SUMMARY: Jack's moving. Daniel's standing still.
SEASON/SPOILERS: Set between Seasons 8 and 9. Spoilers for Season 8 sprinkled all around.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a old story of mine from 2005 that was posted in a few places, but never here. I am trying to streamline all my Gen fic in one place and ff dot net seems a good place for now :).
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Stargate: SG-1 or anything associated with it. I'm simply borrowing, but I promise to return all in one piece. Eventually.
It didn't seem real until he saw the boxes. Boxes everywhere. In the kitchen, in the living room, the bathroom, the garage.
Boxes, boxes everywhere. And not a single one empty.
Jack was moving. Really moving. Taking his entire life across the country to sit behind some desk in Washington, D.C.
Daniel couldn't believe it.
Jack was moving on. Again. SG-1 didn't exist anymore. Things were changing and Daniel wasn't. Daniel was standing still. He'd survived yet another death, survived another day to find himself unmoving in room full of motion.
He watched Jack pull a piece of packing tape across a box.
"Never thought I had so much stuff."
"You don't," Daniel responded. "Some of this stuff is mine. I'm taking it back."
Jack grinned. "What if I don't want you to? I mean, you left it here. Finders keepers, after all."
Daniel raised an eyebrow. "You want to haul a box full of archaeology texts all the way to DC?"
"Well, when you put it that way..." Jack moved to another box. Silence filled the room, and awkwardness filled the air. Daniel hadn't felt anything like this since the very first night he spent on Earth.
//"They don't know what to do with me... and I don't know what to do with myself."/
Jack had taken pity on him. Opened up his home, gave him a beer, and let him ramble about Sha're. He'd been so lost then. Maybe a piece of him still was.
Daniel kicked his toes at the carpet, casting his gaze downwards. "Um...Sam's been offered a command of the R&D in Area 51, you know."
"I heard. I recommended her. No one's better than Carter."
"Yeah," Daniel softly agreed. "And Teal'c is off to help fortify the newly formed Jaffa nation." He lifted his head to look at Jack.
Jack nodded. "Good for Teal'c. If the Jaffa know what's good for 'em, they'll put T in charge."
"I suppose they should."
Jack put down the roll of packaging tape. "What about you, Daniel?"
Daniel blinked. "What about me?"
"What are your plans?"
"I don't have any."
Jack shook his head. "Uh huh. I saw your transfer request. I'm still in charge until the week is out. Who do you think needs to approve these things?"
Daniel looked away. To be honest, he'd hoped that Jack would be gone before that memo hit his desk. He had to do something. He wasn't changing, but he had to try.
"I didn't think you'd see it."
"Wouldn't see it? You just thought you'd hop on the Daedalus, fly into a very hostile Pegasus galaxy, and never tell anyone?"
"It hasn't been approved. I don't like spreading rumors," Daniel replied. "Besides, Hammond was the one that told me about Homeland Security. Told me when he dropped on by a trip to see his daughter. You didn't tell me. You didn't tell Sam. Or Teal'c. You could have just packed up and left and I'd never have figured it out until I walked into your office and found someone else in your chair."
"Not my chair. It's coming with me. The new guy'll have to get his own."
Jack slumped back. "You're right, Daniel."
"Now there's a statement I don't here everyday. Right about what, Jack?"
Jack shrugged. "The universe." Daniel just stared at him. "I didn't know how to broach the subject. There was just never a good time."
"Your cabin would have been a good place. Or maybe dinner two weeks ago. I would have even settled for an email."
"An email? What could I have written? Love you guys, but, ah, yes, taking a job in DC because my knees hurt and I suffer from persistent migraines now?"
Daniel was wide-eyed. Almost speechless. He knew about the knees. "Migraines?"
Jack stared at him for a few seconds before responding. "Yes, migraines. Off and on since the first time I got an encyclopedia of Ancient information crammed into my head. The second time it happened, well, brain damage hurts."
Jack waved his hand. "Nothing to worry about. Parts of the brain we don't even use. Got told my head just needed re-mapping."
"Needed a move on to desk job?" Daniel pressed. It all made sense. Jack didn't want to be General, but Daniel also knew he didn't want to retire. He didn't like the idea of anything else handling "his" team. It was probably why SG-1 had remained a three-person operation. If Jack couldn't be part of it...
"Someone still needed to keep on eye on you. And Carter. And Teal'c, well, he can manage fine, I think, but..." Jack rubbed a hand across his face. "You're my team."
"I know," Daniel said softly. "It wasn't the same. But you were still there; we were still fighting the Goa'uld, then the Replicators. But the Goa'uld aren't a threat anymore."
"Yep," Jack agreed. "And SG-1 no longer exists. Well, at least not our SG-1." He paused a moment. "There's a new guy coming in. Cameron Mitchell. Remember him?"
"I do. Good guy."
"He is. He'll be leading SG-1, although I don't think I've been honest with him. He's in awe."
"The Stargate, life, SG-1. The original one, of course. You, I think."
"All the reason for me to go to Atlantis then. I'm not much for being awe-inspired."
"Yeah," Jack agreed. "Carter wants to move on. Teal'c has a new calling. I thought it would only be a matter of time before you got antsy."
Daniel studied him a moment. "You knew I'd want to go to Atlantis."
Jack gave him a little shrug. "I wouldn't let you go the first time around. I figured if another opportunity came up, I might not be able to hold you back. Besides, you're the expert on the Ancients. Or at least thats what you and everyone else are so fond of saying, so since the Daedalus can come back..." He smiled. "You'd never be able to stay."
"How do you know that? I could love it there."
"For a while. But you'd miss me."
"Miss you? You're the one heading to DC!"
"Only for a year or two. I'll find and train some other hotshot to take my spot eventually. Then, retirement."
"And what if I stayed in Atlantis?"
"I could retire there. They have water. I assume they have fish. And as long as McKay stays ten feet away from me at all times, I could survive. I could teach you how to really fish. They'd be best friend bonding. Like a trip to Vegas and than some. Huh. A trip to Vegas..."
"What about Sam?"
He frowned. "What about her?"
"I always figured..." That you might try and ride of into the sunset he finished silently. It was an unspoken "thing" that had been dismissed until lately. Until the timeline screw-up happened. Yes, different people, but...
"Carter and I would never work, Daniel. You know that. We'd burn out before we even started. Besides, she loves Pete."
"She broke up with him."
"She did," Jack agreed. "But why do you think she's trying to get away? First Pete, than Jacob...You should talk to her, Daniel. She listens to you. Pete's a good guy."
"She was happy."
"She still could be."
Daniel nodded. "What about you, Jack? Are you going to be happy in Washington?"
Jack was silent a moment. "You going to be happy in Atlantis?" he countered.
"I don't know. But I have to give something new a try. I can be helpful there."
"I can be helpful in Washington. Maybe I'll get less headaches. Maybe the hair will turn brown again."
"Uh, Jack, unless you plan on dying it, I can't see that happening."
"Well, who know, maybe I will dye it. Maybe you'll come back from Atlantis, fresh from saving yet another universe, and it'll be all brown."
Daniel smirked. "That will never happen."
Jack grinned back. "You never know. Stranger things have happened in the past eight years."
"They have," he concurred. "You have a guest room in DC?"
"Good," Daniel said. "I'm subleasing my apartment. I'll have no where to go when I come back."
"See, that's where you're wrong, Daniel. You'll always have somewhere to come back to."
"Yeah," Daniel answered, a wide grin spreading over his face. The awkwardness was gone. The Daniel of eight years past no longer lurked in this living room, wearing BDUs that were far too big.
Was he still as lost as he was then? No. Was he still lost? Perhaps.
He, Jack, SG-1, they weren't moving on. They were moving forward. Different directions, but with a spirit that never died.
Daniel knew Atlantis would never hold a candle to Jack's guest room. Frequent flyer miles were definitely in his future.