A Christmas Conundrum

by ALF

Daniel was sitting on the couch, glass of Southern Comfort in hand. The stereo was playing Christmas music, but he couldn't be bothered to find the remote to change it. Anyway, the current song suited his mood.

"It'll be lonely this Christmas
without you to hold
It'll be lonely this Christmas
Lonely and cold.
It'll be cold so cold
without you to hold
This Christmas"

Daniel was wearing the jammies that Jack had given him for Christmas. They were blue flannel and matched his eyes perfectly. Daniel had protested laughingly at such a sappy present, but had been more than happy to model them for Jack. Not that they had stayed on for long.

Daniel took another sip of whisky as tears ran down his face. He swiped at them angrily, annoyed with himself for being so emotional. He toyed with the glass, no longer able to remember if it was his third or fourth glass, but not really caring either.

He curled up, tucking his bare feet underneath him to try and keep warm. The fire had died a long time ago and he didn't have the energy to move to rekindle it. As long as there was whisky left in the bottle, he was staying put. He took another mouthful in and swilled it round in his mouth.

Memories of Jack assailed him, a sob threatening to break loose as he remembered Jack licking Southern Comfort from his body, the pleasure spiking through him at the memory annoyed him. He slammed the glass down hard on the coffee table, uncaring that the action splashed the drink on to a magazine.

Daniel huddled closer against the back of the couch, curling himself up even more tightly against the cushions. Everywhere reeked of Jack, memories of the times they had had sex on the couch, on the floor in front of the fire, on the dining room table rolled through Daniel's mind. Unbidden and unwanted, the images paraded through his mind, reminding him of the good times the two men had shared over the last year that they had been together.

Then, the memories changed as the CD switched from Christmas songs to Semisonic. Daniel had bought it for Jack for his birthday, as an antidote to the opera they usually listened to. Daniel loved classical music, but he also enjoyed modern music too. Jack had loved the CD, saying it reminded him of Daniel, especially track 6, entitled "Sunshine and Chocolate".

Daniel remembered the barbecue at Jack's house on his birthday. Sam had insisted that she cook.

"You don't cook at your own birthday, sir," she had joked. Jack had agreed reluctantly, but admitted afterwards that Sam had done a good job. Despite the cold weather, it had been a good day. The team, along with Janet and Cassie, had eaten too much, drunk a lot (both alcohol and fruit juice) and laughed together in a way they hadn't for a long time. Jack had been happy to admit he had had a great day.

It was hard to believe how quickly things had changed, just a few short weeks later. They had gone on what was supposed to be a routine mission, a mineral survey on an uninhabited planet. On the way back to the Gate they had been ambushed by a group of Jaffa. They had been lucky to make it back through the Gate alive, but unfortunately they weren't all in one piece. Teal'c had received a blast from a staff weapon in his back, shielding Daniel as he dialled the Gate for home. However, it wasn't beyond the healing capabilities of his symbiote. Although he had spent some time in isolation in the Infirmary whilst he recovered in a deep state of Kel'no'reem, he was now almost well again.

The same was not true for Sam, though. She had also been hit by a staff weapon blast, just as she had been entering the wormhole. Her injury was not as severe as Teal'c's but without the aid of a symbiote, her recovery would be much slower.

Daniel himself had been unharmed for once, protected by the others yet again as he went through the Gate first. He had waited anxiously at the bottom of the ramp for the others to follow him through. Sam had fallen through next, the impact of the blast she had received throwing her through the wormhole to tumble painfully down the ramp. Medics had already been called, thanks to Daniel's warning when he had hit the ramp.

For several tense minutes, they had waited for Jack and Teal'c. The General had ordered the Gate room cleared as staff weapon blasts fired through the wormhole. Daniel had waited in the control room, chewing his fingers, knowing there was a good chance that a Jaffa could get through the Gate before Jack and Teal'c made it. He was grateful to the General for allowing the Gate to remain open, the Iris unclosed, despite the risk to the Base.

At last the two missing members of SG-1 had staggered through the Gate, Jack supporting Teal'c's weight, yelling for the Iris to be closed as soon as he was through. The circle of metal had closed with its customary heavy "thunk", The impact of bodies was clearly heard before the wormhole disengaged.

Daniel had raced for the Gate room as soon as the Iris had closed, following the medics who had been waiting just outside the door. Jack was helping Teal'c onto a gurney as Daniel reached them.

"Teal'c, Jack," Daniel had stopped beside them.

"I will be all right, O'Neill," Teal'c was reassuring Jack as he was lowered down onto his stomach.

Daniel had put a hand on Teal'c's shoulder. "Do not worry Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said. He was wheeled away at that point, leaving the lovers standing facing each other.

"Jack?" Daniel asked, reaching out to the other man.

"I'm fine, Daniel," Jack said. "How's Carter?"

"In the Infirmary," Daniel replied. "She was hit quite badly. Janet's looking after her now."

Just then General Hammond appeared at their side. "Report, Colonel?" he asked.

Daniel had already told the General what he knew, but as team leader, Jack had to give his own version of events, which he did quickly and concisely.

"Get yourselves down to the Infirmary and get checked out. We'll debrief later," the General nodded in dismissal.

Daniel reached out for his glass again, topping it up from the bottle, which was now only a third full. He took a long drink from the glass, remembering the time that he and Jack had spent in the Infirmary, visiting with Sam. With Teal'c in isolation, whilst he meditated, he had not been able to have visitors, so the other half of SG-1 had concentrated their energies on Sam. One or both of them had been at her side constantly during her recovery.

Then an artefact had been brought back through the Gate by SG-8 which had required Daniel's immediate attention. He had had to go back to work in his office as it wasn't practical to work in the Infirmary.

Two days later, Sam had finally regained consciousness. Jack had come to find Daniel in his office to give him the good news. Daniel had been pleased and relieved, saying so to Jack before turning back to his work. Jack was cross that Daniel didn't immediately rush to visit Sam and they had argued.

"I have to get this translation done, Jack," Daniel said patiently. "The General is waiting on it, so that he can decide whether to send a team back."

The argument had been loud and long, ending with Jack slamming out of the office and Daniel throwing a book at him as he went out the door. Since then, they had hardly spoken to each other, apart from a "truce" of sorts over Christmas when they had been together as a team at Jack's house. It had been a wonderful interlude, but had ended right after everyone went home the day after Christmas.

Now, two days later, Daniel was sat in his lounge, slowly getting drunk, wondering if he and Jack had any chance of sorting things out with each other. He knew he wanted to, needed to, even. The year he and Jack had been together had been every bit as happy as the precious year he had had with Sha'uri. The trouble was, they were both pretty stubborn guys and didn't compromise very well.

The door to Daniel's apartment opened slowly, but Daniel didn't hear. He had finally fallen asleep, his now-empty glass falling from his fingers to land on the floor. He had cried himself to exhaustion and then slipped naturally into sleep.

Jack moved silently across the dark, cold room and looked down at the huddled figure of his lover, asleep on the couch, noting that Daniel was wearing the jammies Jack had given him, the empty glass and bottle on the floor and all the other details of the room in an instant. He sighed internally, knowing that this was as much his fault as Daniel's. They tended to argue as much in their private lives as they ever had at work, but things had never got this bad between them before.

Jack thought carefully, not sure whether to wake Daniel or not. However, the decision was made for him as he moved around to stand in front of Daniel. Blue eyes opened slowly and looked up at him. Jack winced at the pain he saw in the look that Daniel gave him. The eyes were bloodshot too, reflecting the amount that Daniel had drunk that evening.

"I'm sorry," both men spoke at the same time. Jack perched himself on the edge of the coffee table, not sure how close Daniel wanted him to be. Daniel pulled the throw from the back of the couch and wrapped it around himself.

"Coffee?" Jack asked, noting again how cold the apartment was. Daniel flicked on the lamp next to the couch and nodded agreement. "I'll get it," Jack said as Daniel moved to stand up.

"Ok," Daniel nodded in agreement and settled back down in the corner of his couch, getting comfortable.

Jack went through to the kitchen and set about getting the coffee machine started. That done, he went back through to the lounge and started the fire going again. Eventually, he returned with two cups of coffee and handed one to Daniel. He started to head for the other couch, but Daniel patted the seat next to him, so Jack sat down there instead.

"So," Daniel said, when Jack showed no inclination to do anything but sip at his coffee.

"Did you want some painkillers?" Jack asked abruptly, putting his cup down and standing up, suddenly restless. "Do you have some Tylenol in your bathroom?"

"Jack, sit down," Daniel said, patting the couch again. "The coffee is all I need for the moment, that and to sort things out with you."

Jack sat down and blew out his breath. "Ok," he said. "Daniel, I'm really sorry I yelled at you." Suddenly, Jack felt the need to pace, so he stood up again and started marching up and down Daniel's tiny lounge. He ran his hands through his hair. "It was a pretty dumb argument, I should never have let things get so out of hand between us."

Daniel watched him pace for a minute. "I'm sorry too," he said. "We both said some pretty dumb things. We were worried about Sam and Teal'c and took that out on each other. But we shouldn't have let that come between us or let it go on for so long."

Jack nodded agreement. "No we shouldn't," he said. "Can we get over this Daniel?"

"I'd like that, Jack," Daniel replied. "It's never going to be easy between us, we really have to work at it, not just for us but for Sam and Teal'c too, we can't let our relationship affect the team."

"I know that Daniel," Jack said. He finally sat down next to Daniel again. "But we've always had to work at our relationship, even when we were still just friends, so there's nothing new there."

Daniel smiled at Jack. "Nothing worth having is ever easy," he said. "Now come here and kiss me."

Jack smiled back. "Glad to Dr Jackson," he said and leaning forward, he did just that.

The end

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