Note from the Phoenix: Okay this is the one that I'm working on right now, but I've got 25 chapters for you guys to catch up on. I'm giving it the T rating cause I don't know how violent it is going to get. There is some sexual tension in this one, but no descriptions of sex (something the Phoenix never writes) so you're safe there.
"I can't do this."
"Yes, you can."
"No, I don't think you understand." Daniel insisted. "I can't."
"You have to."
A sigh of frustrated defeat echoed in Daniel's mind. He didn't blame Gabriel for being exasperated with him. It had only been two weeks since he'd agreed to shelter Gabriel and he was still having trouble adjusting.
Actually when Daniel truly admitted it to himself it wasn't Gabriel that he was having difficulty with, it was his own mind that was being rebellious. Since things had calmed down the smallest tasks seemed impossible. Even now he was trembling with fear over a simple glass of water.
Gabriel encouraged him to at least pick it up, but he couldn't. Every time he tried his throat closed and panic washed over him as he found himself once again struggling to breath. His hydrophobia had become so overwhelming he didn't even know how to begin fighting against it.
A knock at the door was a welcome distraction. Daniel looked up and found Jack taking up the doorway. He stepped into the room cautiously, not because he was fearful of upsetting Daniel, but because he feared breaking something. He had always tread softly in the artifact ridden office.
"Hey, Jack." Daniel greeted.
"Hey, Daniel. How are you feeling?"
"I'm alright." Daniel replied half heartedly. "How are you doing?"
"Fine. Why...what have you heard?" Jack smiled.
"Nothing." Daniel replied with a shrug.
"That bad, eh?" Jack chuckled. "I believe it was Winston Churchill that said: 'The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.'."
"Your quote, it's one of Oscar Wilde's."
"Ah, right." Jack looked around. "So...what cha working on?"
"Nothing important." Daniel replied gloomily.
"That's not true." Gabriel admonished.
"Nothing, eh?" Jack asked skeptically as he glanced at the cup on Daniel's desk.
Daniel pushed the glass of water aside and reached for a red journal that he had been writing his attempts at translating Ba'al's Crystals in. Jack managed not to sigh, but Daniel noticed that he did shift his weight the way he did when he had something to say that he'd rather not.
"Dan..." Jack started.
"Don't start with me, Jack." Daniel suddenly snarled.
"Daniel, he only wants to help."
"What are you my conscience?" Daniel demanded angrily.
"What?" Jack asked confused.
"I'm not trying to be your conscience, Daniel." Gabriel replied evenly. "I just think that..."
"I don't care what you think right now, Gabriel."
"I...uh..." Jack said uncomfortably. "I should leave you two alone."
"No, stay." Daniel echoed unintentionally. "Stop that!"
"I didn't do anything."
Daniel rolled his eyes. He crossed his arms on the desk and put his head down in defeat. He was going to have to learn to respond to Gabriel without speaking out loud or people were going to start thinking he was insane. Although at this point Daniel wasn't sure if that was far from the truth.
"Tell him." Gabriel suggested.
"It won't help." Daniel groaned.
"I bet you'll be surprised. Besides, it's not just for your sake, Daniel...it's for Jack's as well."
Daniel sighed heavily. It wasn't easy having someone who always seemed to be right living in his mind. However, Gabriel still had a point. This wasn't just stressful for him, but everyone around him as well. He looked up and saw a familiar anxious look on Jack's face.
"I'm sorry, Jack." Daniel admitted. "I'm just a little stressed out."
"I can see that."
"No, it isn't." Gabriel replied softly.
"What's going on?" Jack asked even though he knew the answer.
"I...uh...I can't seem to...to drink anything."
Jack said nothing at first. It was obvious that he was trying to chose his words carefully. He looked back at the glass of water and suddenly smiled brightly.
"You know what your problem is?" Jack asked rhetorically. "You keep trying with water...I can barely stand the stuff myself. Come on, let's get out of here, go have a beer."
Daniel couldn't help but chuckle. Suddenly wanting to take Jack up on his offer Daniel pushed himself away from his desk. Jack watched as he picked up the glass and drank its contents without trouble.
"There, ya see?" Jack beamed. "That wasn't so difficult, was it?"
"That's because I'm not Daniel." Gabriel smiled sadly.
"Oh, hey, Gabriel." Jack forced a smile.
Gabriel got up from his chair and walked over to the aquarium that they had set up for him. Both he and Daniel thought it best if they could have the option of spending time apart. Gabriel lifted up the glass lid to the tank.
"What are you doing?" Jack asked.
"I thought I'd let you two go out. I could use a rest."
"Daniel's harder to live with than you thought, eh?" Jack asked knowingly.
"He's a handful, but I wouldn't have him any other way."
"I don't know, I might not mind if he was a little less 'accident prone'."
"I can still hear you, Jack." Daniel suddenly replied.
Daniel shook his head in mock sorrow. Gabriel slid down the back of his neck and dove down into the aquarium. He stretched out his fins and raced around the tank a few times before settling down on the bottom. Daniel rubbed at the back of his neck. Having Gabriel leave didn't hurt, but it still felt strange.
Jack and Daniel both turned at the gentle knock at the open door. Sam joined the pair in the already cluttered office. She greeted them both in turn with a smile. Daniel hadn't seen much of her over the past few weeks, she had thrown herself completely into extracting the data from the Crystals.
"How are you two feeling?" Sam asked.
"Like new." Jack chimed. "We're about to head out, if you want to join us."
"Actually, I'm having a touch of trouble with the last Crystal, and I was wondering if I could talk to Ga..." Sam stopped as she noticed the tank. "Oh, never mind."
Daniel stepped to the side as Sam walked up to the aquarium. She dipped her hand in the water and Gabriel swam up to the surface. The way he gently wrapped around her wrist told Daniel that he knew who had invaded his waters. She lifted him up and placed him on her neck without hesitation.
"Anyway, I'm going to take a rain check." Sam announced after Gabriel had gotten comfortable. "I'm so close to getting into the last Crystal."
"Don't rush on my account." Daniel said. "I'm nowhere near translating what you've given me so far. I've barely begun to crack the code on it."
"Gabriel tells me you've accomplished more than your admitting to."
"That little snitch." Daniel grumbled with a chuckle.
Sam giggled, but it was hard to tell if it was due to Daniel or something Gabriel may have said in retaliation. She shoved Daniel's shoulder playfully and left to go back to her lab. Jack watched her go, looking lost in thought.
"Jack? You alright?"
"Yeah, this is just a little difficult to get used to."
"Would a beer help?"
"Of course." Jack replied cheerfully. "Alcohol heals all wounds...or is it wounds all heels?"
"No, that's 'time'."
"Hey, we should see if Teal'c wants to come along."
"I doubt he will." Daniel sighed.
"What? Why not?"
"He and I no longer seem to be on speaking terms..."
"Just give him a little time." Jack said unconcerned. "He'll come around."
"I hope so."
"I know so."