Behind Glass

It took him three weeks to get Daniel to agree to come over and when he did, Daniel insisted on drinking coffee.

Jack nailed him to the couch with a refill after Daniel had gulped down the first cup with a haste that was unflattering any way you looked at it, and then brought out the bottle of beer.

"I don't --"

"Like beer," Jack finished for him. "Yeah, so you've said. Still want you to drink this one, though. Go on; force yourself."

Daniel stared at the bottle, his eyes narrowing. With the tips of his fingers pinching the crimped cap, he twisted it so that the label was facing Jack and then tapped a stiff finger against the place where the label had dampened, creased and dried in a corrugation. "It's the same bottle, isn't it? I remember noticing this."

"Yeah," Jack said. "Same one."

"That's very... symbolic." Daniel smiled. The remote smile. The smile that made Jack wish he had a remote, tuned to Doctor Daniel Jackson's frequency.

Zap you out of this fucking sulk, he thought. Unfair, but he was bored and irritated. Daniel pissed off was one thing, all salt and vinegar and fizz. Daniel pouting was disturbingly appealing -- and Daniel distant, seemingly content to be that way and showing no signs of coming close, well, that was unendurable in the same way that metal scraping metal was.

"Not really."

"Oh, but it is. As was my refusal to drink it then." Prissy, prim lecture mode now, with no saving grace of enthusiasm to sweeten it. "You know, in the past, refusing to take sustenance was an insult -- it implied deep distrust -- that could result in a swift and bloody death."

"Not a good time to be on a diet, then?" Jack said.

"Not really, no," Daniel replied, twitching his lips in a brief, polite acknowledgement of the pathetic joke that made Jack feel like dealing out some bloody death of his own.

"So; you want a glass, or is the bottle okay?"

Daniel stood, bottle in hand, mouth falling open, and for a dizzying moment, Jack thought he was about to propose a toast to rebuilt shattered friendships and trust. Then the bottle christened the wall in a messy splatter of shards and foam and Daniel started to yell at him.

Thank God.



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