Thanks to alynt for the beta and as always to devra_01, my sister from another mother, for the encouragement and love.
Summary: Sometimes it's nice to be able to share a secret with friends you trust
“O’Neill.” Teal’c steps back as he opens the door, allowing Jack to enter. “I am surprised to see you,” he adds as he peers around the doorway into the corridor, and then seeing Jack has come alone, closes the door behind them. “Please sit.”
Jack glances around the room, relieved to see at least one chair against the wall behind the circle of candles and cushions in the middle of the floor. His knees just won’t do the sitting on the floor thing these days so he sinks into the chair gratefully instead.
“You’re surprised?” Jack says, indicating Teal’c’s usual bland expression with a flip of his hand. “You really need to keep practicing those facial expressions, big fella. It’s still kind of hard to tell surprised from pissed off, even for someone as well versed in Teal’c-speak as me.”
Teal’c raises an eyebrow and tilts his chin downward as if to ask if that’s better and Jack gives him a so-so wave of the hand. “It’s getting there. So, anyway, the reason I’m here is because I’m looking for Daniel and I thought he might be here with you seeing as he’s nowhere else on the base.”
“No, he is not. I believed he had gone to visit you in Washington after General Hammond’s funeral,” Teal’c says.
“Yeah, I thought he was coming too. I had to head back straight after the service and Daniel was supposed to follow me there the next day but he never showed up and he’s been giving me the runaround with excuse after excuse, none of which I believe, by the way.”
“I see.” Teal’c looks thoughtful then says, “He was quite distressed by General Hammond’s sudden passing, as were we all…” There’s genuine sorrow in Teal’c’s voice and face this time and Jack wonders how much of the bland expression is just for show – the stoic warrior keeping up appearances. “Daniel Jackson seemed most affected by the General’s loss of us all though.”
“Yeah,” Jack replies, his heart aching for Daniel’s pain and grief. “They were close and Daniel’s lost a lot of people during his life.”
“Indeed. It’s why I was glad when shortly before he went to Washington, General Hammond entrusted me with your secret, O’Neill. It pleased me to know that you and Daniel Jackson had discovered your special bond and acted upon it.”
Jack blinks. “Our special…bond?” He swallows down his shock. “You mean, about me and Daniel…” He trails off and Teal’c fills in for him.
“Being lovers and bondmates.” Teal’c grins broadly and that alone nearly makes Jack fall off the chair with shock. Teal’c doesn’t smile that often and when he does it’s because he’s really happy.
“Hammond told you about that, huh?” Jack asks.
“Indeed. He was concerned that with him gone from the SGC others might make your life difficult if they were to find out, and asked us to be there to support you and DanielJackson if that should happen.”
“Us? You mean…”
“Colonel Carter and I,” Teal’c says. “I was surprised when he explained that on your world this kind of relationship is often frowned upon, especially by your military.” Teal’c shrugs as if consigning that mystery off into the unanswerable along with all the others he doesn’t understand about the Tau’ri. “On Chulak, gender is unimportant. One loves who one loves.”
It sounds so common sense and practical that Jack wonders why it’s not that way on Earth too but then again it’s not the first time he’s pondered that question. He stands up and reaches out to grasp Teal’c’s arm in the time honored Jaffa way. “Thanks, Teal’c. I called Carter before I came here but she said she hadn’t seen Daniel either.” He shrugs. “Maybe I’ll call round to see her anyway, just in case she’s heard from him since. Besides, she’d be pissed if she knew I came to see you and didn’t visit her.”
Teal’c turns and picks up a beanie from the desk and puts it on his head then goes and extinguishes all the candles. “I will accompany you,” he says. “I too am concerned for DanielJackson’s welfare.”
“Carter,” Jack says as soon as she opens the door to his knock. “I brought Teal’c,” he adds, probably unnecessarily considering Teal’c is hardly inconspicuous.
“So I see,” Carter replies with an impish grin as if she knows what he was thinking. Considering how long they’ve known each other and how close they’ve grown to each other ever since they became a team, Jack decides it’s quite likely that she does. “I’m sorry, sir,” she says as she stands aside to let them into the house, “I haven’t heard from Daniel. I’ve tried his cell phone and his home phone but he’s just not answering.”
“At least it’s not just me he’s not talking to,” Jack replies.
“Indeed,” Teal’c puts in from behind him. “I too have tried calling him several times to no avail.”
“Well, guess that makes us three all,” Jack replies.
“You don’t think something’s happened to him, do you, sir?” Carter asks, her forehead wrinkling with worry.
“Well, you know, ordinarily I’d say, “Hey, probably. It’s Daniel after all.” But no. I think he’s just worried about something changing now that General Hammond is gone and he’s gone off to think things through on his own. He does that, you know,” Jack says. He glances at Teal’c and ventures another question somewhat hesitantly. “Do you know what I mean? What he’s worried about? Teal’c said you knew about it.”
She nods, a shy smile tilting her lips and he’s kind of surprised at how pleased she seems about knowing this about him and Daniel. He’d expected a little snippiness maybe then scolds himself internally for even thinking she’d react that way. It indicates a huge amount of hubris on his part and less knowledge of the person she is than he knows he possesses. “I’m happy for you both, sir,” she says.
“Thanks, Carter. It’ll mean a lot to Daniel to know that, once we find him and I’ve shaken some sense into him, that is. So, ideas?”
“Is it not a Tau’ri custom to visit the resting places of loved ones, especially in the days and weeks immediately following their deaths?” Teal’c asks and Jack wonders why he hasn’t thought of it before.
“It is,” Jack replies. “I don’t know whether it’s something Daniel would do but it wouldn’t hurt to call by and see, say hi to the General while we’re there.”
And so that’s where they go.
He’s there, shoulders hunched under his red sweater against the cold fall chill. They make their way across the lawn, their footsteps almost silent on the plush green turf, despite the scattering of fallen leaves. Jack motions the others to wait and they stop a few feet behind Daniel, while Jack walks up to him and places his hand on the nape of Daniel’s neck. “Sorry,” he murmurs when Daniel jumps, then grins when Daniel turns his head to look at him. “Didn’t mean to creep up on you. You were supposed to be in Washington day before yesterday,” he adds. “I flew back this morning to find you.”
“I’m sorry,” Daniel says. “I meant to call. Meant to get on a plane and be there but I needed to think things through. Think about what General Hammond being gone meant for us.”
“It means we miss him but we go on, Daniel,” Jack replies. “Did you think things would have to change between us now?” Daniel nods. “Times are changing,” Jack says, “We military guys may not be out and proud just yet but we will be. Just be patient a little longer, please. For me. For us.”
Daniel turns away to look at the headstone again but he nods and Jack releases a sigh of relief. Daniel murmurs just loud enough for Jack to hear, “He was the only one who knew our secret, Jack. I kind of liked knowing we had someone else who knew what we mean to each other. Someone besides us, seeing we couldn’t be out and proud.”
“Yeah. The thing is, that whole “he was the only one who knew our secret thing”? Turns out the General wasn’t all that great at keeping secrets.” Daniel gives Jack a perplexed look and Jack grabs him by the shoulder and turns him around so he can see Teal’c and Carter standing behind them.
“When’s the wedding?” Carter asks chirpily while Teal’c just bows and says, in that inimitable Teal’c-ian way of his, “Indeed.”
“You know? They know?” Daniel turns to Jack and Jack grins then throwing caution to the winds, he leans in and kisses Daniel on the mouth.
“They know,” Jack says when he pulls back. “Hey, for now it’s just them but it’s a beginning, right?”
“Yeah,” Daniel agrees. He turns and runs his hand along the gravestone. “Thank you, General. For everything. We’ll miss you.”