Sometimes, sometimes I watch him in action and I think 'who the hell is this guy?'. At times recently it's been like watching a pale imitation of myself - others it's like he's someone I never met before.
Daniel Jackson, enigma.
I guess that just about sums it all up. Sums him up. I have no idea half the time what's going on in that head of his, and if he tried to explain it my eyes would probably just glaze over before he finished the first sentence. That's if Daniel knows himself, which I doubt.
He probably thinks he's the self-same guy as he was when we first met, the guy who was on the way down in one almighty spiral as the whole academic world ridiculed his theories. Was that how guys like Galileo felt when they knew they were right and everyone else was insisting that the sun revolved around the earth?
Because Daniel was right, all along, and he can't tell anyone, isn't that a kicker?
There's a little thing called National Security involved now, so he has to keep his mouth shut when he must really want to phone those bozos up and go 'remember me?'. I wonder if he dreams of doing that, of getting revenge on them for their mockery?
Probably not, or, at least, not often.
Most of the time, he's probably too busy trying to figure out what to look at next, a whole pile of stuff waiting for him to cast his eye over stored in that junkroom/office of his.
I don't go there too often nowadays, because it's too much like him, kind of like stepping into a concrete version of how Daniel's mind must be. All that information crammed in together, pushed into the space between his ears until it almost overflows. It makes me nervous, I guess, because it makes me remember the guy's a genius. Well, in some areas, anyway.
In others, not so quick on the uptake.
That, or I've done my job too well, learned how to cover for myself with years and years of practice.
He has no idea.
And I'd like to keep it that way, though at times the edges blur and I start to wonder whether the little lightbulb is about to go on over Daniel's head. You know the one I mean. That 'I've figured it all out' expression appears on his face and I want to run for cover, just in case. Instead of which, usually I just stand there and nod, making nice and not-so-nice while him and Carter discuss Daniel's latest idea.
He'd hate it if he realized I feel this way, that I feel pushed to the side when they're chewing over stuff, I know that much. Sure, I got smarts, otherwise how would I have made it to bird colonel? But nothing like him and Carter, nothing like them at all.
If you need a comparison - and who doesn't? - it's like weapons. They're like zats, sharp and incisive, ripping through everything but controlled with it. I'm more like a staff weapon, not subtle at all, but I get the job done all the same.
I like to watch the light come on over Daniel's head, though each time it happens I get this terrible sinking feeling in my gut. This time? Will it be this time he's figured it all out? Figured me out? Guessed somehow that I want more than he's given me, that the thing I'd like most in the world is the opportunity to be with him?
He can't have figured it out yet.
Because there's no way he could keep quiet about it. Not Daniel. He might try, think he's being discreet, subtle even, but it'd be obvious to anyone who knows him. Hell, anyone within earshot. He's never had that much experience in hiding anything.
And I want him to stay, need him to. Couldn't bear the thought of Daniel heading for the hills for any reason, let alone on my account.
Not to mention that all the alternate realities we've encountered where he hasn't been around have ended badly, so having Daniel around and a part of things is like an insurance policy for the planet as well.
I have no reason to think he'd still want to have anything at all to do with me if he realized I have an ulterior motive for being his friend. Well, kind of. I was Daniel's friend first, though whether he'll believe that if the penny ever drops, who knows? Would that be enough for him to give me a break? Chalk it all up to overwhelming dumbness and hormones on my part? It's not something I want to test out.
I stand to lose too much.
The whole thing with Sha're just showed me clearly, if I needed any showing, how mixed up Daniel is. Somehow it made me feel even more protective of him, just at the time I was starting to think I was all tapped out. It still kind of confuses me when I think about what he told me about that, all those different memories whirling round in Daniel's brain till he didn't know which way was up.
And he dreamt of leaving, Daniel said, of packing up after Sha're's funeral, and getting the hell out of Dodge. Even though it sounds like it was ripping him apart to do it. Daniel wouldn't tell me any more about that - as little practice as Daniel has had at hiding things, he sure knows how to keep his mouth shut when he doesn't want to talk.
I want to think it was leaving me, leaving here, that was tearing him up so badly. I try and trust in that, but I'm not really sure. How reliable was all that stuff Daniel experienced, or thought he did, anyway? I've had enough bad dreams to know what an odd place the subconscious is, and I dare say Daniel's is odder than most. It's well-furnished, I bet.
I know that the thought of the SGC going on without Daniel Jackson at the heart of it all is strange, to say the least. That I can't imagine going off-world without a part of my brain having to worry about where he is and what he's up to. It's a habit so ingrained in me now, that when we go off and leave him behind, I still look for Daniel, have to remind myself that he's not come along with us. Kind of like a missing limb.
And to say that's an odd reaction is an understatement. I know I pushed Hammond into agreeing that Daniel could come with when we formed SG-1, but I never thought that he'd stay the course.
Not that I realized how deep a hole we were digging for ourselves anyway, with the Goa'uld and the Asgard and everyone else we've met along the way. Tracking Sha're and Skaara down seemed a relatively short-term mission when we took it on, and now look at us.
Sha're dead, Skaara free and living with the Tok'ra.
However we circle round, whatever we experience, it all comes back round to Daniel Jackson. The bane of my life, the reason why I have grey hairs, and the person I'd most like to spend the rest of my life with. Anyway, the way it's going, it's possible I will, if I manage to get myself killed on a mission anyway. Or get him killed, which is more likely.
Been there, done that.
Shit. I hate even thinking about the times he's 'died' on us. Fortunately, it seems as though he's meant to be around for a while yet, that or he's got more lives than a cat. Either way, it doesn't stop my heart being in my mouth every time we're in a combat situation, doesn't stop me worrying about him whether he's with me or somewhere else.
Old habits die hard, they say. Well, this is one habit I'm in no hurry to be broken of, thanks very much.
And if we're talking cliches, can I throw in 'where there's life, there's hope'?
A small part of me dreams about Daniel's response, that I'd somehow summon up the cojones to tell him how I feel and he wouldn't either scream and run away or patronise me. At least while he's here, with me watching over him, keeping him safe as best I can, there's always a chance. A hope.
I have to believe that.
I have to.
- fin -