Author's Note: Happy Memorial Day! Hope you enjoy this little fluff piece. As always, let me know your thoughts.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything to do with Stargate SG-1 - just letting my imagination go crazy with the creation.



It started with a laugh.

A laugh that Jack O'Neill happened to notice, and made him pay attention to his archeologist friend, scrutinizing every detail. His friend, Dr. Daniel Jackson, hadn't noticed the General's sudden interest. Instead, he was blissfully unaware and continued to enjoy himself with his teammates – past and present. Had he been as aware as his friend, Daniel would have noticed that his laughter came easier than it usually did. He was smiling without realizing it. He was sitting next to Vala Mal Doran without a hint of annoyance, nor was he snippy or standoffish when she leaned too close. He didn't recoil when she touched him innocently or accidentally. The chemistry they both tried to hide was flowing so naturally between them that they didn't even realize it – it was effortless.

The rest of the team didn't seem fazed at all. Maybe it was because it had been a slow build for all of them that it was now the norm. Maybe they didn't notice the subtle changes between the two or they simply didn't care. Jack seemed to be the only one out of the loop and was able to see it better. Perhaps it was due to him not being around as much, so it was blatantly obvious to someone who knew Daniel well but hadn't been able to observe him in months – especially with a woman.

No one seemed to notice the pensive nature of General O'Neill, his quiet demeanor, or his quiet observations of a former space pirate and a space monkey. They didn't question why he wasn't talking or chiming in every now and then. Well, they didn't until he was asked a point blank question and he failed to respond. That's when Daniel noticed his intense stare.

"Jack?" Daniel added more volume to his voice to get his attention. He was also a little annoyed with the extra attention he apparently had been paying him.

Jack twitched, indicating he was back in the present. "Daniel," he started in that tone that meant nothing but trouble, "a moment in the kitchen, please."

Despite the 'please,' he knew it wasn't a request. He shot a confused and questioning look to Sam but received a shrug in response. Sighing heavily, he got up and trailed after the man. "What was that?" he asked once they were out of hearing range.

"Don't act all innocent here," Jack retorted like they were on the same page.

Daniel sighed again and placed his bottle on the island before fetching a bottle of water from the fridge. There were two ways to go about it when Jack was like this – indulge in more alcohol or sober up if need be. He had a feeling he needed to be sober and rational for whatever had Jack riled up. He took a long sip of water before diving in. "I'm not acting innocent – you're the one who was randomly staring at me," he asked calmly. "Wanna tell me what that was about?"

Jack waved a finger at him. "Oh, no! You are not getting out of this that easily," he stated, sounding like he was scolding a child.

It was all he could do to refrain from rolling his eyes. "Jack," he warned tersely. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Jack narrowed his eyes at him and crossed his arms. "I'm not in the mood to play games."

"Great! Neither am I." He mimicked Jack's stance.

They stared down at each other, waiting for one of them to crack.

"Fine!" Jack caved first after a full minute. "When were you gonna tell me?" he asked with a hint of hurt in his voice.

Daniel's brows scrunched together. "What?" he asked and dropped his arms. "Tell you what, exactly?"

He gestured to the other room. "That you've started seeing Vala," he gave Daniel a hurt look. "I thought you were my best friend."


Jack winced at the sharp squeal and made a show of rubbing his ear. "I mean, the house should've tipped me off, but honestly, how could you keep this from me?" he gestured to the half unpacked house around them.

"What're you talking about? Vala and I aren't together!" he glanced around to see if anyone could hear their conversation. "And what does my house have anything to do with this?"

Jack raised his eyebrows. "Really, not together? Could've fooled me," he retorted dryly, clearly not believing a word. "Daniel, you've been allowing her to touch you all night. You've been laughing – genuinely laughing – tonight, and you've been smiling at her like she's your damn everything."

"I have not!" Daniel interjected, but it felt like his objection was automatic – something that he always did when someone brought it up.

Jack clearly didn't believe a word, and continued as if he hadn't interrupted. "And I haven't seen you this happy – not content – but happy since I left you on Abydos."

He flinched, feeling like Jack was accusing him of something. "That's not true," he denied in a quiet voice, feeling a heaviness sit on his chest as he tried to understand his words.

His friend gave him a sympathetic look. "You know it is," he told him gently. "When I left you on that planet, you were happy – excited at the prospect of learning a new culture and studying an alien world, not to mention your new marriage. But when we came back…you weren't the same. You were happy, yes, but not like before. You just discovered the Stargate could go more places and you wanted to see them. That's why you unburied the 'gate, and that's why you weren't as happy – you were conflicted."

Daniel chuckled bitterly, cutting Jack off. "Got me all figured out, don't you?" he said sardonically and glared.

It didn't faze the General in the least. "You know it's true," he argued. "You know you wanted to see what was out there, but also knew that wasn't a life Sha're wanted, nor would she be happy with you coming and going. Don't get me wrong, I know you loved her, and she loved you, but that happiness you felt in the beginning would've faded because you would've chosen to stay with her."

"Are you saying I would've regretted being married to her?" Daniel interrupted again, and felt anger spread through him.

Jack was already shaking his head. "No, I'm saying you would've given up something that is a huge part of you. That's a big compromise – one I know you would've done willingly – but it would've impacted your marriage eventually. I have no doubt you and Sha're would've been happy, but not as happy as you are and could be with Vala."

He scoffed at the idea. Trying to distract himself from Jack's words, he started cleaning the island by throwing away the trash and placing the dishes in the sink. "That's not true," he said when there was nothing left to clean.

"You know it is or else you wouldn't be fighting it so much."

Daniel turned around to face him, and leaned against the countertop behind him, the island between them. "And Vala will magically make me happier than ever because…?"

He huffed in annoyance. "Because you don't have to choose between the two things you love the most – your job and her." Jack paused and seemed like he expected Daniel to respond, but when he didn't, he rolled his eyes. "Vala shares that same sense of adventure as you, Daniel. She won't be unhappy with you gallivanting across the universe with or without her."

Daniel didn't want to see any truth in his words. If he did, he would be forced to face a reality he wasn't ready for. He would have to acknowledge that maybe living on Abydos for the rest of his life wouldn't have made him completely happy – it would have been worth it because of Sha're but he would always have those 'what ifs.' If he never discovered the cartouche, it wouldn't have been a problem, but he did. He always liked to believe he would've stayed there, happy and content, but it was an illusion Jack was shattering to bits.

"It shows, Daniel."

His eyes lifted from the floor to look at the General. "What shows?" he asked with a smidge of curiosity and confusion.

"You're happy – it shows," he repeated, and his face softened. "Not just emotions, but your words and actions toward her. It's not like you forced yourself to either – it was just…effortless on your part, and that's how I know ya love her. That's why I thought you neglected to tell me about your relationship."

Daniel could see now that Jack wasn't saying any of this to mess with him. He meant it, and that was causing him to freak out. He wasn't ready to confront anything on this subject and sought a way out of it – a way he could win. "What does my house have to do with this again?"

Jack sighed. "You're deflecting," he said in a bored tone – like he expected Daniel to do it.

"You're deflecting," he mimicked and barely held in a wince at the immature response. "Why did you insinuate I had an ulterior motive in purchasing a house?"

Jack looked at him incredulously. "Daniel, come on."

Judging by his tone, he was under the impression that something obviously was right under his nose. "What?" he inquired with genuine bewilderment.

Jack chuckled in disbelief. "Oh, space monkey," he somehow said it in both a mocking and fond way. "You subconsciously bought a house for her."

He choked on the sip of water. "W-what?" he sputtered. "No, I didn't."

"Yes, you did."

A smirk was beginning to grow on his face, and Daniel didn't like it. "No, I didn't," he insisted.

"Yes, you did."

"Did not."

"Did to."

"Did not."



"Then why'd you buy it?" Jack asked, challenging him to disagree.

But he did disagree. "Because it's a good investment. For the first time in over a decade, the chances of me dying are slimmer than usual, so why not? I'm not going anywhere." He really hoped the universe did take his words and make him eat them.

Instead of being mollified like he expected, Jack only seemed spurred on. "What about Atlantis? You've been dying to get transferred there for years."

He waved his hand casually. "Still gotta deal with Ba'al."

Jack snorted. "Ba'al? That's the best ya got?" He turned around and grabbed another beer from the fridge. "You're forgetting that there's like only two left out there – hardly a threat."

Daniel huffed. He couldn't seem to win. How was it that Jack was beating him with logic? "You're seriously underestimating Ba'al?"

"You're seriously underestimating SG-1?" he retorted instantly as if he knew that's how Daniel would respond. Jack groaned and rubbed his forehead. "Fer cryin' out loud, Daniel, you bought a house that's too big for one person."

Daniel crossed his arms. "I disagree."

Jack's expression was deadpanned. "It had three bedrooms and an office you said you plan to put a sofa bed in. Why would you need that many rooms?"

"You and Sam, Vala, Teal'c," he listed off on his fingers, "and Mitchell gets the couch."

Jack was already shaking his head. "Don't pretend you bought a house with as many rooms as this to only use as guest rooms every now and then," he pinned him with a look. "You bought it because you knew she'd like it. It's close to shopping and little coffee places she likes, but still private for you. You bought one with this many bedrooms because you want to fill them with the kids you subconsciously want with her. Don't shake your head at me," he ordered in his General voice.

Daniel pointed a finger at him. "What you're saying is crazy!" he hissed.

"What I'm saying is right," Jack retorted with an authority that had Daniel wanting to believe him. "Daniel, you bought this house with her in mind, whether you knew it or not. You were preparing the future – one with her."

That stopped his protests. Since when was Jack O'Neill so…perceptive? Why was he making sense? How was Daniel even considering that he may be right? He couldn't deny that there may be some truth to Jack's words. He couldn't deny that Jack was right when he said he had observed Vala and him getting closer – that Daniel didn't pull away as nearly as much, that being around her made him feel…light, whole, and something he hadn't felt in years. There was no denying it anymore. Jack was right.

Holy Shit.

"What do I do?" Daniel asked as a dazed feeling came over him.

Jack shrugged casually like he didn't notice Daniel was on the verge of becoming unhinged at the thought of starting a relationship with Vala Mal Doran. "Easy – go get the girl."

How could Jack be insightful on everything but this? Did he not know Daniel at all? "Easy?" He chuckled mirthlessly, sounding on the verge of panic. "That's anything but easy!"

Jack took a sip of his beer. "It can be if you let it," he said simply. "Stop overthinking for once, and just do it."

Daniel knew Jack honestly believed it was that simple. He wanted to argue that it had taken him and Sam eight years to do something about them but stopped himself – it wouldn't have been fair. Their circumstances were different from his and Vala's. So instead, he sighed warily. "What if she doesn't feel the same?"

"Oh, she does," he declared with confidence and took another long swig of his drink.

"How do you know that for sure?"

Jack set his bottle on the island and leaned forward on it. "Danny boy, I already thought you guys were a couple tonight. Not just based on your behavior and actions, but hers as well," he gave him a look that dared him to argue with the man. "She loves you. Trust me, Daniel, I wouldn't lie to you about that."

If there was one thing he knew about Jack O'Neill was that he would never lie to him about this. He would never give Daniel false hope or steer him wrong. He would never say anything unless he was a hundred percent sure. After all these years being the man's friend and teammate, he trusted him completely, and took his words of advice at face value.

Daniel reached over the island, stole the half full beer, and chugged the remainder of it. "Okay," he said as he slammed the bottle down and abruptly walked back to the living room.

"My beer," he heard Jack's quiet complaint as he left.


"Where'd you and Daniel disappear to for so long?"

Jack held out Sam's coat so she could easily slip into it. "Kitchen. We had some things to discuss," he brushed her shoulders once the coat was on.

Carter turned and fluffed her hair out from under the coat. "What, like why he bought such a big house?"

He narrowed his eyes at her. "Carter?" he dragged her name out and tilted his head. "Have you been holding out on me?"

Her face showed nothing but innocence. "Me? Never," she stated with mock seriousness.

"Carter," it came out more tersely. "We agreed you were my eyes and ears."

"I am. There wasn't anything to report," her eyes glanced behind him and abruptly grabbed his arm and pulled him a few feet to the left. "Until now," she added and nodded in the direction of the kitchen.

Jack turned and a second later, a big smirk grew across his face. "There you go, space monkey."

Daniel and Vala stood in the kitchen with the doorway framing them nicely. Daniel had her pressed against the island and himself as he laid one on her.

Jack felt Sam squeeze his arm and his hand covered hers. "You know what this means, right?" he said quietly into her hair.

Sam sighed. "Yeah," she grumbled. "Teal'c won the betting pool."

He grimaced. "That smug bastard is gonna gloat about it forever."

"Yeah," she sighed again. "But seeing them together, it'll be worth it."

Seeing the expression on his friend's face, it was going to be more than worth it.

The End.