Whispers In The Dark

The halls of the SGC were eerily silent but for the solitary footsteps of Dr Daniel Jackson as he wandered aimlessly, his head bowed. Beams of light tunnelled their way across the walls in intricate patterns and seemed to follow him as he went, tracing the outline of his figure and bouncing innocently off his glasses to bathe the floor beneath him in gentle, almost non-existent light.

Everything around him remained motionless.

It had become a ritual of sorts, ever since Daniel had returned from…wherever it was that he had been. He'd begun to spend most of his nights alone; walking around the place that the others (Jack, Sam and Teal'c) had told him was his home. He was still having trouble recalling his previous life despite it having already been several days since he had learned of it.

He'd expected to learn something of the life he'd had, by now! But still…there was next to nothing. He had never felt so frustrated and confused in his life (that he could remember anyway!)

The late night walks helped him to think and sometimes he was even able to remember a moment in time back before. Those were the good nights. On the bad nights, he didn't remember a thing and he went to bed to turn restlessly for hours on end; that was if he went to bed at all.

Tonight looked like it was going to be one of the bad nights.

Daniel found himself wandering towards the kitchen, one of his more regular haunts for the past few days, and into the back area, flicking a light on as he passed the switch. Pots and pans, all gleaming silver, hung above pristine stoves, ovens and countertops. There was barely a fleck of dirt in sight.

The only sign that the kitchen had been used since his last visit was a stack of plates that had been left on the counter beside the sink and one of the bins over in the corner had trash peeking out over the top that hadn't been there before.

Shrugging, Daniel pushed the sleeves of his BDU's up to his elbows and leaned over the sink to put the plug in. Some dish detergent followed the plug and then, done with that, he turned on the taps, the hot one first and then the cold one immediately after.

The water flowed almost silently into the sink and was soon topped by bubbles. Steam poured from it in vaporous clouds and the light danced off the silvery surface, like stars dotting the sky and dispersing with the clouds, or rays of sunlight reflecting off the shattered tops of waves out in the ocean.

Daniel watched as the sink was completely filled, then slid his hands into the water and closed his eyes as the warmth seeped into his skin. Some of his aggravation at not knowing completely who he was began to fall away. Not all of it, though.

After a few minutes, he removed his hands, opened his eyes and started on the dishes, whilst his mind drifted. It took him no longer than fifteen minutes to finish, so he decided to continue to clean and tidy the kitchen, so that it was better set out. Sleeping wasn't an option, after all. It made sense to do something productive rather than sit and do nothing.

It was an hour later that footsteps broke his concentration and he realised just how long he'd been there.

"Daniel!" Jack whispered, in the tone he always used when trying to get Sam to go to bed. He hadn't used it on Daniel as often, but there had been nights. One time he'd found Daniel squinting at a rock…no, artefact…that he'd actually given him under the false pretense that it had been found offworld, when in actuality, it had been by the lake at his cabin.

When Daniel had found out that he'd lied to him about it, he hadn't been happy.

Oh. Wow! He had remembered something! Maybe it wasn't going to be such a bad night…

Daniel put the pan in his left hand back where he'd taken it from and turned to look at Jack.

"What are you doing!?" Jack hissed again, moving closer.

Daniel studied him thoughtfully, raising an eyebrow automatically. "What are you doing?" he shot back.

His answer came in the form of a shrug…then…

"I couldn't sleep."

Having had many sleepless nights lately, Daniel could sympathise. "That's…not good," he noted wistfully. He ran his tongue over his lips then picked up another pan. Studying his reflection in it, he smiled ironically. "Me either," he admitted. "I just…I just need to remember something!"

Jack smirked softly, although his eyes were warm and full of concern. "So instead of dealing with your feelings like a normal person, you've decided to reorganise the kitchen?" he asked lightly.

Daniel stared at him. "Apparently," he finally confirmed. "It helps me think. Sometimes I can remember things about my life, about this place and about you guys…"

Jack nodded understandingly. "Yeah, I figured. You've been here every night since you got back."

He didn't say anything more, so Daniel continued. "I know what you've told me, but I don't remember it all. It's like I don't know who I am!" He paused to scratch his nose and glance around the room. "I don't know anything about this place, really, or about my own life! Do you know how frustrating that is!?"

He kept going now that he was on a roll. "No, I don't suppose you do. You haven't 'ascended' and come back before, have you?" He fell silent for a few seconds, realising that Jack may have actually done it. He wouldn't remember it if he had. "Well, I guess you could have and I just don't remember," he added slowly, with a frown.

"No. I haven't ascended," Jack stated matter-of-factly. "And I don't know what it's like. But I've seen things…and I know what it's like to lose what means most." He absentmindedly picked up a spoon that Daniel had put on the counter earlier and began to fiddle with it.

"Yeah?" Daniel asked softly.

Jack's fingers stilled and he looked up. "Yeah."

They fell silent and continued to stare at each other for quite some time.

It was Daniel who spoke up first. "Thank you," he said simply. Words alone could not convey the full extent of emotion that his expression held, so he didn't bother trying. Keeping it straight and real would have to do.

Brown eyes pierced his blue ones, soft and deep and holding as much as his own. "For what?"

"For being here for me. For caring." Daniel smiled softly. "Really. It means a lot."

Jack offered a small smile back. "Yeah, well, it's the least I can do." His smile grew as a thought suddenly hit him and he walked towards the fridge at the opposite end of the kitchen. "Or not!" he added, pulling open the door to reveal a half-eaten cake among other things.

"Cake! Cake always helps!"

Daniel choked down a laugh and nodded, moving up to join Jack. "I'm sure it does," he agreed.

Jack grabbed his arm then, and pulled him into a hug. Surprised at first, Daniel eventually sank into his embrace and buried his head into his shoulder, sighing. "It'll be okay," Jack whispered, stroking his hair. "You'll remember."

Instead of the tears that Daniel expected, he found himself smiling. "I'm sure I will."

They pulled away and Jack reached into the fridge to get the cake out. Retrieving two spoons, he led Daniel silently into the cafeteria and to their usual table. "Until then, cake!"