Title: A Special Day
Author: Pip (dannysgirlsg1)
Summary: Certain days are special, especially when there's a friend to celebrate them with.
Rating: PG
Spoilers/Warnings: Mild reference to Daniel/Vala, because this is me afterall!
A/N: Written as a birthday present for godzchild96 over on LJ. Also, unbeta'd (though I have reviewed it more than once) so all mistakes are my own.

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A Special Day

He was dialing the number before his ass even hit the couch. The digits were so engraved into his mind that he didn't even need to look at what he was doing. This was second nature, an everyday thing. So normal that he was doing it while speed surfing through the channels trying to find something decent to watch.

Except today wasn't quite a normal day, as much as he'd like to completely eradicate the reason it wasn't. Today was a day he'd had all kinds of opinions on in the past, the constant being why it was absolutely necessary for it to happen every damn year.

Some years, it had been unbearable – almost pointless. Why even bother to try and suffer through one more? Then something had happened. A light had shined through his darkened world, though he would never admit it freely. Still, that light had made each year that much more bearable. Now he could maybe, possibly say he even enjoyed it.

But not today, not when Jack hadn't seen one hint of light or heard one single word.

The ringing on the other end of the phone finally morphed into a voicemail. He sighed loudly, waiting for the recorded voice to finish so he could leave a nice, potent message. When the beep came, he made sure to sound as hurt and betrayed as possible.

"Just me – figured I'd call since, well…you haven't." The last part didn't need to be emphasized with fake hurt when he had the real deal going on already. "Guess you're just busy over there with the action packed job. Must be nice – I remember those days. I also remember days when you'd actually pick up a damn phone and call someone on their-"

The recorded voice came on again, letting him know his message had been saved. He closed his eyes and pulled in a deep breath. Closing the phone, he dropped it on the couch beside him and settled deeper into the cushions. A glance at his watch let him know there were still several hours to go.

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An hour and half and two beers later, he picked the phone back up. Well, technically, he'd picked it up several times already, but it was just to check to see if something had come in and he'd missed it. His phone had a tendency to not ring at crucial times… It wasn't because he was desperate and anxious for the call to come. No, he was just being thorough.

This time, he dialed a different number. After a series of transfers and connections, he was finally patched into the direct line. The other end picked up after the first ring.

"Carter."

Jack frowned. "Carter, what are doing in Daniel's office, answering his phone?"

The smile was evident in her voice. "Hi, Sir."

"Oh, don't 'hi, Sir' me!" He griped, already feeling grouchy. "You know he doesn't like when you play with his toys when he's not around." Jack glanced out the window, where rain had begun to beat against the pane. Perfect. "Like some spoiled brat." He muttered as an afterthought.

"Spoiled brat?" She questioned with amusement. "Sir, Daniel didn't call you today, did he?"

Jack slouched even deeper into the couch. "What makes you ask that?"

She laughed. "I'm sure he didn't forget. He just got caught up in some things."

"I don't need to be hearing about what he does with Vala from you, Colonel." He couldn't help the jealous note to his tone. Ever since she had come through the gate, it meant half of Daniel's attention was constantly elsewhere. And just when he'd brought the boy around to actually liking hockey. "He tells me plenty…disgusting details."

There was a long pause, and then. "I'm not even gonna think about that, Sir." Sam sounded both appalled and amused. "And I wasn't referring to anything like that."

"Yeah, whatever…" Jack knew she gossiped with the raven haired vixen. They were women, after all. Worse, they were teammates and that just gave them an even weirder sense of bonding and… femininity. "Is he there?"

Again, another pause. When she spoke, Carter sounded like she was straining, holding something back. "No – there was a mission he was needed for."

Jack sat up at the news. "Mission? What mission? Why wasn't I informed?"

"Spur of the moment thing, his expertise in a certain area was needed."

He could tell she wasn't telling him everything and was wording things in a way to hide what she was really saying. "Carter, dammit…" Jack sighed, exasperated and slightly concerned. "Is he hurt? He better not be hurt and dying and you're hiding it from me, or I'll kill you both."

Assurance was in Sam's voice this time. "Daniel's not hurt, General. He's perfectly safe."

"If he's on a mission, how can he be perfectly safe?" Jack questioned suspiciously. He hated when his two favorite nerds – his only favorite nerds – ganged up on him. They had a weird brother, sister relationship he'd never been able to read. There was a code or something, and the only person he knew that was best at cracking codes was on the inside of this one. "Is Daniel with Vala? That's why you won't tell me squat – he's with her and doesn't want to have to deal with old guys like me. So both freaky bonds you have with her and him are keeping you from telling your superior officer what's going on."

"Freaky bonds?" Sam asked, sounding almost intrigued. Shit, that was dangerous. She had a feminist side to her that Jack had never been able to contend with. She was gonna make that whole statement into a woman thing.

He sighed in surrender. "Just, please Carter, could you give me a little more information?"

The smile was back in her voice when she replied. "I'm sorry, Sir." Jack opened his mouth to ask something else, but Sam cut him off. "And no, I can't get a hold of him for you. Like I said, he's not here."

"Would it make any difference if I made it an order?" Jack played his last card with very little hope of it succeeding.

"No." Sam knew he wasn't going to try it anyway. He could hear it in her reply, and knew that's why she'd bothered to deny him. Sometimes, he really hated how well his former team could read him. When had he become such an open book to them?

Jack sunk back into the couch. "Well, thanks anyway Carter." He didn't bother to hide his disappointment.

"He didn't forget." Sam assured him. "Happy Birthday again, Jack."

Pushing himself up irritably, Jack moved from the living room to the kitchen. His goal wasn't just one beer, but the rest of the damn pack. "Yeah, some birthday." He muttered, snapping the phone shut.

Before opening the fridge door, he opened the freezer and tossed the cell phone inside.

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Four more beers in, Jack was staring blankly at some romantic sappy something on the tv screen. What a way to spend his 'special day'. How much more pathetic could a guy get? Drinking alone watching some chick flick on his birthday – well, now it was simply watching the cliché crap movie. The six pack was all he'd had, beer-wise, and he was too much a coward to go and up the ante with stronger stuff. As much as he was miserable right now, he really didn't want to intensify it with prayers to the porcelain gods.

Wallowing in his darkening thoughts, his mind slightly hazy from what he'd had to drink, Jack hardly noticed the front door opening and closing. If it wasn't for years of military and special ops training that always seemed to keep a part of his mind alert, he would've never heard it at all. For a split second, he grew defensive.

Then he heard the familiar sound of a duffle bag dropping onto his wooden dining room floor and keys hitting the table, and he relaxed. At least enough for confusion to take hold – not at who could be there, but why said person was. Jack slowly came to a standing position and moved into the dining room.

"Daniel?" He questioned the man standing at his dining room table, futzing with something out of view. "What the hell?"

Daniel looked over his shoulder at his name being called. He stopped toying with whatever he was messing with and grabbed the tin dish on the table beside it. Holding it out, he waited for Jack to take it.

When Jack did, and opened the frosted lid to investigate, Daniel finally spoke.

"Pie…" He announced at the exact moment Jack confirmed for himself that is was indeed pie. Brown eyes came up to look at Daniel, who had stepped slightly to the side to reveal a case of beer. "And beer." He finally finished fiddling with the case, ripping the cardboard top off.

Taking one out, he turned and smiled at Jack. "Though you can only have the pie first since I need time to…" Daniel paused and opened his bottle. He flicked the cap into the kitchen, and brought the opening to his mouth for a sip. "Catch up." He finished after swallowing, smiling even more now.

"Daniel, I…" Jack didn't know what to say. Somewhere between the second and sixth beer, he'd gone and convinced himself that the light had finally gone out on him. That there was a bright future shining ahead that the light couldn't resist and he'd be left in darkness. He'd be left in the past, the old thing gathering dust.

Daniel didn't wait for him to try and find something to say. Instead, he disappeared into the kitchen. He then reappeared a minute later, sipping his beer and holding Jack's cell phone. He tossed it on the table.

"Cold isn't good for these things, you know." He said it like it was normal that the cell phone had been in there. Daniel then stepped closer to Jack, giving him a meaningful stare. "Did you really think I forgot your birthday?"

"I, well…no." Jack tried to lie, but the amused smirk that came to Daniel's face made it impossible. "Yes."

Shaking his head, smiling all the while, Daniel took the pie from Jack's hand. "Still no faith in me whatsoever." He joked, heading back into the kitchen. Jack waited while Daniel got everything they needed to eat the pie, evident from the sounds that filtered out from the kitchen. He moved over to the table, snagging a beer from the case.

"Thought I said you had to wait." The younger man said when he emerged again. The pie had lost its covering, and two forks were resting on top of it.

Jack popped the top of his bottle and flicked it much like Daniel had. "You did." He said simply before taking a drink. "Carter told me you were on a mission…" Daniel was the only person he'd ever really admitted to why he thought the way he did – Daniel was the only one who didn't judge him for it. "So I just assumed…"

Picking up one of the forks, Daniel held it out to Jack. "Mission Jack O'Neill." Jack gave him a squinty glare while hesitantly taking the fork. "I asked her not to tell you anything specific." He shrugged. "I kinda wanted it to be a surprise."

"Oh, yeah, surprising." Jack mocked, digging into the dessert. The piece he extracted quickly found its way to his mouth. "Pie and beer is your idea of a big surprise, huh?"

"No." Daniel grinned, shoving the pie into Jack's free hand and stepping over to his duffle bag. He pulled a DVD case from one of the side pockets. Moving back to Jack, he set his beer on the table, retook the pie, and put the case in its place.

"We're gonna devour this poor defenseless pie," He explained, a piece of said pie already shoved into his mouth. "And get nice and drunk making fun of the guys making fun of the crappy sci-fi movie." He pointed at the case with his fork for emphasis.

Daniel set the pie down, crossed his arms and smiled softly at his best friend. "Happy Birthday, Jack."

Looking at the DVD still in his hand, Jack couldn't help from laughing. "Mystery Science Theater 3000: the Movie," He looked at the beer, and then the pie. "Beer…pie…" Now his brown-eyed gaze found Daniel's. "I think the student has surpassed the master." He pulled in a deep breath. Old thing gathering dust? He figured it was good that the man before him was an archaeologist. "Thank you, Danny."

"Anytime." Daniel's soft smile morphed into a full blown grin. He picked up the pie and his bottle again, maneuvering the fork into the hand with the bottle so he could get another piece. His blue eyes looked at Jack with the fork still in his mouth, and he indicated with just a glance that they should move to the living room.

Jack nodded and hoisted up the large case of beer. "So, you sacrificed bedtime with your hot girlfriend to come wish an old man happy birthday?" He asked as Daniel started for the living room.

"You kidding me?" Daniel mumbled around more pie. "What do you think I was busy doing all morning?" He said with an unbelievable mix of disbelief and indifference.

Groaning, Jack stopped for a moment and dropped his head dramatically. "I knew I should've kept my big mouth shut – I knew it!"

The laugh Daniel answered with lit up the room, and Jack finally remembered why today was such a special day after all.

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