Best Friend

"Point of View"

There was an instinct imbedded deep within Daniel Jackson that inevitably surfaced to warn him when he was faced with a person who harbored intense dislike for him. He was never completely sure how this little voice inside him could sense the hearts of others so easily, but it had never failed him before. The thought would surface in his mind as gently as possible, so he had time to adjust to the idea. Then he would start to notice little things: hostile body language, accusing stares, changing tones of voice. Finally, if the person was particularly unhappy with him, a small twinge would start in his stomach and eventually work its way up to his head.

Looking at Major Charles Kawalsky from across the briefing room table, Daniel had the start of a full-blown headache. He had no idea why the Major seemed so intent on disliking him. As far as he knew, the anthropologist had done nothing at all to make this visitor from an alternate reality loath him on sight. Yet all the signs were there: hostile glances when he thought Daniel wasn't looking, avoiding eye contact whenever the doctor addressed him, and even one or two snarky comments pertaining to Daniel's usefulness in the discussion at all.

When the briefing was adjourned and Colonel Jack O'Neill made a break from the room to beat Sam and…(were they calling her Samantha now? Doctor Carter maybe?) to the lab, Daniel hurried after him. "Jack!" he called after the gray-haired colonel.

O'Neill stopped in the middle of the hallway and pivoted on the spot to look at him. "Daniel?"

His teammate jogged a little to catch up with him. Jack waited until Daniel had come abreast before starting towards the lab again at a slightly more leisurely pace. The archeologist took a deep breath before saying, "Did I do something to Kawalsky?"

Jack gave him an odd look and swiped his card to access the elevator. The doors opened and the two men stepped inside. "Come again?"

Now that he'd mentioned it, Daniel felt like an idiot bringing it up. But from the look on Jack's face his friend probably wouldn't just let it drop, so he continued anyway. "It's just during the meeting back there it seemed like he was…well, not really my biggest fan."

"Yeah, I noticed that," O'Neill replied with yet another comment that proved he wasn't as oblivious as everyone thought he was. "I figured he was just…you know."

Daniel gave him a suspicious look. "No, I don't."

Jack sighed. "I just figured you were being..." he made a few vague hand gestures, "you."

O'Neill was a bit surprised that Daniel looked genuinely hurt by this. "What do you mean, me?"

"Nothing," the older man backpedaled as they stepped out of the elevator. But Daniel continued to glare at the back of his head, refusing to move from his place outside the elevator doors. The colonel sighed in defeat and faced him, stuffing his hands in his pockets. "You take a little getting used to, that's all." Daniel's expression didn't change. "Look Daniel, Kawalsky's a good guy." His face scrunched a little. "Was. Is. Whatever. Give him a chance, and I'm sure he'll give you one." His brown eyes softened a little. "Our Kawalsky, the one that we served with—you guys got along fine."

Daniel nodded his reluctant acceptance and started moving again. "I know. I just wish I knew what I did wrong. I mean I'd say it's a trans-dimensional grudge, but the me in his reality probably died on an archeological dig or something."

Jack gave a noncommittal shrug as they reached the door to the lab. "If you really wanna know, just ask him." With a pat to his friend's shoulder, the colonel entered the lab. Daniel was left in the hallway, looking thoughtfully after his team leader.

Daniel tended to avoid confrontation, but Kawalsky was supposed to show him how to work the Quantum Mirror, and they wouldn't get anything done if the Major was shooting him dirty looks the entire time. Squaring his shoulders resolutely, Daniel walked down the hall and turned to go into the last door on the left. Sure enough, the Quantum Mirror was resting against the opposite wall and Kawalsky was waiting for him, looking non too pleased to be there.

Daniel stepped inside and gave the Major a small smile and a nod. "Major Kawalsky."

"Doctor Jackson," the other man replied with the air of someone addressing a pet dog.

The pride that had slowly been rebuilt inside Daniel over the past three years of being at the SGC stepped up to the plate, and the doctor faced the man before him head on. "Alright. What did I do?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about," came the prompt reply.

"Yes you do," Daniel responded thoughtfully. He crossed his arms over his chest and refused to break eye contact. "You've been treating me like a second-class citizen ever since you got here, and I'd like to know why. Especially since you don't even have a Daniel Jackson in your reality to blame it on."

Kawalsky held the gaze defiantly for a long moment before his dark eyes flicked guiltily away. "Look, I'm sorry. It's just you're not on my team, back home, ya know? I'm still getting used to treating you like you are."

Daniel cocked his head thoughtfully, clear blue eyes analyzing the man before him for a moment longer. "That's not all it is."

The other man glared at him. "Look, I've told you why, ok? Drop it."

The look he gave the young man caused something from the meeting earlier to come to Daniel's mind. The way Kawalsky had looked at him after he had called Jack his best friend... "You're jealous!" Daniel cried incredulously.

"Ok, now you're just grasping at straws," the major replied disdainfully.

"No I'm not," Daniel contradicted with a shake of his head. "You're upset because in this reality, you're not Jack's best friend."

"Only because I'm dead," he shot back.

"Maybe," Jackson admitted. That stopped the major mid-retort. Daniel took a deep breath and nodded a little. "Maybe you're right. But the fact is, the Kawalsky here is dead. But he was a good guy, and while he was here we got along. I was honored to know him." He took a step closer to the man who looked so much like the friend he'd had two years ago. "But he's gone. That's the way it is in this reality, and whether that's the reason Jack and I are friends or not, it's not going to change the fact that we are."

Kawalsky gave him an appraising look. "You didn't say best friends," he noted.

Daniel considered this for a moment. "I don't know if we are," he said finally. At the major's surprised look he offered a one-shouldered shrug. "We've never really talk about it. I mean, I know he's my best friend, but…"

Charles nodded in sudden understanding. "He's never said it."

Daniel gave another one-shouldered shrug. Kawalsky looked at him thoughtfully. "He never said it to me either."

"Really?" Jackson found this hard to believe.

"Really," the other man confirmed. "Jack has issues with relationships, in case you didn't notice."

"Oh, I noticed."

"Then you know that he'd probably have issues calling anyone his best friend under pain of death. It's just the way things are with him."

Daniel nodded thoughtfully and Kawalsky almost didn't say the rest of what he was thinking, but for some reason he felt like he owed it to this man who had been there for Jack when he…the other him…couldn't. "You are though."

"I'm what?"

"His best friend," the dark-haired man replied with a little sigh. "That's why I was being an idiot at the briefing. I was noticing all the little things that he…the Jack I knew used to do with me. The way he looks at you first when someone asks a question, the eye rolls you give each other. A guy can tell."

Daniel watched him for a moment longer before a smile split his face. "Thank you, Kawalsky."

"Charlie," the major amended with a matching grin. He stuck out his hand to shake.

"Daniel," the doctor replied as he shook the preferred hand.

After a moment Kawalsky cleared his throat and stepped back, picking up an odd-looking square chunk of technology from a corner. "Ready to learn how to work this thing?"

"As ready as I'll ever be." With another shared grin, the two men turned to the mirror.

Kawalsky took a deep breath and started in. "Okay, the way Dr. C explained it, the controller is not what you'd call an exacting science…."

Jack O'Neill watched the two men thoughtfully from the shadows just outside the open door. With a small crease in his brow he observed Daniel as Kawalsky walked him through the process of using the remote. Jack had always considered it an understood principal that Daniel was his best friend. It was a little bit disconcerting that the other man hadn't realized it before someone else told him up front. Something might just have to be done about that, Jack decided. The colonel put his hands back in his pockets and entered the room like he hadn't been standing there for the last five minutes. "Daniel? You understand this thing?"

"I think so," his teammate responded.

"Good," Jack replied with approval. He opened his mouth to start in on what was probably going to be a pitiful attempt to stumble through a sentimental conversation when Carter and…the other Carter… ran into the room. With a mental sigh, he filed away his little revelation to deal with later.

Jack's opportunity to talk to Daniel didn't come until the two men were in the locker room suiting up for the impending mission through the mirror. Kawalsky had already come and gone and Teal'c was off getting his costume on. The colonel sat on the bench in the middle of the room and pulled his boots on. With a self-conscious clearing of the throat, he started in. "I checked in on you and Kawalsky earlier."

"Yeah, I uh, I noticed that. With you walking into the room and all." Daniel gave him an odd look and slipped his jacket on before joining Jack on the bench with his own boots.

"Not that," Jack said reproachfully. "I kinda…listened in before then. Just to make sure you guys were getting along."

"Oh," Daniel replied without further comment. He laced up his left boot.

"…He was right, you know."

Daniel stopped at this and looked up in surprise. "He was?"

"Yeah," O'Neill replied. "I just kinda figured you already knew."

The smile that split his teammate's face was enough to make Jack feel slightly guilty. "I do now," the younger man said.

Jack yanked his other boot on. "Just don't go spreading it around, alright? I've got a reputation to keep up."

"Your secret's safe with me," Daniel assured. They stood in unison and looked at each other a moment. Jack shifted uneasily from foot to foot.

"We don't have to hug or anything, do we?"

"No, no I'm good."

"Good." Jack patted him on the back as they headed towards the door. "Pizza at my place if we get back?"

Daniel looked at him incredulously. "If?"

"When!" Jack amended hastily. "I meant when!"

"Great, Jack. Your confidence is overwhelming."

They stepped neatly aside as Major Samantha Carter made her way through the door.

O'Neill gave her a nod. "Carter."

Daniel gave her a bright smile. "Sam!"

Then they were past her and striding in unison down the hallway, bantering like they had never been interrupted. Sam shook her head and entered the locker room to gear up. It really wasn't fair how lucky the two of them were, she reflected. How many guys got to be on a team with their best friend?


Author's Note: Thanks muchly for taking the time to read this. I just watched Point of View for the second or third time and I struck that Kawalsky and Daniel never really had this talk on the show. Like any fanfic writer, I figured I'd just do it here. I'll most likely continue this at a later time with other points in the series where Jack and Daniel's friendship was strengthened (or should have been and wasn't.) I hope you enjoyed it! As always, reviews are welcome and appreciated, though not required. If you have specific instances where you would have liked to see a Jack/Daniel moment, let me know and I'll add it to the upcoming installments. Cheers!