Story Notes: EMAIL:

WARNINGS: Language, pretty mature themes

ARCHIVE: S&J Archive and Heliopolis, Yes. Others...please ask.

FEEDBACK: Yes please! Feeeeeeeeeeedbaaaaaaaaack...drool...

SPOILERS: Fire and Water

I can't stop shaking.

I have to shove my hands together between my knees, but I can still feel them tremble, and I rock jerkily backwards and forwards, my head hunched forward and my bottom lip held firmly between my teeth as my mind shifts restlessly and desperately from topic to topic.

We left Daniel on the planet.

We thought he'd died and we abandoned him and we came home, and hell we even held his memorial service and started to clean out his apartment, but he's not dead, he's not. We were wrong, someone on that damn planet screwed with our minds, tried to stop us coming back, tried to take Daniel away from us, and we're not gonna let them. I'll be damned if I let them.

I can't stop shaking.

I can't stop shaking and its because I've let Daniel down and even though we know he didn't die, we could already be too late. For all we know he could have been taken through the gate, or hell even killed by now, and.and... I swear if anything's happened to Daniel I'll kill every last one of whoever did this.

I can't stop shaking.

I drop my head into my hands and scrub roughly at my hair, screwing my eyes tight shut. Don't lie to yourself Jack, not again. I've spent far too many years lying to myself, and its never, ever done me a bit of good, not once, but I like to try don't I? The truth is I'm not shaking because of Daniel. I wish I was, and I've spent the last ten minutes trying to make myself believe that, but its not working this time, I won't let it work this time.

I can't stop shaking.

I can't stop shaking because ten minutes ago I had Carter in my arms, and now I feel like I'm all screwed up. My insides are all screwed up. She was upset, she'd just gone through some damn cockamamie hypnotism and found out that Daniel's death was all a sham, and I comforted her, that's all I did. I took her in my arms and I held her tight against my chest, trying to give her some of my strength, trying to let her feel that someone, anyone was there for her, that's all. Ah Jack, remember what I decided about lying? Remember that huh? I...I wanted her to know that *I'm* there for her, that whenever she needs me, whenever she needs comfort, or a friend, or...or anything. It's just...God I'm scared...I'm scared to have a family again, scared to care for these people, scared to lose them. I've been a soldier for so long, I know what's its like to lose team members, watch them fall in front of you, but Goddam why does it feel so different this time? I shouldn' t have let them in, I shouldn't have let these people get so damn close to me. But I haven't let them all close have I? There's one member of my team whom I've tried steadfastly to hold at arms length, to let her only so far in, cause I'm so scared that once I let her in I'd never be able to get her out. Goddamit Daniel, why aren't you here? Why aren't you here to help me, to take my mind off her with some talk about mythology, or rocks, or something, anything! I need you Daniel do you hear me? I need you as a friend, one of my few real friends, and I swear I'll do anything to get you back. I swear it Daniel, I swear. And we'll get you back, and we'll go for a beer even if I have to force you, and we'll talk about stuff, anything, anything you want, just not her, never her.

Just hold on Daniel, hold on. I'll get you back then you can take your place, by my side. By my side Daniel, by my side. Between me and Carter. I need you for that Daniel, I need you to keep me on the straight and narrow, like I was. I was doing so well, so damn well, and I told myself that all it was a little bit of lust. Nothing unusual in that, nothing wrong with that. Attractive woman and a lonely red-blooded man, I wasn't doing anything wrong, not really. I had myself so convinced that that was all it was that I stepped in without a thought to take her in my arms, give her the solace she needed, so I was totally unprepared for the twisting, wrenching feeling inside of me, that endless pit of emptiness and loneliness that opened up left me suddenly hollow. I was intending to comfort her, but once there I held her as tightly as she held me, and I took *her* strength, I leant on her, drew from her, burrowed my head against her shoulder and she let me, she let me. She thought we were feeling the same, the same shame and guilt about Daniel, and we were Daniel, I swear that up to that moment you were all that was on my mind, but in her arms I was transformed, changed into a man I didn't recognise. All I felt then was guilt and shame at my thoughts about her, and a strange overwhelming grief at being in her embrace for what I was sure would be the only time.

Oh God I'm sorry Daniel, I'm so sorry.

I can't stop shaking.

That's it. I spring upwards from the uncomfortable wooden bench and swing my pack over my shoulder as I stride out and down the corridor, taking an MP5 from an SF as I approach the gateroom. I stride in, face set, steeling myself as I take my place on the ramp, then out of the corner of my eye I see her. She's standing staring firmly ahead, but she feels my gaze and turns to notice me, and I suck in a harsh breath at the sight of her beautiful face so pale, her eyes so reddened by tears. All I want to do is pull her into my arms again, hold her tight, promise all her pain away, but instead I smile a little, hesitantly, still looking away, and briefly place my hand on her shoulder, and she nods, and turns back to the gate, her expression set and firm. We'll find him and bring him back, I promise. I said all of that in one simple gesture, but I know she understands, I know she does. Her understanding and her trust is all I'll ever get from her, all I'll ever ask for. I quickly pull my hand from her shoulder, not wanting to leave it there any longer than necessary, and General Hammond gives us a go..

The gate opens then, and I finally have to drag my eyes away from the floor, and start up the ramp. We pause at the threshold, taking a deep breath, and I turn despite myself, and see Carter looking back at me, her eyes hopeful. I snap my head away and stride forward, propelling myself through the wormhole so no-one can see, so no one can see me.

I just can't stop shaking.

Please be okay Daniel, please.

Please come home.


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