Sorry another little short interlude here. I keep getting them stuck in my head and then have to write them down. The last bit of this popped into my head for some reason and so the rest grew around it to make – if not a story – then a snippet. Hope you enjoy.
"So this is it," from behind dark glasses Jack turned to take one last, long look at the mountain he had worked beneath for so long.
"Guess so," Daniel agreed, hefting Jack's last bag into the trunk of his car with greater ease than Jack would have ever thought possible.
The two men looked at each other and shared a sad grin in silence, neither wanting to be the one that called time on Jack's last moments at the SGC. Finally though, it was Jack who knew that the time had come. He had made his farewells to Carter and Teal'c leaving the two of them alone together, as they had been all those years ago when the program started. A discredited archaeologist and a retired Colonel on the brink of suicide. How time had changed them. How they had changed each other.
Jack held out a hand.
"Doctor Jackson, it's been a pleasure."
Daniel shook the offered hand firmly with a light laugh.
"Well, for the most part," he amended ruefully, pausing for a moment, "Honestly, it's been an honour Jack."
"Ah now," The General pulled the younger man into a hug, grateful that their goodbyes were private. Daniel and he had never gone in for overdramatic displays of friendship in front of crowds, "I'll be seeing you soon enough Danny-Boy. Someone's going to have to translate mission reports into a summary I can understand you know?"
Daniel pulled back and regarded him seriously.
"Things aren't going to be the same." He stated simply, his face solemn.
"No," Jack agreed, "they're not. You're going to stop putting your fingers where they don't belong for a start!"
Daniel snorted, and the solemnity of the moment was broken as Jack slipped behind the steering wheel of his car.
"Oh, Daniel?" he called through the open window, "Any time you've had enough of strange new worlds, there's a job in Washington with your name on it. Someone has to keep me from causing an interplanetary diplomatic incident!"
"Sure Jack, once I'm an old man like you and need a desk, I'll give you a call."
It was Jack's turn to turn serious.
"I mean it Daniel. It's yours whenever, if you ever, want it. I can't think of anyone else I'd rather work with."
Daniel nodded gratefully, the reality was that his time on an SGC field unit was finite, and he was pretty sure that if nothing else, working with Jack would always be interesting.
"I know Jack. Thank you. When the time's right undomesticated equines won't keep me away."
Jack laughed at the reference to the old joke.
"Glad to hear it, Daniel."
With that, he pulled away from the parking lot to start a new life in Washington.
Jack had known for a long time that the letter would come. He hadn't, perhaps, expected it so soon, what with the fate of the world hanging in the balance as it seemed to so often these days. Yet, there it sat on his desk, a copy of an accepted letter of resignation for one Dr Daniel Jackson. He slammed an open fist to his desk in annoyance. Daniel hadn't even bothered to talk to him about it, just submitted a letter that he must have known Jack would see and disappeared into the deep blue yonder. Well, knowing Daniel probably the great, yellow, sandy yonder but still, the point remained. Jack had thought, that despite everything, the distance, the unsociable job hours, the tendency for one or both of them to be at the other side of the universe; that they had still been good friends. That Daniel had resigned without even speaking to him had hurt him more than he cared to admit.
Pausing only for a moment, he picked up his phone and dialled a number he knew by heart. After three rings a familiar voice answered.
Well, the fact he had mobile signal suggested he probably wasn't in the middle of the desert quite yet.
"Oh, hey Jack. What can I do for you?" he sounded calm and unruffled, which only served to irritate Jack further.
"You can explain the piece of paper sitting on my desk for a start."
There was a long pause.
"Ah, yeah... listen, Jack I can explain..."
A sharp rap at Jack's door meant that he missed anything further the archaeologist had to say.
""Hang on Daniel," O'Neill snapped, his annoyance mounting, "Come in." He held up a finger in the direction of the door to stall whoever it was from speaking as they entered, "Daniel, I have to go. When I call you back there'd better be a damn good explanation for why I'm looking at this letter. Got it?"
"Well, it's pretty straightforward really Jack," his voice had taken on a peculiar two-toned quality, "a good friend offered me a job."
Jack spun round to find Daniel stood in his office, a briefcase in his hand and a sheepish smile on his face. For a moment he sat in silence and gaped in surprise.
"Guess I can hang up now huh?" replacing the handset carefully.
"Guess so," Daniel grinned.
"So you resigned the SGC to come... here?"
Daniel's cheerful grin faded to a worried frown, as though he was reconsidering his appearance in Jack's office. He dropped into the chair opposite his friend.
"Everything's changed Jack, Sam's on the Hammond, Teal'c spends more and more time off-world, and much as I hate to admit it, I'm getting too old to go haring round the universe dicing with death every other week. I'm ready for a change."
Jack nodded slowly, surprised and yet somehow unsurprised by the turn of events. He'd always hoped, if not known, that this day would come, he just hadn't expected it now.
The worried frown had deepened on Daniel's face.
"I'm sorry I should have called ahead or something – I wanted to surprise you. I'd understand if the offer wasn't open... is it still open?"
Jack couldn't help but grin as the usually eloquent linguist struggled for words.
"Undomesticated equines, Daniel," he received only a puzzled look in return, forcing him to clarify, "it's still open."
The broad grin returned to Jackson's face revealing his relief.
"Welcome aboard, Daniel," Jack rounded the desk to shake his hand, pulling him into a hug as he did so.
"Thanks Jack," his voice was muffled by the General's shoulder, " One thing though..." he cleared his throat, "You do know the horses idiom doesn't always work, right?"
Jack merely laughed.
"Glad to have you back Space-Monkey."