Original story: Four Times Jack and Daniel (Think They) Didn't Out Themselves, and One Time They Did by kuonji14
Notes: Thanks to my beta Superfox.
"What're you doing?"
Jack was hovering in the doorway, waiting to either knock or be noticed but when he saw General Hammond flicking through what looked like a photo album, he couldn't help himself. He'd approached the office with thoughts of maybe having a sounding board for his new command. He was trying to corral a Major who didn't seem to like him very much, a grieving archeologist on a path to self-destruction and an alien.
Two months ago he was sucking back longnecks on his deck.
"Sir?" Jack adds belatedly, because he's always had a little problem with authority but so far, he likes what he sees with this man and wants to start out on the right foot.
General Hammond doesn't look up, but waves Jack in. Jack takes it for the invitation it is and slides through the half-open doorway and settles himself in the chair opposite the desk. The office is all dark-wooden paneling, someone's idea of what a man's inner sanctum should look like. It reminds Jack of every CO's office he's ever been in.
Hammond, thankfully, doesn't seem to remind him of anyone and in Jack's long and illustrious career, that's definitely a good thing.
"Just looking at my daughter's wedding album," Hammond says, turning the book and sliding it into Jack's view. Jack dutifully leans forward to take a look and offer the expected pleasantries but blinks for a second.
"Is she...?" he starts to ask but then bites down on his tongue. Right foot he reminds himself.
"Six months pregnant? Absolutely," Hammond nods, taking the book back.
"Um," Jack says because he's honestly at a loss as to what to say to that.
"She asked me if I was disappointed," Hammond says, scratching over his bald head absently as he looks at the photo of his girl, glowing, beautiful and most definitely showing. "I told her she could never disappoint me."
"So the I have no idea what else to say answer then?" Jack grins and then bites down on his tongue. He's had commanding officer's do this before, seem to reveal something personal about themselves, but it's always false intimacy. You offer up anything but a platitude and get cold, steely indifference, or worse, for the entire rest of the time you're serving under them.
Hammond surprises the hell out of Jack by laughing.
"Wasn't exactly how I pictured it, no," he says, thumbing tears out of his eyes when the chuckles subside. "But I didn't have my head stuck in the sand either. My daughter and her boyfriend were living together for five years before this happened. I had no illusions about separate bedrooms."
"So, what's...?" Jack kind of gestures at the album.
Hammond gets up and crosses into the conference room adjoining the office. The one overlooking the Stargate. Daniel is down there, nose in a book and oblivious to the scientists patiently stepping around him. "Sometimes I get to thinking this whole thing is a little too big. I mean, we're talking science fiction stuff here and I'm in charge of it all?"
Jack realizes he'd been seeking a sounding board and finds himself one instead. In some small way, he prefers it. Makes his problems seem smaller and easier to manage. He'd followed Hammond into the conference room and now looks down at the top of Daniel's head. He can't remember why he'd been feeling frustrated. God help him, all he feels now is fond.
"This," Hammond says, holding the photo album aloft. "I'm just reminding myself that this is what I'm doing it for."
Daniel turns to find Jack right behind him. He’s cornered in General Hammond’s kitchen, Jack making his lean casual to any onlookers but Daniel is only too aware that Jack has deliberately blocked any retreat.
Jack is angry about something. His face is perfectly bland but the set of his shoulders say mad.
“Is that what you really think?” he asks, taking the beer bottle Daniel had only just gotten for himself out of his fingers and taking a healthy swig of it himself.
“About what?” Daniel asks, raising his brows. He knows he can piss Jack off like no one else but this time he’s genuinely mystified as to what he’s done. Jack was perfectly pleasant in the truck on the way over, looking forward to potato salad and fried chicken laid on by the Hammond clan. Daniel got to experience the home cooking at General Hammond’s more often than anyone so he could appreciate it.
He’d been expected for Christmas dinner the last three years now.
“That we’re just… that marriage is only for… that whole thing,” Jack snaps, slapping one palm down on Hammond’s tiled kitchen counter. Daniel spots Sam looking at him through the window and she raises one eyebrow. What have you done now?
Daniel shakes his head just the tiniest bit. Got no clue.
“Marriage is only for Mommies and Daddies?” Jack prompts and waves a hand backwards, towards where George’s granddaughters were most probably playing, Tessa pushing Kayla on the swingset.
“I’m not following,” Daniel says slowly. Jack’s been advancing on him in tiny increments the whole time he’s been talking and now he’s close enough that Daniel could count eyelashes if he wanted to. Daniel can now see just over Jack’s shoulder that Teal’c has now joined Sam in the window.
“What if I like Mrs. Cline’s take on things better?” Jack asks, leaning forward, just close enough that Daniel can feel the breath of his words on his cheek. “That any two people who love each other can get married?”
Daniel blinks, mouth slowly dropping open.
“They drugged him?”
Jack’s sitting on a low pallet of cushions and blankets, every now and again raising a hand to grasp something in the air only he can see. Teal’c is standing beside the pallet and every few minutes when Jack tries to get to his feet, Teal’c merely puts out a hand, clamps down on Jack’s shoulder and pushing him back down with an air of eternal patience.
Sam is standing at the side of the curtained doorway, holding it open so Daniel can see for himself. He’d thought, no more like he’d hoped that she was joking.
“Apparently their customs are a little different than ours… and their metabolisms,” Sam offers as an explanation, wincing slightly. P7Y-989, better known to the inhabitants as Teth and a long-standing ally of Earth, had been only too happy to host a special joining ceremony. “They start drinking this stuff from when they’re kids so it doesn’t hit them quite so… hard.”
“He’s off his face.”
“Pretty much, yes,” Sam agrees and Daniel can see she’s fighting off a smirk, probably a full-on belly laugh not too far behind it.
“Daniel!” Jack calls happily, spying them in the doorway. “I’m having trouble with gravity. It keeps defying me.”
“You just… stay right there,” Daniel says, smiling although his teeth are clenched and right then Sam gives up and lets slide an indelicate snort. She puts a hand to her mouth but it’s too late.
“So, reschedule?” she asks brightly when she recovers.
Jack fidgets at the best of times, but never more than when he's in a suit.
He'd had to go on a diet to get back into the charcoal one Daniel liked best, Daniel teasing him the whole time and crowing about how he could wear whatever he wanted to hide his ever-thickening waistline. It just wasn't as easy to keep the weight off as it used to be. He wasn't running for his life on a regular basis anymore and he hadn't realized just how much that made up for the sugary cereals and beers.
"You look nice when you're not strangling yourself to death," Tessa interjects gently, seizing one of his hands. He can see a piece of paper on the table behind her, Tessa writing out her married name over and over again.
Tessa Justin, Tessa Justin, Tessa Justin
He steps aside so he can get a look at her. She looks radiant and happy, just like a bride should. There's a little sadness there though and Jack understands why.
He's walking someone else's granddaughter down the aisle.
Something about the Asgaard freezing or going through the ring or something has made Jack extraordinarily long-lived and hale for it. He panics about it sometimes, just a little, as Daniel's bones grow brittle and his joints arthritic and Jack keeps on keeping on. He's worried he'll outlive Daniel, outlive everyone and when he wakes at night, gasping for breath and terrified that he's finally alone, Daniel just rubs a thumb over his temple and says, "That's not you. You were always just the last one through the 'gate is all, watching our six."
"Do you think he'd be disappointed?" she asks, running a hand over her swelling belly. Twins, she'd told him only last week.
"Nothing you could do could disappoint him," Jack says and she smiles.
It’s exactly the right thing to say.