Remix of: Of Fish and Flowers by whimsicalwhims
Fandom: Stargate SG1
Warnings: prior off-screen character death
Pairing/Characters: Jack/Daniel, Jack/Daniel/Cam
Summary: Winter, Minnesota, and learning to live with the aftermath of a mission gone horribly wrong.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to the author. No copyright infringement or disrespect is intended.
I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape—the loneliness of it—the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it—the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth
Minnesota in winter, not a place or time Daniel thought he'd find himself. Mitchell gave him a passing glance as he headed for Jack's truck and then town. Daniel stared back, let his eyes say what his words could not and felt a smidgen of self-satisfaction when Mitchell swallowed hard and snapped his mouth shut with the words unspoken.
He hunched his shoulders in his parka as he stood on the dock and stared out at the frozen lake. The wind blew the powdery snow across the surface, reminding him of the way the sand formed drifts on Abydos. Abydos--gone now, just like Sha're, like Skaara and Kasuf, like Janet, like Sam and Teal'c and Vala. It was Daniel's turn to swallow hard--the lump in his throat felt as if it would choke him. He squinted against the brightness of the sun--his eyes watered from the intensity of it.
He looked out across the skittering snow and remembered Sam, Teal'c, Jack and him sitting on this dock, solving the problems of the universe. Yeah, that had gone real well. He missed them. God, he missed them. He could hold an ancient piece of pottery and vividly imagine the hands that had made it, but already he'd lost the smile Sam gave when she was on the verge of discovery, the sound of Teal'c's voice, and Vala's quick barbs. A stronger gust of wind burned his skin and he turned from the frozen lake and headed back towards the cabin.
"Daniel?" Jack called from the kitchen but didn't make an appearance.
"Yeah," Daniel said and removed his gloves, his hat, his jacket, and then his boots. His glasses fogged up and he pulled them off, rubbed them on the hem of his sweatshirt. He could hear Jack moving in the kitchen and Daniel stood rooted to the spot, unable to decide what to do next. Shower? Go make himself useful in the kitchen? His beard itched. Jack and Mitchell might like the whole mountain man thing they had going on here in the wilderness, but Daniel had had enough of it on digs. He took the steps two at a time, the thought of a warm shower and shave enough to make him believe the world could be normal again.
He pulled his fist before he hit the mirror. He had the feeling that putting his hand through glass because Mitchell had hidden his razor again wouldn't do much for the whole trying to show Mitchell how sane he was campaign. The warm water in the shower didn't do much to loosen tight muscles, and by the time he got out and toweled off, his jaw ached from gritting his teeth.
He went to the kitchen and watched Jack peel a potato for a moment before he opened his mouth. Jack listened, and then handed him a knife and some carrots and told him to get to work. There was solace in the simple act of preparing food--some ancient collective memory thing going on. The sound of the knife on the wooden cutting board was soothing, and Daniel did the chore almost without thinking. So many memories, happy memories tied up with preparing and consuming meals with family and friends. Sam had stood by his side in this very kitchen, chopping vegetables on this very board. Teal'c had walked here, held this knife in his hand. He lifted the board, swiped the carrots into the casserole dish, and watched as Jack put in the potatoes, the meat and herbs, missing Sam, Teal'c, and Vala with a fierce ache.
It was all he needed to say. Jack took his hand, a gesture not of weakness but of strength, and Daniel tugged him towards the stairs, the need to connect, to remind himself he was alive overwhelming.
The bedroom was cold in low afternoon light but it didn't matter. Daniel undid Jack's belt, the button, the fly on Jack's jeans and pushed the material down around Jack's ankles. Jack kicked the jeans off the rest of the way, held onto Daniel's shoulders while Daniel pushed him towards the bed. They fell onto the bed and the mattress bounced far more than it should-- worn springs, needing to be replaced.
He pushed himself against Jack while Jack worked on getting him naked, rubbed his cheek against the skin on Jack's neck, kissed him where he could reach. He was burning, aching and then he was free of his clothes and they were skin to skin.
"Yes," he whispered against Jack's shoulder. "Yes."
He pushed into Jack---rough and hard and felt alive like he hadn't in a long time. And then he came and lay shuddering against the sweat slick muscles of Jack's back. He felt Jack pull the quilt up around them and let the warmth cocoon him, let Jack put his arms around him and just be.
Mitchell came into the kitchen, smelling of snow and cold. They sat around the table and ate--well, Jack and Cam ate. Daniel looked at the crispy black edge of the casserole dished out on his plate and pushed it around a bit more. He expected some sort of comment about his eating habits or lack thereof and found the knot in his stomach eased when Jack and Mitchell talked about some sort of fishing gear. Jack said something about spring and the lake. Spring. It was going to come again. Ever since he'd lost the others, it hadn't seemed as if spring would come, and now here Jack, Cam, and he were sitting around talking about it coming all the same. Life was going on. He pushed his plate away and stood up.
Neither of the others commented when he told them he was going to bed. He walked up the stairs, held onto the rail so tightly his fingers ached. He went in the small bathroom and stood staring out across the moonlit expanse of snow at the ghostly trees on the other side of the lake. He reached for his toothbrush and looked down in surprise when his fingers brushed against plastic. He took the razor in his hand and then put it back down again. He scratched his beard and looked at his reflection in the mirror and wasn't sure he knew the man staring back at him.
He looked out the window again, strained his eyes to see something beyond, to see a sign that his friends were somewhere safe, that they were happy in whatever afterlife he wanted to believe existed, that Oma had taken them, but there was only blue shadow on snow. He turned away from the window with no answers.
He closed the bathroom door behind him and got into Jack's bed--no, their bed. He pulled the quilt higher as he heard twin treads on the stairs. Daniel moved to the middle of the bed and waited in the darkness.
Outside, the snow began to fall, protecting the earth until it was time for life to begin again.