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SG-1 fic: Things Not Dreamed

Title: Things Not Dreamed
Author: stargazercmc 
Show: Stargate SG-1
Category: Gen, angst
Spoilers: None
Character/Pairings: Daniel
Summary: Daniel doesn't understand their need to fly.
Warnings: None
Rating: G
Disclaimer: If I owned Stargate SG-1, I'd have my own line of Asgard-created Jack and Daniel clones. 
A/N: Much thanks to moonshayde for the beta.

Things Not Dreamed

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
~ “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee Jr.



Daniel doesn’t understand their need to fly.

Jack tries explaining it once. He starts at least three times but never makes it past, “It’s like…” and some vague hand signal Daniel suspects is supposed to be a takeoff of some sort. He finally tells Daniel, “Ask Teal’c or Carter.” He knows the irritation in Jack’s tone is because he wants to explain. He’s only slightly surprised Jack doesn’t go for flippant.

Daniel has learned how to pilot spacecraft from necessity, but he has never become comfortable with the process. The laws of physics include too many X-factors for a man versed in removing dust from buried objects. He likes the feel of earth beneath his feet, trusts the soft bristles that remove grains of sand from tablets eager to spill their stories.

He doesn’t trust the mechanics of flight, and he cannot find balance when out in space. He’s always waiting for the moment when one misstep is going to send the ship crashing down. Air and space never had their proper chance as Daniel’s elementals. Earth was ingrained in him as a child when the sandbox of Egypt was his world.

Thrust, propulsion, draft. Forward-moving things. Not practical for a man whose business is the past.

****

Jack's response to his question is still on his mind the next time Daniel sees Sam. She doctors her coffee and tells him about her weekend visit with Cassie. When she notices he isn’t paying attention, she waves her hand in his face. “Daniel?”

He blurts out, “What was it like, flying during the Gulf War?” His thoughts catch up to his mouth, and he expects to see her flinch. He starts to apologize and stops when he notices her expression – smoothed out lines, a serene expression. She speaks quietly and he has to move closer.

“The war was awful, Daniel. I remember every target I hit, every building I bombed. Behind the seat of that cockpit, there is power and the ability to change lives in a second.

“It’s a bit like our responsibility with the Stargate,” she continues. “No matter how much intel we had, you could never be sure what you’d find at the other end of the mission. And sometimes… we were off.” Daniel shudders. He knows Sam, and he knows what price she would make herself pay.

“But the sunrises…” She’s been looking down while recounting these memories, but her clear eyes lock with his as she finishes. Daniel isn’t sure what she sees on his face. “The closest I’ve ever come to absolution was on those flights. And afterwards, I would feel almost high. It’s like…” She doesn’t finish.

He wonders if the contradiction of such destruction accompanied by spiritual fulfillment ever torments her. He knows better than to ask.

****

The day of their quals, Daniel goes with Jack and Sam to the airfield. Jack goes first and showboats; Daniel doesn’t expect anything less. Sam goes afterwards and demonstrates her normal implacable control. Both pass with flying colors. Both feel giddy from their contact high. Daniel sees them exchange glances, feels them share a bond of accomplishment.

Jack recommends they celebrate by eating picnic style, so they stop for subs and head to a park. Sam grabs a blanket from her car and throws it down in a grassy spot just off the swing sets. The day is windy, but the sun is shining down hard. Carried on the breeze they hear shoes on metal surfaces and the high-pitched laughter of kids playing.

They eat under a cloudless blue sky. Daniel stays mostly quiet while Jack and Sam exchange stories about flight training and jumps they’ve made. Jack’s are peppered with larger-than-life instructors and off-color characters trotted out to make them laugh. They finish eating, and Jack and Sam jump up to throw away the trash.

Daniel spreads himself out on the ground, closes his eyes and tries to absorb the warmth of the sun. He hears Sam giggling and knows she and Jack will be burning off an endorphin rush for a while. He tries to let himself go, tries to relate to this soil-rich aspect of the earth that seems foreign compared to his beloved desert sands.

Sam quiets, and Daniel feels a new energy emerge. He hears Jack move closer to Sam and murmur, “Come fly with me?”

Daniel is sure that Jack is holding out his hand but he doesn’t open his eyes to confirm it. He centers his thoughts and can feel his body being pulled down towards the ground. The rusty groan of chains and the clink of links register in the background, and he hears Sam laugh again. As he imagines her flying high with Jack by her side, Daniel feels the earth spin.
Tags: fic, sg-1
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