Title: Learned Acceptance
Author: Pip (dannysgirlsg1)
Summary: In fact, the two men had set the learning curve for all who came through the SGC, Mitchell included.
Rating/Warning: PG, just to be safe XD
Spoilers: A very subtle hint to Daniel/Vala.
A/N: Written for the 2008 sg1friendathon on LJ. The prompt was Cam and Daniel - Learning Curve.
Pale moonlight shimmered off the surface of the quiet lake, casting the sole occupant of the dock in a hazy glow. Crickets and frogs alike were chirping all around him, a cool breeze gently tossing his hair around. It was the epitome of calm and peaceful, but Cam couldn't seem to fully relax into the atmosphere. His mind just wouldn't slow down long enough for relaxation to set in.
Cam was so wrapped up in trying to get his thoughts to quit for even a few minutes that he didn't notice the sound of footsteps on the wooden planks. It wasn't until a cold bottle tapped his shoulder that Cam realized he wasn't alone.
Looking upwards over the same shoulder, he was met with a familiar gauging expression.
"Thinking hard?" Daniel asked with raised eyebrows as Cam took the offered beer. He then proceeded to flop down into the lawn chair next to the Lt. Colonel's.
Cam shrugged. "Tryin' not to, actually." He said with a little smile, focusing on getting the top off the bottle.
Nodding, Daniel slouched down in his chair. He gazed out at the lake, sipping from his own bottle. Just as Cam got his beer open, Daniel let his gaze drift back his direction.
"And what exactly are you trying not to think about?" His tone would've sounded almost curious, if Cam hadn't already known that Daniel knew exactly what he had his mind on.
He cast a quick look in the archaeologist's direction, avoiding the piercing blue eyes. Instead, he took in the grazed cheek and telltale bruising that had been a result from their most recent mission.
Cam moved his eyes to take in the lake as he responded on a sigh. "The mission." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Daniel nod.
"Yep…" Daniel said knowingly, also looking back out at the lake. He gave his shoulders a roll, and drew in a deep breath. "So you're brooding…"
"I am not brooding." Cam argued, never breaking his gaze from the quiet waters.
Daniel nodded again. "Yes you are."
"No, I'm not." He didn't know how the man did it, but Daniel had a way of getting Cam to raise all his defenses in an instant. It was like he lived for arguing, or something.
"Oh, you are…" Daniel smiled, even though either man had yet to look at each other again, and took another pull from his beer bottle. "You just won't admit it because you're too damn stubborn, like every other member of this…insane team."
Finally, Cam's gaze found Daniel's as he laughed at the statement. "You probably being the most insane and stubborn out of all of us."
Daniel gave an indifferent shrug. "Someone's got to be..." As Cam let out a huff of air and shook his head, looking away again, Daniel pushed himself up some. "Now are you going to just tell me why you're out here alone, or would you rather wait until I annoy it out of you?"
Staring down at his beer, his thumb circling the top, Cam shrugged. "I just can't get the mission outta my head."
"And why is that?"
"You were there, Jackson." Cam shook his head and threw Daniel a glance. "Sayin' it went down badly is being too kind."
Daniel nodded slowly. "Yeah, so we had a bad mission. It happens."
"Happens?" Cam laughed in mild disbelief at the archaeologist's casual tone. "Dammit, man, you nearly got the crap beat out of you, and all you can say is' it happens'?"
Brows furrowing at Cameron's frustration, Daniel shrugged. "It does happen – it's happened before this mission, and it's probably gonna happen again. What's beyond the gate is not always gonna be friendly and easy. That's something I learned to accept a long time ago."
The Colonel flopped back in his chair. "I know it's not all going to be easy." He ran a hand through his hair and shook his head. "That just makes the accepting it even less easy."
"You're feeling guilty because I got roughed up a little?" Daniel decided to jump right to the head of the matter.
Cam let out a sigh. "Not just you, but Vala and Sam…" He laughed, but it held no mirth. "Hell, even Teal'c got in a few licks. It's just not…fun…to watch your friends get roughed up because of a mistake you made."
Daniel rested an elbow on the armrest and leaned a little in Cam's direction. "And what mistake do you think you made?"
"I didn't listen when I should've." Cam admitted quietly, looking out over the water once more. "You were tellin' us talking to those people wasn't the wisest choice, but I did anyway. I thought a treaty with them would….I don't know…"
"Make you some kind of a hero?" Daniel ventured.
Cameron shrugged. "I don't know…maybe." He took a drink from his fast warming beer. "Any way you look at it, it still comes down to the simple fact that we got into that mess because I wasn't being as good a commander as I should'a been."
"We got out of there because of you…"
"We wouldn't have been in there if I'd just listened."
Daniel let out a small laugh at this. "Yes, well, another thing I learned to accept a long time ago was that people don't always listen to what I say, even when I am right."
"You're always right, Jackson." Mitchell added, amusement coloring his words.
To this, Daniel adamantly shook his head. "Oh no, not always. You've read the mission reports…my record isn't the best, which I am very aware of. And yours isn't gonna be spotless either. There's bound to be a few screw-ups here and there. If there's anything you should've learned by now, it's that nobody on this team is perfect. Nowhere near, in fact."
"I guess the point I'm trying to make is that bad missions happen." Daniel continued. "It's just a part of going through the gate. We've been lucky to have come back from all of them fairly unscathed, but it might not always be that way. And I don't think you'd be here if some very high up people didn't think you could handle that situation if and when it did happen."
Cam let a small smile come to his lips. "You wouldn't happen to be one of those high up people?"
Relaxing back against his chair and slouching down once more, Daniel propped one foot up on the dock's side and closed his eyes. "I might have said a few things…" He finally said with a quirked half smile.
"It's a wonder I'm still here!" Cameron laughed, finally letting himself relax into his own chair. A few minutes of comfortable silence passed between them before Cam spoke again.
"Hey Jackson?" He questioned in a quiet voice.
"Hmmm?" Daniel questioned back, lazily turning his blue eyes on the Colonel.
Cam gave him a sincere look. "Sorry I didn't listen…and that you got your face pounded in because of me…again."
Again, Daniel shrugged. "Like I said – learned to accept such inevitable things a long time ago."
"It takes some time to learn to accept these things then?" Mitchell asked conversationally, falling back on the rookie wonder of 'learning' from the great Dr. Jackson.
Daniel laughed. "Hell, it's taken me all these years to accept that I am more like Jack O'Neill than I am willing to admit to most people." At Cam's nod of agreement, Daniel sighed. "Damn, that is a scary thought."
"Nah…" Cam shook his head, looking out at the lake. "I think the SGC needs to have some of that O'Neill charm around to keep it on its feet."
Daniel was laughing again. "You think Jack's charming?" He said with mock disbelief. "You were wrong…" As Cam looked at him, wondering what he was referring to, he grinned. "Now we know why you're still on this team!" He closed his eyes again. "No more wondering needed…" He trailed off.
Cam watched his friend relaxing beside him, knowing how much the man must have learned from O'Neill, and in turn how much he could learn from Daniel. In fact, the two men had set the learning curve for all who came through the SGC, Mitchell included.
For a moment, Cam felt like he was staring at a living legend.
Daniel drained the rest of his beer, topping it off with a very unlegendlike burp. The archaeologist pushed himself up to a standing position, and the vision of a legend faded into the familiar face of a friend and teammate.
"Are we done brooding?" He asked with a smug smile, tucking a hand in his jean pocket.
Cam shook his head and pushed himself up as well. "Yes…"
"Good, cause I'm out of beer." Daniel grinned and moved to head back inside the cabin.
"But I wasn't brooding." Cam added as he followed Daniel, finishing his own beer as he went.
"You were…" Daniel merrily announced.
"I was not!" The Colonel argued petulantly. "You make me sound like some little kid."
Daniel stopped and turned on his heels to look at his friend. "Well, if the shoe fits…"
Stopping before him, Cam crossed his arms. The empty beer bottle dangled between his fingers. "Now I'm wonderin' how you managed to stay on the team all these years."
"Practice." Daniel said with a cheeky smile. He then tilted his head in the direction of the cabin. "Come on…the girls were plotting to kick our asses at one of your Wii games." He moved to turn, but Cam caught hold of his arm.
As Daniel turned back to face him, Cam shook his head. "Hold on – this discussion isn't finished."
Daniel raised his eyebrows and shook his head. "It is if you just accept I'm right."
"See, but I can't do that if you're wrong."
"This coming from the man who said I was always right."
Cam's blue eyes rolled. "You're the one who said I was wrong about that."
"And I'm saying you're wrong about this too!" He pulled the hand out of his pocket and held it out towards the dock. "Didn't we just have a talk about how not listening to me gets us in trouble?"
Mitchell snorted slightly. "Actually, I'm startin' to think it's you in general that gets me in trouble!"
Sticking his hand back in his pocket and rocking on his heels, Daniel smirked. "Now you know what made all Jack's hair go grey." He quirked his eyebrows in mischief. The hand on his arm fell quickly.
"See, the more you just accept that I'm right, the longer it'll take your hair to…" Daniel's hand came back out of his pocket and waved in the general direction of Cam's head. The Colonel squinted at him. "Jack learned this."
"I'm not Jack." Cam said.
Daniel looked him up and down. "That much is obvious."
"I'm not gonna win this argument, am I?" Cameron finally relented with a long sigh.
Pointing at him with the hand holding the empty beer bottle, Daniel smiled triumphantly. "See, you are a fast learner." He turned quickly, and started for the cabin once more. Cam fell in step beside him.
"You just gotta remember you win some, you lose some." Daniel said.
"You wreck some." Cam added with a wry smile as Daniel gave him a curious look, eyebrows raised in his signature fashion. "Dale Earnhardt…"
Blue eyes rolled. "I just don't understand the appeal of watching cars taking left hand turns, in a circle at two hundred miles per hour, all day." Daniel shook his head as they bounded up the porch steps.
Cam moved forward to pull open the door. "And I don't understand the appeal of constantly flirting with a certain alien member of our team…"
"Well, Teal'c needs some attention like the rest of us…" Daniel added with a serious face, never missing a beat.
"You are a twisted man, Daniel Jackson." Cam laughed, shaking his head.
Daniel shrugged. "Someone's got to be." He stepped past Cam into the cabin, heading straight for the kitchen. Cam moved inside, closing the door behind him.
Standing by the door, he took in his team spread out around the cabin. Teal'c and Sam were by the TV, going through his selection of video games for his various consoles. They were playfully arguing which game would best be suited for all of their teammate's individual strengths. Daniel had already gotten himself another beer from the fridge, and had his chest pressed up against Vala's back, his arms propped up on either side of her on the counter. He was whispering something in her ear, something that was making her giggle and look Cam's direction.
All of them were sporting the signs of their recent flop of a mission. But the sight of everyone together, safe and happy, had Daniel's words sinking in just a little bit deeper for Cameron. It'd been a bad mission, but they'd made it back.
Maybe next time, not all of them would. But this time, they had. And that's what was the most important.
Looking up at Daniel, who was watching him from the kitchen, Cam gave a little nod. Daniel nodded back – the lesson had been learned.
A fit of giggling from in front of the TV drew Cam's attention that direction. Vala was kneeling down by Sam, whispering in her ear. Both of them were looking at Cam as they giggled.
"Okay…" Cam said loudly, casting a glare at Daniel, who was making his way towards the girls now.
"What the hell did he say about me?" He moved to join the rest of his team.
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