Inspiration taken from "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum, specifically the line "It's a quarter after one, I'm a little drunk and I need you now."
Need You Now
It wasn't loud, but there was a definite thump.
And for Colonel O'Neill, USAF that was enough to wake him from the doze he had fallen into after watching his team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the fourth time this season.
There it was again.
Experience taught him that it was a man made noise, and that was enough to raise his hackles and wish that his sidearm was within reach. Silently he rose to his feet, black ops training coming to the fore as he stepped silently towards the window.
He stopped in his tracks as a definite groan reached his ears.
It was familiar enough that his fingers no longer itched for the pistol that was out of reach. Familiar enough too, that the worry gnawing at the pit of his stomach was ramped up a level. It was a groan he'd heard far too many times in the last few years. Carefully he eased open his front door, cursing the biting night time chill. Sure enough, sat on his deck, staring unseeing into the night's inky darkness was Daniel.
For a long moment, Jack just watched him, unsure how best to approach the situation. The loss of Sha're had understandably hit the young man hard and Daniel had withdrawn from the team, taken to holing up in his office at odd times and refused any and all invitations for social activity offered to him regardless of who was doing the asking. The Colonel's invitation to come over that evening for hockey and beer was met with a refusal so curt that he might have taken offence if he hadn't seen the pain written indelibly in his friend's eyes. Jack had been worried, as had Carter but as yet they had been unable to formulate a plan to help the archaeologist with his grief. Now Jack was on his own.
"Sorry, Jack," the remark was soft, almost swallowed into the darkness of the night. Daniel's usually crisp pronunciation was softened around the edges, the slur in his words indicative of his intoxication. Clearly, while he may have missed out on the night's match he'd not skimped on the beer.
"For?" Jack asked him, moving to stand beside him, following his gaze to his shadowed garden.
"Didn't mean to wake you."
"You just thought you'd come and hang out on my porch on your own at 1am?" Jack asked mildly, no accusation or irritation in his voice.
There was a huff that might have been an attempt at laughter.
"Uh, kinda." A pause, "I guess I lost track of time. I'd better –"
His uncoordinated struggle to his feet did nothing to convince Jack that he'd be able to navigate across the garden, let alone across town to his flat. He shot out an arm to balance the younger man when a particularly uncoordinated wobble threatened to spill him down the steps.
"This way Daniel," the Colonel gently guided him back towards the warmth of the house.
"But..." the confused frown on his face was as unfocused as it was endearing.
"I think you should come in for a while Danny Boy. We'll get you a glass of water...or six, eh?" Jack gently deposited him into the chair he knew he favoured, brushing off the apologies with a shoulder squeeze.
"Daniel, its fine, just sit there a minute and I'll get us a drink."
He came back with a bottle of beer for himself and a large glass of water for Daniel.
"Have you eaten?" he asked his friend, who was now uncomfortably picking at fluff on the arm of the chair he was sat in. There was a shake of the head, "Alright, I rang for pizza. It'll be here soon."
"Sorry, I know." Daniel fell silent, rebuked, "its fine. I was still up, and if I wasn't it would still be fine anyway. And as I recall I did invite you over to watch the hockey and have a few beers, so really you're just running late – as usual, and apparently I have some catching up to do." He took a deep swig of his beer, "wanna talk about it?"
Daniel shook his head slowly, staring at the floor. Jack merely nodded and settled back into his chair. He found that he was pleased that Daniel had sought him out, even if all he wanted was company in his silence. They solitude that the archaeologist had shrouded himself in since the death of his wife had begun to almost frighten Jack, this emergence from it, no matter how tentative, was something to be encouraged.
"I don't know what to do Jack," his voice was almost inaudible and Jack had to strain to hear it.
"About what?" Jack asked carefully. When Sha're died, the one thing that had worried Jack was that Daniel would decide that he had no further reason to be a part of the SGC, that he would bury his grief in the remotest dig site he could find and disappear from SG-1's lives completely. So far, that had never been mentioned a fact for which Jack had been eternally grateful. Although he hated to admit it it, he wanted, needed the complicated, contrary, argumentative archaeologist around, for all those reasons. Daniel wasn't afraid to speak the truth, to disagree with the orders Jack gave; the military was all well and good, but out there among the stars his team needed their conscience. And that was Daniel.
"Anything. I literally don't know what to do with myself for one moment to the next. I just feel like I'm disconnected from everything but I don't... I don't know how to get back."
Jack knew only too well what he meant – he'd done the grief filled, restless, pace far too many times to count round this house. He remembered sitting down, purely so he could stand up again, thoughts of Charlie occupying every moment despite the fact that the only thing he wanted was to remember something else. He hadn't known what to say to anyone, how to accept their sympathy in the midst of his guilt, and so he'd put up the barriers to keep the world out. It had torn him up to see Daniel beginning to do the same.
"And I..." Daniel's voice broke, and Jack found he'd unconsciously grabbed the archaeologist's hand in support , "I didn't want to bother you, and its late and I'm so sorry Jack, but... I just couldn't be on my own anymore. I just needed..."
Daniel dropped his head as though the admission had cost him all the energy he had. Fiercely Jack hugged him, before pushing him back to look him directly in the eye.
"Dammit Daniel, you do not bother me or anyone else on SG-1 for that matter. We're here for you anytime you need us, you understand? Anytime. That's what we do for each other," at Jackson's tiny nod he pulled him back into a hug, "It's what families do Daniel."
Jack wasn't sure how long they stayed in that awkward position, but for the first time since Sha're died, he got the feeling that, in the end, together, they'd all be alright.