The First of Many

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Pre-Slash, Smarm
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  S1 - July 8, 1997
Spoilers:  None
Size:  14kb, ficlet
Written:  October 23-25,27-28, 2011 Tweaked October 30, 2011
Summary:  Jack makes a big deal out of Daniel's birthday, which the archaeologist thinks is just another day.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Alverine, Ali!

The First of Many
by Orrymain

“Carter!” Jack called out in annoyance.  He'd just rounded the corridor on one of Stargate Command's many levels and was surprised to see his second-in-command walking towards him.  “What are you still doing here?”

“Sorry, Sir, but I had to finish a diagnostic on the computer's ...”

“Stop right there!” the colonel barked.  “Just get going.”

“I'm on my way.”

“Have you seen Ferretti?”

“Not in a couple of hours,” Sam answered as she paused her movement to answer the question.

Jack sighed and then responded, “Okay, go!  See you there.”

“Yes, Sir.”

With Sam on her way, Jack checked his watch and continued onward.

====

Whistling as he exited the elevator on Level 18, Jack walked cheerfully into the corner office where SG-1's archaeologist was deeply involved in reviewing photographs taken by SG-2 on their last mission.

“Hey,” Jack called out.

His mouth agape slightly, Daniel looked up, stared at the colonel for what felt like minutes, and then returned, “Uh, hi.”

“Let's go.”

“Go?”

“Put down the pictures, and let's go.”

“Go ... where?”

“You'll see.”

“Jack, I need to finish examining these pictures,” the explorer advised.  “I mean, uh, these are ... they're fascinating.”

“You can finish that later,” Jack told his teammate.

“Is there a briefing?”

Jack's head moved back and forth slightly as he considered his answer, which ended up being, “Of a sort.  Let's go, Daniel.”

Resigned to not continuing his work until his friend and team leader allowed, Daniel put the photographs in a folder and left his office.  He was surprised when Jack led him to the locker room.

~This room makes me feel like I'm in school,~ the archaeologist cringed about the rows of upper and lower locker shelves, his shiver undetected by the colonel.  “Why are we here?”

“Change,” Jack ordered, nodding to his friend's locker.

“Jack ...”

“Daniel, that's an order.”

He didn't understand it, but Daniel changed out of his green BDUs and put on his civvies, which today centered around a black and dark blue checked plaid shirt and baggy khaki pants.

As for Jack, he changed into a maroon V-neck shirt and black pants.  When he stood up from putting on his shoes, he noticed Daniel's stare.

“What?”

“It's ... well, it's not that I'm into fashion or anything ...”

“That's for sure,” Jack quipped as he took in the outfit that was definitely oversized for the slender scientist.

“Your socks.”

“What about them?” the colonel inquired as he looked down.  Then he saw the problem and let out a groan.  “Well, at least they're both dark colors.”

Daniel actually smiled at the remark about Jack's mismatched socks, one of which was dark brown while the other was black.

“Let's get this show on the road,” Jack stated eagerly.

“What show?”

With a smile, Jack simply slapped his friend on the back for a second and gently pushed him forward.

====

“When are you going to tell me where we're going?” Daniel asked after several minutes of driving.

“Soon,” Jack answered.

“I really do have a lot of work to do.”

“Daniel, there's more to life than work,” Jack responded sharply.  “Geez, you and Carter keep your noses in books like they're glued to the pages.  Ya gotta come up for air every now and then.”

“Okay, I came up, but I really do need to get back to those pictures.”

“Give it a rest, Danny, we're ...”

“Daniel.”

Jack groaned at the correction that told him the archaeologist was feeling on edge and uneasy about something.  More than likely, it was the uncertainty of what was happening that had Daniel feeling confined or cornered.

~He'll feel better once we get there,~ Jack told himself.  Stopping for a red light, he glanced at Daniel for a second and observed, ~He doesn't have a friggin' clue.  That's great for the surprise, but I'm not sure what it says about his life.  He should have an inkling, shouldn't he?~

====

“A restaurant?” Daniel questioned as Jack's Ford pickup truck turned into the parking lot.

“Not just 'a' restaurant, but the best place in town for a good steak,” Jack proclaimed.

“O'Malley's Bar and Grill,” Daniel stated as he read the signage.

“You'll love it.  It's a great place.”  Jack grinned and added, “They even have pool tables.”

“Oh,” the archaeologist replied, not really impressed though he realized he was supposed to be in the other man's eyes.  “So, we're having lunch?”

Jack parked the truck without responding to Daniel's query.  The two men exited the vehicle and proceeded inside the restaurant.

~If Carter got sidetracked, I'll send her butt to where the sun don't shine,~ Jack vowed, not sure whether or not his 2IC had already arrived or not.

“Two?” the welcoming hostess inquired as she began to pick up menus.

“The name's O'Neill, two L's.  We're expected.”

“Yes, Colonel O'Neill,” the greeter responded, putting the menus down.

Daniel found the brief conversation curious and wasn't sure what to make of it, especially since the menus had been left at the hostess stand.  He walked behind Jack, who was following the brunette worker.  There were plenty of tables available, so he wondered why they were headed towards the back of the facility.  Then he saw the doorway to what was apparently a private room.

Springing forward a few steps to ensure being heard, the archaeologist questioned, “Jack, what's going on?”

The hostess stopped just outside the door, extended her left hand, and advised, “Everything is ready, Colonel.  If you need anything, please let me or one of the waitresses know.”

“Thank you, Ma'am,” Jack returned cordially.

“Jack ...”

“This way, Daniel,” Jack interrupted, his arm wrapping around the younger man to keep the forward momentum going.

“I don't know why we're,” Daniel's words paused as he entered the back room and heard the loud shouts of “Happy Birthday” from an unexpected assemblage of SGC personnel.  “... here,” he completed.

Daniel couldn't believe his eyes and ears.  The group cheered as they wished him happy days and good times, and there was a huge banner along the far wall that colorfully did the same.  There were a few balloons, and there was a table full of presents, too.

“How ... wha... Jack?”

“Happy birthday, Danny,” Jack spoke softly and sincerely, noting that there was no name correction this time.

“How'd you know it was my birthday?”

“Daniel, I'm your commanding officer.”  Jack saw the disapproving look, so he decided to amend his remark somewhat.  “It's in your file.  You're fifty, right?”

Daniel almost chuckled, something that Jack felt good about.  In actuality, the younger man was celebrating his thirty-second birthday.

“I'm not used to anyone ... I mean ...”

The words faded into the air as Sam came over for a hug, something that still made Daniel feel uncomfortable.  Closeness and parties like this were rare in his life.  That's why today had been just another day to him.  He had no clue anyone would know the significance of the date or care.

“Party time!” Jack called out to the delight of the partygoers.

====

Though Stargate Command was still fairly new in operation, Jack already had a lot of weight in the day-to-day decisions.  After all, he was second-in-command to General George S. Hammond.  As such, he'd used his pull and received permission from General Hammond for several personnel to attend the surprise party and have extended time away from their duties.  A few had even been given the entire afternoon off.

While it wasn't a huge group, those present included Sam, Teal'c (wearing a Chicago Cubs baseball cap to disguise his Jaffa emblem on his forehead), Lou Ferretti, and Janet Fraiser.  There were several members of the scientific staff, personnel Sam had been in charge of inviting since Jack wasn't that familiar with those workers.  Janet, too, had taken the liberty of inviting some of her medical staff, mostly nurses who were quietly swooning over the cute archaeologist.

All brought gifts, which overwhelmed Daniel.  Even the silly presents mattered.

“Uh, thank you,” an amused Daniel told Lou Ferretti, whose gift turned out to be a few boxes of Kleenex.

“I thought Kawalsky would approve,” Ferretti noted with a twinge of melancholy.

“He'd want to be here,” Jack agreed as he, too, felt a quiver of sadness pass through him as he thought back on the life and death of his friend and teammate, Charles Kawalsky.

“He hated my sneezing,” Daniel lamented, recalling the pack of tissues Kawalsky had handed to him shortly after Jack's team arrived on Abydos for the second time.

“Hey, Doc, he's not the only one,” Ferretti laughed as he reminded Daniel of the gift.

Lunch was included for those present.  Daniel was prepared to order a simple hamburger, but Jack insisted on steak.

“It's your birthday.  You're not going to have a burger today,” Jack told his friend.

The grand finale came with the arrival of the cake that had been custom designed in the form of a pyramid.  Everyone sang a combination of “Happy Birthday” and “He's a Jolly Good Fellow,” causing Daniel to turn red from embarrassment.

After enjoying cake and ice cream, the guests began to leave, some returning to work and others taking off to enjoy the rest of their day.  Sam, Teal'c, and Ferretti helped to carry the presents and leftover cake to Jack's truck before continuing with their afternoon.

“Wow,” Daniel whispered as he stared at the truck bed that was covered in birthday spoils.

“It's your birthday.  This is how birthdays are.”

“Really?”

Jack just stared at the younger man.  Was it possible the query was sincere?

~Nah, he's joking.  I know he's had tough times, but he's had a birthday party before.  Yeah.  He's playing with me,~ Jack determined as he got inside the vehicle and prepared to leave the restaurant.

====

“Sam has a good sense of humor,” Daniel opined as he held her joke gift.

“Just don't go sticking that thing.”

Daniel laughed, an audible sound that was rare at this point in his life.  Jack took note of it, though.

Jack added, “I didn't think she had that kind of funny in her, either.”

The gift was a tiny cloth doll, wearing a green outfit with sunglasses.  It was supposed to be a representation of Jack.

“Just give it a jab when he's ordering you around,” Sam had joked at the party.

“Transfer,” Jack had threatened the blonde as the guests laughed loudly.

Daniel put the object on the shelf for the time being and stared at the few pieces of cake that were left.

“I've never had a cake like that before.”

“Get used to it,” Jack responded, his concerns for Daniel's upbringing growing.  When the younger man looked at him with uncertain eyes, Jack vowed, “This is the first of many.  Birthdays are special around here.”

Daniel's smile was contemplative and tentative.  He felt good, but he didn't understand why Jack had gone to all this trouble.  He did notice, though, that Jack hadn't given him a gift at the party.

~The party was the gift,~ Daniel told himself.  ~Wow, a party, for me.~

“Hey, you missed these,” Jack pointed out.

Daniel saw a large bag that contained three still-wrapped gifts, one of which appeared to be a rather odd shape.

“These weren't ... they ... where'd they come from?”

“The birthday fairy,” Jack mused.  “Open them up.”

“Jack, you've done so much.”

“How many times do I have to say it?” Jack asked.  “It's ...” he prompted.

“... my birthday,” Daniel completed with a nod.

With the weather a pleasant seventy-seven degrees outside, the two men took the gifts, along with some beer and pretzels Jack had brought with him, to the small balcony of Daniel's new apartment.  In truth, Jack had found the place and determined it was the ideal spot for his independent teammate who, prior to that, had been living at Jack's house.

Slowly, Daniel opened his gifts from Jack.  There was a book on Egyptian history, tickets to a baseball game, and, what had been the odd shaped item, a gift basket that included premium coffee beans and chocolate bars.

“That, uh, that's a nice gift basket.”

“Gift baskets are my specialty,” the colonel teased.

“Baseball?”

“It won't hurt you to attend a ball game,” Jack put forward.

“I guess not.”

Silence loomed as the friends simply enjoyed the slightly overcast afternoon. They sipped their beers, eating pretzels here and there.

“Jack?”

“Mmm?”

“The party ... the people who went ...”

“Your friends,” Jack suggested.

“Maybe,” Daniel half-heartedly agreed.  “Just ... thank you.”

“My pleasure, Danny.  Here's to next year.”

Jack held out his bottle, waiting for the clanging that came when two bottles gently hit each other.

“To next year,” Daniel slowly agreed, tapping his bottle on Jack's.

Jack and Daniel shared a smile in anticipation of the future.  Each still had much to learn about the other, but today, they'd come together for a special event, the celebrating of Daniel's birth.  It felt foreign to Daniel, a feeling that Jack sensed and was determined to change over time.

~Birthdays are special, Danny.  By the time I'm through with you, you'll believe that,~ Jack determined, nodding at Daniel as he brought his bottle to his lips.  ~One day!~

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

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