Simple Sleep

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Pre-Slash, Drama
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  1 - February 20-21, 1997
Spoilers:  The Enemy Within (minor)
Size:  35kb, short story
Written:  March 2-9, 2018
Summary:  Back from Abydos less than two weeks, Daniel has a problem and Jack is determined to come to his aid.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Thanks to Sonja for providing the seed from which this story grew!
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~

Simple Sleep
by Orrymain

In the suburbs of Colorado Springs, the night sky was clear.  The temperature was five degrees above freezing with a windchill factor of thirty-one degrees.  The wind was blowing from the northwest.  An opossum scurried along a fence to its makeshift home several houses down where a large woodpile existed.  The creature hissed at a skunk before moving forward.  The skunk kept watch and then hurried on its way to find a mate.  It was breeding season for the nocturnal animal.

Meanwhile, the country-like home of Jack O'Neill was quiet.  Lights were out and doors were locked.  In the master bedroom, the colonel was asleep on his side and warmed by the gray sweats he wore to bed.  In the guest room, Daniel Jackson slept on his back, his eyelids firmly shut though his body shook.  The house creaked as homes tend to do at night.

Jack's eyes fluttered open, not from the creaking, but simply because he was an early riser.  He glanced at the alarm clock that was set to go off in four minutes.  He reached over and turned off the alarm.  There was no need for it now.  As he let out a big yawn, he sat up on the side of his bed.  He flexed his body as his muscles began to stir.  It felt good to stretch and get his body in gear to face the day ahead.

Suddenly, Jack flinched.  He heard a sound, but he wasn't sure what it was exactly, not until he heard it again.  Quickly, he stood and made his way to the guest bedroom.  He knocked on the door and called out his friend's name, but there was no response.  Hearing the moaning and cries, he opened the door and approached the bed.

“Daniel!”  Jack saw the archaeologist thrashing about, his hands raising up in a defensive posture.  “Daniel, wake up!”

Finally, Jack reached down and shook his houseguest until finally, the scientist woke in a sweat.

“J'ck?”

“Hey,” Jack greeted with a smile.  “You okay?”

Looking around nervously, Daniel's left hand searched for his glasses.

“I think this is what you're looking for.”

“Oh, yeah, uh, thanks,” was the reply as Daniel put on his glasses and sat up.

“Nightmare?”

Surprised, Daniel's reply was a quick nod.

“Yeah, I've had a few in my time, too,” Jack advised.  “Look, I'm gonna scramble up some eggs.  Want to join me for breakfast?”

“Sure.  I ... I'm gonna take a shower first.”

“Okay.”

Jack gave his friend a tender tap of support on Daniel's shoulder and then headed out the room.

Daniel glanced over at his shoulder, uncertain how to respond to the gesture.  He wasn't used to being touched.  It was strange and eerie and yet, the motion stirred something inside him, causing him to forget his nightmare for a few seconds.  Unfortunately, the images returned.  He looked down and headed for the bathroom that was in the master bedroom.  In an odd quirk of household design, that was the only bath in the entire house.

====

Downstairs, Jack began to whistle as he turned on the stove and placed a skillet atop the larger burner in the rear.  He already put his friend's nightmare in his rearview mirror.  He wasn't surprised Daniel had a nightmare, not after everything he'd gone through on Abydos and with all the worry about his wife, Sha're, who was now an unwilling host to a Goa'uld.  He figured anyone whose wife was forced to have a snakehead inside her and live with an egomaniac, diabolical, sickening Goa'uld would have a slew of nightmares all the time.

Even so, there was something Jack noticed that was giving him some pause.  He wasn't worrying per se, but he was watching.

~I'm making something of nothing.~

Determined to think only of the positive, the colonel continued making a power breakfast to please any hungry man's palate: eggs, sausage, bacon, hashed browns, and toast.

====

“Something wrong with the sausage?”

“I'm really not that hungry,” Daniel sighed as he put down his fork.

“You barely ate anything for dinner last night.”

“I'm still getting used to Earth time again.”

“Shouldn't be that tough,” Jack commented.  “I don't mean it's easy, but, come on, you're an earthling.  You were born here, you grew up here, you opened the Stargate here.  All I'm saying is that you only spent a year on Abydos.”

“Yes, where a day was thirty-six hours, not twenty-four.  That's a, a, a big difference, Jack.”

“Danny ...”

“Daniel.”

“Daniel, I'm sorry.  I get it.  You're still adjusting to the time change, a big one.”

With a sigh, the archaeologist replied, “I'm sorry, too.  It's just ...”

“What?”

Daniel wasn't used to sharing his personal life with someone.  Since returning from Abydos, though, he'd found himself telling the other man some personal things.  Why was he doing that?  It was something he didn't quite understand.  He didn't even understand the apparent friendship that was growing between them.

“Shouldn't you get dressed?  I mean, uh, isn't it ... isn't it time to go to Cheyenne Mountain?”

“You're evading the question.”

“What question?”

“The 'what are you thinking' question.”

“You didn't ask me that.”

“In essence, I did.”

“But you didn't ask.”

“Daniel!”  Jack calmed himself before stating, “I'm getting a headache and since my reactivation to duty, Carter's been the one responsible for that ... until now.”

Daniel's fingers nervously tapped against his coffee mug.  Right now, he just wanted to go to work and do something, anything, even it was organizing the books on his shelf.

“Look, I just need some time.”

“What you need is sleep, pure and simple.”

“That doesn't make sense,” Daniel negated.  ~Maybe it does, but ... too many nightmares.~

“Sure it does.  You were on Abydos for one year.  I'm not sure of the specifics, but for argument's sake, let's say a year there is about two-thirds of a year on Earth.  Those were thirty-six hour days.  How long did you sleep on a typical day?”

“I don't know.”

“I'm guessing you slept about the same, but let's increase that to eight hours, for the sake of the discussion.”

“Why are we discussing this?”

“Because you woke up in a sweat after a nightmare and my gut tells me that's not the first time.”  Jack sighed as he reflected on recent events.  “I had a chat with Carter.”

“What do you mean?”

“She told me about your discussion at the base.”

“Jack, we've had lots of discussions.”

“This was about Kawalsky using the auto-destruct code.”

“Yes,” Daniel nodded as he recollected the conversation Jack was referencing.  “When the Goa'uld inside Kawalsky used the code to set the auto-destruct at Stargate Command, it proved something of the host survives.”  More alert and near excitement, he put forward, “There's hope, Jack.  We can save Sha're.”

“We will,” Jack promised, not for the first time.  “My point is that you were exhausted during that conversation.  Carter said you admitted to not sleeping much.”

“My mind races,” Daniel conceded.  “All I see is Apophis taking her through the Stargate.  I, I imagine what's happening to her, right now, Jack, right when we're talking.  She has a Goa'uld inside her, forcing her to do who knows what.  It's my fault.  I shouldn't have left the Gate open after you returned to Earth.”

“It's *not* your fault.  Daniel, we're a team now and we're going to be going through the Gate a lot.  It's going to be as common for us to step through that Gate as it is sleep at night.  Yesterday, we had our first successful recon to a place we've never been before.  It's a big universe and that carhop place of y...”

“The Cartouche.”

“Whatever,” Jack responded with a tiny grin.  ~Got a rise out of him.  That's something.~  He continued, “What you found on Abydos, combined with Carter's computer wizardry means we have a lot of planet hopping to do.  You need to be sharp, or you'll get grounded.”  He saw the younger's man accusing look.  “Hey, I'm not going to do it, but Hammond will, or the medical team.  You can't hide exhaustion over the long haul.”

“What am I supposed to do?  Gawd, Jack, I've barely slept.  I mean, sometimes, I do.  I guess I forget when I'm busy and some...sometimes I can turn my mind toward others things, but alone, in the dark, it's like a dam breaks and my mind is flooded with thoughts of Sha're and what's become of her.”

“Okay, so this is about not being able to sleep and not a reduction of daylight because you've changed planetary residency?”

“It was a little of both at first.  I am still adjusting, but I guess ...”

“... not as much as the first week back?” Jack asked, having honed in on his friend's true issue.

Daniel took a sip of his coffee before admitting, “The last several days, I haven't made it through more than one or two hours at a time.  When I fall asleep, I have a nightmare.  If I don't fall asleep, I can't escape the reality of Sha're's existence with Apophis.”  He sighed, “And a few times, my night and day do come together in an ... explosive way.  That will go away.  It took me some time to adjust to the longer days when I decided to stay on Abydos.  I'm not worried about that, not like I am the nightmares.”

Nodding, Jack stood and, after patting Daniel on the shoulder for the second time this morning, assured, “I've got it covered, Danny.  I'm...”

“Daniel.”

“I'm going to take a shower and get dressed.  We'll get through this.”

“Sure,” Daniel replied.  ~I'd sure like to know how.~

====

The members of SG-1 spent their workday on separate activities.  At one point, Jack talked with Teal'c about boxing and promised to teach him the sport one day soon.  He also met with General Hammond to discuss future mission assignments. Daniel's day included further organization of his Level 18 office and having lunch with Sam in the mess.  The captain continued her day by meeting with two new assignees to her department.

When their shifts were done, Jack and Daniel headed for the house in the colonel's F-150 Ford truck.

“I need to get a car,” the archaeologist sighed during the drive.

“We can go car shopping one of these days.”

“Jack, I haven't been paid yet.  Gawd, I do get paid for this, don't I?”

“Daniel, with your back pay, you won't have to worry about it.”

“Right.”  Daniel paused and asked, “And when exactly do I get that ... back pay?”

Jack laughed and shrugged.  He was well aware how the government often worked in slow motion when it came to dispersing monies owed.  Adding to the mix was that Daniel's back pay needed to be approved and handled with discretion.  Hammond was fairly certain he would be able to convince the Pentagon to pay up for Daniel's extended stay on another planet.  After all, from his time on Abydos, Daniel brought with him a wealth of information from the Cartouche and information on the Abydonians, Earth's first real allies in their fight against the Goa'uld.

“You're in luck, Daniel.  You get to ride with me.”

“I, uh, don't really see you as a green person,” Daniel remarked about the color of the truck, which was a dark green hue.  “I mean, uh, green as a color symbolizes balance and harmony.”

“Hey, I'm a harmonious guy,” Jack mused.

Daniel smiled slightly and added, “It means growth, too, so, uh, I guess you qualify.”

Jack glanced at Daniel and then gave a nod as he returned his eyes to the road.  He felt complimented by the statement and knew it was a reference to the original Abydos mission when the two men originally met.

“It's also a peacemaker,” Daniel noted about the color.

“That's me, Mister Peaceful,” the brown-eyed man chuckled.  “I thought green meant jealousy.”

“It's associated with jealousy and, well, money, ambition ...”

“Greed.”

“Greed,” Daniel acknowledged.  “I guess most people think of jealousy first.”

“It's the animal in us.”

“Are you the jealous type?”  Daniel regretted his query as soon as he asked it.  He'd forgotten for a second that Jack was separated from his wife.  “Sorry, that's a little personal.”

“Nah.  You'd have to ask Sara.”  Several seconds later, Jack confided, “I decked a fellow captain once.”

“You ... did?”

“I'd been away for a few weeks,” Jack began.  He lamented, “Military wives spend a lot of time alone.”  His eyes forward as he watched the road, he elaborated, “I'd just returned; hadn't even seen Sara yet and I overheard this guy mouthing off about wanting to ... let's just say he had an interest in my wife.”

“You didn't like that.”

“No, and I especially didn't like him talking about her the way he was with some other creep.”

“So, you ...”

“... landed a beauty of a right hook.  Down he went, out like a light.”

“Did you get in trouble?”

“I bought him a steak dinner and gave him some advice as a consolation prize,”  Jack reported with a grin.

“Strong advice?”

“I was stupid to listen to his crap in the first place, Daniel, but no man is going to talk about my wife that way.  I made sure he knew that.”

Daniel noticed a smile on the colonel's face and asked, “Is something funny?”

“Huh?” Jack responded as he glanced at Daniel for a second.  Then he realized why the query was asked.  “I was *so* dumb to listen to that guy.  Sara reminded me of that the instant I walked in the door.  I don't think we came up for air for twenty-four hours.”

“Happy ending.”

“At the time.”

The melancholy pause lasted a couple of minutes as Jack privately contemplated his marriage.  He and Sara were still married and yet few realized it.  They were leading very separate lives now.  Still, there was a sliver of hope inside him that one day, they'd both be on the same page, forgiving and forgetting at the same time.

Daniel's thoughts went to Sha're and his hopes for a true happy ending for them someday soon.

====

“Home sweet home.”  Jack groaned.  “I hate clichés.”

“Then why do you use them?”

“Good question.  Let me know when you figure out the answer.”

“Jack, you're the one claiming not to like clichés.”

“Never mind.”  As the friends exited the truck that was now parked in the driveway, Jack reached into the back and pulled out a bag.  As he met up with Daniel on the other side of the vehicle, he tossed over the bag.  “Here.”

“What's this?” Daniel questioned as he caught the bag against his chest.

“Sweats.”

“Sweats?”

“Sweats.”

“Uh, why?”

“We're going jogging, Danny.”

“Daniel.”

Entering the house, the colonel ordered, “Put them on.”

“Jack, what about dinner and, uh, well, I was going to do some reading.”

“Fiction?”

“No, I ... I have some research to do.”

Jack turned and gave the archaeologist a full body scan at which point he noticed Daniel was carrying a book that had several notebook pages inserted throughout.

“Later.  First, we jog.”

“Why?”

“Why not?” Jack returned.

“How about it's freezing?” Daniel put forth, having little desire to spend time outside in the cold weather.

“The run will warm you up fast.”

“So will the central heat.”

“You have something against fresh air?”

“No, but I didn't figure you for the jogging type, either.”

“New fact for your memory banks.”

“Oh.”

====

A half-hour after returning from a steady three-mile run, Daniel walked into the kitchen, prepared to make dinner.  He quickly noticed Jack was already working on the meal.

“Can I help?”

“Nope.  It's under control,” the colonel responded.  “Have a seat,” he suggested, nodding at the table in the kitchen nook.  “This will be done in a jiffy.”

“Okay,” Daniel responded as he sat down.  ~Wish I could have made dinner.  I need to do my part.~

The scientist was grateful that a full cup of steaming hot coffee was waiting for him on the table.  Coffee was one of his beverage vices and he made no apology for that.  His love for it was probably due to the stimulant qualities of the brew rather than the taste.  Coffee helped Daniel to stay awake.  He always claimed it was due to his work, whatever that was at the time, or that it helped him push forward in his passion to learn about ancient cultures.

However, as he learned more about Daniel, Jack wondered if Daniel's coffee intake was to keep his friend awake in order to avoid sleeping and the nightmares that might follow.

“Here we go,” Jack remarked as he placed a plate in front of Daniel before putting his own down.

“Thank you.”  Daniel looked at the plate and saw a large salad.  He liked salads, but he was already used to Jack stuffing a lot of protein and vegetable items down his throat at every meal.  “This is it?”  He frowned.  ~Did I just ask that out loud?  Gawd, he'll kick me out and then where will I be?~

“It's good to have a healthy meal every now and then.”

“True.”

Jack and Daniel ate their food in a comfortable silence.  Both liked that about their budding friendship.  They could be quiet and not speak for hours on end and that was okay.  Conversely, they both discovered they could talk the entire night, if they wanted to, and that was okay, too.

Toward the end of the meal, Daniel rose to refill his mug and realized there wasn't any coffee visible everywhere.

“Uh, Jack?”

“One cup for dinner is enough, Daniel.  Sit.”

“I ...”

“Water tastes great.”

Internally, Daniel swore in about three different languages before silently returning to his seat at the table.

“What are you doing?” the frustrated houseguest inquired.  ~I really need my coffee.~

“Eating.”

“Jack, the jogging ... and now, no  ... no coffee.”

“You have coffee.”

“Jack ...”

“We're on a mission, Daniel.  Finish your coffee, but that's all the coffee you're getting tonight.”

“Because of the ...”

“... mission,” both men stated at the same time.

“What mission?” Daniel probed.  ~I'm a civilian.  I don't do missions.  Okay, I do, but I really want my coffee.~

“Daniel, tonight you are going to sleep like a baby.  It's not a permanent solution, but for one night, this is how it's going to work.”  Jack stared at his friend and declared, “No coffee.”

Daniel closed his eyes, uncertain what was going to happen as the night moved forward, and swore silently again as his need for coffee roared within him.

~I don't believe in violence, but no one has ever taken away my coffee before, either.~  Daniel opened his eyelids and sighed.  ~Okay, Jackson.  You can do this.  One night without coffee.~  He looked down into his mug.  ~Three sips.  If I make them quick, maybe five.~

Sitting opposite Daniel, Jack smiled and shook his head while thinking, ~I can feel the simmering.  Relax, Daniel.  It's just one night and it's for your own good.~

====

As the evening wore on, Daniel was surprised the colonel didn't do more than restrict his coffee.  The mission didn't seem to be that involved.

~Maybe he was just teasing.  He does have a warped sense of humor.~  Daniel smiled slightly.  ~Okay, it's warped, but it's fun, too.~

Daniel readied himself for bed and was about to get into a restful position when he heard a tap on the door.  That was followed by the calling out of his name and the door being opened.

“I guess if I said 'come in', it would be a wasted effort.”

“You're welcome,” Jack responded.  “I brought you something.”

“Uh, thank you, I guess.  What is it?” Daniel asked as he sat up in the bed and leaned back against the headboard.

“Warm milk with dab of ginger and some cinnamon.”

“Warm milk?” Daniel repeated dryly.  “Jack, the warm milk thing is a, a fiction.  It's not real.  I mean, uh, it's a fairytale, a, a fable.  It doesn't put people to sleep.”

“My grandmother swore by her special recipe.”

“Ginger and nutmeg.”

“Don't knock it unless you've tried it.”

“Look, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but drinking warm milk to help you fall asleep is nothing but a myth.” Daniel sighed.  “It doesn't work.”

“Are you calling my grandmother a liar?”

“No, of course not, but ...”

“Good.  Drink up.”

Daniel rolled his eyes, but he figured he might as well go along.  It wouldn't hurt anything and he had to admit the concoction tasted good.  As he drank, he watched Jack pull over a chair by the bed and sit down on it.

The colonel didn't look at Daniel.  He leaned forward, rubbing his hands together as he mentally went to another place.

“Daniel, in my past, in the military, I've done a lot of things I don't like to think about.  These things were necessary and they were orders I had to follow.”

“Don't you think following orders blindly can be ... harmful, sometimes?”

“I don't want to talk about that.”

“Okay, but ...”

“Just listen,” Jack requested.  He took a deep breath as he focused on what he wanted to say.  “Part of my training included what I'll call mind control.  It was all about fighting off attempts at brainwashing.  Believe me, there's a lot more to it, techniques to manipulate the enemy and methods to resist what the enemy wants to do to you, but what I'm thinking about right now is one small component of the training.  I'm mentioning it because I've used it to avert nightmares about Sara and Charlie.”

Daniel was silent as he concentrated on Jack's words.  He could sense the pain inside his friend.

“Did I tell you about the day I met Sara?”

“No.”

“Boy, did I come on strong, saying a lot of stupid things.  She wasn't taking any of it; she came right back at me, too.  I almost walked away.  I started to; took three steps back, but she was still looking at me.  I couldn't leave, so I did what my mother told me I should do when I met the one.”

“Love at first sight?”

“I'm not sure I'd call it that, but she was special.  I ... just knew that, so I fessed up.  'Sorry, Miss.  I couldn't help myself.  You're a beautiful woman and I'd really like to get to know you.'  That's what I told her and I meant every word of it.”

“She believed you?”

Jack laughed, “She kept smiling at me and I saw questions and curiosity in her eyes.  Then she said one word.”

“A word?”

“Yes.”

“Which one?”

“Yes.”

“Uh ...”

“No, that's what she said.  She said 'yes.'”  Jack shrugged his shoulders.  “I didn't understand.  'Did I ask a question?' I asked her.  Her response: 'You just asked me out to dinner, Mister ...' and then she laughed, Danny.  It was the sweetest laugh I'd ever heard and her face scrunched up.  It was so cute, it made me laugh.”

Daniel started to correct Jack about not using the nickname, but he didn't.  He was too enthralled with the story being told and he was very curious how it fit in with mind control.

“'What is your name anyway?' Sara asked me with the enchanting expression on her face.  You know, I can still hear that laugh and see that smile.”  Jack's twinkling radiance as he spoke disappeared, replaced by a solemn blankness and monotone.  “Sometimes, it stops the gunshot.  Sometimes, it takes away the loneliness and the nightmare.”

The joy of the first meeting ebbed for Daniel.  He saw the heartbreak in Jack's profile and it was only the side of Jack's face that he continued to see.  Jack hadn't looked at him since giving him the warm milk, which he was slowly drinking while listening.

“See, I have nightmares about the things of the done and I have nightmares about my son dying.  I see the expression on Sara's face when she realized he was gone.”  Jack looked down and swallowed hard.  He didn't like thinking about that day.  “Look, all I'm saying is that if you refocus your mind while you're going to sleep, you can flip the switch.”

“Like meditation or techniques that ...”

“Daniel, I'm not into mumbo jumbo, but mind control works, sometimes.  You said you dream of Sha're and thinking about her situation gives you nightmares. Call it whatever you want, but turn those thoughts of yours into a positive.  You told me about watching her make yaphetta flour.”

Daniel nodded.  That's when he knew he was in love with Sha're.  It was such a simple moment, but it was one never to be forgotten.

“Think about that tonight, about Sha're making flour and you watching her.”

“Jack ...”

“Done?” Jack asked about the milk, interrupting Daniel from saying anything.

“Uh, yeah.”

“Great.”  Jack took the empty mug and put it on the nightstand.  “Go to sleep, Daniel.”

“Are you going to stay here?”

“Just for a minute.  Go to sleep.  Think about Sha're's face and her hands playing with that flour.  Go on.  Sleep.”

Daniel shifted and moved down on the bed.  He pulled the covers up more and settled himself into a comfortable position.  Amazingly, his eyelids began to flutter.

Softly, Jack spoke, “I don't know her very well, but Sha're's a beautiful woman.  Remember the yaphetta flour and how she looked at you while making it; the yaphetta flour, Daniel.  Think about that and Sha're's smile.”

His eyelids shut, the archaeologist, weary from a full day at the SGC and a long jog afterward, free from the impact of sugar in his body at night, and full of happy memories with his wife on Abydos, drifted off to sleep.  He envisioned his wife smiling at him as she made yaphetta flour and whispered Sha're's name as his last conscious thought.

Jack watched for a while, wondering why he felt so protective of Daniel.  Maybe it went back just two weeks when he observed the lonely archaeologist standing in the corridors of Cheyenne Mountain.  Daniel looked so lost, like a small puppy, abandoned and left to fend for himself.  He had to bring him home, which he did.

Though his life since the first Abydos mission was somewhat solitary, Jack enjoyed having Daniel stay with him, something that would continue for a while.  Essentially penniless when recruited to help with the Stargate, the archaeologist couldn't get a place of his own until he received his back pay.

“Goodnight, Daniel,” the colonel whispered before heading for the master bedroom and settling into his own bed.  He closed his eyes and he rolled over onto his right side.  ~Sara, I'm Jack, Jack O'Neill, that's O'Neill with two 'L's, of the Chicago O'Neills.~

Serenely, Jack fell into a peaceful sleep, one free from any terrors in his dreams.

====

The next morning, Jack rose and, unable to stop himself, stopped by Daniel's room and peeked inside.  The scientist was sound asleep and nor he or the bedding showed any signs of distress from the sleeping hours.  With a satisfying nod, the colonel dressed for the workday and went downstairs to prepare breakfast.

Eventually, Daniel wandered into the kitchen and was quickly greeted by the colonel, who was already eating his ham and eggs.

“Morning, Sleepyhead.”

“Good morning.”

“Coffee's on,” Jack advised.  “Food's in the skillet.  Just heat it up.”

“Thanks,” the younger man replied while heading for the coffee pot to get his first cup of coffee for the day.  He checked the food and heated it to his preference.  He figured the food only sat a few minutes before his entrance since the eggs were nice and fluffy.  With his plate full, Daniel joined Jack at the table.  “Thanks.”

“You said that already.”

“That was for the food.  This was for ... what you did last night.”

“No need for thanks.”

“I disagree.  I finally had a good night's sleep.”

“No nightmares?”

“No.  I, uh, I dreamed about Sha're teaching me how to make a meal properly.  I was pretty clueless at first.”

“We're good to go then.”

Daniel smiled and replied, “Jack, I know it ... the jog, the milk, the story; it won't work every night.”

“No, but it worked last night.  Daniel, you're on the frontline team.  You have to be alert and on your best game when we walk through that Gate.”

“I know.  It's hard to turn off my mind sometimes.”

“That's the hardest part, but as long as you stay aware and maybe do what we did last night sometimes, you can stay on top of it.  You'll be okay.”

“Yeah.”

Seeing Daniel bow his head, Jack insisted, “We'll find her.  It may take some time, but we'll find Sha're.”

“I hope so.”  Daniel ate some of his food and then asked, “So, uh, your grandmother really had warm milk every night?”

“She swore by it.  Myth or no myth, she refused to go to bed until she had her warm milk.”

“She was probably just tired.”

“Maybe, but sometimes, Daniel, you don't mess with success.”

Daniel nodded and said, “I think I'll have another cup of coffee.”

“Aren't you awake enough?”

“I missed Earth coffee.  There wasn't anything like it on Abydos.”

“As I recall, you taught the boys how to make moonshine,” Jack stated.  “That's a pretty good substitution.”

“I, uh, won't argue that point, but it did make studying the Cartouche more difficult to study.”

The two men shared an understanding smile.

“Go forth, Daniel.  Drink away.  Stimulate.  Enjoy!”

“Thank you,” Daniel responded with some amusement.

Slowly, Daniel's body became reacquainted to Earth's twenty-four cycle, but the nightmares remained, though sometimes fended off by warm milk, alcohol, or extreme weariness.

The important element in life at the moment was that the friendship between Jack and Daniel, while very new, grew a bit more every day as they shared their lives.  Their bond was already strong, especially considering how little they truly knew about the other at this point.  One thing was for sure, though.  They were learning and as they learned, their caring for the other also grew.

For Jack and Daniel, these early days of their connection were often challenging, sometimes difficult, and always special as they forged a friendship that would be more important to them than either could yet imagine.  In Colorado Springs, life moved forever forward for the colonel and the archaeologist.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~

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