Title: The World Unwound
Author: Frostfire
Word Count: 584
Pairing: Daniel Jackson/Steven Rayner
Rating: R-ish
Notes: Set during "The Curse", season 4. Thanks to synecdochic for 
audiencing! Title from Moxy Fruvous, "Sahara".

Daniel's trying to keep some perspective on the situation, but he's...failing.

Coming back to Chicago has been surreal. Hazy and strange, punctuated by short, sharp, painful moments, when Sarah turns her head or Steven chews on a pencil or Dr. Jordan is an empty hole in the air beside them.

Daniel has a feeling he was stumbling through this even before the Goa'uld showed up. And wasn't that just...something.

He can still feel it, the sudden white fuzz of disorientation when he saw the symbols on the Isis jar. His hands suddenly prickly-numb, and he's honestly surprised he didn't drop it--and wouldn't that have been a treat, splashing Goa'uld all over the curator's shoes.


And now there's a Goa'uld at the Oriental Institute. Something fundamentally wrong about that--Daniel wants to protest, almost, to shout out that the ancient Egyptians escaped the Goa'uld rule, that they had thousands of years of culture and beauty and tradition, and the Goa'uld should not touch that.

Years of study here, learning about that culture. With these people. One more piece of him the Goa'uld are taking away.

Why he never went back. He wants to find Steven and confess all, gain some measure of absolution. Steven would never believe it.

He wanted to stay in Colorado. He was--pathetically grateful for an excuse to fly back to Chicago. To see them again, remember what it used to be like, and it's surreal and comforting and wrong and right, all together. He shouldn't be here, but it was like stepping into a dream, coming back.

He keeps seeing Sarah's hair, floating in a blonde halo, in the afternoon sun of the graveyard. She--God, she doesn't even judge him for believing in aliens. He never deserved her.

He's glad he doesn't have to face Dr. Jordan, and he hates himself for that, 

Steven...is another matter.

With Sarah, it was always easy. They meshed well--they slid into a relationship so easily, he barely remembers how it happened, he didn't even have to try--and that was what killed it, in the end. He counted on her being there, even when he hadn't looked up to see.

With Steven, it was never easy.

They fought. Daniel always had Sarah's quiet support, and Steven's loud criticism, and the one was as valuable as the other. Steven used to come up to him and take a book out of his hands, when he wasn't listening.

One summer, it worked between them. Hot and sandy and sharing a tent, yelling in each other's faces when Dr. Jordan wasn't around, drunk on shawabtis and sun and hieroglyphs and the endless alcoholism of summer digs. Shoving each other down between backpacks and crumpled sandy shirts, panting out conflicting Greek accounts and unreliable carbon dates while they kissed 
and arched and sweated and came.

It lasted the summer, and then they came back to Chicago and sanity, and Daniel slowly forgot about what Steven looked like as he gasped out "three thousand fucking B.C." just before he lost the power of speech. And Steven slowly stopped looking at Daniel like he wanted to tackle him to the floor.

And they kept out of each other's way, mostly, because even if they weren't having sex, they were still yelling at each other and Dr. Jordan hated that.

And time moved on, and then there was Sarah. And then...lecturing to an empty room. And then.

Steven would never believe it.

God, let it not be him.


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