also belatedly realising this truth and at the same time unwilling to back down simply because it was the President.
"Daniel," Henry began as he lowered his weary body into Jack's seat. "I don't have a choice; believe me, if I could find a way out of this I would take it. But I have an obligation and my conscience is telling me that what Jack did is wrong."
"You're wrong." Daniel insisted in a way that had Henry forget about his insubordinate attitude and want to listen to the young man. "I mean…" Daniel shook his head as if clearing it and he moved closer to where Henry was sitting. "What if what you saw isn't really what you think?"
"And what would that be?" Henry was curious to know what Daniel thought was going on in his head.
"That Jack is taking advantage of a junior officer." Daniel said it somewhat uneasily, the words leaving a foul taste in his mouth.
Henry blew his cheeks out. "Are you suggesting that Colonel Carter has an equal part in this because if you are then you really aren't helping either of them, Dr. Jackson."
"It's Daniel," he corrected, disdainfully. "And no, no…." Daniel's arms flew up in frustration. "You don't understand, you can't just come in here and ruin two people's lives because of some stupid rule in some stupid book. You'll never find anyone like Sam and Jack and frankly, if they go…" He folded his arms defiantly. "So do I."
"That'd be a mighty fine gesture, Daniel, but-"
"Mighty stupid you mean." Daniel swirled around to see Jack stopped in the doorway. Daniel was about to counter but Jack waved at him as he passed by him. "Henry, let's get this over with, eh?" Jack threw his arms outward in a lay it on me gesture.
"Jack?" Daniel spoke from behind with a fearful edge to his voice.
"It's over Daniel," Jack said, annoyed, over his shoulder.
Henry watched with interest at the two men, and found his interest piquing when the big Jaffa strode in with a quiet presence that brought heavy waves of strength with him. Henry took a deep breath; these were good people, the best in fact.
"If he takes you or Sam, I'm gone too, Jack." Resolution dripped thickly from Daniel's words and the finality of the argument was settled for Jack when Teal'c's deep voice echoed Daniel's threat in agreement. "As will I."
"Henry, ignore them-." A familiar surprised 'oh' floated from the doorway as a pair of boots stopped dead in the wake of the scene in the room. They all turned to see Carter standing there.
She cleared her throat quietly and let her eyes fall quickly on Jack before seeking the President. "I came to talk to you, Sir."
"So I see."
"I…" she hesitated a moment then seemed to reassure herself as she straightened her posture and moved into the room. "I came to tell you this is my fault."
"What?!" Jack spat.
"I kissed General O'Neill. He had nothing-"
"Carter, zip it!" Jack ordered and she silenced but didn't look at him, instead she held the gaze of the President, watching the confusion on his face. He shook his head violently and blinked as if this was all too much. When Jack leaned closer, about to erupt into a tirade, Henry held up his hands to the room. It was his turn.
"Ok, let me get this straight." He looked at Jack. "Your story is you coerced Colonel Carter," he pointed his thumb at Carter and then looked to her. "You say you what? Seduced him?" She grimaced and just stopped herself from biting her lip. "You," he jabbed an accusing finger at Daniel. "Make it sound like they've both been at this for a very long time and…" He hesitated when his eyes rested on Teal'c. "Well I guess you haven't given your two-pence yet." Teal'c arched his eyebrow in a challenging, angry manner.
"I believe it is no one's place to tell anyone who they should or should not love." A groan, a cough and a sharp intake of breath released themselves into the room at once. "Especially two warriors who have sacrificed everything, including a life together for your country, for your world." Henry was dragging his hand down his face and noticing the way neither Jack nor Colonel Carter would meet his eyes. Then he watched Jack throw a fleeting, sorrowful glance at Carter and Henry knew.
"Crap…" He whispered. "Holy crap."
"I feel it would be unwise for you to take any action when the only they crime committed is the great sacrifice they took upon themselves." Teal'c finished and Henry swore he saw the Colonel's eyes glisten but she bowed her head further and he couldn't tell for sure. He needed to think. He had two of the finest officers in the world right on the edge of his sword here and God knew he wanted an out… he just didn't see one.
"General! General O'Neill!!" Heads whipped around and bodies tensed, ready to fight at a moments notice from years of training. Walter came careening into the office at an alarming rate and a quick check by all saw that he wasn't being chased. That was always good. Attempting to stop wasn't so easy and Walter barrelled into Daniel before being halted unceremoniously by Teal'c's brawny grasp.
"What is it?" Jack asked with urgency.
Walter was slightly folded over, appearing to be in pain as he sucked in air and waved a page in the air. "I found it," he gasped. "I found it!" Everyone frowned and Jack snapped the piece of paper from him, his eyes squinting at the page as he read.
"Let me see!" Henry barked motioning frantically with his hands and Jack pushed it into his grasp with a glint in his eyes that made Henry's heart skip a beat. He dropped his eyes, read and smiled.
"What is it?" Daniel wondered aloud with impatience.
"It would seem, Daniel, that General O'Neill here, wrote a letter of resignation a few days ago."
"So, maybe this resignation has already been approved and Jack has only been on base today, for instance, as a favour and not as his job?"