Title: Hands Down Or
Rating: PG-13 for language
Word Count: ~3,400
Prompt: from rivulet027 for the Jack/Daniel Ficathon: playful Jack, snark; optional request: literary or comic book reference
Summary: They've been body-swapped, possessed, and have shared consciousnesses, but nothing could have prepared them for sharing Jack's body.
Notes: Thanks to green_grrl for the quick beta and for being remarkably supportive in all things.
All you had to do was not touch it. That's all you had to do. Jack's voice rang in Daniel's ears even though he hadn't said anything. It was pretty similar to telepathy, something that was only weird now because they'd experienced it so many times it was no longer that weird.
Daniel huffed; they'd been over this. "I barely bumped against it. I'm sorry, okay?" Hearing his own words come out of Jack's mouth was even weirder. He touched his—Jack's—lips. "Do your teeth always feel like this? They're really sensitive."
The looks Sam and the General passed would have made Daniel laugh if there was any part of this that wasn't disconcerting.
"Sir?" Sam said carefully.
Daniel shook his head. "This is Daniel. It's weird. We can't quite hang on to control for long enough—" Daniel's train of thought cut off abruptly as he felt the push and then Jack took over speaking. "If you'd stop pushing, then maybe I could keep control of my own body."
"Sir?" Sam tried again.
"Yeah, Carter." Jack's vision centered on Hammond. "General? Can you order Daniel to stop taking control of my body? Please?"
I'm not trying to control your body, Jack. It just keeps happening. I don't know how it's happening or what either one of us is doing to make the switch, I just know—
"That it's happening." His words out of Jack's mouth again. "Oh. Hi." He waved and felt Jack sigh.
Stop waving with my body, Jack thought at him.
Daniel sighed again, rubbing the bridge of his nose, surprised to find no glasses there. It was always the little things that surprised him when he got bodyswapped, those small differences that made everything weird. Jack's bad knees and back, not that disconcerting; the different tenor to Jack's voice took some getting used to, but not much; the two inches in height difference, though? For some reason, that was massive.
"So," Daniel said, trying to focus on the problem (and not every tick and thought that he could identify as Jack). "What happened to my body and why can't I get back in it?"
"That's the question we'd like answered, son." Hammond nodded at Sam. "You'll be leading the team back to the planet. I want to know everything about that device and how to separate Dr. Jackson and the Colonel."
"Of course, sir." Sam turned and stepped closer, putting her hand on Jack's arm. "We'll get you fixed," she promised.
Daniel blinked, never having seen Sam look at him like that before and he had to wonder if her eyes were always that big.
Never gotten the Carter doe eyes? Jack asked. Huh.
Daniel frowned, and then had to wave it away when Sam frowned back at him. "Sorry, just . . . making a face at Jack." Daniel sighed again.
Hammond nodded to Sam. "Sooner rather than later, Major." Sam cast Jack one last look, her eyes still wide but softened slightly, and then headed out to meet the team at the 'gate. Hammond stepped closer, placing his hand hesitantly on Jack's shoulder, something that was familiar for Hammond and Daniel but—Daniel guessed—weird for Hammond and Jack.
"Dr. Fraiser would like to see you both."
Pretty hard to see us separately, Jack snorted.
Daniel bit down on his laugh and simply said, "Thank you, sir," heading out of the briefing room and to the infirmary.
It was never encouraging when Dr. Fraiser had that look. Jack sighed, agreeing with Daniel's assessment.
"From what I can tell from the brainwaves, you're still there." Janet pointed at Daniel's prone body. His eyes were closed (less freaky), but there were a number of electrodes connecting his head to various machines. "So I don't know why you're also . . . there." Janet rose on her toes, squinting her eyes at Jack's face, like maybe she could actually see a tiny Daniel Jackson floating in Jack's irises.
Jack pulled back, his lips curling. "I don't know why either, but he's not going to come out my nose so can you. . . ." He carefully directed her hand with the tiny flashlight away from their face.
Daniel sighed—his, Jack's face. It was strange being the one sharing someone else's body. Weirder yet that despite the inscrutable faces Jack sometimes pulled, Daniel now knew exactly what ticked behind every expression.
"I just want to give you a basic medical check, Colonel!" Dr. Fraiser rolled her eyes. "Can't you let Daniel have control?"
"Oh? Does he normally let you poke and prod whatever you want into all of his orifices?" Jack's eyebrow arched exceptionally high.
It's not about poking and prodding, Jack; it's about letting her do her job. Daniel rolled his eyes and Jack's eyes responded. Oh. Did I just roll your eyes?
Jack covered his eyes, like that would stop Daniel from being able to use them. "Yes, Daniel, you did. Could you stop?"
Dr. Fraiser gave them another wary look and then recorded something on her chart. "How is it working? Trading off the body? This isn't like what we've seen before, like when Daniel housed the people of Talthus. Then each personality emerged separately with no recollection of what the others had done."
Jack shrugged. "I don't know. It's like, I hear Daniel."
And when we talk or act sometimes it just comes out through Jack's body.
"Yeah, can you watch what you make come out of my body?" Jack's voice was wry, but there was a physical tightness in his chest that Daniel was starting to be able to read as emotional discomfort.
Janet's eyes opened wide again, like this was getting too much for her to take.
What about my body? Daniel asked, reaching Jack's hand out to his own arm.
Jack pulled his hand back sluggishly. "What about Daniel's body?" he asked, though. "How can we get Daniel back into it?"
Janet shook her head, her lips tight together. "I'm not sure. We'll have to see what the team determines from studying the device. It could be a one-way transference, but in our experience most things have a reverse switch."
Jack shifted slightly, his heels lifting in his boots, a slight bounce that Daniel had seen Jack perform countless times, but feeling the way Jack's body nervously ticked was so strange.
"Most things," Jack agreed noncommittally.
Janet sighed, putting the chart down on the empty bed—the one Jack had gotten out of as soon as they'd let him. "The last time this happened—the only way we were able to separate Daniel from the others was because he wasn't intermingling with them. Daniel's thoughts—his personality—protected itself, going into something like a coma. But the two of you? You're all . . . together."
Jack's stomach looped and for a moment Daniel wondered if they were going to throw up.
"So, you might not be able to, to separate us?"
Janet narrowed her eyes again, probably wondering which one of them had stuttered in a fashion that was typical of Daniel.
"I'm not sure," she said slowly and carefully. "We'll do our best, though. You both know that."
"Yeah," Jack said, swallowing. "We know that." And they did, it just didn't make hearing the news any easier to bear.
Daniel wanted to wait it out on the base—keep his thoughts busy doing work since Hammond wouldn't allow them to 'gate back to the planet and join the research team. Jack couldn't stand the thought of letting his own body geek out with Daniel's work.
There's a hockey game on, Jack protested. And you know my bed is more comfortable than anything they can offer us here.
"You really want me to be stuck in your head for the length of the drive back to the mountain when Sam figures it out?"
Jack shrugged—a feeling that completely unnerved Daniel when he felt his shoulders lift in an action that was normally voluntary.
This doesn't stop being weird, huh?
Daniel paused for a moment, considering their options. "Can we get beer or something?"
An SF walking just in front of them stopped and gave Daniel an odd look as she approached. Daniel tried to smooth things over with a quick smile, but she skirted closer to the wall. "Sir, I . . . don't think that's appropriate."
"I, uh, I wasn't. . . ."
Jack's laugh was on the edge of Daniel's mind. Hey, Daniel, I'd appreciate it if you didn't get me in trouble while you're in control of my body.
"Sir, there's no one else in the hall." She checked behind her just to be sure. "Wait, there aren't . . . invisible people?"
"Invisible people would be a logical explanation for us," Daniel muttered, rubbing his brow in very Daniel-like fashion.
You know SG-1 has a reputation for being . . . odd.
"Stuff like this doesn't exactly help it," Daniel muttered into his hand.
"Uh, nothing! Just, just talking to myself." He brought his hand down and then flicked it out, trying to mimic that nonchalant, playing with the air thing Jack did when he was caught. "I'm just heading home. For the day."
"Yes, sir," the SF replied, her eyes still wide and on Daniel.
"Sorry," Daniel muttered, scurrying past her and down the hall. Jack chuckled inside Daniel's thoughts until Daniel snapped. "It's your face she saw being so weird."
Colonel, Jack answered smoothly. Plus, SG-1. Everybody knows I'm weird.
The hockey game was actually a pretty good distraction, and it certainly helped that the Avalanche won. Jack didn't need another loss on top of the loss of his privacy. Daniel stretched his arms over his head when the game ended, ready to shut off the TV, but Jack stopped him.
We just watched the game, though.
"Highlights," he said emphatically. "Have another beer."
Daniel snorted, the noise coming out of Jack. You trying to get me drunk?
"You're in my body now, so that's a harder feat." His lips curled in a relaxed grin and for the first time Daniel felt their nerves really settle.
"What happens if they can't separate us?" Daniel startled when his question came out of Jack's mouth, but when he pushed he could feel how much Jack had relaxed.
Then we deal. We've never been good with boundaries any way.
"Even though you keep putting them up," Daniel snapped defensively.
Jack shrugged, his noncommittal way of taking ownership of that statement and dismissing it at the same time.
"Sorry. I didn't really mean that."
Believe it or not, but I know that. Even without the telepathy.
Daniel frowned and rubbed his brow, startling a little when his fingers brushed over the scar splitting Jack's eyebrow. "I can't even really be mad at you like this. What am I gonna do, walk away?"
Their eyebrow lifted and Daniel slapped at it. "Stop it. Jesus, Jack. If I have control, just give me control."
It's my body, Daniel. Jesus yourself.
Daniel flicked off the tv and tossed the remote across to the chair so Jack would have to get up if he wanted to turn the highlights back on.
His reaction was so juvenile that he refused to acknowledge it, and just focused on sitting rigidly on Jack's couch, making them as heavy as he possibly could.
Why don't you just cap this tantrum with, "You won't like me when I'm angry"?
"You think this is bad for you? Jack, I know how it feels when you shit!"
Yeah, shouldn't've had that breakfast burrito.
"This isn't a joke!" Daniel gripped his head, leaning into the couch cushions. He'd slept on Jack's couch when he'd come back to corporeal form, after he'd gotten tired of living on the base, but before his bank accounts were set up and he was no longer legally dead. He'd hidden in the cushions then, searching for a way back to his memories and himself. Now, his thoughts were all he had, and he was wishing for something more.
Daniel, Jack said softly. We'll deal. You gotta hold it together. Daniel could almost feel Jack's arms around himself, giving him the kind of hug they usually reserved for nights after one of them wasn't dead.
Hey, Danny, Jack whispered. The care that flowed from that simple thought overwhelmed Daniel. He pushed up, realizing now that Jack's arms were actually tangled around himself.
Heh, I know, weird, right?
Daniel laughed; Jack's rich warm laugh filling the room. "We're kind of weird either way." Daniel licked his lips in thought and startled at the distinctly Jack-taste that registered under his tongue.
We'll make this work if we have to.
"I'd miss you," Daniel suddenly said. He hadn't been meaning to say it, hadn't wanted to bring up the loss of his physical body at all actually.
Yeah. Same here, Jack said, understanding exactly what Daniel meant.
"Which part of this sucks more? No privacy or…?"
Or, Daniel. Hands down, or.
Daniel smiled tightly. "At least we agree on that."
Jack's cell trilled in the middle of the night—It's almost dawn, Jack groused—and they stumbled through a truncated morning routine, trading off control of Jack's body when one of them was still too sleepy to pay attention.
Is there time for coffee? Man, I always thought you were more awake right away.
"Fake it," Jack mumbled around a mouthful of toothpaste. "We can get coffee at the mountain."
You're gonna have a wreck if you're this drowsy, Daniel argued. He poked Jack in the corner of the mouth with the toothbrush, mostly not on purpose.
"Daniel! Whose body is this?"
For the moment it's ours. C'mon, five minutes for coffee.
Jack sighed heavily. He leaned over the counter hanging his head. "Daniel."
"Jack," Daniel replied, as Jack gave him control. He looked up at the mirror and grinned. "Thank you."
Say that again with your own mouth in a few hours.
"Yeah, here's hoping."
"When we got back to the machine, there was already a count down displayed," Sam explained in the briefing, showing the live video of the device. Numbers ticked away in alien symbols at a rate slightly slower than seconds. "It took us some time to figure out exactly what the digits were, assuming of course, that they were digits. By our calculation, the count down should end in about five minutes—give or take."
"Give or take," Jack said, eyes on Hammond.
"Has every precaution been taken, Major?"
Sam nodded. "Every precaution we can think of. If it's a self-destruct—"
"Self-destruct?" Daniel blurted through Jack's mouth. Jack covered his hand over his mouth, taking back control.
Sam waited for a moment, giving them a curious look. "If it's a self-destruct, the damage should be contained to the room it's in. It doesn't look like it's carrying any additional payload."
"If it's a self-destruct, how are we going to fix this?" Jack asked. Daniel smiled, a little surprised that Jack actually voiced his concern.
"We'll get to that after the count down, Colonel. There's nothing more we can do."
"Can't we just—push some buttons?"
Daniel shook his head and closed his eyes. Don't you think that might make this worse?
"Colonel, we don't know that won't make this worse."
Jack sighed, twiddling his pen. "That's what Daniel just said."
"Jack, Colonel Carter worked through the night with the best team of scientists we have. They knew they were on a deadline. We'll contact any allies we have to if this doesn't pan out."
"The countdown could be a good thing," Sam suggested. "It could mean the effects of the device are temporary and it's signaling the final moments."
"Or signaling our final moments."
There are worse ways to die, Daniel joked dryly.
"You've survived a few of them."
Jack waved it off. "Just Daniel. Said something."
Sam stepped closer, squinting at them. "Have you gotten better at retaining control? That's twice now you've responded to something he said that he didn't . . . say."
"I don't know. It's not like we understand this."
Jack. Daniel's senses suddenly dimmed, like the lights were switched to the generators. He couldn't feel Jack twirling the pen any more, though he tried to press Jack's hangnail into the pen clip to get a jolt of pain going through their arm. Jack also felt more distant and he scrabbled for Jack, reaching out for him again. Jack!
"Daniel?" Even Jack's voice was muffled, coming from far away.
I don't think it's a bomb. Shit. Jack? This is gonna be better, right?
For a moment Daniel was in pitch black, but then he felt Jack reaching for him, like a firm hand around his arm.
Daniel, it's gonna be okay. You're not going anywhere I'm not. Not any more. You know that.
Daniel grabbed on to Jack's arm and pulled himself in, clawing his way up to embrace Jack tightly. Just in case . . . you know how I feel, right?
Jack hugged him back, their world shuddering. Yeah. Yeah, I know. Me too.
A wind howled through their shared thoughts, and though there were no words, Daniel understood that time was up. He clung to Jack harder, afraid of what might come, and then the pitch black took him again.
"J'ck?" The name slurred off Daniel's tongue as he came to, the dull lights of the infirmary shocking him awake enough to be embarrassed that someone might have heard that.
"Hey, I'm here." Jack squeezed his arm, swimming into Daniel's focus.
"You're over there."
Daniel waved his hand, dumbly slapping Jack's hand. "I mean—"
"Yes, I'm here and you're there. In your body there. Hi." Jack squeezed Daniel's arm again. "You like being in your body?"
Daniel assessed that for a second, stretching and then wiggling on the bed, feeling all the normal aches and stretches in the right places. He sighed contentedly. "Oh God. Yes."
Jack smiled, his smile all right—all Jack.
"What happened?" Daniel pushed up into a sitting position and reached for his glasses, feeling a particular keen need for them, though not so he could see.
Jack sat back in the chair and scratched his head. "The count down expired." He held out his hands. "And you were gone." The corner of his mouth tugged into a frown that Daniel couldn't quite read. "That was a few hours ago."
"A few of them."
"Wow. Uh, sorry?"
The corner of Jack's mouth lifted in a smile. "I'm just glad you're awake now. I should get the doc."
Daniel nodded and then seized Jack's hand when Jack stood. "We'll talk soon, right?"
"Yeah, Daniel, we'll talk soon." Jack patted the back of Daniel's hand and then slowly pulled himself away. He looked back at Daniel from the door, his smile once again an expression Daniel couldn't quite read.
"Hey, welcome, come on in." Jack opened the door wider, letting Daniel step into the house from the porch.
"I had to drive myself today," Daniel said to break the ice.
"Technically you drove yesterday, too. Most of the way anyway." Jack backed away from the door, holding up his beer. "You want one of these?"
"Um, yeah." Daniel shut the door behind him, accurately aware of the slickness of the knob beneath his hand. He ran his fingers around the edge, feeling the ridges of the design.
"Daniel?" Jack interrupted. "I didn't think that was the knob you were coming over here to caress."
Daniel snorted at Jack's joke and took the offered beer. "Just…." Even after sharing so much, he was finding it difficult to admit that he was enjoying being corporeal.
Of course with Jack he never had to really say anything. Jack took his hand and pulled him over to the couch, his hand never settling in Daniel's, constantly moving and feeling his skin, callused fingertips brushing together, over hair, knuckles, scars. Daniel smiled softly.
"Glad there's no or, huh?"
"No or," Jack agreed. He took Daniel's bottle and set them both on the table. "But I'm looking forward to making this work."
Daniel's smile grew as Jack leaned in for a kiss, this time knowing exactly what was on Jack's mind.
~Comments and feedback are hands down the best.